Its a cultural event of the century thats all about art, self-expression, self-reliance, and just being yourself, man. Its the Burning Man Festival and takes place every year in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, United States.
It started when some cool people came together at the Baker Beach, San Francisco, on the summer solstice of 1986 and created a 9 foot tall wooden man to burn in a spectacular bonfire, you know, just for shits and giggles. Its your average flower power, hippy Sunday for the pioneers Larry Harvey, Jerry James and their friends. This spontaneous act of radical self-expression became something of a ritual. 1987: the man was 15 feet; 1988: he was 40 feet tall. From there, the man just got bigger and bigger and so did the festival. This effigy is burned every year at the Burning Man, and where the festival gets it oh-so-unique name from. It started with 20 people standing around a bonfire, and in 2013, the festival had around 66,000 participants. Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis is created for the benefit of those participating and one week later, everyone departs leaving no trace.
If youre already intrigued, there are some things about this gathering that will pique your interest even more. There are no cash transactions permitted in the area (except for things like beverages, shuttle service, fuel, and sanitation). You are expected to survive the festival on your own, not just attend it, owing to their practice of radical self-reliance. There is a stark lack of commercialism here: no sponsorships, no advertising and no stalls, not even for food. Were dead serious here. If youre planning to visit, be sure to pack plenty of food. The festival subsists on a unique gifting culture; strangers will give you gifts ranging from jewellery, food, beer to handmade items. Youre expected to gift back.
Another practice they uphold is one of radical self-expression which is at the centre of the festivals history. It basically means that you can do whatever the hell you want. You want to dance? Go ahead! You want to sing? Knock their socks off with your voice. You want to cover yourself in body paint and go around chatting people up? No one will stop you. The more outrageous your outfit, the more high-fives youre bound to get. Here, you will meet the most interesting characters that you will ever come across in your lifetime, we promise! Being free-spirited and individualistic is thoroughly encouraged, so much so, that even clothing is optional!
At the Burning Man Festival, the desert is your canvas. Paint it as you like. One of the most enchanting experiences at the Burning Man is visiting the various creative art installations that are speckled through the venue.
This festival is definitely meant for the bolder, more outrageous traveller, whos a weirdo at heart and who is not afraid to leave behind the real world for one week and become a free-spirited force of positivity and radicalism. It is daunting at first, but when you shed your inhibitions, youll have the experience of your lifetime. Are you ready to dive into the crazy world of Burning Man? Plan a Trip Now!