Why you should NOT go to Burning Man

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
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ibdave
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Why you should NOT go to Burning Man

Post by ibdave » Thu Jul 12, 2007 8:32 pm

I did not WRITE this piece. It was e-mailed to me today.. I didn't write this


----Original Message-----

was reading through old theme camp archives and found this post that i
thought the virgins may particularly appreciate and that a few of you
old
folks would enjoy poking fun at....we developed it for our newbies a
couple
years ago and its still makes a lot of sense to me.

there are negatives as well as positives to the playa, and you should
know
about them. because it's only through clear-eyed assessment of the pros
and
cons of a situation that a wise, informed choice about attendance can
be
made.

so.

WHY YOU SHOULD NOT GO TO BURNING MAN.

1) the place never shuts up. ever. so if you're a big fan of beauty
sleep,
you may not be happy all of the time. on my first morning there one
year, i
was awoken by a guy on a bicycle with a megaphone, cycling through the
'quiet side of town' (a conceit which no longer exists, btw), who was
shouting, at the top of his lungs, 'EVERYONE SHUT THE FUCK UP. PEOPLE
ARE
TRYING TO SLEEP. DO *NOT* RUIN THEIR BURN BY BEING TOO LOUD. BE FUCKING
QUIET!'

doing the megaphone bit is important for many people's burning man
experience. complaining about them to rangers and police just isn't
cool. so
suck it up.

also, many camps on the esplanade and on the end wings regard thumping
loud
dance music at all hours as a moral and artistic imperative. learning
to
sleep 10' behind a soundsystem pounding out psytrance can be an
excercise in
patience that will test the buddha....me, i sorta like it.

2) your shit will get broken. try to remember that the more stuff you
bring,
the less of a chance that you will NOT experience breakage of said
stuff.
the dust itself is a major irritant to equipment.

for every 4 hours you spend planning your fairly complicated
installation or
prop-based immersive experience, you should spend 6 working out doable
ways
to protect your stuff. do not underestimate the amount of effort it
will
take to shield your shit from the desert and from fucked-up people.
(see
below.) if you are not prepared to do this, leave it at home. nobody
will
miss it; there's too much stuff out there already.

3) the weather is completely unpredictable. rain? sure. snow? check.
hail?
hell yeah. (all of the grizzled BM 2000 veterans raise their hand.)
cold?
hoo boy. 120 degree temperatures? w00t! plan for any and all manner of
bizarre weather events, and this should include 5 straight days of rain
and
cold, or even absolutely staggeringly great weather for the entire
event.
because burning man is basically an outgrowth of san francisco, there
are
microclimates. the airport can be sunny and wonderful while 10:00 and
oblivion is experiencing rain. no shit.

4) the playa brings out both the best and the worst in people,
sometimes
vacillating between the two in alarmingly short periods. who are you
camping
with? i have dealt with numerous crises with people in my camps in the
past
five years, and i have some advice for you that you ignore at your own
risk.

this is worth a subsection.

4a) does your camp have dues? does your camp have responsibilities? do
NOT
invite people to stay in your camp unless they understand what those
responsibilities will be. many people regard burning man as one GIANT
GODDAMN DOPE PARTY AND FUCKFEST, goddamit, and they will not be
dissuaded in
their determination to squeeze every second of dopin' and fuckin' out
of the
experience. dishes? whatchutalkin'about, willis? gridding?? i got yer
grid
right here. sometimes this approach to the playa is welcome, but will
it be
welcome in your camp?

4b) short attention span central. that's the playa in a nutshell. it's
hot
and loud and nobody gets any sleep. plus there are a lot of bright
shiny
things. we joke in my camp that people at burning man are like ferrets
on
crack, e.g.: 'ok, man, i'll go get that ice. gonna grab the wagon and
the
cooler and HOLY SHIT WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT, wow, what a fabulous
looking
SWING! hey, look at those people o my god what are they doing hee hee
eeee
wow that looks like fun, i love my new friends...' and before you know
it,
wagon's gone and it's been seven hours since you sent them to go get
ice.
this is standard operating procedure. get used to it, be forgiving when
it
happens, because it happens to the best of us. can't handle it? stay
home.

4c) does everyone in your camp have a full history of mental stability?

probably not. we're all a bunch of freaks, and freak-outs are part of
being
freaks. that being said, nobody should be on the playa unless there is
someone camped in close proximity who will be able to step up to the
plate
when things get rough for them. make no mistake- it's harsh out there.
and
that harshness can make you have a pretty bad time sometimes. nothing
wrong
with it- it happens! it's a natural result of the event. everyone has
moments of bad time out there. but you had better have someone who's
more
willing to sit in your tent and take care of you than run around like a
ferret on crack.

it's a necessity.

or your time will get worse. part of being in someone's camp is being
part
of their support network. tell them to drink water. tell them to calm
down.
tell them to put on sunscreen. help them take a break. if there is
someone
in your camp who does not have that kind of connection with any of you,
they
should not be in your camp, and you should not have invited them to
join
you.

