Burning Man Anticipates Another Outstanding Year in Black Rock City
Every year, tens of thousands of “Burners” journey to the desolate land of Black Rock Desert, Nevada. There in the vast earthly nothingness, a community of artistic expression is built from the ground up. The impermanent expansion of Black Rock City is shaped each year with the notion of creating a municipal devoted to self-reliance, self-expression and the arts.
It hasn’t always, however, been an event that has attracted masses of worldly patrons. In fact, the initial ‘burning of the man’ occurred as a spontaneous act in 1986 when founder, Larry Harvey, burned a wooden figure on a beach in San Francisco. Little did Harvey know that simple act would ignite creativity and self-expression over the next 30 years to create a pioneering festival known affectionately today as Burning Man.
Since its inception in the eighties, the festival has come a long way, as the participants and the size of “The Man” have both grown substantially. The festival’s population in recent years have topped 69,000 participants while The Man has grown to be 105’ feet tall. With each flip of the calendar, Burning Man has been a fierce magnet for both year-round hippies and those looking to escape the everyday grind of their lives. You might find yourself in a downward dog position next to an attorney or watching the blaze of “The Man” in the presence of a 2nd grade teacher. Equality is encouraged and expected in this pop-up city of expression. Although governed by its residents and boasts few rules, the 10 principles are strictly enforced and embrace: Radical Inclusion, Gifting, Decommodificaiton, Radical Self-Reliance, Radical Self-Expression, Communal Effort, Civic Responsibility, Leaving No Trace, Participation and Immediacy.
Campers, tents, vans and even UHAULs (typically decked out in kinetic, animated décor) are utilized as homes by the Black Rock City citizens who are encouraged to attach a theme to their residence. Former Burning Man Festivals have included Themes Camps such as Cats, Deadly Gins and Scar Bar, to name a few. Expect to be entertained during your days and nights but do not plan on fighting for a spot close to the main stage, simply because there is no main stage. In fact, performers and citizens are one in the same as the stage is the City of Black Rock. That’s right, performers may be your neighbors and the stage may be the picnic table outside of your tent. Anything goes.
This year with the art theme of DaVinci’s Workshop and calls for all those wanting to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to express themselves on an entirely new platform. However, it’s vital to keep hydrated during your self-expression as the “extra-curricular activities” are known to leave participants parched in the heated desert.
Burning Man 2016 kicks off Aug. 28 and goes through Sept. 5 in Black Rock Desert, Nevada.