The Man is Burning!

Also excited for the new summer season? Ready to shake a leg to some new tunes and wake up in your 2 by 2 tent? But don’t know which festivals to go to this year? Well, you’re in for a treat! Because we(Culture Can) will be covering some festivals over the next few weeks to give examples and ideas for your next adventure. So pick your favourite!

Today we’ll start with THE festival of all festivals out there: Burning Man!

Burning Man is set in the middle of the Nevada Black Rock Desert, on an ancient lakebed, where a community is build. Every year thousands of wandering souls gather there to set-up Black Rock City (aka the playa), dedicated to community life, art and self-expression. Only to be completely deserted afterwards due to the motto of ‘Leave no trace behind’. For a first impression check this video below:

The festival is build around the concept of anti-branding and anti-consumerism. There are no prices and there are no sales, the only requirement is that you must give and share. Therefore you must bring other people ‘gifts’, may that be food, drinks, clothes etc. The whole idea is set-up around de-commodification, which means no brands, sponsorships, earnings, profit or whatsoever is allowed. Car logos have to be taped off, beer-cans have to be scratched, clothes de-labelled and food has to be brought with you. In the world of ‘Black Rock city’ world the currency is giving.

Another very important aspect are the art installations. Art is unmistakably interwoven with the Burning Man’s spirit, as it is an expression of the self.  For example, last year there was a Barbie death camp, Sliding Yachts and Prayer temples.. Art is designed in line with a theme, this year it’s Cargo Cult. The installations are built on a large-scale basis and set up throughout the desert. The event is so large-scale, one must take a bicycle to get around the different installations and party scenes. The whole festival is created due to participation and initiative of ‘the citizens’. The party days and nights, filled with hippie stereotypes and exhibitionists finally lead to the sacrifice of ‘the Wicker Man’. A ritual to commemorate new beginnings and the end of another Burning Man.

The festival is so popular due to its authenticity and escapism from the capitalistic world. Status is not defined by your intelligence or your possessions; nobody cares if you’re the next big thing in Engineering or how much cash is on your bank account. At Burning Man you are free to be whomever you want and do whatever you want; a rule which is known to lead to ‘interesting’ experiences.

The only contrast and downside to the free loving and ‘there’s no currency’-spirit are the ticket sales. Due to the immense popularity and the subsidization of the art projects, Burning Man already had to start with ticket sales for this year to keep the amount of people to a maximum of 50.000. It seems this is a bittersweet reality for an organization so against capitalism.

Tickets are mostly spread in the USA and Canada, but all nationalities are welcome. Some of the pre-sale tickets are already sold out, but there are a couple of thousand last-minutes sold a month before opening day. According to the organization ‘the only way to understand this event, is to participate’. Well, we already have our outfits and wigs packed, if only we could afford a plane ticket to Nevada.

Check out Burning Man for more information on prices, survival guidelines and more inspiring pictures.

Definetly on our ‘must do’ list

Culture Can

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