4d) special RV section. take my advice. please. please, on this. don't
argue
with me. do NOT share an RV with someone you are not close to. don't do
it.
money, issues of space, issues of boundaries, equipment issues, yadda
yadda
yadda. not to mention the politics of the big room. just don't do it.
it is
BETTER TO SPEND A WEEK IN A DUSTY TENT THAN TO SPLIT AN RV WITH
STRANGERS. i
really cannot stress that enough.

5) the paramount rule at burning man: don't fuck with other people's
burns.
everyone's doing their own thing, and the beauty of this is that it
gives
you a chance to do the same. but if you can't do your thing without
fucking
with other people's things, you should seriously reconsider attending
the
event. don't tell people to stop dancing. don't bitch at people when
the art
is bad or gets in the way, or is offensive to you. don't tell off other
burners because they're not doing it 'right'. be open, and supportive,
and
curious, and encouraging. even to the megaphone people, because inside
every
asshole with a bullhorn is a frightened puppy looking for love. can't
deal?
stay home. fight the republicans.

6) it's really, really, really, really, really expensive to attend the
event. even if you hitchhike out there and mooch off of other people's
food,
water and suncreen, you still need to buy your ticket, and your shit
will be
broken and you'll need to fix it. is it really worth it for you to
spend
that kind of cash? you could buy a really nice computer, or some
heirloom
furniture, with the amount of money many people spend per person on
playa.
think about it.

and finally ...

7) drugs and alcohol. sure, nobody on this list does drugs. and nobody
we
know does drugs. but they're there. and if you've got a problem with
the
presence of substances, this is not the event for you. because even if
your
camp is a drug-free zone (as all of our camps are), you will still have
to
deal maturely and pleasantly with people who are indulging their little
heads off. also, you will see all manner of booze everywhere, and all
manners of indulging that too. people drink, they fight, they yell,
they
barf. there are times when burning man feels like one giant great big
party.

if that's not your scene, you'll feel a little out of your element.


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I was Born OK the 1st Time....

Don't bring defaultia to Burning Man, take Burning Man to defaultia...... graidawg

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phil
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Post by phil » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:17 pm

Accurate.

littlemissfancypants
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Post by littlemissfancypants » Thu Jul 12, 2007 9:49 pm

Thanks!

This is my first year, so it was good to hear some things to be mindful of!

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Captain Goddammit
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Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Jul 12, 2007 10:44 pm

OK, OK, I'll try to behave better...
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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deviceone
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Post by deviceone » Thu Jul 12, 2007 11:08 pm

Ah shit, thank you so much. I really needed that escape from the politics of the green blah blah.


Ferrets on crack.... yes...
yep

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Lassen Forge
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Post by Lassen Forge » Fri Jul 13, 2007 2:19 am

A far better PR piece on the joys of BRC than anything the "Green Machine" PR people could have ever come up with. Damn!

No wonder our population is booming!

Fuck, even if I didn't want to go I would now. Just because.

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skygod
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Post by skygod » Fri Jul 13, 2007 9:22 am

Hot Damn!
That is one well written article.
The thing is, I have a vision in my head of the way the world is, and when I go to BM I learn that my vision is way wrong. That is so valuable I would put up with a lot worse for that single benefit.
"It will seem difficult in the beginning. But everything seems difficult in the beginning."- Musashi

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Fri Jul 13, 2007 1:33 pm

Total horseshit about how someone's rudeness is somehow "artsy" and protected, and then it goes on to say you shouldn't interfere with someone's burn?
I know a thousand different ways to throw sand in the gears of audio equipment.
Some of them, you'd never find too.

Don't make my burn experience become guessing how many small parts of a megaphone you can swallow before you have to be airlifted.

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meyouseek
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Post by meyouseek » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:34 pm

I'm surprised to read so many posts (here and in other threads) that include threats of sabotage against sound systems. Personally I have no trouble sleeping in loud areas, but I figured those that can't would find more peaceful and imaginative ways of dealing with it.

Earplugs, though not too imaginative are certainly peaceful, cheap and readily available. You could also move your tent (it's a lot easier than moving a bunch of speakers). Just getting out of the direct path of the sound helps immensely.

As for the megaphone guys (hey, why is it always guys?) they're usually gone within a few seconds.

I support a loud BRC at all hours. Let go of your default world concepts of when people should be quiet.

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emotion_sickness
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Post by emotion_sickness » Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:56 pm

makes me wanna get a ferret...feed it crack...and compare!
Why?

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bmix
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Post by bmix » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:45 pm

Man, seriously...

