Are you up for going to the Midburn Festival in Israel? What is that? The second biggest Burning Man Festival after the original one in the US. What? Damn of course I want to go, where do I buy tickets… Two weeks later I boarded a plane in Australia, also known as my horrortrip from Sydney to Tel Aviv to fly all the way to Israel for Midburn Israel.
In my article 17 things you need to know before you travel to Israel I already briefly told you about this the Midburn festival in the Negev Desert in South Israel. But it was such an amazing experience that I wanted to share it with you. On top of that my friend Orit created an amazing video in which I am starring a lot so and I need you guys to see how I had the time of my life in the Israeli desert.
What is Midburn Israel?
It is a festival based around the 10 principals of Burning Man which originates in the US and will be held once a year in the desert. A temporary city far away from the real world will arise in the middle of nowhere and is dedicated to community, self-expression, art and self-reliance. A week later the city will evaporate leaving no trace whatsoever.
I was pretty skeptical at first and kind of knew I was going to end up in a hippie world that most probably wouldn’t be a world I was craving to be part of, but on the other hand I love festivals, making crazy memories, electronic music, party drugs and new experiences and therefore I was eager to find out what the fuzz was all about. As soon as we were stopped at the gate of Midburn Israel a bunch of hippies jumped in front of our car grabbed each others hands and started to dance hand-in-hand circling our car like a bunch of little kids. I wish I had filmed it, LOL. But in fact I though: seriously!? This world is even worse than I expected! They asked if there was a virgin in the car (someone who never attended a Burn)? Obviously that was me, my friends had been to Burning Man and Midburn many times. They made me get out of the car, join their dance, lay down on my back in the sand, draw a dust angle and spray myself with sand. Uhm… what? Yes my clothes were completely f*cked, my hair was full of dust and the sand in my mouth was delicious! But you know me, still smiling… :)
The ten principles of Burning Man
The Burning Man festivals are all based upon a complete list of rules, which you have to agree to when you buy your ticket. The new generation though, including me is definitely not going to read all of this, WE DON’T HAVE TIME! Lol. So I totally admit I just clicked through it and had no clue what this festival was about. I once heard that there is no money involved and that the festival completely relies on give and take, but that was it. Whatever I though, I will find out.
Based on the 10 principles of Burning Man I will tell you my experiences of my first Burn and you will start to find out if I liked it…
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.
Yes definitely! I have seen so many ‘different’ looking people walking around. Probably not my types in the real world, but super interesting to interact with. The most amazing thing about this a Burning Man festival is that whatever you look like, whoever you are or whatever you do, everyone is equal, there is mutual respectful and everyone is super open and friendly! I wish there would be real places in this world like Burning Man.
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
This is so true! The amount of money I spent while on the festival? $0,00! So how did I survive? There are loads of camps (communities) ranging from the shower camp to the free love camp. Somehow I ended up in the BDSM camp and paid a fee of around $200. For that money there was a camp, with basic facilities like a kitchen, shower, organized activities and meals were included. I brought my own tent, water, snacks and that was about it. There were camps organizing a pancake breakfast, all you had to do is show up with your own plate and wait in line. The shower camp lets you have a free shower in exchange for a bottle of water.
One of the best anecdotes about gifting at Midburn Israel comes from the ‘Playa’, the place where the dance stages are located, a 15-minute walk away from the camp sites. After partying hard all night long the sun was about to rise and people were removing their jackets. With 15 degrees nights are cold but as soon as the sun rises the temperature reaches about 30 degrees in just a couple hours. When people go out to party they bring snacks (and drugs LOL) and water. Again remember there is no such thing as a bar where you buy drinks! The sunrise was lovely but luckily it was clouded so it didn’t get too hot straight away. This lasted for 3 hours and then suddenly the clouds were gone and within no-time it was 35 degrees. Everyone partied way longer than intended and slowly realized that everyone ran out of water and food. Out of a sudden there came a little truck and people jumped out handing out drinks, sweets, pancakes, lollies, sandwiches and whatever imaginable. Such an amazing feeling of harmony! A gifting climax…
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
At first I thought there will be somewhere to buy something at least, but seriously nothing at all! I didn’t even see money for 5 days, how weird right? But I cant tell you that is actually an awesome feeling. If you were walking around, checking out other camps you could just walk in somewhere and ask for a drink or a snack! :)
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.
