There is a gathering that happens every year in a little part of Nevada, United States. As the name suggests, the highlight is the event of burning an effigy of a man, but it is much more than just that, a week long festival that takes place from the last Monday of August to the first Monday of September, this festival is off the charts, quite literally. It leaves no trace behind once it is done. Since it is happening this week, we decided to enlighten you with what it is, where it happens, how it happens, and why there’s so much hype around the burning of an effigy in the middle of the desert.
THE BURNING MAN FESTIVAL
Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Images: Mike Orso, Joshua Bamhill, Trey Ratcliffe
Burning man festival started out as a small arts festival at San Francisco’s Baker beach, a person by the name of Larry Harvey along with a few of his friends burned an 8 foot effigy of a man and a smaller dog, this was in 1986. The consequent year, the figure doubled in size, and so did the number of people that attended it. Over the years, due to issue with the authorities, the Baker beach site had to be abandoned, and with a little inspiration, research and lots of followers, the Burning man found his home in Black Rock City, Nevada, just 110 miles off Reno.
Black Rock City is an artificially created metropolis, of around 60,000 followers, who create the city and dismantle it all within a week, and leave literally no trace behind. Fun Fact: When the event goes on, Black Rock City becomes Nevada’s 4th most populous city, given the sheer number of attendees.
To attend the festival, other than flight tickets and other travel arrangements to get there, one has to dish out around $400, be self sufficient and abide by the 10 principles which are:
- Radical Inclusion
- Radical Self Reliance
- Radical Self Expression
- Communal Effort
- Civic Responsibility
- Leaving No trace Behind
- And Immediacy
These are the 10 important rules to follow to enjoy BMF.
Weather is unpredictable in the middle of the Mojave, ranging from 40 F to 100 F night and day, but that doesn’t stop the people from coming here and making unique works of art, from absurd cars to costumes, Burning Man’s radical self expression is taken seriously here.
To explain what BMF is like to someone who hasn’t been there, is like trying to explain colors to a blind man, or that’s how they say it is supposed to be. The Festival has also been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons, for encouraging nudity, free love and the excessive desire of sex and drugs has often been highlighted as a part and parcel of Burning Man festival. It seems evident, because there’s hardly a place where adults would behave like toddlers. There’s cases of having spotted children here, which is definitely not the right environment for them. The people who come here are mostly tripping on substances it is rumored. Yet, it is remarkable that people come together every year to build and remove traces of a city, and a city is a proper city with streets and road signs, a temporary airport among other things.
The most famous people to have visited it include rapper Diddy, and DJ Carl Cox, who even played here.
The )'( symbol stands for the burning man himself, and what matters most here is having a good time, at the end of the week, the effigy is burnt to the ground, along with everything else, and the land is abandoned, black rock won’t surface for another year.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: Pyrotechnics, Beautiful Art, Radical People who want to have a good time, Unique Experiences and the opportunity to live in a world of fantasy, where money doesn’t matter, way too much on offer for a $400 fee .
WHY YOU SHOULD NOT GO: Harsh Weather, Excessive Nudity, Culture Shock, Drugs, and Excessive risk of fire.