28 Festivals and 8 Reasons They Can Change Your Life (Plus: Free Burning Man Tickets!)

Chip Conley, founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels.

Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, which he began at age 26 and built to more than 30 properties in California alone. In 2010, Joie de Vivre was awarded the #1 customer service award in the U.S. by Market Metrix (Upper Upscale hotel category).

Conley has also been named the “Most Innovative CEO” in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times, and I’m proud to call him a friend.

Last year, he decided that he wanted to become the world’s leading expert on festivals.

Why? Because he’d seen his personal and professional lives transformed by places like Bali and Burning Man. Since that decision, he’s traveled to more than two-dozen countries to experience more than three-dozen festivals and launched Fest300.

Why are festivals — one of the mankind’s oldest traditions — most important than ever in a digital world? What are Chip’s favorite festivals and how can they tranform your life?

This post — full of inspirational photographs — answers all of these questions.

Chip is also giving away two free tickets to this month’s sold-out Burning Man, which include drinks with Chip and quite possibly Larry Harvey, the founder of Burning Man. Deadline for submissions is this Friday! Details at the end of this post.


Enter Chip


1) The more virtual we get, the more ritual we need.

As we become more reliant on our iPhones, and more “connected” through Facebook, we can actually become more disconnected from each other. Real connection is what we crave. Festivals are as old as humanity, but in the digital era there’s a new peak in the magnetic attraction to extraordinary human gatherings. Whole festival genres such as transformational (Jeet Kei Leung TEDx Vancouver) and EDM (Chicago EDM Tribute) have doubled in size over the past decade. There’s an immediacy available when we put down our smart phones and dive into the present moment at a festival. Because what we need are IRL (In Real Life) experiences, while we drown in a sea of URLs.

Digital overload may be a first world problem, and not an immediate matter of life and death. But, on parts of Bali and at Burning Man, cell and wireless connections are rare or nonexistent. Life and death are immediate as they are ritualized in community and in fire – far from anything virtual. My festival transformation was forged in the fires of both.

Bali rekindled my childhood love of festivals, which is why I’ve returned over a dozen times. From birth to death, the Balinese culture is grounded in festivals. The Balinese honor the passing of life during the light of day with public cremations that celebrate the dearly departed while they often lie in full view…


then send them to the heavens in grand funeral pyres…



The community must be present to complete the journey, yet you need not live there to feel right at home. There’s a freedom in facing the inevitability of death together, which provides a sense of meaningful connectedness in this shared theater of life.

Burning Man founder Larry Harvey burned an effigy in his own image on a San Francisco beach to transform his broken heart.

25+ years later, Burning Man’s climactic night of burning “The Man” in the desolate wilderness of Black Rock City’s playa is now the penultimate inferno at this annual event that will host a record 68,000 people in 2013. The final burn is actually that of the Temple…


an enormous temporary structure that acts as a receptacle for words, pictures and totems, ritually deposited during the week with a combustible mixture of laughter and tears.


The Temple burns in an emotional bonfire on Burning Man’s final night…


Anyone who’s experienced this will tell you that, while there’s a lot of fun to be had at this world-renowned festival, there is – perhaps more importantly – a real opportunity to sink deep into connection with others…and with yourself.

2) Festivals redefine “vacation.”

Too many of us “vacate” ourselves during our precious time away from work, trading in the couch and a beer for a beach lounger and a colorful cocktail dressed with a tiny umbrella. We’ve been ritualized into taking vacations that lack discovery because we think the antidote to burnout is passing out by the pool. We need to retire the words “occupation” for our work and “vacation” for our play. Our breaks from daily routine should be transformational. When we’re in our 80s, the peak experiences we’ll remember will be the ones where we checked into new places with a fresh sprig of curiosity in our elixir of life. The truth is, most people in the world see their happiness and victories in the context of the group or village experience – what sociologist Emile Durkheim called “collective effervescence” 100 years ago. Make a pact with yourself to witness and experience some communal joy and attend at least one festival a year. You can take the pledge here. The good news is you don’t have to leap continents to do this. In many cities, there’s an art faire…




or Day of the Dead celebration very close to your own backyard.


The above shots were all taken near my backyard in San Francisco.

An authentic Mexican Dia de los Muertos experience in Oaxaca might be more of a bucket list kind of trip. Till then, seek out one near you this November. Art faires like the Bay Area’s Maker Faire bring together a mash up of DIY enthusiasts who can make just about anything out of a little bit of string, some tape and a vivid imagination. And, Rio’s definitely got some colorful competition at the Mission’s Carnival, which boasts incredible costumes, dancing, food, music and merriment every May. And you won’t find a single pool lounger anywhere in sight.

3) Cultural Curiosity = a more robust life + a more peaceful planet.

In the next 40 years, the world’s population will explode from 7 to 10 billion people. “I need some space” will take on new meaning as personal elbowroom becomes increasingly scarce. The security landscape has changed in the past decade, and the 24/7 barrage of negative media about “the other,” can induce fear at the thought of breaking out of what’s comfortable, or beyond what we know. Festivals are natural barrier disintegrators. At first glance, India’s sacred Kumbh Mela may seem to have little in common with the throngs who flock to Spain each year to run with the bulls. And, within just one country, Turkey’s Whirling Dervishes seem a world away from the modern day gladiators of its Oil Wrestling Championships. But cultural curiosity is a mindset that opens a window into “the other” and into our selves.

I joined the crowd at India’s Maha Kumbh Mela this year. A Kumbh Mela happens every three years, with four cities taking hosting turns. The Maha Kumbh Mela happens every 12 years and an estimated 100 million pilgrims came together in 2013. The international news focused on a train station stampede where 36 devotees lost their lives. Tragic, but not surprising given the numbers. What the reports missed is how this congregation of mass humanity can peacefully coexist for five weeks along the Ganges River. Proof that we humans don’t need as much personal space as perhaps we think.


On the streets of Pamplona, personal space is trumped by survival skills when thousands gather on two legs to escape a powerful few running on four (more on this in reason #4).


Whirling Dervishes have been twirling annually for nearly 750 years since the death of their beloved poet Rumi, and Kirkpinar’s wrestlers have been proudly competing for over six centuries. What I felt in my bones, because I was there in the flesh (I did get a chance to whirl, but only spectated the field games), was a real sense of commonality between these two disparate rituals and my own worldview. Whirling is sacred. There’s an intensity – both physical and psychological – that gets whipped up in the midst of the dance.


The oil wrestlers similarly push themselves to physical and psychological limits in a display of honor and reverence for their community today, and for the ancestors who came before them. Those of us observing are immediately connected by the transcendent energy of the dervishes in the arena and the intensity of the men on the field. In both instances, I became part of something far away from my “safe” little corner of the world. Clearly, I was the curious “other.” Yet, all barriers disappeared and we were merely humans…being.


4) Festivals allow you to push your limits.

For generations, status was defined by how you kept up with the Jones’s: the car in your driveway and the size of your swimming pool. With social media’s “status” updates, we’re seeing a big shift from being material-driven to being more experience-driven. Since we can now share our experiences in an instant, our triumphs are tied less to “tangibles” like a BMW, and more to the intangible IMF (in-the-moment feeling) that can be viewed vicariously by our friends. Some festivals are lively competitions that you can enthusiastically observe and enjoy from the stands (Naadam, Concurs de Castells, Il Palio). But, the greatest transformation factor is found in immersive experiences where you shift from passive spectator to active participant.

