Orientation Sessions for First Time Burners

“Ouroboros”, Photo by Ales Prikryl

Burning Man is not your typical festival … not by a longshot.  If you’re a first timer, you honestly don’t have any idea what you’re really in for — and just how great (or miserable) your Burning Man experience will be is directly proportional to how well you’ve prepared. Lucky for you, there are a LOT of veteran Burners who are eager to share their expertise with you to get you oriented so that you’re ready to take this incredible experience head-on and rock it.  They’re gifting their time and talents to help the greater community … because that’s what we do (Gifting and Communal Effort are two of the Ten Principles, after all).  Read on, and find one in your local area (they’re in no particular order). Also, you’re encouraged to hook up with your local Regional Network group and get connected.

Late July
See burningmanchicago.com for updates

Portland, OR:
“Burning Man for Beginners” orientation class in May 2012, details will be posted at BurningmanPortland.com

Now in its tenth year, the Seattle Regional Newbie Picnic has something for everyone! Are you a newbie about to take your inaugural trip to the playa? Come and meet seasoned vets who can share all sorts of tips and tricks. Seasoned vet? Here’s a great chance to help out the new folks by showing off cool gadgets, sharing time and space saving tricks, imparting dusty wisdom and/or just bragging about your playa experiences. Food and beverages will be provided but note – this is an ALL-AGES, ALCOHOL FREE event. No really, alcohol free. It’s in a public park.

Date: Sunday July 29th
Location: Heart of the Burner Triangle: Judkins Park SW Corner. Point Your Map Location Devices Here: http://tinyurl.com/3hwgupq

Barcelona (Spain):
From Barcelona! This is Diana the Bcn RC and I wanted to let you know about our event that will take place on April 28th. It is called Barcelona Burning Bash (BBB) and we will highlight the Gifting principle. The idea is that every edition highlights one of the 10 principles. At this event we will give the participators a little taste of the Burning Man culture, starting out with “Dust Devils” a 45 minute documentary on Burning Man and several other videos including “Gifting” by Halcyon. We will also infuse gifting into the experience by inviting people to participate in interactive games with gifting-like interactions, and giving participants “love-notes” with transformational messages. The night will be blessed with many performances by dancers, musicians, dj’s, artists, and circus freaks. We will also have a costume camp and a “Ask-a-Burner” booth. This booth will be hosted by experienced burners where newbies can ask questions and sign-up for mailing lists. Our event will also focus a lot on our regional event Nowhere. Our intention is to inform locals about the BM culture and inspire them to participate in our community, Nowhere and Burning Man. have a look at the FB event page https://www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/events/344560798916741/

Monterey, CA:
Spring Fling Campout & Ranger Roundup
Fremont Peak, California
June 15-17
$20/per person includes camping on Friday & Saturday night – kids under 18 free with parent or legal guardian
$10/per person – day pass
During this campout there will be a Ranger Training, Black Rock Scouts Training and Virgin Workshop.
Virgin Workshop will be on Saturday, June 16, at  11a.
www.montereyburners.com to register for the campout or for your day pass.
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/158449297608278/

Los Angeles:
We will be hosting three Newbie Orientations before the Burn. One in May, June, and July. Please check www.laburningman.com for specific dates, times, and locations. Events are also listed on our facebook page LA Burning Man.

Great Lakes Area:
Newbie Orientation at this year’s Lakes of Fire in Michigan. Read the WWW guide to find out more details and time and location.

Arizona will be holding its 9th Annual Newbie Orientation in July… dates being firmed up but we are shooting for Saturday July 14th. http://azburners.org/newbie.htm

The Burning Man culture – (What is Burning Man and who are these people)
How to prepare for Burning Man – (Lists, packing, travel, costumes, gifts,art, and self)
What to expect of Life on the Playa – (Self-reliance and self-expression, gifting economy, LNT, WATER!, HEALTH issues, Finding your way, the law, I’ve seen that before! and much more)
This event in intended for those who have not attended Burning Man or have attended once before but still have questions.

South Bay Area, CA:
Virgin’s Workshop at SoulFire Regional Precompression – June 9th at 11am
Practical tips about grey water and vinegar, as well as how to make enough shade to sleep in and whether it’s “sand” or “dust”.  Review of Burning Man’s 10 Principles, and what to expect at the Gate.  www.southbayburners.org/events

Sat June 30th 3:00pm-8:00pm
Free Flow Dance Centre 224 25th St. W. Saskatoon, SK, Canada
It’s that time of the year! Its time for the annual SK Burner BBQ and info session!  Please bring food and drink to share as this is a potluck style event. In the spirit of Burning Man bring your own cup,plate and utensils please. Newbies, veterans and interested parties are welcome to this all ages event!   We will also be taking cash donations at the BBQ to go toward the 2012 SCORE  project — for more details on the project as it evolves, please see  our SCORE group here: https://www.facebook.com/ScoreProject2012

Las Vegas:
Join us for Burning Man Newbie Orientation/ Las Vegas
June 18th, 2012 @ 107 East Charleston Boulevard, from 6-8pm with drink specials at The Arts Factory!
This is a chance to meet in person with other virgin & longtime Burners from around Las Vegas as well as the world. There is also time at the end of the talk for announcements within our community. Come on down for a drink, meet some of your local regional Las Vegas Burning Man representatives and share your Tales & Tips for the playa!

