The people who attend Burning Man are a special breed. At times it felt like I was playing a part in an animated movie with some incredibly unique characters. I spent weeks trying to describe the people I met and in the end decided to create tongue-in-cheek caricatures of a few familiar dusty characters. Enjoy!
#1: Old School Burner
Overheard saying: "Excuse me, have you seen a bunch of zebras bicycle by here?"
Wears: A sun smart hat, good strong boots and very little else.
Favourite drink: Pickleback (Whisky shot and pickle juice.)
#2: Hippy Healer
Overheard saying: ""Doing this spiral dance with your arms invigorates your DNA. You're spinning, and your DNA is in a spiral shape, so it realigns it.""
Wears: Beads and jangly bracelets, a skirt or fisherman pants. Dreadlocks, bare feet. Serenity on tap.
Favourite drink: Dirty Chai Tea Latte with soy milk.
#3: Smug Startup CEO
Overheard saying: "Hey cupcake, wanna come back to my spaceship boudair? My personal chef is making sushi."
Wears: Spacesuit onesie.
Favourite drink: Dom Perignon + Red Bull
#4: Wide eyed Newbie
Overheard saying: "I just flashed my junk for a snow cone... this place is amaze balls!"
Wears: A goofy expression of overwhelm and a range of inappropriate and overthought desert wear.
Favourite drink: Anything that's free. Wait that's everything. OMFG I love Burning Man.
#5: Anti Establishment Crusader
Overheard saying: "Burning Man is like a self-service cult car wash. You must wash your own brain!"
Wears: Military grade boots and jackets. In extreme cases, carries a staff or wears a crown.
Favourite drink: Whatever is in your cup.
#6: Futuristic Raver
Overheard saying: "Excuse me....is this 7:30 and G? I was looking for the Genital portrait studio....Have I missed it?"
Wears: Fluffy everything, a constantly spinning hoola hoop, fluoro wig and glitter nipple pasties.
Favourite drink: Gatorade + Red Bull.
#7: (Not so) Undercover Cop
Overheard saying: "Do you have drugs? Can I buy some? I have money."
Wears: What he thinks Burners wear. Tries to fit in wearing jeans, a tshirt and a glow stick. #FAIL
Favourite drink: Non-alcoholic beer. I'm on duty man.
#8: Acid-tripping DJ
Overheard saying: "Who wants to hear some super bad ass marching drums with voodoo gypsy horn?"
Wears: Horns. Dust Goggles. A jaw with a bassline all of its own.
Favourite drink: Psychedelic Absinthe-Spiked Cocktail.
#9: Danger Ranger
Overheard saying: "We are riding the edge of chaos, the timeless engine of creation spins with abundance. My duty is to hold that doorway open for all willing to pass."
Wears: Khaki. Boy Scout badges. Bandaids. Walkie Talkie. Tool belt. Much patience.
Favourite drink: Hydralite and a hip flask of rum.
So there you have it, my round-up of the key caricatures I encountered at Burning Man. In all honesty most people were varying percentages of some of these extremes.
The common traits I saw in people who thrive at Burning Man were tenancity, creativity and a quest for something authentic, whatever that means to them.
What Burning Man characters did I miss from the list?
NOTE: I am posting one link per week as I tell the Burning Man story post-by-post.
- BURNING MAN: Party or Pilgrimage?
- GETTING READY: What to pack and how to prepare
- OVERVIEW: What's it about, how does it work?
- LOGISTICS: Getting in, Getting Dusty!
- PEOPLE: Who goes to Burning Man?
- EMOTION: What does Burning man feel like?
- GIFTING: My creative Postcard Project
- DIARY: My day-by-day journal
- AFTER SHOCKS: What happens next?