Taking part in competitions involves pushing through your own personal fear factor. I had the pure pleasure of spectating the Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling Competition in Gloucester, UK, witnessing brave – or crazy depending on how you see it – men and women race down an impossible incline risking limb and levity. First-time American winner Kenny Rackers was on a mission to inspire one million people to pursue their dreams…

Observing was the right choice for me, as I’ve nursed a seriously broken ankle before. Still, connecting with the locals and cheering on the racers induced a joyful IMF.

But, in Pamplona, I threw caution to the wind at the Fiesta de San Fermin. Donning the traditional red scarf and an “I Love SF” tee that works for my hometown of San Francisco and for San Fermin, I did more running from the bulls than with them. It was an exhilarating IMF.


Another limit was pushed when I learned more about the fate of the bulls. I honestly hadn’t considered the bullfight at the end of the day. Participating in the run and observing the PETA protests and The Running of the Nudes provided another P.O.V. that transformed my thinking about this festival.


Seeing both sides, without judgment, is not an easy task in life. Being on the ground and experiencing another culture’s rituals forces us to do what cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien reminds when discussing the Latin origin of the word “respect,” which is respetar: to look again.

5) Festivals allow you to connect with new kindred spirits or experience collective effervescence with close friends.

Sure, you can go online 24/7 and find people to chat with about common interests. But that doesn’t compare with the intensity of being with them in person, whether the focus is on yoginis at Wanderlust


or bikers at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally


Stepping outside your comfort zone means exactly that. Most of us are quite fond of our creature comforts and chosen tribe. Festivals can bring out the best and, sometimes, the worst in people. While we may yearn for new experiences and locales, our expectations can get in the way of enjoying what we may find there. Some festivals are inherently magical with serendipitous meetings of new friends and interesting locals at every turn. But, if you’re traveling alone, this may be asking too much of happenstance.

Traveling alone, I’ve made new friends of all ages, shapes and colors in languages shared and those helped along with interpreters, from the Kumbh Mela festival in India…


to the El Colacho baby-jumping festival in Spain.


If you prefer a traveling companion, kindred spirits can be just a click away. I often reach out to Facebook friends when headed to a festival. Last year, a friend doing business in Pakistan joined me spur of the moment in Turkey for the Mevlana Whirling Dervish festival. And a once virtual friend joined me last minute from the Philippines for a series of village festivals in Bali. Companion reality check: the wrong travel partner can be a real festival buzz kill. Be clear about why you’re going to a festival. If you’re looking for a life-altering transformative experience or just to find a casual hook-up, the best choice you might make is to travel with someone who has a comparable intent.

[TIM NOTE: See my related posts on free international housing in 20+ countries, as well as global volunteering as mini-retirements.]

#6 Festivals bring you face-to-face with the highest expression of the human spirit.

Later in his life, Abraham Maslow expanded on his iconic hierarchy of five human needs: 1. physical (food & shelter); 2. safety; 3. social (belonging); 4. esteem; 5. self-actualization. He added: 6. aesthetics and 7. transcendence. Art transcends cultural barriers. Feeling a part of something bigger than you is palpable at many festivals. Nowhere have I experienced this more deeply than in the midst of tens of thousands of people – from all over the world – writing their hopes and dreams on large paper lamps that become luminescent spiritual torches at Taiwan’s Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival.


The collective effervescence (there’s something about seeing it all together) of releasing these beacons into the sky is awe-inspiring, with a deep sense that our aspirations are all connected.


Seeing art in the every day gives you a new pair of eyes to see the world.

In his TED talk on the arts festival revolution, David Binder shares Australia’s Minto Live Festival and others with utter exuberance. These festivals show how the arts uniquely coalesce the local and the global. Art removes any sense of “the other” especially when the lines between performers and the audience are eliminated.

Two colorful festivals that express the enlightened, exuberant human spirit are at opposite ends of the temperature gauge. China’s Harbin Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival is an awe-inspiring display of artistic craft and superhuman endurance in -30 below freezing temps…


And India’s Holi (which has recently inspired similar festivals across the U.S.) transforms cultural barriers in the heat through a fantastic human rainbow of laughter and connection.


At both, the collective is necessary to inspire…and to be inspired.

7) Sometimes we need an event to facilitate transformation.

Transformation is a subjective term. One person’s metamorphosis might have a hedonistic flavor on an Ibiza dance floor, while another’s might emerge at a mountain monastery pilgrimage. I’ve experienced the gamut…profound moments that shifted big boulders in my life, as well as mind-blowing, in-the-moment connections that were just pure fun and frivolous.


I have also seen momentous shifts in the lives of others. One friend was at the top of his career and financially set, with a beautiful woman at his side. From the outside looking in, he had it all. You probably know someone like this. Or, perhaps it’s you. Are you miserable? My friend was. By the time he arrived at Burning Man, he’d gotten so used to seeing people as walking dollar signs that he’d lost his connection with humanity. What transpired over several days was nothing short of miraculous. By the time he left the playa, he was – and remains to this day – a changed man. What he needed was time, space and a completely new habitat – one based upon the gift economy and not the dog-eat-dog world – where he could let go and take a look at who he was at that particular time in his life…and who he wanted to be.

This could happen for couples who’ve lost their connection – traveling to the Buenos Aires Tango Festival to get their romantic mojo back. Or, someone dealing with a physical illness taking a trip to the World Bodypainting Festival in Austria to reclaim their body in Technicolor.


Or, maybe someone attends an LGBT Pride Festival after living a closeted life for too long.


Timing is everything. Find a festival that will allow you to welcome some transformation into your life. Marcus Aurelius wrote, “The universe is change, life is an opinion.” Maybe it’s time for a little change in your life?

8) The journey to a festival can provide surprising collateral benefits.

Many festivals are located in some of the world’s most fascinating towns or spectacular natural settings. When I traveled to Spain’s wacky baby-jumping festival this summer, I experienced a delightful bonus along the way. El Colacho is held in the small village of Castrillo de Murcia, where brightly hooded “devils” literally jump mattresses topped with infants to save their little souls.



This Catholic/pagan ritual has stood the test of time for four centuries, but as I trained my way from Madrid to northern Spain, I started having second thoughts about traveling so far for a small village festival that attracted lots of YouTube attention, yet scarcely more than a few dozen visitors. But, once I arrived in the charming, car-free, medieval town of Burgos – near the festival – I realized that El Colacho was the appetizer and Spain’s gastronomic capital, Burgos, was the main course…



The same happened while in Siena, Italy for Il Palio



In Fes, Morocco for the Festival of World Sacred Music



And at Kuala Lumpur’s Batu Caves for Thaipusam



Now I’m imagining that I just might experience some collateral benefits in Tahiti for Heiva. Soon!


Beneath our varied exteriors lies a universal human landscape that connects us. Writer E.M. Forster’s humanistic epigraph to Howard’s End says it succinctly: “Only connect.”

Now it’s your turn…


How to Get Free Burning Man 2013 Tickets

Tim and I want to hear how festivals have transformed your life and/or why you are BURNING to go to a festival.

The most compelling story will garner two tickets to Burning Man (August 26 – September 2), and drinks with me (Chip) — and perhaps founder Larry Harvey — at First Camp on the Playa.


A) Entry = post 100 words or fewer in the comments below, telling us how festivals have rocked your world or why you have a burning desire to go to a festival.

