10 Reasons You Should Skip Burning Man

By Leia Ostermann

Burning Man is a week-long, counterculture city, built in the desert, thriving on a culture of possibility and supported by a network of dreamers and doers. Just in case that sounds nice to you, I’ll give you ten reasons you should definitely, absolutely, never follow my caravan out to Black Rock City.

the man again


You don’t need new friends

You can’t get away from people at Burning Man. “Greeters” stop you on entrance, make you get out of your car, shake off that I’ve-been-driving-for-eight-hours feel, dance or role in the dust and give you a hug. They might call themselves “Biebo” or “Magic” and you might not be in the right mood to handle it, but you won’t be able to stop smiling. It’s worse than getting into a taxi when the taxi driver wants to talk. Everyone stops you on the “Playa” and wants to ask you how you are, who you are and what you want to do next. It’s too connecting, too playful and definitely too social.

You don’t like to get dirty or work hard

Dust storms are the real deal. You won’t be able to see, you’ll have to cover your face with a scarf just to breath and your hair will never by smooth, soft or manageable. Plus, building shade structures, showers, setting up tents in blazing 110 degree weather … it’s all very tough.

You pretty much hate art

Look at these photos of art projects built and then burned in one week! You probably can’t even imagine wanting to create something like this…Burning Man. It’s not art. It’s Burning Man. Huge difference, right?

embrace art

art again


You don’t trust spirituality, “meta” messaging or any type of connection to a greater power

Burning the man symbolizes so much to so many people. Burning the temple symbolizes so much to so many people. You are definitely not one of those people. You don’t want to burn the man and let go of all inhibition. You definitely don’t want to be inspired by people releasing their secrets, their sadness and their regrets to the temple burn. You don’t have secrets, sadness or regrets, duh.



Sunrises are the worst

Also, why would you get up early to see this?


You’re unimpressed by creativity

People come to Burning Man to build things, to try things and to make ships on cars that fly through the desert. Who thinks of these things? Who has time to build them? Do they look fun? NO.

“Gifting” “Free” and “Barter” all mean the same thing to you

One burner gives Buddha beads to a guy in a Peter Pan costume and then a different person gives a different burner a Nalgene bottle full of Gin. Burners call that gifting. There is no such thing as exchanging equal valued items. There is no commerce. That’s not a normal city economy. It can’t be functional.

You get a chance to reinvent, rethink and recreate “you.” No one has time for that.

There are no rules, no standards no “you should” or “you shouldn’t” and definitely no judgement. So what keeps everyone looking the same? Nothing. These people create themselves, rethink how they want to be, how they want to look and how they want to act. Sometimes they realize they aren’t being who they want to be in “real life.” Other times they stay the same because they were being themselves all along. Either way, seems like a lot of effort to make sure you’re being unique, different and the best version of yourself. So much easier to be that cookie-cutter person who thinks like everyone else, talks like everyone else and follows like everyone else.  

temple and skirt


You like the idea of Burning Man 20 years ago but, like, it’s too big now

Burning Man is the third largest city in Nevada! There is no money, the cars are dressed up, people ride bikes everywhere and play all day. It’s a nonfunctional city! Maybe it was better before, when it wasn’t so “mainstream.” Nothing good can come out of an environment that promotes growth, love, community and taking care of your surroundings. Of course, you know Burning Man has changed before and it will change again, and everyone that goes, mainstream or not, seem to have seen something in humanity that you haven’t seen…but still.


Self-sufficiency isn’t your strong suit

Maybe you forgot your bike, you have a broken tent, no cooler and just a box full of canned chili. What would you do? Would you let people help you? Would you figure it out? You might have an unhealthy thought such as “we don’t need the stuff most people find essential.” And, if you have stuff, it might suddenly feel really good to give it to others.

So why go to Burning Man? You shouldn’t. You shouldn’t experience the most fantastic place in the world. You shouldn’t be able to climb on everything, explore everywhere, meet great new people or create amazing new art. You shouldn’t step back and realize that humanity is good, that the world is beautiful and that playfulness is one of the greatest qualities you can have. The important point I want to make is that you probably shouldn’t try new things and, of course, never trust a hippie.


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  1. Rob says

    I wish I could experience burning man. I can not attend due to living in the UK and I’m broke.
    Maybe next year things will be different and you will see me there.

  2. Joey knudson says

    I so want to go maybe next year!!

  3. Vern Smith says

    GO to Burning Man and find your self,,, You might find out that you are a likable person, It’s not all trash , like the media says. There are great people out there….

  4. BloodEagle says

    God damn that sounded snobby as fuck.

  5. John Reynolds says

    Love the tongue in cheek sarcasm. Leia sees the real moral worth of BMan.

  6. Faye Sarai says

    Rite on sister! Let’s go home!

  7. nepo says

    I’ve wanted to go to burning man since I was fifteen; I’m thirty one now. I really need to make this happen…

    1. Dennis Soucy says

      On my Bucket list

      1. Lisa Sullivan says

        For sure that sounds just like the place I made up in my imagination where I would love to live. And the kind of people I want to be aroundbe around

  8. SCFLASH002 says

    Went to BM in 2005……:.
    Want to go back again

  9. tasha says

    it’s gotten too commercial and big and expensive.
    10 yrs ago it was still good, I would not go now
    and the tix are way out off the planet for this kind of thing!

  10. Emma says

    I so need to come and play.. One life x

  11. PIneapple says

    NIcely done article.

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