Burning Man festival draws thousands
Tens of thousands of festival-goers recently flocked to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for Burning Man, promising to leave without a trace after a week-long celebration.
Attendees at the annual mass event, which occurs during the week before Labor Day and includes the holiday, form a temporary community based on art, self-expression and self-reliance. They depart a week later, removing their trash and any other remnants that reveal their former presence in the desert.
Nearly 65,000 people from around the world participated in the eclectic event this year, according to the Associated Press. About 150 police officers and environmentalists also descended on the area, their largest presence since the festival overgrew its establishment at San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1989 and relocated to the Playa about 100 miles north of Reno.
Two years ago, the Bureau of Land Management created a study to outline environmentally-friendly rules during the celebration, including capping the event at 68,000 people. The absence of garbage cans forces participants to remove their trash. And, in an effort to reduce the event’s carbon footprint, organizers created “Cooling Man” to encourage participants who burn wooden effigies to pay for tree plantings.
Last year’s record attendance of 69,613 individuals surpassed the limit.
Amid the celebrations, a 29-year-old woman from Wyoming died last Thursday after being hit by a bus carrying passengers in the desert.