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BURNING MAN TIMELINE

1986 - 1987 - 1988 - 1989 - 1990 - 1991 - 1992 - 1993 - 1994 - 1995
1996 - 1997 - 1998 - 1999 - 2000 - 2001 - 2002 - 2003 - 2004 - 2005
2006 - 2007 - 2008 - 2009 - 2010 - 2011 - 2012


about this photo
1986
Height of Man: 8 feet
Location: Baker Beach, San Francisco
Participants: 20

  • Larry Harvey conceives first Burning Man. Larry and Jerry James construct improvised wooden figure and burn it.
  • Crowd instantly doubles as figure ignites.
  • Bystander clasps figure's hand as it burns — first spontaneous performance.
  • Built in honor of Summer Solstice.


about this photo
1987
Height of Man: 20 feet
Location: Baker Beach, San Francisco
Participants: 80

  • As Man is expanded in size, triangular face remains as part of image.


about this photo
1988
Height of Man: 30 feet
Location: Baker Beach
Participants: 150-200

  • Harvey names statue "Burning Man."
  • Figure now assembled from component parts.


about this photo
1989
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Baker Beach
Participants: 300+

  • As Burning Man is lifted into place by participants, the legs and pelvis break away. The figure is burned in a semi-erect position.
  • Park police arrive, "Who's in charge here?" — local TV station videos their ineffectual attempt to stop Solstice ceremony.


about this photo
1990
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Baker Beach (Burn Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada)
Participants: 800

  • Society of Carpenters now join Larry and Jerry to construct the Man.
  • Larry Harvey designs the contemporary form of Burning Man and drafts blueprints from which the figure is built from year to year.
  • Dan Miller becomes the Man's man — chief engineer in charge of construction and erection of figure.
  • Park Police arrive and ban burning. A compromise is reached, allowing the statue to be assembled and elevated, BUT not burned on beach site.
  • Proposal to move Burning Man to Black Rock Desert made during discussion with San Francisco Cacophony Society (see the First Year in the Desert). Event relocated in both space and time: to Black Rock on Labor Day weekend.
  • Three weeks prior to burning, Burning Man is vandalized — reduced to kindling by chain saws, the result of an accident. The figure is rebuilt in San Francisco with two hours to spare before being transported to desert and destroyed.
  • 90 participants attend desert burning.
  • The Burning Man is ignited by David Warren, a retired carnival worker and veteran fire breather.
  • Official video documentary is produced and edited by Larry Harvey, filmed by Judith Iam.


about this photo
1991
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Participants: 250

  • Larry Harvey is awarded grant by Capp Street Project for an installation of the completed statue at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.
  • Burning Man is built and installed on a barge which floats between two docks at Fort Mason. John Law creates a neon outline of Burning Man that is installed on the exterior front of the figure's wooden frame.
  • The first desert survival guide is produced for participants attending the Burning Man event.
  • Burning Man is ignited by fire performance artist and dancer, Crimson Rose.
  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requires a recreation permit and files an environmental impact report regarding the condition of the camp site, post-celebration: "After the event was over, within a week of inspection, no trace of the burning ceremony or the camp site can be found."


about this photo
1992
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 600 attendees

  • Burning Man is transformed into the Black Rock Arts Festival.
  • Burning Man culture expands to include a fashion show, an art festival, and an "Exploding Man" (Kimric Smythe).
  • Danger Ranger founds the Black Rock Rangers.
  • Java Cow first appears on the playa.
  • Danger Ranger edits and prints the first edition of the Black Rock Gazette.
  • Burning Man is loaded with fireworks that create a spectacular crown that hovers over the flaming statue.
  • The first Donner Award is given to a pilot who manages to land his Cessna upside down just south of camp.


about this photo
1993
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 1,000

  • Burning Man culture continues as the camp site is laid out in direct relation to the Man. The camp convenes in a circle in front of Burning Man, with a main avenue lined with lanterns leading to him. The lanterns are lit each night, illuminating the way to Burning Man. Camp layout and lamp post are designed by Larry Harvey.
  • Burning Man establishes community media services with a radio station onsite.
  • Danger Ranger brings the first art car, the "504 PM Special," to the Black Rock Desert.
  • Peter Doty creates the first theme camp by dressing as Santa, giving away free fruitcake and eggnog at "Christmas Camp."


about this photo
1994
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 2,000

  • Burning Man acquires an online presence with a website on the WeLL, a Sausalito-based Internet provider.
  • A documentary is filmed by Australian TV. The event is covered by print media from France, Germany and Great Britain.
  • Larry Harvey and Pepe Ozan found Burning Man's annual San Francisco performance art show.
  • Distinctive art installations at event include Chris De Monterey's Camera Obscura, Pepe Ozan's 30-foot lingam fire tower, Greg Schlanger's interactive shower, and Ric Louchard's musical installation, "Four Directions."
  • A performance by San Francisco percussion group Sharkbait highlights the night of the burn.
  • The Man is lit by Crimson Rose and Will Roger.


about this photo
1995
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 4,000

  • Burning Man becomes most populous settlement (albeit temporary) in Nevada's Pershing County. Camp is now known as "Black Rock City."
  • Burning Man's Internet presence expands to include multiple interconnected Web sites.
  • An email discussion list is established.
  • The onsite daily newspaper, the Black Rock Gazette (edited and published by Stuart Mangrum), is uploaded to the World Wide Web each day of the festival.
  • Theme camp culture grows to dominate central camp design (superintended by Harley K. Bierman). Camps include: Algonquin Roundtable Camp, Tiki Camp, Bigfoot Shopping Maul and Croquet Camp.
  • Cacophony Societies from Portland, Los Angeles and San Francisco make contributions.
  • Festival comes under intense scrutiny of local and federal authorities. After the event, participating law enforcement and land management officials give Burning Man project across-the-board "A-plus" ratings for safety, organization and cleanup.
  • Major installations include Pepe Ozan's fire lingam and Ray Cirino's "Water Woman."
  • CNN begins yearly coverage.
  • Dust, wind, lightning and rain provide a dramatic shower.
  • Large numbers of "mud people" take part in impromptu celebrations under a full double rainbow.
  • After a jet car drive-by (piloted by Dezso Molnar), the Burning Man is lit with a flame-thrower.


about this photo
1996
Height of Man: 50 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 8,000

