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What is “Burning Man”. The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival


Black Rock City – Temporary Desert City

The Black Rock Desert, where the festival takes place every year, is located in northwestern Nevada, 530 miles (850 km) from Las Vegas and 150 miles (240 km) from Reno, the state’s third largest city. The nearest town to it is Gerlach, where only 200 people live.

Black Rock City is translated from English as “Black Rock City”, usually abbreviated to BRC. Black Rock City is an independent municipality and one of the five largest cities in Nevada. It has its own airfield, post office, and you can officially marry.

The city has the shape of a circle, in the center of which is the figure of “Maine”.

The empty circle in the center is the territory of the festival itself, Playa, where art objects are located. Along the edges are residential quarters formed by radial streets, designated by letters from A to L, and straight streets crossing them, designated according to the dial principle: 10:00, 9:45, 9:30 and so on.

Opposite the human figure is the central camp, further blocks from A to F are occupied by official camps and communes, or “camps”, from G to L – “savages”.

In addition to central Playa, there are several “squares” within the city, which are local “centers of attraction”. The empty area in the north of the city is called Deep Playa (“Deep Playa”), there are noisy parties with mutant machines.

How the city works

All these principles shape not only how our community is formed, but also how a city is created. We make the city so that there are opportunities for communication, for relaxation and solitary conversations. In the center there are art objects, performances, the main camp. The circle does not close – we leave the exit to the magnificent desert, and this also reflects the views of our community: openness and the desire to connect with nature.

The city looks like a clock: at 12 o’clock there is a temple, and at 6 o’clock – the central camp. We have large clubs and discos on the last streets so that the sound goes into the desert and does not bother others

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Purple Territory – themed camps where every year people bring their workshops and share their hobbies: pouring tea, dressing up, watching movies and much more.

The places marked in white are free areas where you can pitch a tent and settle down without any warning.

In the central camp, there are basic services that help art objects and where you can simply find out the answer to any organizational question. Burning Man provides the basic infrastructure of the city: lining the territory, bringing toilets and medical support.

Black Rock Rangers

We have 800 volunteers – Black rock rangers who guard the peace of our city. But they cannot be called the police: they can, of course, put things in order if they see serious violations of the rules, but for the most part they help make your stay comfortable and fun.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Black rock rangers. Source:

What is Burning Man?

Burning Man is usually called a festival, although its creators strongly disagree with this term.

Burning Man is not a festival. Burning Man is a community. Temporary city. A global cultural movement based on 10 practical principles,

– says the official website.

These principles include:

  1. radical inclusion – everyone can become part of the community.
  2. donation – giving gifts and not waiting for a return or exchange.
  3. decommodification – no money here.
  4. radical autonomy – Burning Man encourages a person to rely on their inner resources.
  5. radical selfexpression – participants must express themselves in any form.
  6. public efforts – community members should take part in the creation, promotion and protection of art objects, social connections and public spaces.
  7. civil liability – the event is held in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
  8. without traces – the community commits not to leave traces of its activities.
  9. participation – each person agrees to deep personal involvement.
  10. immediacy – the desire to overcome the barriers that stand between people, inner essence, society and the natural world.

Burning Man is organized by a non-profit organization called the Burning Man Project.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival


How did Burning Man come about?

The origin story of Burning Man begins in 1986, when Larry Harvey and Jerry James, for fun, erected a wooden stuffed man and burned it on a beach near San Francisco. At that time, Harvey was going through a midlife crisis after a failed relationship, and decided, together with his friend James, to symbolically get rid of the depression.

Harvey and James created an 8-foot (about two and a half meters) human figure and dragged it to Baker Beach with ten of their friends. It was June 22nd, during the summer solstice. They doused the scarecrow with gasoline and set it on fire.

This action resonated with beach visitors, and in 1987 friends again decided to burn the wooden man, but this time they approached the task more responsibly. They started creating the stuffed animal a few weeks before the event, making it twice as large – 15 feet (about four and a half meters). By the way, this “man” had a triangular face, which later became the invariable symbol of Burning Man. For the second time, 80 people came to admire the burning.

By 1988, the event had become official, with the organizers creating posters, T-shirts and flyers to attract even more people. Then it got its name – Burning Man. Everything was fine until 1990, when the local authorities banned the burning of the effigy – just the beginning of the season of forest fires. Harvey and James then moved the burning to the Black Rock Desert northeast of Reno, New York. Since then, the event has become a cult event and attracts attention to this day.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival


What you need to know

Anyone who decides to go to the Black Rock Desert needs to know about the ten basic principles of the Berning Man, which are designed to preserve a unique atmosphere and warn participants about what they will have to face.

