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Insider Knowledge That Proves Why Burning Man Is The Most Intense Festival On Earth

Abrasive dust, extreme daytime heat coupled with nighttime freezing, and constant loud noise. Put that way, the Burning Man Festival doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. But the fact is that people — “Burners” as they’re known — return year after year to Black Rock City. It’s apparent that the freewheeling anarchy, spectacular art installations and genuine community feel of Burning Man easily outweigh its downsides. So read on for 40 insider tips that illustrate why this festival is utterly unique.

1. Memories

The central spectacle of the Burning Man festival comes on the last evening. That’s when that year’s temple is burnt to the ground amid a massive final gathering of the Burners. A new unique temple is built and burnt every year and one of the most poignant customs of the event involves depositing what are known as memories in the temple. The item in question might be a keepsake, a photo or simply a handwritten note. 

2. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth

The cash and plastic economy is frowned on by the folks who inhabit the city in the desert, so you’ll find little use for your wallet or pocket book. Instead people give things to each other, although it’s not always a one-way transaction. While it’s entirely voluntary if someone gifts you something — drinks, food, or handmade jewelry — you can offer a suitable item in return.

3. Drought and dehydration

The Black Rock Desert is a dry place. Very dry. The mean annual rainfall is below 7 inches and it’s hot on the playa, as the Burning Man site is called. That means you’ll need to bring your own drinking water and to be conscious of the very real danger of dehydration. The Burning Man website recommends that Burners need to bring at least 1.5 gallons of water per person per day.

4. It’s dusty

Burning Man is held in the dry wastes of a desert, so the fact that there’s a lot of dust around comes as no surprise. Intense dust storms are far from unusual and so experienced Burners go armed with a range of protective gear. Think goggles, face masks, bandanas and anything else that can protect against billowing clouds of fine dust.