  • Burning Man becomes Internet phenomenon, attracting participants worldwide. Activity begins to spread beyond event, spawning troupes and performances across U.S.
  • Villages, micro models of the macro whole, begin to spontaneously form.
  • A pyramid, designed by Dan Miller, now extends height of Man to 50 feet.
  • Chris Campbell becomes chief designer of Burning Man, introduces curving ribs and modified face.
  • Art pageant features machine art by San Francisco's "Seemen" troupe. This year's theme: the Inferno. HELCO, a supra-national conglomerate, attempts to buy out Burning Man and fails.
  • Pepe Ozan's lingam becomes a full-scale pageant and opera.
  • Other art includes "Mudhenge," the "Piano Bell," the "Stupa of Limbo," and Jim Mason's "Forest of Fire and Ice."
  • Larry Harvey founds committee to manage Burning Man event.
  • Infrastructure strained by increasing influx of attendees. Plans begin to relocate Burning Man to Hualapai Playa.


about this photo
1997
Height of Man: 50 feet
Location: Hualapai Playa
Participants: 10,000

  • Event moves to private land.
  • Attendance hurt by difficult permit process.
  • Burning Man LLC '97 has seven members.
  • Despite stunted attendance, theme camps are three-fold, and art installations are four-fold the numbers of the previous year.
  • Major installations: Michael Christian's "Bone Tower", Hendrik Hackl's "Ammonite" (from Germany), Pepe Ozan's "Daughter's of Ishtar," Jim Mason's 10' iceball/sundial, "Temporal Decomposition."
  • Onsite media included: CNN, ABC's Nightline, NBC, Time, Washington Post, and a German television crew, and publications from England, France, Japan and Brazil.


about this photo
1998
Height of Man: 50 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 15,000
Theme: Nebulous Entity

  • Event moves back to BLM managed land on the Black Rock Desert.
  • Burning Man volunteers form the Burning Man Earth Guardians to help the BLM manage the desert.
  • Burning Man LLC '98 has 8 members.
  • City has 4 village circles.
  • Streets are numbered and include street signs on each corner.
  • Large installations include: Pepe Ozan "Temple of Rudra", "The Chapel of the Burning Book", Dan Das Mann "The One Tree".


about this photo
1999
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 23,000
Theme: Wheel of Time

  • Street signs incorporate the theme of time. Annular Streets run from 2:00 - 10:00 and Radial Streets are named after the planets.
  • The Man was the center of a giant clock face with an art installation at each hour mark. On Friday night, a grand procession traveled around the Wheel of Time, led by Dana Albany's Bone Tree, which played eerie music and was the focal point of a performance at the 6:00 mark, led by Father Time, perch high atop the Bone Tree. From there we moved around the clock, viewing performances at each hour mark, including 7:00; Woodpussy "Burial In Space", 8:00; LA Cacophony "Small After All World", 9:00; Kal Spelletich and Seemen "Industrial Zone", joined by Austin Richard mobile Tesla Coil "Electrobot", and Christian Ristow's flaming machines, 10:00; Kunst Stoff Dance Theatre, 11:00; Mark McGothigan "Rome Built-in-a-Day", 12:00; Kymric Smythe "Big Bang", 1:00; Mr. Bear "Battle of the Millenium", 2:00; Steve Heck "2", 3:00; Pepe Ozan opera "la Mystere de Papa Loko", 4:00; Peri Pfeninger's, 5:00; Steven Raspa "Futura Deluxe Bubble Fountain and Porta-Temple".
  • Many theme installations occupied the inner Wheel, including Chris de Monterey's "Pyramid Camera Obscura", Bob Stahl's "Flying Dinosaurs", Larry Breed's "Chaotick", Troy Van Berry's "Hestia 2525", Robert Becker's "Chronoschizophilia", Ismist's "IDIOM", EErik Alschuler's "Janus", StephanieAndrew's "Hall of Possible Selves" and Antenna Theater's "Sands of Time".


about this photo
2000
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 25,400
Theme: The Body

  • Street layout again corresponds with the theme: annular streets again run 2:00 to 10:00, with radial streets named for body parts. "Head Way" is at the center; "Feet Street" is the outer road.
  • Over 140 members of the worldwide media register to cover the event.
  • "Loud Side/Quiet Side" designation is replaced with a new sound policy that places large-scale sound installations at the top of the "U" shape, at 10:00 and 2:00, facing out onto the playa. New policy is a success and far fewer noise complaints roll in after the event than in previous years.
  • Theme Art area continues to grow. Defining the area is an installation called "Laser Man" by Russell Wilcox of Lawrence Livermore Laboratories; projected by towers 30 feet above the playa, green lasers form the body of the Man in the shape of the logo. Along the "spine" of this pictogram are placed major works of art inspired by the human body, including the Burning Man at the Solar Plexus. Among these works: WHISPER by Christopher Carfi — a pair of parabolic dishes situated at the "ears" of the man — the tinest whisper into one dish could be heard at the other hundreds of feet away; RIBCAGE/BIRDCAGE by Jenne Giles and Philip Bonham, a 17 foot high 'birdcage' shaped like the human ribcage, complete with a swing where the heart would be; HEARTH by Sidney Klinge and Charles Smith, a popular 20' iron and steel heart which pulsed with fire and warmed participants at night; and ANUS by David Normal and Max Hunter, a sculpture of a 12' sphincter and two mighty squatting legs, through which participants could crawl.
  • Theme camp participation continues to increase, with over 460 camps registered.
  • The Center Camp Cafe grows to a stunning 34,000 square foot structure, and incorporates an expanded cafe staff, four beautifully decorated themed areas, and a stage for musical or spoken word performances.
  • A new policy is successfully implemented which ceases ticket sales at the gate after Friday to discourage last-minute visitors.


about this photo
2001
Height of Man: 70 feet - Man stands upon the Tower of Enlightenment
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: Monday: 6,758; Saturday: 25,659
Theme: Seven Ages

