At last year's Youtopia (image by Anh Tran)
  • At last year's Youtopia (image by Anh Tran)
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"The entire thing is volunteer-run and a gift to people in the community," says Persep Sion, one of the organizers of Youtopia, set for October 17–21.

She says the gathering is based on the ten principles of Burning Man, the big annual event held in Nevada's Black Rock Desert.

"No one gets paid and everyone buys a ticket," Sion says. "All the money goes back into the infrastructure of the event and the community." According to Sion, nearly all the tickets have already been sold. She estimates that about 2600 people from all over the country will converge at the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians Campground at the foot of Palomar Mountain.

"These are transformational gatherings, we share completely free artistic expression," Persep Sion says. "We have an opportunity to utilize the other 90 percent of our brains instead of focusing on how we get the most out of the 10 percent we're used to using."

This year, for the first time, organizers found a way to provide electricity for the entire site and event, using money left over from last year; that means bigger and better art and music at a place where light and laser installations abound.

"We have no access to the outside world. It's immersive. We don't want the intrusion," she explained. "You have this chance to build community and really expand your expression — we are just figuring things out together."

More than 100 art camps and dozens of installations are expected. A “transportation committee” has worked hard to get people to share rides and carpool from as far away as Vancouver and as near as Ventura. Volunteers act as “rangers” — community monitors who were trained Burning Man–style to deal with tensions that may arise among people.

Persep Sion, whose street name is Kristen Jen, says she has spent most of this year coordinating the many volunteers, artists, and participants to make the third-annual event happen.

"I know how the infrastructure works, but I don't know what will happen," she says. "I've spent six month throwing a surprise party for myself."

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Joaquin_de_la_Mesa Oct. 10, 2013 @ 5:19 p.m.

First principle of burning man: bring drugs

2nd principle: use drugs

3rd through 10th principles: whatever man


KristaRichards Oct. 11, 2013 @ 4:42 p.m.

Really "man"??

The REAL principles of Burning Man...

Burning Man Founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regionals Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community's ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event's inception.

Radical Inclusion Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Gifting BM is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

Decommodification In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance BM encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Participation Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediacy Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Thank you


muckraker2 Oct. 12, 2013 @ 8:52 a.m.

Notice how the above commenter didn't deny the use the drugs or have in the "principles" that drugs aren't used.


shirleyberan Oct. 12, 2013 @ 12:55 p.m.

You can't really believe your own hype. Enlightenment doesn't come from a drug and alcohol haze, a hangover does.


NicoleH Oct. 12, 2013 @ 4:05 p.m.

There is drug use at Burning Man, yes. But that's not the focus of the event or why it comes together every year to build and bring a community of people from around the world. And the impact of Burning Man culture on the world outside of Black Rock City is palpable as well, through organizations like BRAF (Black Rock Arts Foundation), BWB (Burners Without Borders), BRS (Black Rock Solar), and in a related but not directly connected to the Burning Man organization, FIGMENT, an interactive and participatory arts festival that has expanded to multiple cities both nationally and around the world. San Diego held its first FIGMENT in April, at Chicano Park, and was attended by upwards of 1100 people. It might be wise for people to not pigeonhole Burning Man and subsequent regional events through sensational articles and stuff they've read in the media, but perhaps learn more about some of the principles and how they're practiced by Burners throughout the world. And full disclosure, I am a Burning Man regional contact here in San Diego.


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