For some the playa calls loudly. Every year, Tahoe becomes less populated and a bit of a ghost town as people pack up and head to Black Rock City. This is my second time experiencing Burning Man. Getting ready for the journey can be a bit overwhelming. I have a huge to do list, as do a number of people I know who are preparing to go to the festival from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5.
Frankly, I am a little stressed as the clock winds down. Apparently, it’s time to finish cooking and freezing meals and start thinking about the myriad of other things I need to do to get ready. The pressure of hitting the road and having no clue how long I am staying is a factor. So I’m preparing for the duration.
Many people have offered tips and things to help get ready for a week in the desert. What’s on the list? Sort, organize and get camping gear in order.
“Whatever you end up doing out there, an adventure is to be had.”
Thanks to Ann Marie Sheridan, I am residing in her carport again to prepare. It’s a feat to erect my camp, but it worked out well last year. The structure serves as bedroom, closet and kitchen space. I am adding a tent for an additional dust barrier to put my bed in. An air mattress, sheets, down comforter and pillows are needed for a comfortable rest.
Be ready for nighttime
There are bike preparations to deal with. As a primary mode of transportation, best to make sure it’s playa ready with a tune up, decorations and lights. Burning Man occurs during the waning crescent and new moon phase, so it will be quite dark. Lighting up bikes and nighttime outfits is imperative. And, there’s costumes and clothing to sort out. I’ll make sure to take another run to Viv’s at Unique Boutique for accessories and any additional wardrobe needs. This year’s theme is DaVinci’s Workshop.
Experience the art & music
Anne Artoux, Sales Manager at the Tahoe Weekly, has been attending Burning Man for more than 15 years. This year, she’s camping with the group that is the creative force behind “Jar of Sand,” a large-scale (8-foot tall by 4-foot in diameter) canning-style “glass” jar filled with plastic collected from beaches of the Pacific Northwest that brings awareness of pollution in the ocean. Artoux has mastered the art of Burning Man preparedness and had some great tips for getting playa ready.
“It’s best that each outfit is organized and packed in a Ziploc bag for daywear and nightwear with accessories,” explains Artoux. She’s a fan of onesies and wears them throughout the festival.
She is also vigilant about her cooler life. She manages her coolers and ice meticulously staging coolers and using 2-inch by 4-inch pieces of lumber to keep them off the ground so the heat doesn’t melt the ice.
Artoux suggests a few things to do before heading to Burning Man to make the most of your experience and not get stuck wandering aimlessly the entire time you are on the playa. (Although aimless wandering can be an amazing experience, as well.)
On her pre-playa to do list: “Make sure to add yourself to the Burner map. This is a great way to locate friends on the playa,” she explains.
Preview the music by visiting Rock Star Librarian’s Web site. This offers a comprehensive list of music on the playa. Artoux recommends printing the guide and reviewing the list. Burning Man is world renowned for its art and creative tour de force. Artoux also recommends visiting the Burning Man Web site to review the art installations before arriving.
“It’s good to have a plan, even if you end up not doing what you planned,” says Artoux. “And, consider a guided art tour,” she adds.
Explore the camps
In addition, I’ve chatted with a number of people who’ve offered ideas to prepare for the Burn. One such suggestion was to take some time to explore the list of theme camps and what they are offering. There are camps offering music, and camps that offer food and drink, some camps present engaging talks with guest speakers on almost any topic you can think of, as well yoga and meditation classes and healing arts like massage and reiki.
While some camps provide more unique offerings, there are many that offer the practical like places to rest or fix your bike, and even a bike park to play on. There’s even a camp offering New York Pizza; my New York self might need a fix. Each camp is listed on the Burning Man Web site with a description of what they offer. It’s fun to peruse and see what’s going on. Whatever you end up doing out there, an adventure is to be had.
In addition to packing, cooking and last minute to dos, I am getting my camera gear together for a photo essay of my journey and packing my journal for a follow up story of my adventures in the desert. I am excited to experience the uncertain and unexpected.
Use the Burner Map to make a plan | burnermap.com
Check out the music | rockstarlibrarian.com
Find the details | burningman.org
Follow Priya’s experiences at Burning Man at facebook.com/TheTahoeWeekly, @TheTahoeWeekly and TheTahoeWeekly.com