Burning Man, festival between art and mysticism

burning man

A few days ago I saw a documentary on the BBC about the losses suffered in life and a case related the sad experience of a family: in a year the mother and a daughter had died, leaving the father and another daughter absolutely alone.

To resolve the grief and troubled father-daughter relationship, they go on a trip together to a festival they had never heard of: Burning Man. Catharsis, culture, art, mysticism, XNUMXst century religion, all that and more is this festival in United States. Do you know him?

Burning Man


In this seven-day festival that takes place in the desert of Nevada, United States, in a city that is born out of nowhere and when the event ends, it disappears again. It is a temporary city where the people who come live there temporarily.

The ghost town, Black Rock, is about 150 miles from Reno and every year attracts more people so the attendees already exceed 50 thousand. Is entrance paid? Well yes, religion is never free. Some tickets are around $ 400 but there are many in the middle for everyone to attend. Also, money can be donated to organize the festival. You get on the website and you can leave from $ 25 to $ XNUMX or whatever you can. The money goes to the construction of the city's structures and the interactive art projects and events within.


Each one goes with their tent or their mobile home. The Burning Man revolves around the concepts of healing, inclusion, civic responsibility, participation, give to others and leave no trace on earth afterwards of those seven crazy and introspective days. This festival is organized by a non-profit organization, worth the redundancy, established in 2014 but dating back to the '90s.

The truth is that the event changed over time and was refined in some issues until adopting the current characteristics: Cars are not allowed inside, only bikes, pedestrians or cars with artistic function, no dogs or fireworks and a limiting fence. Who attends Burning Man is a Stormyr. There are no restrictions, everyone is invited to participate, no cash circulating and everything is based on giving gifts or tricks. The little that is sold already has a destination and of course there are some expenses but they are specified before the day of the event.


The truth is that what is armed in this dry lake in Nevada is like a outdoor art exhibition. Imagine Mad Max with Mel Gibson and you get pretty close to what Burning Man is at least from an aesthetic point of view. Sunglasses, colors, punk hair, new age hippies, all that is seen circulating there. Huge sculptures of coyotes have been seen, circulate mutant vehicles that look like insects or post apocalyptic cars, tricycles, retouched bikes and every year there is a different temple that burns on the last night, as well as the statue of the Man, which marks the highlight of the Burning Man festival.


Thus, there has been a Temple of the Mind, another of Tears, another of Joy or of the Stars and that of Dreams. Last year the Temple of Promise was built and this year the temple was shaped like a wooden pagoda and was simply called The Temple. One thing I don't want to forget is music. There is no place here for Mozart or Bach. What sounds is electronic music and there are DJ's.

The event has certain rav wavee so people dance alone or in a group with phosphorescent accessories. There are many styles and for example a well known DJ like Armin vanm Buuren has played here at one time or another. Every year bands or DJs or styles are added and the huge camp is divided into sectors.

How to get to Burning Man


Like I said it is a few hundred miles from the city of Reno so an easy trail is take a plane to Reno-Tahoe International Airport. From here you have a two-hour drive on Highway 34. From there you go onto a dirt road and yes or yes you must arrive when the entrance booths are open because it is not possible to wait for them to open while parked outside.

You can also hire shuttles from Reno or San Francisco or once inside the camp there is a paid bus service between the place and the nearest cities, Empire and Gerlach, but it is not so convenient to get out and about because that implies a cost. The ticket must be purchased in advance, it is not sold at the entrance, and right there the cars are checked so that nothing that is prohibited enters the Black Rock city.


Finally, Burning Man's idea is to leave no trace. So when the end comes everything burns and that burning is the climax. Fantastic and unforgettable. The idea is not to pollute the place after so much human activity. Then, works of art made of metal and other low-combustible things are burned in a special place. Obviously there are always criticisms and of course it is impossible that a human activity does not have negative consequences or effects so Burning Man has received some criticism ... and the attraction of celebrities.


And yes, it is impossible for celebrities to escape from this but they are not hippies so their camps are luxurious. This has generated some controversies among burners and acts of vandalism have not been lacking in reaction. And if that were not enough, hand in hand with fame prices have risen and every year the ticket costs more. If you add entrance, food, camping costs, clothes, gifts and transportation peacefully the figure is over $ 1000 and more.


Y is it a multiethnic festival or not? The question is valid because after all, although the United States sells itself as a multi-ethnic country, we know the conflicts that they have within. According to some data more than 90% of those who attend are white (They separate Latinos from whites but it seems to me that such a distinction is not valid), and there are very few Asians and almost no blacks. If the Burning Man topic interests you, there are four documentaries available and a very comprehensive website from which we partly obtained these photographs.

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