Main Reasons to Go to Black Rock City

In 2005, after work or class, I indulged in a regular guilty pleasure of mine: watching “Malcolm in the Middle.” While I had heard vaguely of the Playa from a local Burner involved with “Burning Corn,” this episode not only made me laugh, but planted another seed in my mind that eventually led to my pilgrimage to Black Rock City.

Burning Man is more frequently mentioned in mass media each year – Scott London’s photography for Rolling Stone first brought the attention of their readership in 2012. And more recently, Jim Carrey mentioned the Playa in minute eighteen of this commencement address to Maharishi University of Management’s class of 2014.

These readily available portrayals of our home may or may not be accurate or show the individuals’ meanings of the Playa, but they do provide a window through which someone who has never been to Black Rock City can peer to see enough to entice them to find out more.

The Black Rock City Census asked Burners the main reason(s) they come to Burning Man (multiple answers were accepted).


The top five answers included:

  1. To play or party
  2. To meet like-minded people
  3. To grow and/or connect spiritually
  4. To experience radical expression
  5. To escape alienation in the default world

In addition to the reasons above, Burners also cited the gifting economy and their own curiosity (both reported by 21% of the population). Twenty-two percent of Census participants mentioned creating/working on an art project or developing/sharing art and practical skills as their main reason for coming to the Playa!

As might be expected, Virgins’ primary reason for coming was to satisfy their curiosity. If you haven’t yet been to Burning Man, you don’t need a reason – just go! You’ll figure out why you did later.

Written by: Tabicat

Edited by: Scribble