In Memoriam: Larry Harvey, 1948–2018

Burning Man founder Larry Harvey died on April 28, 2018 at 8:24am PST after suffering a stroke in his San Francisco home on April 4. He is survived by his son Tristan, his brother Stewart, his nephew Bryan, and a global community of devoted Burning Man participants inspired by his vision to build a more creative, cooperative, and generous world. He was seventy years old.

Larry Harvey, Tristan Harvey, Bryan Harvey, and Stewart Harvey, 2013 (Photo by Stewart Harvey)

A native of Oregon, Larry grew up on a small farm outside Portland, the adopted son of Nebraskans who moved west in the wake of the Great Depression. His brother Stewart, also adopted, wrote that their parents, Katherine and Arthur “Shorty” Harvey were “loving, though tightly corseted,” while Larry, on the other hand, was more of a reader and a dreamer. Though Larry decided at an early age to, as he put it, “confound my father by becoming an intellectual,” he was deeply influenced by what he called his parents’ “frontier values” of hard work and self-reliance. Partly as a reminder of this, for much of his public life he sported a pearl-gray Stetson hat, an homage to his father that became iconic in its own right.

Larry and the Man, 1998 (Photo by Maggie Hallahan)

After brief encounters with the US Army and Portland State University, Larry moved to San Francisco in 1969, and settled in the still-flowering Haight-Ashbury district. He lived there for many years with Jan Lohr, a kindred spirit he’d met at Portland State who had accompanied him on the move south. Then in 1981, shortly after splitting up with Jan, he met Patricia Johnson and fathered a son, Tristan. Though his marriage to Patricia was short-lived, Larry was determined to be a positive presence in Tristan’s life, and proved to be a committed and loving father. He also forged deep and lasting relationships with his stepchildren from that relationship, Dante and Zan.

Though he never received a college degree, Larry followed through on his threat to become an intellectual. A voracious reader and unstoppable autodidact, he was particularly drawn to the study of history, philosophy, and psychology, and had a lifelong passion for good books and good conversation. Among his intellectual heroes were William James, Sigmund Freud, and the American scholar Lewis Hyde, whose book “The Gift” was influential in the early development of Burning Man philosophy. While Larry made his living in the trades, primarily as a carpenter and landscape artist, he fell in with a group of friends who shared his intellectual curiosity and love of discourse, whom he later dubbed the “Latté Carpenters.” One of them, Jerry James, was his partner in the first Burning Man event, on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986.

Larry Harvey and Jerry James, 1989 (Photo by Stewart Harvey)

Much has been written about this seminal Burn, and what it may or may not have represented. Was it to burn away the pain of a failed relationship? An act of pure spontaneous creation undertaken on a whim? Larry’s final position on the question was that it did not matter. He preferred that we understand it as a blank canvas onto which to project our own thoughts and feelings, a ritual outside of context and unfettered by explanation. Over time, he came to the conclusion that the best way to spoil that direct experience was to tell you in advance what it was supposed to mean, or what you were supposed to feel.

As a denizen of San Francisco in the 1980s, Larry found himself drawn to the sorts of Bohemian scenes that are often the breeding grounds for serendipitous collaborations. And when he started hosting his own happenings on Baker Beach, he lit a flame that in turn drew these free spirits to him. He joined forces with the San Francisco Cacophony Society, and its members became some of the first Burners. When San Francisco authorities shut down the Baker Beach Burn in 1990, it was these Cacophonist colleagues who helped orchestrate the event’s relocation to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

2006 Black Rock City LLC retreat. Founders: Marian Goodell, Michael Mikel, Crimson Rose, Harley K. Dubois, Larry Harvey, and Will Roger Peterson. (Photo by Paul Robert Dubois)

Over the next three decades, Harvey fought tirelessly to keep the event going, through dark days of organizational strife, government opposition, and financial uncertainty, as well as through boom times of community growth and unbridled creativity. Through it all he pursued his vision with a single-minded determination. In the words of his contemporary Stewart Brand, he created something that has “surpassed in every way” all other offspring of the San Francisco counterculture. Burning Man is now a global, year-round community, with 85 official regional events on six continents, and hundreds of thousands of passionate participants.

Larry loved language, and delighted in using words that could send even a well-educated reader to the dictionary. One such term was “hagiography,” which he employed as a caution to anyone who might be tempted to cloak his story in a mantle of saintliness. He was allergic to the word “genius,” and fought resolutely against efforts to paint Burning Man as a cult, and him as its guru, preferring instead to deflect ownership of the movement back onto the community, and away from himself. This he did again and again over the course of his career, most emphatically in 2013, with Burning Man’s transition from private ownership to a nonprofit, public benefit corporation. Larry wanted Burning Man to last longer than his lifetime; to become, as he liked to imagine, “a hundred year movement.”

Larry at Everywhere Pavilion, 2017 (Photo by Juan Zapata)

With the transition to nonprofit status, Larry stepped back from day-to-day operations. He remained active on the Board, and maintained a strategic role in government relations, philanthropic engagement, and the event’s creative direction, both as a member of the honorarium grant committee and as lead author of Black Rock City’s annual art theme. He took the title of Chief Philosophical Officer, and continued to write and speak on Burning Man’s behalf. A prolific essayist, his writings are an important part of his legacy, most notably his influential “10 Principles of Burning Man,” written in 2004 to document the emergent ethos behind the event, and to help shape the direction of the Regional Network.

Larry at Fly Ranch in 1992. Burning Man Project purchased the Nevada property in 2016, and Larry viewed it as a key to Burning Man’s legacy. (Photographer unknown)

Shortly before his death, Larry attended the gala opening of the Smithsonian’s Burning Man exhibit, “No Spectators,” at the Renwick Gallery in Washington. This recognition of Burning Man as a major American art movement, after decades of outsider status, gave him a great sense of satisfaction. But at the same time, he liked to remind us that art and creativity are just the more visible aspects of Burning Man’s larger role, as a cultural movement. In a world where culture, as he liked to say, is “disappearing faster than the tropical rain forests,” he saw Burning Man as one of the only viable alternatives to the consumerist mainstream. For Larry, building a framework where people could create and experience authentic culture, rather than simply buying it off the shelf, was the wellspring of Burning Man’s success, and the key to its future.

