Burning Man has been drawing artists to the Black Rock Desert, 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada since its inception in 1991. The crux of Burning Man is a temporary community in the arid desert, where artists congregate and display their art pieces and mutant vehicles and watch the burning of the Man. This takes places annually around the Labor Day weekend and this year it falls on August 27 - Sept 3, 2012. Let us guide you through the event and why you as an RVer should go.
The Burning Man draws its roots from the summer solstice of 1986, when founder Larry Harvey and his friends torched an 8 ft wooden effigy of a man on a beach in San Francisco. From an impromptu small gathering of friends, the event grew in popularity over the years and now draws 60,000 visitors. The Man too has grown and is now a 40 foot effigy stuffed with flammables.
The Burning Man experience is unique, and some would even go so far as to call it bizarre. The tenets of Burning Man are community, participation, radical self-expression and self-sufficiency. The participants come together and create a temporary community called Black Rock City, in the form of two-thirds of a circle. You can drive to Black Rock City but to move around, your only options are foot or bike. You can either bring your own tents or stay in an RV in any one of the many theme camps or villages. You could even create your own theme camp! The event believes in a gift community, wherein, everyone participates and shares with their neighbors, so RVers can volunteer in any respect.
The setting of the event on the playa (ancient lake-bed) makes for some harsh weather conditions. Temperatures in the desert can vary dramatically from freezing lows to boiling highs. RVers be prepared to come fully-equipped in terms of food, clothing and shelter to handle all your needs as the only items sold there are coffee and ice at the Centre Camp. There is a daily shuttle to the two closest cities of Empire and Gerlach should you feel the need to replenish supplies with daily in and out passes, but this is not encouraged. If you don't have tickets to the 2012 event already then it's too late to buy them. Sales for 2012 closed on August 3, 2012. There will NOT be tickets available at the gate when you arrive. If you want to go to 2013 event, then if 2012 is anything to go by, tickets will cost anywhere from $240 to $420 and pre-sales will start in November 2012 with the main sales in January 2013. Tickets for 2012 were sold via a random-selection process requiring pre-registration. Check the Burn Man web site for details in October.
Let's talk about the art. This year's theme is Fertility 2.0. This year's art theme contemplates the tendency of any being or living system to create abundant life. At the centre of the city is the effigy of the Man, which is burned the Saturday before Labor Day. The playa serves as a canvas to display all forms of artwork, installations and sculptures, many of which are burned along with the Man in a symbolic purification of the artists' motives. This year the Burnung Man will stand astride a grand pavilion that is similar in shape and style to the Pantheon of ancient Rome. Arching portals and two mezzanines will wrap around an atrium; circles will encompass circles, telescoping to an open skylight several stories overhead. An interactive sculpture, sprouting from the courtyard of the chamber, will invite participants to clamber upward through the center of this mesmerizing space, much as bees might swarm about the pistil of a flower. To make this artwork more intensely interactive, all prospective climbers are encouraged to express their own peculiar sense of inner beeing; come prepared to personate a bee, engage in both bee culture and couture.
Participants are encouraged to give of themselves and express themselves freely, be it through communal kitchens or their wild and whacky costumes, or the lack of, as clothing is optional. Burning Man is a participatory event, rather than a spectator event so be prepared to share. It is a Leave No Trace event, which implies that one leaves the environment as pristine as one found it. For more guidelines for RVs, go to Burning Man Preparation.
The Burning Man is almost mystical in nature, with silent workers who come and erect an entire city in the scorching desert, experiment in all forms of radical self-expression for a week, burn a wooden man and then magically vanish almost overnight, leaving no trace of their ever having been there. It is a surreal experience, one that cannot be truly understood or explained unless one goes there. This one is not for the faint-hearted. So read their Survival Guide, bring out your inner artist and go.
For more information on Burning Man, go to www.burningman.com.
Image courtesy of photographer John Curley and www.burningman.com.
Copyright ©2012 Camping Road Trip, LLC
Find campgrounds and RV parks - Smart Search Now.
Read campground and RV park reviews to help you find the perfect place to stay.