The following is from “The Man’s” Website
WHAT IS BURNING MAN?
Trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind. In this section you will find the peripheral definitions of what the event is as a whole, but to truly understand this event, one must participate. This site serves to try to paint a picture of the Burning Man experience to those who are new to the project, as well as to give those participants looking to keep the fire burning in their daily lives an environment in which to connect to their fellow community members. For a brief yet eloquent overview of the entire event from the time of arrival to the time of exodus, please read “What is Burning Man?”, an essay written by participant and one-time web team member, Molly Steenson. Please see archived sections for each year to read more about the art themes, art installations and theme camps for each year read more from The Burning Man Website
WHAT IS BURNING MAN?
The Burning Man Experience
By Molly Steenson
Hurtling down the road to the Black Rock Desert, the colors paint themselves like a spice cabinet — sage, dust, slate gray. Maybe you’re in your trusty car, the one that takes you to and from work every day. Perhaps you’ve got a spacious RV, your Motel 6 on wheels for the next days in the desert. Or you’re driving your glittering art car, complete with poker chips and mirroring to do a disco ball proud.
The two-lane highway turns off onto a new road. You drive slowly onto the playa, the 400 square mile expanse known as the Black Rock Desert. And there you’ve touched the terrain of what feels like another planet. You’re at the end — and the beginning — of your journey to Burning Man.
You belong here and you participate. You’re not the weirdest kid in the classroom — there’s always somebody there who’s thought up something you never even considered. You’re there to breathe art. Imagine an ice sculpture emitting glacial music — in the desert. Imagine the man, greeting you, neon and benevolence, watching over the community. You’re here to build a community that needs you and relies on you.
You’re here to survive. What happens to your brain and body when exposed to 107 degree heat, moisture wicking off your body and dehydrating you within minutes? You know and watch yourself. You drink water constantly and piss clear. You’ll want to reconsider drinking that alcohol (or taking those other substances) you brought with you — the mind-altering experience of Burning Man is its own drug. You slather yourself in sunblock before the sun’s rays turn up full blast. You bring enough food, water, and shelter because the elements of the new planet are harsh, and you will find no vending.
You’re here to create. Since nobody at Burning Man is a spectator, you’re here to build your own new world. You’ve built an egg for shelter, a suit made of light sticks, a car that looks like a shark’s fin. You’ve covered yourself in silver, you’re wearing a straw hat and a string of pearls, or maybe a skirt for the first time. You’re broadcasting Radio Free Burning Man — or another radio station read more from The Burning Man Website
Q. What is Burning Man?
A. Burning Man is an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance. Check out What Is Burning Man on this web site for more information, read the other articles on this site and visit other web sites for a broader understanding of the Burning Man event. Before you contemplate attending, you probably want to read our Survival Guide—it’s not as easy as it looks! If you wish to truly understand and comprehend Burning Man, you need to attend the event — it’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced!
Q. Where is Burning Man being held this year?
A. Burning Man will be held in the Black Rock Desert, 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada. The towns of Empire and Gerlach serve as guardians of the desert region.
Q. What are the dates for the event?
A. Burning Man is always held the week prior to and including Labor Day weekend. In 2010 the dates are Monday, August 30th to Monday, September 6th.
Q. What night does the Man burn?
A. Saturday night before Labor Day.
Q. What is this year’s theme?
A. Past themes have included Fertility, Time, Hell, Outer Space, The Body, The Floating World, Beyond Belief, Vault of Heaven, Psyche, Hope and Fear, The Green Man, The American Dream, and Evolution. The theme for 2010 is Metropolis.