Black Rock City, Nevada: Wikis


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The event is named after its Saturday night ritual, the burning of a wooden effigy.


Burning Man is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, in the United States. The event starts on the Monday before and ends on the day of the American Labor Day holiday. It takes its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy on Saturday evening. The event is described by many participants as an experiment in community, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.

Burning Man is organized by Black Rock City, LLC. In 2008, 49,599 people participated in Burning Man.[1]



1986 to 1989

The annual event now known as Burning Man began as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice in 1986 when Larry Harvey, Jerry James, and a few friends met on Baker Beach in San Francisco and burned a 9-foot (2.7-meter) wooden man as well as a smaller wooden dog. Harvey has described his inspiration for burning these effigy figures as a spontaneous act of radical self-expression.

The event did have earlier roots, though. Sculptor Mary Grauberger, a friend of Harvey's girlfriend Janet Lohr, held solstice bonfire gatherings on Baker Beach for several years prior to 1986, some of which Harvey attended. When Grauberger stopped organizing it, Harvey "picked up the torch and ran with it," so to speak. He and Jerry James built an 8-foot (2.4-meter) wooden effigy for 1986, which was much smaller and more crudely made than the neon-lit figure featured in the current ritual. In 1987, the effigy grew to almost 15 feet (4.6 meters) tall, and by 1988, it had grown to around 40 feet (12 meters).

Harvey swears that he did not see the movie The Wicker Man until many years later, so it played no part in his inspiration. Accordingly, rather than allow the name "Wicker Man" to become the name of the ritual, he started using the name "Burning Man".[2]

1990 to 1996

In 1990, a separate event was planned by Kevin Evans and John Law on the otherworldly, remote and largely unknown dry lake known as Black Rock Desert, about 100 miles north of Reno.[3] Evans conceived it as a dadaist event with temporary sculpture to be burned and situationist performance art. He asked John Law, who also had experience on the dry lake and was a defining founder of Cacophony Society, to take on central organizing functions. In the Cacophony Society's newsletter, it was announced as Zone Trip #4, A Bad Day at Black Rock (inspired by the movie of that name).

Meanwhile, the beach burn was interrupted by the park police for not having a permit. After striking a deal to raise the Man but not to burn it, event organizers disassembled the effigy and returned it to the vacant lot where it had been built. Shortly thereafter, the legs and torso of the Man were chain-sawed and the pieces removed when the lot was unexpectedly leased as a parking lot. The effigy was reconstructed, led by Dan Miller, Harvey's then-housemate of many years, just in time to take it to Zone Trip #4.[4]

Michael Mikel, another active Cacophonist, realized that a group unfamiliar with the environment of the dry lake would be helped by knowledgeable persons to ensure they did not get lost in the deep dry lake and risk dehydration and death. He took the name Danger Ranger and created the Black Rock Rangers.

Thus the seed of Black Rock City was germinated, first organized by Law and Mikel, based on Evans's idea, along with Harvey and James'd burning man. It grew by word of mouth alone.

1991 marked the first year that the event had a legal permit with the BLM (the Bureau of Land Management).[5]

1997 to present

The neon-tubed Man at the 1999 event

1997 was a pivotal year for the event. The car-friendly, open dry lake had become over-run with 10,000 attendees and was deemed too dangerous to continue in the same way with unrestricted driving. To implement a ban on driving and re-create the event as a pedestrian/bicycle/art car-only event, it was decided to move the event to private property. Fly Ranch with the adjoining Hualapai mini dry lake-bed was chosen. This brought Burning Man into the jurisdiction of Washoe County permitting. To comply with the new permit requirements and to manage the increased liability load, the organizers formed Black Rock City, LLC.

Since then, one of the challenges faced by the LLC has been trying to balance the freedom of participants - a defining element of the experience - with the requirements of BLM and various law-enforcement groups. Over the years, numerous restrictions have been put in place, such as:

  • An imposed curved grid street structure.[6]
  • A speed limit of 5 mph (8 km/h).[7]
  • A ban on driving, except for approved "mutant vehicles" and service vehicles.[8]
  • Restrictions and imposing of safety standards on mutant vehicles.[7]
  • A ban on campfires and Tiki torches.[9]
  • Burning your own art must be done on an approved burn platform.[10]
  • A ban on fireworks.[11]
  • A ban on firearms.[12]
  • A ban on dogs.[13]

Another notable restriction to attendees is the 7-mile-(11 km) long temporary plastic fence that surrounds the event and defines the pentagon of land used by the event on the southern edge of the Black Rock dry lake.[14] This 4-foot (1.2 meter) high barrier is known as the "trash fence" because its initial use was to catch wind-blown debris that might escape from campsites during the event. Since 2002, the area beyond this fence has not been accessible to Burning Man participants during the week of the event.[citation needed]

