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Burning Man Festival [2023]: Ultimate survival guide & details!

Burning Man Festival [2023]: Ultimate survival guide & details!
Sarah Hartness
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Sarah is a freelance travel writer whose goal is to inspire others to leave their comfort zone and see the world. She believes there is adventure to be found everywhere, and you should try everything once. In her writing, she highlights underrated places and adventures and helps make travel easier for everyone.

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Burning Man is an event that many people have heard of. 

Still, few people understand the festival, and even fewer people have attended Burning Man. 

If you want to know more, this article has everything you need to know about Burning Man, including where and when it is, how to get there, and what happens at the event. There's also ticket information and tips for attending Burning Man. 

burning man logo
Image Courtesy of Burning Man

So, what is Burning Man Festival?

Burning Man is not a traditional festival.

In fact, there are not any planned events or performances like many other festivals. Burning Man is not even called a festival, but has been referred to as a temporary city where the things that happen are created by those participating in the experience.

For the 2023 festival, Burning Man has a new theme: ANIMALIA. The theme will celebrate the animal world and how humans interact and live within it.

Each year, Burning Man focuses on ten principles that reflect the event and the community surrounding the event. 

These are the ten principles of Burning Man:

  • Radical Inclusion
  • Gifting
  • De-commodification
  • Radical Self-reliance
  • Radical Self-expression
  • Communal Effort
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Leaving No Trace
  • Participation
  • Immediacy
burning man camps.
Photo from Dane Deaner on Unsplash

Where is Burning Man?

Burning Man takes place in the Black Rock Desert every year, as it has since 1991. The site where Burning Man takes place is a temporary city. 

It's in the desert in the northwestern part of Nevada and is quite isolated as it is 100 miles north of Reno, the nearest city. 

When is Burning Man?

Burning Man is always at the end of the summer. 

It's a nine-day festival that ends on Labor Day each year, which is the first Monday in September. So, Burning Man takes place from a Sunday in August to the first Monday in September, including both days. 

This year, the 2023 Burning Man event is being held from Sunday, August 27th to Monday, September 4th.

Burning man how to make friends
Photo from Peter Fitzpatrick on Unsplash

How to Get to Burning Man

The easiest way to get to Burning Man is to drive. 

If you are coming from the United States, consider driving. It will be the easiest way to get you to the desert, especially if you have a lot of survival gear to bring. 

You can also fly into Reno, but as mentioned earlier, the airport is 100 miles away from the desert, so you will still need to hire a car or rent. 

Another option, which is the easiest if you want to go on a budget, is to take the Burner Bus shuttle. It can pick you up in San Francisco or the Reno airport and take you to the desert. 

Or, if you want to meet some fellow event-goers, you can check out the Burning Man rideshare board. You can offer other people a ride or post your need for one. The rideboard is a great option if you are a first-year event goer and want to ride with a seasoned one to learn more about the festival before you go. Or if you want to find other first-year people to travel with. 

How Many People Attend Burning Man?

If you love huge social gatherings and events, you'll have a great time at Burning Man! 

The number of people attending Burning Man had been slowly increasing until 2020 and 2021 when the festival was officially canceled. But luckily, it was back for 2022 and had about 80,000 participants!

what happens at burning man 2023
Photo from Linda Wartenweiler on Unsplash

Burning Man Tickets

Burning Man offers a few different ticket sales throughout the year to get your tickets to the next event. 

Regular tickets go on sale at the end of March. Although tickets are currently not on sale and prices haven't been announced, in 2022, tickets cost $575 each, and a vehicle pass was $140. Also, 10,000 tickets were sold during the main sale, and 5,000 parking passes. 

But, if you are so hyped for Burning Man and there is absolutely no way you can miss it, you can buy tickets during the FOMO sale in early February. Tickets for the FOMO sale range from $1,500 to $2,500, and 4,000 are on sale. These higher price tickets do not come with any additional benefits but allow you to donate more to the event with your ticket purchase. 

Approximately 43,000 tickets are sold during other sales, including the Stewards sale in mid-March, the Ticket Aid Program, and the OMG sale in early August. 

There are also resale tickets available between late April and late August so there's plenty of opportunity to snag one!

What Happens at Burning Man?

So, Burning Man is over a week-long, and thousands of people go yearly. But what exactly happens at the event?

Well, the event's highlight is the literal burning of a large wooden effigy called the Man. As you can guess, this is where the festival's name comes from. The Man is always burned on the Saturday of the festival, which is the 7th day and the Saturday before Labor Day. 

Besides the Burn, the event is an experiment where people live in a temporary community. Nothing is planned, and what happens is up to you and the other people at the event.

While nothing is scheduled and you decide what happens, they have three suggestions for ways to get involved:

  • Volunteer
  • Create or join a camp
  • Make some art
burning man 2023
Photo from Dane Deaner on Unsplash

Survival Checklist for Burning Man

Burning Man is an event where your survival and safety depend entirely on you and how prepared you are. Here are some things you must bring to the event, especially if it is your first time. 

  • Ticket or Photo ID and confirmation - this is a given!
  • Water - Aim to bring about 1.5 gallons of water per person per day. The desert gets hot during the day, and no water is available to purchase at the event. 
  • First-Aid Kit - Safety first! Make sure you bring along an extensive first-aid kit and prepare for any accidental injuries!
  • Sunscreen/Sunglasses - During the day, the sun is extremely hot and bright, and the UV is high. 
  • Goggles - Seems a little silly, we know! But having secure goggles will protect your eyes during any dust storms!
  • Hand Sanitizer - Always a great item to have on hand. Try to bring along hand sanitizer with 60% or more alcohol content.
  • Shelter - At Burning Man, you are camping, and there is no shelter for you to use other than what you bring. Bring along a tent, sleeping bags, and bedding.
  • Food - There is also no food available. You are responsible for bringing everything you need for nine days in the desert. 
  • Flashlight/Headlamp - Either or will work just fine and will be super useful when the sun goes down!
  • Garbage/Recycling Bags - Definitely a must for clean up.
  • Prescriptions/Medications - Make sure any prescriptions are in their original containers. Since you're going to be in a fairly remote area, you want to make sure you have everything needed to stay in optimal health!

And remember that the desert gets cold at night, with temperatures ranging around 10˚C, so bring warmer clothes and blankets. 

Finally, dust storms are common in the desert, so bring protective gear. 

Enjoy the Burn!

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Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

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