What do tens of thousands of people, a temporary metropolis in an open desert, music, fire, art and self expression have in common? The ever growing and alluring festival known as Burning Man. Taking place in late August, Burning Man is an annual week to lose your mind and possibly never come back as nothing up to this point could possibly prepare you for it.

Photo Credit: Caitlin 'Caity' Tobias

What is Burning Man?

There is really no straightforward answer to this question. Like anything, it is what you make it. Burning Man is not your average music festival. There isn't a line up or massive stages. Burning Man is a gathering of about 50,000 people in Nevada's Black Rock Desert (120 miles north of Reno, Nevada) to create the temporary city known as Black Rock City (BRC) or the playa ("beach" for all you non-Spanish Speakers). Once the week is over, burners vanish without a trace they were ever there and it gets its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy the last night of the festival.

Those considering Burning Man for the first time take should take a gander at the First-Timer's Guide and the FAQ. You are responsible for your own safety, comfort and enjoyment as a citizen of "the playa."

Burning man is based on 10 core principles that include Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Demmodification, Radical Self-reliance, Radical Self-expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation, and Immediacy. In summation, accept everyone, work together and love thy neighbor.

Photo Credit: Neil Girling

Preparation for Burning Man

The incredibly awesome thing about Burning Man is the journey and the destination are equally mind blowing. Burners really get into how they will get to the middle of nowhere, how they will setup camp and their crazy installation art projects. Black Rock City is a land of extreme weather conditions, so it is important to read the Survival Guide, which is essentially the bible for the event. Definitely don't forget your own water (at least 15 gallons per day!) and food. Also recommended are googles and masks for dust storms, duct tape, and a sense of humor.

Photo Credit: Neil Girling

Tickets to Burning Man

Information on ticket sales are at tickets.burningman.com which started way back in January at different costs as the festival draws nearer and as additional permits are obtained. Keep in mind; they are somewhat pricey because you are paying for the entire multi-day event, not just a come and go as you like performance like most music fests. Because of chaos last year, they are setting up a 'random-selection' registration process, so sign up early.

Take a chance and open your mind to something a little dangerous. See you crazy kids on the playa!