Of all the iconic festivals of the world, it’s perhaps Burning Man – held in the expansive deserts of Nevada – which wears the crown. This celebration of psychedelia, artistic expression, music and creativity has become one of the world’s greatest parties and a bonafide bucket list destination, and it grows exponentially each year to surpass all expectations.
Attracting thousands of free spirits to the Nevada desert each year, Burning Man is something of a pilgrimage for those looking for the best party on the planet. Culminating in a truly spectacular ritual burning of effigies while the music gets louder, the dancing more expressive and the artworks more eye-opening, it’s always, always an unforgettable experience.
Musically, the festival is centred around EDM with a distinctly psychedelic leaning. 2023’s lineup is yet to be confirmed, but 2022’s festival boasted psy-scene legends Infected Mushroom, techno icon Carl Cox, and house representation by John Summit. Diplo, Above & Beyond and Sacha Robotti were also headlining other stages… although it’s probably fair to say that the performers are not the main draw to Burning Man. Rather, visitors attend to get away from their ordinary lives, to revel in communal living and freedom, and to witness the festival’s culmination: a ritual burning of a giant effigy, beneath the stars of the desert night.
While in some ways Burning Man is a music festival not wholly unlike others, it’s also one which has its own set of traditions, rituals and identities. Central to this is the thematic aspect of the festival; each year, the organisers pick a theme which will represent the artistic and creative character of the event, as visitors are encouraged to produce their own sculptures or artworks at the renowned ‘Black Rock City’ in the festival’s heartland. 2023’s theme is ‘Animalia’ and a celebration of imaginary fauna, and festival goers have plenty of time in advance to dream up costumes and artistic ideas to reflect this thematic quality during their time there.
Several afterparties and adjacent events celebrating Burning Man can be found in the surrounding areas and nearby states. Among the most legendary in 2022 was Reno’s Burning Man After Party at Cargo Concert Hall – almost a literal continuation of the craziness of the festival – which featured performances by Emancipator and DJ sets by Steve Emmerich of organisational troupe Fresh Bakin’.
The afterparties have spilled outwards across Reno in recent years, resulting in a host of exclusive pool parties and gatherings that are the perfect way to depressurise. The Sands will host its annual pool bash, The BlueBird Nightclub will see dancing throughout the nights, and the beautiful Whitney Peak Hotel will hold a more sedate and chilled-out series of parties following Nevada’s biggest cultural export.
Due to Burning Man’s remote location, visitors stay on-site during the festival. However, the festival does provide some luxury camping options, such as yurts, for those looking to enjoy the party in style.
Tickets for Burning Man will most likely be launched at the end of 2022 via the festival website and associated partners.