If you didn’t get tickets this year, get ready to be jealous – Burning Man festival begins August 27, taking over the Nevada desert and our Instagram feeds until September 4.

Burning Man started in 1986 as a small bonfire on the beach in San Francisco and has expanded so much that it’s moved to Black Rock City in the Nevada desert, with 70,000 “burners” heading there this year.

If you didn’t already want to go to Burning Man, we’ve collected a list of reasons why it’s the hottest ticket on the planet.

The UK might be having a heatwave this weekend but it ain’t nothing on Burning Man.


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Burning Man is predominantly an arts festival and you can see why. Paintings hanging on a gallery wall this is not – think of giant sculptures and balloon chains snaking up into the sky.


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The installations change every year and some of the biggest and best are burned at the end of the festival in an incredible Guy Fawkes-esque display.

The festival runs The Black Rock Arts Foundation, which aims to promote art throughout the year. They give out grants, making many of the installations possible. What’s even better is that everything there is built by participants.

[Read more: Glastonbury 2017: When is it, who’s playing, and can I still get tickets?]


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Unlike Coachella and other festivals, you don’t have to spend Burning Man with a wad of cash stuffed into your bumbag. There’s no real need to take much money at all, because the only thing you can buy is ice.

One of the 10 principles of Burning Man is “gifting” – not selling or trading, but giving things to people with no expectation for anything in return. That’s right, you can walk up to a bar and get a drink if you want one – that’s the extent of the decommodification of the festival. However, you’re not just there to take, so people come prepared with their own things to offer the festival.


Don’t be fooled into thinking Burning Man is a music festival. DJs do play but Glastonbury this is not. Instead there is a myriad of things to do, from fire dodgeball to bowling whilst you queue for the toilet.

Manual labour

At what other festival are you expected to put in a good few hours of manual labour? You could be doing anything from helping build an art installation or lending a hand running someone’s camp.



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Most burners dress up – and not in the same homogeneous way that you see at other festivals. The weirder the better is the name of the game, and with a thin layer of dust everything looks a bit like a scene from the post-apocalyptic Mad Max.


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Burning Man has always had a social and intellectual conscience, and this is reflected in the talks that they put on every year. Doctors, activists, artists, performers – the range of talks is huge. It’s such a big part of the festival that TED has their very own TEDxBlackRockCity session every year.


If you’re easily embarrassed, Burning Man probably isn’t for you. Expect to see a lot of nudity, which very quickly becomes de rigeur.


Famous people do go to Burning Man – tech gurus like Mark Zuckerberg are regulars. But at this festival, no-one is given a free pass and no-one really cares if you’re famous. Even if you’re P Diddy (who really did attend last year).


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Yep, there’s a “Hug Deli” which serves up a menu of hugs and you can pay in compliments. Only at Burning Man.


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If you’re not heading to the Nevada plains this weekend, don’t be too upset – it takes weeks to get the desert dust out of your hair. If you are going, make sure you pack goggles if you want to withstand the sandstorms.


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