  • The Gate staff had a new problem this year: counterfeit tickets. They caught an estimated 99% of the counterfeit tickets and assisted the box office in the collection of information about the perpetrators from distraught and angered participants who still had to buy full-price tickets.
  • During the event, the portable toilets (long a scandal among participants) remained clean, and, when everyone departed, exodus was smooth and we had to clean up far fewer burn scars and trash.
  • After selling 6 truckloads of ice in 1999 and 7 truckloads in 2000, in 2001 the CampArctica staff distributed 13 45' semi trucks loaded with ice.
  • In addition to the normal work building Black Rock City, DPW launched an ambitious plan to develop a better base of operations. Those operations are centered at the Work Ranch—the bone yard formerly known as 80 acres—a leased property located in Hualapai Valley about 13 miles from the present location of Black Rock City. At the peak of the work season in August over 200 DPW workers inhabit the Work Ranch.
  • For the first time every artwork was marked with GPS (global positioning station) wavepoints, which facilitated tracking of placement and cleanup.
  • Asylum, the first New York based Village is organized with over 250 participants seven theme camps and a 48 foot truck container that was hauled from New York City to Black Rock City and back!
  • Upgrades in the already fabulous center camp café distribute 70,000 beverages over the course of the week—a 40% increase over 2000—with very few lines until exhaustion overtook the shift schedules post-Burn.
  • One of the warmer, drier events on record. Lack of rain in the winter and spring lead to a more crusty, powdery playa than in previous. Thin tire bikes were almost useless in the powder.
  • There were approximately 220 registered media for 2001, down slightly from the estimated 250 in 2000. Largest decrease was in the webzines, many of which Dot-bombed between BM2000 and BM2001.
  • The international media began discovering Burning Man. About 30 percent of the registered media in 2001 were international.
  • The Media team is spending an increasing amount of time doing more work copyright protection or Burning Man images—getting auctions pulled from eBay, telling people they can't associate products with the Burning Man name. There is also a heightened sensitivity about the rights of individuals when it comes to being photographed. This is extending to the regional events as well, which are working with Media Mecca to establish their own camera policies.
  • Inspection of the site in spring of 2002 revealed the best clean-up effort yet! We passed the inspection with flying colors, and thank all of you for your outstanding efforts to leave no trace!


about this photo
2002
Height of Man: 80 feet - Man stands upon a 40 foot Lighthouse
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: Monday: 7,328 — Saturday: 28,979
Theme: The Floating World

  • In March, Burning Man rolled over its volunteer management tool to a new database called the People's DB. Created specifically for Burning Man's purposes, the new DB added greater functionality and scalability to the database and created a more customized volunteer management environment.
  • The Regional Contacts program gains more momentum than ever before, as more and more Burners reach out to connect in their own communities all year long. For the first time, three regional communities are featured in the Burning Man summer newsletter.
  • The hard-packed, cracked playa surface returned, along with some of the most delightful weather in the history of the event. With the exception of a short whiteout on Friday night, BRC enjoyed warm, mild, and clear weather all week, right up until Tuesday after the event, when a five-day dust storm rocked clean up crews and greatly impacted their ability to clean up and tear down the city.
  • A new ticket vendor is selected prior to the start of ticket sales in January. The new company is a smaller, burner-owned operation, which allowed us to develop better relationships with them overall. A new system was developed which was highly specialized to the needs of Burning Man, and the ticket process improved enormously.
  • The counterfeit ticket issue was almost completely obliterated, as the new vendor offered a foil-stamping technique that made counterfeit tickets extremely difficult and expensive to reproduce. As a result, not one confirmed counterfeit ticket was presented at the gate. The new tickets also had artwork on their face, creating a perfect Burner keepsake.
  • In the year leading up to the 2002 event, the media team dealt with and resolved roughly 100 issues relating to trademark infringement.
  • Nearly 300 media outlets attended the event — the largest number ever. About 30 film proposals were rejected in an effort to reduce the number of film crews on the playa.
  • More participants than ever chose to create and be a part of theme camps, with a total of 445 camps registering for placement.
  • Burning Man goes to court: in an attempt to stop the sale of unauthorized nude videos shot in Black Rock City, Burning Man has entered a suit against Voyeur Video requesting an injunction against the distribution of their unauthorized footage from the event.
  • In response to the growing number of motorized vehicles over the years, the standards for art cars were greatly strengthened and enforced, out of concern for dust abatement and public safety.
  • For the first time, the Burning Man Technology Team webcast the event and the burn without contracting an outside company, instead using in-house resources and an ad-hoc public networking infrastructure, constructed largely by The Oregon Country Fair crew and by PlayaNet, which exists for the benefit of all Black Rock City participants. This allowed for complete control of the presentation of the stream, delivered within pages designed by the Burning Man Web Team.
  • The BRC Airport was larger than ever before, and about 70 airplanes and helicopters spent at least one night.
  • The "ancestors" returned to the burn in the form of towering whirls of flame and smoke that spun off the base during the burn. Five hundred members of the Fire Conclave spun in the procession before the burn, some on elevated platforms to increase the visibility for the viewing audience.


2003
Height of Man: 32 feet, standing upon a 47-foot, pyramidal Temple
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 30,586
Theme: Beyond Belief

  • Burning Man organizers successfully met the challenge of new stipulations in the event permitting processes in order to allow Black Rock City to become a reality once again. The initial response to the ticket sales announcement far exceeded experience from previous years. We knew early on that we would see high enthusiasm and turnout.
  • The creation and launch of the Extranet in 2003 revolutionized the way volunteers and participants share and access information throughout the Burning Man community around the world.
  • The Regional Contacts program continued to expand, as new regional groups continued to organize and started to put on their own events and to communicate with each other. A Regional Summit was held on the playa, and the Regional Contacts were all brought together for the first time.
  • Black Rock City saw the addition of a new street and additional port-a-potties, as interest in the event continued to grow and population increased to the highest numbers ever.
  • Two new spire-lined walkways connected the 3 and 9 o'clock plazas with the Man. These avenues gave Black Rock City a new look, aided nighttime navigation, and created a new challenge for the Lamplighters, who are responsible for lighting the streets each night. This addition was the first major change to the Lamplighter workload since the addition of the walkway from the Man to David Best's Temple of Tears in 2001.
  • The city contained 504 theme camps in 2003, up from 487 in 2002. The space allotted to theme camps remained the same as previous years, while the population density of mapped areas grew immensely — 12,000 to 15,000 participants camped in mapped theme camps that comprised approximately 30% of the city.
  • For the second year in a row, we were blessed with beautiful weather, except for a small storm during set-up and a white-out storm on Sunday. For the first time in years, the clean-up crew was not lost in a several-day-long white-out storm.
  • At 12:15 p.m. on October 10, 2003, Burning Man passed the Bureau of Land Management's clean-up inspection with flying colors!
  • According to the Bureau of Land Management, Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world.
  • The winter Town Hall meeting took place on December 14, 2003 after a year absence. Participants were invited to this open forum to ask questions about issues of interest. For the first time, the Town Hall session was accessible over the web, so Regional Contacts and others could view and participate in the event.
  • Nearly 300 media outlets sent representatives to Burning Man — the largest number ever. About 30 film proposals were rejected in an effort to reduce the number of film crews on the playa.
  • For the first time in 2003, dogs were not permitted to attend the event.
  • Recycle Camp collected more than 96,000 cans, then crushed them and donated them to Gerlach High School. The high school received $800 for the cans, which will help fund programs and projects at the school.


