I just spent 4 days at Burning Man and here are the craziest things I saw

Burning ManAly Weisman/Business InsiderNearly 70,000 people attended this year’s Burning Man.

I just spent four days with an estimated 70,000 people at Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert  —  a remote and desolate part of Nevada.

There is no power grid and no running water, yet during this week Black Rock City emerges out of the dust to become the 10th largest city in Nevada. Despite reports that the festival is losing its edge as wealthy tech titans like Elon Musk, Sergey Brin, and Mark Zuckerberg erect fancy luxury camps, I can report that this year’s festival was as wild as ever.

Much like when I first attended two years ago, I saw plenty of nudity, free hugs and massages, attractions like human petting zoos, dozens of weddings and memorial ceremonies, world class DJs playing on Vegas-style sound systems at all hours of the day and night, buses and tractors turned into party yachts, fire-breathing dragons and other outrageous “art cars,” people climbing on giant art installations, and generous offerings of food and alcohol to strangers.

This year also saw unseasonably bad dust storms and freezing temperatures, but that didn’t stop nearly 70,000 attendees from having the time of their lives.

Many journeys to Burning Man start in Reno, Nevada, where groups meet to pick up vehicles and friends.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

But Burning Man officially begins three hours from Reno at the gates of Black Rock City, where vehicles wait in lines of traffic before they can be admitted.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Each car is searched by a Burning Man organiser to make sure you aren't sneaking anyone in. While your car is searched, everyone inside must wait outside and get their tickets scanned.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Once you reach the entrance -- which can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 10 hours depending on weather and traffic -- burn 'virgins' are hugged by a nude welcoming committee.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Burning Man virgins must then roll around in the desert dust.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

First everyone has to find their camp, the community in which they will live for the coming days. Camps can be anything from a group of fancy RVs to a tricked out old school bus.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This camp identified themselves as 'Voodoo Soup.'

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Then it's time to grab a bike -- the main mode of transportation around the miles-long desert land.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Everyone decorates their bike so you don't take someone else's by accident.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Some people get really creative with their transportation.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Other bikes take skill to ride.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

These bikes with umbrellas were functional to keep the sun off riders' backs.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Some people let a Segway do the work for them.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Once you've got your wheels, it's time to explore.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

I came across this bar that required you wear stilts to have a drink.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

There was a potato sack race in the middle of the road.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And human Hungry, Hungry Hippos, in which you laid on a skateboard and caught as many balls as you could in an upside down storage bin.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This contraption swung people upside down and all around.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This truck served as a book store on wheels.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Except all of the books inside were free, as Burning Man operates as a gifting society.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Inside Center Camp, a main hub where coffee is served, I found a man giving free massages.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And people doing acrobatic yoga.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Another camp offered a 'Peep Show Shower.' Running water can be hard to come by.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Inside a nondescript white tent I found a saloon that was making fresh smoothies.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

There was a human petting zoo.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Plenty of free hugs.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And freaky art in the middle of the road.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This temple was erected to honour the dead.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Inside, people posted photos and memorabilia of lost loved ones.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Outside, I witnessed a wedding take place, complete with bagpipes. On Sunday, the temple was burned to the ground like many of the other art pieces.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

People climb all over giant art installations randomly placed throughout the desert.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This woman climbed all the way to the top in giant heels and wings.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Others did yoga poses.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Or used the art for a great group photo.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

The art was just begging to be used for a photo-op.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

You can imagine the selfies surrounding this mirrored piece.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This ZAP! piece was a popular one.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

As was this leaning question mark.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This giant sculpture of a woman is always a festival favourite. Every year her looks change slightly.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

The art can also be useful for a quick break when you're tired of riding your bike.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Everyone was free to sit in these giant chairs -- as long as you could climb up onto them.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

People could climb into this hanging silver box.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This colourful tunnel rotated as you walked through it in perfect view of 'the man' sculpture.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This line of porta potties looked like they could be part of the art in the middle of the desert, but were actually functional and a popular destination.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This castle wasn't just a backdrop -- inside, people partied day and night.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

During the day, there were plenty of parties to be found.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

People's costumes were over the top, outrageous, and amazing.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

These people were dressed as 'inbred cats.' Get it?!

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Art cars come in all shapes and sizes and roam the desert all day and night.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

They are essentially travelling parties.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Some prefer to ride solo, like Cha Cha the balloon man.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Or this lifeguard patrolling the playa on a chair with wheels.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Other cars are filled with friends.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Many are in the shape of animals.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Most all cars blast music.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Or have people singing live as they drive.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This art car was more insular.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

This car had a working carousel on top of it...

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

But had a warning sign for riders: 'DANGER: Uninsured art board at yer own damn risk.'

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Actual ambulances also roamed the land in case of any emergencies.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

At night, all of the cars light up. It's an amazing sight when they are all lined up together.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Neon signs also light up the night.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Even some skateboards light up.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And fire dancers perform for the masses.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

On one particularly chilly evening, I was ecstatic to find freshly popped hot popcorn.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Because no garbage can be left behind at Burning Man, all popcorn bags and leftovers were burned in this bin.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Food carts are rare, but this hot dog cart gifted food for those willing to do a stupid human trick.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Sunrise and sunset were by far the most beautiful times of day. Many people plan their sleeping patterns so that they can catch both.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

While the festival doesn't end until Monday, the grand finale is on Saturday night when 'the man' sculpture is burned to the ground. The ceremony starts with a giant fireworks display.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Soon, the flames begin to envelop the man.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And before you know it he is almost gone.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Leaving just 'bones' before he collapses completely.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

People watch on in awe.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

And with that, it's time to drive or fly out of the playa.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Until next year, people will have to take what they learn on the playa into the real world.

Aly Weisman/Business Insider

Watch my experience here...

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.