At 1:25 AM on August 28, 2007, at the exact moment of the Total Lunar Eclipse, Paul Addis, a well-known, longtime participant and gadfly of Burning Man, who had previously pranked the Man as early as 1997, set the Man on fire four days ahead of schedule.[15] A replacement effigy was built on-site and installed in time to be burned on Saturday as planned. In June 2008, he pled guilty to the felony charge of destruction of property over $5,000 and was sentenced to 1–4 years in prison. As of July 2009, Addis remains incarcerated; however, he is reported to have been granted parole effective February 2010.[citation needed]

Timeline of the event

Year Height from ground to top of Man Location Participants Ticket price Theme Notes
1986 8 ft (2.4 m) Baker Beach, San Francisco 20 Free None Larry Harvey & Jerry James build & burn wooden man on Baker Beach on the summer solstice, following a ritual bonfire tradition begun by Mary Grauberger
1987 20 ft (6.1 m) Baker Beach 80 Free None
1988 30 ft (9.1 m) Baker Beach 150-200 Free None
1989 40 ft (12 m) Baker Beach 300+ Free None First listing of Burning Man in the San Francisco Cacophony Society newsletter, "Rough Draft" under "sounds like cacophony."
1990 40 ft (12 m) Baker Beach / Black Rock Desert, Nevada 500 / 120 Free None Figure erected at Baker Beach on Summer Solstice (June 21) but not burned. Man is invited to San Francisco Cacophony Zone Trip #4 on Labor Day weekend in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada.
1991 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 250 None First year of neon on the man.
1992 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 600 None
1993 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 1,000 None
1994 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 2,000 None
1995 40 ft (12 m) Black Rock Desert 4,000 $35 Good and Evil
1996 48 ft (15 m) Black Rock Desert 8,000 $35 The Inferno Theme featuring Dante's Inferno/HeLLCo. First year the man is elevated on a straw bale pyramid and guns banned in central camp. First fatality in motorcycle collision. 3 people seriously injured in a tent run over by a car.[2] 10 of 16 BLM stipulations violated, putting BM on probationary status for next year. An injury claim drives liability coverage up by a factor of 6.
1997 50 ft (15 m) Hualapai Playa 10,000 $65 Fertility The BM org. forms management structure, the DPW to meet strict permit requirements newly imposed. First year the city has grid streets and driving banned. Washoe County Sheriff's department takes over the gate, impounding all money - after the fire and protection fees are increased astronomically shortly before the event.
1998 52 ft (16 m) Black Rock Desert 15,000 $80 – $90 Nebulous Entity
1999 54 ft (16 m) Black Rock Desert 23,000 $65 – $130 Wheel of Time Listed in the AAA's RV guide under "Great Destinations."
2000 54 ft (16 m) Black Rock Desert 25,400 $200 The Body First active law enforcement activity, 60 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and police arrests and citations. Most are for minor drug charges following surveillance and searches
2001 70 ft (21 m) Black Rock Desert 25,659 $200 Seven Ages See Seven Ages of Man. Over 100 BLM citations and 5 arrests
2002 80 ft (24 m) Black Rock Desert 28,979 $135–$200 The Floating World First year for FAA approved airport. 135 BLM citations and 4 Sheriff citations
2003 79 ft (24 m) Black Rock Desert 30,586 $145–$225 Beyond Belief Dogs are banned for the first time. 177 BLM citations, 9 police citations, 10 arrests and 1 fatality.[16]
2004 80 ft (24 m) Black Rock Desert 35,664 The Vault of Heaven 218 BLM citations, some issued from decoy 'art car'. Camps giving away alcohol subjected to state law compliance examinations and 1 arrest. Pershing County Sheriff's office: 27 cases, 4 arrests, 2 citations. Nevada Highway Patrol: 2 DUI arrests, 217 citations, and 246 warnings were issued. Malcolm in the Middle used burning man in one of their episodes.
2005 72 ft (22 m) Black Rock Desert 35,567 $145 – $250 Psyche - The Conscious, Subconscious & Unconscious The Man can be turned by participants. 218 BLM citations and 6 arrests.
2006 72 ft (22 m) Black Rock Desert 38,989 $185 – $280 Hope and Fear: The Future The Man goes up and down reflecting a hope/fear meter. 155 BLM citations and 1 arrest. Pershing County Sheriff's office: 1 citation and 7 arrests. Nevada Highway Patrol: 234 citations, 17 arrests, and 213 warnings.
2007 65 ft (20 m) Black Rock Desert 47,366[17] $195 – $280 The Green Man The Man set on fire around 2:58 AM, August 28, during full Lunar eclipse. A repeat Burning Man prankster, Paul Addis, was arrested and charged with arson[18] (article no longer available), and the Man was rebuilt for regular Saturday burn. Addis pleaded guilty in May 2008 to one felony count of injury to property, was sentenced to up to four years in Nevada state prison, and was ordered to pay $30,000 in restitution.[19] 331 BLM citations.
2008 84 ft (26 m) Black Rock Desert 49,599[1] $210 – $295 American Dream First year that tickets are not sold at the gate.[20] The size and layout of the city is enlarged to accommodate a larger central playa and a longer Esplanade. Because of excessively high winds and whiteout conditions on Saturday, the burning of the Man was delayed for over an hour and a half and the fire conclave was canceled. Many long time contributors opted out allegedly due to the chosen theme, jailing of dissenter Addis, and the founders' rift. The perimeter of BRC extended to 9 miles. The BLM made 6 arrests and issued 129 citations.
2009 66 ft (20 m) Black Rock Desert 43,435 $210 – $360 Evolution: A Tangled Bank Tickets sold at the gate once again. As the result of some criticism, the size and layout of the city was return to roughly the same as the 2007 event. The BLM officials said that as of noon Saturday, 41,059 people were at the festival, and the crowd peaked at 43,435 at noon Friday.
2010 TBD Black Rock Desert TBD $210 - $300 Metropolis: The Life Of Cities

