On Saturday night, as we’ve done every year since 1986, we Burned the Man. A small group of people from across several teams produced and shared a livestream, so all could enjoy from around the world.
This annual ritual, this important marker in time, this anchor of our global community and culture, was a gift for all of you. Happy Burn!
It felt different – Sadly, we weren’t surrounded by 80,000 of our closest friends and hundreds of art cars around the perimeter this year. Instead, our annual ritual took place on Fly Ranch, property owned by Burning Man Project since 2016, purchased with funds solely from 14 dedicated and visionary donors (you can learn about Fly nature walks here, and the ongoing Land Art Generator Initiative design challenge here). In accordance with the State of Nevada’s COVID-19-related directives, the team on the ground was under 35 people (about 25 production and under 10 other staff and volunteers who helped secure the property). Like at any worksite in Nevada during these times, masks were worn and social distancing measures were taken to ensure the best possible health and safety precautions. Our governmental agency partners were aware and supportive of this production, and all necessary permissions were obtained.
It looked different – The effigy was built by a very small number of hands in Northern California over the course of the last few weeks. The full stream is available for you to enjoy here. One thing stayed the same: As she has done for years, our beloved Cultural Founder started the fire ritual on Monday, with the first flame being lit from the light of the sun, this year from the center of a large labyrinth. Just like in Black Rock City, Crimson tended to the fire all week in preparation for Saturday, and she lit the Man around 9pm.
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It WAS different – In fact, a 2020 Burn was only ever going to be different, and that’s ok. We’re navigating the unknown together.
Who knows what the future holds? Where will we be in a year? What will Burning Man look like in 2021? We don’t know the answers. We do know that we are a community of makers, builders, artists, musicians, philosophers, dreamers, and doers. We think of things others don’t, then we make them happen.
There are many universal truths out there, many social and cultural constants. The global moment we’re in, with so much uncertainty, implored us to go back to basics. The one thing we hold to be true is that…
We will ALWAYS Burn the Man.
And we did.
Header photo: Motorbike Matt