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Burning Man

Burning Man
Burning "The Man", a large wooden effigy
Begins last Monday of August
Ends first Monday in September
Frequency Yearly
Location(s) Black Rock Desert, Pershing County, Nevada, United States
Inaugurated 1986
Founder Larry Harvey, John Law, Jerry James
Attendance 65,922 (2014) [1]

Burning Man is an annual gathering that takes place at Black Rock City—a temporary community erected in the Larry Harvey and a group of friends, it has since been held annually, spanning from the last Sunday in August to the first Monday in September (Labor Day).

At Burning Man the community explores various forms of artistic self-expression, created in celebration for the pleasure of all participants. Participation is a key precept for the community - selfless giving of one's unique talents for the enjoyment of all is encouraged and actively reinforced. Some of these generous out-pourings of creativity can include experimental and interactive sculpture, building, performance, and [2][3][4][5]

Burning Man is organized by the Burning Man Project, a

  • Official website
  • Burning Man page Annual coverage from and the San Francisco Chronicle
  • Burning Man at DMOZ
  • Enabling Creative Chaos: The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event An ethnography of the growing organization that runs Burning Man. By Katherine K. Chen
  • A video/audio podcast spreading the flames about the art, culture and community of Burning Man
  • Burning Man: Summer in the Desert—slideshow by Life magazine

External links

  • Bőnner, Bertine 2005. Das Burning Man Projekt—Religiosität und Spiritualität in Black Rock City? Eine ethnologische Perspektive. Magisterarbeit. Grin Verlag
  • Bowditch, Rachel. 2010. On the edge of utopia: Performance and ritual at Burning Man. Seagull books.
  • Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning ManBruder, Jessica 2007. . New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Cortez, Donn 2005. The Man Burns Tonight: A Black Rock City Mystery.
  • Chen, Katherine 2004. The Burning Man Organization Grows Up: Blending Bureaucratic and Alternative Structures. Dissertation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University
  • Chen, Katherine K. 2009. Enabling Creative Chaos: The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
  • Chen, Katherine K. 2011. "Lessons for Creative Cities from Burning Man: How organizations can sustain and disseminate a creative context." City, Culture and Society 2(2): 93-100.
  • Chen, Katherine K. 2012. "Artistic Prosumption: Cocreative Destruction at Burning Man." American Behavioral Scientist 56(4): 570-595.
  • Chen, Katherine K. 2012. "Laboring for the Man: Augmenting Authority in a Voluntary Association." Research in the Sociology of Organizations 34: 135-164.
  • Chen, Katherine K. 2012. "Charismatizing the Routine: Storytelling for Meaning and Agency in the Burning Man Organization." Qualitative Sociology 35(3): 311-334.
  • Chen, Katherine K. 2013. "Storytelling: An Informal Mechanism of Accountability for Voluntary Organizations." Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 42(5): 902-922.
  • Chen, Katherine K. and Siobhán O’Mahony. 2009. "Differentiating Organizational Boundaries." Research in the Sociology of Organizations 26: 183-220.
  • Clupper, Wendy. 2009. The erotic politics of Critical Tits: Exhibitionism or feminist statement? Political Performances: Theory and Practice. New York/ Amsterdam: Rodopi Press.
  • Clupper, Wendy. 2007. Burning Man: Festival culture in the United States, Festival Culture in a Global Perspective. Festivalising! Theatrical Events, Politics and Culture. New York/Amsterdam: Rodopi Press.
  • Doherty, Brian. 2004. This is Burning Man. The Rise of a New American Underground. Boston/New York: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Diehl, Ronny. 2010. The American Frontier in Acoustic Space. MA Thesis. Humboldt-University of Berlin. Grin Verlag.
  • Gauthier, François. 2013. "The Enchantments of Consumer Capitalism: Beyond Belief at the Burning Man Festival" in Religion in Consumer Society, ed. François Gauthier. Ashgate, 143-158.
  • Gilmore, Lee and Mark Van Proyen, eds. 2005. AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man. New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press.
  • Art of Burning ManGuy, NK. 2015. . Köln, Germany: Taschen.
  • Hockett, Jeremy 2004. Reckoning Ritual and Counterculture in the Burning Man Community: Communication, Ethnography, and the Self in Reflexive Modernism. Dissertation. Albuquerque, New Mexico: The University of New Mexico.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. 2002. Can Consumers Escape the Market? Emancipatory Illuminations from Burning Man. Journal of Consumer Research 29: 20-38.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. 2003. "The Moment of Infinite Fire," in Time, Space, and the Market: Retroscapes Rising, ed. Stephen Brown and John F. Sherry. Jr., New York: M. E. Sharpe, 199-216.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. and John F. Sherry, Jr. 2005. "Welcome to the Black Rock Café," in Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man, ed. Lee Gilmore and Mark van Proyen, Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 87-106.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. and John F. Sherry, Jr. 2004. "Dancing on Common Ground: Exploring the Sacred at Burning Man," in Rave Culture and Religion, ed. Graham St. John, New York and London: Routledge, 287-303.
  • Kreuter, Holly. 2002. Drama in the Desert: The Sights and Sounds of Burning Man. San Francisco: Raised Barn Press.
  • Kristen, Christine. "Reconnecting art and life at Burning Man" in: Raw Vision, Nr. 57 (Winter 2006), S. 28–35.
  • Morehead, John W. 2007. Burning Man Festival as Life-Enhancing, Post-Christendom 'Middle Way'. MA Thesis. Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake Theological Seminary.
  • Nash, A. Leo. 2007. Burning Man: Art in the Desert, Introduction by Daniel Pinchbeck. New York: Harry N. Abrams.
  • Pike, Sarah M. 2001. Desert Goddesses and Apocalyptic Art. Making Sacred Space at the Burning Man Festival. In: Mazur, Eric Michael/McCarthy, Kate (Hrsg.): God in the Details. American Religion in Popular Culture. London/New York: Routledge, 155-176.
  • Post, George P. 2012. Dancing with the Playa Messiah: A 21-Year Burning Man Photo Album. Richmond, CA: Dragon Fotografix.
  • Roberts, Adrian, ed. "Burning Man Live: 13 years of Piss Clear, Black Rock City's alternative newspaper" San Francisco: RE/Search Publications.
  • Sherry, John F. Jr. and Robert V. Kozinets. 2007. "Comedy of the Commons: Nomadic Spirituality and the Burning Man Festival," in Russell W. Belk and John F. Sherry, Jr., ed. Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 11: Consumer Culture Theory, Oxford: Elsevier, 119-147.
  • Sherry, John F., Jr. and Robert V. Kozinets. 2004. "Sacred Iconography in Secular Space: Altars, Alters and Alterity at the Burning Man Project," in Contemporary Consumption Rituals: A Research Anthology, ed. Cele Otnes and Tina Lowry, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 291-311.
  • Sherry, John F. Jr., Robert V. Kozinets, and Stefania Borghini. 2007. "Agents in Paradise: Experiential Co-Creation through Emplacement, Ritualization, and Community," in Consuming Experiences, ed. Antonella Carù and Bernard Cova, London and New York: Routledge, 17-33.
  • St John, Graham. 2009. Technomad: Global Raving Countercultures. London & Oakville, CT: Equinox Publishing.
  • Desert to Dream: A Dozen Years of Burning Man PhotographyTraub, Barbara 2011. . San Francisco: Immedium.
  • Burning ManTraub, Barbara 1997. Hardwired publications.

