If you’ve burned before — whether in Black Rock City or at a Regional event — you’ve probably had the uncanny experience of walking into a space and thinking, “Wait a minute… this is SO Burning Man.” What is that Burner je ne sais quoi? It’s not a cologne. We think it comes down to a combination of ethos and actions that the community proactively puts into place to co-create a Burning Man space.
How to Create a Burning Man Space, Anywhere, Anytime, with Anyone
Collaboratively plan, build, manage, and tidy up your activity. Everyone co-creates and contributes to a collective experience, whether they’re bringing ideas, wrangling cats, installing spaces and structures, or helping to fuel connection and participation.
Everyone is invited! Burning is not exclusive. There are no door staff judging you, secret handshakes (though they can be fun) or VIPs. All are welcome to imagine, co-create, and play.
Build in interactivity and encourage participants’ self-expressive creativity. There are no spectators! Everyone contributes their weird, playful, experimental special sauce to a co-created experience. Burning Man spaces are non-judgmental, so long as something isn’t interfering with others’ safety and well-being.
Respect each other, the neighbors, the community, and ecosystem. Gather in a way that is respectful — to each other, the locals, and the natural world. Don’t make noise that upsets the neighbors. Encourage participants to be mutually respectful and consensual in their interactions with each other.
Bring new people into your adventure. Creating a Radically Inclusive experience guarantees that new people will drop by to check it out. Say hello and connect with the curious, shy stranger, introduce them to your friends, and bring them into whatever it is you’re co-creating.
Be collectively self-sufficient and pool resources. Rather than heading out to your local store when you’re missing an essential component of your experience, reach out to your co-conspirators to see what you can collectively cobble together to make your adventure complete. Abundance is often created simply by pooling resources.
Give without expectation, simply because it feels really good. New Burners may think that Burning Man experiences involve trading or reciprocity. Gifting is not about stuff, and it’s not about what you get back. You could offer a skill, useful knowledge, your sense of humor, or a keen observation of what might be helpful in a given situation.
Decommodify it. So many spaces we pass through daily rely on financial transactions as the basis of human interaction. To enable radical creativity and culture creation, Burners create spaces that are free from sponsorship, branding, and commercial logos.
Leave the space better than you found it, as if you were never there. This has been a core tenet of Burning Man culture since it was a twinkle in Larry’s eye. Whether you’re inhabiting a park, warehouse, dusty expanse, or someone’s living room, part of the fun is leaving absolutely no trace of the hijinks that went down mere hours earlier.
Need Some Ideas?
There are so many ideas out there for fun things to do with your friends and extended community, we couldn’t even start to describe what may be in your imagination right now. We can, however, lay out a few possibilities upon which you can improvise to your heart’s content!
Find and get in touch with your nearest Regional community. For many, connecting with their Regional community and participating in year-round projects and events is the catalyst that truly opens up the ethos and universe of what it means to be a Burner in the world.
Open a Free Store and gift to passersby. Create a theme camp in your front yard or in the park and start gifting! Encourage your crew to clean out their closets and gather the goods for a giveaway. Turn yourselves into shopkeepers of generosity, gifting compliments and wondrous things to everyone who passes by.
Create a pARTiciPARADE. Be the parade you wish to see in the world! Whether it’s you all by yourself, or your favorite crew of magical humans, consider how moving through life can be a parade of interactive art, celebration and human expression, and invite others to run away with the circus.
Make art with your friends. Get together and co-create some Burning Man art in your local community using found and recycled objects. When it’s done, add it to the Burner Art Safari, a crowdsourced map that shows Burner-built art around the world!
Plan a workshop or co-learning day. It’s amazing what knowledge exists in any community. Reach out to people of all ages to share their wisdom, experience, or just what they love. Collectively teach and learn from each other by organizing workshops or co-learning experiences.
Gather your friends for a Burning Man movie night. From recent conversations to stories of yore, there are dozens of richly illuminating Burning Man videos to watch online.
We’d recommend starting with:
- Larry, A Burning Man Story chronicles the life and influence of Burning Man’s iconic founder.
- Pedacito de la Tierra, a heartwarming film co-created by Burners Without Borders and Alight, highlighting a global movement to create sustainable spaces of hope and refuge for people experiencing migration.
- Videos by Profiles in Dust, a dedicated group of filmmakers who document the community that makes Burning Man happen. Browse more than 50 short videos covering almost a decade of Burning Man culture.
- Videos from Burning Man’s early years. Dive into a veritable treasure trove of wild and weird videos from 1990s Black Rock City and countercultural happenings in the Bay Area.
Burners Out There Doing It
Some parades are ephemeral. Others come back bigger and weirder every year. Burners are co-creating whimsical roadside art adventures, such as Seattle’s Save the Magic! A Halloweekend Jaunt, Vermont’s Reverse Parade, and Sacramento’s Spring Spark. How about a Bike Parade? Start one yourself. Get inspiration from Berlin’s Techno Bike Party, Vancouver’s Bike Rave or NYC’s Deep Playa Bike Ride. Burner bikes and sound systems are lighting up the world, and you can too!