1. Do people use generators for air conditioning?
2. How dusty is it?
3. How hot is it?
4. How noisy is it?
5. Do you need a bicycle to get around?
Other than that, it looks like a heck of a good time!
It is an amazingly good time. Inspiring. Often life changing.
To answer your questions...
1) Some people use generators to power RV air conditioning
. Some others use evaporative coolers, which are low power and work amazingly well in the low humidity. But most survive just fine without AC. The heat is dry, and outside the breeze is refreshing. I've never had an AC at Burning Man, and I've never really missed it. I have needed my heater at night a few times though!
2) Dustier than you can possibly imagine, particularly late in the week when an inevitable dust storm or two occur. I've experienced not being able to see more than three feet in front of me. Dust storms are a good excuse to hunker down and meet whoever is in whichever camp you happen to be wandering past.
3) The heat varies. It is a high desert. Mid-day I imagine often gets into the upper 90's. But it is a dry heat, so just a little breeze is all it takes to stay cool.
4) The noise varies. There are districts of the city that are designated for "Large Scale Sound Art", and you will find loud music and people dancing 24/7. But camped way in the back it really can feel like a quiet sleepy suburb, with the quiet punctuated every so often by the distant belch of a flame cannon. *grin*
5) A bike is HIGHLY recommended, since the city is so large. Last year a group donated hundreds of bikes towards a shared city bike program, and I imagine that will grow this year. Anyone who sees one of these "Yellow Bikes" is invited to borrow it to get where they are going, and then pass it on to the next person. Last year this didn't work so well, since confusingly the "yellow bikes" were all painted green and were thus hard to recognize. I imagine it will work better this year.
There is more creative energy on display at Burning Man than perhaps any other place on earth. It is hard to explain it to folks who have not experienced it. This is not a show, there are no spectators. Everyone who attends is invited to be a participant. Required to be - "no spectators" is one of the few rules.
And like all things, you get out of it what you put into it.
The other amazing thing is that Black Rock City is a "gift economy". There is no vending of any sort allowed, other than ice sales and a coffee cafe in center camp that raises funds for the local schools. Bartering is frowned upon too. Rather, gifting is encouraged.
And the gifts are amazing... On a hot day, a stranger may walk up and offer you a frozen otter pop. Later, an ice cream truck may drive by handing out treats. Walking home, you might see some fisherman from Seattle serving freshly caught sushi out of their refrigerated crazily painted truck. Next door you might stop in the bookmobile for something to read. Next you may find a group of massage therapists offering their services to all those waiting in line at their giant air conditioned dome. Another group may be offering dance classes. Or art classes. Or lectures on various topics. Some folks always put on a roller disco. Many host all night dancing with world famous DJ's. Another camp may have racks of outrageous costumes offered up to deck you out. Chat up a stranger, and you might be handed a beautiful necklace of hand cast silver. And so on...
A year or so ago, I remember wandering into a full-on professional circus at 3AM. Giant circus tent, ring master, musicians, and amazing trapeze artists overhead. And the most amazing thing was - every member of this circus had paid to come. They had all bought the same ticket as I had, and they had transported their gear hundreds of miles and had sweated away in the desert heat to raise a circus tent and perform. That was their art and their gift to give. And it was amazing.
Last year, I found a group from Ireland that had come over and had built a full-on two story Irish Pub in the desert, complete with celtic rock bands on stage and Guiness on tap.
And so on... Around almost every corner, you will find something that is beyond imagination. And it is all built by the participants, and every last spec is cleaned up afterwards and the city disappears into the desert. Burning Man is the largest "leave no trace" event in the world. There is no garbage service provided - everyone is responsible for cleaning up the desert and taking home every bit of trash they encounter.
I could go on and on... *grin*
Let me know if I can answer any more questions. And be sure to read the blog thread I linked to, and the Survival Guide posted at www.burningman.com