afterburn sectional graphic

AFTERBURN REPORT 2004

HISTORY

2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998 | 1997 | 1996 | 1995 | 1994 | 1993 | 1992 | 1991 | 1990 | 1989 | 1988 | 1987 | 1986

2004

about this photo
Height of Man: 40 feet, standing upon a 40 foot geodesic dome
Location: Black Rock Desert
Participants: 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 Caf. 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.

2003

about this photo
Height of Man: 32 feet, standing upon a 47-foot, pyramidal Temple
Location: Black Rock Desert
Population: 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.
  • 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.
2002

about this photo
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.
2001

about this photo
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) waypoints, 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 copyright protection work of 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!
2000

about this photo
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 Café 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.
1999

about this photo
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".
1998

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

  • Theme: Nebulous
  • 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".
1997

about this photo
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.
1996

about this photo
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 onglomerate, 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.
1995

about this photo
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 Deso Molnar), the Burning Man is lit with a flame-thrower.
1994

about this photo
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.
1993

about this photo
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."
1992

about this photo
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.
1991

about this photo
Height of Man: 40 feet
Location: Black Rock Desert
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."
1990

about this photo
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.
1989

about this photo
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.
1988

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

  • Harvey names statue "Burning Man."
  • Figure now assembled from component parts.
1987

about this photo
Height of Man: 20 feet
Location: Baker Beach
Participants: 80

  • As Man is expanded in size, triangular face remains as part of image.
1986

about this photo
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.