Further reading

  1. ^ a b c Stuart Walmsley (October 12, 2014). "Behind the Burning Man festival in Nevada desert". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2014-10-18. 
  2. ^ "New York Times". 2009-09-01. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  3. ^ Dembowky, April (13 August 2008). "Priming for Burning Man, Flames in Hand". New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Chaplin, Julia (12 November 2006). "Burning Man spreads its flame". New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  5. ^ Saillant, Catherine (20 October 2010). "Burning Man becomes a hot academic topic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Lundahl, Mark (5 September 2010). "Burning Man attendance up nearly 20% over last year". Reno Gazette Journal. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  7. ^ Brent Begin. "Burning Man sells out; hopeful attendees scramble for tickets | Brent Begin | Local | San Francisco Examiner". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  8. ^ StJ’s Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements Archived February 22, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b (Doherty, Brian (July 2006). This Is Burning Man.  )
  10. ^ "Bad Day At Black Rock (Cacophony Society Zone Trip #4)". 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  11. ^ "What is Burning Man?: Early Years". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  12. ^ [3]
  13. ^ (Doherty, Brian (July 2006). This Is Burning Man.  )
  14. ^ Olivier, Bonin (March 2009). "Dust & Illusions. Documentary on 30 Years of Burning Man history". William Binzen was extensively interviewed for the film, with cross-references from Burning Man organizations' co-founders. 
  15. ^ "Dr. Dre Started Burning Man". Dr. Dre Started Burning Man. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  16. ^ Grant, Drew. "Dr. Dre not actually responsible for Burning Man sucking". Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  17. ^ Cooper, Duncan. "Dr. Dre Definitely Started Burning Man". Fader. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  18. ^ Parkman, Dave. "Dr. Dre vs. The Hippies: Did Dre Try to Make Money Out of Burning Man?". LA Weekly. LA Weekly. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  19. ^ Van Buskirk, Eliot (Feb 23, 2011). "Steve Jobs is the Real Dr. Dre" (Feb 23 2011). Business Insider. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  20. ^ LeCorre, Dasha G. "Dr. Dre vs. Larry Harvey in Thunderdome: 2011". Voices of Burning Man. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  21. ^ (Doherty, Brian (July 2006). This Is Burning Man.  )
  22. ^ Andrew Dalton (2011-08-29). "Burning Man Architect Rod Garrett Dies at Age 76". SFist. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  23. ^ "Preparation—2007 BRC MAP". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  24. ^ a b "On The Playa: Playa Vehicles: DMV". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  25. ^ "On The Playa". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  26. ^ a b "Playa Protection and Burn Scar Prevention". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  27. ^ "preparation :: LAW ENFORCEMENT AT". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  28. ^ "THE PET UNFRIENDLY PLAYA". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  29. ^ "Burning Man :: AfterBurn Report 2006 :: DPW :: Set Up and Clean Up". 2006-10-17. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  30. ^ "Federal Register Volume 67, Number 139 (Friday, July 19, 2002)". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  31. ^ Beninati v. Black Rock City, LLC, 175 Cal. App. 4th 650 (2009).
  32. ^ "Man on the move". 
  33. ^ Bruder, Jessica (2011-08-27). "The Changing Face of the Burning Man Festival". The New York Times. 
  34. ^ "Burning Man Transitions to Non-Profit Organization". Burning Blog. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  35. ^ "Terms and Conditions". Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  36. ^ "a timeline on". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  37. ^ "The Emmy Awards—29th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  38. ^ a b "The population cap does not include volunteers, government personnel, emergency service providers, vendors and contractors.""Burning Man 2014 Special Recreation Permit Stipulations" (PDF). Bureau of Land Managment. 2014-07-31. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  39. ^ """PORTFOLIO: Writing—"Where the Wild Things Are. factoid labs. 1996-09-04. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  40. ^ Sterling, Bruce (November 1996). "Greetings from Burning Man!". Wired 4 (11). Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  41. ^ "Burning Man Festival searches for new home—Associated Press via Las Vegas Review-Journal Wednesday, October 29, 1997". 1997-10-29. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  42. ^ "'"Woman dies when run over by 'art car.  
  43. ^ a b c d e "Special Recreation Permit Stipulations Burning Man 2006-2010" (PDF). Bureau of Land Managment. 2010-08-23. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  44. ^ Berton, Justin (14 September 2007). "Friends mourn Burning Man devotee who hanged himself". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  45. ^ Ohtake, Miyoko (2007-08-30). "A Fiery Q&A With the Prankster Accused of Burning the Man". Retrieved 29 August 2011. 
  46. ^ 2007 news
  47. ^ "The (hopefully) All Inclusive List of Questions Regarding 2008 Tickets". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  48. ^ "2010 Art Theme: Metropolis – Life of Cities | Burning Man". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  49. ^ "The Jack Rabbit Speaks Volume 16, Issue #3 October 24, 2011". 
  50. ^ "Burning Man 2011 Special Recreation Permit Stipulations" (PDF). Bureau of Land Managment. 2011-03-30. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  51. ^ "2011 Art Theme: Rites of Passage | Burning Man". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  52. ^ a b "2011 Burning Man ticket information". Burning Man. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  53. ^ "Info". Retrieved 2013-04-09. 
  54. ^ "Black Rock City 2012 Population Update". 
  55. ^ "Burning Man 2012 Special Recreation Permit Stipulations" (PDF). Bureau of Land Managment. 2012-06-11. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  56. ^ "2012 Art Theme: Fertility 2.0 | Burning Man". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  57. ^ "Black Rock City 2013 Population".  
  58. ^ "Burning Man 2013 Special Recreation Permit Stipulations" (PDF). Bureau of Land Managment. 2013-07-17. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-08-06. 
  59. ^ "2013 Art Theme: Cargo Cult | Burning Man". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  60. ^ "2013 ART THEME: CARGO CULT". Retrieved 2012-11-30. 
  61. ^ Chase, Will. "Burning Man 2013 Ticket Sales". Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  62. ^ "2014 ART THEME: CARAVANSARY". Retrieved 9 January 2014. 
  63. ^ "Jackrabbit Speaks Vol. 18". 
  64. ^ Marcus, Emerson (28 August 2014). "'"Woman killed at Burning Man had 'caring spirit. Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno). Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  65. ^ "Burning Man 2015 Special Recreation Permit Stipulations" (PDF). Bureau of Land Managment. 2015-08-07. p. 1. Retrieved 2015-08-12. 
  66. ^ a b "The Jackrabbit Speaks V19:#9:12.23.14". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  67. ^ "2015 Art Theme: Carnival of Mirrors | Burning Man". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  68. ^ What is Burning Man? "There are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event (save the rules that serve to protect the health, safety, and experience of the community at large); rather, it is up to each participant to decide how they will contribute and what they will give to this community. ... Participants are encouraged to find a way to help make the theme come alive...."
  69. ^ Schmeiser, Lisa. Burning Man: Recession Proof?" SF Gate""". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  70. ^ "Larry Harvey Talk Burning Man 2010 Regional Summit". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  71. ^ a b "10 principles of Burning Man". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  72. ^ "10 Burning Man Survival Guide". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  73. ^ "No Cash Transactions". 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  74. ^ "Coffee". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  75. ^ "Camp Arctica". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  76. ^ "Shuttle Service". 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  77. ^ "What is Burning Man?: FAQ". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  78. ^ "On The Playa". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  79. ^ "Preparation". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  80. ^ "preparation :: RADICAL SELF RELIANCE". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  81. ^ "Event Preparation". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  82. ^ "What I Saw at Burning Man". 1999-09-24. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  83. ^ Wohltmann, Glenn (August 29, 2011). "The Ultimate Festival - Burning Man: a 50,000-person celebration in the Nevada desert for one week each year". Pleasanton Weekly (Pleasanton, California). Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  84. ^ "Participate Main". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  85. ^ Art Installations
  86. ^ 2006 Theme
  87. ^ 2007 Theme: The Green Man
  88. ^ a b Scheff, Jonathan (September 2007). "Data Points: Green Burning Man". Scientific American 297 (3) (Black Rock City: Scientific American, Inc.). p. 34. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  89. ^ "2011 Art Theme: Rites of Passage". Burning Man. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  90. ^ "Welcome to the 2012 Playa Events Registration". Burning Man. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  91. ^ Event Archives
  92. ^ "Art of Burning Man". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  93. ^ "Burning Man :: AfterBurn Report 2005 :: Art :: Playa Art". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  94. ^ Current // Items Archived September 11, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  95. ^ "Community Art Makers". Community Art Makers. 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  96. ^ "The Flux Foundation". The Flux Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  97. ^ "Temple of Flux". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  98. ^ "Temple of Transition". International Arts Megacrew. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  99. ^ "The Temple of Juno". The Temple Crew. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  100. ^
  101. ^
  102. ^ "Artist Interview with the Temple of Whollyness Builders". Retrieved 2013-05-20. 
  103. ^ [4]
  104. ^ "The Temple of Grace". The Temple Crew. Retrieved August 27, 2015. 
  105. ^ "2015 Art Installations | Burning Man". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  106. ^ "Temple of Promise". Retrieved 2015-09-03. 
  107. ^ "Desert Music: Burning Man Confronts The Rising Beat". NPR. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  108. ^
  109. ^ "On The Playa". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  110. ^ "On The Playa". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  111. ^ "Black Rock City Airport". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  112. ^ May, Meredith (2005-08-31). "Theme Camps". Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  113. ^ Volunteering page
  114. ^ Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  115. ^ "FBI admits to spying on Burning Man". RT. Retrieved 12 September 2015. 
  116. ^ Hartley, Brandon. "Burning Man Airport". AWB. Retrieved October 14, 2011. 
  117. ^ "On The Playa". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  118. ^ "Black Rock City Airport". AOPA. Retrieved 2014-12-05. []
  119. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  120. ^ Burning Man 2006-2010 Environmental Assessment
  121. ^ Bureau of Land Management. Burning Man Post-Event Inspection, 2009
  122. ^ "Resources—Burn Effects". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  123. ^ "Preparation". Burning Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  124. ^ Bureau of Land Management
  125. ^ "Cooling Man". Cooling Man. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  126. ^ "The Sierra Club". The Sierra Club. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  127. ^ Jolia Sidona Allen (May 2008) "Green Party", Common Ground Magazine
  128. ^ Elsa Wenzel (September 17, 2007) "How green was Burning Man?"
  129. ^ Brian Doherty (August 2007) "Crude Awakening Arises at Burning Man", Wired Blog Network Underwire
  130. ^ "Video/DV/Film/Digital Camera Personal Use Agreement Burning Man 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  131. ^ "Snatching Rights On the Playa | Electronic Frontier Foundation". 2009-08-12. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  132. ^ "Burning Blog » Blog Archive » "Snatching Digital Rights" or Protecting Our Culture? Burning Man and the EFF". 2009-08-14. Retrieved 2012-03-31. 
  133. ^ Updated Terms and Conditions for 2011. Burning Man blog.
  134. ^ "". Retrieved 2012-06-22. 
  135. ^ "About Homeland". Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  136. ^ "Doodle 4 Google". Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  137. ^ "Burning Man Festival". 1998-08-30. Retrieved 2014-04-23. 
  138. ^ Perkins, Dennis (16 November 2014). """The Simpsons: "Blazed And Confused.  
  139. ^ "Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock". Retrieved 29 December 2014. 
  140. ^ "Dust and Illusions: 30 Years of History of Burning Man". Retrieved 14 June 2013. 
  141. ^ "Taking My Parents to Burning Man". Retrieved 18 September 2015. 
  142. ^ "Spark: A Burning Man Story". Retrieved 18 October 2014. 


