Another Year, Another Man Burn!

Did you know that the “Man Burn” used to happen on Sunday night? For a handful of years after the annual gathering found its (second) home in the Black Rock Desert, the effigy burn happened on Sunday evening. The next morning everyone broke camp and went home. But for the past 20 years or so, we’ve grown accustomed to a fiery Saturday night affair when, as co-founder Crimson Rose would say, we “release” the figure, and along with it, perhaps, our fears, regrets, previous selves, and whatever else we may be itching to let go of.

This year was no different (and boy did we have a lot to let go of!). On Saturday night, the Man did indeed burn. This burn was different from most years in that it was primarily intended for the global audience invited to watch and participate by livestream. If you tuned in, we hope you enjoyed the chance to participate remotely in what has become an annual ritual honored by a global community of thinkers, doers, dreamers, and makers. We hope you felt a sense of connection to the spirit of Burning Man, whatever that has come to mean to you.

Replay the Burn Night live stream, including some amazing Fire Conclave performances:

Participants on the ground for this year’s burn weren’t surrounded by 80,000 of their closest friends, nor were they dazzled by the lights and music of hundreds of mutant vehicles. Instead, a small group of people – some of whom have been working on the Man Burn for many years and others who have worked on Burning Man Project’s properties in and around Gerlach this summer – gathered at our Fly Ranch property to quickly and quietly erect and ignite a 20-foot tall wooden figure. COVID-safety measures were part of the planning process. The Man was built in Northern California by a very small team, slowly, over the course of the last few months.


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While “uncertainty” has become the word of the times, one thing we know to be certain: we will find a way to maintain the rituals that have come to hold so much meaning, to mark the passing of time, and the changing of our lives.

As Burning Man founder Larry Harvey stated in the organization’s foundational mission statement, “Our intention is to generate society that connects each individual to his or her creative powers to participation in community, to the larger realm of civic life, and to the even greater world of nature that exists beyond society.”

To that end, we will always Burn the Man. 

All images of the live Man Burn by Motorbike Matt/Burning Man Webcast, 2021

About the author: Burning Man Project

Burning Man Project

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man Project's Communications Team.

21 Comments on “Another Year, Another Man Burn!

  • Burning Man Project Communications says:

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  • Paul Addis says:

    The Man used to burn on Tuesday night.

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  • yikes says:

    Nice! But did you see the drone-Man? AMAZING!!

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  • Tom (the Bishop) Andrejko says:

    It was fun to watch ! Thk.
    Hopefully we will all be back on the Playa again one day soon.

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  • Normal says:

    Really? I don’t think burning something online counts. It’s not the same as burning the effigy of the man in the desert. The primal catharsis stirred by the symbolism, the element of fire, the grandeur of the desert, and the momentum of the crowd and it’s expectations as it is enthralled by the narrative arc of the burning man ritual; none of this can be experienced in virtual reality.

    Many people gathered in Black Rock – I was among them – but there was no Burning Man. It just seemed like a desert hippie festival. It was a valiant attempt by many to keep the BMan spirit alive in this cancelled year, but grand ritual was absent, and so much else that dignifies the festival (such as art) was lacking.

    Personally, I don’t feel the festival should have been cancelled this year. That seems regrettable, but hopefully it will come rebounding next year with renewed vigor and inspiration.

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    • Shaggy says:

      Ritual is what many people are trying to get out from under. The Man burns on Saturday night, or else! The repetition of ritual impedes spontaneity. The entire layout of BRC is ritualized and repetitive, and as we’ve learned this last week – unnecessary.

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    • VooDoo says:

      I was there too Normal. ( 8th visit).
      The two days driving there were the best part.
      I stopped at Brunos – The climax of my 2 days driving and was met with a reception as warm as penguin balls.
      What was that all about?

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    • Spacemaster says:

      Radical Self Reliance folks…
      I built my own friiggin mini Bman out there, raised its arms and burnt the MF’er to the ground. It was awesome so there!

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  • Ketzia says:

    Just thinking how the man could represent the ego and burning it reminds us that we are all one(not some singular person).

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  • mi-ek says:

    Thanks for the livestream. I felt connected, although Burning Man was a bit like virtual school teaching in this Covid year. So many possibilities available other than actually being there. How to participate? Virtual Worlds? Livestreams? Renegade Burn? Personal Event? I reckon this menu allowed us to choose our flavor, and dig in. It tasted OK, but was much less filling; still enough nourishment to keep the Dream alive. If I had taken time to fully immerse in any of these instead of dabble intermittently I would probably be sighing with as much satisfaction as I do appreciation for everyone’s efforts to make this all happen. Thanks again.

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  • Bungee says:

    100 VIP’s and volunteers at a fund raising event on a private ranch, a half million couch potatoes with VR headsets and laptops, or 30;000 souls at a hippie rave on the playa. Which one sounds closest to TTITD? Although it mainly featured one aspect of the multifaceted main event, it was great to get the bikes out, turn the lights on, and dress up for fun again. To see and ride the mutant vehicles, marvel at the blinky lights, and get stuck in a sand serpent was great therapy.Specail kudos to the drone guys, and the Brodega!
    I miss the big art and climbing on things. The “city” this year was more like a bedroom community suburb, with very little going on, We got a small taste of BRC this year, and look forward to having it all back together next year,

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  • Jewel says:

    How nice that “a small group” of such special people were able to gather at “OUR Fly Ranch Property” to burn a Man. Meanwhile many thousands brought the real spirit of Burning Man back to our public land of the Black Rock Desert for much more than “a hippie festival,” which never once put me to sleep like this 2 minute Burn video did! There was great music, big & small art cars, a temple, some fireworks & drone shows, and inspiring camps, many with their own forms of art installations. And no one paid hundreds of their hard-earned dollars to BMorg for tickets.
    Does this herald a schism? I don’t know, but it will be fascinating to watch.

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  • snarky cat says:

    who cares about the VIP burn at Fly Ranch, the real burn was on the playa.

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  • BeBe says:

    I think I don’t mind paying for tickets if that means I don’t have to drive my sh*t home in a 5 gallon bucket. The port-a-potties were missed.

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  • Our experience of Burning Man – whether in-person or virtual – depends a lot on what we bring to it – our attitude, expectations, participation etc. Of course the music, eye candy and other trappings help, but it’s people creating art and interacting with others in respectful, playful, unexpected, generous and radically free ways that makes it special. A burning effigy – whether real or virtual – is just a convenient focal point to bring people together and create a sense of expectation. Our virtual Domensions camp in BRCvr received 6,400 unique visitors and 9,500 total visits. Diverse people connected, jumped from camp to camp and formed lasting relationships. Burning man lives!

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  • Java Master says:

    So disappointed that Burning Man was cancelled this year. The smaller gatherings were appreciated, I am sure, but they were no substitute for the full BM experience. Here’s hoping that 2022 will see an opportunity to bring all the creative people and residents off Black Rock together once more.

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  • Jack bowen says:

    How do I donate hardwood waste from a flooring company to you?

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