1 Radical inclusion

Everyone can become a part of Burning Man. Here strangers are treated with joy and respect. There are no special conditions for participation in this society. (One condition still exists – a ticket is required!)

2 Donation

Gifts are presented unselfishly, not in exchange for something.

3 Decommodification

Lack of deals, consumerism, sponsorship and advertising. Any logos are prohibited.

4 Radical self-sufficiency

You can only count on yourself. You may be advised something, but guided tours are not practiced.

5 Radical self-expression

It is customary here to demonstrate your talents and express yourself: there is no censorship, everyone sets a framework for themselves.

6 Community efforts

Creative collaboration and interaction are valued here. Emphasis is placed on striving to create, promote and defend works of art and communication that support creative interaction.

7 Responsibility

Each of the participants bears responsibility for themselves and public welfare. Local, state and federal laws, however, have not been canceled in the desert.

8 Leave no trace

The organizers demand respect for the environment. Everything should remain as clean as it was before you arrived: it is enough for everyone to clean up after themselves.

9 Participation

It will not be possible to observe from the outside, everyone has the right to work in the name of the common good, so that later they should have a good rest.

10 Here and Now

Personal experience is invaluable, theory will never replace practice.

The administration strongly advises everyone to follow these principles.

What’s going on at Burning Man?

Burning Man is not about commerce, so the organizers rely entirely on the creativity of the participants who create the holiday for themselves. Insider reporter Ali Weissman said that people wander from camp to camp or move around on bicycles, fancy cars and scooters, cook, dance, drink, make art and relax together. You can find yourself at a wine tasting or fall into the hands of a massage therapist, who is also in the Black Rock Desert, all completely free of charge!

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival


Who is involved in Burning Man?

Burning Man had over 70,000 visitors in 2018, according to Black Rock City. People who become part of the community are called “burners”. And, by the way, among them there are many stars and greats of this world. Over the years, Burning Man has been joined by:

  • models: Alessandra Ambrosio, Heidi Klum, Karlie Kloss, Lais Ribeiro, Kendall Jenner, Josephine Skriver, Poppy and Cara Delevingne, Sara Sampaio, Nina Agdal, Shanina Shayk
  • the celestials of Silicon Valley: Sergey Brin and Larr Page (Google), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX)
  • stars: Tom and Bill Kaulitz (Tokio Hotel), Paris Hilton, Susan Sarandon, Katy Perry, Matthew Bellamy (Muse), Nina Dobrev, DJ Diplo

10 principles of Burning Man

  1. Radical involvement. There are no simple “spectators” here. Everyone who happens to be here is a full-fledged participant who creates Burning Man on an equal basis with others. Even the number of people is noted here as “population”, and not “visitors”, as at any other major event.
  2. Donation. Money and any money equivalent in Black Rock City is prohibited. You can buy for money only coffee in the Central Camp and ice in the Arctic camp.
  3. Lack of commerce. Any logos and labels are glued, covered with something or altered beyond recognition. Burning Man is a completely non-profit project.
  4. Radical self-confidence. Burning Man encourages everyone to discover their inner resources, make the most of them and trust them.
  5. Radical self-expression. In the world of Burning Man, where there are no corporations, no dress code, no social strata, and everyone treats each other sympathetically and benevolently, and nothing separates you from your own “I”, you have nothing left but to be yourself … Not only creative people – artists, musicians, performers – can express themselves. For engineers, inventors, athletes – there is a place and a way for anyone to use their abilities.
  6. Collaboration. Burning Man is the whole community as a whole, and each individual individually. It is together that a unique atmosphere is created.
  7. Civil responsibility. Everyone is personally responsible for their own safety and the safety of everyone else.
  8. Leave no trace. Burning Man is the most environmentally friendly event. After it, not a drop of water, not a piece of paper, not a single grain of ash remains. The desert after the festival is brought back to the same form every time as before, and everyone is responsible for this (see the previous point). Every year after the festival, a “garbage map” is drawn up. The communes that left the most trash can be heavily fined.
  9. Participation. Everyone participates to the extent of their strength and desire.
  10. Direct experience. Where there are no barriers and EVERYTHING is possible in general, direct experience plays the most important role.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