See also

  • Burning Man: Beyond Black Rock,[139] a 2005 documentary of the Burning Man phenomenon.
  • Dust & Illusions,[140] a 2009 documentary about 30 years of Burning Man history from the perspective of 20 interviewees.
  • Taking My Parents to Burning Man,[141] a 2014 film documenting the adventures and misadventures as Bryant Boesen takes his parents on their first Burn.
  • Spark: A Burning Man Story,[142] a 2013 documentary about Burning Man, which includes behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the founders.


  • Malcolm in the Middle: "Burning Man," Season 7, Episode 1, the family goes to Burning Man.
  • Community: "Social Psychology" Season 1, Episode 4. At the end of the episode, Troy and Abed impersonate passers by, referencing Burning Man in relation to one man.
  • Reno 911!: "Burning Man Festival," Season 1, Episode 10. Reno Sheriffs Dangle, Jones and Junior go undercover as Burning Man participants and attempt to attend the event. They get lost trying to find it and run out of gas since they have no place to put their wallets (or badges or guns for that matter).
  • Homeland: Cory Doctorow's 2013 novel opens at a near-future Burning Man.[135]
  • Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil: "Temptasia" is centered around DJ Jesús' trip to Burning Man for a performance.
  • American Dad!: "Francine's Flashback," Season 1, Episode 4, daughter Hayley poses as her roommate while her boyfriend Jeff tries to get her to go with him to Burning Man. Hayley refuses and, in order to get a rise out of her, Jeff takes Francine instead. Stan and Hayley (along with Klaus the fish in tow) follow to get their respective significant others back.
  • Google Doodle: The first playful adaptation of the Google logo announced the founders' attendance at Burning Man in 1998.[136][137]
  • The Days of Anna Madrigal: The 2014 novel in the Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin has the main characters attending 2012 Burning Man as a major narrative.
  • The episode "Blazed and Confused" of The Simpsons features a "Blazing Guy" festival based on Burning Man.[138]
  • South Park: "Coon vs. Coon and Friends," Season 14, Episode 13, Cartman, disguised as The Coon, and Cthulhu massacre hippies at Burning Man.

In popular culture

Some of the events are officially affiliated with the Burning Man organization via the Burning Man Regional Network.[134] This official affiliation usually requires the event to conform to certain standards outlined by the Burning Man organization, and to be substantially coordinated by a "Burning Man Regional Contact," a volunteer organizer with an official relationship to the Burning Man Project via a legal Letter of Agreement. In exchange for conforming to these standards, the event is granted permission to officially advertise as a Burning Man Regional Event.

In recent years, burners wishing to experience Burning Man more frequently than once per year, without the need for travel to Nevada, or otherwise free from the specific restrictions of the Black Rock City event, have banded together to create local regional events such as Burning Flipside in Texas; Apogaea in Colorado; Playa del Fuego in Delaware; Firefly in New England; Kiwiburn in New Zealand; Blazing Swan in Australia; Transformus in North Carolina; AfrikaBurn in South Africa; NoWhere near Zaragoza in Spain; Midburn in Israel; and many others.

The popularity of Burning Man has encouraged other groups and organizations to hold events similar to Burning Man.

a camp at a regional burn in South Africa

Regional events

The Burning Man organization has since worked with the EFF and with Creative Commons and other parties, and has revised and clarified the photography policies.[133]

A Burning Man spokeswoman replied that the policies are not new, were written by a former head of the EFF, were used when suing to block pornographic videos and ultimately arose from participant concerns: "We’re proud that Black Rock City (a private event held on public land) is widely acknowledged as a bastion of creative freedom. [B]ut that protection [of participants' freedoms] does necessitate the acceptance of some general terms of engagement when it comes to cameras... EFF seems to think that anyone attending any event somehow has an absolute right to take photographs, and then to do whatever they want with those images without any effective restriction or manner of enforcement. While we believe that such rights do make sense for any of us taking pictures in purely public spaces, this is not true in the private space of Burning Man – if it were it would mean that Burning Man couldn’t protect participant privacy or prevent commercialization of imagery."[132]

The terms of the Burning Man ticket require that participants wishing to use photo and video-recording equipment share a joint copyright of their images of Black Rock City with Burning Man, and forbid them from using their images for commercial purposes. This has been criticized by many, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).[130][131]

Video of the 'man' sculpture burning in 2011

Photography restrictions

In an attempt to offset some of the event's carbon footprint, 30- and 50-kilowatt fossil fuel with biodiesel.

