Fun and flames in the desert
The iconic Burning Man festival is held every year in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, USA. Lasting for a week, this massive open-air party takes place at the end of August and attracts fantastic numbers of people. The 2014 festival recorded in the region of 65,000 people in attendance.
This is not some ordinary summer festival but a truly immersive experience. One of the strongest and most attractive features about Burning Man is the sense of community engendered amongst its participants. Regardless of age, culture, language or other traditional barriers, folk here are very much looking to contribute to an amazing shared experience. A temporary city of sorts is raised in the desert, fostering a collective of dreamers and doers, all collaborating in the name of art and enjoyment.
The Flexicover Team delve into the intricacies of the Burning Man festival to provide a brief overview of the event.
In 1986, Larry Harvey and Jerry James built a large wooden effigy on Baker Beach in San Francisco and set it alight on the summer solstice; many curious onlookers were attracted by this ‘burning man’. They repeated this event for the next four years and in 1990 were invited to burn ‘The Man’ at the San Francisco Cacophony Society’s Zone Trip #4 in Black Rock Desert, Nevada over the Labor Day weekend, where it has done so ever since. What started as a small event has now turned into a week-long festival with tickets sold out almost as soon as they’re put up for sale.
While there’s no one major focus, the idea behind Burning Man is for an atmosphere and space that acts as a ‘catalyst of creative culture’. There are actually 10 principles that form the core of the Burning Man festival practices and thought. These include radical inclusion, gifting, radical self-expression, radical self-reliance, communal effort and leaving no trace. Everyone is expected to participate without judgment and efforts are made to ensure no harm befalls the environment due to the festival. As a result, what you’ll take away is much more than just some fun photos.
Since 1996, Burning Man has been based on a theme. Different elements around the festival all cater to this theme to provide a unique experience. It began with the fitting theme of ‘Inferno’ and other themes have ranged from political ones, such as the American Dream, to those aimed at encouraging thought, creativity and expression such as Wheel of Time, Fertility, Seven Ages of Man, Rites of Passage and Psyche and ones aimed at creating an immersive otherworld such as The Vault of Heaven, Metropolis and, the 2015 theme, Carnival of Mirrors.
Camps and village
One of many reasons the Burning Man Festival draws so many people to a week in the desert is the amazing variety of theme camps and villages that are set up. Each offers an incredible experience – art installations, performances and the creation of an alternate world you can step in and out of at will. You can actually register your idea for a theme camp and organise it yourself, while keeping within the requirements and regulations of the organisers. Participant interaction is the key and each camp or village provides an inviting communal space and atmosphere.
Burning Man dates for 2015 are 30th August to 7th September. While the main event everyone looks forward to is the burning of the gigantic wooden man-shaped structure, the line-up generally includes music and art performances spanning myriad genres, fire dancing performances and multitude of events organised at each theme camp or village. There’s a lot going on at any point in time at the Black Rock City (the name used for the entire physical expanse of the festival) and you would be hard-pressed to be unable to be find something to do, see, explore or participate in.
The Burning Man festival in 2015 is bound to be an amazing experience and there’s always security at hand. Strict fire usage regulations, safety and emergency measures are always adhered to but still it’s reassuring to remember that we at Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.