Note: The man itself has remained close to 40 feet (12 meters) tall since 1989. Changes in the height and structure of the base account for the differing heights of the overall structures.[citation needed]

The statistics to the right illustrate the growth of the Burning Man event.[21]

The event has gone through several changes, including growing from a small handful of people to over 49,500 people attending the event in 2008. The scale of the event has increased enormously, and Black Rock City, LLC has become more structured since its creation in 1997.

Burning Man 2006 was covered extensively for television for the first time by subscription television channel Current TV which handed out cameras to participants and broadcast daily updates via satellite from the dry lake. "TV Free Burning Man" also provided TV viewers an hour-long live feed of The Burn and was shown without commercial sponsorship. TV Free returned in 2007 and 2008; the 2007 coverage was nominated for a news Emmy Award[22]

Black Rock City is not considered a Census-designated place according to the United States Census Bureau. If it were, the 2000 event attendance would have placed it between Carson City and Pahrump, making it the 7th largest city in the state of Nevada at the time. Since then, Paradise, Sunrise Manor, and Spring Valley (all suburbs of Las Vegas) experienced proportionally larger population growths than the rest of the state, pushing Black Rock City to the 10th largest city in Nevada according to 2004 census estimates (still between Carson City and Pahrump)[23]


)'( is an iconic representation of The Man.

Because of the variety of goals fostered by participatory attendees, known as "Burners," Burning Man does not have a single focus. Features of the event are subject to the participants and include community, artwork, absurdity, decommodification and revelry. Participation is encouraged.[24]

The Burning Man event is governed by 10 principles, which are radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace, participation, and immediacy.[25]

  • Radical inclusion - Anyone who can afford a ticket is gladly welcomed and there are no prerequisites to be part of Burning Man.[25] All participants are expected to provide for their own basic needs and follow the minimal rules of the event.
  • Gifting - Instead of cash, event participants are encouraged to rely on a gift economy, a sort of potlatch. In the earliest days of the event, an underground barter economy also existed, in which burners exchanged "favors" with each other. While this was originally supported by the Burning Man organization, this is now largely discouraged. Instead, burners are encouraged to give gifts to one another unconditionally.
  • Decommodification - No cash transactions are permitted between attendees of the event which is in accordance with the principles of Burning Man. Cash can be used for a select few charity, fuel and sanitation vendors as follows:[26]
    • Café beverages such as coffee, chai, lemonade, etc., which are sold at Center Camp Café, operated by the organizers of the event.[27]
    • Ice.[28] Ice sales benefit the local Gerlach-Empire school system.
    • Tickets for the shuttle bus to the nearest Nevada communities of Gerlach and Empire which is operated by a contractor not participating in the event Green Tortoise.[29]
    • A re-entry wristband, which allows a person to leave and re-enter the event and may be purchased at the gate upon exit.[30]
    • An airport use fee, payable at the airport upon first entry.[31]
    • Diesel and biodiesel sold by third-party contractors
    • RV dump service and camp graywater disposal service.[32]
    • Private portable toilets and servicing, which can be arranged with the official contractor.
  • Radical self-reliance - Because of the event's harsh environment and remote location, participants are expected to be responsible for their own subsistence. Since the LLC forbids any commerce, participants must be prepared and bring all their own supplies with the exception of the items stated in Decommodification.[33]
  • Radical self-expression - Participants are encouraged to express themselves in a number of ways through various art forms and projects. The event is clothing-optional and public nudity is common, though not practiced by the majority.[34][35]
    The event is clothing-optional, and public nudity is common.
  • Communal effort - Participants are encouraged to work with and help fellow participants.[36]
  • Civic responsibility - Participants are encouraged and assume responsibility to be part of a civil society in which federal, state and local laws are obeyed and communicate this to other participants.[36]
  • "Leave No Trace" - Participants are committed to a "Leave No Trace" event. They strive to leave the area around them in better condition than before their arrival to ensure that their participation does not have a long-term impact on the environment.[36]
  • Participation - Burning Man is about participation.[36]
  • Immediacy - Participants are encouraged to become part of the event, to experience who and what is around them and to explore their inner selves and their relation to the event.[36]