Burning Man's 2007 theme, "Green Man", received criticism for the artwork Crude Awakening, a 99-foot oil derrick that consumed 900 gallons of jet fuel and 2,000 gallons of liquid propane to blast a mushroom cloud 300 feet high into the sky.[127][128][129]

Burning Man's carbon footprint is primarily from transportation to the remote area. The CoolingMan organization has estimated that the 2006 Burning Man was responsible for the generation of 27,000 tons of carbon dioxide, with 87% being from transportation to and from the remote location.[125] The Sierra Club has criticized Burning Man for the "hundreds of thousands" of plastic water bottles that end up in landfills, as well as ostentatious displays of flames and explosions.[126]

Effect on the environment

The Bureau of Land Management, which maintains the desert, has very strict requirements for the event. These stipulations include trash cleanup, removal of burn scars, dust abatement, and capture of fluid drippings from participant vehicles. For four weeks after the event has ended, the Black Rock City Department of Public Works (BRC – DPW) Playa Restoration Crew remains in the desert, cleaning up after the temporary city in an effort to make sure that no evidence of the event remains.[124]

Even gray water is not to be dumped on the playa, and used shower water must be captured and either evaporated off, or collected and carried home with each participant or disposed of by roving septic-pumping trucks, which also service RVs. Methods used for evaporating water normally include a plastic sheet with a wood frame.

On the last day of the event, public shared burn areas are prepared for participants to use. It is an ongoing educational process each year to inform the public not to burn toxic materials for the protection of the environment and participants.[122][123]

While fire is a primary component of many art exhibits and events, materials must be burned on a burn platform.[26] From 1990 through 1999, burning was allowed to take place directly on the surface of the playa, but this left burn scars (fired pinkish clay-like playa surface). When it was finally determined that they did not dissipate with the annual winter rains and flooding, in 2000, the organization declared that fires had to be elevated from the playa surface for its protection. When it was discovered by two of the founders of the Friends of Black Rock / High Rock (Garth Elliott & Sue Weeks) and BLM Winnemucca district director Terry Reid, that Burn scars from prior sites (numbering 250) still remained, they were finally eradicated in 2000 by the DPW clean up crew headed by Dan Miller.

[t]he number of items per plot in the City consistently increased over the 2006 to 2009(....). Although the observed trend was not statistically significant, regression analysis indicated that the predicted trend explained over 97% of the variance in the data.[121]

Burning Man takes place in the middle of a large playa and while not inhabited by humans itself, the area around the playa is home to many animals and plants.[120] Supporters of Burning Man point out that participants are encouraged to leave no trace (LNT) of their visit to Black Rock City (BRC) and not to contaminate the area with litter, commonly known as MOOP (Matter Out Of Place). Despite the BLM and LLC's insistence on the practice of LNT, the amount of residual trash at the site has increased over the years,

A collection of MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) collected at Burning Man 2013

"Leave No Trace" policy

Participants also share rides[119] and hitchhike.


There are prepaid shuttles, originating in Reno and San Francisco, that move participants to and from the event. During the event there is also a paid shuttle between the event and the nearby towns of Gerlach and Empire. Exiting and reentering the event requires an additional fee, and is highly discouraged.


A section of the Playa is used for a non-permanent airport, which is set up before each event and completely erased afterward.[116] Pilots began camping there about 1995, and once compelled to add structure, it was established in a form acceptable to the BLM in 1999 through the efforts of Tiger Tiger (Lissa Shoun) and LLC board member Mr. Klean (Will Roger). In 2009 it was recognized by the FAA as a private airport and designated 88NV. It is found on the Klamath Falls Sectional, using a CTAF of 122.9 MHz. Black Rock Unicom and the airport are operational on that frequency from 6:00 am to 7:30 pm PDT each day during the event. The runway is simply a compacted strip of playa, and is not lighted.[117] Because of the unique air traffic and safety issues associated with the airport, pilots are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with published information and procedures provided by, for example, AOPA. Because of the changes of the surface each year, information about the airport is subject to change.[118]

Temporary airstrip

San Francisco International Airport, nearly six hours away by car, is the nearest airport with a high volume of international service.

The airport with regular commercial service closest to the event is the Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Reno, Nevada, over two hours' drive away. An airport spokesperson said in 2009 that 15,000 burners arrive to the event via the airport annually, making it the second-busiest time for them. In 2008 and 2009, an information desk for burners was organized in Reno airport.

Commercial airports


In documents from February 2013 first made public on August 29, 2015, it was revealed that in August 2010, the FBI had sent a memo to its field offices in Nevada stating that it would patrol Burning Man to "aid in the prevention of terrorist activities and intelligence collection." Although a threat assessment performed by the FBI in consort with Burning Man's contracted security determined that drug usage and crowd control were the only major threats to Burning Man, the Bureau still sent an unspecified number of undercover officers to the event, with "no adverse threats or reactions."[115]

Firefighting, emergency medical services (EMS), mental health, and communications support is provided by the volunteer Black Rock City Emergency Services Department (ESD). Three "MASH"-like stations are set up in the city: station 3, 6 and 9. Station 6 is staffed by physicians and nurses working with Humboldt General Hospital in Winnemucca, Nevada (HGH), while Stations 3 and 9 are staffed by Black Rock City ESD personnel. While Station 3 and 9 provide emergency services and basic life support, the volunteers are generally doctors, nurses, EMTs/paramedics, and firefighters. Both station 3 and 9 have a small fire engine available in addition to a smaller four-wheel drive fire suppression unit and Quick response vehicle for medical emergencies.

Black Rock City is patrolled by various local and state law enforcement agencies as well as the Bureau of Land Management Rangers. The local police issue $1500 fines for drug use and serving alcohol to minors. Burning Man also has its own in-house group of volunteers, the Black Rock Rangers,[114] who act as informal mediators when disputes arise between participants.

Bureau of Land Management officers and a Ranger at Burning Man

Safety, policing and regulations

The Burning Man event is heavily dependent on a large number of volunteers.[113]


Theme camps and villages often form to create an atmosphere in Black Rock City that their group envisioned. As Burning Man grows every year it attracts an even more diverse crowd. Subcultures form around theme camps at Black Rock City similar to what can be found in other cities.

Theme camps are usually a collective of people representing themselves under a single identity. Villages are usually a collection of smaller theme camps which have banded together in order to share resources and vie for better placement.

Villages and theme camps are located along the innermost streets of Black Rock City, often offering entertainment or services to participants.[112]

Satellite Image of Black Rock City, taken from NASA World Wind, 2005

Villages and theme camps

Center Camp is located along the mid line of Black Rock City, facing the Man at the 6:00 position on the Esplanade. This area serves as a central meeting place for the entire city and contains the Center Camp Cafe, Camp Arctica and a number of other city institutions.

Center Camp

The Black Rock City Airport is constructed adjacent to the city, typically on its southern side. The airport serves a variety of aviation traffic, including private airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, ultralights, gliders, and skydivers.[111]

The innermost street is named the Esplanade, and the remaining streets are given names to coincide with the overall theme of the burn, and ordered in ways such as alphabetical order or stem to stern, to make them easier to recall. For example, in 1999, for the "Wheel of Time" theme, and again in 2004 for "The Vault of Heaven" theme, the streets were named after the planets of the solar system. The radial streets are usually given a clock designation, for example, 6:00 or 6:15, in which the Man is at the center of the clock face and 12:00 is in the middle of the third of the arc lacking streets (usually at a bearing of 60° true from the Man). These avenues have been identified in other ways, notably in 2002, in accordance with "The Floating World" theme, as the degrees of a compass, for example 175 degrees, and in 2003 as part of the Beyond Belief theme as adjectives ("Rational, Absurd") that caused every intersection with a concentric street (named after concepts of belief such as "Authority, Creed") to form a phrase such as "Absurd Authority" or "Rational Creed". However, these proved unpopular with participants due to difficulty in navigating the city without the familiar clock layout.

The developed part of the city is currently arranged as a series of concentric streets in an arc composing, since 1999, two-thirds of a 1.5-mile (2.4-km) diameter circle with the Man Sculpture and his supporting complex at the very center ( in 2012). Radial streets, sometimes called Avenues, extend from the Man to the outermost circle. The outlines of these streets are visible on aerial photographs.

