This weekend, over 70,000 people will descend on Black Rock Desert, Nevada, to sweat, dance, and find themselves at Burning Man.
The 30-year-old counterculture gathering has become a go-to destination for the Silicon Valley elite, including Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and startup founders looking for capital and mentors.
Attendees may have more in common than just an affinity for tech. Location intelligence company Foursquare and its “lifelogging” spin-off app Swarm looked at location data from “burners” to figure out where they like to shop and get their grub. The company’s data team used both visits from Foursquare and the background location awareness built into Swarm, which people can use to check in and win free stuff.
Not all burners use Foursquare or Swarm, so the results aren’t completely representative of everyone who attends the event. However, the techie spirit of the festival (Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk once said “Burning Man is Silicon Valley”) makes the data worth checking out.
Burning Man attendees are 12 times more likely to visit Blue Bottle Coffee than the average Foursquare user.
Burning Man attendees are nine times more likely to go to Alamo Drafthouse, a destination arthouse movie theatre chain where guests snack on popcorn topped with truffle parmesan butter and wash it down with local craft beer.
Burners are six times more likely to visit or work out of a WeWork location. The $16 billion company rents office space to startups, but these are no ordinary digs: The suped-up coworking spaces feature chic décor and benefits like community events and free food.
Burning Man is not for the faint of heart. The festival takes place in the middle of the Nevada desert, and is prone to sand storms and even bug infestations.
So it's not surprising that burners are four times more likely to check in at outdoor clothing and gear retailer REI than the average Foursquare user.
Burners are six times more likely to go to Sweetgreen than the average Foursquare user.
Health-conscious urbanites can be spotted waiting in 30-minute lines outside the wildly popular salad chain, where they order one of Sweetgreen's designer salads or grain bowls.
According to Foursquare, Burning Man attendees are more likely to be from the Pacific West (think San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle) and the Mid-Atlantic Northeast (hello, New York).