Thursday, February 23, 2012

Burning Man a victim of its own success as word spreads

Since its inception in 1986, Burning Man has grown from a small gathering of friends on San Francisco's Baker Beach to a year-round international subculture that culminates in the summertime festival. The main event draws some 50,000 "Burners" to Nevada's remote Black Rock Desert for a week of, to borrow a favorite phrase from founder Larry Harvey, "radical self-expression."
For seven days, an otherwise hostile stretch of desert transforms into Black Rock City, a bustling community surrounding a massive central area dubbed the playa. The playa economy relies solely on "gifting," or the friendly exchange of goods and services, to sustain itself. Buying and selling is strictly condemned (except for, say, ice from the general store).
Participants spend mind-boggling amounts of time, money and energy building the art installations, planning the infrastructure and organizing the "theme camps" that make the festival thrive -- and then they burn it all. The camps, many of which return year after year, take on a variety of shapes and sizes, from 200-person villages that serve elaborate breakfasts to smaller entities that offer one-off performances or group meditation ceremonies.
 Read it The Huffington Post | San Francisco
When Burning Man Went Viral: How A Festival-Turned-Subculture Struggles With Scarcity
by Carly Schwartz

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