Adonis Diaries

Burning Man festivals?

Posted on: September 10, 2019

Burning Man festivals?

$2,218 is the estimated cost of a trip to Burning Man, unless it is gifted.

Burning Man isn’t like other festivals. Now in its 33rd year, the desert event is a 7-day cornucopia of dust, art, drugs, community, and “radical inclusion.”

Burning effigies started in a beach of San Francisco, and then the municipality banned it.

Burning Man events relocated to the Mohave desert.

The location is already built as a structured town in semi circle shape with direct streets to the center of the event.

For many economists and sociologists, however, one of its most interesting facets is its gift economy, and a near-total ban on commerce. (You can buy coffee and ice, and that’s about it.)

Sponsorship, advertising, and logos are out.

Instead, there’s a radical spirit of giving what you can, and taking what you’re offered.

Need a whiskey? It’s on the house. Grilled cheese? Take two!

Burners show up with whatever they need to survive—food, water, other necessities—as well as something they can gift to the “people of the playa.”

That might be pancakes, free hugs, or basic bicycle maintenance. As one Reddit user put it, there are only two steps: “Step 1: Give things away. Step 2: There is no step 2.”

For founder Larry Harvey, gifting was a natural outcome of an environment where “participants were unwilling to distance themselves from others through economic transactions.” In the same way a family shares its resources rather than bartering or trading, he told The Atlantic, Burners build community by pooling their resources.

The system has met criticism from more stringent anti-capitalists, who point to the very real financial outlay to provide free sandwich stands or free bars at the festival.

That’s missing the point, Harvey said: “People give because they identify with Burning Man, with our city, with our civic life. It enhances their sense of who they are, and magnifies their sense of being. That’s a spiritual reward.”

Note: I have posted other articles on that event.

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