Burning Man, a countercultural phenomenon that occurs each year in the middle of the desert, is guided by 10 core principles, including radical inclusion, decommodification, immediacy, participation and leaving no trace. Tens of thousands of “burners” live together for about a week, participating in activities, contributing art, and at the end watching a giant wooden figure, or “The Man” burn to the ground. “The Burning Man is Disneyland in reverse . . . Woodstock turned inside out,” co-founder Larry Harvey told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1996. “It is anything you want it to be.”
It all began in 1986 on Baker Beach near San Francisco, when Harvey and Jerry James set fire to an eight-foot-tall wooden model of a man with approximately 20 bystanders. The growing festival moved from the beach to the desert in 1990. Now, nearly 70,000 people gather for Burning Man each year, inhabitants of a city that pops up and disappears in a matter of weeks.