There are plenty of festivals like Burning Man you can go to without having to spend a year planning and two weeks in the desert. Here are a few to shake your glitter at…
Burning Man is a bit of a legend in the festival world. When I tell people I blog about festivals, around 50% of people will ask me if I’ve ever been to Burning Man.
I have been to some festivals like Burning Man though…
With the cost of a ticket to Burning Man ($400/£280), the RV I’d have to rent ($1000/£700 split), the things I’d need to buy (loads probably), the flight (£600ish), and the accommodation either side (£who knows?) it’s too expensive for starters.
For seconds, you need a good group of friends to go with to get the most out of the whole experience, and with most of my friends married off, having babies or tied to mortgages I don’t have that either.
And for thirds, I feel like so many people go to Burning Man now it can’t possibly have that same small festival / everyone’s in it together vibe people flock there for.
Thank the festival gods for the events like Burning Man though.
Burning Man-inspired festivals
There are so many Burning Man-inspired festivals popping up all over the world, ones I think would hold a much more interesting story and experience.
With desert, fire and freedom as the underlying essentials for any festival a la Burning Man, along with a good dose of community, self-expression and art on top here are a few more festivals around the globe I’d love to go to.
Festivals like Burning Man
There are plenty of events like Burning Man around the world. If you’re looking for Burning Man alternatives then take a look at this list to inspire your year of festivals. There are some great Burner festivals here…
1. Lucidity Festival
For Lucidity, seven is the lucky number. The festival has seven different villages each of their own theme although all falling within the realms of transformational art and music. Again it’s a chance to let freedom of expression reign while embracing and preserving the natural landscape.
– More details on the Lucidity Festival website
2. Les Dunes Electroniques
Retaining the otherworldly feel indegenous to Burning Man, Les Dunes Electroniques takes the fantasy feel a little further taking place in a Star Wars village created by George Lucas himself. The electronic music festival gathers in the crowds and light-saber lovers for a desert music event.
3. Splore Festival
Set in another unique and natural spot, Splore Festival is all about bringing in new energy to an area of historical significance. Another community event, it promotes the idea of looking after the world we live in while encouraging people to become interactive with their arts in an ‘anything goes’ culture. This Burning Man like festival is one of the most popular in New Zealand.
– More details on the Splore Festival website
Pin these Burner festivals to save them
A little more subdued than Burning Man, Aurora, as it is officially known, still carries with it remnants of the sister event but swaps deserts for greenery and has adopted mellower tones. However, with art and music at its core this four day events attracts those all for peace, freedom and strong bass lines.
If you want more great March festivals, click here!
5. Afrika Burn
Tankwa, South Africa
Another brilliant festival like Burning Man, Afrikburn isn’t just an event but the creation an entire city. Each year volunteers come together to create an epic space for free-expression. Afrika Burn, like Burning Man, also has a set of principles to help attendees access the magical experience and also snubs vendors making it a BYO event when it comes to food and drink.
– More details on the Afrika Burn website
6. Burning Flipside
All about community creation and self-expression this Texan event says emphasises inclusion and acceptance. Another one to shun commercialisation, there are no concession stands so pack the sandwiches. Flipsiders are also encouraged to get involved and help create pretty art and make sweet music.
Definitely a great option for a Burning Man alternative in the USA.
– More details on the Burning Flipside website
One for the quirky, experimental and radical individuals, Midburn captures the otherworldly ambience of Burning Man and brings it to Isreal. An event for creativity and expression, expect much in the way of bizarre dress, desert activites and musical genius.
This festival is like Burning Man, but, to be honest, I’d much rather go to this one.
Midburn is one of the coolest festivals in the world.
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8. Electric Forest
Electric Forest is one of the best alternative festivals. As if being in a forest wasn’t cool enough, Electric Forest piles on the neon, paraphernalia and fireworks and brings in the best bands in electronic and jam music. The event is an opportunity to connect with nature, enjoy the arts and participate in a community that loves musical expression.
– More details on the Electric Forest Festival website
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50 questions, 50 answers – do it with friends, or by yourself!
9. High Sierra
High Sierra’s mountain setting creates a laid-back and life-loving feel. Over four days attendees can hear the best in music from a variety of different genres and break up their time with movies, workshops and yoga sessions. There’s also gourmet grub up for offer at this fest making it a popular one with individuals and families.
– More details on the High Sierra Festival website
Similar to Burning Man in its desert location, Nowhere channels all the creative thinking behind visual art and culture and brings it to this small Spanish location. At every turn there are sculptures, exhibits and installations while many musical acts create the perfect soundtrack. It’s also a free for all when it comes to performing so anyone can get on stage.
– More details on the Nowhere Festival website
11. Secret Garden Party
Abbots Ripton, UK
Another event jumping on the community and expressive experience is the UK’s Secret Garden Party. Surrounded by lakes, rivers and forests, SGP channels the natural energy and encourages festival go-ers to embrace all things creative whether that be by attending a yoga class, creating art or having a mud wrestle.
This is the Burning Man UK alternative.
– More details on the Secret Garden Party website
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Since 1997, Boom has celebrated the full moon biannually with art and culture. Add in some neon lights and psychedelic vibes and you have a pretty cool August weekend. House, trance, electro and chill-out tones are the genres of the weekend but you can also attend yoga classes, film screenings and group meditation.
A myriad of shapes, colour and trance, Ozora is a popular one for electro-lovers. While the music is a big draw, many also come for the vibrant art and to meet fellow Ozorians who share the love for Mother Nature and daddy techno.
