Burning Man is an annual event in the western United States at Black Rock City – a temporary city erected in the Black Rock Desert of northwest Nevada, approximately 100 miles (160 km) north-northeast of Reno. The late summer event is described as an experiment in community and art, influenced by ten main principles: radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, gifting, decommodification, participation, immediacy and leave no trace. The event takes its name from its culmination, the symbolic ritual burning of a large wooden effigy ("The Man") that traditionally occurs on the Saturday evening of the event.
First held 33 years ago in 1986 on Baker Beach in San Francisco as a small function organized by Larry Harvey and Jerry James who built the first "Man", it has since been held annually, spanning from the last Sunday in August to the first Monday in September (Labor Day). The 2019 event will run from August 25 to September 2.
At Burning Man, the community explores various forms of artistic self-expression, which are created to be enjoyed by all participants. "Burning Man is about 'why not' overwhelming 'why'," one "Burner" said. Participation is a key precept for the community – selfless giving of one's unique talents for the enjoyment of all is encouraged and actively reinforced. Some of these generous outpourings of creativity include experimental and interactive sculptures, buildings, performances and art cars, among other media. These contributions are inspired by the yearly theme, which is chosen by the organizers.
Burning Man is organized by the Burning Man Project, a non-profit organization that, in 2014, succeeded a for-profit limited liability company (Black Rock City, LLC) that was formed in 1997 to represent the event's organizers, and is now considered a subsidiary of the non-profit organization. In 2010, 51,515 people attended Burning Man. Attendance in 2011 was capped at 50,000 participants and the event sold out on July 24; the attendance rose to 70,000 in 2015. The Burning Man Project endorses several smaller regional events, inspired by the Burning Man principles both in the United States and internationally.