Burning Man – 5 lessons about contingency planning

By Kyle Kenny, Client Service Director

Sep, 2023

The ultimate celebration of freedom and expression, Burning Man has long been the festival for dreamers and free thinkers. Yet, 2023 hasn’t exactly been kind with reports of floods and the cancellation of the grand final ‘man’ burn.

All that being said, it’s no Fyre Festival. Despite the media’s best efforts to dig up the dirt, festival-goers are still out there, braving the elements and dancing in the desert, with “Raining Men” TikToks flooding your feed. And it reminded me of a few lessons…

#1 Have the right team in place 

Having the right festival crew is one thing but Burning Man 2023 reminds us that having the right crew from the get-go is a game-changer. Whether it’s your on-site production crew being prepared for anything or the PR team shaping (and reshaping!) the narrative, having the right players in your team is a winner.

#2 Always be prepared 

Despite its desert setting, self-reliance is a core tenant of Burning Man and all festival goers are urged to come prepared for ‘extreme weather’ including back up power and comprehensive first aid kit hence so many reports of revelers able to embrace the experience.


When it comes to events, have a plan for everything you can, and a plan for the things you can’t! Tap into your experience, do your research and over communicate as much as possible.

#4 Stay on brand 

When the going gets tough, it’s easy to hit panic mode. But Burning Man has stayed true to its essence, fostering a community-centric approach in their messaging and their ‘Wet Playa Survival Guide’. Their commitment to maximizing the experience in a true community-centric way leaves me with no doubt they’ll be back in 2024.

#5 Build a community of loyalist

Passionate fans of Burning Man will return year on year, no matter the conditions, because they thrive on tribalism and the magic that takes place when like-minded people connect in extreme conditions. They will defend the festival this year and they’ll galvanize the community to make next year even better than it’s ever been before.

The climatic ending to every Burning Man is a fire burn, which despite all speculation has been called back on. So remember that, even when the going gets tough, with the right team, planning, and great messaging, you’ll most likely win.

Burning Man 2023

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