9 or More Things You’ll See at Burning Man

9 or More Things You’ll See at Burning Man

A ramshackle post-apocalyptic village. Bizarre customized vehicles. A dusty desert setting. At Burning Man, you wouldn’t be surprised to see Mad Max zip through in a tanker truck at any given moment.

Burning Man is a full-immersion event that’s only for the bold. Constant exposure to the elements. Many modern luxuries are virtually nonexistent, and that’s sort of the point.

Still, that doesn’t deter nearly 70,000 people from making the trek to Burning Man every year. In 2017 the festival runs August 27 through September 4, with the main event (“the burn”) happening September 2.

Burning Man is located in Black Rock Desert, about three hours outside Reno, Nevada. More specifically, it takes place in Black Rock City, which looks like a big “C” to search and rescue aircraft passing overhead. What does the “C” mean? Crazy? Cell phone died? Call for help? (We wish we had instead gone to) Coachella? Attendees and organizers would probably say “Community.” Aww.

Here’s some of what you can expect to see at Burning Man:

A Bevy of Bicycles

They’re green. As in, environmentally friendly. Bicycles are everywhere at Burning Man. Compact and requiring no fossil fuels or electricity to operate, they’re the best way to get around the sprawling grounds. Attendees usually pimp their bikes out with lots of flair to express their individuality, and also to more easily figure out which of the many bikes is theirs!

Dust Storms

When these tempests kick up, and they will, head into the nearest shelter and ride them out. That’s about your only option. At Burning Man you’ll see more faces hidden behind bandanas than in an epic western movie. Attendees use them to keep the dust out of their mouths and noses. The most commonly heard phrase at Burning Man, apart from “Where’s my stash?” is “I have something in my eye!” To which the response is, “Yeah, like, an entire desert.”

Dirty People (aka, “Hygiene Freaks Need Not Apply”)

Burning Man first-timers (or “virgins”) undergo trial by filth, as they are obliged to roll around in the dirt upon entering the grounds. This initiation ritual leaves them only slightly less dirty than the average attendee (see “Dust Storms” above for details). Many of these dirty people are eager to give you a hug for free.


The dress code at Burning Man would make pole dancers blush. Sure, there are costumes, but many of them are clothes in the loosest interpretation of the word. The only thing some people wear is a sunburn (the smart ones wear sunscreen instead). And still, the hugs. Those who don’t dare to bare usually pick something crazy and creative. Whatever the case, you’re sure to get an eyeful.

Makeshift Music

Burning Man is no Coachella, Bonnaroo, or Lollapalooza. In fact, it’s not a music festival at all. No musical acts are scheduled. However, many attendees bring acoustic guitars, harmonicas, kazoos, their voices, and whatever else they can use to make their own music. Mega drum circles are a common occurrence. DJs are known to blast EDM at inconvenient hours. You have been warned.

Life Off the Grid

No electrical outlets. Like your mod, most appliances will require battery power. No running water. Whatever you need, you need to bring with you. You also take any trash you create with you when you leave, as there are no trash cans. Recycling is strongly encouraged. The environment is priority one at Burning Man, or if not number one, a close second to partying.

Random Art in Odd Places

A large thing sits in your path. You might be looking at an art installation, a piece of someone’s camp that got blown off during a dust storm, or something that fell out of the sky. Just go with it.


Just because you’re free of most of the trappings of civilization at Burning Man, that doesn’t mean you can escape some of the downsides. Getting in and out of the event can take hours. Be sure you have plenty of fuel in your car to offset the earth-friendly living you’ll be doing during the event. You may be idling for a long time.

A Burning “Man”

Not to be confused with the cult classic film Wicker Man, though, SPOILER ALERT, they do both end with the star attraction in flames, Burning Man climaxes with the Burning of a giant wooden Man. “The Man” doesn’t feel a thing, but attendees reach the heights of ecstasy at the sight and feel of huge flames filling the nighttime desert sky.

If you go to Burning Man you’re braver than us! Have a good time, and be sure to clean up after yourself. Also, stop by the blog when you get back. We’ll continue writing it while sitting in air-conditioned comfort, just a stone’s throw from several Starbuck’s locations. Suffah!!!


The opinions and other information contained in these blog posts and comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Nicopure Labs LLC, owner of the Halo and Halo Cigs marks.


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Patrick Moody 66 posts

Patrick is overjoyed to be a professional storyteller, aka writer, as he’s terrible at math.

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