A humanist at heart, Larry did not believe in any sort of existence after death. Now that he’s gone, let’s take the liberty of contradicting him, and keep his memory alive in our hearts, our thoughts, and our actions. As he would have wished it, let us always Burn the Man.

In lieu of flowers, you are invited to share memories of Larry at We’ve also received inquiries about financial gifts. At the request of friends of Burning Man, Burning Man Project has established the Larry Harvey Art and Philosophy Fund to support art projects, philosophical endeavors, and other work that reflects Larry’s passion for the playful and the profound. Please see for more information.

(Photo by Stewart Harvey, 1991)

(Top photo by Scott London)

About the author: Stuart Mangrum

Stuart Mangrum

Stuart is the director of Burning Man Project's Philosophical Center and host of the Burning Man LIVE podcast. Since his first Burn in 1993 he has participated as a theme camp organizer, artist, and year-round staff member contributing to the Project's communications, education, and storytelling efforts.

154 Comments on “In Memoriam: Larry Harvey, 1948–2018

  • Marrvleous says:

    Thanks Stuart <3

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    • Oh , Hi Larry, )'( even tho you have shed your mortal, you are still , Larry The Hat” in the After-Life -Spirit World reading all our thoughts and well wishes. I am addressing this directly to you because I feel you are still very present around all the beautiful artists that realized early on you were creating an Art Movement that rivaled the past art movements of NYC and eras dating back to the Rennisance ! . You and the local art scene artists found their family thanks to you , the cacaphony society , the anon salon , the artists that pioneered South of Market in the late 70’s early 80’s. You spearheaded an Art Movement that will live on forever thanks to all the international artists that finally caught wind of what a group of SF artists were all about. You’re not gone , you’re pure light now , ever more present than at any other time ! I’ll see you at the Big Burn this year as will many other friends that you inspired to rise above the ugly to create the beautiful bounty art harvests!

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      • Lisette Zeeuwen says:

        Thanks famous Melissa. You wrote so eloquently and inspiring about Larry Harvey. The unassuming man but so important to the existence of this Wonderful Yearly World Art Event.

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      • Dominic Reo says:

        So well said Melissa, thank you. ~ Dominic

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      • Tremain Hdden-Jones says:

        Thank you for founding an experience that has profoundly changed the lives of those that have participated in it. Your experiment has shown to be proof positive and will continue on like an undowsable flame.

        I can honestly say that as young man from East Palo Alto who attended his first burn at 19, Burning Man has left an indelible mark on the character of who I am today.

        With integrity, creativity, honesty and love

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    • Marilyn Besasie says:

      Last year, Don and I had the pleasure of seeing Larry in Center Camp standing in line to buy coffee, just like any other participant. He stood right behind Don, waiting his turn, talking to a man he was taking on a tour. Don and he conversed for a bit while I waited nearby with a couple of newbies. I explained to the newbies what was going on, they had never seen Larry Harvey in person and didn’t know he was one of the founders of the event. They were astonished that he was standing in line when he could cut right to the front, or even just go in behind the counter and get whatever he wanted. After Larry and his friend got their coffee, they sat down in Center Camp not far away from us and just hung out. One of the newbies said she wanted to tell him how grateful she was that this event exists, but she was too scared to just go up to him and say so. I encouraged her to do it. She got up her nerve and walked over to the pair. They talked for a short time and she went on her way. That pretty much encapsulates my entire Burning Man experience from 1997 to today. I’m grateful that Burning Man exists even though it was a giant leap of faith to attend for the first time. I hope Burning Man exists forever and more people get to experience it. All thanks to Larry Harvey. –

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    • Thermo says:

      Rest In Peace Lary. Thanks for the fishes.

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    • Julie says:

      Larry is sadly burning in hell now for all eternity. This is evidenced by his creating a wicked, paganistic, debauched yearly event for many people to openly and boldly exercise their sins, such as immodesty, sexual immorality and drug taking.
      Repent or your sins and cry out for salvation in Jesus Christ, or you will end up the same.

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      • g says:

        Only a so-called Christian would speak negatively of the dead. Larry was a living effigy for all of us, and his acts brought together millions of people out of art, love and shared interest without the need for some ridiculous backwards religious drive. Go back to your contradictory Bible, which you’ve obviously never read, read it cover to cover, and realize the farce you perpetuate has nothing solid to stand on.

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      • JC says:

        I read this tongue in cheek as a bit of performance art.

        RIP Mr. Harvey.

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      • Badger says:

        Poor, sad Christ-o-holic.

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      • Hey Julie, Christ has news for you… Open up your bible and behave yourself. You’re great post is the kind of plague that murdered Jesus Christ. Exactly the same sentiment that put Christ on the cross for breaking from the Jews. You really need read your Bible and learn who to comprehend what you are reading before spewing your ill gained knowledge of Christanity.

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      • GaleForce says:

        Julie, I find it sad that you think you believe in Jesus Christ and yet you choose to judge and condemn. Never would your savior, Jesus Christ, have done this! I believe he loved, accepted and forgave all. As for the Christian bible, you really should review Luke 6:37. You might learn something and it might help you.

        This is not the time nor place to write your judgmental thoughts. It is Larry’s family and family of friends who will be reading this. Yes, others, like me, will be reading this, too. We will consider the source and move on. But I felt I just needed to address your comment because of the insensitivity you have shown. There is enough negativity in this world. You needn’t add to it.

        Larry will be missed dearly…maybe not by you, but by many! His event has brought sunshine into many peoples lives.

        And I want you to know that the event is not about sex, drugs and nakedness. It is what you bring to it. I will say that there is much non-sexual hugging, some soul searching and loads of acceptance and forgiveness.

        I wish for you, Julie, PEACE, LOVE and HAPPINESS always.

        To Larry’s family and friends…my deepest heartfelt condolences. How fortunate you were to have him in your lives and how fortunate for him to have you in his!

