Two ladies dressed in the manner of creative garb that is common to Burning Man.
If you go to Burning Man 2012, bring a costume. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Christopher Michel/Flickr)

Held annually in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, Burning Man is “an experiment in community, self-expression and self-reliance,” where attendees provide or build their own shelter. While Burning Man 2011 is officially sold out for the first time in the event’s 25-year history, fans can follow the Burning Man live online feed. For next year, here are six things aspiring attendees should know about Burning Man.

Be ready Aug. 29 through Sept. 5

Burning Man is held each year during the week leading up to Labor Day. This year, attendees headed to Black Rock Desert Monday, Aug. 29, and the festival goes through Sept. 5. A community of artists create using a cornucopia of different media. They also build structures then burn them safely upon burn platforms and leave no trace behind.

Be prepared

Do what you like, so long as you respect others and are safety-minded. Remember, you are responsible for your own survival during the weeklong gathering. Just like the Boy Scouts, you should be prepared.

No selling out to the man

Despite the fact that Burning Man is run by Black Rock City LLC, Burning Man is not a corporate event. No advertising is allowed beyond the work of your hands, only coffee and ice are made available for sale, and cash is forbidden. You’ll have to trade for what you want.

Protect the community

The organizers of Burning Man make it quite clear that the community mindset is encouraged. If participants are going out of their way to behave in an irresponsible fashion, conscientious attendees are prompted to speak up. Introduce yourself in the spirit of “us,” rather than “you.” Try not to be a downer. For instance, if it looks like somebody isn’t having enough fun, it isn’t your responsibility to call that person out before the community for ridicule. That vibe would be all wrong.

Dress-up fun

Creative expression extends to the appearance of those who participate in Burning Man. Costumes of all kinds are encouraged. The only guideline is the imagination, which means there’s probably creative nudity going on somewhere, not to mention people dressed as horned devils.

If you want to see what people have worn to Burning Man before, check out Burn Monkey, listed below; it is NSFW.

He’s the Man

Yes, the whole thing is called Burning Man for a reason. Much like certain pagan ceremonies of old, a giant wooden statue of a man is burned to the ground. This statue is typically about 100 feet tall, but unlike what you may have seen in film versions of “The Wicker Man,” no human sacrifice is involved.

Burning Man 2011 live feed (Note: Potential adult themes, nudity)


Burning Man:

Burn Monkey:

Laughing Squid:


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