B) Deadline = Friday, August 16, 2013 at 12 midnight PST

C) Winner = Announced Monday, August 19, 2013

D) Prize = 2 Burning Man Tickets sent overnight to your door + First Camp drinks

Look forward to hearing from you!

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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311 Replies to “28 Festivals and 8 Reasons They Can Change Your Life (Plus: Free Burning Man Tickets!)”

  1. Lifexiety

    The phone laid uselessly on the nightstand. The alarm died with it but the sun still found me buried underneath an olive green goose down comforter.

    I brooded time in that temporal place under the sheets. Terror crept inside and spooned with me and whispered, “Someday you’ll wake up an old man.”

    Too bad I don’t do pillow talk. I rolled over, stared into those green little eyes, and ripped an axe kick right into its family jewels.

    The person I want to be throttles anxiety and burns like a man. I need to meet him.

  2. I’m about to start out on my first job out of college – although it’s a great chance to grow professionally and financially, I’m worried that I’ll lose sight of what’s really important to me. Whether it’s playing charades with locals in Luang Prabang at 4am to find my hostel, or singing drinking songs in Zagreb, I’ve found that traveling and moving out of your comfort zone are the best ways to truly grow as a person. Going to Burning Man and truly living its ten principles sounds like the best way to keep this perspective before starting “real life”.

  3. I want to burn the man!

    I’m young and ready to change the world!

    I love transformation and I want to literally transform my own and others lives!

    I believe that in order to change anything we have to change ourselves so I am going to do exactly that at Burning Man.

  4. The madness of a chanting throng, the miracle of a surprise kiss.

    Smells slurp thoughts like oysters from my mind.

    My self twirls out of reach; a lottery without any balls.

    Thoughts spin endlessly round, looking for an escape.

    There is only escape.

    Please help me escape.

  5. I would love to say that I am fearless, but the truth is: I have been scared my whole life. I have found ways to push past it, to leave an abusive relationship, to become a nurse, to train in vertical pole and aerial arts. Along the way, some of the most amazing, creative, vibrant people I have met, including Burning Dan, the man who taught me to spin fire, have told me that I need to go to Burning Man. They couldn’t explain it, I just needed to go. I was scared, but I’m not afraid any more.

  6. The festivals give me a gulp of fresh air, the clarity of thought. I’ve entirely change my career, traveled the world and met and volunteered across the Globe.

    I have learned from the best teachers: people. The sense of the Global perspective and understanding that there are Truths vs Truth

    Finally, understanding that despite all racial and economical differences we have more in common vs. different:-)

  7. I am a highschool science and math teacher. I have felt each point listed in this article and am very thankful someone has put them into words so I can communicate them into my journal. On my flight home from australia, I had a 10 hour straight conversation with a stranger about burning man and how the event was about a transformational, spiritual journey of values and love. I desperately feel the need to immerse myself in such a powerful environment.

  8. For the past three years, my partner and I have been working to create a serendipity collider to engage active curiosity: an event that provokes insight and evokes action. But we’ve been building too much from what we “think” instead of what we “know.” I’m burning to touch an actual flame that can transform our event into a festival. We’ve figured out how to put together a conference that lasts several hours, but I want to learn how to stir up a movement that will sustain for centuries. Thank you for this opportunity.

  9. The festivals give me a gulp of fresh air, the clarity of thought. I’ve entirely change my career, traveled the world and met and volunteered across the Globe.

    I have learned from the best teachers: people. The sense of the Global perspective and understanding that there are Truths vs Truth

    Finally, understanding that despite all racial and economical differences we have more in common vs. different:-)

  10. As someone who is always searching for new experiences, near and far, festivals are the crash courses of exploration! It is only at festivals that you can see, feel, and learn from such a concentrated slice of life. While the reasons for holding a festival may be rather narrow, the people/food/music/culture consumed through them will broaden anyone’s world.

    Many of my most potent memories are those of festivals and I am aching to make more!

  11. Amazing. I had an idea to experience every festival in the world but wasn’t sure how to monetize it in some way. Cool idea that may just reinvigorate it back into my life.

  12. I went to Burning Man years ago, to convalesce. I had just been extremely misdiagnosed, and spent the entire event nursing what I did not know then was my ruptured appendix. Upon discovery of this reality months later I was near death, and much damage was done. Between many surgeries, miraculously, a most extraordinary woman crossed my path. We fell in love. Having little else but hope, this became everything to me. I healed, and she suddenly left. In time the body recovers on its own. The heart does not. Henceforth, my life’s pursuit is answering: What heals the heart?

  13. When I finally made it out for the first time, it was easy. My first day at BM completely transformed the course of my life. In less than 100 words, its impossible to detail. Aside from the creative impact its had on my business, myself, etc., the most insane experience happened within the first hour of playing in the desert, throwing me so far outside of my comfort zone & directly into a kiss from my best friend of 8 years to whom I am now engaged. We head back out next week, and it cant come soon enough!

  14. It started with all day Rock concerts, annual Lollapalooza festivals, and dozens of Dead shows from coast to coast. These experiences were as different from my upbringing, as Oz is from Kansas.

    The Oregon Country Fair, was my first festival that blurred lines between spectators and performers. Later, several National Rainbow Gatherings broadened my appreciation for community consciousness, democratic process, and personal responsibility.

    Awesomeness Fest came to Maui 22 months ago, geared towards conscious entrepreneurs with a personal growth & global contribution theme. A-Fest changed my life in ways 100 words would not do justice.

    Playa Time!

  15. 2011 changed my life entirely. I went to Songkran in Thailand, read 4HWW, and started a business because the former opened my mind to allow the latter to happen.

    I have a buddy, a really good buddy. He told me, “MJ, just buy”. What he was referring to was the plane tickets. He begged me for a year straight to go, and then the day came when we bought together, the tickets to change my life forever.

    Songkran was epic, we laughed, laughed more, drank, drank more, and experienced Thai culture during their most celebrated festival, it fucking rocked.

  16. Festivals have filled in the void that an online life has brought on. I think of the many smaller festivals as well as SXSW and World Domination Summit that have introduced me to such amazing people. My fiancé just moved up from Mexico, away from her family and in a completely new place. I am introducing her to a new world and with her birthday on Sept 2nd, Burning Man would be a perfect opportunity to welcome her into a new life as well as say Happy Birthday!

  17. I started dating my girlfriend of 6 years at a festival, and finally got to say my goodbyes to a lost loved one at a festival. The biggest, most creative work of art I have ever created was for a festival and some of the most stress I have put on myself has been for a festival. I plan my summers and my travel around festivals, and some of my best friends are friends that I have never seen outside of a festival. These are the things that make life memorable and great. My true identify comes out at festivals.

  18. I split with my wife over a case of wanderlust. I’ve lived abroad before, I don’t want to simply travel, I want to something grand, challenging, and inspiring. I believe festivals bring out the best in people – the ones I’ve been to were life changing. I want to spend my life documenting the world’s best parties. I hoped Burning Man would be my first Party, but my idea was too late for tickets this year. I was making plans for next year’s Burning Man, so I’d love to win tickets so Burning Man is my first Party.

  19. I spent my summer working at Yellowstone National park to get away from my cold path-blazing young suburban life. Best 2.5 months of my life.

