Jul 21, 2012 06:00PM
Photo courtesy of stuckincustoms.com
It all started in 1986 as a bonfire on a beach in San Francisco when founder Larry Harvey wanted to take the city’s underground art scene to whole new level. Burning Man, a now infamous and life-changing event, went from being a small gathering to a week-long annual event with nearly 50,000 participants—or burners. Instead of taking place on a beach, Burning Man has evolved into Black Rock City, located in Nevada to welcome more burners and art.
Many burners claim there is no right way to describe the event. Burning Man is not about one simple thing—it is about community, freedom, self-expression, and art. Its name stems from the ritual burning of a wooden man. Larry Harvey declares the burning as an act of self-expression. The first Burning Man burned an 8-foot wooden man and a smaller, wooden dog. Last year’s Man stood 104 feet. This year’s man will stand astride a Pantheon-looking pavilion. Not only does Burning Man have a gigantic man to burn each year, but it also has a different theme.
This year the theme is Fertility 2.0. According to the Burning Man website, “This year’s art theme contemplates the tendency of any being or living system to create abundant life.” Past themes have been “Rites of Passage,” “Metropolis,” “Evolution,” and 14 others, all of which portray some sense of self-expression.
Burners travel from everywhere— Dallas, New York, even Germany. The Burning Man community does not end on the last day of the event. Burners say it is a lifestyle—one that stays with them forever. While many people cannot return to Black Rock City each year, they find their own ways to celebrate. Burners have formed groups, such as East Bay Burners, Burning Man Germany, Burners without Borders, as well as many more. There is always a way to participate in Burning Man, even if you are countries away.
This year’s Burning Man will take place Aug. 27 to Sept. 3., so get your burner fashion ideas rolling, grab your ticket, and embrace community expressiveness.