Oblique aerial photo of Black Rock City showing the familiar "C" pattern 2010

City planning

Black Rock City, often abbreviated to BRC, is the name of the temporary city created by Burning Man participants. Much of the layout and general city infrastructure is constructed by Department of Public Works (DPW) volunteers who often reside in Black Rock City for several weeks before and after the event.[109][110] The remainder of the city including theme camps, villages, art installations and individual camping are all created by participants.

Radar image of Black Rock City taken from the TerraSAR-X satellite in 2011

Black Rock City

In recent years, concerns began to surface among attendees that a growing number of "mainstream" [108]

Camps focusing on electronic music, often played by live DJs, began to appear in 1992, as influenced by the rave culture of the San Francisco area. Terbo Ted was identified as having been the first ever DJ in Burning Man history, opening with a Jean Michel Jarre song played off a vinyl record. DJs typically occupied an area on the outskirts of the Playa nicknamed the "Techno Ghetto". In later years, designated spokes of the main camp were designated for "sound camps", with limits on volume and speaker positioning (angled away from the center of Black Rock City). To work around the rules, art cars with live DJs and large sound systems also began to proliferate. A number of major electronic music camps have been well-known recurrents at Burning Man, including Opulent Temple and Robot Heart. Major producers and DJs representing various eras and genres have performed at Burning Man, including Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, François Kevorkian and Freq Nasty among others.[107]

Electronic music

  • 2000—The Temple of the Mind
  • 2001—The Temple of Tears
  • 2002—The Temple of Joy
  • 2003—The Temple of Honor
  • 2004—The Temple of Stars
  • 2005—The Temple of Dreams
    In 2005, Best stepped aside to allow for another artist, Mark Grieve, to build his own interpretation of a Temple.[93] Grieve's temples were seen in both 2005 and 2006.
  • 2006—The Temple of Hope
  • 2007—The Temple of Forgiveness
    In 2007 David Best took over the temple building duties for what he thought would be one last time. The 2007 Temple was named "The Temple of Forgiveness." Best stated that after 2007, it was time to hand the Temple over to the community.
  • 2008—Basura Sagrada
    In 2008 the "Basura Sagrada" (Spanish for "sacred trash") Temple was a collaboration of Shrine and Tucker Teutsch 3.0, built with the extensive help of their friends and the greater Burning Man community.[94]
  • 2009—Fire of Fires
    In 2009, the "Fire of Fires" Temple for Burning Man was built in Austin, Texas.[95]
  • 2010—The Temple of Flux
    In 2010, the Temple of Flux was designed and orchestrated by artists Rebecca Anders, Jess Hobbs and Peter (pk.) Kimelman who formed the Flux Foundation. This group was notable for drawing from a broad section of the Burning Man community, including the large-scale sound camps and other existing BM art groups. The Flux Foundation has since continued to make large-scale public art outside Burning Man.[96] The Temple of Flux broke from tradition and was highly abstract in nature, appearing as a series of landforms with canyon and cave-like spaces.[97]
  • 2011—The Temple of Transition
    The 2011 Temple was the first Temple built in Reno, Nevada. The International Arts Megacrew, helmed by Chris "Kiwi" Hankins, Diarmaid "Irish" Horkan and Ian "Beave" Beaverstock returned to a more traditional style. The Temple of Transition[98] took the form of a 120-foot tiered, hexagonal central tower, surrounded by five 58-foot tiered, hexagonal towers. The towers were vaulted and lofty, cut with a profusion of gothic style arches.
  • 2012—The Temple of Juno
    With the 2012 Temple came the return of David Best.[99] The Temple of Juno incorporated a large central tower with central altar space, sitting within a 150' x 150' walled courtyard lined with benches, accessed from four entrances. Intricately cut wooden panels and detailed shapes covered the courtyard walls as well as the interior space and altars.
  • 2013—The Temple of Whollyness
    This temple was created by The Otic Oasis team, led by architect and artist Gregg Fleishman,[100] Terry Lightning "Clearwater III" Gross, and Melissa "Syn" Barron.[101] This was the first Temple built without nails, bolts, adhesives, or fasteners of any kind. This Temple incorporated a massive 17-ton black basalt Inuksuk sculpture created by artist, James LaFemina to act as the central altar.[102] Conceptual artist and composer, Aaron 'Taylor' Kuffner, who debuted at Burning Man with the 2011 Temple of Transition, returned to contribute musical elements with a different execution of the Gamelatron.
  • 2014—The Temple of Grace
    Following the sudden withdrawal of chosen 2014 Temple builder Ross Asselstine,[103] who was to build the Temple of Descendants, David Best came out of retirement a third time to build his eighth Temple. The Temple of Grace was intended to be a spiritual and sacred space for memorials, reflection, celebration, and to commemorate life transitions.[104] The structure incorporated a central interior dome within a graceful curved body made of wood and steel. Again, it had intricately cut wooden panels for the exterior and interior skin. Eight altars surrounded the temple inside a low-walled courtyard, creating a large exterior grounds for the community.
  • 2015—The Temple of Promise[105]
    This temple was created by Dreamers Guild and built primarily in Alameda, CA.[106] The temple welcomes participants through an archway soaring 97 feet overhead. As the path continues to curve, it opens into the contemplative altar and the heart of the Temple: a grove of three sculpted trees. The branches are initially bare. Participants will write messages on long strips of cloth and attach them to the trees, creating the gentle shade of Weeping Willows, increasing as the week progresses.

The burning of a temple, as well as the Man, has become a tradition activity at the event. It takes place the evening after the destruction of the Man. Sculptor David Best's temple projects were ritually burned from 2000 to 2004.[92] The tradition of participants inscribing the surfaces of the piece with personal messages has continued through all of the iterations of the temple.

The interior of the Temple of Transition (2011).
The exterior of the Temple of Transition (2011).
The Temple Of Joy (2002).

The Temple

Bicycles and tricycles are popular for getting around on the dry lake. Mountain bikes are generally preferred over road bikes for riding on the dried silt, which is normally hard but becomes loose with traffic. Participants often decorate their bikes to make them unique. Since lighting on the bikes is critically important for safety at night, many participants incorporate the lighting into their decorations, using electroluminescent wire (a thin, flexible tube that glows with a neon-like effect when energized with electricity) to create intricate patterns over the frame of the bike. Every night during Burning Man, thousands of bikes and art cars drive around, creating a visual display similar to Las Vegas at night, except that the lights are mobile.

Cyclists at Burning Man


Mutant Vehicles, often motorized, are purpose-built or creatively altered cars and trucks. Participants who wish to bring motorized mutant vehicles must submit their designs in advance to the event's own DMV or "Department of Mutant Vehicles" for approval and for physical inspection at the time of the event. Not all designs and proposals are accepted. The event organizers, and in turn the DMV, have set the bar higher for what it deems an acceptable MV each year, in effect capping the number of Mutant Vehicles. This is in response to constraints imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which grants permits to hold the event on federal property, and to participants who want to maintain a pedestrian-friendly environment. Vehicles that are minimally altered, and/or whose primary function is to transport participants, are discouraged or rejected. One of the criteria the DMV employs to determine whether an application for a proposed Mutant Vehicle is approved is "can you recognize the base vehicle". For example, if a 1967 VW van covered with glitter, dolls' heads, and old cooking utensils can still be recognized as a VW van, it is considered to be "decorated not mutated" and is less likely to be approved. This criterion led to the exclusion of some "Art Cars", which historically have been a staple of the event. There were over six hundred approved Mutant Vehicles at the event in 2010.

Praying Mantis truck at 2010 Burning Man

Mutant vehicles

While BRAF does not fund any installations for the event itself, it relies on the donations from the Burning Man Project for a significant portion of its funding, and does facilitate presentation of work created for the event in outside venues as well as offering its own grants for artworks that typify interactivity and other principles and traditions the event.

Various standards regarding the nature of the artworks eligible for grants are set by the Art Department, but compliance with the theme and interactivity are important considerations. This funding has fostered artistic communities, most notably in the Bay Area of California, the region that has historically provided a majority of the event's participants. There are active and successful outreach efforts to enlarge the regional scope of the event and the grant program. Among these is the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF).

