Big adventure: The Bear is going to the annual Burning Man festival out on the salt flats of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Here in home-town Goshen Indiana, it’s surprising how few people seem to know anything about Burning Man. Or maybe it’s not so surprising?

Burning Man on the Playa - Desert Performance Art Experience

Burning Man on the Black Rock Playa - A Desert Performance Art Experience

That picture above is the city that springs up each year at the end of August, seemingly out of nothing. The image was taken via satellite, showing the semi-circular layout of streets, where 50,000 campers have convened for a week to celebrate their humanity. And on Saturday, to watch it burn.

In the center of the circle stands “The Man,” a stories-tall wooden effigy decked out in pyrotechnics, which is set aflame at the culmination of the festival.

I first learned about Burning Man from a 1996 Wired Magazine article. It was intriguing.  The event was already 10 years old by then. It started on the beaches of San Francisco in 1986. Each year the crowds grew larger. The event moved to the playa in 1991 because “The Man” — now 4 stories tall — needed more room to burn. This year the organizers are limiting attendance to “no more than 60,000 people.”

Middle America, in general, may be unaware of a lot of things happening out there on or about the left coast. But with some additional broadcasting of our intentions, my sweetie and I have managed to find one or two anonymous “burners” right here in Goshen. (Don’t worry, we won’t blow your cover.) They were quite willing — enthusiastic, even — to talk about their experiences at this week-long counter-cultural event in the desert. It’s got me even more fired up about going, and I’m dreaming up how to outfit our pickup truck, how to mount the solar panels, and what our “gift” to the whole scene will be. I’ll post more as things develop.

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2 Comments on Goin’ to Burning Man

  1. Hello Bear,
    Great that you are attending. First time? I’m a veteran of five Burning Man events, so I get excited whenever anyone goes. My wife and I spent six years in the Bay area, and I went to BM three times while living out there. But twice as an inhabitant of Indiana. What surprises so many people is that it is attended by a surprisingly well read following. You’ll see the creativity in Silicon Valley reflected in so much of what you see in the desert. Anyway, enjoy!

  2. Kenneth says:

    I never heard of it until a few years ago, I almost went a couple years ago, it sounds like an awesome great time I think someday I will go. I hope you have a good time! Be safe.

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