I want to start this by saying I LOVE BURNING MAN. I am super fortunate to be able to go to festivals all year long, but there is nothing that I look forward to more than eating dust surrounded by some of my favorite people in the world. This is actually where my one and only problem with Burning Man comes in. I go to festivals to hang out with my friends. The music, the art, and the experience are all a big excuse for me to hang out with people I love.
Unfortunately at Burning Man you can’t just find your friends when you want to. You have to try and set up a meeting spot and hope that both of you remember. Burner purists seem to think that this a great part of Burning Man. I completely disagree, so much so that I am confident saying that Burning Man would be twice as much fun if we had cell service. Before you get your goggles in a bunch let me explain.
I understand that one of the most important principles of Burning Man is being radically self-reliant, and if you want to see someone then you should arrange it. This is easier said than done. I know there is a system where you can do it through the computers, but let’s be honest, not many people use it. It’s not just meeting up with friends that is a problem. You can be out with someone, make one little mistake like stopping to take a picture and suddenly you lose your friend for the the rest of the night. It sucks. It happens and is part of the experience, but I really believe the experience would be more fun with cell phone communication.
It’s also a bummer when you come across something really special that is happening in the middle of the playa. Maybe there is a special DJ set from one of your favorite DJs, or maybe you just made some new friends and want your crew to meet them. Unfortunately, there is no way to bring people that are important to you into your exciting experience. You just end up telling them about it later.
My biggest complaint about the lack of communication is your inability to meet up with people that you would just like to have a beer with. These are the people that you are friends and would like to see at some point during the week, but you aren’t going to go way out of your way to meet up. There are just too many of these people to make plans with. You will stop by their camp a couple times, they will stop by yours a couple times, and if you miss each other, which you probably will, you have to shrug your shoulders and accept that it wasn’t meant to be. It still sucks though.
I will admit that one of the downsides to having cell service could be that people would be people constantly texting all day, which would be horribly annoying. Then there is the issue of people using social media during the festival. Is that an issue? I have faith in the community that they would only use their phones when they needed to. If we can build a entire city filled with people that pick up after themselves, don’t you think we could also have people that just use their phones for communication
That’s what I think, and I want to know your thoughts on this as well. Just post here.