About transport at the festival

The territory of the festival is large, it is hot during the day, so people are looking for ways to move as quickly as possible, and mutant cars appear. People ride bicycles or similar machines.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

A mutant bike. Source: scottlondon

From the desert to the big world

We want to bring the experience we got in the desert to the city. At first we organized events like Burning Man when we returned to San Francisco. For example, “decompretion” and “precompretion”. We organized a street fair in San Francisco, only our artists gave away their creations for free.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Later we created a special place, which we called “temporary art space”. There is nothing special about it. It’s just a place that has electricity. Thus, we have the opportunity to show art objects throughout the year, and we can introduce more artists to the world.

Here is another of the works of our Burner Leo Valerial – the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Golden Gate in San Francisco. Source: photographer James Dong

It all started when the artist made a light sculpture of the bridge at the festival. Then the light installation was temporarily placed on the bridge. However, a year later, it was decided to make the installation permanent. Following this sculpture in San Francisco, Leo was invited to design a bridge on the Thames, and to date he has designed 17 bridges. This is an example of creating a small temporary art object that can lead to something really big.

David Best, who created the first temple at the festival, was invited to build a temporary temple in Derry, Ireland. For a long time there was a confrontation between Protestants and Catholics in this city, and in 1972 a bloody massacre took place on this place. David has worked with 90 volunteers from 18 to 25 years old.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Derry Ireland Temple. Source:

In the process of building the temple, David taught the volunteers about laser cutting and computer-aided design. A few days after the opening, more than 60 thousand people came to this temple and wrote the names of people who died in that troubled time. After people burned down the temple, and this became a symbol of the end of religious enmity.

How to become part of the community

We now have 287 regional representatives. They are all volunteers. We host 80 official regional events in over 40 countries. In addition to official gatherings, there are thousands more that we do not know about – from get-togethers to mass cleanings. And many of the regional offices have set up non-profit organizations and provide grants to artists, just as we do.

Where do the burners meet?

I am very inspired by how our community is developing and how we overcome the borders of countries, despite the political situation in the world.

Here’s an example of Afrika Burn – our largest regional event, or another of the fastest growing – Meat Burn in Israel. Before organizing such large festivals, they all started with small meetings on the beaches.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Afrika Burn, Tankwa, Africa. Source:

The Afrika Burn festival has been held since 2007 and is the prototype of the large international Burning Man festival. Paul Jorgensen and a group of like-minded people officially registered the non-profit organization Africa Burns Creative Project, which organizes and conducts the festival. The festival takes place at a private farm called Stonehenge, which is adjacent to Tankwa Karu National Park. In 2015, Afrika Burn was visited by 13 thousand people.

How burners help people

In addition to the festival format, there are other meetings. For example, in Corpus Christi, Texas, the guys tended a 2 km long beach and collected about two tons of garbage. The city did not have the opportunity to financially support the volunteers, so they just called the beach Burner’s Beach, and everyone loved it.

On the island of Taiwan, the burners collected garbage, which they gave for recycling, and received money for this. With this money, they created a garden at the school.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Burners Without Borders in Taiwan. Source: burnerswithoutborders

In recent years, we have been holding leadership summits attended by regional representatives and organizers. We recently hosted our tenth conference in Oakland, and we also host conferences in Europe and San Francisco.

Part of our community is dedicated to helping those regions that have experienced natural disasters. They have already helped 12 disasters on the ground. These people founded their society called Burners Without Borders after Hurricane Katrina. Right from Burning Man, people went to Louisiana to help rebuild houses and raised about 1 million in financial aid. For nine months they helped to rebuild houses.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Children in Taiwan. Source: burnerswithoutborders

Later we realized how many people know how to build houses, but they do not have the tools. Then the Burners came up with the idea of ​​making a mobile workshop with tools that people could use to rebuild homes. Now this workshop travels all over the world. The first trip of this container was to Kathmandu, and now there is still such a workshop there, and people use it to repair their houses.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Workshop in Kathmandu. Source: burnerswithoutborders

How long does Burning Man last

There is a lot of information about the date of the Burning Man festival and different sources are presented in different ways. But the Burning Man festival is traditionally held on the last Monday in August at 00:01.

When is Berning Maine – 2020 dates?

In 2020, the date falls on August 30th. Lasts 8 days, which means it will end on September 7th.