2004
Height of Man: 40 feet, standing upon a 40 foot geodesic dome
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 35,664
Theme: The Vault of Heaven

  • Black Rock City contained 503 theme camps, about the same number as the previous year, and over 220 artworks dotted the open playa. Many of these works explored things celestial and scientific, in participation with the theme.
  • Around 40 art projects registered but did not show up on the open playa. Many of these artists reported difficulties with the weather early in the week, which brought periodic dust storms and high winds.
  • The Man stood atop a geodesic dome which housed 11 scientific and celestial artworks, and which was ringed by ten interactive stages, imagined as “alternate universes” where individuals and troupes staged various performances.
  • The hard-working DPW built the perimeter fence surrounding Black Rock City in a record two days.
  • Due to a still-pending permit status, setup crews were not able to camp at Black Rock Station, Burning Man’s work ranch. Early work crews instead were housed in rented trailers at the Gerlach Estates Trailer Park.
  • 271 spires lined the major streets and promenades, supporting 700 lanterns arduously lit each night by the Lamplighters.
  • At Center Camp, participants were encouraged to bring their own cups for coffee, thanks to a new development in Health Department cooperation at the Café. Trash cans were eliminated and any paper cups used were instead spiked onto the new “Shish-Cup-Bob” for burning.
  • Approximately 95,000 cans were crushed at Recycle Camp, once again raising nearly $800 for the students of Gerlach High School.
  • Biodegradable products were used to serve meals at the staff commissary, and the Project tested the first biodiesel generator to be used in its infrastructure.
  • A new preregistration requirement may have taken some art car enthusiasts by surprise: 420 licensed mutant vehicles roamed the playa, down from 560 in 2003.
  • The Regional Contacts program continued to thrive year-round, boasting 85 local contacts at the end of 2004. Early in the year, the program was further established with the launch of the Regional Network, a formalized relationship between Burning Man and the Regional Contacts.
  • The Regional Network has a Center Camp presence for the first time, with the Regional Information Center, constructed and staffed by Burning Man’s Regional Contacts.
  • Los Angeles held the second-largest Decompression event post-Burning Man, held once again on several city blocks near downtown.
  • In the 2004 census, approximately 30% of participants polled responded that they had attended a local regional event.
  • Burning Man once again registers over 300 members of the press, including many international outlets.


2005
Height of Man: 40 feet, standing (and rotating) upon a 32-foot tall Funhouse containing an interactive maze.
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: Saturday: 35,567
Theme: Psyche — The Conscious, Subconscious & Unconscious

  • Great weather, more art and smooth operations combined to create what many dubbed "the best Burning Man yet."
  • The San Francisco Chronicle created "Burning Man At 20" — a feature series commemorating the twentieth burn. During the months leading up to the event, the paper published a series of articles about all things Burning Man.
  • The Funhouse, the most complex Man-base to date, was completed ahead of schedule. The structure contained a maze with 41 rooms-each with a different work of theme-related art. Participants who found their way through the maze could climb to the second level and rotate the Man.
  • The Burning Man Project increased funding for art projects to support 32 artists. In total, 275 art projects took their places on the playa.
  • A group of Burning Man participants calling themselves "BORG2" made a public challenge of the Burning Man Project to an "art duel" with a bet that BORG2 would raise $250,000 for art. However, because BORG2 raised only $25,000, Chicken John ended up in a dunk tank at SF Decompression.
  • A team of staff and volunteers from multiple departments redesigned the layout of Black Rock City. The new layout distributed Theme Camps radially into the city reducing the separation between the esplanade and streets farther back in the city.
  • Theme camp registration processed 508 applications, and 485 theme camps were placed in Black Rock City.
  • The Department of Mutant Vehicles registered 455 mobile artworks, including 297 daytime vehicles, 33 nighttime-only vehicles, and 125 that roved the playa both day and night.
  • Black Rock City's FAA-approved airport landed 92 planes with no problems or accidents.
  • The Regional Contacts program grew to 80 regional groups worldwide, with an additional 35 interested applicants pending. The Regional Information Center was in Center Camp for the second year in a row. Burning Man hosted a regional summit in First Camp during the event.
  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) developed a more stringent cleanup standard and inspection protocol for all permitted events within the Black Rock-High Rock National Conservation Area. The standard allows no more than 1 square foot of debris per acre. Burning Man passed the inspection on October 4, 2005. In 15 years of site inspections and monitoring, the BLM has discovered no significant long-term environmental effects caused by the Burning Man event.
  • A delegation of board members traveled to Washington, D.C., for the third year in a row to meet with legislators and BLM officials. This year, the delegation also met officials from the Department of the Interior, who oversee all BLM operations.
  • Embodying the principles of community, a group of dedicated participants, volunteers, and Burning Man staff organized their own independent relief effort on playa for the victims of hurricane Katrina. The efforts continued after the event ended and included raising and donating funds, entertaining refugees, and rebuilding communities. A crew from the Department of Public Works (DPW), Rangers, and temple crew volunteers set up operations in Biloxi. Calling themselves "Burners Without Borders," they worked to rebuild a Buddhist temple destroyed by the hurricane.
  • A new version of the "plone"-based Burning Man extranet was rolled out with improved features enabling staff and volunteers to communicate and share files from anywhere on the globe.
  • Participants created PlayaNET, a public WiFi system covering all of Black Rock City.


about this photo
2006
Height of Man: 40 feet standing on a 32-foot tall Art-Deco Pavilion containing an interactive maze; Man elevates up and down, based on the collective hopes & fears of Black Rock City citizens.
Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Participants: Saturday (September 2, 2006): 38,989
Theme: Hope & Fear