Art on the dry lake is assisted by the Artery, which helps artists place their art in the desert and ensures lighting (to prevent accidental collisions), burn-platform (to protect the integrity of the dry lake bed), and fire-safety requirements are met.[37]

Since 1995, a different theme has been created, ostensibly by Larry Harvey, for each year's event. For 2006, the theme was Hope and Fear[38], and for 2007, it was The Green Man.[39][40] It determines to some extent the design of the Man (although his design and construction, while evolutionary, has remained relatively unchanged) and especially the structure on which he stands (an Observatory for "Vault of Heaven," a Lighthouse for "The Floating World"). These themes also greatly affect the designs that participants employ in their artworks, costumes, camps and vehicles.[41]

Burning Man primarily features outsider art and visionary art, though a great variety of art forms appear during the event. Creative expression through the arts and interactive art are encouraged at Burning Man. Numerous Theme Camps, registered and placed by the LLC, are created as event and residence centers by sizable sub-communities of participants and use extensive design and artistic elements to engage the greater community and meet the LLC's interactivity requirements. Music, performance and guerrilla street theatre are art forms commonly presented within the camps and developed areas of the city. Adjacent to the city, the dry lake bed of Lake Lahontan serves as a tabula rasa for hundreds of isolated artworks, ranging from small to very large-scale art installations, often sculptures with kinetic, electronic and fire elements.

Artwork is generally viewed as a gift that the artist makes to the community, although art grants are available to participants from the LLC via a system of curation and oversight, with application deadlines early in the year. Grants are intended to help artists produce work beyond the scope of their own means, and are generally intended to cover only a portion of the costs associated with creation of the pieces, usually requiring considerable reliance on an artist's community resources. Aggregate funding for all grants varies depending on the number and quality of the submissions (usually well over 100) but amounts to several percent (on the order of $500,000 in recent years) of the gross receipts from ticket sales. In 2006, 29 pieces were funded.

Various standards regarding the nature of the artworks eligible for grants are set by the Art Department of the LLC, but compliance with the theme and interactivity are important considerations. This funding has fostered artistic communities, most notably in the Bay Area of California, the region that has historically provided a majority of the event's participants. There are active and successful outreach efforts to enlarge the regional scope of the event and the grant program. Among these is the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF).

While BRAF does not fund any installations for the event itself, it relies on the donations from the LLC for a significant portion of its funding, and does facilitate presentation of work created for the event in outside venues as well as offering its own grants for artworks that typify interactivity and other principles and traditions the event.

Mutant vehicles

A Mutant Vehicle, often motorized, are purpose-built or creatively altered cars and trucks. Participants who wish to bring motorized mutant vehicles must submit their designs in advance to the event's own DMV or "Department of Mutant Vehicles” for approval and for physical inspection at the time of the event. Not all designs and proposals are accepted. The event organizers, and in turn the DMV have set the bar higher for what it deems an acceptable MV each year, in effect capping the number of Mutant Vehicles. This is in response to constraints imposed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, who grant permits to hold the event on federal property, and to participants who want it to remain a pedestrian friendly environment. Vehicles that are minimally altered, and/or whose primary function is to transport participants are discouraged or rejected. One of the criteria the DMV employs to determine if an application for a proposed Mutant Vehicle is approved is "can you recognize the base vehicle". In other words, if your 1967 VW van can still be recognized as a VW van (underneath all that glitter, those glued on dolls heads and attached old cooking utensils)it is considered to be "decorated not mutated" and is less likely to be approved. This criteria led to the exclusion of some "Art Cars", which historically have been a staple of the event. Some particularly interesting vehicles include: giant motorized muffins, an 8 legged mechanical spider and a Beatles style Yellow Submarine.[42]


Bicycles and tricycles are extremely popular for getting around on the dry lake. Mountain bikes are generally preferred over road bikes for riding on the dried silt, which is normally hard but becomes loose with traffic. Participants often decorate their bikes to make them unique. Since lighting on the bikes is critically important for safety at night, many participants incorporate the lighting into their decorations, using Electroluminescent wire (a thin, flexible tube that glows with a neon-like effect when energized with electricity) to create intricate patterns over the frame of the bike. On the night the Man burns (Saturday), thousands of bikes and art cars drive around, creating a visual display similar to Las Vegas at night, except that the lights are mobile.