North Bay (Cotati), CA:
IGNITEaN00b!  Tuesday, July 17, 2012. Come at 6pm for the potluck,  stay for the 7-9pm meet and greet at FrogSong in Cotati.  This is an pecha-kucha format event where veteran Burners get five minutes to wax poetic about their favorite playa tips and tricks, or just tell us all about that one time at that thing in the desert.  You get twenty slides which advance automatically, and a live mic.  We will invite all our North Bay n00bs to come out and meet the dusty crew and say hi, and maybe find a new camp or a project to work on.  Email northbay@burningman.com to participate!

Vancouver BC:
Announcing the Burner Skool Series!
This year we are going with a bi-weekly Wednesday evening class format from May 9 to July 4, so that you can choose to attend the courses that are of interest to you, or attend all, or share the dates with friends & campmates and compare notes afterwards! We’ll break for the month of July and have a Burner Skool Grad & GVIAS Volunteer Appreciation Picnicon Wed Aug 1st at Trout Lake.
See full series & class curriculum: http://bit.ly/BurnerSkoolCurriculum
Join the Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BurningVan/ & see the Events tab to RSVP for each class.
Check the www.burningvan.ca site for info and to join the BMV Announce list.

Oahu, Hawaii:
Ka Pilina, the Hawaii Regional organization, will be hosting a “Black Rock City 101” info-gathering for first time Burners with 2012 tickets. June 16th in Ewa Beach, Oahu. Virgins & Veterans welcome. Contact ruby_holly@yahoo.com for details.


About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009.

20 Comments on “Orientation Sessions for First Time Burners

  • FuzzyBunny says:

    “Burning Man is not your typical festival … not by a longshot.”

    prove it.

    “If you’re a first timer, you honestly don’t have any idea what you’re really in for”

    aside from the dust and cranky people, how is it different than disneyland?

    “Lucky for you, there are a LOT of veteran Burners”

    40% virgins and at least 40% second & third year participants. so good luck finding the 20% of veterans who are usually hiding away holding private parties and/or sucking up to the BMorg for special merit points.

    “(Gifting and Communal Effort are two of the Ten Principles, after all)”

    gifting: here is some trinket i made that will probably end up as moop on the playa or in a dusty box that you really don’t want to keep and also can’t throw away.

    communal effort: volunteer your free labor to provide services to people who are incapable of self-reliance and feel entitled to your efforts to assist them.

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  • Corvus says:

    So, Fuzzy, I’m guessing you’re giving TTITD a pass this year.

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  • Skye says:


    “aside from the dust and cranky people, how is it different than disneyland?”

    I get a little tired of bitter ex-burners posting this kind of hate toward our beloved festival. There are MANY reasons why BM is different than disneyland.

    For example, at Disneyland:

    1. It’s easier to find a parking spot.
    2. Children having a good time doesn’t make adults feel less hardcore.
    3. No one talks about banning children.
    4. Beer is available for cash purchase, rather than having to jump through some kind of hoop some duchebag bartender sets.
    5. Fireworks show EVERY night at DL.
    6. Grunts stay underground to avoid passing along their putrid smell.
    7. It’s okay and encouraged to admit that you worship a corporate iconic humanoid figure.
    8. Management doesn’t walks around trying to prove how cool they are.
    9. The theme never changes.
    10. Doesn’t pretend that it’s a cultural movement.
    11. More and better steampunk.
    12. No caste system.
    13. Employees get paid a living wage and are happy to assist.
    14. Taking drugs is acceptable and police won’t raid your home if you’re caught smoking a joint or dropping LSD.
    15. The carbon footprint is lighter.
    16. Shorter lines for amusements.
    17. Spectators aren’t vilified.
    18. Name-dropping is non-existent.
    20. Monorail.
    21. Easier to hook-up with teen chicks.
    22. People aren’t constantly trying to gift you with some useless junk.
    23. Get to return to 4 star hotel at night.
    24. Air conditioning.
    25. The founder is dead, so can no longer pontificate.

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  • Skye says:

    Sorry, I forgot a few:

    26. Yuspters don’t have to pretend they’re not duchebags for a week.
    27. People who try to start drum circles are never seen again.
    28. Hipsters would never be caught dead there.
    29. Pseudo intellectuals don’t try to trap you in a conversation about what it all means.
    30. Not a destination for school teachers on spirt quests.
    31. A week at DL is still cheaper even if you fly first class from JFK on Virgin America.
    32. If you spill your beer, no one screams in your face that you’re disturbing the PH balance of the asphalt.
    33. Fewer angry dykes working for the public works system.
    34. If you set fire to Mickey Mouse, at least you’d get a fair trial.
    35. No women screaming at their boyfriends that they didn’t place the sacred rocks properly.
    36. Doing yoga is frowned upon, and may get you taken below for re-education.
    37. Better art – hands down.

