Originally Posted by mwinter
Someone please tell me, what is the big deal about burning man? Isn't it just another loud, crowded, partying concert type venue? I'm picturing a lot of 20-somethings loud and drunk of over the place. Have I got the wrong image? We've got so many fires burning in Los Angeles right now, I'm not sure I can imagine going to another one. Do I sound like the pooper at the party?
I could speak volumes about it and others have tried but words cannot convey the meaning like experience does. In other words, you have to experience it.
You can look at pictures but that will only give you a shadow of the event. You could watch a video but that would show you only a snippet of what you can see.
Yes there is loud music there but there is also quiet sounds, some of which may be something your ears have never heard before.
Yes there are 20-somethings there but there are also 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and I have even heard 90-somethings there as well.
Yes it is crowded but there is also solitude of a greater depth than you could find in your own living-room.
Burning Man is what it is and isn't what it ain't. It is a participatory event. You, and everybody who goes is a contributing part of the event. By nature of your presence there you are contributing. The more you interact with the other participants, the more rewarding your experience.
It is the safest place on earth. You can do what you want and nobody will blink an eye. I have stood next to men who were totally naked or wearing a dress and it all fits. I have worked alongside women who were master with a set of tools and 1000 gallons of propane and it was great (Flaming Lotus Girls). I have seen leaders become followers and followers become leaders. It is a place to embrace your alter-ego or run away from it. It is the yin and yang of humanity. It is a place to explore the pieces of yourself that can only exist in your mind in the "real world".
Burning Man is NOT a spectator event. I can tell you that the folks who stand out the most are those with just shorts and a t-shirt walking around with a camera looking to take pictures of whatever they might see. Those who go only to be a tourist are destined to nat have a good time. Those waiting to be entertained will be sorely disappointed (Heather Graham went and had a bad time).
Burning man is hot, dusty, dirty (in more than one sense), clean (in other ways - try Human Carcass Wash), and even smokey.
You can find food, drink of every sort (try a pickle martini), clothes (did you lust decide that you want to wear a grass skirt but forgot to bring yours?) or practically whatever you need to exist. It is not a corporate event so if you are coming to sell your wares forget it as you will be shunned and possibly removed from the event. have something to advertize? Leave it at home.
Did you drink too much or not enough and suddenly pass out right there on the playa? Not to worry, somebody will take you to the med tent. Blow a tire on your way to centercamp for ice? No problem, somebody will help you get going. Did you just see somebody struggling to set up an art project? You will selflessly run over and help for 4 hours and get nothing back but the satisfaction that you helped build something that other will only be able to appreciate.
Burning Man is a gift economy. You gift of yourself or your things without the expectation of ever receiving anything in return other than someone's gratitude. Burning man is NOT a barter economy. Giving something only to get something back is no different than spending money and at the event the only things you can buy (legally) is ice and coffee. No other concessions exist out on the playa.
I noticed your signature states
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did."- Mark Twain
You very well may be the type of person who really enjoys the event. But then again you may not. It's all up to you. And that's the best I could say about it.