Pictures of this year’s Burning Man have surfaced all over the web, showing the yearly festival that attracts thousands to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. For one whole week each year, people from all over come to be a part of a special group dedicated to community, art, radical self-expression, as well as radical self-reliance.
An estimated 61,000 people attended the nearly sold out event this year, where they were able to view the celebrated Burning Man figure, also known simply as ‘The Man,’ along with the spacecraft he stands on, as both got engulfed in raging flames. If you fall even remotely into the pyromanic category, consider this a must on your bucket list.
Burning Man is a 7-day annual event observed in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. The week long celebration started on the last Monday in August, and culminated on the first Monday of September, coinciding with the American Labor Day commemoration. The event gets its name from the ceremonial burning of a big wooden effigy, which was set aflame on that Saturday evening.
Burning Man is described as “an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance.” It is organized by Black Rock City, LLC. 51,515 people attended Burning Man in 2010, while in 2011 attendance was limited at 50,000 participants with the event selling out. That year Larry Harvey said that the organization had initiated the process of ‘transitioning management’ of the festivities to a new non-profit organization dubbed as the “Burning Man Project”.
This year’s art theme for Burning Man was Cargo Cult, which is based on the history of the Melanesians worshiping an enigmatic idol figure, John Frum.
The Burning Man website elaborates on the theme,
“Our story begins in Melanesia during World War II. Thousands of American GIs suddenly descended on this South Sea island chain, bearing with them unimaginable riches: magical foodstuffs that never spoiled, inconceivable power sources. Just as abruptly the troops departed, leaving only broken, rusted Jeeps, crumpled beer cans, and the memory of Spam. To the astonished eyes of the natives, this was a miraculous occurrence, and they yearned for the return of abundance. Accordingly, they built totemic sky-craft in an attempt to summon back these Visitors and their legendary leader, the man the Melanesians called John Frum. They had formed a Cargo Cult.”
This year’s imposing pavilion was designed by Lewis Zaumeyer.