    Weekend before firing, went to the 4th of July festival @ Grand Targhee resort Wyoming. Craziness ensues

    Car camping, sleeping, nature calls. Locked in. Can’t get out, finally do. Bowels unload on pavement. Cars just drive by. 15 minutes later, same thing happens w/friend. Not so lucky. Poops himself, doesnt tell me. Poop everywhere. Get pink eye a day later, get fired, say goodbye in sunglasses, lifelong friends and memories

  20. The “Real” World? After a year of travelling, I am now entering the “real world” with a real job and real responsibilities. I hate this idea of the real world and how I have to lose the freedoms I had while traveling, going to festivals and feeling free. I’ve never felt so content with everything around me as when I was on a beach in Thailand with 20,000 friends. I don’t want to lose this feeling.

  21. My most transformational experience was at my very first festival I had attended up until that point. The Symbiosis festival at Pyramid lake last year.

    The experience of being there for 5 days with all those other creative and magical people really changed my outlook on how I viewed people and the world in general. Seeing all the people there dancing, swimming, collaborating, laughing, creating, singing and watching the eclipse together completely altered and expanded the comforts of my mind. I started seeing people as wonderfully creative and imaginative, but not only that, the more I dove and participated into the experience I also started to think and to see myself as creative and imaginative.

    I stopped seeing other people as objects and learned to value imagination so much more. Since then my relationships, happiness and life in general have improved tremendously and all because of the decision to get out of my comfort zone, get into a packed car and participate at a festival.

  22. I am not a small personality. And me playing small does not serve the world, for we are all meant to shine. I want to go to Burning Man to be engulfed in freedom. I want to fly creatively and emotionally. To dance hard, laugh out loud, cry softly, know no shame in how I feel, and drink this experience in.

    I approach different cultures and experiences with an open heart, open mind, and a childlike curiosity.

    I want to go to Burning Man to reach a moment that we swear we are all infinite.

  23. In 2009 a beautiflul woman asked me to go to my first festival with her. Against all odds I was able to make it and she is now my wife. Bass Coast 2013 made us realize that human connection is all that matters, so we are selling our business and hitting the road next year to attend as many festys as possible, selling or trading our art for a living. Living the dream if you ask me. We have always wanted to go to burning man, and I know we will get there one day.

  24. Festivals have enlivened within me a celebration of divinity! The spirit is front and center in the game of illusion, playing, jesting, and joking until uncontrolable laughter bubbles up from the depths of the human form.

    I am burning to go to a festival to receive the healing,exploration and expansion that one can only

    find in the infinite possibility of a festival setting. I look forward to seeing the beautiful art, people, and music that have all been created in honor of the divine!

  25. Burning Man is scary to me. Terrifying actually.

    But the key to living a life less ordinary is to constantly place yourself in discomfort. How else can you possibly expect grow?

    I’m all about the unexpected thrills in life. Bring it on!

  26. I am in a moment of transition – my heart is surrounded by the kindling necessary to light me up, but I lack the match. It is clear I need an experience, an opportunity to connect and create and commune – a new lens to catalyze the change in my life to reflect my soul’s path. Also, life could use a little joy. This or something better in my highest and greatest good.

  27. I’ve never been to BM, but have many friends there this year. I just haven’t been able to get tickets. I got flight tickets to San Francisco already (from Taiwan where I live), but no tickets to BM. I’m very disappointed since I want to quit my job and start a big change in my life with my own company, but I’m afraid to take the plunge. I had the feeling that BM could be the trigger to make me get the guts to quit my job. An inspiring event in my life that will mark the beginning of the next phase of my life.

  28. Festivals provide a small glimpse into a different way of life. They provide a break from our normal routine. We spend most of our time deciding between options right in front of our noses, and festivals can show us something very different. This pulls us out from our narrow way of thinking, even if it’s just some small exposure to other people.

  29. The spirit is renewed at festivals. People are awakened by the many interesting things that have piqued their curiosity. People are more approachable. Our veins scream with adrenalin and excitement. My favourite moment of the festival is at about 5pm… There is a beautiful buzz in the air, crowds gather around sunset, with renewed enthusiasm, ready to bring in the evening!

  30. Growing up as a shy kid, I was given by my parents to read “How to win friends and influence people.” This book made me increasingly cynical of every conversation wondering if they were trying to use me. My first festival taught me that its simply not true. That there exists good natured individuals not looking for some favor at the end. Now in college juggling three jobs to pay for my education and family. A festival would be great to just let my problems go and meet individuals who seek nothing but to have a fun time.

  31. I can thank you enough for the opportunity you are enabling ! From the few chances I have been given to go to any festivity in any size; there is this beautiful mystery and story that plays out in the hearts of the community and how it grows. If I had the chance to capture this, I would be entirely grateful with sharing the moments! I have been struggling with my art and photography and this beautiful break is just what i need to have a meaningful connection since moving away from home.

  32. Festival Family:

    I learned what a festival family meant,while attending 2013 Floyd Festival . We were a tribe of 14 misfits, miraculous adopted over the festival years by the tribe’s head mistress ,Gretchen.

    When the 12 hour rain storm came and it became a mud fest,the tribe worked together to keep dry, dry out tents, share dry clothes,sleeping bags and tents.

    We became a festival family. Thank you Gretchen, for teaching this selfish, single gal, how to share the love of a festival family. I will always be grateful to Gretchen and my Floyd Festival Family.

  33. I love going to festivals because it helps me answer the hard questions in my life. I think you need to remove yourself from your environment sometimes to really see who you are.

    I would like to make a documentary answering the one question that so many people ask. What is Burning Man?

    I intend to spend the time at burning man asking people what burning man means to them. At the end of the festival I will post the movie in full for free on YouTube for the whole world to see.

    Give me the free tickets to burning man and be apart of a video that will be seen by millions of people all round the world.

    Lets rock n roll

  34. Can’t go to a festival make you own with your friends. Last year we made our own solstice festival. A local artist made a 6ft ball of Palm Fronds and sculptures of the 4 elements. Earth Wind Fire and Water. My band The Dark Lords of Infinity dressed as Roman gods and we played for a couple of hours and the lit the ball at midnight. We had 200 people there chanting as the ball burned. We then played for a couple more hours. Very memorable experience and we did it again this year. It was transforming.

  35. Over a decade ago I went to Ozzfest (a metal festival).

    The people that I met there completely changed my perspective on life, and I still reference moments from Ozzfest to this day.

    I felt true passion for the first time.

    Ozzfest was the beginning of a chain reaction that led me to forming a band, touring the country and having the best memories of my life.

    The latest phase of that chain reaction is the intense excitement that I feel in my gut anytime Burning Man is mentioned.

    It’s how I know I belong there.

  36. At Rothbury Music Festival in Michigan, I met a fellow backstage while enjoying a 4th of July rock band set to 40,000 ppl + fireworks. We started a conversation that would resume when I later moved to LA from the Midwest.

    My festival friend turned out to be one of the most respectful, supportive people I’ve ever met. Today, he is a best friend to me first, a business partner second, and my boss during the day where I dream job it at an entertainment merch company.

    A chance leads to an experience, and an experience could change your life.

  37. Nordik Impakt in France was my first music Festival and an amazing life lesson for a 17 year old.

    That night, I gave myself a 10-hour shot of live electro music, it taught me what passion and letting go of things was about. I was so drown into the music and visual shows that I spent this entire night up emptying my mind and enjoying the present moment, alone. (drug free..)

  38. Lollapalooza 2010 was my first music festival. I knew I had to get there, and planned all summer, but promises from friends fell through. When the time came, I didn’t book it off work, because I still didn’t have plans. Saturday night, my family decided they would drive me 5 hours to Chicago so my sister and I could experience the last day. There, I witnessed the art of liberation and it transformed as a young man. Sunday night I saw Arcade Fire live, where they immediately became, and have been ever since, my favorite band.

