Music Monday — Sounds of Burning Man: Dust off, press play and enjoy

credit: Trey Ratcliff // flickr

The toughest part of burning man for me now is trying to explain what it is to someone who hasn’t been. This year was my second trip to Black Rock City and I still find myself in awe and at a loss of words upon returning home for what the experience was.

I’m asked questions like; “is it just a party I’m the desert”…”oh it’s a music festival, like Coachella?”…”do people just go to have sex and do drugs”…”oh so you have to barter & trade for everything, right?”. No.

In the words of the Burning Man organization…”Black Rock City is a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. In this crucible of creativity, all are welcome. Burning Man isn’t your usual festival. It’s a vibrant participatory metropolis generated by its citizens. ”

The way I describe it is; imagine you give 70,000 people from around the world complete freedom of creativity and infrastructure to build a city filled with anything and everything they desire. Whether that’s art, music, structures, themed camps, workshops, skate parks, roller rinks, playgrounds, it’s there for you to create, participate, and experience.

In 2004, Burning Man co-founder wrote the Ten Principles, not rules of how to be or act, but “as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception”. Those Ten Principles being:

  1. Radical Inclusion
  2. Gifting
  3. Decommodification
  4. Radical Self-reliance
  5. Radical Self-expression
  6. Communal Effort
  7. Civic Responsibility
  8. Leaving No Trace
  9. Participation
  10. Immediacy

Each of these principles leaves and breathes each day you’re in Black Rock City and simply works.

What I’ve learned from two years in the dust is…Burning Man is what you make it. It’s what you bring with you; energy, gifts, emotion, participation, survival. And it’s what you take with you when you leave; memories, interactions, enlightenment, and most definitely… dust.

Unlike your Coachella’s or Boonaroo’s where an official lineup is released ahead of the event, artist and DJ’s who gift their music to the playa are just another part of the city. Immediacy and discovery are what it’s all about. The artist in this playlist provided the soundtrack to my Burn, from Sunrise with Bedouin on Robot Heart to Lee Burridge closing Pink Mammoth on a Sunday.
Dust off and enjoy… The Man Burns again in 333 days…
Justen Barber AAOP About the Author
Justen Barber is a Houston, TX native. He studied Mass Communication and Spanish at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX. Living in Puerto Rico as a kid solidified Spanish as a part of his life. Former Marketing/PR intern for Pacha NYC. Advent festival goer. San Francisco resident. Music. Travel. Fuego. For more, view Justen’s LinkedIn or follow him at @JustenBarber.

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