        And, Larry…Bon Voyage! Enjoy! Your good energy will be felt by all for eternity.

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      • Alfonso J. Fernandez (from Spain) says:

        July, so sorry to see that you are hurting so badly inside. You do not know the meaning of being a Christ like individual. Harvey was a Christ like soul who opened a world in the dessert where anybody could be “themselves” without the corruption of religion judgments, society’s hate, and communities’ conditions (gender, color, social status, etc, etc). Harvey was LOVE – simply, beautifully, mesmerizing, and legit. He manifested a world-community of love, beauty, dreams, fantasy, friendship, inspirational, and of transmutational to higher level of consciousness where anybody would be welcomed as a brother/sister, including “YOU” with all your hatred. We, the Burning Man Community” wish you from the bottom of our hearts, that the Divine Energy Of The Universe (CHRIST, GOD, LIGHT BEING, I AM THAT I AM, YOUR PURE INNER SELF…..) provides you in near future GOD PEACE, GOD ABUNDANCE, GOD LOVE and SELF-LOVE) – only when you feel these feelings foreign to your heart, you will wake up from the veil of hate and you will finally understand who Harvey was, is and will always be – We are ONE – I AM THAT I AM. Harvey would not wish you anything less. I know that with my soul.

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      • Sam Laub says:

        Seek salvation from Jesus Christ. He has done more good than most Christians throughout history.

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      • Drdeb says:

        Heehee, says the troll that’s never been, nice try Mmondo, but burners are a snarky crew and your troll commentary is exactly what fuels us! Thank you for your deep thoughts so poorly executed, I’m sure Larry is living well and surrounded by interesting souls, JEsus is excited to be hanging with him!

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      • Mike Snow says:

        Come to the Burn, I think that you would enjoy it. Perhaps you will open your eyes and see just how human we are.

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      • Denise Gallant says:

        I totally thought this was performance art too. Who would take the time to write this on the Burning Man web site? How would this person even know who Larry was, unless they were already ‘involved’.

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      • Tom Johnson says:

        Christianity is dying a quick but ugly death. No one believes your hate filled B.S. anymore. I feel bad for your heart and soul. What a painful existence you must lead.

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      • Big Dawg says:

        Hi Julie
        I know you feel guilty for the time we had group sex at Burning Man. You were so hottt!!!!

        See you there again this year? Are you going to bring that hot redhead girlfriend of yours?

        Looking forward to sinning again with you.
        Big Dawg

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      • The sheik says:

        God couldn’t wait to enjoy conversing about creation with Larry.

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      • snergy snerge says:

        and so we too must endure the frothing nonsense that spews forth from the mouth of a so-called christian. not a problem, you are still welcome to be part of the “family”… though, we see you for who you are…. wait a minute …. I do believe jesus would have been a bad ass burner had he graced our beloved playa. Larry actually brought to light and gave credence to many of jesus’ teachings and tenants … give without profit, care and love one another, seek not adulation, walk amongst the ner do wells … get naked and … leave no trace !

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      • Jleigh says:

        And, who are you to judge, Sinner? You can not judge another. Mind your own path and find humility.

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      • GOD says:

        Hay Julie GOD here just wanted to chime in, this is a little awkward but we have all been talking up here and everyone agrees heaven my not be the best fit for you to tell you the truth no one really want to hang with you. The whole judgment thing is my gig you are kinda not supposed to cast the first stone and your micro management of me is really annoying. Your enthusiasm is great but I would really appreciate it if you would leave the recruiting to others.

        Peace out

        p.s. Satin say hi and he has room if you need a place to stay
        p.s.s. Same goes for you sam

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      • Como cristiano no poseo la facultad de juzgar y sentenciar a la humanidad, pero unacosa si es cierta: muchas de las personas que participan del evento cambian su vision de mundo, mirando al congenere como a un ser igual. El cristiano está en la obligación de amar al señor y al congenere por igual. Larry tuvo una vision identica y ha congregado a mas de 70 mil personas en esa linea. Eso lo califica como un ser humano interesante. R.I.P Larry Harvey.

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      • Patrick B. Poole says:

        Like all living mortals you do not know where Larry has gone. You could not possibly know.You are not dead yet. To base your judgement on what someone else told you betrays your ignorance . You will go to your grave having wasted your life to not consider someone else’s views. That is what Hell is.

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      • kindoftall says:

        Wow, This I think, is why the event exists. To fly in the face of those who wish to preach to others in such a self righteous manner. You will not be stricken from this post because it is such a good laugh. Thanks for making its reason for being.

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      • grga says:

        you cannot burn in hell if you don’t believe in it…anyway, burning is liberating

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      • AverageWhiteGirl says:

        You must mean your mom, Julie.
        Because we can see in the future and it looks dark for your dumb ass thinking.
        Now, Larry? Honey, he has lived the dream of making a BEAUTIFUL city of nothing but giving back.. and for what it is worth?
        I am a Christian.
        God dont like ugly.
        *ahem* ..ergo- he doesnt like YOU.
        God loves ALL of us. He did not create beauty to only line with fear and hate unless we submit to mans writings.
        God made us sexual, naked, gay and trans and ALL OF US are Gods work.
        You, however, are a glitch in the system. Thank GOD , you are wrong, as usual.

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    • Bobby Pin says:

      Burning Man & Larry changed my world and my life. I will always be thankful for the light he started in me will always burn bright! Thank you Stuart for this beautiful article. Bobby Pin

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      • Rómulo Castillo says:

        Me conmueve y me interesa conocer más sobre Burning Man, leyendo la pequeña biografía de su amigo Stuart logró transmitir los valores humanos con los cuales me solidarizo y aunque nunca lo conocí en vida ahora formaré parte de sus seguidores, un abrazo fraterno desde Venezuela

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    • tripp fontaine says:

      Larry in full flight. Thanks for being

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    • Thank you so much Stuart for this wonderful tribute to Larry.
      “Spirit Flies Abroad
      Soul Remains at Home”
      -Larry Harvey

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  • Brody says:

    Dammit, Larry. ❤️ Thanks for everything. (No, really, pretty much everything in my life right now is a result of Burning Man.)

