This Long Beach event offers a mini Burning Man Festival experience

For most, attending the annual Burning Man Festival and spending a week in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada with a community of free-spirited burners in a temporary community grounded by self-expression, music and art, can be a life-altering experience.

But for many of those burners, which is a nickname for those who attend, it can be hard to return to the real world following several days in that bohemian paradise. Those that miss that festival vibe can rejoin some of their Burning Man family at the annual Los Angeles Decompression Art & Music Festival held in Long Beach.

“This was born out of the necessity of burners coming back from Burning Man and wanting to reconnect with their tribe,” said Sal Flores-Trimble, one of the event organizers and a veteran burner who has attended several of the Burning Man events.

Previously held at the Los Angeles State Historic Park, the 15th annual Decompression Festival will take place at the Scottish Rite Event Center on Saturday, Oct. 22.

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“You will definitely feel the community spirit, how welcoming burners are,” he said.

The Burning Man Festival, which took place this summer after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, typically attracts up to 75,000 people who spend seven days creating the temporary Black Rock City. The space is dotted with experimental artwork and there are musical performances and other activities for burners.

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We went to Desert Daze for the music and art. But we also tried eating bugs.

It culminates with the burning of a large, wooden, human-shaped effigy.

The Decompression Festival is much smaller, with only about 2,000 people expected to attend, but it will offer a snapshot of everything that makes Burning Man so memorable for its attendees. It will include about two dozen DJs performing on several stages, plus various pieces of art that were displayed at this year’s Burning Man. The festival art cars, which are modified vehicles lit up with LED lights that roam the desert during the main event, will also be parked on the grounds for guests to look at.

There will be several themed camps located throughout the Decompression Festival giving things away to the attendants: One will offer snow cones, another has complimentary tea.  A few of the camps will serve as places for patrons to just chill.

Since people trade for things at Burning Man rather than purchase them, the only items for sale at the Decompression Festival will be food and drinks. There won’t be vendors or sponsors and the event is run by volunteers, Flores-Trimble noted.

The daytime, family-friendly outdoor event will be followed by a 21-and-over dance party inside the venue.

And Flores-Trimble pointed out that this experience isn’t just for burners.

“It’s also an opportunity to showcase just a little, tiny taste of Burning Man to the community who may have never been to Burning Man,” he said.

However, due to city regulations, there will not be the burning of an effigy to cap off the Long Beach event.

“We’re in the city, we can’t be burning anything,” he added.

Los Angeles Decompression Art & Music Festival

When: 1-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 for all-ages; 10 p.m.-2 a.m. for the 21-and-older after party

Where: Scottish Rite Event Center, 855 Elm Ave., Long Beach

Tickets: $30 general admission to the daytime event; $15 after party; $40 for both events. Tickets are available at

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