Welcome to my Burning Man Festival blog! I’m Jessica – a 26 year old, born and raised in California. I’m from Auburn in the foothills of CA and moved to Lake Tahoe in college when I was attending the University of Nevada. I love snowboarding, backpacking, camping and aerial skills. I lived in Reno for a bit (where I got involved in aerial skills) before moving to Truckee.
I taught for a place called the Reno Aerial Co-Op which is the coolest non-profit aerial studio in the area. We were given so many incredible opportunities to perform at art shows, festivals, events and then eventually Burning Man. In fact, the only reason why I was able to attend the Burning Man Festival in 2019 was because we were given performance tickets.
Living in Reno, I had heard endless stories of Burning Man and had always wanted to go – but it can be pricey and I never thought too seriously about it until we were presented with this opportunity. We actually hung from the “Man” himself and performed under the arches! They had to hire an engineering team just to accommodate all of the aerialists and performers.
My Experience at Burning Man 2019
In 2019, at the Burning Man Festival, every day was different. They hand you a book when you enter that has lists of events going on, so sometimes we would have certain camps we wanted to visit at certain times. Sometimes there would be cool music or a class we wanted to take somewhere.
We were also teaching aerial classes at our camp – so all of us teachers rotated who would be at camp during those times. Other than that, it was completely up in the air in terms of what we wanted to do. You just hopped on your bike and rode around until something/anything caught your eye.
The amount of times I would be riding and stumble upon a dance competition or a camp that had mojitos or snow cones was just incredible. There is so much to do everywhere and it was better to not have a plan.
The best part of my Burning Man experience was by far our performance off of the Man. I have never considered myself a performer. I’m not artistic and am normally very self-conscious and worried about judgment. Being able to perform forced me out of my comfort zone in every possible way.
Our group worked hard on our performance and spent hours training for Burning Man. I think being able to literally hang underneath the Man and look around at my crew (who are basically family) was a feeling that made my heart want to explode. I was proud of us all and what we had done.
We were volunteer teachers who all taught various classes once a week just because we loved doing it and we loved who we were doing it with – and it all came back to us when we got to perform at the Burning Man Festival.
The Epic Vibe of Black Rock City
Black Rock City is incredible. I mean those artists, engineers, architects, etc. quite literally build a city from the ground up. It’s hard to put into words the magnitude of Burning Man if you haven’t had a chance to see it.
Each camp is responsible for bringing everything it needs for the amount of time you are on Playa. Water, food, shelter, etc. There are porta-potties that are provided and people gift food and drinks throughout the event but ideally you come prepared for yourself for the duration of your trip.
We had 26 people in our camp and divided equipment and necessities up between us all for Playa. We were really prepared with an abundance of food for others as well. Drums of water were purchased and we actually had showers at our camp since we were out there for just under two weeks.
I was lucky that the leader of our group had gone to Burning Man with her family for the past 11+ years and was well prepared. She organized everything down to the last detail and made our experience awesome.
There are no hotels or anything like that at Burning Man. I know there are some companies who rent out RVs and large campers for people who want a more luxurious stay. We slept in tents and had a large bus that someone from our camp had built out with several places to sleep.
It’s nice having a hard shelter for when the dust storms roll through, but that’s also part of the experience. I would say if you can manage to get a camper or RV, that’s awesome. But don’t expect to stay clean regardless!
Favorite Memories from Burning Man
I have too many favorite memories to be able to pick just one but I would say one of the most amazing memories I have is just riding my bike on the Playa at night and looking at all of the incredible art. The artists who create the pieces that make it out on the Playa are nothing short of geniuses. I mean these structures and art pieces are literally out of this world.
The creativity is something I cannot fathom. These aren’t art pieces that hang in a museum, these are experiences that make you feel like you are in another world. It’s hard to try and capture or explain it to someone who has never been but it’s something everyone should see at least once.
Tips to Make the Most of your Time
Be open-minded. The best part of Burning Man is the lack of judgment from everyone around you. You will never ever experience a feeling as free as the Burning Man Festival, so keep an open mind and go with the flow.
Bring plenty of food and water too. Oh, and baby wipes are your best friend (especially if you don’t have showers at your camp). But on that note, be even more prepared to leave no trace. Take everything you brought out there back with you and then some. Pick up trash. Don’t leave your bicycle when the event is over. Be a good person and clean up after yourself. Enjoy!