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Governing Principles Of The Burning Man Art Festival

Updated on November 15, 2009
The Burning Man Festival Gets Its Name For Its Saturday Night Ritual.
The Burning Man Festival Gets Its Name For Its Saturday Night Ritual.
The Burning Man Is An Art Festival Celebrated For It Inclusion Of Interesting Artwork
The Burning Man Is An Art Festival Celebrated For It Inclusion Of Interesting Artwork

What Is Burning Man?

The Burning Man festival is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert in Northern Nevada. The event is named after its Saturday night ritual where the participants burn a wooden effigy. The event is described by its participants as an experiment in community, self expression and self reliance. In its simplest form, Burning Man is an eight day long art festival. There are ten story high sculptures, double decker art cars, fur covered buses and radio shows that broadcast over the internet.

The event is open to the public for all eight days. It begins on the last Monday in August and ends on Labor Day. Weeks before the festival begins, organizers arrive to create Black Rock City, which is a temporary city created just for the event. In 2008, 49,599 people participated in the Burning Man Festival.

Organizers and participants all state that to truly understand what the Burning Man Festival is one has to participate as words do not describe it accurately. However, if you are going to attend the Burning Man Festival, you have to understand the ten principles that govern the festival.

 

The Burning Man Festival Leaves No One Out Of The Party
The Burning Man Festival Leaves No One Out Of The Party
The Festival Encourage Participants To Be Themselves
The Festival Encourage Participants To Be Themselves

The Ten Governing Principles of Burning Man

Radical Inclusion

The Burning Man Festival has an open door policy. Anyone can participate in the festivities and all are welcome. There are no prerequisites to participate. Participants are expected to bring their tickets, provide for their own basic needs, and follow the minimal rules of the event.

Gifting
Instead of cash, participants are encouraged to rely on a gift economy. In the early days of the event, a barter economy existed. However, this is no longer supported by the Burning Man organization. Instead, participants are encouraged to give gifts to each other unconditionally.

Decommodification

In order to preserve the spirit of gifting and community, the organizers seeks to create a community free from commercial sponsorships, transactions or advertising. To that end, cash transactions are not allowed within the community except for the purchase of beverages at the community café and transportation needs.

Radical Self-reliance

Burning Man encourages participants to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression

The Burning Man Festival promotes that the participants feel free to express themselves in any way they feel appropriate. The organizers believe that no one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. As a part of the spirit of self expression, the event is clothing-optional and public nudity is common, though not practiced by the majority of the participants.

The Festival Mandates That Everyone Who Attends Take An Active Part In The Festivities
The Festival Mandates That Everyone Who Attends Take An Active Part In The Festivities

Communal Effort

Burning Man is a cooperative and collaborative event. Participants are encouraged to work with and help fellow participants. The organizers strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility

Burning Man Participants are encouraged and assume responsibility to be part of a civil society in which federal, state and local laws are obeyed and communicate this to other participants.

Leaving No Trace

The Burning Man organizers are committed to a leave-no-trace event. They ask that participants strike to leave the area around them in better condition than before their arrival to ensure their participation does not have a long term impact on the environment.

Participation

The Burning Man Community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. Participants are strongly encouraged to actively participate in all aspects of the festival.

Immediacy

Burning Man Participants are asked to become part of the event, to experience what is around them and society and to explore their inner selves and their relation to the event. The goal of Burning Man is to overcome barriers that divide members of society and make contact with other members of society and with the natural world. The organizers believe the only way to achieve this is through active participation and experiencing the event personally.

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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I hear it is. Thanks for reading

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S Jain 

      9 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      This sounds like fun!

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I heard how hot it gets, didn't realize the night gets that cold. Still sounds like fun.

      Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image

      pirateburner 

      9 years ago

      hot during the day...can get very cold at night. I live in Florida but made it out last year. With no moisture in the air to hold the heat, as soon the sun goes down it can get down to the 50's

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      It is very hot up there in the desert. Thanks for reading

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I've always want to attend Burning Man, that great mecca for free spirits but it's too darn hot, I'd die out there.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks for reading

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      It is indeed a very interesting festival. Made more interesting by the structure followed by the organizers. I haven't heard of it before so thanks for sharing :D

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR

      bgpappa 

      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      I agree, looks like fun.  YouTube has some great videos on it, most of which I could not post here.

      Thanks For Reading

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 

      9 years ago from Cornwall

      What a worthwhile event, everyone appears to be having a great time.

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