  39. I spent my entire childhood isolated by my parents because they didn’t want my American community to spoil me. I was taught that integration was bad, and that my culture was the only good and pure culture. Thankfully, I went to college and fate brought me a free spirited roommate who shattered the fortress of ice surrounding me. She took me to Summer Camp Music Festival, and my heart BLOSSOMED. I dream of immersing myself into the desert, inhaling the primal spirit of humankind, and dancing to the rhythms of everyone’s personal culture at Burning Man. I crave this connection.

  40. I went to my first festival seven years ago and have been to. Festival every year since. It has become my annual pilgrimage. There really is no other word for it. I am not a religious person but my experience at that festival was life altering. From the second I set foot on the festival grounds I was the truest version of myself. I was free. I felt liberated. I spent those 4days living authentically and without judgment. The air was ripe with positivity, good vibes, overwhelming joy and an indescribable sense of community. Never had I witnessed such pure acceptance. It was as if the blunders I had been wearing my whole life had been stripped away and I could see the universe in an entirely new light. That festival and every one I have attended since has created a desire to be the best version of myself and to radiate positivity within my life. It may sound cliched, but going to festivals has made me into “me.” if anyone is ever questioning whether or not to attend a festival, my answer is always “Go! You won’t regret it. In fact, it just may change your life!” 

  41. Burn night will mark the beginning of another great turning for me. When I come back from the Playa, I’ll be a divorced dad for the first time in a new home, with a new life to start to integrate.

    My first Burn cracked me open, pointed me toward true North, and eventually toward this love, now broken.

    I call on the Playa Gods to hold this grief in the flames, sooth my broken heart, and stoke once more the flames of my purpose. It’s time for another chapter – won’t you help me turn the page?

  42. Festivals are a great way to experience new things and create lifelong bonds with people you may never have come across otherwise. I’ve never been to burning man but I hear the experience is like no other and it sounds like an opportunity to grow on so many different levels. The diversity of the people and the festival itself has definitely put it on my bucket list.

  43. Some of the best festivals I attended were as a teenager working as a street vendor for my dad in Boston. In winter we worked First Night on New Years Eve, hand-toasting pretzels for happy revelers. On July 4th we hawked glow necklaces to fireworks going off to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, delighting scores of people. I was a shy kid, but at each festival I felt a bonhomie, a joy of being, a connection to and belief in humanity’s goodness. We can forget these elemental joys as we grow up; I’d like to share it again with my fellow humans.

  44. It’s a small festival (I might be cheating); my grandmother turned 90 last weekend. I asked her and others for their take on life:

    Don’t get angry as often. It’s a waste of time and emotions.

    People matter, being right doesn’t.

    Be kind.

    Choose how you respond, the situation is irrelevant.

    Participate! One life only.


    Inspiration: My uncle is teaching street kids basic maths in his town.

    I’ve decided to do something similar. I’ll helping previously disadvantaged learners prepare for their maths finals. So actually, I can’t come…I’ll be teaching! 😉

  45. Well, I have never experience anything like that, I need a change. I want to give to learn to give and receive I work 14 hrs a day can’t continue like this.

  46. Thank you much for this post!

    I was costume administrator for few festivals in Vietnam 3 years ago.

    I haven’t had chance to attend any festival since then. I miss its one-of-a-kind atmosphere – crowded and joyful. Would like to live it once again.

  47. Burning Man is an opportunity to look into myself and give others the opportunity to offer me what they feel. I have never been to a festival, and have not been to many concerts in my life. But, Life didn’t start with me, Life won’t end with me, but the opportunity for a life with a new outlook is why I yearn to experience Burning man. I think that I have the outlook to be free, and being a part of Burning Man is a chance for me release that feeling.

  48. Burning Man changed my life! I had the most profound experiences of my life at Burning Man – which opened my psyche to amazing new possibilities. I was an engineer, but deep inside I wanted to be an artist and didn’t even know it. Nor did I have the confidence to pursue it. Burning man gave me that confidence and inspiration! I went back to school for art and became self-employed. Now I am an artist and bring my art to Burning Man and other festivals. I can’t imagine my life without having made this transformation!

  49. Whether its Boom festival in the desert of Portugal or Edinburgh Festival in Scotland’s capital city, gatherings have allowed me to channel my connection to others, finding new, combined cultures. Usually inhibited by the design of society, our views of the city, of mother nature, and of the people around us are expanded. Festivals continually inspire me and others to become something outside of the norm, therein aiding the evolution of our societies through creative shared community. Burning Man is the ultimate expression of this, and everyone should have the chance to experience it.

  50. Everything’s crumbled. I’ve failed my way from to the bottom. From CEO to CEschmO. Tonight, I have shaven my hair completely off. A blank slate. The hair will grow until I have taken this shadow of a man and set him ablaze. Until I have undone my undoings. The Black Rock Desert sun is calling this son. The fire starts there. Want to light the match, Chip?

  51. It was the summer of 2003 and the smell of sweat and mohawk glue permeated the air. We were 13, and eager to prove our mosh worthiness at the Vans Warped tour to the likes of AFI, NOFX and the Casualties.

    Noses were bloodied, crowds were surfed, and hats were tragically lost, never to be seen again.

    But My fondest memory comes from Suicide Machines set, when as I headbanged in the front row an older girl, obviously impressed, grabbed me by the neck and started making out with me. There are worse ways to get your first kiss.

  52. Festivals have had deep a impact on my life. Authentic impact. At some my life was completely shattered, and at others entirely rebuilt, revived and inspired.

    I’ll never forget the moment when in the middle of an incredible performance – music blasting, the sea of people jumping, laughing, screaming – an incredible stillness amid the endless motion- and the sudden realization: I was the designer of my own life and that on one side of the coin I could fully embrace the creativity, and on the other I could ride along and watch the gestalt unfold before me. Authentic impact!

  53. Not going to enter the contest..live in India and not able to make it to the states that soon. Just want to say THANKS Chip for putting together that website. I will be checking it out and visiting a few of those in the next year.

    I love festivals and have been to a few including Burning Man. They rock and they are one of the reasons I have left living the USA dream and now live a simple life in India where I have time to do what I want. Joy

    1. Joy, While you won’t be winning the 2 tickets, thanks for winning my heart as you’re a role model in India….xo, Chip

  54. Relocated countries leaving my job, family & friends to be closer to my love. A conscious decision to change things for the better. 6 months in and I’m close to the blow out you speak of, afraid I’m allowing the pressures of it all ruin the opportunities & happiness that could be. I need a break to recharge! Just reading this article has had a profound impact on me. For days I’ve searched for the beach vacation as the answer… I know I need to look deeper, challenge the status quo and seek an experience that will make me grow

  55. Festivals always remind me of what we as people are capable when we return to a human scale. Burning man represents the ultimate journey on this path. The ultimate experience of embracing humanness.

  56. I never was there! I want 2 tix.

    Get ready for the ride of your life!

    Burning Man. . .gifts and barter as the only means of transaction

    It’s intent is to miraculously transform my nature so that world peace will become possible! Burning Man, the annual art, music, experience and everything else festival …

    Thank you so much for a great festival and an unforgettable experience!

