On the flight up, we happened to fly by the Delta where we had ephemerisle a few weeks prior
By the time we go to pyramid lake, the visibility was pretty terrible due to fires in the area and if I weren't for GPS, I wouldn't have gotten to Burning Man. It was very hard to see even when I got there. It took several passes until I was finally able to find the runway and keep it in view long enough to get aligned with it
once on the ground you could see, but in the air, not so much
As usual, we taped the plane carefully:
The flight back was slightly nicer. The plane was packed with luggage we had to bring back. It was monday by then, so many people had left already:
Like the previous years, it was a lot of work to process/fix/sort all the pictures and write this summary report (Over 4000 pictures this year, trimmed down to 2600, and 274 selected as the better ones sorted in different categories, 191 are in this page because I'm not good at picking :) ). All pictures are geotagged, so you can click on them to see where they were.
As a way to say thanks if you enjoy the report, share it with your fellow burners, or friends who might be interested in burning man.
If you'd like to see reports from previous years, you can go to my main BM page, and especially if you don't know burning man, you should read my 2002 page which has more of an introduction.
If you'd like to use my pictures in a commercial setting, drop me a line to discuss and I can give you full resolution pictures (marc<at>merlins.org).
If you'd like to say thanks with cash, please donate money to one of the many camps and art installations that are often out of pocket after burning man.
Can't believe it's been 16 years since my first burning man, and the 10th year for me. This was my first time arriving on sunday, giving us more time to see things without having to race around.
I got a burner's license to celebrate:
I again tried to enjoy the moments and interactions more than bike every last street, but I still covered a lot of ground. I biked 318km/197 miles in 7.5 days, which is a record for me. It is half the distance from San Francisco to LA on playa dust with a not so good bike. I did not have to worry about RC flying this year, unlike 2016
my hastily built electronics somehow survived the playa dust
Speaking of which, got many great comments on my shirt, including someone who said "Everyone stop! This guy won burning man" ;-)
If you want to learn more about how my shirt was made, you can go to this page.
While I had a high tech shirt with both front and back LED panels (1728 LEDs total), I was not the only one with a lit shirt:
my friend Chad Steinglass from the FastLED group I've been hanging out at while writing my shirt code
Black Rock City
The flight in was tricky to say the least, smoke and high winds with close to 0 viz when we arrived. It was my first time flying into burning man and virtually seeing none of the city, and definitely not the man. Seeing the runway was very hard, but we eventually found it long enough to land. Flight pictures here
The wind and viz were bad enough that there was a bus at the airport that did not want to leave because the driver said she couldn't see anything. So, we walked towards town, eventually got a ride close to esplanade and given that it was still sunday, we found some green playa bikes that were barely good enough to get us to camp (they were hard to ride, especially with luggage).
I'm not sure when BAIT, Burn Area Imprecise Transit, started, but cool to see it:
Anyway, after going through customs, we eventually found a ride to our camp (very long walk from the airport if you have luggage). For the rest of BRC, I've given many pictures of the essentials in my prior reports, I therefore refer you to them for more pictures I don't need to repeat here.
Of course, it was a robot theme this year
this RC washing machine was really cool
This got us to Dustfish who was nice enough to host us again this year. Thanks Opal!
Opal giving us a welcome briefing
Like my first year, nothing fancy for our home, just a tent, although I brought enough tarps to make shade for it:
brought 40W of solar panels
which helped charge all the electronics
sadly the panels weren't enough, I was using about twice as much as I was producing (top right)
Outside of Jennifer who was able to join this year, my two other passengers, JT and Joyce, were at Camp Soft Landing, so we went to visit several times to say hi and attend some of the talks:
the teahouse was popular as usual
Rick Doblin, director of MAPS
This year, Jennifer was with me to go visit all the theme camps that were there. I think we probably found 95% of them:
some people tried unnecessary high five really hard, throwing people in the air to catch the higher ones
uuum, ok :)
the obstacle bike course was fun again
viewing platforms were very welcome
despite the lack of water, things grow on the playa
man museum is still fun to see
awesome giant size 3d printed rotating heart. i have a small version of it
I took Jennifer to the Black Rock Wine Cellar
I'm assuming this is part of one of the races they have around the playa
baby cheetah camp was replaced with Nicolas Cage camp :)
Thank you to all the camps that were offering yummy food and drinks
grilled cheese is a BM specialty
champagne, sure thank you :)
these guys came equipped. Thank you!
ice cream too
fondue was awesome
Then, there is the issue of cookie cutter camps that are sold to pay and arrive folks. Many burners don't really love this, then again BM is about radical inclusion. Is there a right answer?
