Burning Man Festival Explained

Burning Man Festival Explained

By Emily Scharnhorst

Near the end of summer every year, about 100 miles north of Reno in the Nevada desert, tens of thousands of people gather for the Burning Man festival, an oasis for the most eclectic group of people on the planet.

This year the event sold out in 44 minutes, but when it all started as a summer solstice celebration in 1986, it was simply a gathering of a small group of friends. San Francisco-based artist Larry Harvey and a few collaborators built an eight-foot wooden man on San Francisco's Baker Beach and set it on fire.

By 1990, the event had become so popular that it was moved to Black Rock Desert in Nevada to provide more space for the masses.

Over the past few years, Burning Man has become more mainstream, with attendees from Silicon Valley, such as Google's ex-CEO Eric Schmidt, and celebrities like Diddy. This year, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is expected to partake in the festivities.

Tickets for Burning Man go for nearly $400, but that's about all you will spend, because once you're there, it's all about sharing. Nothing is for sale except coffee and ice.

The main attraction comes at the end of the week with a procession and, reportedly, an epiphany during the lighting of the Burning Man, a huge sculpture made by volunteers. Last year, it was 40 feet high.

Afterward, the whole gathering is gone without a trace.

Organizers say that trying to explain Burning Man to someone who hasn't been there is like trying to describe color to someone who is blind.

So, even if you're not burning in Nevada but just chilling at home, perhaps after you watch this video you'll be able to say, "Now I Get It."