  57. I followed my curiosity and excitement for new intense and beautiful interactions to my first Burning man at age 16, I found my home in the eccentric expansive ever changing new world of possibility and encouragement. The unstoppable awesomeness inspired me to experiment with who I thought I was and discover I could create who and what I become. Now I travel the world performing at festivals as a purple Beatboxing CyberUnicornTron spreading interactive extravaganzas and trying to bring more Fun color and lightness to the musical spectrum of festivals. Havn’t been back to Burning man in 4 years, would love to return home and be re-inspired!

  58. From the ashes of each festival experience spring new life lessons, new friends and humbling realisations that have made me reflect on the life I am living. I’ve worked at festivals in the UK and South Africa and been inspired to live a life of giving, rekindled my spiritual being and learned that in doing what we love, we help others in extraordinary ways. My focus now is on bringing together the IRL’s and URL’s to help inspire innovation and work toward a sustainable future. I have festivals to thank for that, and BM has been part of this dream.

  59. After 18 years of putting dreams on hold and doing carpentry, THE TIME to pack up, pick up and embrace life as an adventure … IS NOW.!!

  60. My best festival experience was attending a fireworks festival in Taiwan – they fill carts with fireworks and ignite them as people crowd around. It’s more fun than it sounds and was definitely transformative (combined with sleep deprivation, beer, and caffeine). I’ve since gotten married because I wanted to have someone to share those kinds of experiences with. My wife and I both love marriage and want to have a similar transformative experience together – burning man provides the perfect opportunity. Moreover, kids are probably on the way so we have a narrowing window of time, for burning man at least.

  61. A resort-style family vacation to Grand Bahama Island, we rented a car to explore, uncommon for resort-goers! in Lucaya, we learned tomorrow was their independence day. Next night we joined the Bahamians in Junkanoo. Similar to Carnival, but celebrating freedom. Everyone exuded a visceral understanding of what freedom meant, only 30 years earlier they shed colonial control, gaining prosperity and autonomy. Most remembered the first independence day. Celebrating not because they liked parades but parading because they were proud.

    The energy was intoxicating.

    It was the earthquake that shifted my perceptions of travel, culture, and how to see the world.

  62. 28 families ‘at risk’ depend on my team’s inspiration. You see, we live in a school and have just finished summer camp with them as well. I can see our little “it takes a village” throwing our hats over the wall to confront and conquer the resignation and entitlement beasts that live within. But first we’ll have to do that for ourselves. One of the police officers in our community has just joined us. I’d like he and the licenced clinician to go. Let’s set sleepy Pennsylvania’s heartland on fire!

  63. There is no simple way to explain how festivals have changed my life, but the quick answer is that they changed me on a personal, inward level. they have made me realize I can accomplish anything – from being hypnotized on stage at Leeds, through to dancing in the rain with no shoes on. There are few places on the planet where you can just be you, no judgement, no criticism, just you – festivals are one of those moments when fear goes out the window.

  64. I have been going to music festivals for over 10 years. Recently, these festivals have started being abroad more than near home. They give me a reason to explore new countries, find new music and meet new people. Music has also slowly given way to more of a cultural focus at the festivals I go to, so they are also hugely educational and inspirational.

  65. I’ve never been to a festival like Burning Man. The idea of it is both exhilerating and terrrifying at the same time; which is what moving out of a comfort zone feels like to me.

  66. Entrainment is a magical experience where the dancer’s body synchronizes with both the music and the dancer’s surrounding them. It’s a state of grace in which one pulse becomes the grounding beat of the crowd. As a dancer my entire life, I live for these moments and I want to bring this experience to more people. I’ve couple danced for years and in the best dances you can deliberately trigger entrainment with your partner. It can be taught and it would fulfill a dream of mine to bring that experience to Burning Man as my creative contribution.

  67. After going to the festival of lights of the gods in Varanasi my view of what a festival could be was redefined. Everything was centered on a crematory that was sending waiting souls to the afterlife life through the portal of the Ganges River. It was a beautiful unstructured convergence of youth, death, energy and happiness. No matter their role, the dying, the cremator, the transporter, the spectator every person had extreme respect and exuberance to what was occurring. Burning man gives of a similar modern day vibe. I would love to see the beauty in its functional chaos.

  68. Ever had an experience that was so mind blowing it changed your life? In 2001 I went on a first date to Burningman. If you become self aware, life’s little adventures (or mishaps) seem to illuminate a path for you to forage through. It became a journey of self expression, falling in love with my own being and transforming my self esteem into what I was meant to be, an artist. You see Burningman isn’t just a festival, but rather a complex community of like mind individuals that take pilgrimage to one of the most hostile environments, Black rock Playa. It’s a re affirmation in a sense of community something we Americans have forgotten since the 1970’s.

    This Year, I can not afford to attend BM, work has been to slow for me to save the funds. Regardless, I have been working on art that is attending BM, in the form of a Chinese junk ship with dragons and a Botanika wall in the French Quarter located at 3:00 and B street in the key hole. If I’ve touched your heart, I would love to talk more about my experiences on and off playa, for this has become my way of life and no longer feel the effects of culture shock. And in return I could get you a ride on an art car that serves junk food or maybe a special drink from the Golden Cafe, I am Sharudicat, the official house cat of FQ.

    1. Didn’t mean to post twice, just thought the first time had to many words and didn’t go through.

      my apologies.

  69. Believe it or not, I wasn’t exposed to the BM festival until my WWOOFing adventure in Australia. With a wild turn of fateful events came my spiritual growth and momentum towards interdependence. I love the inclusivity and shared awareness present in festivals. It gives you a chance to explore another part of yourself and help someone discover theirs. Since then, the BM mindset has revisited me multiple times– this time, in something that truly pushed the limits of my comfort zone. I strongly believe that festivals– in other words, challenging your comfort zone– are necessary for a self-actualized lifestyle and transcendence.

    Wonderful article, and thanks for sharing your IMF.

  70. Burning Man! I’m yearning, man!

    The fires of my soul never cease learning, man!

    First solo trip, In Germany I landed

    A journey of self and soul, my mind expanded.

    Wolkenkratzer Festival,

    One of the best of all…

    All of us souls, humans the same

    Dancing underneath Heaven’s warm rain

    Tears shed, and difference reside

    Teaching Oneness, our truthful ties.

    But Burning Man! I’m yearning, man!

    My soul craves this grand epitome,

    To bring present every bit of me.

    My bags are packed, I’m ready to go

    To Burning man, where I’ll continue to grow!

  71. Growing up in a sheltered yoga community being taught about our true nature and connection to all, with very strict guidelines that forced you to conform; the festivals were where I finally understood those concepts. Seeing the shine of everyones souls, the bliss manifesting when one is able to be who one truly is and the beauty that arises when people come together to celebrate and express the song of their hearts. Even when it pushed my comfort levels I grew and found the framework of who I am, and who I want to be. Truly a gift, thank you.