It's been just the crappiest day, and my enthusiasm for the event has waned so badly with the 2.0 article and all, and then I saw your post, and remembered everything that was good about BRC.

Thank you. I'm crashing out now with fond memories of being (creatively) harassed by a group of megaphone guys, and laughing so hard I thought I was gonna throw up. I'm now fully in excited mode again.

(I will, however, still be bringing an extra lighter for the "unscheduled" burn. Just in case someone needs one...)

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Box Burner
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Post by Box Burner » Fri Jul 13, 2007 11:49 pm

megaphones??????!* :D

Damn! I'm gonna buy a megaphone and bring it! :D :D :D
Dance in the heart of chaos. . . . .

ὁ δὲ ἀνεξέταστος βίος οὐ βιωτὸς ἀνθρώπῳ
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - --- Σωκράτης

.

trypical
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Post by trypical » Sat Jul 14, 2007 1:54 pm

[quote="Box Burner"]megaphones??????!* :D

Damn! I'm gonna buy a megaphone and bring it! :D :D :D[/quote]
my friend is letting me borrow his :)

but I don't know if I will use it, I might be classified as an asshole.

Trixy
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Post by Trixy » Sat Jul 14, 2007 1:57 pm

Bring those megaphones on!

I love the people that let me see who they really are by shouting out their feelings in public.

If the noise bothers you, either stay home, or poke holes in your ear drums.
Chillax, dude.

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capjbadger
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Post by capjbadger » Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:21 am

People going around with megaphones, shouting just to be assholes while I am sleeping will hung by their genitalia at the end of the yardarm...

But yes, BM is really not the place to go if you can't stand noise. ;)

Badger
Arrrggg!! Avast ye fucking fluffy bunny shirtcockers! Haul your drunken hairy fat ass out of our sight or prepare to receive a hot buttered hedgehog fired up your aft quarters!

Honey Badger don't care. Honey Badger don't give a shit!

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DJBiggaman
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awesome

Post by DJBiggaman » Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:15 pm

the article is so well written and i believe that is the best words of warning you can give since i got dehydrated and was nursed to health with 2 gallons of water down my mouth by a veteran pro burner....do not tread lightly the desert will beat u down...but its like heaven all the while...so much fun at any cost i love BRC go easy! Bigga

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deviceone
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Post by deviceone » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:17 pm

there was a guy last year that took a megaphone into the jots with him every day to do his duty. He did a play by play on his business which made me question the judgment of situating our camp so close to the portas, which in the end, the convenience outweighed this. Despite this, I got used to his potty talk and slept just fine. Realistically, guys with megaphones are nothing compared to a double decker bus going by at 8am with a 1000 watt sound system bumping booty house or psytrance. Or the camp next to us that played "Banana Phone" on repeat for about 36 hours...

Monday after the temple burn was my day for getting my ass bit by the dehydration monster. My friend and I rode our bikes across the remains of the city looking for a friend of his and I didn't bring much water with me... Since 75% of the camps were already gone by then, I ended up doing a lot of riding in open playa and that sun beat me to death. By the time I got back to my camp I was dizzy as all hell and burned to a cinder.
yep

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porterico
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Day 5?

Post by porterico » Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:23 pm

Some of that general temperment and freak out section reminds me of camping out and canoeing in Quetico Provincial Park in Canada... our group leader always said that shit hits the fan on Day 5. We always went for a week or 10 days... obviously the difference here is that out in the middle of nowhere the silence is what drives you mad and you end up longing for some noise and some bullshit, where burning man it seems is quite the opposite end of the spectrum... 1st year for me, so I'm looking forward to a little bit of a lot of maddness. But by day 5 of any "camp out" experience most people including myself long for light switches and a really long shower, so the temper tantrums are bound to occur... Maybe shouting through a megaphone something like "Its day 5... don't freak out" would help? :twisted:

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mojo
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Post by mojo » Wed Jul 18, 2007 3:41 pm

Welcome, Porterico! Actually, my experience has been that tempers are the worst within the first two days of arrival. The altitude increase always makes us cranky and tends to creep up on you. Then later in the week is when dehydration can muck things up.

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pinemom
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Post by pinemom » Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:47 am

Ok IBDave...thank you so much for sharing that! IT WAS FANTASTIC!!!!
You know the funny thing...I raised my kids with noise, usually loud music or people laughing etc....
I never wanted to have to say SHHHH the baby's sleeping...
I also was raised with loud noises, ie, motorcycle races, music, hot rods...etc...
So when the first night of sleep finally came, I drifted off to slumber with absolutely no problem...
The problem I had? yes dehydration on Sunday, and not being able to sleep when I got back to default world!!!!!! to Damn Quiet~!
I ended up having to borrow my teenagers techno cd to go to sleep everynight!

