Black Rock Desert Arts Festival: Top 10 things to know going in, OK so 12

This was sent to us by a friend who attended the Black Rock Desert Arts Festival 2009.

  1. Have an open mind. This is the most creative place I’ve ever been; good, bad and ugly. Black Rock City is also the most diverse place you will visit. You will encounter all walks of life.
  2. It’s hot, windy and dusty every day. If you don’t like extreme weather or you don’t like to get dirty then don’t go. One of the gals in our group was just miserable with the dust, and she went home early.
  3. Sun Screen: The sports sun screens work well because they don’t sweat off.
  4. Food and Water: It’s good to have water & food with you always.
    • The fitness waters are good with electrolytes for hydration.
    • Cliff bars, Power bars, etc are good for quick snacks.
    • Plan easy camp meals. Don’t get too fancy because you may have to cook in the wind and/or dust.
  5. Dust Gear: Dust goggles, dust masks, hankies and a Compass.
    • Dust Goggles: Get clear and smoked lenses. The goggles with exchangeable lenses are a good way to go.
    • Dust Mask: Be sure to get one with a valve because you will breathe easier.
    • Hankies: I made hankies out of Batik material (no sew; just cut them out with pinking shears). It is heavy cotton and works well to keep the dust at bay for lighter storms.
    • Compass: Just in case you need to get your bearings in a dust storm to get to the closest shelter.
  6. Comfortable clothes & shoes:
    • Be prepared for hot days and cold nights. Layering works well.
    • Walking shorts for the day and pants for the colder nights.
    • Hiking boots are a must for comfy feet (read about Playa feet).
  7. Ear plugs: The Black Rock Desert Arts Festival goes 24-7 so ear plugs are a must.
  8. Mountain Bike: Bring a mountain bike (the knobbier the tires the better). It’s a great way to get around. If you plan to use a bike as your main transport you might want to consider mountain bike shorts. They look like baggy shorts and they will save your bum.
  9. Epsom salts: Bring Epsom salts and your feet will love you. We evolved into this great afternoon ritual. We talked about things we’d seen during our day and we soaked our tired feet.
  10. Bring nothing that you care about to the Black Rock Desert Arts Festival. It may not live to tell about the trip. I was very worried about my camera equipment but not so much that I didn’t take it all. I have to replace some lens filters and I have a lot of cleaning to do now, but I’m glad I had everything with me.
  11. Volunteer as much as you can. You will see a different side of the event and you will have a better understanding of some of the Black Rock Desert Arts Festival thinking by gifting your time.
  12. Read all you can on the Black Rock Desert Arts Festival site before you go. There is a lot going on every day and night so be sure to check out the daily schedules on the website.

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