AfrikaBurn 2023: 24 to 30 April

What the Fuck Just Happened at Burning Man? Why were so many of us also broken after AfrikaBurn this year?

Hello friends.

My name is Buck Down, and I am currently one of the managers in the Gate, Perimeter, and Exodus Department for Burning Man. I’ve been working for the event for the last 15 years and have been a part of the larger Burning Man community for 24 years. In addition to working for Burning Man, I am a professional freelance author, musician, and graphic artist. (

The Brain asked if I would say a few words in setting up an article I just published regarding this year’s Burning Man that’s been making the rounds on social media in the last few days entitled “What the Fuck Just Happened at Burning Man?”. Some of you may have already read it, but for those that haven’t, it’s probably not a bad idea to get a chance to learn from some of the things we experienced. While I won’t give away the article, the gist of it is that in all the preparations we made for the event this year, particularly regarding Covid – the thing we completely overlooked was how much hidden trauma all of us brought to the event that we didn’t realise we were still carrying from the last two years of living through the pandemic, and how it affected us in a whole lot of ways we didn’t fully anticipate, in particular how we navigated each other. A lot of us came home feeling pretty beat up, with a lot more questions than answers on why.

While I don’t profess to have any magic solutions, the best I can offer is a window into a problem we didn’t see coming, hoping that you all can get out in front of it a little better than we did. It’s possible some of those issues were uniquely American ones, but I suspect more than some of it is probably axiomatic. Have a wonderful time together and take extra good care of each other this year. Go slow. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

You are not all the same people you were last time you were out there together. Trust me on that one.

Buck AE Down


You can read Buck’s full article here:

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The Making Of A Clan

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