Burning Man Festival

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Burning Man Festival

September, Labor Day weekend
The Burning Man is a counterculture festival held in Nevada's Black Rock Desert near Gerlach over Labor Day weekend. Conceived by Larry Harvey in 1986 to honor the Summer Solstice, an eight-foot, wooden human figure was burned on Baker Beach in San Francisco in front of a small crowd of about 20. This act of "radical self-expression," as Harvey later called it, would evolve into an annual event drawing thousands of people from all over the world. In 1990 when the police intervened and banned the actual burning of the Man, the event was moved to the desert.
Fueled by the Internet, other media, and word of mouth, Burning Man has become a populist phenomenon, where participants set up a temporary "city," creating their own community, for a few days. "No spectators" is the motto, and people are expected to interact with one another, produce and display artwork and fashion, play music, dance, do sponteneous performances—as long as they actively participate. The 50-foot-high, neon-lit Man towers over Black Rock City until the climax of the festival on Saturday night. While more than 15,000 desert dwellers watch, the figure is ignited and the Man becomes a fiery blaze, with previously loaded fireworks shooting out of him into the night sky. The next day, participants dismantle their city and leave the desert as they found it, with no trace of the Burning Man festivities—until the next year.
CONTACTS:
Burning Man Project
P.O. Box 884688
San Francisco, CA 94188
415-863-5263
www.burningman.com
SOURCES:
FunAlsoRises-1998, p. 183
WildPlanet-1995, p. 611
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