The Temple

In addition to the burning of the Man, the burning of a temple has become an activity at the event. David Best's temple projects were ritually burned from 2000 to 2004.[43]

In 2005, Best stepped aside to allow for another artist, Mark Grieve, to build his own interpretation of a temple.[44] Grieve's temples were seen in both 2005 and 2006. However, in 2007 David Best took over the temple building duties for one last time. The 2007 Temple was named "The Temple of Forgiveness." Best has stated that it is time to hand the temple over to the community, and in 2008 the "Basura Sagrada" temple was a collaboration of Shrine and Tucker Teutsch 3.0, built with the extensive help of their friends and the greater Burning Man community.[45] In 2009, the Temple for Burning Man was built in Austin, Texas[46]

Black Rock City

Satellite image of Black Rock City showing the familiar "C" or semicircle pattern.

Black Rock City, often abbreviated to BRC, is the name of the temporary city created by Burning Man participants. Much of the layout and general city infrastructure is constructed by Department of Public Works (DPW) volunteers who often reside in Black Rock City for several weeks before and after the event[47][48]. The remainder of the city including theme camps, villages, art installations and individual camping are all created by participants.

City planning

The developed part of the city is currently arranged as series of concentric streets in an arc composing, since 1999, two-thirds of a 1.5 mile (2.4 km) diameter circle with the Man Sculpture and his supporting complex at the very center (40°46′9.48″N 119°13′12.36″W / 40.7693°N 119.2201°W / 40.7693; -119.2201 in 2007). Radial streets, sometimes called Avenues, extend from the Man to the outermost circle. The outlines of these streets are visible on aerial photographs.

The innermost street is named the Esplanade, and the remaining streets are given names to coincide with the overall theme of the burn, and ordered in ways such as alphabetical order or stem to stern, to make them easier to recall. For example, in 1999, for the "Wheel of Time" theme, and again in 2004 for the "The Vault of Heaven" theme, the streets were named after the planets of the solar system. The radial streets are usually given a clock designation, for example, 6:00 or 6:15, in which the Man is at the center of the clock face and 12:00 is in the middle of the third of the arc lacking streets (usually at a bearing of 60° true from the Man). These avenues have been identified in other ways, notably in the 2002, in accordance with "The Floating World" theme as the degrees of a compass, for example, 180, 175 degrees. and in 2003 as part of the Beyond Belief theme as adjectives ("Rational, Absurd") that caused every intersection with a concentric street (named after concepts of belief such as "Authority, Creed") to form a phrase such as "Absurd Authority" or "Rational Creed". However, these proved unpopular with participants due to difficulty in navigating the city without the familiar clock layout.

The Black Rock City Airport is constructed adjacent to the city, typically on its southern side. The airport serves a variety of aviation traffic, including private airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, ultralights, gliders, and skydivers.[49]

Center Camp

Center Camp is located along the mid line of Black Rock City, facing the Man at the 6:00 position on the Esplanade. This area serves as a central meeting place for the entire city as well as contains the Center Camp Cafe, Camp Arctica and a number of other city institutions.

Villages and theme camps

Villages and theme camps are located along the innermost streets of Black Rock City, often offering entertainment or services to participants.[50].

Theme camps are usually a collective of people representing themselves under a single identity. Villages are usually a collection of smaller theme camps which have banded together in order to share resources and vie for better placement.

Theme camps and villages often form to create an atmosphere in Black Rock City that their group envisioned. As Burning Man grows every year and attracts an even more diverse crowd theme camps are Black Rock City's own subcultures similar to what can be found in every other city.


The Burning Man event is heavily dependent on a large number of volunteers. Many of these participants donate their time and energy to the event[51]

Safety, policing and regulations

Black Rock City is patrolled by various local and state law enforcement agencies as well as the Bureau of Land Management Rangers. Burning Man also has its own in-house group of volunteers, the Black Rock Rangers, who act as informal mediators when disputes arise between participants and between participants and law enforcement.

Firefighting, emergency medical services (EMS), mental health and communications support is provided by the volunteer Black Rock City Emergency Services Department (ESD).


Commercial airports

The airport with regular commercial service closest to the event is the Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Reno, Nevada, approximately a 3-hour drive. An airport spokesperson said in 2009 that 15,000 burners arrive to the event via the airport annually, making it the second-busiest time for them. In 2008 and 2009, an information desk for burners was organized in Reno airport.