Artwork is generally viewed as a freely given gift made by the artist to the community at his or her own expense. Art grants are, however, available to participants via a system of curation and oversight, with application deadlines early in the year. Grants are intended to help artists produce work beyond the scope of their own means, and are generally intended to cover only a portion of the costs associated with creation of the pieces, usually requiring considerable reliance on an artist's community resources. Aggregate funding for all grants varies depending on the number and quality of the submissions (usually well over 100) but amounts to several percent (on the order of $500,000 in recent years) of the gross receipts from ticket sales. In 2006, 29 pieces were funded.

Burning Man primarily features tabula rasa for hundreds of isolated artworks, ranging from small to very large-scale art installations, often sculptures with kinetic, electronic and fire elements.

Since 1995, a different theme has been created, ostensibly by Larry Harvey, for each year's event. For 2006, the theme was Hope and Fear,[86] and for 2007, it was The Green Man.[87][88] The 2011 theme was "Rites of Passage".[89] The 2012 theme was "Fertility 2.0".[90] It determines to some extent the design of the Man (although his design and construction, while evolutionary, has remained relatively unchanged) and especially the structure on which he stands (an Observatory for "Vault of Heaven," a Lighthouse for "The Floating World"). These themes also greatly affect the designs that participants employ in their artworks, costumes, camps and vehicles.[91]

Art on the dry lake is assisted by the Artery, which helps artists place their art in the desert and ensures lighting (to prevent accidental collisions), burn platform (to protect the integrity of the dry lake bed), and fire safety requirements are met.[85]

Coyote sculpture (2013).


"Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience."


"Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart." People are encouraged to participate, rather than observe.


"Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them."

Burning Man Playa Restoration 2015 - attendees carry MOOP (matter out of place) sticks and buckets and walk to pick up discarded materials, as part of the 'leave no trace' policy.

Leaving No Trace

"We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws."

Civic responsibility

"Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction." Participants at the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert are encouraged to work with and help fellow participants.[84]

Communal effort

"Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient." Participants at the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert are encouraged to express themselves in a number of ways through various art forms and projects. The event is clothing-optional and public nudity is common, though not practiced by the majority.[81][82][83]

Radical self-expression

"Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources." Because of the event's harsh environment and remote location, participants are expected to be responsible for their own subsistence. Since the LLC forbids most commerce, participants must be prepared and bring all their own supplies with the exception of the items stated in Decommodification.[80]

Dust storms are common at Burning Man, so many come prepared with appropriate provisions, such as goggles and masks to reduce dust inhalation.

Radical self-reliance

  • Café beverages such as [74]
  • Ice sales benefit the local Gerlach-Empire school system.[75]
  • Tickets for the shuttle bus to the nearest Nevada communities of Gerlach and Empire which is operated by a contractor not participating in the event: Green Tortoise.[76]
  • A re-entry wristband, which allows a person to leave and re-enter the event and may be purchased at the gate upon exit.[77]
  • An airport use fee, payable at the airport upon first entry.[78]
  • Diesel and biodiesel sold by third-party contractors.
  • RV dump service and camp graywater disposal service.[79]
  • Private portable toilets and servicing, which can be arranged with the official contractor.

"In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience." No cash transactions are permitted between attendees of the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert. Cash can be used for a select few charity, fuel, and sanitation vendors as follows: [73]


"Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value." Instead of cash, participants at the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert are encouraged to rely on a gift economy, a sort of potlatch. In the earliest days of the event, an underground barter economy also existed, in which burners exchanged "favors" with each other. While this was originally supported by the Burning Man organization, this is now largely discouraged. Instead, burners are encouraged to give gifts to one another unconditionally.


"Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community." This was written with a broad stroke for general organizing, meaning anyone is welcome to the Burning Man culture. Prerequisites for the Burning Man[71] event are participants expected to provide for their own basic needs, follow the guidelines stated in the annually updated event "survival guide," and have a ticket to get in.[72]

Radical inclusion

The descriptions in quotes are the actual text:

The Burning Man event and its affiliated communities are guided by ten principles that are meant to evoke the cultural ethos that has emerged from the event. They were originally written by Larry Harvey in 2004[70] as guidelines for regional organizing, then later became a universal criterion of the general culture of the multifaceted movement. They are:[71]

Because of the variety of goals fostered by participatory attendees, known as "Burners," Burning Man does not have a single focus. Features of the event are subject to the participants and include community, artwork, absurdity, decommodification, and revelry. Participation is encouraged.[68][69]

The effigy with fireworks immediately before being burned in 2011


Year Height from ground
to top of Man
Location Participants BLM population limit[38] Admission
Theme Notes
1986 8 ft (2.4 m) Baker Beach 20 N/A Free None Larry Harvey & Jerry James build & burn wooden man on Baker Beach on the summer solstice, following a ritual bonfire tradition begun by Mary Grauberger
1987 20 ft (6.1 m) Baker Beach 80 N/A Free None
1988 30 ft (9.1 m) Baker Beach 150-200 N/A Free None
1989 40 ft (12 m) Baker Beach 300+ N/A Free None First listing of Burning Man in the San Francisco Cacophony Society newsletter, "Rough Draft" under "sounds like cacophony."
1990 40 ft (12 m) Baker Beach &
Black Rock Desert
500 (Baker Beach) +
120 Black Rock Desert
Free None Figure erected at Baker Beach on Summer Solstice (June 21) but not burned. Man is invited to San Francisco Cacophony Zone Trip #4 on Labor Day weekend in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
1991 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 250 None First year of neon on the man.
1992 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 600 None
1993 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 1,000 None Theme camps: 1— "Christmas Camp"
1994 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 2,000 None First year of wooden spires and lamplighting
1995 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 4,000 $35 None Unofficial theme was "Good and Evil".
1996 48 ft (15 m) Black Rock Desert 8,000 $35 Inferno Theme featuring Dante's Inferno/HELCO (a satire on corporate takeovers). First year the man is elevated on a straw bale pyramid and guns banned in central camp. First fatality in motorcycle collision. 3 people seriously injured in a tent run over by a car.[39] 10 of 16 BLM stipulations violated, putting BM on probationary status for next year. An injury claim drives liability coverage up by a factor of 6. Featured in an article in Wired magazine.[40] Theme camps 130+
1997 50 ft (15 m) Hualapai Playa 10,000 $65 Fertility: The Living Land The BM org. forms management structure, the DPW to meet strict permit requirements newly imposed. First year the city has grid streets and driving banned. Washoe County officials impounded gate receipts to ensure payment after the fire and protection fees along with more than 100 new fire and safety conditions are imposed before the event.[41] Registered theme camps: 400+
1998 52 ft (16 m) Black Rock Desert 15,000 $80–$90 Nebulous Entity Burning Man returned to the Black Rock Desert although much closer to Gerlach than before. The "Nebulous Entity" was Harvey's satirical concept of alien beings who thrive on information—who consume it but do not understand it.
1999 54 ft (16 m) Black Rock Desert 23,000 $65–$130 Wheel of Time Listed in the AAA's RV guide under "Great Destinations." Registered theme camps: 320
2000 54 ft (16 m) Black Rock Desert 25,400 $200 The Body First active law enforcement activity, 60 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and police arrests and citations. Most are for minor drug charges following surveillance and searches. Registered theme camps: 460
2001 70 ft (21 m) Black Rock Desert 25,659 $200 Seven Ages See Seven Ages of Man. Over 100 BLM citations and 5 arrests. Registered theme camps: 466, placed art: 150
2002 80 ft (24 m) Black Rock Desert 28,979 $135–$200 The Floating World First year for FAA approved airport. 135 BLM citations and 4 Sheriff citations. Registered theme camps: 487, placed art: 120
2003 79 ft (24 m) Black Rock Desert 30,586 $145–$225 Beyond Belief Dogs are banned for the first time. 177 BLM citations, 9 police citations, 10 arrests and 1 fatality.[42] Registered theme camps: 504, placed art: 261
2004 80 ft (24 m) Black Rock Desert 35,664 The Vault of Heaven 218 BLM citations, some issued from decoy 'art car'. Camps giving away alcohol subjected to state law compliance examinations and 1 arrest. Pershing County Sheriff's office: 27 cases, 4 arrests, 2 citations. Nevada Highway Patrol: 2 DUI arrests, 217 citations, and 246 warnings were issued. Malcolm in the Middle used burning man in one of their episodes. Registered theme camps: 503, placed art: 220
2005 72 ft (22 m) Black Rock Desert 35,567 $145–$250 Psyche: The Conscious,
Subconscious & Unconscious
The Man, perched atop a "fun house" maze, can be turned by participants, confusing those at a distance who use it to navigate. Dream related art work. 218 BLM citations, 6 arrests and 1 fatality. Registered theme camps: 485, placed art: 275
2006 72 ft (22 m) Black Rock Desert 38,989 6%> previous highest[43]


