“This may be the essential genius of Burning Man:
Out of nothing, we created everything.”
— Larry Harvey
Our founder, friend, and original instigator, Larry Harvey has passed away. Larry suffered a massive stroke at his home on the morning of April 4. We resolutely held out for a miracle. If there was anyone tenacious, strong-willed and stubborn enough to come back from this challenge, it was Larry. Though we all hoped he would recover, he passed peacefully this morning at 8:24am in San Francisco, with members of his family at his side.
Larry was never one for labels. He didn’t fit a mold; he broke it with the way he lived his life. He was 100% authentic to his core. For all of us who knew or worked with him, he was a landscape gardener, a philosopher, a visionary, a wit, a writer, an inspiration, an instigator, a mentor, and at one point a taxi driver and a bike messenger. He was always a passionate advocate for our culture and principles that emanate from the Burning Man experience in the Black Rock Desert.
As he told one of us recently, Larry liked to create “scenes” that made people consider the world in a new way. He was extraordinarily successful at doing just that.
Burning Man culture has lost a great leader and an inspiring mind. He adeptly interpreted the manifestation of what became a movement. I have lost a dear friend who I’ve known, loved, and worked beside for nearly 22 years. The loss of his presence in our daily lives will be felt for years, but because of the spirit of who he is, we will never truly be without him.
Larry would be the first to say this isn’t an ending, but the start of a new chapter, and we all have a hand in where we go from here.
“We will find our way. It always looks dubious when
we set out because we are setting out in the dark.
But your faith always guides you.”
Thank you, Larry!
Larry Harvey, the Man in the Hat: We love you.
All my love and gratitude,
Volunteer and cat herder since 1995
Currently CEO and Board member, Burning Man Project
We have published a tribute to Larry written by his close friend of over 25 years, Stuart Mangrum. You can read it on the Burning Man Journal. We have also published a photo essay of Larry’s life by Stewart Harvey, Larry’s brother. As we carry on our work organizing the event in Black Rock City and nurturing the global spread of Burning Man, we’ll create many ways to honor Larry and his vision. You can start now by sharing stories, photos, and video at larry.burningman.org. You can also send your messages to his family by emailing TheHat@burningman.org.
(Top photo by Ron Lewis)