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.
View this post on Instagram
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