Burning Man revellers have been dishing some "hard truths" about the notorious festival, claiming it has a "seedy underbelly" full of thieves and warning the extreme heat is "miserable" and makes the porta potties "stink".
The nine-day event, which takes place in the middle of Nevada's Black Rock Desert every year, has been hailed as the "experience of a lifetime" by dedicated burners who love the "erotically charged" and free-spirited atmosphere.
Festivalgoers build their owned themed camps to create the temporary Black Rock City and this year they'll be able to enjoy a variety of outlandish events — including double-sided dildo fencing, lightsaber combat training and dream swaps.
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But despite forking out a fortune to attend, revellers are expected to be completely self-reliant — meaning they must bring everything they need to survive one of the most inhospitable environments on Earth — and previous burners have been taking to Reddit to reveal conditions can be brutal.
Summing up the eye-watering cost and savage desert conditions, one person said: "It's going to be far more expensive than you anticipate. The consensus average for our 120-person camp was somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000 spent per participant.
"And it's not a relaxing vacation, there's too much work to be done setting up and tearing down. Almost everyone has a moment or two during the week where they question and wonder why the f*** they chose to do this, usually during a s***ty dust storm that has covered yourself and everything you own in dust and forced you to spend a few hours trapped in a 100-degree tent hoping it clears up soon."
While revellers said tough conditions can create a sense of comradery and life-long friendships among the festivalgoers, they warned not everyone is going to be nice.
"Not everyone is going to be awesome or helpful or kind. A**holes go to Burn too," one person said.
Another agreed, revealing Black Rock City has a dark side.
They explained: "It’s worth keeping in mind that there's a seedy underbelly just like in every city. There are thieves and violent people and antisocial people, etc. Also some people with various mental health issues that are exacerbated by the harsh conditions and psychedelics."
The Redditor claimed long-time burners can be "extremely bitter and salty" and while Tropical Storm Hilary initially left this year's site underwater, they warned of extreme heat that will make you "miserable and beyond exhausted".
But they revealed one of the most "miserable" Burning Man experiences is the infamous porta potties.
While showers aren't provided, portable toilets can be found throughout Black Rock City, but with up to 80,000 people descending on the nine-day event, they can get pretty grim.
The Redditor explained: "Having to s**t in a porta potty at 3 in the afternoon is one of the most miserable experiences you will have out there. Not only are they stinky but you absolutely bake in there and the single-ply toilet paper will make your a**hole raw after a few days."
As the sun beats down on the desert, the smell can get even worse.
"Think of the most disgusting portapotty you have ever seen and then multiply that by 1000 and bake it in an oven," another burner added.
Burners also issued a warning to couples thinking of attending the event together, explaining how Burning Man has a notorious reputation for destroying relationships.
"Burning Man can make or break your relationship. You and your partner will probably have the most intense fight of your couple-hood while there. The heat, dust, lack of sleep, dehydration, and stress result in a lot of couples having an epic blowup at some point," one festivalgoer warned.
But despite all the drawbacks, the burners insisted it's still "absolutely worth going".
One person explained: "It sucks half the time you're there the whole place is made out of tarps, zip ties, and bungie balls. You'll either hate it and never go again, or hate it and go every year for the rest of your life.
"You'll have about six hours of transcendent magic that makes the whole thing worth it if you end up sticking with it and building something out there you'll probably have more good meaningful friendships than you've ever had in your life."
Another agreed, adding: "It’s the hardest working vacation you’ll ever have. You’re trying to survive and thrive in a place that wants to kill you any time of day. It’s a place to test yourself and your relationship with others.
"It’s f***ing amazing and there’s nothing else like it."
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