2016 AfterBurn

The AfterBurn is our annual look back at the past year in Burning Man history — its ups, its downs, and its get-back-up-agains. Browse past years’ AfterBurns here.

Burning Man 2016: da Vinci’s Workshop

2016’s Burning Man theme, “da Vinci’s Workshop”, offered an opportunity for participants to explore the similarities between the Italian Renaissance centered in Florence, and Burning Man in an “attempt to recreate this potent social alchemy by combining Burning Man art, maker culture and creative philanthropy to make Black Rock City the epicenter of a new renaissance.”

Vitruvian Man stood at 70 feet tall and was surrounded by the Piazza, an Italian Renaissance inspired space of “cunningly-wrought fountains and other public art designed to encourage repose, relaxation, and the meeting of friends.” The Piazza was inhabited by Guild Workshops built by participants from all over the world.

The Temple — no name, just The Temple — was built by David Best and crew. It was his ninth Temple in Black Rock City.

2016 was momentous for Burning Man Project in many ways. We bought Fly Ranch, for one thing. We also launched the Burning Man Journal, a new paper of record for Burning Man Culture. There were many staffing changes to the Burning Man Project — mostly sweet, some bittersweet. Nevada imposed the Live Entertainment Tax on Burning Man participants… but we’ll work that out eventually. We built a city, we burned a Man, it all disappeared into the ether, and then we started all over again — as per usual.

(Photo by Heidi Kaden)

Table of Contents

Burning Man Project Staff and Operations

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Black Rock City Event Operations


  • Big Jump in Numbers at Black Rock City Airport

    The newly expanded Black Rock City airport opened for business Wednesday, and workers were bracing for more passengers than they’ve ever had to handle before. The organization for years has been exploring alternative ways of getting people to the playa, because only so many cars can squeeze onto Route 447. You can come by bus, …Read More
  • Want to Be Manager of the Black Rock City Airport? Come Fly Right Seat This Year

    Black Rock City Municipal Airport is looking for a new Calamity. No, not the disaster kind but the doer variety. Airport Operations Manager “Calamity” Charles is stepping down from his role next year, and he’s looking for someone to learn the ropes by shadowing him this year. Calamity has volunteered at the Airport since 1999, …Read More



BMIR: Burning Man Information Radio


Burner Express


  • 2016 Black Rock City Census Data Released

    If you are reading this, there’s a good chance you consider yourself “a Burner.” Maybe you’re in the 4% of our population who have attended more than 11 Burns. Maybe you’ve never been to Black Rock City. Regardless, you seem to be curious about Burning Man. Who are Burners? Where are we from? What do …Read More
  • PEACE IN OUR TIME!!! Media Mecca and the Census end their four year war with historic treaty!

    In 2012 the Census  claimed that Media Mecca had poached one of their most beloved volunteers, while Media Mecca claimed that the volunteer had willingly defected.  Obviously the only solution was violence.  And so a state of open warfare between them was declared.  Kidnappings, misinformation campaigns, and camp raids occurred throughout the week. Though formal …Read More
  • Burners, Meet Black Rock City Census

    We’re the Census Lab volunteers, a motley team of information geeks, academic researchers, students, and general data nerds who have surveyed Black Rock City (BRC) residents since 2002. Armed with lab coats and hot pink gear, we survey randomly selected cars of Burners arriving at the BRC gate. Then, when everyone gets home, we ask …Read More

Center Camp Café

Communications/Media Mecca

  • Don’t be That Asshole with a Camera

    Folks who want to do any sort of serious project with a camera in Black Rock City have to apply through our Media Project Proposal Form. I’ve been a leader on the press team for a few years now, and I’ve heard all of the objections to the idea that Burning Man even needs a media policy …Read More

Community Bikes


Department of Mutant Vehicles


Department of Public Works

  • Fence Day 2016: Stories From the Front Lines

    Black Rock City’s trash fence was invented by Lawrence Breed in 1996 to ensure Burning Man leaves no trace. On August 5, 2016, the trash fence went up once again, establishing the borders of what will be Black Rock City. Below are accounts from some of the hard-working DPW members that accomplished the Herculean feat …Read More
  • Surveying Black Rock City

    Each year the clock-shaped annular streets of the ephemeral Black Rock City rise from and return to dust. And each and every year Black Rock City is reborn a small town again. In three short weeks, Black Rock City sprouts from open playa into a small working town, a chic town of artists working on …Read More
  • Lightning Fires

    In the distance there is a flash, and a crash and then Lucky Penny cuts in on the radio… “Lightning strike on Playa…“ Survey Crew is out plotting the 80K flags across the 5.62 square miles that will become Black Rock City. A fair day with no wind and high visibility has suddenly become one …Read More

Earth Guardians


Emergency Services

  • Say Yellow to the ESD Volunteers Who Save Your Butts

    By Ben Thompson, ESD Support Chief Walking around Black Rock City, I’m sure you’ve noticed the people in the bright yellow shirts working in the aid stations, driving some facsimile of a fire truck or a UTV. Those folks are the volunteers working for BRC Emergency Services Department (ESD). At this year’s event there will …Read More







Playa Info


Playa Restoration

  • MOOP Map 2016: Day One – The Bodies and The Gears

    “Killin’ time ‘til Resto.” It’s a phrase often used in the DPW, or the Department of Public Works, Black Rock City’s builders and tearer-downers and cleaner-uppers. City superintendent Coyote likes to say we in the DPW build the first piece of art out here at Burning Man — the town grid and all the infrastructure …Read More
  • MOOP Map 2016: Day Two – Weather and Machines

