To Talk or Not to Talk about Burning Man in the Default World

If you initiate an online image search with the words “Burning Man,” chances are that you will get a NSFW barrage of scantily-clad Burners, overhead shots of the Black Rock City, and, of course, the Man burning. That first impression can be the only information some people ever get about the Playa. Do you feel a need to explain it to the default world? If you say it is “an art festival in the desert,” you might be met with “sounds like Woodstock,” as a response. Whether that is a positive or negative interaction, our population definitely shows differences in their level of comfort sharing dusty tales.


The majority of Burners (62%) told us they tell (most of) their non-Burner friends about their summer voyage. But over half of our 2013 respondents said they do not share their Burning Man experience via public means (i.e. in the media, a journal article, a blog, or website).

Typical citizens of Black Rock City are more comfortable sharing their experiences with their non-Burner family members than with their (non-Burner) colleagues. Ten percent of them do not tell anyone at work.

When asked the question about consciously choosing not to tell, you see a similar trend in the data:


Over 25% of Burners chose not to mention Burning Man to their colleagues; the second most common answer was “with other acquaintances.” Interestingly, Burners chose not to tell their families more often than fellow members of their church/congregation. Is the Playa, perhaps, a collection of black sheep who choose their own families?

There are many Burners who have default world responsibilities that differ from daily life on the Playa. When requesting time off for “vacation,” or upon re-entry, what do you tell your bosses, family, and coworkers? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by: Tabicat

Edited by: Scribble


3 responses

  1. Who doesn’t talk about it, sharing is like the whole point! Sure it’s always a bit hard to explain, but the struggle to put it into words for the ‘unenlightened’ is the fun of the challenge…

  2. Pingback: The Grand Burners.Me Ho-tell | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

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