arts • 05 Sep, 2017
Tragic, Troubled And Tremendous: Burning Man Is Back
The Nevada-Desert Hosted Annual Festival’s 2017 Edition
Burning Man is a famous free-for-all festival where cash no longer rules everything around us (sorry Method Man), only love and swapsies. It’s held in the Nevada desert and everyone gets to dress up like they’re in Mad Max before sloping back to their tech start-up the following Monday pretending they don’t have a hangover while wiping the glitter off their faces and flooding Instagram with photos of themselves.
Held every year, the utopian event based on ‘self-expression’ sees a temporary city erected in Black Rock at the end of August. Although it began small with 20 participants in San Francisco in 1986 today 70,000 revellers attend.
Tragically, this year, one of those attendees, forty-one-year-old ‘burner’ Aaron Mitchell, took ‘17’s theme ‘Radical Ritual’ too seriously as he broke through security and self-immolated on one of the festival’s fires.
Besides the obvious confusion for the emergency services, this is another upsetting headline for the organisers after being mocked for claims that Burning Man is a ‘green’ event because it attracts party people from across the globe to come hang with their catastrophic combined carbon footprint. And rumours persist of closed-off air-conditioned camps with ’khaki-wearing venture capitalists’ and a lack of ethnic diversity (because Native Indian headdresses don’t count).
That being said, there is no more photogenic festival than this desert shindig where they set shit aflame. So with our deepest condolences to Aaron’s family, we wanted to focus on the event’s finery. You can too by taking a look below.
Words by David Kaye