Burning Man

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Burning Man "It's is a credo of radical self-reliance and radical self-expression set in a temporary autonomous community," acknowledged an observant participant of the Burning Man festival (Stein 16). Burning Man's official name is The Black Rock Arts Festival, but is often referred to as Weirdstock. The festival takes place every year in Nevada's Black Rock desert for one week. Instantly over night, the lifeless desert transforms into a temporary community filled with thousands of multicolored tents, temporary buildings, banners, and sculptures. Burning Man, which started off as a small gathering, has grown into a weeklong festival dedicated to art, music, and spirituality (Bailey).

Burning Man began as a solstice celebration in the summer of 1986. Two best friends, Jerry James and Larry Harvey, a builder and a landscaper, decided to construct a life-size human statue out of spare wood scraps. They took the effigy to San Francisco's Baker Beach with a handful of friends, covered it with gasoline, and set it on fire.

A large crowd grew as the wooden man burned. Everyone was moved by the experience, and decided to turn Burning Man into an annual event (Kelly 52).

The Burning Man festival began to rapidly grow each year. By 1990 there were 800 attendees. Larry Harvey decided to expand the height of the wooden effigy to 40-feet. Therefore all the participants would be able to view the burning. When a couple of cops told James and Harvey that they couldn't burn such a giant structure on a public beach, they dismally walked off with the Burning Man's pieces. An attendee of the festival proposed they move Burning Man to a barren desert in Nevada called Black Rock (DeSalvo 7). The event quickly relocated to the Black Rock desert. A hundred participants drove out to Black Rock...