Shit Burners Say

At this point there are hundreds of thousands of Burners in the world, and they each have their own vernacular. Still, knowing a few of their common sayings won't hurt you. Here's a short list of some of the more common refrains you may hear on the Playa.

"It was better next year."

This is a favorite. The burn is different every year and that’s kinda the point! You’ll often hear people lamenting about back when, and how it’s jumped the shark, and blah, blah, blah! But there is a large part of the culture also focused on embracing motion and change and also rejecting the pressures of “cool.” And they'll say this.

"Welcome home!"

To many, Black Rock City is home. It seems really important to some folks that we are all home when we are on the Playa. So this is a pretty standard greeting there.

"You're doing it wrong!"

Usually said ironically to criticize those who seem to be making judgments on the way others burn.

"The Playa provides."

This refers to the belief that “it’ll all work out,” or if you need something, someone will give it to you. Largely based in the sort of worldview that helps people aim to “manifest” things (and you will hear plenty “manifest” talk too…). This phrase also refers to the culture of Burning Man. If you need something, speak up! Ask around! Someone will help you out.

"Playa magic"

Again, sometimes referring to a belief in really magical things. Sometimes just an appreciation for the surprising ways that things seem to just work out or coincidences happen.

"Work hard. Don't do stupid shit."

Another favorite. Pretty self-explanatory.

"Playa score!"

Or, a ground score, on the playa. In other words: MOOP you want (or that someone else wants).


A person who has never been to Burning Man. duh.

"Burnier than thou"

Refers to folks who seem to behave as though they are better Burners than you/others, know better what the “right way” to burn is, have a deeper connection to the Playa, a better understanding of the Principles, etc. Might be likely to be heard talking about back when the Burn was cooler/better, etc.

"Weedkend Warriors"

People who come to BRC just for the weekend. Generally seen as being more “party people,” looked down upon by anyone even the slightest Burnier than thou. Often blamed for MOOP, messy portos, etc.

"Burn night"

Usually people mean the night the Man burns (Saturday night). They may also say “Man burn night.” Things burn every night though: The Temple burn is on Sunday night and there will (at least!) be art scheduled to burn on Thursday and Friday nights as well.

"Daft Punk at the trash fence" or similar

In previous years, there have been stupid rumors about Daft Punk playing at the trash fence. But this year I heard they really are!

"Art car/Mutant Vehicle"

Art car is an old name. there are some historical art cars that get grandfathered in. Vehicles are now required to be more heavily altered, thus the name mutant vehicles. But everyone still calls them art cars.

"I heard it would be dusty this year"

Yes, yes it will.

"In dust we trust"

Ummm, no really. It’s dusty.

"Embrace the dust"

See above.

"Cars are real."

This is important! Cars are real! It can be hard to tell out there. Everything is bright and flashing. You may not be entirely sober. You are likely overwhelmed. But cars are real! Make sure you are lit up! And get outta their way.

"Piss clear."

Words to live by. Don’t get dehydrated!

"Sparkle Pony"

Someone who shows up unprepared or does not contribute. (They may look pretty or have good costumes, but they don’t work, plan, offer help, etc. and they depend on others to have their needs taken care of.)

"Snarkle Pony"

Snarky sparkle ponies? Or maybe just snarky folks in general.

"Fuck Yer Burn"

...ya know…. we're really not sure…. Fuck yer burn!

"The Playa Shuffle" or "The Strugglebus"

When you are trying to leave camp with a group. AKA herding cats.

When someone asks the time, check in that they “really want to know” or say “spoiler alert” before saying the time.