Burning Man 2018: What is it, what are the 10 principles, where is it and when does it start?

The theme for Burning Man 2018 is I, Robot

Chelsea Ritschel
in New York
Wednesday 29 August 2018 09:31 BST
Burning Man: Time-lapse footage shows off festival installations

As the end of August draws near, thousands of people are currently gathering at Black Rock City in the Nevada desert to take part in Burning Man.

It draws tens of thousands of people from across American and the world, with an attendance which has steadily grown since the inaugural event in 1986.

What is Burning Man?

Burning Man, as described by its organisers, is an “annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance”.

Although it is often confused for a festival, similar to Coachella, Burning Man is actually a temporary city erected for a week where “burners” can enjoy art, connect, and wander around the playa, as the central location is called.

While anything goes at Burning Man, attendees must follow 10 core principles – which were drafted in 2004 by co-founder Larry Harvey and include such guidelines as “radical inclusion,” “decommodification,” and “leaving no trace”.

The broad picture of Burning Man, which has transformed into a global phenomenon, is to create a temporary place where anything is possible – and return the land back to how it was when the week is over.

At Burning Man, attendees, who have purchased the required $425 tickets, stay in tents or RVs and rely mostly on bikes as transportation – and money is not used, as anything you need can be bartered for or gifted.

During the day, burners can view art, watch movies, explore the playa, or participate in a variety of other activities.

At night, the playa transforms into a club atmosphere with lit up installations, DJs, and dance parties.

This year’s theme is I, Robot.

What are the 10 principles?

  1. Radical inclusion – anyone may be part of Burning Man
  2. Gifting – gifting is the basis of Burning Man
  3. Decommodification – there are is no sponsorships or advertising at Burning Man
  4. Radical self-reliance – you are encouraged to rely on and discover yourself
  5. Radical self-expression – arises from the unique gifts of an individual
  6. Communal effort – work together
  7. Civic responsibility – society should be civil and respect all outside laws
  8. Leaving no trace – clean up after oneself and leave the space better than when you arrived
  9. Participation – change occurs through deeply personal participation
  10. Immediacy – seek to overcome barriers

Where is Burning Man?

Burning Man takes place in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada – 120 miles outside of Reno.

Burners can get to the playa by car or shuttle bus.

There is no cellphone service in the Black Rock Desert but there are payphones throughout the playa.

When is Burning Man 2018?

Burning Man 2018 began on August 26 and will go until September 3.

This year, the “man will burn” the Saturday before Labor Day – that’s when a huge central art installation is burned to the ground.

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