Lightswitches and showers...are over-rated!

Im, Im, Im, coming home Lizzie!
see ya there!
Names pinemom, but my friends call me "Piney".

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IslandTartan
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:)

Post by IslandTartan » Sat Jul 21, 2007 8:43 pm

What a wonderful read that was, and even more so were the responses you have all put in with that. Thank you all for reminding me why I want to go *home* so badly.....
Do your duty, leave the rest to the gods.......

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theCryptofishist
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Post by theCryptofishist » Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:41 pm

meyouseek wrote: Earplugs, though not too imaginative are certainly peaceful,
I find that earplugs cut down on the noise, but that it's still audible. And this is not right next to the source either. It depends on the person, but I think this statement is debatable.
The Lady with a Lamprey

"The powerful are exploiting people, art and ideas, and this leads to us plebes debating how to best ration ice.
Man, no wonder they always win....." Lonesomebri

longobord
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Re: Why you should NOT go to Burning Man

Post by longobord » Mon Jul 23, 2007 2:07 pm

ibdave wrote: ... many people regard burning man as one GIANT GODDAMN DOPE PARTY AND FUCKFEST, goddamit, and they will not be dissuaded in their determination to squeeze every second of dopin' and fuckin' out of the
experience.
When I first heard about BM, it was from some of these people road tripping (pun intended) from a place far away from here. It is only years later that I learned it could be so much more that I decided it was actually something I was interested in. It took quite a bit of convincing after that, um, lovely description. I'm looking forward to it.

Good thing I can sleep through fire engines coming to my house, although that 4.2 magnitude earthquake we had the other day did wake me up. I'm so looking forward to this.

(I'm still trying to imagine what one would say on a megaphone as a play-by-play of doing ones business. "Here it comes, here it comes"?)

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:44 am

If they don't post it themselves, I'll tell you what my friends did to the yoga people that woke them up at dawn every day singing and chanting the same song.
"Everything is more wonderful when you do it with a car, don't you think?"
-girl by the fire, watching a tree moved by car bumper in the bonfire

It would be a shame if I had to resort to self-deception to preserve my faith in objective reality.

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mojo
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Post by mojo » Wed Jul 25, 2007 10:39 am

So tell us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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gyre
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Post by gyre » Wed Jul 25, 2007 12:00 pm

I have to give them a chance to post it.
I'll spill if they don't.

I actually heard it, but didn't know what was happening.
Probably lucky for all concerned.
Camped the whole burn fifty feet from people I was looking for.

The burn itself was fantastic at Transformus.
And not one sitdown nazi in the place.
A great, great Dixie Belle with surprise parts!
Bex showed up too.

I trotted out my flash shoes and my Fishy fashion wear.
A big hit.

"I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you over your shoes."
"Everything is more wonderful when you do it with a car, don't you think?"
-girl by the fire, watching a tree moved by car bumper in the bonfire

It would be a shame if I had to resort to self-deception to preserve my faith in objective reality.

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lukku_cairi
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Post by lukku_cairi » Thu Jul 26, 2007 8:10 am

I've slept through hurricanes, earth tremors, raucous parties, and 5 year olds drumming their precious feet on the back of my airplane seat...hope burning man doesn't test me beyond this ability ;)

(shh! it's my first year!)

I've registered a sculpture I'm bringing. now I'm thinking it needs more reinforcement. what's the probability that someone would just take it apart simply because it's made of 2x2 wood and susceptible to sledgehammering?

I've been planning on dust, heat, rain, snow - hadn't thought about hail but yeah...now I am.

I think i need more rebar staples...

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capjbadger
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Post by capjbadger » Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:13 am

lukku_cairi wrote:I've been planning on dust, heat, rain, snow - hadn't thought about hail but yeah...now I am.

I think i need more rebar staples...
WIND... Plan for wind and lots of it. 60mph is nothing...

Badger
Arrrggg!! Avast ye fucking fluffy bunny shirtcockers! Haul your drunken hairy fat ass out of our sight or prepare to receive a hot buttered hedgehog fired up your aft quarters!

Honey Badger don't care. Honey Badger don't give a shit!

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lukku_cairi
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Post by lukku_cairi » Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:17 am

I thought the wind went without saying! :D

I definitely need more rebar staples!

I camped for a week in a tent in wyoming. it was like being inside a snare drum the entire time. the playa is the same or worse I'm assuming?

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capjbadger
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Post by capjbadger » Thu Jul 26, 2007 9:26 am

Just add baby-powder fine dust. ;)

Badger
Arrrggg!! Avast ye fucking fluffy bunny shirtcockers! Haul your drunken hairy fat ass out of our sight or prepare to receive a hot buttered hedgehog fired up your aft quarters!

Honey Badger don't care. Honey Badger don't give a shit!

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