Deep in the Nevada desert, the social experiment known as Burning Man pushes the boundaries of what we consider a “music festival” even further from the mainstream. After another year in the playa, The Festival Guy has returned with some lessons learned from Burning Man.
1. We want to be kids again.
Burning Man is filled with all sorts of activities to bring out your inner child. You can play on swings, teeter totters, slides, and a jungle gym. Over the week you saw this equipment being used all the time. The “real world” takes away our play time so festivals should do everything they can to cater to our inner child.
2. Give me a side of fire.
In the real world fire is a bad thing. It always seems to be burning down a house or a forest. At Burning Man fire is your friend. You see hundreds of fire spinning displays over the week. You also see it spouting from art cars and stages when the time is right. The lesson here for music festivals is the more fire the better.
3. Art car stages.
Some of the best sound at Burning Man comes from enormous speakers mounted on art cars. These art cars come in every shape and size imaginable. These mobile sound systems are much more unique than any sort of small stage. Music festivals should use this to their advantage and bring in an art car to add a new flavor to their festival.
4. BYOA. Bring Your Own Art
Everyone is welcome to contribute their own art at Burning Man. This leads to an entire city that is packed with all kinds of one of a kind art pieces for everyone to explore. Other music festivals should follow this model. With a simple email blast they could have tons of different art installations up and running at no cost to the festival.
5. The people can do anything with a little freedom.
Burning Man is a city with a million things to do that are all provided by the attendees. This does not just happen by accident. Burners plan all year long for their week at Black Rock City. Other festivals could get the same amount of participation if they would give attendees the freedom to be creative and try and improve the festival from the inside out. Simply ask your attendees if there is anything they want to contribute to the festival and see what happens.
Burning Man has laid the foundation of what is possible when you believe in your attendees and give them the freedom to use their skills for the greater good of the event. Imagine what would be possible if the Coachella and Bonnaroo’s of the world encouraged their participants to get involved as well.