Satellite image of the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada
© DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d/Getty Image
A desert arts pop-up, just popped up. A desert arts pop-up, just popped up
Today we’re viewing North America’s largest arts and music festival—dust free—from a satellite lens. Welcome to Black Rock City, the pop-up home of Burning Man, a raucous event that takes place in late summer each year on the sun-scorched alkali flats of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. It’s an unusual set-up, a counterculture mecca where gifts reign supreme and money has no value.Festival goers are called Burners in honor of the massive wooden effigy of a man they build each year, only to be set ablaze on the penultimate eve of the event. The 70,000 attendees may come as individuals or entire communities. Many plan months in advance to construct grandiose installations, fantastical floats, art cars, and other creative expressions that defy the logistical constraints of the harsh desert landscape. To do this they must pack in everything they’ll need for nine days, with the full knowledge that it must all be packed back out again. Any litter left behind is considered MOOP (Matter Out of Place), so glitter and other things difficult to retrieve from the desert floor are forbidden. Once inside, goods and services can’t be bought; however, volunteering and gifting are expected. Part of the mission behind Burning Man is to build a creative and connected community.