Gratitude Migration — Photo courtesy of Peter Ruprecht @peterruprecht
So you didn't get a ticket to Burning Man. Again. And you're freaking out. You've already taken your wrath out on the virtual world via your Facebook status updates, and you've put the message out to the universe that you need to find a way to get to Black Rock City, because you deserve it. But no matter how much grieving and bargaining you do, the playa simply will not provide.
Well, first of all, quit panicking (especially veteran burners; this happens every year, and you go ever year!). Nobody is getting rid of the Burning Man tickets they just bought, so quit asking and be patient.
There are still plenty of other opportunities in the form of the OMG sale, and almost five months for life to get in the way of thousands of attendees who bought tickets but will eventually realize that going to Burning Man is a giant commitment that they simply can't make this year. Just like every other year, a flood of tickets will come rushing in during July and August – you just have to know where to look.
But more importantly, you don't have to go to Burning Man this year. Not really. In the past few years, as burner culture has spread across the world (and as holier-than-thou burners have decided that Burning Man – perpetually better last year – Is Over, and it's time to take the ethos elsewhere), a huge crop of amazing intentional festivals and Burning Man regionals have started popping up all over the planet.
Each has its own particular twist, but many are based on the 10 Principles of their predecessor, and most don't mean battling days-long dust storms, brutally hot days and frigid nights.
Here are 10 of the best Burner(ish) festivals coming up:
Lucidity | April 7-9 | Santa Barbara, Calif.
This intentional/music festival transforms the lush and verdant Live Oak Campground (the former site of Lightning in a Bottle) into a fairy forest. The festival is made up of seven distinct villages: one where you can get your rave on at all night dance parties; one focuses on energy and awareness, martial arts, and drum circles; and another is dedicated to spiritual healing, to name just a few. A weekend at this festival and you might just feel like you’re actually lucid dreaming.
AfrikaBurn | April 24-30 | Calvinia, South Africa
While it’s actually some 10,000 miles away, AfrikaBurn is about as close to Burning Man as you can get, aesthetically speaking (as well as geologically and pain-in-the-butt-wise). On a farm called Stonehenge next to the Tankwa Karoo National Park, about 250 miles outside Cape Town, you'll get those epic desert sunsets and wide open spaces that make for perfect Instagram photos. T
here are sandstorms here instead of dust storms, and the population of this temporary city is only a fraction of the size, but you’ll still get all the mutant vehicles, massive art, half (or fully) naked bodies and, yes, plenty of things burning.
Genius Loci Fest | June 22-26 | Erendira, Mexico
Genius Loci isn’t quite a burner festival, and it’s not quite a music festival either. It is a celebration of music, yoga and surfing on a rugged beach in Baja California, about 250 miles south of the U.S. border. Expect some top-notch electronic music, but plenty of opportunities for cliffside meditation sessions or campfire drum circles, if that’s more your speed.
Gratitude Migration | July 14-16 | Keansburg, N.J.
Gratitude is about the closest thing you'll find to Burning Man on the East Coast. Just think of it as a mini-burn on a different sort of playa (you know, the way the Spanish use the word) with full views of the New York City skyline in the backdrop. And an ocean, you guys – well actually a bay, but still! And floating island barges, waterslides and boat parties – which are all things you can only dream of if you're roasting in the Nevada sun.
Performances by fire troupes, top DJs, and spaces for yoga, healing, and talks make this one of the most well-rounded festivals out there, particularly for its size. More than anything, Gratitude is a place for, well, gratitude and a celebration of community. Also did I mention there's a huge body of water?
Lightning in a Bottle | May 24-29 | Bradley, Calif.
Lightning in a Bottle is kind of like a cross between Burning Man and Coachella (though more towards the BM end of the spectrum). It definitely has a heavy focus on the music lineup, but it’s a lot more than just a music festival. One of the first "transformational festivals," LIB is as well known for its personal growth workshops and interactive art – as well as its idyllic setting among rolling hills and a pristine lake – as its tunes.
Nowhere Festival | July 4-9 | Castejón de Monegros, Spain
With both Portugal's Boom Festival and Germany's Fusion Festival taking the year off in 2017, Nowhere is Europe's unofficial Burning Man regional, and other than AfrikaBurn, probably the most similar to The Big Burn than any other festival on this list. Firmly grounded in the 10 Principles and, as you can probably guess, located in the middle of nowhere, this festival offers endless opportunities for people to get their freak on, whatever their freak may be.
Oregon Eclipse | August 17-23 | Antelope, Ore.
Taking place at Big Summit Prairie, in Ochoco National Forest, Eclipse bills itself as a “global synaesthesia of art, ideas, music, dancing and international community.” In more practical terms, it's a massive collaboration by 11 major music and intentional festivals coming together to celebrate the total solar eclipse on August 21.
It’s an ambitious undertaking – and in inspirational collaboration – to throw such a massive festival that ends just days before Burning Man starts, but so many major names in both the music and festival world, as well as a lush setting in the Pacific Northwest, have people pining for tickets.
Secret Garden Party | July 20-23 | Abbots Ripton, UK
Anyone who has gone to Burning Man knows that part of the deal is battling the elements in what veteran burners like to exaggerate as being the “worst environment on earth” (go spend a week on Everest, then let's talk). At Secret Garden Party, instead of dealing with heat, dust and freezing temperatures, you get rain and mud, which can be really fun if you embrace it.
The festival takes place in the Cambridgeshire countryside in what is essentially a natural garden, filled with wildflowers, a shimmering lake and bunch of colorfully costumed hippies getting their groove on. The weekend of all-night dance parties, labyrinths, and paint and mud fights is capped off with an impressive ceremonial burn of all the lakeside art.
What The Festival | June 16-19 | Dufur, Ore.
What The Festival is right! This weekend-long bash in the shadow of Oregon’s Mount Hood is kind of like intentional festival meets summer camp. Yes, there are typical art installations, people wearing animal onesies and scantily clad new-age hippies doing happy baby, but there are also wading pools, workshops and even a comedy stage. For a festival of this size – somewhere around 5,000 – WTF (their abbreviation, not ours) takes its music seriously, with headlining acts that include Cut Copy and Gramatik.
Kazantip | July 14-August 14 | Anaklia, Georgia
Kazantip is kind of like Burning Man's drunk cousin. It does not necessarily share the principles of its American counterpart, but it has all of the radical self expression and plenty of hedonism. This month-long festival (seriously) now takes place in Georgia – the country; not the state – on one of the widest and most pristine beaches in the Black Sea. Kazantip also has the comforts of actual rooms with beds, unlike most festivals, but the crowd of mostly Europeans, Russians and Ukrainians who call "The Republic of Kazantip" home don’t spend much time sleeping.