Nevada’s Black Rock City is one of the boldest and grandest social experiments you can experience. So when they say radical inclusion and participation, do they mean it?
It’s safe to say that doing Burning Man solo is more common than you think. So yes, you can go to Burning Man alone.
But in order to have a favourable solo experience, there are going to be some things you need to nail down. So I’d recommend reading this guide on attending festivals solo to find out what they are.
The same principles apply to flying solo at Burning Man. However, there are a few unique questions to answer about solitary life on the Playa.
So let’s get into it then!
Who can go to Burning Man?
The short answer is that anyone and everyone can go to Burning Man. And you’ll encounter all sorts of interesting people in the desert.
In recent years the playa has attracted hippies, thrill-seekers, tech moguls and solo travellers (that’s you) from afar.
Children under the age of 12 go free, and plenty of young families attend the event.
Anyone who is able to purchase one of the 70,000 tickets on offer can attend. So if you are sitting on the fence waiting for a +1 to make up their mind, just know that you can have as much fun as a lone ranger.
Do you have to join a camp at Burning Man?
No, you don’t have to join a camp at Burning Man. Even if you are attending the event alone, you can camp in the open camping or walk-in camping areas.
These camps operate on a first-come, first-served basis, so once you are through the gates, it’s up to you to find a camping pitch for the week.
As for the rest of the camps, there are too many to name. Click here to find out about joining a registered camp.
How do I prepare for Burning Man?
This is critical to get right if you are attending alone. You can’t rely on anyone else’s planning other than your own. So if you get it wrong, it’ll be on you.
Write out a packing list using this comprehensive article as a guide. And for your extra preparation guide to life in the Nevada Desert, read our article on how to plan for Burning Man. Everything you will ever need as a solo burner is in there.
The Burning Man community is welcoming
The whole premise of the event is to be an inclusive community. So by default, you will be welcome as a solo attendee. However, you’ll likely strike up a conversation with your camping neighbours as soon as you start pitching your tent in the walk-in camping area.
There is no exchange of money and gifting is commonplace, so make the most of these opportunities to have a friendly conversation here and there.
Participation. It is one of the 10 principles of Burning Man, so heed the advice and get involved wherever and whenever you can.
Your fellow local burners are there for similar reasons to you. And you’ll be surprised how often you’ll find like-minded souls.
Read Next: Is Burning Man A Cult?
The pros and cons of going it alone
Let’s assess the whole picture and prepare ourselves fully so we can decide if going alone is for us or not.
- Your time is yours and your’s alone. How often have you been to a festival with a group of friends and faced analysis paralysis about which act to check out? Well, that’s not an issue if you go as a solo burner.
- You can wander in any direction you want without the fear of losing your friends.
- The memories you have of the experience will be deeply personal.
- Anytime you find something overwhelming, you can remove yourself without feeling you are pulling down the group’s vibe.
- If you are self-conscious and shy by nature, it could be an intense environment to put yourself in.
- Being by yourself means you don’t have a buddy system.
- It can be a long week if you struggle to make new playa friends.
- If something goes wrong with your gear/belongings, then you are on your own.
These points above are nowhere near exhaustive, and ultimately this will depend on how you are as an individual. Do the pros outweigh the cons for you?
Burning Man is something you can do solo. And depending on the type of personality you have, you may actually enjoy it more. Attending solo is also relatively common and has been done by numerous others in the past.
If you want to ensure the experience is pleasant, then your preparation and planning will be critical. Making a rookie mistake like not bringing enough water with you will derail the vibe.
Remember, the principles of radical self-reliance, participation, and radical inclusion are part and parcel of Burning Man. Your fellow burners will generally be highly approachable and willing to lend a hand if you need it.
Ultimately it’ll depend if the juice is worth the squeeze. But it’s definitely possible, and the burner in the video below seemed to have a thoroughly enjoyable experience.If you can’t make it out to Black Rock City, then check out these other festivals like Burning Man.