  • Great weather, minimal dust, more art and smoother operations again led to what many call, "the best Burning Man ever."
  • The Burning Man Project increased funding for art projects to support artists. In total, 260 registered art projects took their places on the playa.
  • A group of artists from Belgium known as Uchronia created the largest art piece ever built on the playa, which subsequently was burned in the largest playa conflagration on record.
  • "Art In America" magazine featured Burning Man in its June/July 2006 issue with the article, "Report From Black Rock City."
  • A major city redesign that began in 2005 proved even more effective in 2006 by distributing Theme Camps radially into the city, thereby integrating more interactive camps throughout Black Rock City.
  • Black Rock City's FAA-approved airport landed 123 planes (including one jet) and a hot air balloon with no problems or accidents.
  • In 2006 the Regional Network numbered over 100 Regional Contacts at 85 locations worldwide. The Regional Information Center was located in Center Camp for the third year in a row. Burning Man hosted a regional celebration in First Camp during the event for the sixth year in a row, welcoming almost all its regionals together in one place for one moment in time.
  • A delegation of officials from the Department of Interior and BLM in Washington, D.C. visited Black Rock City to observe the largest Special Recreation Permit in the United States. The delegation met with event organizers and toured Black Rock City on a mutant vehicle.
  • Black Rock City, LLC completed a Five-Year Operations Plan as part of the application for a multi-year Special Recreation Permit (SRP) from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The BLM granted a Five-Year SRP to operate the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert.
  • For the first time since 2000 Black Rock City was relocated to a new site about one mile northeast of the previous site in order for the BLM to continue researching whether there are any significant long-term effect of the event. So far, the BLM has found none.
  • The number of arrests and citations reduced while population increased, demonstrating that the Black Rock City demographic is maturing and becoming better educated at what is acceptable.
  • A group of volunteers from the Black Label Bike Club in Reno introduced a pilot Yellow Bike program in Black Rock city. The program provided free community bikes and is refurbishing lost and stolen bikes to have an even larger program in 2007.
  • The Black Rock Arts Foundation created an interactive community garden known as Scrap Eden in Black Rock City, where participants contributed to the garden by creating art onsite from scrap materials.
  • Google Earth added a satellite image of Black Rock City to its free online imagery of the Black Rock Desert.
  • Current TV, founded by Al Gore, created TV Free Burning Man - Black Rock City's first TV station. The station produced onsite news clips, including full coverage of the Burn, that were beamed back to the default world via the Internet.
  • By forging a new relationship with the City of San Francisco, the Special Events Team put on the first annual Fire Arts Expo at Monster Park.
  • The theme for 2007 was rolled out earlier than ever before. On burn night, the Green Man theme was announced on the Burning Man website.
  • Greening activities had already begun at Burning Man 2006 with efforts of "Cooling Man" and Burners Without Borders (BWB). The Cooling Man project raised carbon credits that offset the burning of the Man. BWB collected unused lumber from participants in Black Rock City and in turn gave the largest donation of lumber ever received by Habitat for Humanity in Reno.
  • Burners Without Borders also rallied in the spring of 2006 when the Golden Gate National Recreation Area declared that it would no longer allow fires on Ocean Beach in San Francisco. In an effort to keep community fires alive (much like the very first Burning Man on Baker Beach in 1986), BWB began a grassroots effort, which resulted in beach cleanups, Park Service and artist collaboration, community burn platforms designed and executed by artists, and consensus approving of community fires on Ocean Beach.


about this photo
2007
Height of Man: 40 feet standing on a 32-foot tall Green Man Pavilion resembling mountains and rolling hills, containing 30,000 square feet of exhibition space, combining art, earth sciences and technological innovation.
Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Participants: Saturday (September 1, 2007): 47,097
Theme: The Green Man

  • The Man and Man-Base Pavilion were powered entirely by solar panels donated under Nevada’s new solar incentives. After the event the panels were permanently installed on the Gerlach High School and the Pershing General Hospital as part of Burning Man’s community outreach efforts.
  • The Green Theme marked the first political theme since 1996.
  • Al Gore sent Black Rock City, LLC a video message in which he thanked Burning Man for its dedication to the environment with the 'Green Man' theme.
  • The playa was home to over 300 registered art projects, including 30 Burning Man-funded pieces.
  • 'Crude Awakening', an art piece by Dan Das Mann, consisted of a 99-foot oil derrick and a group of large metal figures in worshipping poses to illustrate human beings’ dependency on oil. On Saturday night the derrick shot the tallest fire ever seen at Burning Man—a 1,000-foot column of flame. The derrick was then burned to the ground.
  • The overall footprint of Black Rock City was increased, and there was approximately 20% more camping space, due to adding more blocks to Black Rock City.
  • The location of Black Rock City was moved approximately one-mile northeast so the increased size of the city would fit better on the playa.
  • A joint project with Google led to the creation of Burning Man Earth, a virtual map of Black Rock City that can be viewed with Google Earth software.
  • Over 750 camps registered as theme camps, and 681 were placed as part of Black Rock City’s urban planning efforts.
  • In the second year of the Yellow Bike Program, Burning Man received an anonymous donation of 1,000 bicycles! Volunteers from the Black Label Bike Club in Reno painted, assembled and transported the bikes to the playa. Burning Man staff and volunteers, on a Critical Mass-style historical ride, transported the remaining bikes from Black Rock Station to the playa, where they were put to good use by participants.
  • A total lunar eclipse was visible from the playa early Tuesday morning.
  • Around the time of the eclipse, an arsonist set the Man on fire endangering the lives of several people who were underneath the Man, including two participants who had fallen asleep while watching the lunar eclipse. The perpetrator was apprehended by the Black Rock Rangers and turned over to the local Sheriff. The Man Crew volunteered to rebuild the Man on-playa and completed the monumental task in 35 hours so the Man could burn safely as scheduled!
  • The Burning Man Regional Network grew to 133 Regional Contacts in 93 locations around the globe, with 50 more applications waiting to be processed. The Burning Man Project hosted the first-ever Regional Summit at Burning Man Headquarters. Organizers of other Regional events converged on San Francisco to share information and make connections.
  • John Law, one of the owners of the Burning Man trademark and one of the early organizers of Burning Man (who dropped out in 1996) filed a trademark lawsuit against Black Rock City, LLC; Larry Harvey, Michael Mikel and PaperMan, LLC. (PaperMan is the organization that owns the name "Burning Man," and Law, Harvey and Mikel are its three owners.) The suit was eventually settled, whereby Law relinquished his interest in the trademark.


about this photo
2008
Height of Man: 40 feet standing on a 50-foot tall obelisk (the tallest Man to date), the walls of which consisted of the flags of every nation on earth. Interactive art pavilions surrounded the Man base.
Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Participants: Friday (September 5, 2008): 49,599
Theme: American Dream