  72. I attended my first festival in Miami, it was the Miami Pop Festival. It was produced by the same people that did Woodstock a year and a half later. I was a sophomore in high school. I was playing as a professional musician at the time so it was like totally integrated into my life. The fall after Woodstock I found myself out of the band and the president of my student government. So i decided to get into promotion and produced two outdoor multi band festivals to fuel our school budget. Little mini Woodstocks even the administration had to acknowledge their success. Cut to 2010, I,ve been in the audio visual production business for 40 years. CHANGE MY LIFE EFFECT MY LIFE. I am now producing a documentary called “STOCKS”. You guessed it a study of all the festivals around the world with stock in the name , there are hundreds. I’v efilmed or attended about seven in four different countries, not to mention performed at our local stock “Fernstock” for the last 10 yes 10 years. I’ve also performed at “Birdstock” another local stock. Festivals have been an integral part of my life for 45 years. I want to go to Burning Man I can’t afford the time to go cause I’ve been on the road for 2 weeks and not in my studios HOWEVER if you give me the tickets I’m there with camera crew. I guess the studio crew will have to do without me for another week LOLOLOLOL. I’ve got sooooo much to share on the subject. Thus the documentary “STOCKS”

    slated for release spring 2014. Peace, Trust, Music, Tony

  73. You can’t give me the tickets because I’m already going, but I would love to meet you for a drink! I’m a virgin burner and was given the opportunity to go at the last minute. Now I can’t help but feel like my wouldn’t be quite complete if I didn’t go. I’m going to Burning Man because I believe in people and connection, and I don’t think there’s a more intense and beautiful way to connect to more people as genuinely as through an entire civilization built on principles of connection–to yourself, to your fellow burners and to the world in which we live. Talk about a transformative jump start! Amazing.

  74. Fire has always been my first love. It is the first application of my second love, science (albeit unknowingly) that significantly changed the fate of mankind – and I would love to go to Burning Man to celebrate fire and the life it has given us.

  75. We often link power with corruption. But when you have the power to offer someone a life changing experience, the only corruption occurring is that of our assumed reality. What an incredible gift this is. Even though only one person will win this particular contest, you have created such an inspirational movement that we will all benefit in some way. Burning man has been on the top of the bucket list for awhile. But even more important would be sharing the gift of transformation with another. Thank you so much for the opportunity to do both.

  76. I am Burning.

    I am ready.

    For the past year I have been attending a different kind of festival. Film Festivals. Just as you described, the experience has been transformational. The film I wrote/directed/acted has been a 3 year journey and drained my resources. But the response has been phenomenal from audiences. Distributors on the other hand shun films that don’t have cape.

    Before the film I was a real estate agent. A slave to the dollar, and enslaving others with subprime mortgages. After the 2008/9 crash I went back to art, and wrote a very personal film about Latinos dating in New York.

    Now I find myself at a crossroads. Continue with personal/art films. Or move to LA and write for the man.

  77. I think festivals are amazing for finding yourself but also discovering what (or who) needs to be let go from your life. In 2011 I bought one ticket to Bonnaroo. This was going to be my first festival and I ended up deciding to go with a group of people I had met only a few days before it started. I had no idea what to expect…but something magical happened in those four days. After the festival was over I left the relationship I was in that wasn’t going well, later meeting my dream girl and I was asked to be a groomsman by one of the guys I went to the festival with. I believe there is a truer version of ourselves that can be provoked by the experience from festivals. I am forever grateful for the direction my life has turned since that weekend.

  78. I met her. It was like a story book fable, an experience Ill never forget. Lollapalooza 2012 was eye opening, I traveled their alone because none of my friends could put together a plan, truth be told, I liked rolling solo. So many bands to see, it was almost over whelming, but the one that I came for was the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I wanted to see one of my favorite rock bands preform before they stopped touring. The night before they played, the Black Keys played, who I also love, that where we met; the first time. This cute little Indian girl, was posted up with a friend on the railing where the staff can be separated from the crowd. We started chatting and ended up realizing that, as much as we loved the Keys, we were both really their to see the RHCP. So, after the black keys we exchanged numbers and decided to meet up for that tomorrow. The next day we can’t communicate because there are so many people packed in the park of Chicago that all phone signal dies. I think that is that, and go about my day. While trying to get a good spot to stand for RHCP a crazying thing happens. Half the people who watch the band before them wanted to leave, while the rest pushed to get front row to see RHCP. This caused what I would like to refer to as he frozen ocean of people. beucase so many people where pushing in opposite directions everyone just squeezed together, and little progress was made. People banded together wading through the mud the was created from the rain earlier that day. We had to create a huddle so our air circulation wasn’t cut off, it was literally that tight. Out of all this commotion accidentally elbow someone, as I go to apologize, who else is it but the gorgeous woman I had met at the Black Keys concert. We stayed together the rest of the concert and danced the whole time, it was an unreal experience. We kissed during californication. She had a baby blue blanket that kept getting in the mud, so I decided to hold it for her, once the concert was over we said our goodbyes, gave each other one last kiss, and that was the last I ever saw of here. I still have the blanket I forgot to give back to her. If I hadn’t gone to that festival I would never have had that amazing experience.

    I have always wanted to attend burring man, I hear everyone is peaceful, and It’s like another society is created for a couple days. A chance to meet my favorite author, and entrepreneur would make burring man unreal. I would really enjoy creating new memories, with new interesting people, such as yourselves, and all the other people I would meet on the journey.

    P.S. Sorry for going over 100 words. I know you don’t have a lot of time, but the story needed to be told somewhat properly.

  79. My first festival was Oz Fest, at the ripe age of 12 I convinced my eldest cousin to bring my brother and I to the gathering. It was intense. There were thousands of people who descended on this parking lot to thrash their big hair about.

    My most recent festival was celebrating Vesak Poya in Sri Lanka. I had just emerged from a vipassana course (ten days of silent meditation) and was ushered into the festivities in the city of Kandy. Vesak celebrates the enlightenment of lord Buddha. After ten days of struggling to quiet my mind and achieve some level of inner peace, it was amazing to be surrounded by worshipers chanting and praying in front of the tooth temple. An elderly man grabbed my hand and helped usher me through the crowds so I could pay my respects to Buddha’s tooth, it was an incredibly serene experience.

    I’m intrigued by the idea of Burning Man. A multi day art festival in the desert seems like an amazing mix between star wars, MoMa, and a lucid fantasy. Burning Man would be a life changing experience; uniting thousands of free and . The place is the idea; it’s absurd to me that thousands of people flee to one of the most inhospitable places in America to create art and to embrace generosity.

    Thanks for the opportunity to get a free ticket to burning man.

  80. Hello! I first became interested in the burning man when I worked for a few months years ago at a remote medical facility only a few hours from the black rock area, and I became fascinated with the idea and the beautiful remote “otherworldly” location of this. Amazing festivals I have been to include 3 which were in Brazil: Rio’s carnaval, plus the “love parade” in Rio, and one in the Amazon region callled the “Cupuacu festival” also Phuket Thailand’s vegetarian festival. These were all quite life-changing for me but I need an experience to express myself and connect to new people to help me break through to the next phase of my life as Im going through a long period of indecision and depression. I like the idea that “burning man” is a sort of great social experiment in which I believe the people want to improve the world and move away from a society obsessed with commercialism and materialism and social isolation and create more real connections between people through as stated above “less virtual and more ritual!”

  81. *// To be read in centered mode. //*

    A man

    is to be lit.

    Art is

    to be made.

    Life is

    to be lived, screaming at the top of your lungs

    or all together



    this is a man.

    This is art.

    If a few

    words like

    this can

    light me up,

    what will happen

    on Aug 26th?

  82. I Went to Sun festival, where I experienced Feeling of being connected with everyone, sense of amazing community with 10000 people, great music and finding out about other people and how similar we actually are. Also I met the craziest love of my life here.

  83. Festivals are like Narnia.

    The attendees climbing through the wardrobe to discover this alternate reality…

    We live in our bubbles. We stick to our comfort zones. Our passions can experience atrophy when not challenged and surrounded with other passions.

    That’s the beauty of festivals—they open your mind, they connect you with some of the most incredible people, they change you.