Where to live

The choice of accommodation in the Black Rock Desert is small: it is either a camping car that took you to your destination or a tent. If the choice fell on a tent, then you can give up on comfort. However, this option is much cheaper than camping, where rental prices can go up to $ 10,000 per week.

After choosing a home, you should think about the parking space. As a rule, friends-burners gather in the so-called camp (from the English camp – “camp”). The camp management negotiates with the administration about the number of parking spaces and the location of the camp.

When choosing a parking space, it is worth keeping in mind: the closer the camp is to the playa, the less opportunities there will be to sleep – the parties here smoothly flow into one another. Parking in the city center does not guarantee tranquility, but it does guarantee the greatest protection from the wind. And parking on the outskirts, the outer side of the “horseshoe”, will give you the opportunity to relax and recuperate in silence (the road to the nearest party can take about half an hour on foot or 10 minutes by bike).

How much does the Burning Man ride cost

Burning Man is a trip to suit every budget. A few words about accommodation: the most budgetary option is ordinary tents, but it is very hot in them, so some live in special thermo-tents, some in trailers, but those who have a lot of money in luxury mobile homes. If you still prefer a mobile home, then take care of the tightness. Before arrival, you need to glue the windows with tape, because dust seeps through the joints.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Get ready to spend well, because living in the desert for 8 days is not easy. On average, burners spend $ 4000-9000. This is taken into account if you want to become a full member: with good housing, food, various outfits, Art punches and so on.

The price of a trip to Berning Maine

Get there Price
Festival tickets and fees $ 500
Average cost of a roundtrip air ticket (by country) $ 450
Rent a car at Reno Tahoe airport $ 150
Parking $ 80
Rent a trailer (if you don’t want a car) $ 800
Food and drink Price
Fresh groceries and a supply of dried food for the camp $ 150
Multiple packs of Pop-Tarts $ 5
Dried beef $ 20
Mix of dried fruits and nuts $ 20
Four 25 liter water tanks $ 50
Gatorage isotonic beverage packaging $ 15
Two packs of Corona beer $ 45
Cooler $ 30
Ice (available locally for $ 4 per pack) $ 35
Survival supplies Price
Reusable bottle $ 30
First aid kit $ 30
Sunscreen $ 10
Dust mask (or you can use an old scarf) $ 16
Goggles (in addition to sunglasses, for eye protection during sandstorms) $ 10
Earplugs (very loud at night due to music) $ 5
Hygiene products $ 30
Hand sanitizer $ 5
Garbage bags $ 15
Fire extinguisher (in case you want to burn your creation) $ 10
Multifunctional tool $ 15
Duct tape $ 10
Flashlights on the head $ 15
Tent lanterns $ 20
Phone charger $ 10
A small canister and a supply of gasoline (there are very few gas stations) $ 40
Jewelry and outfits Price
Bicycle from $ 70
Glowing sticks $ 10
Bungalow $ 25
Home decoration lighting $ 15
Costumes from $ 100
Camping Price
Tent and bindings $ 100
Field kitchen (if you can’t do without hot food) $ 80
Warm sleeping bag $ 40
Portable shower $ 20

An important resource is water and you need to bring a lot of it in cans or special packages at the rate of 8 liters per person per day. It may not be enough for the shower we are used to, so a regular shower in Black Rock City always goes with wet wipes. It sounds harsh, of course, but in fact there is no tragedy, as the residents say: “Live is life.” Dishes are washed in approximately the same way, so the Burning Man festival is such a training “how to learn to do a lot with wet wipes.” in fact, you get used to it very quickly.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Since Black Rock is very often covered with sandstorms, you should not leave your “home” without:

  1. Points
  2. Gloves
  3. Dressings
  4. Headdress
  5. Sun protection
  6. Water
  7. Black Rock City maps.

If you suddenly get lost or agree to meet with friends near some “Glowing Pyramid”, first make sure that this particular pyramid will not leave. This practice is common in this city, so you need to find a good reference point. It is more difficult to find your own people at night, that’s when it becomes almost unrealistic without a map and a flashlight.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

If you think that there are only young people here, then you are wrong. The age category is different: there are both children and adults.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Theoretical physicists, rocket scientists, engineers, and God knows who come here. People are the most interesting thing to find at an event. The Berners are so open that from the street they take you to their house, talk about life and treat you with goodies.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Celebrities also come to celebrate Burning Man. Many of them take inspiration and return with renewed vigor to delight their fans. Most importantly, they do not act like stars; at Burning Man, absolutely everyone is an ordinary person who enjoys this simplicity.