  • The American Dream theme represented the first explicitly political theme since 1996 (not including the political nature of the Green Man theme in 2007). It generated significant spirited discussion.
  • The playa was home to over 240 registered art projects, including 37 Burning Man-funded pieces.
  • Heavy dust storms on the night of the burn almost forced its cancellation, but a serendipitous window of opportunity opened, and the Man was quickly burned. Unfortunately, the Fire Conclave (fire dancers) performance was cancelled, as no one knew how long the window of clear weather would hold, and safety was a prime concern.
  • First-time temple builder Shrine (Pasadena, CA) constructed a two-story temple out of recycled materials, entitled "Basura Sagrada" or "Sacred Trash", with creative partner Tucker Teusch from Oregon.
  • City planners removed 2007's three inner blocks (Esplanade through "C"), and the streets ran A-K, adding two longer concentric roads at the back of the city. The distance from the Man to the Esplanade road increased from 2200 to 2700 feet, and the length of the Esplanade grew over 2500 feet longer than 2007.
  • The Center Camp circle was expanded to include 3 concentric rings. Theme camps and service camps were placed on the outside and inside rings, "sandwiching" a middle ring of staff camping. The overall circle extended further out into the open playa than ever before.
  • The location of Black Rock City was moved another half mile northeast from last year's location as per the Bureau of Land Management's stipulations.
  • Grassroots participant efforts "Lawyers for Burners" (after the 2007 event) and the "Law Officer Oversight Program" (prior to the 2008 event) sprung up in the community in response to increased law enforcement activity the year before. Both groups, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, monitored law enforcement behavior on playa.
  • Burning Man created and staffed the "Air Playa Info" informational table at the Reno Airport to help orient and direct the thousands of Burners who flew into Reno.
  • For the first time in history, Burning Man stopped selling tickets at the Box Office onsite, as a way to deter unprepared participants and to monitor population growth.
  • Over 785 camps and villages filed questionnaires requesting placement, and 746 met the criteria and were registered and placed, as part of Black Rock City's urban planning efforts in 2008.
  • The Yellow Bike Program returned for its third year, and was a great success, with fewer bikes going missing and/or being hoarded.
  • A new moon made for very dark playa conditions at night.
  • The playa conditions were the worst seen to date, with massive tracts of dunes that would stop bikes (and sometimes vehicles) in their tracks, and hard rippled "playa serpents".
  • The Artery initiated the "Eyes on Art" project, monitoring art installations at night, looking for safety issues such as insufficient lighting.
  • The Burning Man Regional Network grew to 150 Regional Contacts in 100 locations around the globe, with 75 more applications waiting to be processed. The Burning Man Project hosted the second annual Regional Leadership Summit at Burning Man Headquarters in February '08. Regional Contacts from around the world converged on San Francisco to share information and make connections.
  • A new sister nonprofit was created called "Black Rock Solar" as part of Burning Man's Outreach Network; this nonprofit's mission is to donate free solar power in the state of Nevada to underfunded public buildings (schools, museums, and food banks have already been recipients).
  • The Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar, Burners Without Borders and Burning Man Regional Network joined forces to create a camp called "Everywhere Lane" on the Esplanade next to First Camp, allowing these outreach network organizations to share information with participants about Burning Man's year round culture.
  • The Burning Man Regionals website was updated to better represent Regional Contacts around the world.
  • The Burning Blog was launched, combining several extant blogs into one consolidated and more actively maintained blog for the Project.


about this photo
2009
Height of Man: 50 feet atop a 25-foot tall base resembling the double helix of a DNA strand, surrounded by a series of abstract nest-like structures of wood forming "a tangled bank," referencing a Charles Darwin quote.
Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Participants: Friday (September 4, 2009): 43,558
Theme: Evolution


  • Black Rock City saw its first-ever decrease in population and fewer artworks were presented overall, due to the effects of the global recession.
  • 215 registered art projects were presented, including 24 built with grants from Burning Man
  • First-time temple builders Dave Ulmas and Marrilee Ratcliffe of Community Art Makers (Austin, TX) constructed a two-story temple titled "Fire of Fires" out of lumber and CNC cut plywood, surrounding a central translucent fiberglass cylinder containing a hand-controlled, mechanically-generated fire tornado.
  • City planners for a variety of reasons concurred with popular feedback about 2008's larger Black Rock City plan and decreased it to its pre-2008 footprint.
  • The Center Camp circle plan featured two concentric service roads, improving vehicular and foot access to the busy theme and staff camping areas located there.
  • The location of Black Rock City was moved a half mile southwest from 2008's location as per the Bureau of Land Management's stipulations to alternate the spot to minimize impact.
  • The grassroots participant effort "Lawyers for Burners" once again joined the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada to monitor law enforcement behavior on playa.
  • For the second year, at the invitation of the Reno Sparks Convention and Visitor's Bureau, Burning Man staffed the "Air Playa Info" informational table at the Reno Airport to help orient and direct the thousands of Burners who flew into Reno.
  • Burning Man resumed selling tickets at the Box Office onsite, after not doing so in 2008.
  • 749 camps, villages, and departments filed questionnaires requesting placement, and 618 were placed as part of Black Rock City's urban planning efforts in 2009. Overwhelmed with an unprecedented demand for space and a trend in increased camp footprints, BRC's city plan could not accommodate every request for theme camp/village placement. The Placement department responded with stricter attention to its qualification guidelines, and were forced to turn some camps away; in all, 136 applicant camps were not awarded reserved placement.
  • The Yellow Bike Program (our fleet of 800 shared green-painted bikes) returned for its fourth year, and was a great success, with fewer bikes going missing and/or being hoarded and reports of easier-to-find community bikes.
  • The Burning Man Regional Network grew to 165 Regional Contacts in 89 locations around the globe with 54 new applicants in the wings at the end of 2009.
  • The Regional Network Committee (the decision-making guiding body comprised of Burning Man's Regional support staff) added several Regional Contact volunteers in its strategic planning process, the first of several in-progress steps designed to engage wider Regional Contact participation in the guidance of the Network.
  • Staff from the Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar, Burners Without Borders and the Burning Man Regional Network sought to increase collaboration between those entities; they joined forces to create the "Culture Labs" public theme camp on the Esplanade next to Center Camp. Expanding on 2008's "Everywhere Lane," this collaborative environment shared art and information with participants about these and other inspiring manifestations of real-world Burning Man culture year round.
  • The Burning Man Project hosted the third annual Regional Leadership Summit at Burning Man's San Francisco headquarters in February 2009. 100 Regional Contacts from around the world converged on San Francisco to share information, engage in coursework, hear presentations from local artists, staff, and volunteers, and make connections to enhance their efforts back home.
  • The Burning Blog was reimagined and expanded by inviting 30 writers to offer contributions hailing from a variety of geographically- and culturally-distributed perpspectives, with subjects reaching beyond the Burning Man event and into its wider cultural diaspora.
  • Burning Man's San Francisco headquarters at 1900 Third Street was slated for demolition (as had been anticipated), to make way for a new UCSF's Children's and Women's Cancer Hospital. Under force of a shrinking countdown to the desert, BMHQ scrambled in April to shuffle core functions to a temporary location in a smaller office/warehouse nearby. Staff and volunteers, also under stress of ticking timelines, packed and unpacked the core functions, wired the new building, and shuffled seven years' worth of files, art, and memories into storage; afterward, many took to kitchen tables and cafés around the Bay as half of the office staff were forced to rapidly adapt to the new challenge of working remotely.
  • By way of our own Evolution, the staff collaboratively identified a need for a reexamination of our business structures and operations. The six board members consulted with outside facilitators, consultants, attorneys, various levels of the staff and an internal self-assembled advocate Task Force, and set about re-imagining structure, philosophies and leadership tools that motivate us to manifest Burning Man. Ultimately, this effort assembled a new Executive Committee body, which includes all six members of the Black Rock City LLC and five members of its senior staff, and which now oversees short- and medium-term strategic planning.
  • The Executive Committee created and identified a number of standing and ad-hoc Subcommittees with wide cross-departmental membership, aimed at improving the process used to make decisions and inviting a greater selection of staff and volunteers to participate in feedback and implementation of organization-wide initiatives and projects.
  • The Board of BRC LLC continued to search for the next building for Burning Man to call home in San Francisco — and to explore its own evolution and the larger implications of the organization's mission statement beyond the event in the desert. End of page

