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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Nov 09, 2014
Headline for You are the Festival: 10 Reasons why Burning Man is like No Other Place
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You are the Festival: 10 Reasons why Burning Man is like No Other Place

Burning Man's manifesto has something deeper to it, it's meaning lies in the fact that much of the world needs to change. There are plenty of festivals in the summer, but this one is built for the love of community, creativity, and practising utopia. Here is a space where you don't sit back and watch, you are part of the make up, you are the festival.

1

Gift Economy

Gift Economy

This is the start of something. Having a gift economy, in the claimed escape from larger society, can be difficult and even uncomfortable for those who are trying. That's what change feels like, and that's what it looks like. Burning Man calls for the exchange of gifts over money for goods, and this creates relationships based on contribution and experience, not what one owns and another doesn't.

3

Connection

Connection

Part of Burning Man's mission statement calls for inclusion and making strangers a thing of the past. Gifting helps this process, as we're encouraged to share not only gifts, but the conversation that comes after. Part of the experience is opening up to other people's stories.

7

Actual Experience

Actual Experience

The act of buying something, of owning it, has been sold to us as an experience rather than a simple exchange. Burning Man has created a space where gifting is how things are acquired, nudging conversation and feeling rather than consumption and wanting.

2

Desert as Canvas

Desert as Canvas

The Black Rock Desert is the secluded other world inside our world, flat enough and wide enough to be the canvas we're desperately looking for in a society where everything is claimed. It is the landscape that offers itself to our imaginations without commodified distractions.

4

Making Your Own

Making Your Own

Self sufficiency is liberating. D.I.Y is more than just a Saturday afternoon hobby, it's the realization that you don't have to buy things to be happy, that you don't have to call to a higher authority for help, and that it brings people together through helping rather than competing.

5

Responsibility

Responsibility

This is meant to be productive. Leaving behind garbage and junk when the party is over only means no one plans on taking what they've learned about community along with them in order to change society. Cleaning up is basic but important. Thinking about all animals who might want to enjoy the space after the party is part of the thoughtful stewardship we are lacking in the so-called real world.

6

Art

Art

In a space like Burning Man, even the most innocent art has no choice but to be political. Art is the game changer, a tool we use to alter perceptions and throw a wrench into the systems that work so hard to capture our eyes and divert our attentions away from anything that could change our minds. At Burning Man, the distractions are miles away, giving people the chance to think about art and life.

8

Bringing People Together

Bringing People Together

The D.I.Y. culture and the gift economy are an ongoing experiment, where people are learning and practising every year in the desert. These ideas don't stay in one spot, and while they're difficult to recreate outside of BM, people talk about them and try them on smaller scales. Eventually, they spread.

9

Resisting Commodification

Resisting Commodification

While it's not perfect, Burning Man is a place where our experiences can be genuine because it's in the here and now. The experience is so unique that it simply cannot be stolen and sold on the market. It's a little city, a captured paradise, where you aren't there just to watch, you're there to participate.

10

Why We Escape

Why We Escape

There's a reason this festival is so popular, and it sits in our dreams for a different world. It's difficult to experiment outside of the system with different ways of living, but in some ways, Burning Man offers the chance. We escape for fun, but why? Because we are looking for something else.