while others are likely just people who brought the same tents, literally :)
A few more funny signs from this year:
Some Camps are also interesting to visit at night of course:
My friend Tinic still had Duck Pond, with good music and a stocked bar:
Tinic and I go back 20 years, funny to run back into him on the playa
One camp had 4 decked out tents available to win for the night:
This leaves us with sound camps. Opulent Temple was a clear winner this year. They put out a great show with a solid lineup, including trance (thanks guys!). Listen to the video summary
But they were not the only ones:
awesome fire effect in this one
And then, there was the 747, the biggest one yet. It cost more to move to the playa, than to purchase and deck out. It was crowdfunded and was a labour of love. Well done guys:
I got a tour during the day on sunday, nice of them to give guided tours most of that day:
Of course Burning Man is is nothing without its people, here are some shots:
ran into the french maid parade again. I used to try and find where they started from. No need, easier to let them find me :)
Of course, even cooler at night:
And I ran into friends of course:
Jennifer had fun exploring BM again:
And then there is the billion bunny march:
Critical tits, a few pictures only given that it's difficult to ask for permission
I also caught a few people biking by as part of critical dicks:
The last day, I found this on a playa, a human wrecking ball:
Didn't quite make it for an art tour this year but did my own :)
The Orb was "interesting". It was used to display laser movies at night:
As always, as we reach sunset, things got better again:
some people got to climb it before it was banned as the structure was not very sound
I went back to Sonic Runway, quite cool as always:
Hexatron was also quite cool:
I'm told I blent in quite well :)
Paraluna was a new one, nice too:
The color wheels were quite nice, and it was quite cool how they could stack up and climb:
Great to get some elevated night views:
A Dutch university team brought a lot of hardware to do a drone show. The lowlight was the posted times that were confusing got pepole to come and wait for a show that wasn't happening, as well as terrible perimeter control (they wanted to do their own with volunteers and it wasted 30-45mn per show as a result, a damn shame when the artery was ready to give them experienced perimeter folks that would have done this properly). People pointed out to me that I shouldn't complain about a free show, but waiting a combined 3H+ there took a lot of time away from other nice things I could have seen.
All that said, the show was interesting. It was a flying swarm. I personally prefered intel-like shows where the drones drew shapes and letters, but that's just a matter of preference:
peek into the base they setup. No small feat...
hello world test to check the wind
Another one was the Rainbow Bridge that had very cool patterns on display, including pacman:
Sextant had its Tesla Coil again:
and when I was able to be up all night, sunrise is even better:
someone made a cloud machine
don't even ask me how this bird got here
Jaguara eating the sun
As usual, I enjoyed all the crazy vehicles, art carts, and bike-like constructions :)
Of course, it gets even better at night:
Some coworkers built some very cool LED surfboards
Jaguara was new and super pretty. Close 2nd to Mayan Warrior:
The winner was still Mayan Warrior though:
And of course you had bikes too:
many bikes for rent
nice to see neopixels on a bike
Many camps were nice enought to offer bike repair services and help. Thank you:
Besides the main man burn, there were lots of other burns and fire dancing
Remember to stop by the Artery for daily burns:
the size of perimeter around a burn gives you a clue of how nice it may be
the train burn had many fireworks
eventually the 2 trains collided and burnt
Big Polinator also had nice fireworks
Then came worm watch
Turns out they still had some kind of man like statue in the middle, and I don't want to spoil the end, but it got burnt :)
waiting for the burn
the pre-burn show was excellent as usual
After the burn was well over, the BBQ crew was back:
by sunrise, it was edible, well done.
This year, I decided to make BM a full experience, so I elected to stay for the temple burn. The temple was very nice again:
There was a really cool silent piano you could listen to with headphones. Very cool idea and setup:
This was my second burn where I was able to enjoy it the new way, and be up all night. Lots of things to see, great night. It feels that the night went by quickly despite the time distortion. Weather was much better than my last burn where we had a heavy dust storm during the night and I literally had to bike blind using my GPS, hoping not to run over someone laying across the playa.
The temple burn night was interesting to see again after so many years. Much more low key party-wise given that many people are already gone, and people have to strike the next morning, but still worth seeing for sure. The next morning, after getting up and packing up our own stuff, blondie was super nice, gave us a ride back to the airport in our boat art car, and we flew home:
I hope you enjoyed this report. Feel free to say thanks to me by simply sharing it with your friends, and see you on the playa in the future (or you'll see me at night with my lights).
It was supposed to be Paul Oakenfold playing for us, but sadly he called in sick that day, so a few local DJs stepped in for us, and DJ Mars took over the lead spot for the night. While I didn't love what he played, it was nice to see my friends and DJ Blur playing the 2 hours before that.
While it was not the night it was supposed to be, it was still good times.
Jennifer booked us a table at Meadowood 3 months early when their calendar opened up. It's a competitor to French Laundry in Napa, which features Californian food instead of French food.
It was a fancy 10 course menu, well presented, and not as much food as French Laundry (both good or bad depending on how you look at it).
The food itself was good, including a nice helping of good tasting caviar, but the French person in me was disappointed at the total lack of any bread, and when I asked about some, all they had to offer was sourdough, which I politely declined :)
The desserts were ok, but not to the same level as a French restaurant like French Laundry, but I'm obviously biased :)
All in all, it was still a good meal which we quite enjoyed, and their reservations were easier to get than French Laundry, so that's also a plus. A few pictures: