I live in Reno (if you couldn't have guessed from my handle
), which is only 120 miles from BM, so virtually everyone I know has gone to it & still goes every year. I've been told by EVERYONE I know that BM is still the best damn outrageous party on the planet. Some friends who are rather seriously into non-techno music even think it's better than music fests. Friends have told me the following: weather this year was the best it's ever been. There was only 1 day that there were dust storms & it wasn't blazing hot all week or real cold as it could be. Didn't rain at all. There were more art installations & art cars this year than the last several. Burning of the Man, temple & a Trojan Horse were epic. As always, plenty of peeps dress up, some run around naked or topless (a rather small minority) & there's lotsa stuff only seen or done @ BM. Check out the BM page on Facebook for videos & pix & you'll get a fairly good idea of 1/100th of the crazy shit that goes on there.
I went only from 1999-2001 when there were only 20,000-25,000 peeps & it was only $90-$150. It was an absolute blast each year & the best party imaginable short of music fests (& certainly JC) IMO despite LOTS of enormous dust storms, blazing heat during the day, serious cold at night, rain that created mud like you couldn't even fathom. On top of that, the last night I was there my bike got stolen & my tent blew over w/ nasty week-long cooler water spilled all over everything in it. Since 01 I either haven't had the time off when I was working, the $ when I've been unemployed or the rather good health that's mandatory to deal w/ fairly harsh conditions in the best of years. Doubt I'll go again b/c it's too damn expensive for me, I'd rather spend the $ on music fests & I doubt I'd be able to stomach all the techno that blares 24/7.
On the negative side, you have to bring EVERYTHING: food, lotsa water, much preferably an RV b/c dust & dirt in a tent is pretty unbearable even for me after a few days, shelter. Showers are hard to come by & many years the dust storms mean you're incredibly dirty right after a shower anyhow. Very few live bands (maybe 1 a day) & lotsa techno blaring everywhere.
Bottom line is it's worth going to at least once (especially if you go w/ a bunch of friends) & if I had oodles of $ & the time I'd go every year. W/ more limited funds, given a choice between going to BM or going to JC, Jazzfest, High Sierra, Wanee, Bear Creek or a couple of other fests, I'd MUCH rather spend the $ on the fests.