– More details on the Ozora Festival website
READ MORE: The Importance of Festivals for Society
Boomtown is one of the coolest alternative festivals around. Looking at it now, it’s hard to believe BoomTown was born out of a small village fete. Today it’s a staple to any music and art calendar. With diversity at its core, BoomTown brings together a community of ‘freedom loving people’ who come together to celebrate the fact that we all have hopes, dreams and passions.
BoomTown is a great Burning Man alternative, and in sunny sunny England too! This is definitely one of those occasions where you can get your full-on festival accessories out.
– More details on the BoomTown Festival website
A little more family orientated, Shambala packs in enough events to keep both the kids and the bigger kids happy. From musical acts to organic markets and intense debates, the event brings together a community of like-minded people who appreciate the environment and look to enhance their own learning.
– More details on the Shambala Festival website
North Carolina, USA
Hailed as a psychedelic experience, Equinox (aka Touch Samadhi) brings trance music to this sleepy North Carolina town. It also encourages attendees to express themselves in all things art and music allowing for a weekend of creative overload.
– More details on the Equinox Festival website
17. Burning Seed
Burning Seed have taken on the same 10 principles of Burning Man but, in the middle of a forest they out their own Auzzie spin on it. There are themed camps, interactive exhibits and burning temples to entertain those free-spirits looking for cultural diversity. Here, collaboration and participation are key.
– More details on the Burning Seed website
18. Universo Paralello
December / January
Universo Paralello recently switched its mountain location for the wild and often wet beaches in Bahia. It’s here that the Brazilian electronic music scene comes alive to bring in the New Year. If you’re looking for a Burning Man alternative in the Southern Hemisphere, this could be the one. This is a great Burner festival to get involved in.
– More details on the Universal Paralello website
LunarBurn takes its call to action depending on the phases of the moon. Once in full swing in the Californian desert, LunarBurn brings in music, art and even a UV chill area. Firespinning, watching the sunset and listening to live bands all make for favourite activities over a LunarBurn weekend.
Been to any of these festivals like Burning Man?
What’s your favourite alternative festival?
PIN THESE FESTIVALS LIKE BURNING MAN FOR LATER
Festival fun you might like…
Saturday 14th of January 2023
This can’t be the first time you heard this, but you don’t know anything about Burning Man if you have not attended it. Sounds cliche, I know, but as someone who has participated in the event 16 times, it’s true. Stories, videos, photos, cannot convey the experience at all. They only make the idea of what you think you will experience more incorrect. Burning Man is massive, you have never seen large scale art in a setting like that anywhere. It may seem expensive, but no one is selling you a damn thing once you enter, nothing, no vip tickets to get into shows, no t-shirt vendors, no billboards. It’s quite amazing. There is no main stage, just art everywhere. There are no dumpsters or garbage cans, but do a Google image search of Burning Man and you will never see a single can or cup or piece of garbage in a photo. There is nothing like it. And you haven’t missed the boat. 16 years and I still am blown away and cannot believe it is happening. Some of my best years were more recent ones. As a blogger that writes about festivals you really come across as full of shit with this “don’t go to this one that I have never been to, go to these ones that I never been to!” Please, stop talking about it, and getting all your clicks from it, unless you can speak your opinion with a real experience of it.
Tuesday 20th of September 2022
Having been to Burning Man 16 times since 1993; and been to High Sierra Music Festival 24 times since 1996, I can assure you that they are not very similar at all. Both do though have a very strong sense of community that shapes attendees into a year round obsession with them. And because they are regionally pretty close to each other (about a four hour drive between the sites, which would be a lot shorter commute "as the crow flies", but they are both in rural communities without direct major freeway access to them); the theme camp vibe of Burning Man has seeped into the on site camping setups of many High Sierra lifers.
But ultimately High Sierra is a music festival, just a quirky and relatively small boutique one that specializes primarily in Jam and Americana styles of music. And like most music festivals, there are different tiers of ticket prices for attending and for camping. There are large on site vendor villages, and food courts. And with it set in the middle of a small town, there is full capability for attendees to leave the fairgrounds to go shop or eat at the near by town businesses or explore the surrounding water holes for a refreshing swim/hippie bath.
Monday 5th of September 2022
How on earth can you write at article saying burning man isn’t worth it or that’s it is like anything else and you’ve never been? I can’t even explain it and I just left lol. It’s great that you’re giving recommendations but you clearly have no idea about burning man and you do not understand how unique it is. It’s not a festival its an out of world experience
Monday 5th of September 2022
How can someone who’s has never had a specific experience feel that they can judge and compare it to others? I came here to find out about festivals like burning man because I just left and I can’t believe I have to wait another year to go back. It’s everything you’re ASSUMING it isn’t. You cannot understand until you go but thanks for the recommendations
Tuesday 10th of May 2022
Thanks for sharing some nice festivals. They all look awesome and are worth mentioning.
But!!! after having gone to many festivals in my life but for the first time to a Burn (AfrikaBurn) this year, I have to say a "Burn" is different and you cannot compare Boom and Ozora to it, even though both are super cool festivals. They are not like Burns.
No over-paid headliners, no money at all, no connection to the default world. You have to take care of yourself, bring your food and water. Nothing is "normal" anymore. People make places, you make the burn. You fill the spaces. You play an active role in this world. You don't just participate. You are it and you are responsible for your experience.
That is what I experienced AfrikaBurn to be.
I didn't know what a "Burn" is before either and when people were calling me a "virgin" at the burn, I thought it's silly because I had been to many festivals, which I thought were like it.
But now I understand a Burn is not just a festival.
Please go and experience it for yourself.