Food and drinks (if purchased locally)

$ 135: Fresh vegetables and camping lunches.

$ 30: Four 15-liter cans of water (organizers advise taking water at the rate of 5 liters per person per day).

$ 10: 12 packs of sports drink (helps manage dehydration and hangovers).

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Фото: Chase Stevens—Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP

$ 42: Two packs of 18 cans of beer.

$ 30: Drink cooler.

$ 32: Ice (better to buy locally at $ 4 per pack).

$ 130: Substances for altering consciousness (optional).

Survival supplies

$ 30: Water bottle with filter.

$ 10: First Aid Kit.

$ 10: Sunscreen.

$ 16: Protective mask from dust and sand (you can not buy, but use an old scarf).

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Фото: Chase Stevens—Las Vegas Review-Journal/AP

$ 10: Goggles (will protect your eyes during a sandstorm).

$ 5: Earplugs.

$ 16: Portable toilet (there is only 1 toilet for every 68 festival participants).

$ 1-5: Antibacterial hand gel.

$ 2-12: Garbage bags

$ 10: Fire extinguisher (in case you want to burn your creation).

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Photo: Jim Urquhart — Reuters

$ 13: Universal toolbox.

$ 10: Scotch

$ 10: Headlamp (or regular flashlight).

$ 17: Camping lamp

$ 10: Phone charger.

$ 30: Small can of gasoline (gas stations are few and far between).

Toys and decorations

$ 65: Used bike (don’t spend a lot of money on rubber, you still won’t shake the sand off of it).

$ 1-9: Glow-in-the-dark sticks (optional, but why not?)

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Photo: Jim Urquhart — Reuters

$ 23: Miniature awning.

$ 13: Light bulbs to decorate the camp.

$ 250: Suit. You can save on this by building an outfit from improvised means and old clothes.

Camping stuff

$ 100: Large sun awning

$ 80: Camping Kitchen.

What is "Burning Man". The wildest festival in the world. Burning Man Festival

Photo: Jim Urquhart — Reuters

$ 37: Warm sleeping bag.

$ 10: Portable Shower.

Total cost of the trip: on average – $ 2500 (depending on your needs), or 150 thousand rubles, excluding the flight from Russia. $ 3500 – including the flight.

What not to take with you

Excessive body care products: the amount of water is very limited.

Money. They really won’t be needed, because according to one of the principles, nothing is sold or bought here (except for coffee and ice). “Selfless giving,” according to event founder Larry Harvey, is the antidote to “capitalism on steroids.”

And at the same time, participation in the festival is not at all a cheap pleasure, because you have to bring everything you need with you.

Art objects at Burning Man

Huge art installations and objects are a rather small, but certainly the most spectacular part of the festival. Every year they, like the entire Black Rock City, arise from literally nothing among the lifeless desert, and every year they disappear without a trace.

In addition to several dozen huge objects for which the organizers of Burning Man provide financial grants, there are also hundreds of small objects and installations that artists bring at their own expense. Many of them are burned right here, others are simply dismantled and taken away.

A separate category is “monster cars” – moving objects, many of which cost millions of dollars and in fact represent a full-fledged mobile nightclub. Mutant cars are the only vehicles allowed to drive around the festival grounds, with speeds limited to 5 miles per hour. The rest use bicycles.

The two main installations of Black Rock City are a huge symbolic human figure that stands in the center of the city, and the Temple is different every year: the Temple of Tears, the Temple of Gravity, the Temple of Dreams, etc. The burning of Maine concludes the festival and is accompanied by a general celebration. The next day, the temple is burned, this ceremony is more calm, “ritual” in nature.

Sources used and useful links on the topic: https: / / -man-i-kak-tam-vse-ustroeno % D0% 90 /% D1% 84% D0% B5% D1% 81% D1% 82% D0% B8% D0% B2% D0% B0% D0% BB% D1% 8C-burning-man-% D0% B2 -% D0% BF% D1% 83% D1% 81% D1% 82% D1% 8B% D0% BD% D0% B5-% D0% BD% D0% B5% D0% B2% D0% B0% D0% B4 % D0% B0-% D1% 81% D1% 88% D0% B0

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