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    • Katie Hazard says:

      I feel the same way Brody ❤️

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      • Retro says:

        I was somewhat embarrassed, and wanted to stop her, when my girlfriend “Haute Sauce” ran up to Larry during a Man Burn to thank him for his part in bringing us together.

        I’m so glad she did.

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    • Old Coot says:

      He changed my life is so many positive ways. My first Burn went south after a bike accident injured my girl’s knee. He stopped us walking to the Porto potties and checked to make sure we were ok. I only spoke to him briefly but his concern for us was true. I look at everything in a different light now and will never forget how good he made me feel with such few words.

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  • Rusty Blazenhoff says:

    Thank you, Stuart. Truly sad to hear this news.

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  • Girl Robin says:

    Thank you Larry and safe journey…

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  • Summer says:

    Thanks Stuart. And thank you Larry. We will miss you.

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  • Solaris says:

    He gave us all a great gift.

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  • Jon La Grace says:

    HOME at last. God bless you Larry. You’re real work begins – NOW! —— with deep gratitude —- Jon La Grace

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  • Thank you Larry for inspiring Hundreds of Thousands of us “outsiders” internationally to ALWAYS pursue our BIG DREAMS. Much Love and Light to you Sir. Shine on Infinite Spirit!!!

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  • Shawn says:

    Thank you Larry, we will always remember you.

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  • Argyre says:

    Thanks, Larry, for instigating an event and community that gave me a chance to find “my people” a second time.
    Thanks, Stewart. A fine write-up of one of the good guys. I’ll drink a toast with you, to the “man in the hat”, in late August.

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  • Terrafirma says:

    Thank you Larry. The last nine years I’ve consecutively burned, and it has helped me truly live my life with fire and light. We will burn even brighter on the Playa for you this year. )'(

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  • Steve Mckenzie says:

    Burn on Larry, burn on

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  • David Nelson-Gal says:

    Thank you Stuart. A life well lived is one whose impact is lasting and whose loss is felt.

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  • Joy says:

    The man burns, but the idea remains.

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  • Jason Siadek says:

    Thank you for keeping the flame alive in spite of the gods.

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  • Chris Waz says:


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  • Boba;ou says:

    Thank you Larry for Burning Man, and thank you Stuart for a fine article.

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  • Eternal gratitude … seriously. Larry, your vision, intellect, mischief, humor and so much more has had a profound effect upon my artistic career. You will never, ever be forgotten. Thank you.

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  • Thank you for the bright light of hope that still Burns.

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  • Mark A. O'Blazney says:


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  • Paul says:

    Thank you Larry for your visionary energy that has brought all tribes together in celebration of creative diversity and environmental awareness.
    My meditation will center on your new journey.

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  • DrTune says:

    Wow. Sad, but a life so well lived. Larry, thanks for starting something that has meant so much to me and had such an impact on my life. Adios, you’ll have a great view of the Burn this year.

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    • Mary Ellen Peterson says:

      Yes a great view and although Larry didn’t believe in an afterlife, I think the Afterlife believes in him. As Toni DeLaney would say, ‘Have a ball’….

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      • DrTune says:

        I expect there will be a part of Larry – in more than a metaphorical sense – in the Man & Temple this year. ;-)
        Looking forward to it, it’s going to be a very emotional one xx

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  • Matt says:

    Thank you for writing those kind words about a man I never met but who has impacted me in such a positive way.

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  • Joseph Perl says:

    Thank you Stuart. Love you Larry.

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  • John Parulis says:

    Thanks Larry. There IS such a thing as immortality, and you helped start it in the desert. Always grateful to you.


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  • Paul Carey says:

    Go in peace brother. I am today the product of 90s BurningMan. Eternally grateful.

    I’ll miss sharing your Altoid tin,
    but likely that is what did you in.

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  • Thank for contributing an artful and esoteric addition to our ongoing American heritage. This shows we are a nation of ideals, creativity, camaraderie , and Love. We so need to always remember this in these times. Burning Man should always be an outlet for good people who get together.

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  • Pras Stillman says:

    Matter is converted into energy. Nothing is lost. Including Larry.

    Thanks Larry for giving me a focus for art and a community to join.

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  • Jim Wolff says:

    RIP Larry. Thanks for all you gave. It will always be appreciated.

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  • John Hell says:

    Well stated, Stu-bob. Thanks for everything, Larry. I hope that big regional in the sky is more awesome than you expected.

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  • $teven Ra$pa says:

    Larry gave us much to be grateful for, plenty to contemplate, and copious inspiration to continue “the Project.” Thank you, dear friend. I will miss you terribly, but I also cannot imagine a life better spent in the service of humanity or more fully lived than yours. Kudos and thank you for the encouragement you continue to offer every human being alive.

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  • P.S. StuArt ! You’re written word here is priceless and beautiful . Thank You 2!

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  • Saewan Koh says:

    Thank you Larry. Thank you for everything. For me, you are the Burn in the Man and the Man in the Burn. Wherever you are Larry I know you are burning ever so brightly.

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  • Ketzia Walsh says:

    Thank you sir for all that you have created and inspired!!! Please watch over all who love you and make sure they are loved and comforted!

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  • Juergen Milborn says:

    I mourn with all burners for the father of Burning Man.
    I am very grateful to him for the extraordinary experiences in BRC and with the BM community.

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  • Crayon says:

    Let’s put a hat on The Man this year!

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  • Miranda "Pono" says:

    Do all the things…
    Say all the things…
    Hug hard & often

    Thank you for all your gifts known and unknown.

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  • Freddy Hahne says:

    “When you die, your character goes away, and your spirit remains” ~Ken Kesey

    Larry’s spirit will be with us forever.

    “Larry left a big trace!” ~Helvetica

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    ..” a blank canvas onto which to project our own thoughts and feelings, a ritual outside of context and unfettered by explanation. Over time, he came to the conclusion that the best way to spoil that direct experience was to tell you in advance what it was supposed to mean, or what you were supposed to feel.”

    Even in your passing brother..even in your passing.

