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Installation outside Disorient

EDM festivals continue to expand, with more weekends, bigger acts, and huge crowds. But are they getting better?

Ticket prices are more expensive, sound quality isn't always great, and there are way too many bros. Though Burning Man is expanding itself and certainly not immune to these hazards, the festival still manages to enforce quality control. Here's five things other EDM festivals can still learn from the Black Rock City extravaganza.

Curious Josh / LA Weekly
Attendees swim for moop (matter of out place) to clean up

5. Leave No Trace

As we already told you, music festivals are a mess. But Burning Man puts a big emphasis on respecting the environment; hence “leave no trace.” Sure, it's not perfect, but after 10 days on the playa, the temporary metropolis packs up and vanishes like it never existed.

Curious Josh / LA Weekly
Attendees interacting with the art installations

4. Art

Sure, Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival have installations, but Burning Man takes it to another level. Through the Black Rock Arts Foundation, they focus on community art at regional events all year long, funding innovative sculptures, installations, performances, theme camps, art carts and costumes that keep the playa spirit alive.

Curious Josh / LA Weekly
Random Rab sunrise set at Fractal Nation

3. No Headliners

Of course Burners care about the music, but the name of the DJ playing it isn't all that relevant to many. And with so much incredible electronic music playing 24 hours a day, it's nearly impossible to keep track of all the world renowned artists you hear.

For this reason people aren't facing the stage the whole time snapping pictures and videos of DJ. Instead they're dancing, making friends, feeling the music and having a dammed good time. Even when Major Lazer hopped onstage for a surprise set at 3 a.m. on Friday morning, there was still room on the dance floor.

2. Free Water and Drinks

Sure, Black Rock City is an experimental community where you can't buy or sell anything. But how cool is it that every camp, stage and party you go to gives you free drinks at the bar? After all, $10 for a beer and $5 for a water bottle is a little ridiculous. Some places are doing free water already (Lightning in a Bottle and others, we see you) but everyone else should too.

Curious Josh / LA Weekly
Burning Man art emphasizes positivity

1. Respect and Responsibility

Isn't that what P.L.U.R. (peace, love, unity, and respect) is all about? Yet you still see pushing, shoving, vandalizing and causing a scene. Yet at Burning Man, everyone is responsible for their own welfare and respectful to their fellow Burners. People actually seem actually care more about other people and the environment than they do about themselves.

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