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Reporter Trevor Hughes' "Fantastic Experiences" At Burning Man

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Holly Hutchings
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USA Today reporter Trevor Hughes says while covering Burning Man, he also becomes a participant. He says attendees call their week at Burning Man, "going home" because of the reconnection with friends made there.

Burning Man may be held in the Nevada desert, but its interest and appeal has a much wider reach. Visitors come from all over the world to attend the week-long festival, and even more people who don't attend have their curiosity piqued by tales from the playa. Trevor Hughes, Reporter for USA Today, has captured stories there for three years and stopped by our studio to talk to our arts reporter, Holly Hutchings before he headed up for burn number four.

To those who attend Burning Man, the whimsical week of art, self-expression and liberation is also about community. They call their annual pilgrimage to the playa, “going home,” referring to their normal lives as the “default world.” Reporter Trevor Hughes covers the festival, and in doing so also becomes a part of it.

“As a journalist, and as a person who spends his life going out and looking at stuff on behalf of other people, Burning Man is a fantastic event to cover because there are amazing things to photograph, amazing things to see, amazing things to experience. And you cannot help but participate. You are there. You have to wear goggles and a facemask for many days because it's windy and dusty and hot and sunny. So, you sort of fit in like everybody else. So, you inevitably participate, which is a central part of Burning Man. You cannot be apart from Burning Man while being at Burning Man.”

Becoming immersed is part of the experience and Hughes says it’s fun to participate. He has learned how to get multiple stories submitted, even when narrowing his scope of what to cover was challenging.

“The first year I went I was completely overwhelmed. Burning Man, if you haven't been, is a 24-hour experience for a week. There is stuff happening around the clock in any direction. There are 70,000 people out there. They're doing stuff all the time. I was terribly afraid that first year that I was going to miss something. And after a while, I realized, 'Of course you're going to miss something! There are 70,000 people doing stuff all the time. You can't possibly see everything.'”

Holly Hutchings is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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