Burning Man: Journey to Black Rock City

by Akhil Kalepu

Aug 28, 2015

Embrace by Matt Schultz at Burning Man 2014, Black Rock City, Nevada © Gwen Schroeder | Flickr

Trends / Unique Itineraries & Tours

You’ve probably heard of Burning Man, but might not know what it’s all about. Here is the story of how it all started.

 

Central to the tale is obviously the Man, a giant wicker man construction burned as an effigy at the end of each Burn. The first Men were burned in the late 80s at San Francisco’s Baker Beach for a yearly bonfire ritual among friends, an act they described as “radical self-expression.” While the tradition existed before then, it was Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey who truly ran with it.

 

Burning Man 2010, Black Rock City, Nevada © Matt | Flickr.jpg

Burning Man 2010 © Matt | Flickr.jpg

 

By 1991, the festival had made a complete transition to Nevada after being banned from Baker Beach for not having a permit. Black Rock Desert, a dried-up lake bed located 110 miles north of Reno with a landscape that resembles Mars, was the new chosen location, and the antics are also now legal thanks to a permit from the Bureau of Land Management.

 

Church Trap at Burning Man 2013, Black Rock City, Nevada © Gwen Schroeder | Flickr

Church Trap at Burning Man 2013 © Gwen Schroeder | Flickr

 

In the early 90s, Burns did not have the structure of today’s Burning Man, which eventually led to problems as it grew beyond their control. The first Burn on Baker Beach in 1986 had about 20 people, but by 1996 it had grown to 8,000 purely through word of mouth. To handle the growth and expand the scope of Burning Man, the festival underwent a transition in 1997 to be more organized to ensure safety, implementing a series of rules like a ban on unapproved vehicles and authorization to burn artwork.

 

Burning Man 2014, Black Rock City, Nevada © Gwen Schroeder | Flickr

Burning Man 2014 © Gwen Schroeder | Flickr

 

The following years saw the organizers transition to non-profit to guarantee Burning Man’s future as attendance skyrocketed to 60,000 in 2014. Despite its popularity, the festival has been able to stick to the principles they started with in 1986. Larry Harvey wrote the ten Burning Man principles in 2004 as a set of guidelines for regional Burns, and it later became the universal principles of the festival.

 

Temple Burn at Burning Man 2014, Black Rock City, Nevada © Ron | Flickr

Temple Burn at Burning Man 2014 © Ron | Flickr

 

The principles are as follows:

  • Radical Inclusion
  • Gifting
  • Decommodification
  • Radical Self-Reliance
  • Radical Self-Expression
  • Communal Effort
  • Civic Responsibility
  • Leave No Trace
  • Immediacy

 

Burning Man 2014, Black Rock City, Nevada © Nigel Dobson-Keeffe | Flickr.jpg

Burning Man 2014 © Nigel Dobson-Keeffe | Flickr.jpg

 

Black Rock City doesn’t allow any money or environmental damage, creating a festival built on sustainability and a gift economy. Priding itself on radical inclusion, Burning Man is about creating a communal experience that can’t be commoditized, a truly rare thing in today’s world.

 

To learn more, visit burningman.com.

 

#trazeetravel

Insta Feed
Products / Travel
Jun 20, 2019

Airbolt Travel Lock

Travelers in high crime areas often worry about their bags, and a good travel lock can go a long way to reduce that anxiety.

Leave Troublesome Rideshare Worries Behind

We can see it now and remember when it happened to us: Watching as the black car icon loops around and around, seemingly endlessly, and our wait time on the rideshare app continually changes. Long wait times and confused drivers are just a few bothersome issues that can nag at rideshare users. Need a solution? Ditch rideshares altogether in favor of renting a car on your next trip.

Top 5 / Europe
Jun 19, 2019

Top 5: Restaurants in Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg is not only the second-largest city in Germany, but it also boasts one of the greatest ports in Europe. Though the city is chock full of incredible seafood restaurants, you’ll find there’s a little something special no matter what you’re craving.

Tips / Destination
Jun 19, 2019

Budget Bites Las Vegas

Las Vegas is all about indulgence. That doesn’t mean you need to spend indulgently, too. Check out these places for great, cheap eats in Sin City.

Work and Play in Italy

ONCE THE FINAL MEETING WRAPS and the last contract is signed and sealed with a handshake, what’s next? Do you catch a flight back home or do you take advantage of the destination? If your next business trip is to Italy, we suggest adding a few more days to explore the country’s most amazing hot spots. Make time for more than a mouthwater- ing Italian meal in these three cities.

Tips / Destination
Jun 19, 2019

Travel to Easter Island

One of the coolest pieces of South America is actually an island located in the South Pacific, several hundred miles off the coast of Chile.