San Francisco, seven hours away by car, is the nearest airport with a high volume of international service

Temporary airstrip

A section of the Playa is used for a non-permanent airport, which is set up before each event and completely erased afterward. Pilots began camping there randomly about 1995, and once compelled to add structure, it was established in a form acceptable to the BLM in 1999 through the efforts of Tiger Tiger (Lissa Shoun) and LLC board member Mr. Klean (Will Roger). In 2009 it was officially recognized by the FAA and designated 88NV. Though it receives logistical support from BMORG and operates an event gate and box office for them, it is technically an independent entity (theme camp). It is found on the Klamath Falls Sectional, using a CTAF of 122.9 MHz. The Black Rock Unicom is operational on that frequency during daylight hours. The runway is simply a compacted strip of playa, and is not lighted.[52] Because of the unique air traffic and safety issues associated with the airport, pilots are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the published information and procedures.[53]

Advantage Flight Solutions operates an air charter service that flies to and from the Reno airport.[54]


There are prepaid shuttles, originating in Reno and San Francisco, that move participants to and from the event. During the event there is also a paid shuttle between the event and the nearby towns of Gerlach and Empire. Exiting and reentering the event requires an additional fee, and is highly discouraged.


Participants also share rides and hitchhike.


Concerns regarding the "Leave No Trace" policy

Burning Man takes place in the middle of a large playa and while not inhabited by humans itself, the area around the playa is home to many animal and plants.[55]

Supporters of Burning Man point out that participants are encouraged to leave no trace (LNT) of their visit to Black Rock City and not to contaminate the area with litter, commonly known as MOOP (Matter Out Of Place). Despite the BLM and LLC insistence on the practice of LNT, the amount of residual trash at the site has increased over the years.[56]

Damage to the Playa

While fire is a primary component of many art exhibits and events, materials must be burned on a burn platform.[10] At one time, burning was allowed to take place directly on the ground of the playa, but this practice allowed burn scars to form and was discontinued. On the last day, public shared burn areas are prepared for participants to use. While Burning Man does provide instructions on how to build a Burn Platform and what not to burn, there are concerns on whether some participants do not follow these instructions to the detriment of the environment and the participants.[57][58]

Even water is not to be dumped on the playa, and used shower water must be captured and either evaporate off, or collected and carried home with each participant. Methods used for evaporating water normally include a plastic sheet with a wood frame. The playa dust often blows into these catch basins and some participants end up with a muddy mess to take home. Careful design of small scale evaporating ponds has become an engineering competition, to see what works best.

The Bureau of Land Management, which maintains the desert, has very strict requirements for the event. These stipulations include trash cleanup, removal of burn scars, dust abatement, and capture of fluid drippings from participant vehicles. For four weeks after the event has ended, the Black Rock City Department of Public Works (BRC - DPW) Playa Restoration Crew remains in the desert, cleaning up after the temporary city and making sure that no evidence of the event remains.[59]

Burning Man and its effect on global warming

A group of San Francisco scientists are calculating how much the event will contribute to global warming.[60] They have created the CoolingMan organization[61] and have implemented a system that will calculate how much greenhouse gases Burning Man participants will create. The project has inspired many to look for positive ways to get involved in the global warming and climate change movements by seeking out solutions. The CoolingMan website suggests ways that Burners may offset the damage by planting trees or investing in alternative energy solutions.[62]

However, in 2007 Burning Man's "Green Man" theme received criticism for Crude Awakening, the 99-foot oil derrick that consumed 900 gallons of jet fuel and 2,000 gallons of liquid propane to blast a mushroom cloud 300 feet high into the sky.[63]

In an attempt to offset some of the event's carbon footprint, 30- and 50-kilowatt solar arrays were constructed in 2007 as permanent artifacts, providing an estimated annual carbon offset of 559 tons.[40]

On-site photography restrictions

Despite presenting itself as an event promoting self-expression, the terms of the Burning Man ticket require that participants wishing to use video-recording equipment (including, in practice, most digital cameras) sign over copyright in their images to Black Rock City, and forbid them from using their images for anything other than personal and private use. This has been criticized by many, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[64][65]

A Burning Man spokeswoman replied that the policies are not new, were written by a former head of the EFF, were used when suing to block pornographic videos and ultimately arose from participant concerns: "We’re proud that Black Rock City (a private event held on public land) is widely acknowledged as a bastion of creative freedom. [B]ut that protection [of participant's freedoms] does necessitate the acceptance of some general terms of engagement when it comes to cameras... EFF seems to think that anyone attending any event somehow has an absolute right to take photographs, and then to do whatever they want with those images without any effective restriction or manner of enforcement. While we believe that such rights do make sense for any of us taking pictures in purely public spaces, this is not true in the private space of Burning Man — if it were it would mean that Burning Man couldn’t protect participant privacy or prevent commercialization of imagery."[66]

Regional events

The popularity of Burning Man has encouraged other groups and organizations to hold events similar to Burning Man.

