Burning Man 2022 (Part 1 – Mutant Vehicles)

I just returned from another adventure at Burning Man. The experience is still sinking in. In a future newsletter, I may write about the experience in detail. Until then, briefly, it was a tough week. The weather was HOT, with record-breaking temperatures in northern California and Nevada. Three consecutive days saw white-out conditions in the afternoon. Unlike most other Burners, I didn’t have an air-conditioned RV to retreat to, but lived out of a small tent. However, when the weather was good, I had a lot of fun.

For this newsletter, I would like to share some pictures of “Mutant Vehicles,” also known as Art Cars. These things vary in size from a decorated golf cart to enormous structures the size of a London two-story red bus. What you see is just a random sampling. I was told there were 600-800 Mutant Vehicles in 2022.

Mutant Vehicles

Previous years, one of the most amazing things on the Playa was a real 747. I made a video about it in 2018. However, it did not return in 2022. I wonder if this art car pictured above is an homage to it, or just a general airplane.

Speaking of airplanes, I’m not sure if this is supposed to be the Concorde or not.
Exhaled Fire
This one probably exhaled fire at night.
Large vehicles sometimes pulled a trailer for hauling the bicycles of the passengers.
Teddy Beards
This one was covered in teddy bears.
Dance Floor
This one probably became a dance floor at night, like many other such large vehicles.
Music and Dancing
The sound system on some of these vehicles meant for music and dancing must have cost a fortune.
Cars Vans
Here is one more modest in size. Many vehicles I think were significantly modified cars, vans, or busses.
I recall this one from 2018 and that the horses went up and down when it moved, like a merry-go-round.

I’d like to emphasize that these vehicles look and sound much better at night. All of them are covered in spectacular LED lights. Some are quiet, but most blare music from what seem like extremely professional sound systems. Many vehicles emitted propane-fueled fire and explosions. Unfortunately, night-time photography at Burning Man is difficult. My pictures taken at Burning Man after dark always seem to turn out badly.

While these art cars in theory offer free rides, I find most of them, especially the enormous big-budget vehicles are associated with well-heeled camps and rides to their members only. The smaller ones are generally friendlier. They will at least allow people on when they are parked, but kick you off when it’s ready to move, in favor of friends of the driver. However, I have ridden on some smaller vehicles with very friendly drivers who embrace the principles of radical inclusion, communal effort, and gifting. I wish I could include pictures of such cars, but I rode them at night and knew a picture would not turn out well.

I hope you enjoyed this little slice of Burning Man 2022 and nobody takes offense at the usage of these pictures.