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Love Or Hate Burning Man? Here Are 7 Alternative Creative Escapes

Taking place on Stonehenge Private Reserve in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa since 2007, AfrikaBurn is the largest event outside of Burning Man/Black Rock City.
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By Becky Mahan

Whether you think Burning Man is a transformational pilgrimage or has become an overgentrified expression of the rich, or just don't know what all the fuss is about, these are seven creative escapes you probably haven't heard of (yet) that are sure to get your juices flowing...

Boom (Portugal)

Once a trancey, mellow festival in Portugal, Boom has grown to a five-stage music, art, theater, and pyro celebration. Music is heavy on EDM, but there are also art galleries, sculpture gardens, and street theater performances, plus yoga, lectures, meditation circles, and film screenings that take places in the Liminal Village.

Electric Forest (Michigan, USA)

Courtesy of Alive Coverage/Electric Forest Festival
Electric Forest has been nicknamed "Burning Man in the Woods," but it's not quite as giant as the original. Artists contribute by repurposing objects from nearby Sherwood Forest, and all manner of performers (think contortionists dressed as butterflies) walk the woods for your viewing and interactive pleasure. Basically, it's like a Tim Burton film come to life...except you can also get involved.

Fusion Festival (Germany)

A true retreat from the modern world, the Fusion Festival honors the never-ending search for yourself - and for your capacity to create. The "collective" mindset encourages the idea of creating art with purpose, and integrating new habits, attitudes, and outlooks meaningfully into one's life. It's a cult event, with very devoted fans, and can be a bit intimidating for newbies - but the message is the same for everyone.

Lightning In A Bottle (California)

This transformational celebration of art, sustainability, music, and life started out as a private birthday party in 2000. It became an annual event, and eventually went public in 2004 - now, the four-day festival draws creative crowds from all over the country. With visual and interactive art installations, lectures and guest speakers, yoga classes, and meditation groups (among others), the event seeks to spread the proverbial lightning in a bottle (a once-in-a-lifetime, by-chance feat.)

High Sierra (California)

Held annually on the Fourth of July weekend in Quincy, California, the High Sierra festival features an eclectic array of music - from newgrass to funk to reggae. Each stage features a backdrop created by artists (usually past participants) and focuses on a particular genre. But it's not just about music: participants can also attend film screenings, yoga and pilates workshops, and a "silent disco," or catch live fire performances at night.

Afro Punk Fest (New York)

Considered "America's most multicultural urban music celebration," AfroPunk was originally created to foster a community with African Americans in a predominantly white punk subculture. It has since expanded profoundly to include various music genres (like soul and hip-hop), and seeks to celebrate the diversity of African American culture through music, art, and creative expression.

AfrikaBurn (South Africa)

Taking place on Stonehenge Private Reserve in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa since 2007, AfrikaBurn is the largest event outside of Burning Man/Black Rock City. Focusing on creative expression, the event closely resembles Burning Man with its participation mantra: as in, you must. Picture mutant vehicles, themed camps, psychedelic lights eccentric costumes, giant art installations...and lots of fire.

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