What Is Burning Man?


Quick Answer

Burning Man is an annual festival held in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. Each year, more than 60,000 people from around the world attend the event.

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Full Answer

Burning Man is a celebration of self-expression; the festival features art, music and rave elements. Larry Harvey and Jerry James started the event in 1986, although back then the festival was held at Baker Beach in San Francisco, California. After police put an end to the California event, it was moved to Nevada. Black Rock City is a temporary community set up in the Black Rock Desert each year to accommodate the event.

Attendees of Burning Man are known as "burners." Burners are expected to participate in all types of activities, which are guided by the 10 principles of the event and were written by Larry Harvey. The 10 principles include gifting, radical self-reliance, communal effort, civic responsibility and radical inclusion. Gifts are expected to be given to one another throughout the festival on an unconditional basis.

Art is one of the main components of the event; sculptures are prevalent, as are extravagant costumes. The Artery, or event staff, assists people in setting up their art in the desert and in making sure that safety requirements are met. Burning Man gets its name from the burning of a large wooden effigy, called "The Man," which takes place on the Saturday night of the festival.

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