Well, it’s over. Burning Man 2014… that thing in the desert… is come and gone. I survived — barely, limping, with lots to think about… but I survived.
The Event was… well, hell. There’s really no easy way to describe it. If you’ve been, you know. If you haven’t been, you think you know… but you don’t. It’s like a week-long art festival meets rave meets hippie love-in meets camping trip meets Mad Max. It’s like doing drugs without taking a hit or drinking a drop. It’s a twisted Disneyland on acid, times a million. It’s like nothing you’ve ever experienced.
It’s not all good, of course. The event is expensive. I’d wager that all told — when you include ticket costs, time off work, gas, materials, and so on, I probably dropped almost $2000 this year (and twice that, last year). It’s not utopia; in fact, physically, it’s miserable. Scorching heat during the day can literally blister your skin, and freezing temperatures at night make you wish for more fleece, more layers, more warm! There’s the merciless dryness, with the desert trying to suck every last drop of life-giving moisture out of you (trust me, it’s a lot less sexy than it sounds). And everywhere, there’s the dust.
But that’s part of what makes it so special. It’s 60-70 thousand of your new closest friends coming together to celebrate the human spirit of ingenuity and creativity and survival, out in the middle of some of the harshest conditions on earth. It’s miserable, sure, but we’re all miserable together. You stink and you’re filthy, but we all stink and are filthy. There’s only one color out there… playa grey.
The music was… well, the music was a mixture, from transcendental to comfortable favorites to absolute shite. What would you expect in a city this size, all packed in together, all blaring their particular favorite tunes. The food was playa normal — bacon and pickles and potato salad and brownies and water and obscene amounts of booze… all seasoned with playa dust (you stop tasting it after a while; it just becomes another seasoning, like salt…) And the art… oh, the art.