shorties at burning man: don’t be a playa hater

Note from, well, me: This guest blog post was written by some good friends of mine who are seasoned Burners (see #5 here for clarification). They wish to remain anonymous, thereby sidestepping the glittery, psilocybin-infused wrath of thousands of dirt-encrusted furry-leopard-bikini-wearing fellow Burners. It is not necessarily the opinion of this here Burner Virgin. Thank you and happy reading…

one of the least-naked photos I could find that didn't violate copyright.

With the sellout of tickets this year and recent articles in major magazines and newspapers, there is no doubt that Burning Man now receives mainstream attention. Many parents out there would love to go but have the dilemma of whether or not to bring their kids along, perhaps because they are open-minded and want to share their life experiences with the whole family, or simply because they have no one to leave their kids with. After all, there is a family-friendly place called KidsVille, and several positive and encouraging testimonials from parents who have brought their kids to the playa. Last year there was a 14 year-old girl tossing fire at one of the big dance clubs, and her friend said it was her seventh burn!

For those of you who are so inclined or are considering bringing along your evolved teenager, your fun-loving tweener, or even your infant who will just hang in your sling the whole time you are there, we would love to share some dissenting opinions we have gathered from seasoned burners, all of whom are parents themselves. And, in a nutshell, why you may not want to bring your kids to Burning Man.

* You never know what you will see. As adults, we can see crazy, unexplainable, things and parse that through our brains, either making sense of it or not; but either way, we’re not going to be traumatized. Kids can’t do that. At a certain age, things are hard to explain.

* Do they have to have the experience at a young age? Why expose the kids now to the mesmerizing world that is Burning Man when there are still so many other things in their lives that provide that exhilaration? Kids still get excited by school carnivals, trick-or-treating, and even simple displays of fireworks. Burning Man is one of the few environments that can still amaze and cause glee in adults. Why expose the kids to that so early?

* Burning Man can be an escape, a bonding, a reconnecting or recalibrating experience for parents. The playa is a place where parents can feel like they are on a different planet than their kids, they don’t have to talk to them every day, or wish they were there with them. Having a complete break once a year makes for better parents the rest of the time.

* Adults at Burning Man, whether they are parents or not, don’t really want your kids there. Whether you should consider that or even care, it is hard to deny that if everyone started bringing their kids, Burning Man in its current amazing form would no longer exist.

* There is a lot of hard partying, drinking and drugs at Burning Man. While most people are having a normal, hard-charging, maybe not-so-innocent good time, there are many people who are clearly not in good shape and even look a bit disturbing. Do you want your kids to be surrounded by that for a week?

* There are very few kids at Burning Man. That should tell you something. It also means it will be less fun for your kids.

* Do you really want the parental responsibility while you are at Burning Man?

– The vast array of astounding artwork that you see at Burning Man unfortunately does not come with operating instructions and is definitely not childproofed. Therefore, if you interact with any of it, you do it AT YOUR OWN RISK. Do you really want to do this with your children?

– The Playa is not a kid-friendly environment! Kids will be sleep-deprived, dehydrated, and uncomfortable (heat/cold/wind/dust).

– You would have to disrupt your party schedule in order to tuck them in at night and also be moderately functional in the morning.

– It is sometimes hard enough to keep track of each other, much less your little munchkins, especially in a dust storm!

– The portapotties. The dust. The whining because they can’t sleep. Or the recurring thought that you should have brought them somewhere else instead.

* And some just for laughs…

– They don’t play Taylor Swift at Opulent Temple.

– Kids are more flammable

– Kids aren’t allowed to play with fire.

– Shots just aren’t the same with a sippy cup.

– Really? You paid $600 bucks for your kid to go to Burning Man?!?


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