Burning Man: In 2 Sentences or Less

People are always asking me what Burning Man is. Over the years I’ve played around with various responses to this perennial unanswerable question.

It’s such an ineffable experience.  I run into similar challenges when describing the psychedelic experience.  Have you ever tried to explain to someone what an orgasm is like if they’ve never had one?  It’s difficult.

Mitch Parent and Amanda Grace eat toy history.  Photo by Mischa Steiner

The sum of Burning Man is so much larger than the parts so describing the elements is simply insufficient.  I’ve found that to describe it adequately, it’s necessary to move into the realm of metaphor.   Here are a few of my favorites:

  • 49,999 people come to the desert with the goal of joyfully helping you have the most mind blowing time of your life. And they don’t even need to ask the same in return because chances are their overflowing generosity is likely to spontaneously inspire you to offer your gifts to others.

Written at the temple. Photo by Mischa Steiner

  • A place where the most radically self expressed of every subculture you’ve ever imagined and ones you could never imagine come to let loose and find people who resonate with that form of expression. It’s a place where you can go “identity shopping” with no shame and even change identities by the day…or moment.
  • It’s the biggest rave, circus, sex party, installation art exhibit, spiritual oasis, self-help seminar in the world!
  • It’s an open source archaic revival for the Internet generation. It’s the cultural icon of a new age.
  • It’s Mecca for the magnificently misfitted.
  • A global gathering for the worst marching band in the world; everyone marching around to a different beat.

What’s your favorite elevator pitch for Burning Man? Leave it in the comments field and we’ll highlight some of the more awesome ones over the next week.


T. Dazzl

Burn So Happy

Every Tuesday, get your weekly dose of transformational nectar to prepare your wings to hum with freedom at the burn and beyond. “Burn So Happy” is brought to you by Troy Dayton a.k.a “T. Dazzl” who is longtime burner, BurnerMap co-founder, and life counselor.


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