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  • Skye says:


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  • Mr. Mackey says:


    wow. You’re my hero! All true (except maybe #14, Security at DL is pretty strict)

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  • salle auryn says:

    Hello.. I would like to know a little about the nature of your idea

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  • salle auryn says:

    Hello I would like to know a little about the nature of your idea

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  • John Glueck says:

    What the…???

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  • Peace says:

    Speaking of bitter douchbags…

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  • Skye says:

    @Mr. Mackey

    Thank you. And you are correct sir. I would should not advise doing drugs at Disneyland. I was speaking from personal experience – at my high school graduation trip. A few friends and I dropped acid and were sitting on the Mark Twain boat tripping balls. We decided to light a joint to mellow the trip out when a security guard nabbed us. We thought we were doomed, but the guy took the joint and talked to us for a bit and then he lit it up and took a drag. He told us to be a little more discrete and then just walked away.

    If that was BM, we probably would have been kicked out and arrested.

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  • Mutant vehicle owners of America says:

    Burning man is dead.

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  • Mr. Mackey says:

    Drugs are bad, m’kay?

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  • harinama says:

    It’s sad that there are bitter old veteran burners out there disparaging the festival.

    There is a lot to love, even with all the changes over the years.

    Am I glad they do not allow weapons? Yes
    Am I glad about the leo patrols? No
    Am I glad about all the new art, themecamps, virgin energy? Yes
    Am I glad about dubstep soundcamps, and sparkle ponies with loudspeakers? No.

    Black Rock City changes as we do. I used to be into staying up all nite every nite at the dance clubs, and getting smashed. Now i tend towards much more sleep, mellower events, and far more sobriety.

    Don’t like Burning Man? Don’t go. But don’t disparage it for those of us who still love it. It has problems, like everything, but it continues to be an uplifting, creative experience 1x/yr that we look forward to.

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  • 24/7 says:

    I love all these crusty old burnt out old-timers. Stay home. I don’t want you on the Playa anyways. (And I have plenty of friends who have been burning since the early 90s who aren’t bitter dicks, so this isn’t a crack on anyone who has been going since before the BLM stopped you from bringing your guns).

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  • R. D. Childers says:

    Hello Author.

    The photo of the Ouroboros…….it was built and brought to Burning Man by the Austin Texas Regional Burn community called Burning Flipside.

    The Burning Flipside community is one of the oldest, largest and most involved regional burns/communities. It is not on the list of regional burns that you listed. Just curious why.

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  • Andie Grace says:

    You are right it’s not on the full list of regional events can be found here: http://regionals.burningman.com/regionalevents_12.html

    That would be because FS hasn’t sent its updated info to us during this year’s update (perhaps because tickets are already sold out they haven’t needed the extra visibility, or they forgot?). Here you can see it was on last year’s list: http://regionals.burningman.com/regionalevents_11.html

    We love Flipside!!!

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  • Check Point Charlie says:

    Again guys, total smoke screen. If we wan to be pissed odd don’t take if out ona few Burners (newbies) that can’t set up their camps. Let concentrate on all the tickets that have been here in years past that we are not allowed to get now. We are the shut out class!

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  • Open-Minded says:

    I’ll give some tips….

    !) Be self reliant but don’t be shy to share with your neighbors. In the default world being neighborly has been diminished to quick glances and short interactions. We need to be social and erase the fear that we have been taught to accept in our daily lives.

    @) Bring white vinegar, if you don’t you will be sorry. Veterans know what I am talking about. Bring at least two gallons of water per person, per day!

    #) Practice the ten principles, to be a burner means that you practice our values.

    $) We understand money is a valuable tool in the world we have been taught to accept but please put the shit away for a week and see what wonderful surprises occur because you had faith in something besides the all mighty dollar.

    %) Be friendly, the last I want to deal with at BM is a egotistical self-indulging maniac. I cannot speak for everyone but I enjoy those who surrender to the playa and BM culture and leave the pretentious bullshit behind.

    ^) Smile, frown, basically be yourself in a perfect world. Break the mold, try something new!! You only live once.

    &) Have fun, remember you are part of the entertainment; don’t let us down!

    Remember virgins, that we were all in your shoes at one point or another. Take this unique opportunity to enjoy the playa to the fullest and think about the thousands of people who were heart broken when they found out that they were being forced out of their HOME. I know that I will burn to the core, will you?

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  • Burning Man for Beginners – Washington DC at ArtOMatic!
    Date & Time:
    Wed, 06/06/2012 – 7:00pm – 9:30pm
    Renwick Alliance Room
    Gather with us to see if you’re ready to make the journey in 2012, and find out more about all the great regional events going on in the Baltimore/DC region and the East Coast, such as Playa Del Fuego, Transformus, and more. Hosted by Progress Darrell & Souley.

    Getting Tickets to Burning Man
    Getting to Burning Man
    Entering Black Rock City
    Finding a home on the Playa & Map of the city
    Other Regional events PDF/Transformus
    Making preparations for a week in the Desert
    Black Rock Fashion
    Burning Man Principles & Lingo

    FREE, Renwick Room 11th Floor

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