Remembering the Solstice Burn That Started it All

“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower

Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees

Is my destroyer.”

—Dylan Thomas, The force that through the green fuse drives the flower, 1952

No one could have imagined that a small Solstice gathering of friends on a San Francisco beach could spark such an epic network of collaborators. And so, on Solstice we celebrate the birth of the Man, and the culture that continues to emanate from that formative moment. 

Ready for all the feels? Hit play and enjoy footage from the first Man Burn on Baker Beach and our original instigator Larry Harvey, plus some raucous scenes from Burning Man’s early years in the Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada. 

(Source: Why We Burn the Man from Burning Man on Vimeo)

Happy birthday to the Burnerverse, and to that spark which drives each of us to play, imagine, co-create and organize community. We like to imagine that this wide world is now filled with thousands of formative events like that 1986 Solstice Burn, each the catalyst for ever-evolving, mind-bending art and experiences that will continue to impact the world long after we’re all gone.

Thanks, Larry.

Cover image of “Passage Home” by Kate Raudenbusch, 2018 (Photo by Scott London) 

About the author: Kirsten Weisenburger

Kirsten Weisenburger

Misadventures led Kirsten Weisenburger (aka kbot) to Black Rock City in 2004. She was captivated and hoodwinked into organizing theme camps, rangering and participating in Regional Events. As Communications Strategist, Kirsten works across the organization and global community gathering stories and writing for the Burning Man Journal, the Jackrabbit Speaks, and the annual Dispatch. She went to journalism school in the 1990s and then spent two decades at startups and digital agencies.

3 Comments on “Remembering the Solstice Burn That Started it All

  • Gerflash says:

    Thanks, Larry! I am forever grateful to you!

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  • Kandy Kane says:

    I’m a single mother and was lucky to get just 2 tickets (my ex just left me) and a vehicle pass. I’m wondering if anyone can help me get to Burning Man this year. My ex has agreed to take my child (god help her!) for the week, but she should be okay for just that time. I’m willing to pay for gas and food if anyone can help. Please PM me. I don’t know what else to do. I tried posting in other forums and no one has ever responded. I’m also a good cook. Peace & Spiritual blessings! Please don’t let me have to sell these beautiful tickets.
    Kandy Kane

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  • Reid says:

    I went during Evolution and several years after. My first year I forgot my ticket and they still sold tickets at the gate and if you forgot your ticket there was a form so you could get a refund on the second ticket purchased. This sounds crazy! But anyways I ended up getting a refund check many many months later, signed by Larry. I was gonna keep the check but I bought bee’s instead and I’m still keeping bee’s 14yrs later! Thank you Larry!

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