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  • Rabbit says:

    At the heart of Burning Man, at the heart of many of our practical utopian projects, at the heart of Baker Beach and the playa, there is a singing. Life sings, and some of what it sings is Larry Harvey’s style of optimism that humans can be better humans, given half a chance and some room.

    “Hope” is the thing with feathers –
    That perches in the soul –
    And sings the tune without the words –
    And never stops – at all –

    And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
    And sore must be the storm –
    That could abash the little Bird
    That kept so many warm –

    I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
    And on the strangest Sea –
    Yet – never – in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb – of me.


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  • Razor says:

    They say welcome home, a lot. Well home is going to feel a bit empty this year even if they add a wing that can hold 100,000. My deepest condolences to the family.

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  • CLAYboyNC - HypnoBoy says:

    RIP Larry – You are reminding us again that everything is created from nothing and into nothing everything shall pass.

    Neither Wind, nor Fire, nor Death can erase our good deeds ~ the Buddha

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  • Chris Manfredi says:

    Changed my life for the last 20 years.

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  • Fiona kerry says:

    Rest In Peace Larry and look for Rod. Xoxoxo

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  • CJ says:

    Thank you Larry for changing my life.

    I would love to see a huge cowboy hat on the man this year to honor you )'(

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  • Felix Serendipity says:

    Gratitude for holding space so we’ll and so long for the blank canvas that’s changed my world, and our world, for the better. Sad Larry’s passed, but so grateful he lived.

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  • DC says:

    Welcome home Larry.

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  • So sorry that Larry didn’t recover from this rough month.
    I’m always grateful for his encouragement from our Cacophony Society times of the early 90’s…getting me to bring my drum set to Baker Beach, and then to the playa to play for the 1990 burn [a mighty experience]. Also for building installations out there the following few years.
    He also got me a huge solo exhibition of paintings at Fort Mason in 1992, after the BM exhibit there in 1991. Such great times for all involved!
    I’m having an early memory of him grinning wide-eyed while enthusing about how great it would be to have a loud foghorn at the burn! An ideas man, constantly.

    We mostly lost touch after the event got huge, but he was always generous, and encouraged me back.

    Thanks again, Larry. wish I could say so in person…but glad to have done so before.

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    • Kathy Ketman says:

      Hi there Dean. Yes, I remember your high-energy drumming out there. Good times! I too moved on from the Burner scene and hadn’t seen Larry for years until just a few months ago when I ran into him at a party. I’m glad we had that friendly conversation and I was able to greet him one last time. He was a complicated man. Always had something interesting to say. I asked him about Grover Nordquist, perhaps the world’s most unlikely Burner. He said Grover gets the libertarian part of Burning Man but he doesn’t get the communitarian part. Radical inclusion, yes. Even though I was out of Larry’s orbit for many years I am realizing he had quite an impact on my life. Pondering all that today.

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  • Larry Hall - Birdman says:


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  • PlayaMonkey says:

    Larry, you will be remembered as long as we burn the man. Thanks.

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  • Tess says:

    Larry. You may not have understood that your afterlife would be based on the seeds you planted in all of our hearts. Your life on Earth may have ended but your legacy lives on through us. Thank you for your vision. Rest in peace.

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  • Lazlo says:

    Larry’s creation has had a profound impact on my life and the world in which I live. I proposed to my wife on the man. So many of my friends have been touched by the sense of community that is the essence of Burning Man. If the measure of a man is number of people who’s lives he improves, than Larry was truly a man of great measure. Our deepest condolences to the family, both those related by blood and by dust. A Stetson on the man this year would be fitting tribute.

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    • Denise Gallant says:

      How many people have been born because of Burning Man? I know of at least four, for myself, in a small little BM circles. There must be hundreds.

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  • Aisha says:

    I never met the man, but he made my dreams come true. Rest In Peace.

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  • Madame Jen says:

    A sad day for burners across the globe. R.I.P. Larry. Thank you for the beautiful seeds of creativity, community, and love that you helped to sow. I would not have found the love of my life and my beautiful little daughter would not be here if it was not for Burning Man. I know many hundreds of thousands of people have incredible life-changing stories due to Burning Man and the many regional burn events around the world. Glad we got to meet you in Taiwan, hear your thoughts on the emerging regionals in Asia, share some betel nut chew on the streets and eat some stinky tofu! :)
    Larry, may your amazing light continues to shine through us all.

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  • Terry Pratt says:

    Thank you Stuart for those fine words.

    And thank you Larry for changing my world!

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  • Michael & Kristy says:

    Shine on Larry and thank you for making this planet a little more special for the short time we are here <3

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  • Noah says:

    I raise my glass to you, Larry. For all those around me that you have changed, for all the growth your vision has inspired, for all the things you have freed in my spirit. I remain forever grateful.

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  • Mark & Karen Farmer (Burners) says:

    Words fail …

    Thank you for the experience and the enrichment your journey has provided and will continue to provide for so many.

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  • Timothy Hilton says:

    Finding out that Larry passed hit me with a mixture of sadness and gratitude. Time stopped when I saw the news.

    In 1992 I met Larry through my Roommate at the time, Rob Schmidt of the Cacophony society. Rob set up a meeting between me and my friend Craig and Larry. We went to Larry’s flat in the Richmond district and asked if he would be interested in having a sound system and dancing at Burning Man. We were passionately into underground trance music in San Francisco at that time and had done several events in SF. Larry liked the idea but warned us that some of the burners wouldn’t like it. This was going to be the first dance event at Burning man with a moderately loud sound system. Larry had a vision for Burning Man that seemed to be unfolding moment by moment and he was not afraid to rock the status quo by allowing us to come. We arrived at midnight on the first day and the camp appeared to be mostly asleep. We got out of the van and put on some ambient trance. Larry appeared out of the shadows and we were all hanging out and talking. Rob Schmidt was there. A couple more people arrived out of the shadows and one of them said: “So you are the asshole ravers”. Larry silently watched. He knew it was coming. I replied that we weren’t assholes, but the bigger insult was that he called us ravers. Larry just silently observed the drama. A couple nights later Larry came to the dance space which was set up one mile outside camp to see how things were coming along. Maybe 15 burners out of 5-600 came out to dance. Seemed to be a boycott going on. It meant a lot to me that Larry came out. A peak experience in my life…………..Burning Man and connecting with Larry Harvey.

