There’s something magical in fire. Both dangerous and mesmerizing, an enormous part of human culture, a connection with the sky in some places, all around the world there are rituals involving fires, fireworks and bonfires. The Spaniards have Falles (Las Fallas de Valencia), Western and Northern Europe have Walpurgis Night with bonfires, Bulgarians have fire rituals on Shrovetide (we call it Sirni Zagovezni). Americans have newer traditions, but much more spectacular in the form an unique art festival – the “Burning Man“, held every year in the last week of August ever since 1986 in the desert of Nevada.
A great film for the festival by Roy Tho Thousand:
In addition to burning of the sculpture that gave its name, the festival is interesting in many other ways – such as the many art installations and all the visitors that are actually also the participants and artists in this unusual event. The location is right in the desert and far away from civilization – there aren’t any phone and Internet connections, no hotels, no restaurants or any other tourist accommodations. Each year on the location emerges a temporary camp in which all installations are located, and after the end of the festival everything is burned or taken away so no trace remains after it.
It was visited by just a few enthusiasts at the beginning, now the festival is becoming more and more famous for various reasons – there were almost 70 000 participants last year and not only Americans, but also people from various other places.
The most interesting thing to me is the huge amount of creative energy that concentrates in one place during this festival. Numerous sculptures that are made especially for the event, special vehicles, strange houses and cafes on wheels, also various buildings (churches), numerous artists, dancers, visitors with specially designed costumes exprecing themselfs in various ways, and all the talented photographers and videographers who capture it in pictures – all together creating a huge amount of material, interesting and scary scenes and events that then travel the world, sealed in photos and videos. It looks so huge I can barely imagine it!
Take a look at this stunning video of a sandstorm during the festival. It looks so surreal!
Great photos of this year’s festival can be seen in John Goodman’s profile, luke.me.up and Trey Ratcliff and on the festival’s facebook page. Don’t miss Rolling stones magazine’s collection too! Beneath each picture on the post you can find the name of the photographer who took it. The videos are made by Eric Cheng, whose Vimeo channel is absolutely wonderful, especially if you are a lover of marine fauna; and by Roy 2k, who also makes amazing videos. If you decide to visit the festival next year take a look at these tips on how to not die in the desert. More great pictures by Jonathan Clark from last year’s event.
Burning man festival has its South African version that’s not so famous, but also appear to be an interesting event so take a look at it too and share some information with me if you know more about it!.