2010
About this photo...
About this photo...

Height of Man: 40 feet standing atop a 50-foot tall base resembling an art deco skyscraper, complete with decorative gryphons on each corner, and several broad viewing decks accessible by internal stairwells. An interactive puzzle art piece at the base invited participants to assemble whimsical structures of their choosing.
Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Participants: Friday (September 3, 2010): 51,525
Theme: Metropolis: The Life of Cities


  • Following a down-year as a result of the global economic crisis, Black Rock City resumed its usual uptick in population, seeing the largest number of participants to date.
  • There were 275 registered art projects on playa, including 36 honoraria projects that were funded by the Burning Man art grants program.
  • The Flux Foundation arts collective, headed by Jessica Hobbs, Rebecca Anders and Peter "PK" Kimmelman, created the Temple of Flux, resembling massive canyon structures reminiscent of the canyonlands of southern Utah. This was the first time a non-traditional temple design was used for Burning Man's Temple, which was ceremoniously burned on Sunday night.
  • Black Rock City was deluged by a 3-hour rainstorm on Monday of the event, turning the entire event site into a mudslick, and forcing the closure of all roads to vehicular traffic for several hours, and doing damage to camps and technological systems across the playa.
  • The citizens of Black Rock City were delighted by the appearance of an incredibly vivid double rainbow, prompting many to wonder aloud: "What does it mean?"
  • City streets were named after some of the world's major metropolises and megatropolises, from Athens to Kyoto.
  • City blocks were slightly deeper, and three public plazas were created at 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 at Jakarta Street, as a Metropolis-theme experiment in spontaneous urban planning and collaboration.
  • To accommodate the anticipated increase in population, two concentric streets (London and Mumbai) were added to the back of the city mid-event, stretching from the 10:00 to the 6:00 radial streets.
  • The Center Camp circle included one (rather than two, as it was in 2009) service road, called "Route 66".
  • About 700 registered theme camps were pre-placed; of these, 626 were theme camps, 39 were villages, and 35 were other camps (art support camps, for example). About 30 camps were declined pre-placement.
  • The DMV saw a continued increase in mutant vehicle applicants, and for the first time received more than 1,000 applications.
  • The Yellow Bike Program, providing shared community bikes, returned for its fifth year, and was more successful than ever.
  • The Black Rock Arts Foundation, Black Rock Solar, Burners Without Borders and the Burning Man Regional Network joined forces to create the "District Everywhere" public theme camp on the Esplanade next to Center Camp, inviting participants to learn about their year-round efforts to spread Burning Man culture.
  • Burning Man hosted its first official gathering for academics, inviting those studying or researching around Burning Man and Black Rock City together for a playa meet and greet. The invitation was met with overwhelming response and nearly 200 respondents RSVP'd for the event, held on Thursday at the Ashram Galactica.
  • Burners' herculean Leave No Trace efforts resulted in the cleanest Black Rock City yet, as reflected in the now-annual MOOP Map.
  • For the first time ever, the playa clean-up effort was halted by heavy rains, forcing the Playa Restoration crew to wade (and slog) shin-deep in the resulting Lake Lahontan to remove the final detritus from the event site.
  • The BLM's annual post-event site inspection was postponed until spring due to the flooded playa.
  • The worldwide network of Regional Contacts expanded to welcome 27 new representatives - accommodating not only turnover in existing regions, but adding new locations around the world, including the Philippines; Perth, Sydney, and Melbourne Australia; and new domestic outposts in Bellingham, Washington and Nebraska.
  • Burning Man hosted the fourth annual Regional Leadership Summit at San Francisco's Bently Reserve, which brought together Regional Contacts and other prominent leaders to share ideas and information about spreading Burning Man culture year-round; it included a Convectional Caucus, an information-sharing showcase for Burning Man groups and departments.
  • Burning Man invited 12 regional leaders, representing various geographic areas and ranges of expertise, to form a Meta-Regional Committee, supporting the leadership and governance of the Regional Network.
  • After the The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) published a sharp critique of Burning Man's terms and conditions regarding photographers' rights, Burning Man hosted open meetings and panel discussions at Burning Man HQ, on playa, at the SXSWi conference, and on the Burning Blog to help determine where best to draw the line between photographers' rights and protecting Burning Man culture from exploitation.
  • In the spirit of the Metropolis art theme, the "Metropol" blog series in the Burning Blog presented a variety of articles about the impact of urban planning and design on culture and community, particularly with regard to Black Rock City as an experimental sandbox.
  • The Burning Man image galleries were overhauled with brand new technology, making image upload significantly easier for photographers, as well as including video archives.
  • The Burning Man Board continued its search for new office space for Burning Man's headquarters that could also accommodate the creation of a fully-realized "urban center", including public space reflecting the communal values of Burning Man, as well as private space for management operations. The search focused primarily on San Francisco's mid-Market neighborhood.
  • The Burning Man website was updated to reflect Burning Man's new organizational structure.

