The Hottest Summer Event: A Temporary Utopia Filled with Possibilities

Header Image © Lila Volkas

Do you like music festivals? How about live music with the growth of a temporary city? Well get ready for Burning Man, a week-long music utopia filled with self-expression, happiness, freedom, and radical inclusion. Welcome to Black Rock City. The event becomes Nevada’s 6th largest city. The rest of the year? A barren desert.

The Origin

Throwback to the Summer Solstice in 1986, a few friends came together on Baker Beach in San Francisco with a pile of sticks and pieces of wood to construct an 8-foot-tall “man”. They soaked the man in gasoline, set it ablaze and watched as night turned to day. The annual tradition continued until1990, when the Park Police shut down the event due to the size of the large flames (the man was 40ft tall!) The group decided to move the Burning Man Celebration to Black Rock Playa; a dried lake bed stretching over 400 square miles. Growing in popularity, by the year 2000 the Man grew up to 54 feel tall with 25,400 people. Last year, a record-breaking population of 67,290 people flocked to the desert for the week-long festival and the Man was 70 feet tall.

What's it All About? 

There are no rules at Black Rock City! However, there are 10 principles to reflect the culture of Burning Man. These principles are: inclusion, gifting, decommodification, self-reliance, self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leave no trace, participation, and immediacy. Burning Man is the sum total of what its participants bring to the playa, which makes every year different. You can volunteer, join a theme camp or village, make art, or perform. When you arrive, you will be handed a booklet full of Playa Events. This year’s events include a zip line, giant chess, friendship ceremonies, whiskey tasting, morning meditation, and hundreds more. The possibilities are endless!

We know you want in, but what do you do with the kids? Don’t worry, children are allowed at burning man. For survival tips, kids need double, that means twice as much water, food, shade, sunblock, and much more. Make sure you know their limits. This will allow your kids, your family, and the surrounding camps to have the best possible experience. But be advised, adults attend burning man for the lack of structure, freedom, and craziness. You have to prepare your kids for a wide range of things they might see. That being said, we’re leaving the kids with the nanny.

What to Bring

Due to the location (Black Rock Desert in Nevada), supplies for the week must be carried into the park. This includes food, water, cooking appliances, and sleep gear.

With temperatures over 100 degrees and wind storms up to 20-30 mph, rebar is used to keep tents in place. What’s more important than shade? Water. Each member is recommended to bring 1.5 gallons of water for each day on the playa. Water cannot be purchased, so preparation is key.

Added bonus of Black Rock City? Eating salty foods is encouraged! Due to the vast amount of sweating combined with drinking lots of water, your body can experience electrolyte imbalance causing you to get very sick. Do have salty snacks you so desperately crave.

How to stay clean while living in a wind tunnel full of sand? Grab Ogee Cleansing Cloths to keep feeling clean, moisturized and refreshed all week long. Don’t forget to bring lots of sunscreen, a hat, dust mask and googles.

What to Wear:

How do you look cool while staying cool? We collected our favorite pieces from Free People to create a look guaranteed to turn sand goggles. Stay cool as the sun reflects off this white Jacinta Midi dress, and grab your drifter hat to protect your skin from the harsh UV rays. Lastly, these kaleidoscope sunglasses are a must have. Tie up your Espadrilles and you’re ready for an epic day.

Free People Dress, Free People Hat, Free People sunglasses, Free People Lace-Up Espadrilles