Located roughly a hundred miles northeast of Reno, Nevada, the annual gathering fondly known as “Burning Man” has been mesmerizing art audiences for over three decades. While “Burning Man” has a tangled history, it was founded in 1986 and is now maintained by Burning Man Project, a non-profit organization boasting its headquarters in San Francisco, California.
At its roots, “Burning Man” is all about community, creativity, engagement, and respect. While some call the event a “festival,” attendees of “Burning Man” or “burners” experience more than that—they purposefully live with other participants while embracing Burning Man’s ten core principles.
“Burning Man” is always scheduled to include Labor Day weekend and the week prior, landing 2019’s “Burning Man” from August 25 – September 2. Because the event is firmly entrenched in the concept of community, weekend passes or other limited-stay tickets are not available. Attendees who wish to leave the community and return may purchase an in-and-out pass for $20.
Burning Man’s attendees make themselves at home at Black Rock City, a temporary city erected every year in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
Each and every attendee is encouraged to contribute to the “Burning Man” experience by performing music or dance, displaying art, providing food and beverages, or anything else they would like to bring to the communal table. “Burning Man” has just about everything one could imagine.
Money does not change hands at “Burning Man” aside from ticket purchase (which can range from roughly $400 to over $1,000); the “Burning Man” community cultivates every aspect of the experience. This means that preparation is key. Attendees are expected to bring everything they will need with them to the event.
The event (and its namesake) culminates with the burning of a wooden sculpture—a man standing 75 feet tall. “The Man” effigy burns on on the Saturday evening of the event in a stunningly symbolic display.
Of course, there is more to “Burning Man” than facts, schedules, and locations—it is the remaining magic which attendees will have to discover for themselves.