So you couldn't get a ticket. Join the club. Burning Man has been a rich man's game for a while now, and since BMORG, the group behind it, can't seem to figure out any way to prevent scalpers (such as, say, printing your name on your ticket), prices surely will be jacked up even higher between now and August (until they suddenly drop again at the last minute).

Maybe it's time to explore alternatives, like:



9. IgNight Fire Flow Celebration

Will satisfy your craving for:

[Art Hippies [x] Fire [x] Dust [x] Music Drugs

When: April 27-29

Where: Joshua Tree

The website says: “At least seven classes going on simultaneously at all times of the day and an awesome DJ lineup for a nightly spin jam. Flow enthusiasts of all skill levels are invited.”

Notes: It's the first year for this promising-sounding event held in Burner-rich Joshua Tree, at the same site that hosts the beloved Joshua Tree Music Festival. Get in on the ground floor so you can lord it over the huge throngs of noobs sure to crowd year two.

Tickets cost: $125

The Upside: It's a short drive and it's educational.

The Downside: If poi spinners frighten or annoy you, pencil in a full-scale panic attack.

Credit: Flickr user Steve Hopson

Credit: Flickr user Steve Hopson

8. Burning Flipside

Will satisfy your craving for:

[x]Art [x] Hippies [x] Fire [x] Dust [x] Music [x] Drugs

When: May 24-28

Where: Austin, Texas

The website says: “Burning Flipside is a Texas regional art and music festival inspired by Burning Man. It is a place for radical self expression and an experiment in temporary community building. The theme for 2012 is Freaky Deeky Time Machine!”

Notes: Ticket registration for this event just closed, but we'd be remiss not to mention Flipside, the longest-running and best-loved regional burn. It's probably one of the biggest, too, but not so much so that it's not still cozy. Said one participant, “You say 'See you later' to someone, and you actually do see them later!”

Tickets cost: $90

The Upside: A river runs through it.

The Downside: Texas-sized fire ants.

7. That Thing on That Holiday Somewhere in the Desert

Will satisfy your craving for:

[x]Art Hippies [x] Fire [x] Dust [x] Music [x] Drugs

When: Ask around.

Where: I can't tell you, or they'll kill me.

The website says: There isn't one.

Notes: Burners hate media coverage of this “Second Burning Man” because they fear growth will mean its demise — even as they invite more and more of their friends, year after year.

Tickets cost: No ticket, so free!

The Upside: With tickets to the big Black Rock burn so hard to come by, this may be a stellar year for this alternative event.

The Downside: This may also be the year the Bureau of Land Management cops finally get fed up with dealing with a second Burning Man.

Credit: Brian Erzen

Credit: Brian Erzen

6. Wasteland Weekend

Will satisfy your craving for:

[Art Hippies [x] Fire [x] Dust [x] Music Drugs

When: Sept. 27-30

Where: California City.

The website says: “Live for four days in a world pulled straight out of the Mad Max movies, beyond the grip of so-called civilization.”

Notes: Wasteland Weekend puts the U in PLUR and then doesn't really bother much with any of the other letters. Organized around a unified theme — the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max — costumes are required at this desert party that feels like a Civil War re-enactors event gone horribly, horribly wrong … but in a good way.

Tickets cost: $45 (early bird) – $100

The Upside: Intimate and surprisingly friendly, despite the menacing theme. Plus, burlesque girls.

The Downside: If you can't come up with any Mad Max couture, you're SOL.

Credit: Flickr user Pi?

Credit: Flickr user Pi?

5. Boom Festival

Will satisfy your craving for:

[x]Art [x] Hippies [x] Fire [x] Dust [x] Music [x] Drugs

When: July 28-Aug. 4

Where: Idanha-a-Nova, Portugal

The website says: “The universe is calling us to a new consciousness on the way to 2012. Join the gathering of the tribe at the shores of a magic lake in the sunny unspoilt lands of Portugal.”

Notes: Noncorporate, hippie vibe, electronic music — the Boom Festival is heavily invested in the “transformational potential” of psytrance music and living “clean and green.” Plus its ticket price is only about half that of Burning Man.

Tickets cost: $192

The Upside: It's in Portugal!

The Downside: It's in Portugal.

4. Lightning in a Bottle

Will satisfy your craving for:

[x]Art [x] Hippies Fire [x] Dust [x] Music [x] Drugs

When: May 24-28

Where: Silverado

The website says: “Lightning in a Bottle is a celebration of Art, Music, Performance, Sustainability and Life.”

Notes: L.A.'s own group of dedicated creators/partiers the DoLab puts on this annual event with music and partying, yes, but also a series of educational workshops on topics such as yoga, meditation, dance, gardening, how to “Electrify Your Ride” and “Grow Your Own Pharmacy.” Sustainability is a central theme. Well, that and electronica.

Tickets cost: $85 (one day) – $240 (three day)

The Upside: Kid-friendly.

The Downside: Occasional unfriendly kids.



3. Pyrotechnics Guild International “Fire in the Sky” Convention

Will satisfy your craving for:

[Art Hippies [x] Fire Dust Music Drugs

When: Aug. 11-17

Where: La Porte, Indiana

The website says: “Only PGI Members, who pay the Convention Fee, are eligible to attend Convention events. Members of the general public may purchase tickets for the Public Displays that will be held during the Convention.”

Notes: This convention is geared primarily toward serious and/or professional pyrotechnicians. But when that many serious and/or professional pyros get together, they can put on one hell of a show.

Tickets cost: TBA

The Upside: You'll learn to properly and safely indulge your pyrotechnics habit.

The Downside: “Properly and safely” doesn't include alcohol or drugs.

Credit: Feria Nacional de la Pirotecnia Tultepec

Credit: Feria Nacional de la Pirotecnia Tultepec

2. Tultepec Fireworks Festival

Will satisfy your craving for:

[Art Hippies [x] Fire Dust Music Drugs

When: del 03-12 Marzo

Where: Tultepec, Mexico

The website says: “Les presentamos a ¿ ? mascota oficial de la feria y nos estará acompañando a lo largo de la FNP Tultepec 2012, la siguiente dinámica será ponerle nombre a la mascota de la FNP, el ganador obtendrá un pase doble para subirse a todos los juegos mecánicos así como suvenirs de la feria.”

Tickets cost: Tough to say.

Notes: It's difficult to find any official information about this legendarily chaotic, little-touristed fireworks festival in a fireworks-making town in Mexico because (a) the official website link doesn't work and (b) what is there is all in Spanish. Something like the Running of the Bulls where instead of bulls they have balls of fire, it's the sort of street party you have to leave the United States to experience.

The Upside: It's in Mexico, so you probably won't be sued if you accidentally set someone on fire.

The Downside: It's in Mexico, so you probably can't sue anyone who accidentally sets you on fire.

Credit: Flickr user em_diesus

Credit: Flickr user em_diesus

1. The Rainbow Gathering

Will satisfy your craving for:

[Art [x] Hippies Fire Dust Music [x] Drugs

When: July 1-7, typically.

Where: several locations around the U.S.

The website says: “Ignore all rumors of cancellation or organization! Live Lightly with the Land and People!”

Notes: For deeply committed hippies only, the Rainbow Gatherings have been taking place for more than 40 years in various locations around the U.S. Top that, Phish!

Tickets cost: free.

The Upside: Peace and love.

The Downside: Patchouli and mud.

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