In recent years, burners wishing to experience Burning Man more frequently than once per year have banded together to create local regional events such as SOAK[3] in Oregon; InterFuse in Missouri; Lakes of Fire in Michigan; Element 11 in Utah, Xara Dulzura and Fuego de los Muertos in San Diego; Apogaea in Colorado; Playa del Fuego in Delaware; Firefly in New England; Burning Flipside in Texas; AuraMan in Indiana; Recompression near Vancouver, British Columbia; Kiwiburn in New Zealand; Rebirth in Hawaii; Source in Maui; Transformus in North Carolina; Toast in Arizona; Freezer Burn between Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, Canada; AfrikaBurn in South Africa and NoWhere near Zaragoza in Spain.

Some of the events are officially affiliated with the Burning Man organization via the Burning Man Regional Network. This official affiliation usually requires the event to conform to certain standards outlined by the Burning Man organization, and to be substantially coordinated by a "Burning Man Regional Contact," a volunteer organizer with an official relationship to the Burning Man Project via a legal Letter of Agreement. In exchange for conforming to these standards, the event is granted permission to officially advertise as a Burning Man Regional Event.

See also


  1. ^ a b,0,1036082.story
  2. ^ (Doherty, Brian (July 2006). This Is Burning Man. Benbella Books. pp. 33. ISBN 978-1-932100-86-0. )
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Burning Man: Preparation - 2007 BRC MAP
  7. ^ a b Burning Man: On The Playa: Playa Vehicles: DMV
  8. ^ Burning Man: On The Playa
  9. ^ Burning Man :: preparation :: SAFETY
  10. ^ a b Playa Protection and Burn Scar Prevention
  11. ^ Burning Man :: preparation :: LAW ENFORCEMENT AT BURNING MAN
  12. ^ Burning Man :: preparation :: PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITIES
  13. ^ Burning Man: Preparation
  14. ^ Burning Man :: AfterBurn Report 2006 :: DPW :: Set Up and Clean Up
  15. ^ "A Fiery Q&A With Paul Addis, the Prankster Accused of Burning the Man". Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  16. ^ "Woman dies when run over by 'art car'". 31 August 2003. Archived from the original on 1 January 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  17. ^ San Francisco Chronicle
  18. ^ news article(no longer available)
  19. ^ 2007 news
  20. ^ The (hopefully) All Inclusive List of Questions Regarding 2008 Tickets
  21. ^ a timeline on
  22. ^
  23. ^ U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts for Nevada
  24. ^ What is Burning Man? "There are no rules about how one must behave or express oneself at this event (save the rules that serve to protect the health, safety, and experience of the community at large); rather, it is up to each participant to decide how they will contribute and what they will give to this community. ... Participants are encouraged to find a way to help make the theme come alive...."
  25. ^ a b 10 principles of Burning Man
  26. ^ No Cash Transactions
  27. ^ Coffee
  28. ^ Camp Arctica
  29. ^ Shuttle Service
  30. ^ Burning Man: What is Burning Man?: FAQ
  31. ^ Burning Man: On The Playa
  32. ^ Burning Man: Preparation
  33. ^ Burning Man :: preparation :: RADICAL SELF RELIANCE
  34. ^ Event Preparation
  35. ^ What I Saw at Burning Man
  36. ^ a b c d e Burning Man: Participate Main
  37. ^ Art Installations
  38. ^ 2006 Theme
  39. ^ 2007 Theme: The Green Man
  40. ^ a b Scheff, Jonathan (September 2007). "Data Points: Green Burning Man". Scientific American (Black Rock City: Scientific American, Inc.) 297 (3): pp. 34. Retrieved 2008-08-03. 
  41. ^ Event Archives
  42. ^ DMV
  43. ^ Art of Burning Man
  44. ^ Burning Man :: AfterBurn Report 2005 :: Art :: Playa Art
  45. ^ Current // Items
  46. ^ Community Art Makers
  47. ^ Burning Man: On The Playa
  48. ^ Burning Man: On The Playa
  49. ^ Black Rock City Airport
  50. ^ Theme Camps
  51. ^ Volunteering page.
  52. ^ Burning Man: On The Playa
  53. ^ Port of Entry
  54. ^ Advantage Flight Solutions' Burning Man page
  55. ^ Burning Man 2006-2010
  56. ^ Bureau of Land Management Trash Concerns
  57. ^ Burning Man: Resources - Burn Effects
  58. ^ Burning Man: Preparation
  59. ^ Bureau of Land Management
  60. ^ SFGate Global Warming and Burning man article
  61. ^ The CoolingMan website
  62. ^ CoolingMan Calculator
  63. ^ Jolia Sidona Allen, Common Ground Magazine "Green Party", May 2008, Elsa Wenzel, How green was Burning Man?, September 17 2007, Brian Doherty, Wired Blog Network Underwire "Crude Awakening Arises at Burning Man", August 2007.
  64. ^
  65. ^
  66. ^