$185–$280 Hope and Fear: The Future The Man goes up and down reflecting a hope/fear meter. Voting stations were set up around the playa, allowing residents to cast a Hopeful or Fearful vote for the future of Man. If the vote was hopeful he would burn with his hands in the air- not- hands down. They voted hopeful- and his arms were raised till the end. 155 BLM citations and 1 arrest. Pershing County Sheriff's office: 1 citation and 7 arrests. Nevada Highway Patrol: 234 citations, 17 arrests, and 213 warnings. Placed art: 300
2007 65 ft (20 m) Black Rock Desert 47,366[44] 6%> previous highest[43]


$195–$280 The Green Man The Man was prematurely set on fire around 2:58 am, Tuesday August 28, during full Lunar eclipse. A repeat Burning Man prankster, Paul Addis, was arrested and charged with arson,[45] and the Man was rebuilt for regular Saturday burn. Addis pleaded guilty in May 2008 to one felony count of injury to property, was sentenced to up to four years in Nevada state prison, and was ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution.[46] 331 BLM citations. Registered theme camps: 681, placed art: 300
2008 100 ft (30 m) Black Rock Desert 49,599[6] 6%> previous highest[43]


$210–$295 American Dream First year that tickets are not sold at the gate.[47] The size and layout of the city is enlarged to accommodate a larger central playa and a longer Esplanade. Because of excessively high winds and whiteout conditions on Saturday, the burning of the Man was delayed for over an hour and a half and the fire conclave was canceled. Many longtime contributors opted out allegedly due to the chosen theme ("The American Dream"), jailing of dissenter Addis, and the founders' rift. The perimeter of BRC extended to 9 miles. The BLM made 6 arrests and issued 129 citations. Registered theme camps: 746, placed art: 285
2009 66 ft (20 m) Black Rock Desert 43,435 6%> previous highest[43]


$210–$360 Evolution: A Tangled Bank Tickets sold at the gate once again. As the result of some criticism, the size and layout of the city was returned to roughly the same as the 2007 event. The BLM officials said that as of noon Saturday, 41,059 people were at Burning Man, and the crowd peaked at 43,435 at noon Friday, a noted decline after years of steady attendance growth, due mainly to the 2008 stock market crash. BLM issued 287 citations and 9 arrests. Registered theme camps: 618, placed art: 215
2010 100 ft (30 m) Black Rock Desert 51,454 6%> previous highest[43]


$210–$360 Metropolis – Life of Cities[48] Attendance over 50,000 mark, for first time. The gate opened early, at 6 pm Sunday, for first time. Coincided with the inaugural Black Rock City Film Festival. BLM issued 293 citations and 8 arrests. Registered theme camps: 700, placed art: 275
2011 104 ft (32 m) Black Rock Desert 53,963[49] 50,000[50] $210–$360 Rites of Passage[51] According to Black Rock LLC, 27,000 tickets (all discounted tiers) were sold by midday the day following the opening of ticket sales.[52] For the first time in Burning Man history, tickets sold out before the event on July 24, 2011.[52]
2012 40 ft (12 m) on a 50 ft (15 m) base[53] Black Rock Desert 56,149[54] 60,900[55] $240–$420 Fertility 2.0[56] Due to the sellout of the event in 2011, the BMOrg opted for a complex multi-round, random selection system of ticket sales with a separate low income program. On January 27, BMOrg announced that the number of tickets requested in the Main Sale was around 120,000 vs the 40,000 that were available. In consequence a significant number of registrants would not be awarded tickets in the Main Sale. The Main Sale was originally planned to be followed by a secondary open sale of 10,000 tickets. However, as the huge demand from the Main Sale left many veteran burners and theme camps without tickets, BMOrg opted for a "directed ticket distribution" instead, i.e., "manually redirect them to some of the vital groups and collaborations that make up Black Rock City" rather than an open sale.
2013 N/A Black Rock Desert 69,613[57] 68,000[58] $380 Cargo Cult[59] The year's theme was based on John Frum and Cargo Cults.[60] Ticket tiers were eliminated and a flat rate price structure was adopted (except for low-income ticket program).[61]
2014 105 ft (32 m) Black Rock Desert 65,992 [1] 68,000[38] $380

Vehicle pass: $40

Caravansary[62] This year, the Burning Man Traffic Mitigation Plan went into effect. All vehicles entering Black Rock City needed a $40 vehicle pass. Only 35,000 passes were available.[63]
A woman is killed in a vehicle accident.[64]
2015 60 ft (18 m) Black Rock Desert 70,000[65] $390

Vehicle pass: $50[66]

Carnival of Mirrors[67] First time in nearly 10 years that the Man base is on the ground (vs a raised base). Only 27,000 vehicle passes were made available this year.[66]

The height of the Burning Man itself has remained close to 40 feet (12 meters) tall since 1989. Changes in the height and structure of the base account for the differing heights of the overall structures.

The statistics below illustrate the growth in attendance of the Burning Man event, as well as other facts and figures.[36] The event has experienced significant growth in popularity, changing from a small handful of people to over 49,500 attending the event in 2008. Burning Man 2006 was covered extensively for television for the first time by subscription television channel Current TV which handed out cameras to participants and broadcast daily updates via satellite from the dry lake. "TV Free Burning Man" also provided TV viewers an hour-long live feed of The Burn and was shown without commercial sponsorship. TV Free returned in 2007 and 2008; the 2007 coverage was nominated for a news Emmy Award.[37]

Timeline of the event

It was announced in March 2014 via the official Burning Man Blog that the non-profit transition was complete.[34] Under the new non-profit structure Black Rock City LLC, the longtime for-profit responsible for the event, would be a subsidiary of the non-profit Burning Man Project. Although unmentioned in the initial announcement the Terms and Conditions for ticket buyers was changed to reflect an alteration in the structure of the business. Under the new terms it was made known that a new LLC was created, Decommodification LLC. Decommodification LLC, in the new non-profit business structure, owns all of the intellectual property associated with the Burning Man brand, including ownership over logos, videos, photography, and trademarks, it will be responsible for enforcement.[35] The non-profit Burning Man Project licenses usage of all intellectual property associated with Burning Man from Decommodification LLC. After questions were raised by the community about this new LLC within the comment section on the original non-profit announcement Larry Harvey confirmed that he and the other founders were the sole owners of this new LLC.