2011
About this photo...
About this photo...
Height of Man: 40 feet standing atop a 50-foot tall base designed to represent two mountains, with the Man in mid-stride between them, as if crossing a chasm. Participants could climb up into the mountains on an internal stairwell, and traverse the chasm via a narrow catwalk.
Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Participants: Friday (September 2, 2011): 53,963

  • Tickets to the Burning Man event sold out for the first time ever, as we reached the maximum allowable population for Black Rock City as per BLM event stipulations.
  • We saw a surge in counterfeited tickets, a result of the increased demand due to the sell-out.
  • Participants enjoyed one of the best playa surfaces ever seen in Black Rock City, making playa travel easy.
  • Black Rock City streets were named after rites of passage, from Anniversary to Liminal.
  • The Black Rock City plan included 16 new streets to ease pedestrian and bicycle movement and access at the back of the city. The new streets were short radials at the fifteen and forty-five clock positions, beginning mid-city at Graduation, and ending at the last street, Liminal. Graduation was a wider boulevard starting in 2011, and double-deep blocks sat along Graduation's border.
  • The city's layout was the largest yet, augmented to accommodate the increase in population, including expanding the open playa by 400 feet from Man to Esplanade, with over two miles between the outer arc streets from three o'clock to nine o'clock, and the longest pentagonal perimeter fence yet, stretching 9.2 miles.
  • 36 Art Support, 49 Burning Man Department camps, 845 Theme Camps and 36 Villages requested placement in Black Rock City. About 920 camps in total were placed.
  • The budget for art grants was increased by more than 10% from 2010, allowing the funding of 45 honorarium art installations, up from a normal 32-35.
  • Over 309 art projects were registered and placed on the open playa.
  • The Temple of Transition, created by International Arts Megacrew, was by far the largest temple created for Burning Man to date, with its central spire standing 120 feet tall.
  • The Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE) project consisted of 22 sculptures of up to 20'x20'x20' encircling the Man, created by 22 different Regional groups, expressing the Burner spirit of their specific region. They were burned simultaneously on Thursday night.
  • Participants arriving and departing Black Rock City at peak traffic times (Gate opening, and Exodus) experienced their longest wait times yet.
  • Exodus instituted an eco- and participant-friendly "pulsing" technique of allowing vehicles to stage as they waited to exit the city.
  • The Department of Mutant Vehicles implemented a new database system and changed on-playa licensing processes, significantly decreasing wait times for vehicle owners to get licensed.
  • The Regional Network welcomed 36 new Regional Contacts from around the world, including Shanghai, Singapore, Johannesburg (Gauteng), Lithuania, Barcelona, Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Nova Scotia, and The Philippines.
  • There are now more than 175 Regional Contacts in the Burning Man Regional Network, serving communities that span 19 countries and five continents.
  • Over 140 Regional Contacts and Burning Man community leaders attended the 5th Annual Regional Network Leadership Summit in San Francisco for a weekend of training, collaboration, and shared practice.
  • The Reno/Sparks Drive-Thru Recycling Project returned, expanding to include a location in Wadsworth.
  • Black Rock City LLC launched the independent non-profit organization Burning Man Project in August of 2011, which will work in several program areas to spread the culture and ethos of Burning Man into the world, year-round.
  • As the Man burned in 2011, a box sat nearby, containing the ashes of Rod Garrett, Burning Man's long-time city planner and designer, who passed away in August of 2011. Rod was instrumental in the creation of many key elements of Black Rock City as we know it, including the design for the city layout, Center Camp Cafe, and all the Man bases from 2001-2011.
  • In May of 2011, Burning Man Headquarters moved offices to 995 Market Street, located at 6th and Market in San Francisco.

2012
About this photo...
About this photo...
Height of Man: 40 feet standing atop a 50-foot tall Pavilion designed to represent a beehive, longtime Black Rock City designer Rod Garrett's final design for Burning Man before his passing. Participants were invited to climb an intricate Pistil structure in its center and ascend towards the Man, visible through an oculus in the Pavilion's roof. Location: Black Rock Desert, Nevada Participants: Friday (August 31, 2012): 56,149

  • The Burning Man event sold out tickets for the second year in a row.
  • The Burning Man organization instituted a new ticketing strategy, including a random selection system to determine who gets tickets. Many Burners core to the creation of the infrastructure of Black Rock City were left without tickets, and the organizers worked through the spring and summer to resolve the problems, including a Direct Distributed Tickets program to ensure tickets got to teams creating key theme camps, art installations, mutant vehicles and department volunteers.
  • Burning Man created the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP), facilitating the safe and hassle-free exchange of tickets between Burners in the aftermarket.
  • Burning Man technology team built SPARK, an online system designed to facilitate the creation of teams for collaborative projects.
  • A larger-than-usual number of first-time Burners came to Black Rock City, making up approximately 35% of the population.
  • One of the dustiest years ever for Black Rock City, with anemic winter rains making for an exceptionally dusty playa surface.
  • Black Rock City streets named after species of flowers, from Alyssum to Lilac. The road circling Center Camp is named "Rod's Road" in honor of BRC designer Rod Garrett (1936-2011).
  • 978 theme camps were approved for pre-placement in Black Rock City. 53 total camps were denied placement.
  • 360 pre-registered art projects graced the playa, including 44 honoraria projects funded in part by $700,000 in art grants sourced from Burning Man ticket revenues.
  • 34 art projects were part of the Circle of Regional Effigies (CORE), created by teams drawn from Burning Man's Regional Network, placed around the Man, and burned simultaneously on Thursday night of the event.
  • David Best and his crew created the Temple of Juno, in a traditional Balinese temple structure, including a fenced courtyard, a towering spire, and a massive central chandelier.
  • Ingress traffic into the city, and exodus out were largely a non-issue as participants heeded warnings to arrive and depart at off-peak times, and Gate crews revamped their systems.
  • The Department of Mutant Vehicles received more applications than ever, and does not increase the total number of vehicles licensed, due to on-playa safety concerns.
  • When the Man burned in Black Rock City on Saturday night, the conflagration created what was by far the hottest Man burn to date.
  • Playa restoration crews grew to their largest size yet, reacting to the increase in BRC population. Black Rock City passed BLM inspection with flying colors.
  • Burning Man's waste and recycling crew diverted more recyclables in 2012 than any other year.
  • The Reno/Sparks Drive-Thru Recycling Project returned in 2012 with a new name: EXTRA (Exodus Trash and Recyling Program). Overseen by Burners, and now expanded to Cedarville, EXTRA collected trash 24 hours a day during Exodus week.
  • Prior to the 2012 event, Burning Man filed suit against Pershing County over drastic fee increases.
  • The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) produced a public document called the 2012-2016 Burning Man Environmental Assessment (EA), outlining what needs to be done to protect the playa and surrounding communities. Burning Man created communications campaigns to increase participant awareness of these issues.
  • Over 30 new Regional Contacts were added from locations across the world including Singapore, Spain, and South Africa. Interest from international groups continued to grow as Burners from Russia, Austria, the Yucatan, Brazil, Columbia, Chile, South Korea, Israel, Malaysia, and Vietnam have expressed interest in representing Burning Man in their home countries.
  • Black Rock City LLC, The Burning Man Project, Black Rock Arts Foundation and Black Rock Solar settled in to the second year in their mid-Market corridor San Francisco headquarters.
  • The new Burning Man Project non-profit started developing the administrative and functional infrastructure needed to get their ambitious mission under full steam, including developing program initiatives in the arts, civic involvement, social enterprise, education and more.