Further reading

  • Bőnner, Bertine 2005. Das Burning Man Projekt - Religiosität und Spiritualität in Black Rock City? Eine ethnologische Perspektive. Magisterarbeit. Grin Verlag
  • Bruder, Jessica 2007. Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man. New York: Simon and Schuster
  • Chen, Katherine 2004. The Burning Man Organization Grows Up: Blending Bureaucratic and Alternative Structures. Dissertation. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University
  • Chen, Katherine K. 2009. Enabling Creative Chaos: The Organization Behind the Burning Man Event. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
  • Chen, Katherine K. and Siobhán O’Mahony. 2009. “Differentiating Organizational Boundaries.” Research in the Sociology of Organizations 26: 183-220.
  • Doherty, Brian 2004. This is Burning Man. The Rise of a New American Underground. Boston/New York: Little, Brown and Company
  • Cortez, Donn 2005. The Man Burns Tonight: A Black Rock City Mystery.
  • Hockett, Jeremy 2004. Reckoning Ritual and Counterculture in the Burning Man Community: Communication, Ethnography, and the Self in Reflexive Modernism. Dissertation. Albuquerque, New Mexico: The University of New Mexico
  • Kozinets, Robert V. 2002. Can Consumers Escape the Market? Emancipatory Illuminations from Burning Man. In: Journal of Consumer Research, 29, June 2002, 20-38.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. (2003), “The Moment of Infinite Fire,” in Time, Space, and the Market: Retroscapes Rising, ed. Stephen Brown and John F. Sherry. Jr., New York: M. E. Sharpe, 199-216.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. and John F. Sherry, Jr. 2005. “Welcome to the Black Rock Café,” in Afterburn: Reflections on Burning Man, ed. Lee Gilmore and Mark van Proyen, Albequerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 87-106.
  • Kozinets, Robert V. and John F. Sherry, Jr. (2004), “Dancing on Common Ground: Exploring the Sacred at Burning Man,” in Rave Culture and Religion, ed. Graham St. John, New York and London: Routledge, 287-303.
  • Kreuter, Holly 2002. Drama in the Desert: The Sights and Sounds of Burning Man. San Francisco: Raised Barn Press
  • Kristen, Christine: Reconnecting art and life at Burning Man. in: Raw Vision, Nr. 57 (Winter 2006), S. 28 - 35.
  • Morehead, John W. 2007. Burning Man Festival as Life-Enhancing, Post-Christendom 'Middle Way'. MA Thesis. Salt Lake City, Utah: Salt Lake Theological Seminary
  • Nash, A. Leo 2007. Burning Man: Art in the Desert, Introduction by Daniel Pinchbeck. New York: Harry N. Abrams
  • Pike, Sarah M. 2001. Desert Goddesses and Apocalyptic Art. Making Sacred Space at the Burning Man Festival. In: Mazur, Eric Michael/McCarthy, Kate (Hrsg.): God in the Details. American Religion in Popular Culture. London/New York: Routledge, 155-176
  • Roberts, Adrian, ed. "Burning Man Live: 13 years of Piss Clear, Black Rock City's alternative newspaper" San Francisco: RE/Search Publications.
  • Sherry, John F. Jr. and Robert V. Kozinets (2007), "Comedy of the Commons: Nomadic Spirituality and the Burning Man Festival," in Russell W. Belk and John F. Sherry, Jr., ed. Research in Consumer Behavior, Vol. 11: Consumer Culture Theory, Oxford: Elsevier, 119-147.
  • Sherry, John F., Jr. and Robert V. Kozinets (2004), “Sacred Iconography in Secular Space: Altars, Alters and Alterity at the Burning Man Project,” in Contemporary Consumption Rituals: A Research Anthology, ed. Cele Otnes and Tina Lowry, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 291-311.
  • Sherry, John F. Jr., Robert V. Kozinets, and Stefania Borghini, and. (2007), “Agents in Paradise: Experiential Co-Creation through Emplacement, Ritualization, and Community,” in Consuming Experiences, ed. Antonella Carù and Bernard Cova, London and New York: Routledge, 17-33.
  • Traub, Barbara 2006. Desert to Dream: A Decade of Burning Man Photography. San Francisco: Immedium
  • Van Proyen, Mark/Gilmore, Lee (Hrsg.): AfterBurn: Reflections on Burning Man. New Mexico: University of New Mexico Press

External links

Coordinates: 40°46′09″N 119°13′12″W / 40.7692°N 119.2200°W / 40.7692; -119.2200


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