Sociodemographic: Number of Burns

In an earlier post, we compared income across burner populations, comparing veterans and virgins – for this post we focus directly on the number of years burners visited the Playa (data on regional events coming soon).

Burners were asked two similar questions about their years on the Playa:

  • How many times they’ve been to Burning Man
  • How long since their virgin year

This method captures the proportions of virgins each year well as acknowledges those veterans who have been here since the beginning.

You’ll notice we replaced “zero” with “virgin” for both graphs. Virgins made up 40% of the population sampled.

 Number of Burns-image-2


For the number of burns attended, 20% of burners surveyed were visiting for their second year, followed by burners in their fourth to fifth year of attendance (14%). There were a decrease of 11% in attendees coming for their third time.

 Number of Burns-image-1

24% of burners surveyed returned to the Playa within 1-2 years of their virgin year, but note that this graph does not show consecutive visits, just time elapsed since that first visit. 14% of burners reported 3-4 years since they were virgins, followed by 10% citing 5-7 years. This trend continues on our graph: the longer it has been since the typical burner’s virgin year, the smaller portion they make up of Black Rock City’s population.


Does this trend signify people “getting over” burning man? As they grow older, do veteran Burners find other commitments competing with an annual journey to the Playa? How do burners who attend intermittently affect this data?


Written by:

Tabitha Palmer aka Tabicat

Edited by:

Alison aka LoveAli




4 responses

  1. Pingback: The Great BMOrg Cash Out of 2010 to 2016 – $28 Million to $45 Million, Est. | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. I would argue this trend is based on veteran diversification of projects related to regionals and home communities. Of course to find this out you would have to direct longitudinal questioning to veterans who don’t attend those second and third years to find out what they did instead related or non-related to their home and regional BM communities.

    • Hi L.I.F.E.,
      you raise a good point which is also related to the impact of the BM culture on the default world. Although it would require a lot of resources to develop a longitudinal study similar to what you propose, it would be possible to ask veterans about projects they worked on outside of BRC and during their years off. We might not be able to include it in the 2014 Census, but the idea is worth thinking about. Thanks for your feedback,
      – Dominic Beaulieu-Prévost aka Hunter

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