    They’ve changed me. I’ve had the distinct pleasure of attending several festivals, and my life is so, so much better for it.

    It’s there, on the other side of the wardrobe, that I feel alive.

  84. Because I believe that dressing up is not a disguise, it’s freedom to be who you really are. Because flamboyance and play are essential keys to life. Because the universe throbs to a rhythm that is most closely emulated at festivals. Because creativity happens on the periphery of consciousness and to burn is to be at that edge.

    I made a pact with a new friend in India that I would see him at Burning Man. It’s the wrong year but I don’t think that matters very much.

    Chip, I am burning an invitation for you to revel with me.

  85. Honestly, I’ve never had the opportunity to attend a festival. Last week I threw out two intentions, to attend a World Series Game this year when the Dodgers make it, and to attend Burning Man, not aware of the dates. I checked your blog this morning and the universe presented my opportunity to do one of those. Today, I found the courage to tell my Dad about my desire to start a new business venture to which he agreed to help. I am hoping that this is me finally listening to the universe, getting a chance to experience this event.

    P.s.(Please don’t count towards 100) If I am not chosen, I hope the person getting these enjoys and appreciates the experience. Thanks for your time.

  86. I’ve never been to a festival before, not music, art, or even food. My last 20 years have been so consumed by profession, that my every act, thought and idea contained none of me. I was living someone else’s idea of life. Soon thereafter, I found Lloyd Kahn’s Tiny Homes book. Instantly, I knew I would build and live tiny. What I didn’t know was that crafting another’s experience would be more important than my own. And what better way to craft an experience than to share it. I’ve been told Burning = Sharing. Help me burn!

  87. I need to experience Burning Man to make sure the way I am now is the right starting point from which I can become the person I want to be. As a student reading English, it feels all too easy to lose sight of my own big picture and how that picture fits into the people I care about. I want to make sure I’m fit for purpose, and from what you’ve said about festivals on Tim’s blog, I know Burning Man will help.

  88. Festivals, including the Burning Man Festival, have literally changed my life. They yank me out of my routine, same-same world, force me to abandon all technology, and compel me to interact face-to-face with humans who are there to celebrate the joy of being alive. The people at the festival may have different languages or faces or clothes, but they’re all present for the same underlying purpose: to get away from a computer screen and celebrate life.

  89. I learned one unexpected skillset at my only foray to Burning Man in 2007; the sacred art of generosity. I was struck by how many strangers fed me hotdogs, pancakes and fresh lemonade by virtue of the fact I was merely a fellow reveler. And gave the most precious commodity at so finite an event; time. Hours, days spent preparing, only to give it all away. The evening back from the Burn, I met my girlfriend’s family for dinner, and greedily paid for everyone’s meal, feeling like they were the ones doing me the favor. The lesson persists to this day.

  90. Festival is concise; a concentrated recoil.

    Hours are saturated; filled with growth, narrative and listening. We speak facial expressions, read body language, ingest sounds and become sights.

    The beauty of the festival is her steady permeation – into our work, relationships and creativity. To ‘Festival’ is the act & art of discovering and implementing consciousness.

    For me to attend Burning Man, or any festival, is to refresh my commitment to openly and wholly engage myself, amid others, for the benefit of all.

  91. I attended a few silent meditation retreats and they have been a rejuvenating experience. Without cell phones and the daily grind, our retreat group was able to reflect on our lives and also bond during our ritualized meals. When I get home from these retreats, I have a sense of inner peace in my life. The simple moments in life are easily cherished.

    However, over the last few years I have lost focus on my life goals. The career I have pursued over the last five years is not what I envisioned it being. I believe by getting away for a few days, it can help me refocus my life. Hopefully learn at a culturally rich event with a diverse crowd.. Festivals always send me home renewed.

  92. Festival attendance is always a transformational experience. I have not attended Burning Man and if given the opportunity I would volunteer for the Zendo Psychedelic Harm Reduction Project. Last year I became an EMT and attended a critical incident stress debriefing class and would love the chance to share those skills with those in need.

  93. Life would be dull without carnival, festival, ceremony -we need them to break up the year.

    But it appears to me that our society has tamed their wildness. Historically, all kinds of crazy festivals went on which (I guess) we should be glad have disappeared – or have been vastly attenuated.

    I do envy members of other cultures though, who experience wild festivals and experience them vividly due to the associated rituals. As an outsider, I’ll never feel their significance in the same way. But then, I’m unlikely to be crushed in a stampeding crowd or worse. It’s some trade-off.

  94. For me the passing of my mother had a profound effect on my life. At the time the pain that experience caused prevented me from moving forward in a positive way for quite a while. Enter festivals, which to me were a way of communing with others at a time when all I wanted to do was crawl up in a ball and sleep (which is sometimes a good thing too:) I felt a kinship to people with similar life experience looking build connections to others and the world around them. It’s a lot like going to church if you think about it without a lot of judgment – mostly. There is a tremendous amount of love being dealt out at many of these events. They have had a healing effect on my life and I have become a more gentle, aware person as a result.

    Peace In The Middle East!

  95. “Festival Inferno”

    Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn! Burn baby burn!


    To mass transformation, yes! One hundred moments connected

    People gettin’ loose y’all gettin’ down on the playa – Do you feel?

    (the souls are flaming) Attachments were releasin’ – out of this world

    It was so liberatin’ – when the child started to dance

    I heard my soul say

    Burn baby burn! – Festival inferno!

    Burn baby burn! – Burn that spirit free

    Burn baby burn! – Festival inferno!

    Burn baby burn! – Burn that spirit free


    Satisfaction (uhu hu hu) came through you n me

    (burnin’) I couldn’t get enough, (till I had to self-destroy) so I had to

    self destruct, (uhu hu hu)

    The heat was on (burnin’), rising to the top, huh!

    Everybody’s goin’ strong (uhu hu hu)

    And that is when my spark got hot

    I heard somebody say

    Burn baby burn! – Festival inferno!

    Burn baby burn! – Burn that spirit free

    Burn baby burn! – Festival inferno!

    Burn baby burn! – Burn that spirit free


  96. Festivals are the human way to let the Universe put a great deal of people together for a cause or a particular reason in the same place & time.

    Art, music, chances to experience something new; all that is so appealing to my eclectic taste for life.

    I’m not really big fan of big crowds but I love human connection. As much technology we have around, this kind of events are really the perfect way to let our saturated lives go for a chance to live, love and just be for a moment…

  97. I already have a ticket to this years burn as it is an annual pilgrimage for me,and has changed my life dramatically. Through this event, and the culture it has nurtured, I have learned numerous life lessons and grown tremendously. I am a 20+ year hospitality professional that used to struggle with my choice of career. I have learned acceptance, gratitude, and how to live in the present–among many other lessons and finally found peace with pursuing my passion rather than just money. I would simply like to have the opportunity to meet Mr. Conley , a business owner that applies the wisdom he has gained to his profession.

  98. Seeing a bunch of my friends in a festival atmosphere adds a level of excitement. Meeting new people at a festival makes that new bond slightly stronger. I recently moved to New York and I’ve been hanging out with people here in New York who I met at SXSW or Sundance even though we didn’t hang out that much at the festival. There is a level of comfortability that comes from enjoying such an experience together. In fact, one of my new best friends in NY is because of someone who I met at Burning Man many years ago. She introduced us because we were both into Bman and we get off famously. Would love to win the tickets so I could go again! Loved this post.