Burning Man festival draws thousands

  • Festival-goers stand in front of Pulse and Bloom, an interactive art installation that visualizes the heartbeats of participants, during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. Composed of 25 mechanical lotuses with embedded LED lights and arranged in a circular matrix shape, Pulse and Bloom is activated when individuals physically interact with a lotus visualizing the heart beat of the participants.
  • Stilt walkers approach The Man on the Playa at sunrise during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 28, 2014.
  • People gather around the Temple of Grace during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 28, 2014. Designed by renowned American sculptor David Best, Temple of Grace is intended to be a spiritual and sacred space for memorials, reflection, celebration, and to commemorate life transitions. During Burning Man thousands gather in this spiritual refuge to write their memorials and place tokens of their transitions. At the end of the festival the temple is burned in a tradition of releasing them by the immolation of the temple.
  • Festival goers party after the burn of Embrace, a large scale sculpture of two people embracing, during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014. Every year many of the wooden art pieces are burned to the ground towards the end of the festival. As part of Burning Man’€™s ten principles, the ‘leave no trace policy’€™ requires all remnants of the burn to be cleaned up and removed from the land at the end of the event.
  • Newlyweds Meloralyn Vandusen and Joe Burns celebrate with friends in front of Embrace, a large scale sculpture, during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 28, 2014. This 72-foot wooden sculpture of two people embracing was made by the Pier Group to honor all of the relationships in our lives, a pilgrimage through our bodies and our minds. The exterior is made of delaminated plywood for an organic, peeling effect like that of eucalyptus bark. Embrace is also meant to explore the idea of collective consciousness, the shared beliefs and ideas that unify a society.
  • Musicians play during a jam at a banjo and whiskey party at the Pickle Joint camp during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014.
  • Embrace, a large scale sculpture of two people embracing, burns during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014. Every year many of the wooden art pieces are burned to the ground towards the end of the festival. As part of Burning Man’s ten principles, the ‘leave no trace policy’€™ requires all remnants of the burn to be cleaned up and removed from the land at the end of the event.
  • Black Rock City, a temporary city created for the annual Burning Man festival, seen from an airplane over Black Rock Desert, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. At its peak this year the population of Black Rock City reached 65,922.
  • Black Rock City, a temporary city created for the annual Burning Man festival, seen from an airplane over Black Rock Desert, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. At its peak this year the population of Black Rock City reached 65,922.
  • A stick walker dressed in a fantasy costume strolls the streets during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. 
  • Lamplighters prepare to ignite kerosene lanterns during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. The Lamplighters, a small group of volunteers illuminating a pathway toward The Man every night, have been an important part of Burning Man almost as long as the festival has been held in the desert.
  • Suspended Animation, a group dedicated to the kinetic art of full-suspension rope bondage, performs on the ePod art installation during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014. Created by Michael Christian and Dallas Swindle the ePod, or Eidolon Panspermia Ostentatia Duodenum, is a 24 foot-tall steel voronoi-inspired open-cell mycelial ovoid structure representing a possible matrix manifold of the panspermia transportation vesicle designed to inspire a profound sense of apophenia.
  • Festival goers ride an art car during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014.
  • Festival-goers walk towards The Man to attend the burning ceremony during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. Burning Man is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance, taking its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening.
  • Suspended Animation, a group dedicated to the kinetic art of full-suspension rope bondage, performs on the ePod art installation during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014. Created by Michael Christian and Dallas Swindle the ePod, or Eidolon Panspermia Ostentatia Duodenum, is a 24 foot-tall steel voronoi-inspired open-cell mycelial ovoid structure representing a possible matrix manifold of the panspermia transportation vesicle designed to inspire a profound sense of apophenia.
  • Festival goers party on board the Christina, an art car cruising the Playa during Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014. The Christina, a decommissioned boat from Lake Tahoe, was attached to a cement truck chassis by Captain Flipper Manchester.
  • Festival goers party after The Man burned down during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. Burning Man is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance, taking its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening.
  • Spectators watch El Pulpo Mecanico, an art car made primarily out of recycled and used junk found at a scrap yard, perform during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014. Built on a 1973 Ford 250 4x4 El Pulpo Mecanico is a 25 foot tall Octopus that shoots 30 foot propane fueled flames from the animated tentacles.
  • Festival goers dine on ‘A Moveable Feast’, a kinetic sculpture and eight person mobile banquet table created by Daniel Busby, during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014.
  • People visit the Temple of Grace during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. Designed by renowned American sculptor David Best, Temple of Grace is intended to be a spiritual and sacred space for memorials, reflection, celebration, and to commemorate life transitions. During Burning Man thousands gather in this spiritual refuge to write their memorials and place tokens of their transitions. At the end of the festival the temple is burned in a tradition of releasing them by the immolation of the temple.
  • Festival goers gather watch The Man burn during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. Burning Man is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance, taking its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening.
  • Festival goers gather to see The Man burned during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 30, 2014. Burning Man is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance, taking its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening.
  • Festival goers party before the burn of Embrace, a large scale sculpture of two people embracing, during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 29, 2014. Every year many of the wooden art pieces are burned to the ground towards the end of the festival. As part of Burning Man’s ten principles, the ‘leave no trace policy’€™ requires all remnants of the burn to be cleaned up and removed from the land at the end of the event.
  • Festival goers hang around the smoldering embers of The Man that burned down the previous night during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 31, 2014. Burning Man is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance, taking its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening.
  • Festival goers hang around the smoldering embers of The Man that burned down the previous night during the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada, United States on August 31, 2014.  Burning Man is described as an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance, taking its name from the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy, which is set alight on Saturday evening.

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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.

For more feature photography, go to msnbc.com/photography

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