Burning Man: extravaganza in the desert

Burning Man 2010 Photo: Pedro Sagüés

Burning Man: extravaganza in the desert

September 12, 2010  |  USA
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I’ve just arrived from the “Burning Man”, an amazing event held in the Black Rock Desert (Nevada, United States), in the middle of nowhere, where 50.000 people get together for a week, with no electricity, no cell service, no water or food supplies, with daytime temperatures that reach 100 degrees (F) and 45º (F) at night. Everyone provides their own supplies and shares them with others.

Within days, “Black Rock” becomes the third largest city in the state of Nevada. It’s perfectly planned: with avenues, boulevards and public monuments around a central plaza. The principles of coexistence are respected by all and are raised by an excellent organization with more than 2,000 volunteers.

The objective of the organizers is to show that it’s possible to build a society based on participation, civic responsibility, respect, tolerance, self-expression, gifting and one that is 100% free of prejudice.

The only traffic allowed are bicycles and “mutant vehicles”, original mobile sculptures built for the occasion that delight the audience: 40 meters long moving pirate ship converted into a disco, Tiki bars that serve free Rum while carrying their “clients.”

The result is spectacular: People planning a week with a year in advance, wanting to spend the best week of the year, with little sleep and a lot of partying and, most importantly, with the intention of being very faithful to the spirit of the event.

The priorities are the individual and its diversity. Everybody is welcome, regardless of age, creed or sexual orientation. Coexistence happens in hundreds of different camps where you can find almost everything: a three-floor Irish bar that offers cold beer, free massage in exchange for a smile, artists who paint naked bodies, camps that teach how to dance tango, recognized DJ’s or artists who perform daily shows or camps that promote the practice of free sex.

You become the greatest gift for the community.

Once you are a participant in this event, you truly grasp its significance. The key is to act generously, without expecting anything in return. You become the greatest gift for the community.

At the end of the week the city dissolves without a trace, as if nothing had occurred, as if no one had walked there. Participants return to their daily life having lived an unforgettable week, with the intention of maintaining the spirit for the rest of the year and with the conviction that they’ll return in the next edition.

Will you go to Burning Man 2011?

If so, please let me know. This will be my second year, so I am not an expert. Every tip is very welcome: which camp do you recommend? A special picture I should take? Something I should do? Or if you want me to take a picture of you, just let me know!!

Update: This article has had a great coverage. I would like to thank the Burning Man staff for the multiple recommendations and links to this article. The latest, in september’s newsletter

People also ask me about the photographic equipment I used at the Burning Man. I purchased most of the bags, cleaning kits and other accesories in this website with great gifts for photographers called Regalador.com.

Click on images to enlarge

Photo credits: Pedro Sagüés

Click here to see more pictures taken by me at the “Burning Man”

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  1. Peter, you really are the f**** boss!!!!

  2. this was my 8th year. I’m 51. A grandmother. I twirled fire for the first time since 1976!

    I was thinking….

    this year was amazing. can’t top it. I’m done. I’m officially old.

    and then I saw Pedro’s pictures…

    twirl more, be more, live more, dance more! I’ll be back …bitches!

  3. Green Monkey, I loved your comment, thanks a lot!! I’d love to meet you next year!!… bitches!!! :)

  4. Partner!!!!!! Next year with a spanish camp!!!!

  5. Yes!!! But it’s complicated to organize from such a big distance!!
    (SES is my friend and came with me to the Burning Man!!!!!)

  6. Peter, I agree with Javi, you are the F* BOSS!

  7. Thank you my good friends! But I think you exaggerate a bit… :)

  8. greenmonkey, in french we would see “tu déchires !”, meening you rock !
    and bravo to Peter for his great description of BM and cool pictures !
    I had on of the best time of my life, there is for me a before and an after BM

    see you next year guys !

  9. Pedrooooooooooo son espectacularessssssssssssssssssssssssss
    Es genial!!!!

  10. Merci beaucoup Clemence. C’est un plaisir lire ton commentaire :)
    Mil gracias Cris. Es un honor tenerte por aquí!

  11. pedro qué pasada lo de burning man!!! y bueno, qué pasada de blog has creado con fotos increíbles y sitios incréibles. sigue viajando mucho!!!Es lo mejor que se puede hacer. Un beso!

  12. Green Monkey: Darlin’, I came to Burning Man for the first time in 1999, at 55 years old. I have been back every year since; I was 66 this year. You are so much younger than you know!!
    Please come back next year and look me up at the Yellow Gorilla Lounge — we can have a lovely conversation about the meaning of linear time and chronological age — or the lack thereof 😉 Hugs!

  13. want SO much to come next year and volunteer, add chirpy cheer ! Tralala………………

  14. While I have to disagree on a little bit of the info, but this was a great post. I look forward to viewing more of your pages.

  15. Awesome site, how long have you been working on it?

  16. Our camp is called “OrhanEaters” – we’re a group of cannibals and clown school drop outs. We camp at7:35 and I. Stop by… if you dare!

  17. It’s really interesting how this Burning Man event has a Coachella vibe. I am totally loving the passion, the vibe, the colors of every photo you take. It shows how exciting that fest is! I’m totally attending this one.

  18. Great pics, thanks for sharing BM with all the non-burners out there… My first BM was 2000, looked forward to the total experience i heard so much about- with the exception of the Night of the Burn on the playa (a surreal mind blowing event i’ll never forget), the people there were cliquey a-holes in a constant drunk/high state. Stopped going in 2003, haven’t been back since… keep up the good work, enjoy the vibe that is BM.

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