Heading home from Burning Man 2018, we had hours to talk about whatever was on our minds. So, what did we discuss? Next year’s Burn and what we’d do differently. If you’re going to BRC, you have to plan, and that planning should start now.
Because you’ve been reading this blog, I’m assuming you have at least a passing interest in Burning Man. If reading the posts has inspired and excited you about attending next year, it’s time to do something about it. First things first. Commit to going. It’s easy to say, “I want to go next year,” then do nothing because it’s so far in the future. Such delays often extend until it’s too late to prepare adequately, until you miss key deadlines, or until you just lose your sense of enthusiasm. But committing to Burning Man now is the only way to be sure that when August 25, 2019 arrives, you’ll be heading for or in Black Rock City.
Put it on your calendar now. Not just the dates of the event (August 25 – September 2, 2019), but some time beforehand to pack up, and a day or two at the end to clean off the playa dust and undo the rigging.
In addition to committing, there are steps you can take beginning now to get you there. Start by going here, the Burning Man website for valuable information. While it’s way too early to find details about ticketing for next year, you can sign up for the Jack Rabbit Speaks newsletter, one of the best sources of information about the upcoming Burn and related activities. You’ll also see on the site announcements about Decompressions – events in various locations that follow the Burn. We’ll be going to the San Francisco Decompression on October 20. While Decompressions and other parties throughout the year are not the Burn, they give you an idea of what to expect and allow you to network with other Burners and get an introduction to some of the major theme camps. It’s important to decide early whether you’re going to camp on your own or join a theme camp. More about that later.
One of the most important early decisions is whether you’re going to tent camp or bring an RV or camper. If you already own what you need to go either way, then you’re in great shape. But many people rent campers for Burning Man. Do it now. It’s next to impossible to rent an RV or pull trailer late in the game. Look into it immediately. Reserve what you need with a reputable dealer that is used to renting to Burners. It’s going to cost more to rent a vehicle for Burning Man than for normal camping (probably double the cost) because of the wear and tear and the cost of clean-up. But delaying your decision will almost certainly cause you to lose out.
For older people, I strongly recommend bringing a trailer or an RV with air-conditioning and a few creature comforts. You’ll need a generator to power the A/C, so make sure one in included with the rental and that it’s in excellent working order. Signing a rental agreement for a Burning Man RV or trailer, even if it is cancellable, will feel like a commitment to attending the 2019 Burn. Take that step now.
By the way, there are alternatives to RVs, trailers, etc. including innovative devices like Shift Pods (actually invented by a Burner). Shift pods are aluminum living units that can be air-conditioned or equipped with a swamp cooler. Given the low humidity of the Black Rock Desert, swamp coolers are excellent alternatives to A/C.
Also on the Burning Man site, you can investigate the various theme camps you might join (https://burningman.org/event/brc/2018-theme-camps/). The long-term camps include camps supporting the major activities, including Greeter’s Camp, Center Camp Café Camp, Lamplighter’s Village and others. You can read more about the various camps online and contact mayors or group managers for more information. A theme camp gives you a ready-made community, particularly helpful if it’s your first year at Burning Man. The larger camps serve at least some meals and provide other services, but require a work commitment. So, check carefully before you choose one.
There’s lots more preparation I’ll be writing about over the next few weeks, but I can’t urge you strongly enough to make that commitment now so when next August rolls around you’re ready to become a Burner.