An earlier agreement stated that each member of the LLC would only receive "sole compensation for many years of service, a golden parachute of $20,000." But the members now agreed to an arrangement whereby each member of the LLC would receive an undisclosed sum prior to the transfer of their ownership rights to the Burning Man Project. Marian Goodell, board member and head of communication, addressed concerns about the lack of transparency with this statement: "When you’re in the middle of a storm, if you’re going to explain all of how you got there, and how you’re going to get out, it often sets more panic among the survivors than if you just sail the boat out of the darkness."[33]

In April 2011, Larry Harvey announced that the LLC was beginning a three-year process to transfer ownership and control of the event over to a new non-profit organization called the "Burning Man Project." The move towards becoming a non-profit organization was the result of "bitter infighting" between members of the board. At one point it looked like all of the board members were going to hire lawyers. Corporate appraisers were brought in to determine how much the company was worth, which Larry Harvey found "abhorrent" and against all of the values that Burning Man stood for.[32]

Transition to a non-profit organization

One visitor who was accidentally burned at the 2005 event unsuccessfully sued Black Rock City, LLC in San Francisco County Superior Court. On June 30, 2009, the California Court of Appeal for the First District upheld the trial court's grant of summary judgment to Black Rock City, LLC on the basis that visitors who deliberately walk towards the Burning Man after it is lit assume the risk of getting burned by such an obviously hazardous object.[31]

Another notable restriction to attendees is the 7-mile-(11 km) long temporary plastic fence that surrounds the event and defines the pentagon of land used by the event on the southern edge of the Black Rock dry lake.[29] This 4-foot (1.2 meter) high barrier is known as the "trash fence" because its initial use was to catch wind-blown debris that might escape from campsites during the event. Since 2002, the area beyond this fence has not been accessible to Burning Man participants during the week of the event.[30]

Light matter, Burning Man, 2004
  • A grid street structure.[23]
  • A speed limit of 5 mph (8 km/h).[24]
  • A ban on driving, except for approved "mutant vehicles" and service vehicles.[25]
  • Safety standards on mutant vehicles.[24]
  • Burning your own art must be done on an approved burn platform.[26]
  • A ban on fireworks.[27]
  • A ban on dogs.[28]

As the population of Black Rock City grew, further rules were established in relation to its survival. Some critics of the event cite the addition of these rules as impinging on the original freedoms, altering the experience unacceptably, while others find the increased level of activity more than balances out the changes.

To comply with the new requirements and to manage the increased liability load, the organizers formed Black Rock City, LLC. Will Roger Peterson and Flynn Mauthe created the Department of Public Works (DPW) to build the "city" grid layout (a requirement so that emergency vehicles could be directed to an "address") designed by Rod Garrett, an architect. Rod continued as the city designer through 2011 until his death at 76. He is also credited with the design of all of the man bases from 2001 through 2012, the center camp cafe and first camp.[22] With the success of the driving ban, having no vehicular incidents, 1998 saw a return to the Black Rock desert, along with a temporary perimeter fence. The event has remained there since.

1997 marked another major pivotal year for the event. By 1996, the event had grown to 8,000 attendees and unrestricted driving on the open playa was becoming a major safety hazard. To implement a ban on driving and re-create the event as a pedestrian/bicycle/art-car-only event, it was decided to move to private gated property. Fly Ranch, with the adjoining Hualapai mini dry lake-bed, just west of the Black Rock desert, was chosen. This moved Burning Man from Pershing county/federal BLM land into the jurisdiction of Washoe County, which brought a protracted list of permit requirements.[21]

The neon-tubed Man at the 1999 event

1997 to present

In 2011, a tumblr blog titled Dr. Dre Started Burning Man[15] began promoting the idea that Dr. Dre had stumbled across the festival in 1995 during the filming of "California Love" and offered to cover the cost of the event's permit in exchange for the institution of an entrance fee system for the festival, which had not existed prior to his entrepreneurial intervention.[16][17] This theory was also backed by an alleged letter from Dre to Nicole Young in which Dre had written about his experience seeing the Burning Man festival.[18] Business Insider compared Dr. Dre's potential business agreement with that of Steve Jobs in relationship to the latter's unification of the online music industry.[19] The rumor has circulated widely, and the response from Burning Man Headquarters' representative Dasha G neither confirmed nor denied the possibility that Dr. Dre started Burning Man.[20]

Before the event opened to the public in 1996, a festival worker named Michael Fury was killed in a motorcycle accident while riding from Gerlach, Nevada, to the Burning Man camp in the Black Rock Desert. Harvey insisted that the death had not occurred at Burning Man, since the gates were not yet open. Another couple was run over in their tent by an art car driving to "rave camp," which was at that time distant from the main camp. After the 1996 event, co-founder and partner John Law broke with Burning Man and publicly said the event should not continue.

1991 marked the first year that the event had a legal permit, through the BLM (the Larry Harvey. Hence, the two events saw lots of cross-pollination of ideas and participants.[14] Desert Siteworks lasted through 1995. 1996 was the first year a formal partnership was created to own the name "Burning Man" and was also the last year that the event was held in the middle of the Black Rock Desert with no fence around it.

In its first years, the community grew by word of mouth alone, all were considered participants by virtue of surviving in the desolate surreal trackless plain of the Black Rock Desert. There were no paid or scheduled performers or artists, no separation between art-space and living-space, no rules other than "Don't interfere with anyone else's immediate experience" and "no guns in central camp."

Michael Mikel, another active Cacophonist, realized that a group unfamiliar with the environment of the dry lake would be helped by knowledgeable persons to ensure they did not get lost in the deep dry lake and risk dehydration and death. He took the name Danger Ranger and created the Black Rock Rangers. Thus the seed of Black Rock City was germinated, as a fellowship, organized by Law and Mikel, based on Evans' idea, along with Harvey and James' symbolic man. Drawing on experience in the sign business and with light sculpture, John Law prepared custom neon tubes for the Man in 1991 so it could be seen as a beacon at night.

Meanwhile, the beach burn was interrupted by the park police for not having a permit. After striking a deal to raise the Man but not to burn it, event organizers disassembled the effigy and returned it to the vacant lot where it had been built. Shortly thereafter, the legs and torso of the Man were chain-sawed and the pieces removed when the lot was unexpectedly leased as a parking lot. The effigy was reconstructed, led by Dan Miller, Harvey's then-housemate of many years, just in time to take it to Zone Trip #4.[11]

In 1990, a separate event was planned by Kevin Evans and film of the same name).

1990 to 1996

Harvey has stated that he had not seen the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man until many years after and that it did not inspire the action.

One of the roots of the annual event now known as Burning Man began as a bonfire ritual on the summer [9] He and Jerry James built an 8-foot (2.4-meter) wooden effigy for 1986, which was much smaller and more crudely made than the neon-lit figure featured in the current ritual. In 1987, the effigy grew to almost 15 feet (4.6 meters) tall, and by 1988, it had grown to around 40 feet (12 meters). Burning Man attendees informally called it "The Man," and this name was given to each successive effigy, every year since Burning Man began.

Two of the founders of Burning Man: John Law (left) and Michael Mikel (right).
Wicker man on fire at the Archaeolink outdoor museum, Oyne, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

1986 to 1989



  • History 1
    • 1986 to 1989 1.1
    • 1990 to 1996 1.2
    • 1997 to present 1.3
    • Transition to a non-profit organization 1.4
    • Timeline of the event 1.5
  • Principles 2
    • Radical inclusion 2.1
    • Gifting 2.2
    • Decommodification 2.3
    • Radical self-reliance 2.4
    • Radical self-expression 2.5
    • Communal effort 2.6
    • Civic responsibility 2.7
    • Leaving No Trace 2.8
    • Participation 2.9
    • Immediacy 2.10
  • Art 3
    • Mutant vehicles 3.1
    • Bikes 3.2
    • The Temple 3.3
    • Electronic music 3.4
  • Black Rock City 4
    • City planning 4.1
    • Center Camp 4.2
    • Villages and theme camps 4.3
    • Volunteers 4.4
    • Safety, policing and regulations 4.5
  • Transportation 5
    • Commercial airports 5.1
    • Temporary airstrip 5.2
    • Shuttles 5.3
    • Other 5.4
  • "Leave No Trace" policy 6
  • Effect on the environment 7
  • Photography restrictions 8
  • Regional events 9
  • In popular culture 10
  • Films 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • Further reading 14
  • External links 15

Smaller regional events inspired by the principles of Burning Man have been held internationally; some of these events are also officially endorsed by the Burning Man Project as regional branches of the event. [1] the attendance rose to 65,922 in 2014.[7] Attendance in 2011 was capped at 50,000 participants and the event sold out on July 24;[6]

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