    Thank you Larry for allowing us the opportunity to be a small part of your vision for Burning Man in the early days. You changed my life in many beautiful and subtle ways. I know you are where you are supposed to be. Sending Love and Gratitude to you Larry wherever you are.

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  • Timeless says:

    I spent 10 years developing an art funding/investment model I call Fundiversify. I’d been putting it out there for some years without anyone getting it, or encouraging me. The first one to EVER take notice and see its potential was Larry. He was excited and posted some kind words about Fundiversify and later he presented the concept at the global leadership conference. Once he did so, lots of people took notice and chimed in with support.

    Now I am more determined than ever to work its principles into the community I love. Anyone wishing to help please click my name here.

    I’m very sad tonight…

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  • Chris Fish says:

    Thanks Larry,
    I wouldn’t have some of my closest friends if I hadn’t gone on that wacky journey in 2000. I wouldn’t have lit the temple a few years later, or a bridge across the river in my home city if not for you bringing your dream come to life. I also wouldn’t have thought I could create a crazy festival to bring amazing art to people that never get to see things like we do if I hadn’t seen yours first.

    Thanks for being on the world at the same time as me, inspiring me, and scattering all those sparkly people in front of my face that I couldn’t help but want to meet.

    I know it’s just dumb luck that your particles formed you right before mine formed me, but nonetheless It’s pretty cool that I got to see this festival in real time and not in old books, or in someones documentary.

    Rest well Larry. We will continue the mission to make the world better place… and have one hell of a good time doing it.

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  • Christian Ristow says:

    I didn’t know Larry well but, like so many across the world, am forever indebted to him.

    My understanding is that he personally hung a 1996 photo of one of my robots in the BM offices, and kept it there for years. Grateful for that.

    I spent a wonderfully amusing hour alone with him in his Airstream a few years ago during which he expounded the theme for the coming year to me, as well as insightful thoughts on a wide range of other topics. My enduring memory of that day, though, was the contrast between his sharp mind and the interior of his trailer, which could generously be described as “disorganized.” I think anyone who visited him there will know what I mean. Very grateful for that afternoon.

    But the biggest thing, of course, is the gift that he gave to all of us. The event he brought into the world (with the help of so many other talented and driven people, of course) changed my life so much for the better. I know that hundreds of thousands of people (or more?) can say the same thing. So grateful for that. Thanks Larry.

    And thanks, Stuart, for these wonderful words. Lots of gems in there.

    It will be a special Burn this year.
    (1 vote for the hat on the man)

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  • Peter Mentor says:

    Every year people would ask me if I was “going back” to Burning Man” and I’d tell them I’d never been because of my teaching schedule. When I got fired from my job I finally had the time to “come home.”
    That was 2012 and I’ve been going every year since. Thank you Larry Harvey for making us a Home and giving us the guideline of the 10 principles around which we create a community that resonates and permeates our inner and outer beings. This philosophy of freedom wrapped in self reliance and community awareness (and a bit of bacon grease) fuels my creativity. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ll “Don the Steson” at the Temple Burn in honor of your grand idea.
    Peter Mentor, aka Fucking Happy
    Camp 11:11

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    • steven mentor says:

      I think the used Stetson market is about to blow up…I wore my brother’s Larry-worthy stetson in honor of Larry’s passing, and then went to my regional Santa Cruz burn (UnScruz) and my brother Peter Mentor showed up…with the same hat, with the same intention.

      I like to think Larry would have gotten a kick out of “pass-the-Stetson.”

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  • Single Ply says:

    )*( We will always burn the Man )*(

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  • Bruce M. says:

    Larry was one of the first people I happened to meet when moving to SF in 1993 (or 4?). He was my Lower Haight’s housemate’s girlfriend and I heard him talk and show videos of the first two or three BMs at Baker Beach and hung out a few times, and went to a couple of parties, etc. The Cacophony Society was more or less based in the neighborhood and they both were high-ranking members. What a guy..really a positive spirit and it was a great intro to a great city at a great time (before the yuppies started taking over around 2000 or so). I never did get out to an actual burn…not yet anyways. Anyways RIP Larry, and if Annie happens to read this, hello!

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  • Dr. Bungee says:

    As a long time burner, I was saddened to hear of “our founders” passing. Although his physical presence is gone, his spirit will always inhabit Black Rock City. After reading these tributes, and over 200 comments, I’m inspired to turn off the computer, and get my ass into the shop to work on this years project. Let’s make this burn extra special for Larry. The Man burns in 126 days. Get busy!

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  • liptonite says:

    Thank you Larry, for the pursuit that crafted years of surreal community and the intentional strength to persevere. Thank you Stuart :)(:

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  • Big Daddy E says:

    Thank you Larry for your gift to us. Burning Man has been truly transformational for some many, including myself. Your spirit will live on.

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  • What a great soul. May his soul Rest In Peace.

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  • FAKE NEWS ! So vogue these days!

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  • M Otis Beard says:

    Thank you, Stuart, for writing a reasonably balanced narrative here. Facebook today is chock full of cultish baby burners giving Larry sole credit for everything Burning Man is and offers; your write-up limits the idolatry and points out that Larry himself would not have approved of all that.

    He made contributions that are undeniable; let’s also not forget that he destroyed a Temporary Autonomous Zone by putting a fence around it, making rules, and charging people for access.

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  • Daleydale says:

    Thank you for your vision, your creativity, your love of art and humanity. You changed my life so profoundly in so many ways. I am who I am today in part because of you. I came home from my first burn in 2002, quit my job and opened an art gallery. Today I am a moderately successful art dealer, and a much happier person, because I followed my dream. Thank you, Larry, for opening the eyes of so many, and allowing us to see our dreams as possibilities. You will remain an inspiration forever!

