Over 50,000 participants danced an emotional goodbye to this year’s Burning Man after setting their landmark 120ft tall Temple of Transition ablaze. They came, they saw, and they burned.
The spectacular 45,000 square feet effigy has been turn into a fireball, which brought the Nevada desert counter-culture event to a close over America’s Labor Day weekend.
Temple of Transition was burnt to the ground to celebrate the end of 2011 Burning Man project
The night came after a week of shenanigans at the anything-goes festival – which included topless bike parades, yachts on wheels strolling the desert floor, geodesic domes housing dance clubs, a 22-ton Trojan horse, and a French Quarter-themed camp.
Temple of Transition during Burning Man 2011 on Friday
There was a ticket sales record at this year Burning Man, with 53,341 attending on Friday, and organizers reported a sell-out for the first time ever in its 25-year history.
The spectacular finale of Burning Man, in the remote Black Rock desert about 120 miles northeast of Reno, came after another 40ft signature effigy was burnt on Friday night.
The Burning Man’s Temple of Transition is the tallest installation art structure ever built at the site and visitors were encouraged to meditate, chant or write notes to loved ones in the hexagonal central tower.
Burning Man 2011, fireworks erupt before The Man is burned during the Rites of Passage in the Nevada desert
According to organizers, they were now planning to turn the company that runs the event into a not-for-profit organization.
The Black Rock LLC company will be liquidated and will turn into the Burning Man Project, with a 17-member board and tens of thousands of “burners” to continue its work.
“We’ve never called it a festival; we’ve always called it a project, with equal parts play and labor,” said founder and Black Rock LLC Executive Director Larry Harvey.
Harvey added: “Festival limits it to a party or a vacation, and it hasn’t behaved that way for about ten years. Most festivals don’t forward action.”
The Burning Man project and phenomenon started 25 years ago with an eight-foot structure burning on a beach in California around the summer solstice.
The Burning Man has now morphed into a sophisticated community, with year-round projects including solar energy development and a crisis response network.
Each year for one week, self-styled “burners” that head into the desert and build a working city from the ground up – including an airport, a post office, and a security team – that tries to be devoid of money and consumerism.
“Burners” then aim to leave the desert with no trace that they were there.
Burning Man 2011, the burners left the desert with no trace that they were there
According to police, there were no major problems from the week-long event, although one participant was said to have died on Wednesday from ‘natural causes”.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rangers reported three felony arrests and the issued 42 citations, mostly for drug-related offences on Friday.
The Burning Man 2011 Rites of Passage arts and music festival in the Black Rock desert of Nevada
There is a premiere at the Burning Man 2011, the annual event held in the Black Rock Desert (Nevada): the CORE project ( Circle of Regional Effigies).
The effigies are arranged around the base of the Man in a circle. This giant ring of effigies celebrates the Burning Man Regionals and their support to the Burning Man ethos.
The Burning Man Regional organizations were started in 1998 and their importance grew bigger every year, it could say this year they reached a peak with the CORE.
There are 23 effigies at the Burning Man 2011 plus “Fire Birds of the Fifth Direction” by Charlie Smith (four steel sculptures placed in the corners of the compass).
Lucky Lady Lucy (Las Vegas) known as 777, is the alien girl who inspired Larry Harvey to build the Man in 1986.
Alchemist Tower (Atlanta), artwork of four tetrahedrons (earth, water, air, fire), seems to change its shape when is view from different angles.
Ouroboros, the eternal return, a symbol of Burning Man's Rites of Passage
Ouroboros (Austin), the Burning Flipside contribution, is an ancient symbol, a serpent/dragon eating its own tail meaning self-reflexivity or cyclicality, constantly re-creation, the eternal return.
EffiTree (Victoria, British Columbia) sculpture that is half human, half tree spirit of the rainforest (one masculine, one feminine) was inspired by faces carved into the sides of the cedar trees at the Victoria’s regional event, Otherworld.
H.A.T.U. (Utah), the Hive Alembic of Transformative Universalities, is a Hive seated on a lotus flower gazebo with a phoenix rising out of a pineapple oblongata, another metaphor for Burning Man 2011 theme.
The Lighthouse (Great Lakes) is a metaphor for the “Rites of Passage” also a symbol for the Great Lakes region of Canada and the US.
Rite of Mountain Passage (Alberta) is a huge Lotus flower, nestled in a panorama of majestic Rocky Mountains, kinetic sculpture with moving Lotus petals, cycles of growth and bloom, travels and returns, beginnings and endings.
ThunderBridge (Portland) is an arched climbable structure reminiscent of the St. John’s suspension bridge flanked by two thunderbirds guarding the journey.
Mama Nola (NOLA), fetish doll for the entire playa, is a Voodoo doll housing a temple, an art gallery and an interpretive museum of New Orleans/Mississippi River culture.
Valley of Heart’s Delight (South Bay) stands for the flourishing valley replaced by Silicon Valley. The effigy is made of wooden “laptops”, and invited the community to embellish each one with a “screensaver”, signifying their own Rite of Passage.
Burning Sheaf (Saskatchewan) is made of wheat stalks and symbolize regional rite of passage of harvest season and Burning Man’s annual festival.
Burning Sheaf as a symbol of Burning Man's Rites of Passage
Other artworks of Burning Man Festival are: The Bamboozler (Transformus) octagonal structure made of raw lumber, Carnegeia Gigantea (Arizona), iconic Saguaro Cactus, F-N Bourbon Barrel the beauty of Kentucky hills, The Ka Pilina Phoenix (Hawaii) the same design as the effigy at three Rebirth festivals in Hawaii, Lobster Bisque-O! (Maine Region), Playa Time (Vancouver) a Rite of Passage, being in the Now, inspired by Burn in the Forest, Mooseman (Toronto), Port of Fire (East Bay) ubiquitous giant cranes from the Port of Oakland, Quemaduras del Sol (sunburn) a golden sun effigy from San Diego, SCARAB Truck (Los Angeles) iconic Food Truck, Tree of Heaven by New York Burning Man Community, Dobharchu Dóiteáine (Ireland) dragon-like creature from Irish mythology half giant, half dog.
These effigies will burn on Thursday (September1) night as an introduction to the Burn of the Burning Man 2011.
Burning Man 2011, the week-long festival of free spirits, starts on August 29 and ends on September 5.
This annual event is held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada (on an ancient lakebed, known as the playa). On Saturday evening a large wooden effigy is burnt and this is the ritual from which the name of the festival came.
This year tickets sold out before the event (on July 24) for the first time in the festival history and 50,000 of attendees are expected.
Burning Man is about community, self-expression and self-reliance.
Lots of artists will perform at the sound camps of the Burning Man.