While the Burning Man festival was originally conceived as an ode to radical self-reliance and artistic realization, today’s festival-goers demand modern luxuries.
What you wouldn’t expect from Burning Man is how close to civilization it feels. The weeklong annual gathering in Nevada’s unforgiving Black Rock Desert is billed as a semi-dystopian return to simplicity, where tenacious tinkerers, sculptors, and thinkers defy the elements and erect a vibrant artistic community, all under the watchful gaze of a massive, eponymous wooden effigy (set to burn on the festival’s final night).
But while many of Burning Man’s roughly 70,000 Burners are drawn to its promise of radical self-reliance and spiritual awakening -- escaping the capitalist market for a week, essentially -- the festival brings with it all the trappings of modern convenience. The truth is that when festival-goers spend thousands of dollars to escape to an inhospitable desert, they want to arrive in Black Rock City in comfort and style.