[ bur-ning man ]
What is Burning Man?
Burning Man is an annual event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, where people gather for around nine days to celebrate artistic self-expression and the building of a community intended to be temporarily self-sufficient. It’s popularly thought of as a surreal counterculture party in the desert.
The event is known for displays of creativity and self-expression, including sculptures and other art installations and unusual, art-inspired vehicles and buildings. A primary aspect of Burning Man culture is the avoidance of any exchange of currency, with attendees instead engaging in trade, borrowing, and bartering. In popular conception, Burning Man is often associated with its more hedonistic elements, including drug use, nudity, and sex.
Burning Man gets its name from the large, human-shaped sculpture (called the man) that is burned as part of the culmination of the event. The sculpture is changed each year.
The citylike encampment that is built during each event is known as Black Rock City.
Where does Burning Man come from?
The event that became known as Burning Man was first held in Baker Beach, San Francisco, in 1986. Organized by founders Larry Harvey and Jerry James, it revolved around what has become a signature part of the event—the burning of a human-shaped sculpture. The event grew in size and popularity in the 1990s, when it was eventually moved from San Francisco to the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, where it has been held since. During the ’90s, Burning Man attendees began the tradition of erecting large pieces of art during the event, whose name was briefly changed to the Black Rock Arts Festival. The event has grown in size and scope every year, drawing over 70,000 attendees in 2019.
Examples of Burning Man
Who uses Burning Man?
Did you know … ?
- The first sculpture ever burned at Burning Man was eight feet tall, but recent versions have been over 40 feet tall.
- A Burning Man tradition involves first-time attendees rolling around in the desert sand upon arriving.
What are other words used in discussion of Burning Man?
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