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  • Nehru says:

    I have always wanted to attend Burning Man, but never have had the chance. Safe travels as you head to the next leg of your journey. In reading some of the comments, it saddens me to see we are not mature as a planet, to appreciate soul freedoms. Sometimes a soul just needs to be little freedom, a little release, whether it dances around a fire or heads to its next cosmic escapade…thank you for your contribution to the soul freedom movement. Rest in Power

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  • pappa chubby says:

    Larry, Thank you for putting the book together that I saw at Ben’s house in 1998. That year was my first burn (solo recon mission) and I had the pleasure to hear you speak while sharing some herb with my new playa hermano. We returned in 2000 with Camp Chubby and a whole posse, teamed up with Pinky’s on 8:30 and the rest is history! Thank you Larry for getting me to the playa year after year after year. A true Pinocchio’s Pleasure Island! :)

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  • Mike DiMartino aka Demo from KZSU says:

    Don’t respond to the posts that are inflammatory, vile statements. If those are bots intending to seed anxiety, don’t let them rile you up. If they are people who feel the need to write this stuff, ignore them as they contribute nothing. I think Larry’s focus was on honoring contribution.

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  • Lazy boy says:

    Wasent sure if i was goingto go home this year or not. Now im sure of it. Thanks for towing the line so people could awaken to the light of their own true being. I know i have.
    Rest in playa larry.
    May you be well
    May you be at peace
    May you be free from suffering.

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  • Jewels WBE says:

    May your future be the envy of your past, Larry. You are now omniscient and your light burns forever within us all. Smile, wink and nod to us in August.

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  • I woke up from an incredible dream this morning.

    In my dream, this large moth kept flying towards me. I batted it away, but it flew right back at me in a beeline. I batted it away again, a little harder this time, hoping it would become disoriented and fly off in another direction, but no- it very intentionally flew directly back at me, like it was on a mission. It seemed odd and curious that it was so intent on me. This time when it flew back towards me, as it got closer I decided to take a good look at it instead of instinctively just batting it away. On closer inspection, I noticed that it had these deep orange/red wings, not unlike the colour of fire. I was then astounded to notice a familiar pattern embroidered in its wings… the Burning Man symbol was clearly visible, there was no mistake! I was cognizant of this in my dream and said to myself “Oh my Goodness, that’s Larry Harvey! He’s visiting me as a moth!” I just KNEW it.

    I awoke from this dream, remembering it clearly and I pondered it as I got into the shower. I asked myself “Why would Larry Harvey show up to me as a moth in my dream? What strange imagery!? What in the world would a moth represent in my dream?”. Just as I asked this question in my mind, my intuition brought the most incredible answer, or rather a phrase: “LIKE A MOTH TO FLAME”. I was stunned! Of course! Larry is reaching out, saying hello to all the burners from his new vantage point. As a burner, I represent a flame and Larry is the moth, drawn to the flame… drawn to the light.

    I saw the perfection in this and although I’m sure there are many totems that Larry could embody to project his image to us, a moth seems like the perfect fit and I have no doubt it was him.

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  • Agamemnon says:

    Will Larry’s son Tristan Harvey take a role in the org or inherit his dads share of burning man?

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  • Shannon says:

    A small group sat around a fire on an art barge in the delta in the east bay on Saturday night. Sharing their most memorable stories of burning man while the full moon reflected off the water. Thank you for sharing your life and stories, Larry.

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  • Kate Pharris says:

    Thanks for that first burn on the beach…I bet you never knew then how you would change the world for so many…Many hearts, one soul deep in all. PEACE OUT Larry…See you on the flipside!

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  • JV says:

    Thanks Larry.

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  • SVE says:

    Apologies if you’ve heard this already: Doesn’t everyone think this year’s man need to wear a white stetson hat? (psssst, pass it on)

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  • Doug Hayduk says:

    As an intellectual skeptic, I usually find flaws or disagreements with most “organizations” or “movements”. However, I was never able to find flaws nor disagreement with with Larry Harvey’s BurningMan. I was blown away and captivated by what I experienced at my first BM in 1998. Love what it is and what is stands for. Long live the spirit of Larry Harvey and BurningMan. Peace.

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  • I smile so much when I think of Larry.

    1997: In Chagrin Falls, Ohio looking for a direction. I had been lighting myself on fire science 1976.(17 years old) trying to become a stunt man. I never wanted to be on fire but one night I had the strangest dream that I was diving off the beautiful falls in Chagrin. On fire!!,

    I awoke and wrote a poem about it and then got challenged to do it. Spring was near and needed money for the prom.

    So May 20th 1976 I followed instructions in the vid dream and was lit on fire and soard through the air to the water.

    I performed this for ten years in a row and got arested 5 years in a row.

    I became depressed that I could not perform with out penities.

    I was at my parents house in Ohio and saw an article in Life Magizine (1997 about Burningman).

    I exclaimed out loud “If I can not be on fire at Burning I must never express the fire again!

    I traveled to the Playa. Found Larry in his encampment. Did not say a word but put pictures of me on fire in front of him. He intently studied the pictures and finally exclaimed “ You must perform!”

    Crimson took me to the man and told me Larry wanted me on fire just before they lit the man. My dream coming true, Crimson uttered under her breath “ Be careful what you wish for” and walked away.

    So I was lit afire by the beautiful Crimson and ran to the stairs up to the top- under the man, full on fire- Glourously wrap in flame. Washed by a wave of screams !

    The feeling was so magical- all my pain washed away.

    Larry gave that gift to me that night!

    Larry just smiles.

    Ted A. Batchelor

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  • Skippy says:

    If life for Larry did end when he passed, at least his contribution in this lifetime was a substantial one. His life touched and enriched us all. We share the benefits of his Being. May we strive to be Ourselves, but also endeavor to follow his lead, his kindness, his humility and help others to realize their dreams as he helped us realize ours. Thank you Larry, for the true Joy and Happiness that lingers in our Souls, as a result of being a Burner. Namaste.

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  • Elise Fried says:

    Dammit. Will miss your focus, purity & vision.

