The line in the sand has been getting more and more blurry over the years.
While there is no commerce on Playa, obviously we need to buy goods and services for our trips. As a community, we are still working out how corporations can work with Burners in a healthy way.
For example, many rental companies have had an “illicit affair” model in place where lying was a part of the process. “Don’t come back with hickies, lipstick on your collar, or dust in the engine…and whatever you do, don’t tell us you are taking it to Burning Man!”
But check out U-Haul’s olive branch offering to Burners renting trucks: A video showing how to cover logos (and honor the Decommodification Principle) without damaging the truck. Plus they share a list of clean up tips and local resources.
U Haul would have scored 100% except for the cutesy use of “Barter Supplies” as a header at the bottom instead of just “Supplies.” (Gifting is NOT Barter.)
Now, if this video is a part of a marketing push, I may change my tune. But for now I’m giving big dusty props to U-Haul for addressing the reality of the situation without pandering or exploiting the community.
NOTE: I am a 17 year Burner with a passion for the event, the principles and our community. Like the vast majority of writers in this space, I am not a representative of the BMORG. This is not an endorsement of U-Haul by myself and especially not by Burning Man. It is simply an (interesting to me) data point in the ever-evolving integration between the default world and Burning Man.
This is a video reply to an email question I was sent:
“I’m heading home for my third burn this year and I am wondering what advice you’d give me… I don’t know if shy is the right word but it’s the word I’m going to use. I’m shy. And one of the ways this affects me in BRC is that I don’t feel like walking into camps. Even camps I know are there for everyone, I just feel like I’m an outsider, or like I don’t belong or am intruding on everyone’s happy time together. So let’s say I came by Pink Heart and saw you and wanted to come over and say hi. I’d feel like I would be interrupting whatever conversation you were having or I’d stand there awkwardly not wanting to bother you but wanting to say hi and I just don’t know how to not feel like I’m bothering people or like I’m a random stranger and not one of them. Or even just going in to the camp and… just hanging out or flopping on a couch or whatnot. It all feels so… I’m not sure. Like I shouldn’t because I’m not part of something/the camp/the friendships.
Theme Camps are the organs that make up the Burning Man Body. You can join a theme camp. You can create one with friends. You can be one by yourself. But the objective should be to GIFT to Black Rock City.
The days are getting warmer, tickets are showing up in the mail and the trolls are spreading mistruths online. Yes, it is that time of year again:Pre-Burn Season!
This is also the time of year that first timers start to ask for advice from their veteran Burner friends. I first send them to the fantastic survival guide, then to my tips & tricks videos (starting with the ones for Virgins). Then I pat their head, tell them it is all going to be okay, and share some version of the message below. In addition to bringing the right gear, it is important to bring the right attitude.
*This video was requested from participants of this year’s Midburn. It is worded in a way that applies to people heading to any event where Radical Self Expression and Gifting is embraced.
**If, after watching, you don’t feel drawn to attend this year, please sell your ticket back through official channels. There are many eager and well deserving people waiting for your ticket in the STEP program.
I’m sure we’ve all cringed when a friend or co-worker says, “Burning Man? …that’s like Coachella, right?”
But it is hardly their fault. There are now TONS of events that are called “Festivals” and it is hard to understand how they differ.
In this video I talk about the different kinds of Music Festivals, Conferences, Transformational Festivals, and Participatory Gatherings.
NOTE: While I make the case that the participatory nature of Burning Man and sanctioned regionals have a special kind of magic, I did not mean to imply that the others do not have participation. There is just something incredibly mind-blowing about looking out at the Playa and trying to grok, “So, none of these artists were paid? They created all of this as a gift for US?!” It shifts something inside us and shatters our models of “audience,” “performer” and “participant.”
Did I miss any categories or important events? Share your thoughts below.
(For a great discussion by some organizers of other Transformational Festivals and how Burning Man influenced them, click here.)