A trek out to the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada for the annual Burning Man festival (which is happening right now) is not for the faint of heart. It is hot, dusty, wild and there will be sex, drugs, and plenty of booze not really a Romper Room type of place. Despite the debauchery, each year many a brave family will head to the wild west and bask in the glory of all that Burning Man has to offer. But would you?
Bringing children to Burning Man could potentially be an amazing experience from the art, performances and just the sheer creativity on display there. As Max Icon on the Burning Man website said bringing the kids to Burning Man is, “not an easy decision, but it may prove to be one of the best field trips you could ever take them on.” Judi Morales Gibson (a Burning Man regular who has brought her son to the event since he was 16-months-old he is now 8) said, “Speaking as a parent, I truly believe that the Black Rock City experience and the Ten Principles provide an amazing educational immersion that can’t be found anywhere else.”
If your child has not attempted the great art of camping, doesn’t quite know how to go with the flow yet, or are sick in any way, it could be a disaster. Max Icon’s article “Kids at Burning Man” goes into detail on what you need to know before attempting this risky feat.
Enough parents are bringing their children to Burning Man that a whole “village” has been established entitled Kidsville, where kids and their families can camp with other families. And with that there are special rules like “no public sex acts and no open drug use.” Plus they have family friendly workshops to keep the kiddies entertained.
Then there are the non-families aren’t that thrilled with the “family” tone that Burning Man has adopted. On a Burning Man message board a poster named Captain Goddammit wrote:
“Bringing kids to Burning Man is a hotly contested topic here. It’s officially allowed by the event, so you can do it. I’m on the “extremely against it” side of the fence for reasons other than moral or child-safety. Burning Man has had to tone down and become more “PC” and “safe”, and lose a lot of it’s identity and personality, because of people bringing minors. The cops and other powers-that-be don’t want kids being exposed to various things, forcing the rest of us to comply. I personally don’t care how you raise your kid. I personally don’t think Burning Man will harm your kid. But your kid will harm Burning Man.”
Would you ever consider bringing your children to an event like Burning Man?