Desert Storm

In recent years, an ever-growing chorus of festivalgoers has complained about the sanitization of music and arts fests, and not without reason. At this year's Glastonbury music festival in the U.K., for example, well-heeled attendees paid more than $10,000 each to stay in luxury tented accommodation—a far cry from the event's countercultural origins. And it seems that no large gathering—from Japan's Summer Sonic to Scotland's T in the Park—is without its gaudy glut of sponsors' logos. But for those who rail against the commodification of culture, there is always Burning Man (burningman.com). Now in its 19th year, this arts festival in...

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