At Burning Man, the audience is the show: the boundaries between stage and public overlap and melt. Every form of self-expression, every fantasy… everything has a place. It’s kind of a utopia, and everyone one who sets foot in it is so impressed that they do their best to respect it and keep it alive.
- Margherita Missoni
The call of the Burning Man kindles in your soul when you are perhaps ready to give a little more than you are ready to receive. And once you have made that silent mental leap that ephemeral shelter in a dusty desert beckons like a siren from the wild.
I did my first ‘Burn’ a few years back, and since then there has never been a day that I have not thought about it. The stark desert setting, the interactive art installations, the camaraderie of campfires, the silvery dust, the impromptu music, the unplanned performances, the non-stop partying, and most importantly the expressions of people, flash through my mind in a never-ending kaleidoscope of waltzing memories.
The venue of the Burning Man, simply called ‘the playa’, is situated on a dried lakebed in Black Rock Desert, #Nevada. This temporary metropolis, called #BlackRockCity, is set up and demolished within a span of nine days in August- September every year. ‘Burners’ from all walks of life throng to this event (and dare you call it a festival), including celebrities and CEOs from super-tech companies. Musk has been there, so has Larry. 70,000 people attended in 2017.
Founded by Larry Harvey in 1986, #BurningMan, is the most famous of community gatherings based a set of free-spirited but practical principles: radical inclusion, self-reliance and self-expression, decommodification (neither money nor barter is the modus operandi here, whereas gifting is), leaving no trace (behind), and participation. All entertainment, and event warmers like wine-tastings, massages, food, drinks, and almost everything is free.
On a Saturday night, a large wooden sculpture of ‘the Man’ was torched: a symbolic ritual burning which perhaps signifies the impermanence of all possessions. As I watched the flame-engulfed superstructure collapse, I was ready to pick up the embers to bury in my heart. ...