Love Festivals? Check Out These Six Alternatives To Burning Man
In the past few years, the art festival/desert rave known as Burning Man has come under fire for becoming increasingly inaccessible and over-run with Silicon Valley tech elites, losing its original anarchic flavor and instead becoming an event for the 1%.
Below, we’ve put together a list of Burning Man alternatives that take a more plant-based, nature-centric approach to alternative living. Festival goers rejoice!
With a clear nature-bent, Envision Festival offers workshops that reinforce a connection with the earth (like hands-on permaculture) and is supported by sustainable infrastructure (like on-site composing). Envision takes place during late February at Rancho La Merced, a National Wildlife Refuge in Uvita, Costa Rica. With the park’s wide skies and beaches as the setting, it seeks to demonstrate and explore “how we relate to the earth and one another.” Envision shares Burning Man’s desire to seek out an alternative lifestyle, but has a more accessible, sustainable approach.
Earth Frequency Festival
Earth Frequency Festival takes place over the course of four days at Ivory’s Rock in South-East Queensland, Australia. The festival is driven by “shared interests of music, nature, technology, culture, community and peace” and is family-friendly (the family area offers events like family yoga, DIY terrarium building, and tie dye). Similar artists perform at Burning Man and Earth Frequency, but the latter tends to focus fundamental connections to nature rather than just self-expression.
Located in Geopark Naturtejo during mid-August, Boom Festival has as its setting along Portugal’s historically-rich rivers and geo-monuments (though if it’s the dusty earth and hot weather you miss about Burning Man, they certainly have that, too). Despite primarily being a music festival, Boom has a clear devotion to its space, as well as nature writ large. Three months before the festival kicks off, Boom hires a team of permaculture gardeners to plant seeds (edible and ornamental alike) across the event site, with the intention that they become “special places to reconnect with nature’s grand design” during the festival.
For four days at the end of August, Shambala Festival takes place in Northamptonshire, England with the intention to “promote and inspire participants to live their lives in a more sustainable way.” A permaculture field and insect café accompany workshops on urban gardening, wildflower planting for kids, music, dance, cabaret, spoken word, and art installations. The event is more living and wellness focused than Burning Man, but still offers up a similarly eclectic variety of performances to enjoy.
Symbiosis Gathering takes place in late September in Woodward Reservoir, California with a diverse blend of performances similar to Burning Man (music, art, yoga, lectures, dance, etc). Symbiosis’s wooded setting, however, gives it a more laid-back, earthy, renewal vibe, as opposed to Burning Man’s more frenetic, heightened energy. Symbiosis stresses a connection between people and the natural elements. The lake at the center of the grounds keeps a connection to the natural world close at hand.
Beltane Fire Festival
If fire is what you love about Burning Man, look no further than the Beltane Fire Festival (“Beltane” quite literally means “bright fire”). With roots in the ancient Iron Age Celtic ritual, Beltane has Burning Man’s fire displays but brings to them a more traditional, pagan connection. The single event (an epic procession around Calton Hill in Edinburgh) takes place in late April and is focused around the beginning of summer and the fertility of the land, with the ultimate mission of both reviving ancient practices and creating “our own connection to the cycles of nature”.
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