What To Know About Burning Man

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled What To Know About Burning Man

The annual desert campout Burning Man made headlines over the weekend after heavy rains temporarily stranded more than 70,000 attendees. The Onion takes a deep dive into the history of Burning Man and this weekend’s fiasco.

Q: When did Burning Man start? 
A: The famously free-thinking, anti-establishment, peace-and-love year of 1986.


Q: What is the purpose of Burning Man?
A: To give everyone in the participants’ lives a break from them for a week.

Q: What do people do at Burning Man? 
A: Talk about how they’re attending Burning Man.


Q: How does money work at Burning Man? 
A: Attendees reject traditional notions of capitalism, instead trading with goods they bought beforehand with their parents’ money.

Q: Has anyone ever died at Burning Man?
A: The real question is has anyone truly lived before experiencing Burning Man?


Q: What is Burning Man’s ethos? 
A: The radical acceptance of all forms of self-expression that human life has to offer as long as it includes a valid ticket and parking pass.

Q: How does this year’s Burning Man compare to Woodstock ’99?
A: It had roughly the same amount of mud but not nearly as much Limp Bizkit.


Q: Did anyone find my goggles?
A: They are part of the playa now.

Q: Are future Burning Man gatherings at risk?
A: Yes, if nothing changes there will likely be a Burning Man next year too.