Fans of Burning Man say that -trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been in this event it’s a bit like trying to define a particular color to a blind person-. You have to experience it.
The history of the first Burning Man began in 1986 on a small beach in San Francisco where, after the party, a giant construction with a man’s shape was burned and from there the name was left. Over time it has become a week where, if you do not bring your own electricity you just can’t pay for it with money, only exchange is accepted in this authentic and bustling city built with tents or hand-made motor homes in the Black Rock Desert (Nevada), and inhabited by more than 50,000 people until today.
Attending Burning Man means traveling to the desert to get involved and be part of an experimental community that tests its members to express themselves and depend on themselves, at a level that would not be possible to find in our daily lives. The result of this experiment is Black Rock City, venue of the “Burning Man” event.
Each participant must decide how they will contribute and what they will give to this community. The event takes place in an ancient marshy bed known as “The beach”, which once concluded and the volunteers have returned to their lives; sometimes almost a month after the event is over, there is no trace of the city that was for a short period of time, the most populated of the entire county.
Art is an inevitable part of this experience, in fact, is a main part of the experience that Larry Harvey created as the founder of the Burning Man project. Each year launches a different theme to foster a common bond and help link the contribution of each individual in a meaningful way. Participants are encouraged to find in themselves a way to help the theme come to life; whether through music, large-scale art installations, customized motorhomes, gifts to exchange, costumes, or anything that attracts them accordingly.
The impact of Burning Man’s experience is so profound that a true culture has been created around it. This culture surpasses the limits of Burning Man, with thousands of volunteers; so many that it has led people to gather throughout the country and outside of it, in an attempt to rekindle that magical feeling that only being part of this community can offer: community, participation, free expression, free love, autonomy, all principles that are the soul of the Burning Man experience.