I have wanted to go to Burning Man for some time just to experience it. While searching around on the Internet while preparing for my trip I found that Burning Man started more than 25 years ago as an artist and hippy gathering in San Francisco on Baker Beach. They burned the art at the end because they did not feel like taking it home. After a few years the gathering got too big and they had to move it out to the desert in Nevada.
Currently up to 50,000 people gather every year and create a temporary city, named Black Rock City. The third largest city in the state of Nevada for that one week. Since the land is leased from the bureau of land management there is a strict “leave nothing behind” policy.
The culture has created some rules. Everyone is supposed to participate, “no spectators”. How you participate is up to you; be it volunteering time, building artwork, or offering something to other “burners” while there.
Everything is supposed to work off of a “gift” economy. Meaning you give of your time or things as a gift and expect nothing in return. If someone gives you a gift back then all the better.
The week starts on a Monday and people arrive throughout the week with the culmination of the Man burning on Saturday, the Temple burn on Sunday, and the event ends on Labor day usually with everyone going home.
The organizers feel that the city could serve as a model for changing the world for conservation, an example of less consumerism, and an influence for people to be more free about self expression. They help setup “local burns” to help propagate the culture and ideals of Burning Man.