If there is a flat or partly secluded surface at Burning Man, someone will inevitably end up squirming on it with a partner of their choice. While not everybody goes to Burning Man expecting to have a ton of sex, sex is available, shameless, and no-strings-attached. In between all the high ideals of personal responsibility and reliance is the reality of a lot of people in booty shorts and nipple pasties, many of whom have decidedly open relationship arrangements.
The Burning Man event is seeking a renewal of its year permit to use the federally owned Black Rock Desert site managed by the Bureau of Land Management; the BLM has responded with a bizarre, overreaching Environmental Impact Statement that ignores the lavishly documented record of Burning Man's excellent safety and stewardship record. For example, the new Environmental Impact Statement calls for Burning Man to hire an outside security force to replace its all-volunteer, community-based Black Rock Rangers, and to have these rent-a-cops search all belongings of all attendees: 80, people in 30, cars, in a high-wind, low-visibility environment where, in addition to the threat to privacy there is also a massive risk of huge amounts of personal belongings being whipped away by the wind and blown all over the desert. The EIS also ignores Burning Man's status as the world's largest, best-managed "leave no trace" event, where every piece of waste down to individual sequins and metal shavings are picked up and packed out by attendees.
IN the Nevada desert, thousands are starting to gather for Burning Man, the craziest, wildest nine-day festival in the world. Set on a vast dusty lake bed known as the "playa", attendees wear Mad Max-style outfits - or nothing at all. Prowling the Playa!
In the Burn community, you run into this attitude where we welcome the stranger but sometimes that translates into: we have to accept their behaviour. That's not how it should be. The festival's on-site Sexual Assault Services department receives up to 20 reports of alleged sexual harassments or assault each year, said Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham.
At the annual Burning Man Arts Festival, it may be hard to get completely clean, but it's easy to be really dirty. In fact, many veteran Burners come every year for that very reason. And why the bleep not?
There are three of us, cramped inside a dusty Toyota that's packed to the gills along with a triad of busted bicycles hanging precariously off the back. We are flanked on every side by travelers who, like us, have driven several hours to form what has turned out to be a particularly sluggish caravan into Black Rock City, Nevada. Miles from the city's entrance, I realize I am in no way adequately prepared.
Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about. Burning Man has long talked about consent, but it's still got a long way to go. A link has been sent to your friend's email address.
Featured Image by the incredibly talented : Sidney Erthal Photography. Almost every Burning Man virgin I know has in some way, shape, or form been obsessed with having sex at Burning Man. But having sex at Burning Man is a lot like having sex in real life; it's not so easy to come by if you don't know the secret handshake. Oh, you didn't know there was a secret handshake?
Burning Man culture has reached a tipping point. Last week, organizers had to clarify that they've asked themed camps not to release DJ lineups, because "Burning Man doesn't have 'headliners,'" and "Burners don't follow anyone else to Black Rock City, they go for themselves. While the music and arts festival is still a radical social experiment, the influx of new crowds—such as Silicon Valley tycoons, rich kids looking for their yearly peyote fix, and superstar DJs—has led to friction between those upholding the event's core ethos, those with different motives, and outsiders who just spit on what Burning Man has become.
Over the years, the people that she met at small festivals, like the Earthdance Global Peace Party, often raved about the mother of all transformational festivals: Burning Man. Every summer at the end of August, tens of thousands of people from all over the world make the journey to the week-long festival. For many, attending Burning Man is a definitional personal experience, part of their identity. It is wise to attend your first Burn with veterans.