The end of August in Nevada signals nothing of particular significance to the typical tourists. But to the trained traveller and the cultural junkie, there’s a place where fire begins to kindle and where people flock and build a temporary city. The “metropolis” is not as one might imagine it to be. There maybe no towering skyscrapers but there are essential infrastructures and laws and governance. One thing that stands tall above all—wooden effigy that is called the Burning Man.
The annual counter-cultural festival takes its name after the effigy that is burned to the ground year after year. Like all things, it started humbly, with a small group of people putting a 2.7-meter wooden man on fire. The burning was then described as a “spontaneous act of radical self-expression” and was done to balm a bad break up. Through the years, the value to which the festival was born on continue to inspire the thousands of people who make up the community to express themselves whether in deed, in fashion or in both.
In the playa, or the desert floor, where the people come out to play, first-timers may be shocked to see a man with flaming red hair walking on stilts, women clad in fur or feather (or even stuffed toys) prancing about in their natural habitat or vikings and princes gracefully taking a selfie. At some level, the festival may lean towards the eccentric but to the many who continue to attend the event and have learned to love it, it is the the “crucible to creativity” and all are welcome. Shall we start the planning?
How to Get There
Learning that the event takes place in a temporary city in the middle of the desert might come across as intimidating but that’s what makes it exciting. Burning Man is located in the semi-arid region of Black Rock Desert. Since 1999, the developed parts of the city, known as Black Rock City, forms a large “C” that can be viewed from the satellites.
From the Apollo Motorhome Holidays branch in Las Vegas, drive with an RV to the city via US-95 S. After nine hours and about 520 miles, you’ll reach the mecca that Burning Man is. The distance need not worry you as there are a lot of peaks and picturesque stopovers you can have while on your way.
The Events and What To Do
There’s almost no guarantee what to expect in BRC as people can come up with their activities at the various theme camps. The festival is unlike many others where the activities are planned, orchestrated and organised by the event producers. In this festival-city where participation is key, the attendees are builders—makers in their own right and are all encouraged to create something.
Driven by art and oozing with creativity, the city also house various light and art installations in many forms, shapes, use, meaning and size from solar light fixtures, grandiose skeletal marionettes to elaborate dragon smelters and fantastic empires.
A festival will not be complete without the wonderful performances. Music is said to be transcendent and transcend this festival it does. From EDM to alternative and rock, though each to his own, all kinds of tastes and different choices are given justice.
Camping and Vehicles
It seems that what the rise of the digital age removed from us is freely being given back by the Burning Man. For a week, the community makes the city hustle and bustle with a distinct creative energy; people are high on their elements—they are fueled by their human nature to participate, commune and interact.
One of the few ways this can be felt is by how they are willing to help each other in such simple matters as setting up camp. Other attendees readily dedicate their time giving back through this. Meanwhile, our way of participating is by giving you some helpful tips we gathered through the years.
Attendees are required to collect a vehicle pass (which is available along with other tickets) for their vehicles driving to Black Rock City. If you’d like your vehicle to be a little bit more decorated (make it what they call a Mutant Vehicle), you’ll have to get it pre-registered with the organisers. The passes are limited (only 27,000 are available) so you better get in line! Go to the vehicle guide to learn more about driving in the playa.
There’s not much to worry about camping. Much like a full-fledged city, almost everything is laid out for you. All you need to do is fill out the application forms in advance. The festival hosts a number of villages and camps for living, theme camps for activities and kid camps for the growing number of kids in camp. The “mayor’ of the village is the one responsible and is the point of contact. Read the free resource guide and camp layouts from Burning Man to know more about camping.
With Apollo, an additional surcharge of US$1000 will apply for any pick-ups from San Francisco and US$700 will apply for any pick-ups from any other location for travel to the Burning Man Festival. All you have to do is tell us prior that you’ll go to the festival. Easy right?
Leaving No Trace
Perhaps the most the most striking of all principles of the festival is its Leaving No Trace. If you leave, you leave with all your baggage, trash and camping materials. In the previous years, Burning Man has become extremely successful.
You probably know what you need to bring when camping for a festival but just in case, we found you a resource from our partner, Salamanda Travel. The city may only last for the week the festivals run but the memories can last lifetimes and be passed on from one generation to the next. We’ll help you make those memories some of the best you’ll ever have. Book a motorhome from our Las Vegas branch make your way through the best cultural festival you can ever have in the USA! Go to our website to book and follow our Facebook page for updates. Cheers!