Which Bay Area festivals are worth attending if you're not into dancing?
September 6, 2016 6:08 PM   Subscribe

I recently got back from Burning Man. Even though I'm not into live music or partying, it was super fun! I notice there are a lot of festivals and parties in the Bay Area that have similar aesthetics or involve the same people (Symbiosis, Lightning in a Bottle, Further Future, SF Decompression, Ghost Ship, etc.) but I'm wondering which ones are really "music festivals with some art" and which ones have plenty of stuff for the art-and-science lovers.

So I got back from my first Burn, and I found that I loved volunteering, the art, the general openness and friendliness, and all the interesting and goofy activities, like the science demonstrations and the Thunderdome and the "improv-style" camps (I don't really know how to describe these, but like there was this one where you could pretend to open a bank account and they would pretend to deposit money in it, and another where you could go on "safari" to see inflatable animals...). On the other hand, I didn't care for the music/party scene or the sex stuff at all, and I'm not into yoga, woo, or anything with the word "sunrise" in it. Fortunately, Burning Man is big enough that there was plenty for me to see and do.

Anyway, there are a bunch of Burning Man-like festivals in the Bay Area, and I'm wondering which, if any of them, would be worth attending if that's what I'm looking for? I'm having a hard time telling from their websites if they're just music festivals with a smattering of other activities or if they are genuinely full of other cool things.
posted by phoenixy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I get the feeling you would like Maker Faire. I haven't been in many years, but it's full of geeky, crafty, often sciencey or engineering types. Especially if you are or know someone who is a maker, as the Maker-only preview day when you can run around and see everyone else's creations is super fun.
posted by spelunkingplato at 6:41 PM on September 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

SF Decompression is just a big rager, or it was the last time I went which was admittedly several years ago. I haven't been to LIB but I heard it was pretty music oriented: like a music festival with morning yoga and a bit of art. I think all the art is for sale too? The Maker Faire is definitely worth checking out though, it's pretty cool.
posted by fshgrl at 7:43 PM on September 6, 2016

I have a friend who loves Burning Man and does not dance. He loves Lightning in a Bottle even more than Burning Man. For what that's worth.
posted by rednikki at 9:49 PM on September 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Building on the Maker Faire suggestion, the SF library system has lots of small events like this. I live near the Bernal Heights branch, and they host events like Phonographic Memory that might be right up your alley.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 8:53 AM on September 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Symbiosis is the next upcoming festival that focuses on art, performance, workshops, etc. There is also music and dancing, but there are tons of other things going on, and it's at a beautiful lake so you can swim too! It has the Burner aesthetic you're looking for, for sure.

For next year, check out Lucidity (very workshop and volunteer focused)

If you have a taste for surrealism, and are in to immersive improvisational theater, there are some private events that are coming up in a couple months that I could tell you more about. PM me if you want info.
posted by ananci at 3:43 PM on September 7, 2016

For posterity/Googlers, I want to answer my own question with the addition of Come out and Play. Went to a bunch of the events, had a blast, and there is a large overlap with the Burny crowd.
posted by phoenixy at 11:36 AM on November 28, 2016

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