Yes, it's true. People bring children to Burning Man. Lots of people. And lest you assume as I did when I wrote this diatribe against parents who subject their children to the annual desert party that there is no place for kids in the drug-fueled morass, you should just take a look at Burning Man: The World's Biggest Playground, a new children's book that's being crowd-funded and self-published by photographer Peter Armenia.
As Armenia explains in the pitch video above, he and his wife were married on the playa a few years back, and they're now parents to four-year-old Veronica, whom they're apparently planning to bring along this year. "Children have been going to Burning Man since its inception in San Francisco in 1986," Armenia says. "The kids already get it. It's the rest of us who have to remember to have fun as we walk through life."
The book, which will be based around Armenia's own photos of past Burns, will be printed in a limited edition hardcover, and donors of $40 or more get a copy of the book.
He's already gotten the endorsement of Lenore Skenazy, the author/founder of Free Range Kids, who says, "What a fun revelation. Burning Man sounds like the ultimate Free Range playground for kids.”
And, to be fair to the devoted Burner parents, there are camps specifically for families with kids where the kids will be well looked after. But, turning to this Family Survival Guide for Burning Man, parents considering bringing their kids to Black Rock City should perhaps think twice.
Deciding whether to bring the kids to Burning Man is not an easy choice, nor one to be taken lightly. While it may prove to be one of the best experiences you’ve ever had with them, not every child’s personality is suited for Burning Man and not every parent’s dream of Black Rock City includes children.
Parenting on the playa is not for every parent. Don’t kid yourself: parenting is demanding enough surrounded by the comforts of home. On the playa it takes more effort, preparation and work. We recommend parents attend Burning Man solo (or in the company of adults) at least once before bringing their children.
As you consider whether to bring your kids to Burning Man, think through the implications. Will your child be able to sleep in a city where sound never stops? Do you have childcare alternatives so your kids will be supervised when you need a break, a nap or some adult time? How might your child react to the stimulation and harsh conditions?
And by "stimulation" they mean art cars shaped like dildos, thousands of people on molly, and dust storms. Good luck!