Burning Man Festival is Back!

Burning Man Festival returns, but it’s not without some obstacles. Tropical Storm Hilary is one of them. And now there are climate change activists. Let’s break it all down.

Allison Hunt - Author
Burning Man

Baby, let’s burn. Burning Man Festival, baby! It’s back and hotter than ever. Enough with the fire jokes. Burning Man takes place from August 27 to September 4, a one-week event that celebrates community, connection, and chaos.

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If you think this is just another music fest like we thought, you are wrong. Burning Man was an experiment in which an entire Nevada desert city is constructed for one week, then vanished without a trace. Confused?

Below, we break everything down!

What is the Burning Man Festival all about?

Burning Man
Source: Getty Images

Burning Man On their website, they describe it as “a global eco-system of artists, makers and community organizers that co-create art and events around the globe.” The most recognizable Burners are the tens and thousands who gather each year to create Black Rock City in Nevada, a participatory temporary metropolis.

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It’s okay if it sounds a little hippie-dippie. Burning Man started as the burning of a wooden figure. Larry Harvey and Jerry James, along with a few friends, went to San Francisco’s beach to watch the thing that they created burn. When it caught on fire, people gathered on the beach to create something that looked like a community.

Burning Man’s co-founder Larry Harvey, who created the original “10 principles”, still adheres to them today. They are radical inclusion and gifting, decommodification of goods, radical independence, radical expression, collective effort, civic responsibility as well as leaving no trace.

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Burning Man 2023 has been affected by a tropical hurricane and protesters.

Burning Man 2023 has dealt with some problems already this year. Tropical Storm Hilary flooded the entire area before the gates opened. The rain, as you can see in the TikTok video above was heavy.

Burners or Burners were met by protestors who blocked the road once the gates had opened. Climate activists from the group Seven Circles stood in the middle of the road to the event (or city as we have now learned), holding signs that said “Abolish Capitalism,” and “General Strike for Climate” according to The New York Post.

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They also said that the protesters told The Post that they were protesting, “capitalism’s inability to address climate’s ecological breakdown” and the “popularization of Burning Man among affluent people who do not live the stated values of Burning Man, resulting in the commodification of the event.”

It did not work out well when the burners attempted to move it themselves. The situation escalated when law enforcement arrived and drove through the signs, arresting several protestors.

We understand that the protest is not heard, but we also see the point of their argument. Burning Man, in particular, has gained popularity amongst the wealthy, particularly influencers, and content producers. You can find people who vlog their experience at Burning Man, but not in the actual environment. We haven’t been there, but it seems like the whole point of Black Rock City is defeated.

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