The camp provided all the basic resources I needed. Although I always missed breakfast (I was partying every morning) I made my own sandwiches with peanut butter and found something to snack around the festival camps. I brought enough snacks and water to hand out to people in need. I think traveling around the world made me very self-reliance and therefore this was one of my favorite Burning Man principles to practice. Living sober and simple is a secret of How I Afford To Travel anyway, click on the link to read more about that.
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
Expressing yourself? I didn’t even bring a costume, I had no clue! Fair enough I was a virgin and had no idea that people were expressing themselves in a way they felt comfortable. That could be as Superman or completely naked. This is the Burning Man festival, there are no rules as long as you feel comfortable. To be really honest I did not feel the need of expressing anything, but next time I will definitely contribute and wear something funny. It didn’t take long though for random people to approach me and handing me gifts like necklaces, sun glasses and scarves. Thank you all, you were amazing!
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
Oh that was my thing! I love networking, talking to random strangers and making connections. My life is all about good vibes anyway and this is what this festival is about as well. I met some amazing people and we shared such fantastic memories that they will for sure be friends for life. Burning Man made me connect with amazing people! Thank you all for becoming sincere friends!
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
People take great care and wherever possible help or correct each other. I am not a person that jumps in straight away, this was a new world for me, I mostly observed and just laughed and smiled a lot. I contributed to a positive vibe but did not really participate to this one of the ten principles of Burning Man.
Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
Wow I was surprised how this one of the 10 principles of Burning Man is practiced. When someone dropped a cigarette bud on the ground other Burners would confront each him or her and tell them to collect it. While cleaning our camp we walked side by side to collect the tiniest things from the ground, rubbish was separated and our camp side looked like had never been there when we left.
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
As you can understand building a city out of nothing will need a lot of participation and volunteering. In our camp everyone had his or her shifts, but to be really honest I did not take part much in that. As a last minute outsider I had no registered shifts so I sometimes cleaned the dishes and helped whenever they asked for volunteers. I think I gained a lot of goodwill by cleaning condoms in the camps BDSM playground. Lol! On the last day I helped breaking down the camp in 35 degrees with no shade so eventually I had my share in number 9 of the 10 principles of Burning Man.
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
To be really honest I don’t exactly know what is the real intension of this burning man principal. To me contact with a natural world exceeding human powers is drugs. I don’t have anything to hide about drugs; I love party drugs and responsible use! In a world where living in the moment is really hard an escape to a Burning Man festival is a very welcoming experience trust me. I don’t need drugs to enjoy a party but it definitely adds up to the experience. Burning Man, where radical expression, community, giving and radical inclusion are pillars of a fantastic festivals, is a great place to experience things you have never felt before. I tried GHB for the first time and damn what an amazing trip that was. There was also a LSD camp, but so far I have never tried anything like that… may be next year! ;)
My experience of the Midburn Festival Israel
I think I don’t need to tell you anymore that I had the time of my life at Midburn Israel. A Burning Man festival is like crazy land, something you should experience yourself through the 10 principles of Burning Man. I would like to thank everyone involved in this 5 day roller coaster ride! Watch here the after movie made by my friend Orit from @jetsettersecret who also did the amazing photography. Sit back and enjoy…
The reason I flew from Australia all the way to Israel was because I was invited by Vibe Israel a non-profit organization that promotes Israel. The Midburn festival was not part of their tour but I requested them to fly me in earlier so I could attend it. Shortly after the festival I started an 8-day tour through Israel to see its beauty, read more about it in the following articles: 17 Things You Need To Know Before You Travel To Israel. If you are looking for some fun things to do in Israel then click here. As I set up a list with some unusual stuff to do apart from the standard touristy highlights.