    Thank you for the many friends, the place to go explore deeply inwardly and outrageously outwardly; to create for no reason other than to see what it becomes, and with that expression become more fully ourselves.
    All possible only with the profound encouragement of the “inner circle” who providing participators with “men with welding tools and explosive gasses” to help manifest what lay dormant inside us all. What was in me at the time, was a 26 foot tall Rebar buddha, with a magnifying glass bhindi to burn through the material.
    Never will I forget the sound of wind in the desert at night, blowing through a heaping tall pile of pianos resembling nothing if but a ghost tower of Babel, onto which we could all play our pound our out-of-tune souls into the night.

    Though I did not agree with all decisions, I am ever grateful to have been able to both see and help with what was created and which was never repeatable, like art, not science. Like you Larry; Not repeatable. I also miss those who left when the Anarchy was traded for Hierarchy and specialization. I miss the days when everyone did everything and firetrucks were standing by in case some flammable experiment went awry. I tell people, in those days, it was like “iron chef.” You had 3 weeks to build whatever you could bring to the desert in your car, and using that, mud and fast friends assemble one’s vision in 110-degree heat while living in a dusty tent. I miss those restrictions while in simultaneous awe of what it has all become; a cooperation that will impact a generation. An investigation into the philosophy of “The Gift” as brought up by O’Henry and brought to life here, it’s questions personally investigated as to the meaning and magnitude of sacrifice as it relates to the expression of love.

    Our last conversation, was at your apartment. I reported back on how the first Burning Man Israel went. I said, “They naturally have a different response to explosives.” As well that a Burning Man Morocco would have to be made of twigs, plastic shoes & small turtles, as that was the only abundances they had to share with others in their south after that year’s floods. So no Burning Man cannot be exported without regard for real cultural differences.
    I have witnessed both weddings and deaths on the playa… all that life is, including the silence that acts as a holy reset to all the worlds attractions and repulsions.. the bare playa a blank canvas where time and scale cease to exist. Surrealism at its best.
    Was the rubber duck very small, or very large? 4 miles away (you learn after walking for an hour and finding a swing band inside) does make you question the surety of ALL your perceptions. A giant iceball melting with watches inside – impossible to create in 100-degree heat and yet there. (Thanks Jim) And Thank You! Larry, for your relentless Mana’o and openness to life, which had so much faith in the healing power of art, community and “radical self-expression.”
    I Will miss you.

    With much respect and love,
    Elise Fried

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  • Cheryl Chaudron says:

    Dear Larry , Your Simple Idea is Changing The World ! Thank You. Love and Peace.

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  • Bleurose says:

    This is a joke, right? An end-of-April fool’s joke? Larry is going to do what Andy Kaufman SHOULD have done…

    He will walk out of the flames of the 2018 burning man and say “pysch!”


    We can hope :-)

    RIP Larry, I never met you, but what you created changed me life. Thanks.


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  • Thank You Larry for creating a magical place that every year I attend, restores my faith in humanity and our capacity for laughter and joy. Burning Man changed this old Colonel’s life for the better. Your family is in my thoughts and prayers.

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  • Jan Lohr says:

    Thank you Stuart for your beautiful tribute to Larry. Some people, when they die, leave a hole. Larry leaves a crater. Or better said–a caldera! A bubbling volcano of creative energy. The love and inspiration will keep on going, and going.
    Long before Burning Man, when we met in 1969, I was sure he would someday do something great. But it took him a long time to find that something. We were together 12 years and remained close friends until the end. My life was deeply shaped by his brilliance. I’ll always be grateful.

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  • playamoth says:

    To our Burner-in-Chief: See you in the Great Beyond, hopefully not soonest… just whenever.
    Harveywood, NV., U.S.A.

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  • Showerboy says:

    Larry, I sincerely thank you! It has been 15 years since I first experienced your transcendent vision. I truly am more than I was! I am happy, fulfilled, and excited for a future that has been primed by your so relevant and helpful principles. You once told me that you were a terrible dancer with two left feet. Well my friend, may you and your two left feet have the greatest dance……..
    Much love and appreciation,

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  • Dr. Baron von Realz, Esq. says:

    I only meet Larry once and I did not recognize him. Have way though a conversation I dawned on me who he was I am sure my body language showed my embarrassment his response was to just smile and put me at ease. After I thought that was not what I expected he was so humble and inviting. Larry Harvey has passed away but his legacy lives on. I am so thankful he has left us this magical gift called burning man. I once heard Larry say “we leave no trace it is like we were never here and we have to do that so we can do it again”… well he mooped my soul.

    Dr. Baron von Realz, Esq.
    “Confidence is attractive, but courage is beautiful”
    – Dr. Baron von Realz Esq.

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  • Dan Miller "Burning Dan" says:

    Larry loved to smoke cigarettes… I wonder if in hindsight he would have still chosen that way to burn. As a longtime roommate of Larry’s, I used to joke that I’d been trying to quit being a second-hand smoker, it only took me 19 years to break the habit! To all those wonderful years and beyond, god-speed and a high-five, good friend. You did a good job of living! I watched and participated as you guided and steered this vision from inception to minnow to whale and you seemed sure to know this would happen, as myself and others couldn’t have fathomed. The positive dent you have made in humanity is profound, your legacy is embedded deeply, as shown by the outpouring of stories and comments that abound.

    Cheers to the team that are running things full steam ahead, your flame remains alive and well!

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  • blarry says:

    I never met Larry…but I feel as though I have known a derivative of a Larry…I say just be with your Larry damit! – something will undoubltly be understood!…and through that…

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  • Harry Boggs says:

    Harry Tarries and loses readers, but that’s okay….I can write to myself and other procrastinators. Besides, I am stuck in BoreLando, FL and don’t get out into the Light of the Flame at all these days, it is too dang muggy here. Out in the dryness of the Playa there was always a breath of fresh air (five years of inhaling that fine fume of Granite Peak). And Larry Harvey was just that low key, high hope-hoppin’ fellow who made being out there in the middle of nowhere the best Somewhere on the North American Continent and I thank his austere ghost for the memories.

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  • Larry, thanks for everything, buddy. You did good.

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