Writers on the Range – Burning Man was better next year

by Dennis Hinkamp

My collection of silly buttons from the Burning Man festival in Nevada includes one that says, “Burning Man was better last year.” The irony, of course, is that this button is given out every year, and every year thousands of people keep coming back.

If you’ve ever been part of an annual event that lasted more than five years, you’re probably familiar with its evolution. Events generally go through a cycle of being original and innovative, then progress to bigger and better, tapering off at last into predictable. Everything from Mardi Gras to your Uncle Larry’s Fried Frog Leg Festival goes through this process. Too many years together working on anything leads to discontent — just look at the divorce rate.

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