    The wind in Gerlach howls. Howling wind is a literary cliche but what’s another term for the ‘awooo’ sound that moving air makes when it whistles around buildings and through the few trees in the streets in this town. Desert nomads in other places probably have a word for the howl wind does after a …Read More
  • MOOP Map 2016: Day Three — Resto vs. the Forecast

    Hello from Playa Restoration, where the dust has subsided and we can finally see. As of day three, we still haven’t had a full day’s work due to a little rain, but we’re churning along quickly anyways. To review, Day One of Resto was a three-quarters day. Day Two was a half day. Day Three …Read More
  • The Litterati

    You probably remember the moment you realized it was time to leave Burning Man. As good a time as you had, and most of the time it was a pretty damn good time, it was still time to go. It was time to go RIGHT NOW. The heat, the noise, the sleep deprivation, the frikken …Read More
  • MOOP Map 2016: Day Four — More of Our Pieces

    Finally, the weather cleared up and Resto got in a full day’s work. The line sweep crews made their way towards 10 and beyond, finshing the four back blocks of the city they started the day before, advancing from 9:45 to 10:15. They then lined up at 10:15 and worked Esplanade to C, back to …Read More
  • MOOP Map 2016: Day Five & Six — Community Rave Zone Trips

    Well, this is exhilarating: D.A. said Day Four was one of the more inspiring days Playa Restoration has ever had out here. Maybe it just felt nice to go full speed for a full day, after all those weather-filled half days. The choreography of Line Sweeps, Special Forces, and infrastructure crews swirling towards the goal, …Read More
  • MOOP Map 2016: Day Seven & Eight — Resto All-Stars

    The DPW’s Flaming Trebuchet at Burning Man 2015 was a Resto art piece which showed off our cleanup abilities. 6:37 was the time — that’s six minutes and thirty-seven seconds to clean up a flaming piano that’s been launched from a two-story slingshot and tossed splashing onto the ground like a fiery dirt clod. The …Read More
  • MOOP Map 2016: Day 9 — Sexy Mooperfluffers

    Day Nine was hot. And sexy. Also temperature-wise. Just all-around bad ass. Warning: Sort of NSFW down lower in the post. Today might be Resto’s only day left, Phoenix told her crew. There could be weather. Special Forces yesterday killed cones from 10 to 3:15 and Esplanade through C. Day Nine’s assignment was to complete …Read More
  • MOOP Map 2016: BLM Site Inspection

    Burning Man’s BLM Site Inspection took place this week, delayed by one day because of the weather. A small crew of volunteers from all across DPW staff and Playa Restoration came out to the shoreline in the morning to meet our Nevada BLM agents for the test. A friendly lot, the Nevada BLM’s environmental arm …Read More


  • Rangers: Navigators at the Edge of Chaos

    by Librarian Black Rock Rangers are participants who volunteer a portion of their time at Burning Man in service of the safety and well-being of the Burning Man community. They act as non-confrontational community mediators, providers of reliable information, facilitators of public safety (with the expectation that everybody read the back of their ticket, of …Read More

Recycle Camp



  • Not Smooth Like Butter: OMG Sale Recap

    We tried something different with the OMG Sale on Wednesday. Burning Man is, and has always been, a place where everyone is encouraged to explore what’s possible and find new ways to do things. In that spirit, we tried to address some of the recurring concerns from our past handful of sales regarding access and …Read More
  • Waiting Room? Huh? Here’s What Happened in the 2016 Main Ticket Sale

    We do everything we can to give everyone a fair shot at a ticket to Burning Man, and we work with our ticketing partner Ticketfly to do just that. In an attempt to execute a smooth sale, Ticketfly adjusted how they implemented the queueing technology they use, which inadvertently resulted in 3,500 people who showed …Read More
  • What’s up with Tickets for 2016? We Have Answers

    Hey there, dust lovers. Thank you so much for waiting patiently. Info about 2016 registration and ticket sales is now available at tickets.burningman.org. Here’s an explanation of what’s staying the same and what’s changing: For the 2016 event, the price of regular tickets (including both Main Sale and Directed Group Sale tickets, which are sold …Read More

Volunteer Resources

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Arts and Civic Engagement

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Global Network

  • Burning Man European Leadership Summit 2016 Takes Barcelona, Spain

    Burning Man’s Third Annual European Leadership Summit was hosted during the weekend of February 4-7 in Barcelona and brought together 135 Regional Contacts, Community Leaders, event organizers and Burning Man staff from 21 countries. Through workshops, large group presentations, and a variety of social engagements, participants came together to share their experiences and lessons learned …Read More
  • GLC 2016: Calling Out Around the World

    Each year, we put more of the Global in GLC by gathering our growing tribe from far and wide. This week, we have representatives from an ah-mazing array of countries jetting into San Francisco for the 2016 conference, which begins on Thursday. For those scratching their head over these three little letters, the GLC — …Read More
  • Tax Breaks and Tools: Empowering our Community with Fiscal Sponsorship

    You may have heard about the $1.2 million in honoraria grants, $1.5 million in services to playa projects, $500,000 in Global Art grants, and $10,000 in BWB grants that Burning Man gives, but there is another program that this year alone has the potential to direct another $480,000 to playa-bound art. It’s Burning Man’s Fiscal …Read More
  • From Black Rock to Standing Rock

    This is not a party. This is not a festival. This is about more than a pipeline. In one sense, this is something we’ve never quite seen before, and at the same time it’s been happening for hundreds of years. This is Standing Rock. …Read More

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