This summer has been far hotter than usual and plenty of us have been practically melting in the unseasonable heat. However, this did nothing to stop fans from attending the epic Burning Man festival. In fact, it seemed that the heat only spurred them on — this year, the gathering was even crazier, wackier and more off-the-hook than usual!
Burning Man 2019 took place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada and lasted from August 25 until September 2, and just like every year, it was fantastic. But then again, does Burning Man ever disappoint? Because autumn rains are already upon us and we’re in need of some of that glorious Nevada heat, Bored Panda brings you this sizzling list of the very best photos from this year’s festival. So keep on scrolling, share with your friends, and drop us a comment about which pictures you liked best and why. Once you’re done, have a look through Bored Panda’s lists about the Burning Man festivals from 2018 and 2017 as well. See how they compare with this year’s festivities for yourself and let us know which year’s gathering you thought was the most impressive so far. Be sure to scroll down and read our exclusive interview with Travis C. who was at this year's Burning Man festival in 2019 (you'll find his photo down below, he's the one in the stunning pink dress).
Bored Panda talked to Travis C. who was at the Burning Man festival in 2019 and wore a fabulous pink tutu.
“Burning Man 2019 was amazing in so many ways. It was my third year and likely my favorite so far as each year you start to better understand the parameters and limitations of the experience. For example: which fabrics repel dust and which attract it. Which foods reheat well and which do not. Can I wear heels while in drag or will I sink? The entire experience is not only a social experiment but also layered with smaller experiments of life in an alternate universe.”
Travis said that his “primary attraction in attending is the level of extreme creativity you see from both those around you and within yourself.”
“Where else can I wear the wild fashions you see there? I will spend the year sewing my coats and clothes and then sharing those I have made in previous years with others if they want them. Outside of just aesthetics, anything goes as long as you are trying to uphold the Ten Principles with emphasize community, kindness and gifting among other things.”
“My camp as a larger group build a massive sheep shaped art care with full sound system to host parties that are a truly inclusive place for all LGBTQ individuals,” the festival-goer went in-depth about Burning Man 2019 with Bored Panda.
“We also let anyone ride our car and ensure it is a place of inclusivity. Overall, the community of Burning Man avoids the discriminatory pitfalls of the default world and is a true alternate universe and example of what the world would be like if we valued each other more than the things we personally have. The week is full of kindness and excitement. Sure it is dusty, but that environment is simultaneously useful in its ability to disarm even the fanciest of attendees.”
“My husband is an engineer and loves the urban planning and engineering aspects of it. If you could rebuild NYC once a year from the ground up, would you change the road names? What about the street directions? Where would you locate the most important facilities like the ER? Burning Man gets to redesign itself each year and it is super fun to watch urban planning get a second, third, etc. chance. That just doesn't happen in regular life.”
“The most memorable moments are rarely the loud ones. They are the trips home in the crisp air at dawn with your partner just reflecting on how crazy the world can be,” Travis revealed the more romantic side of the festival. “Wondering what it would have been like if you never knew this pocket of fabulous people even existed because you never were persuaded to come years ago.”
“The one consistently memorable moment we have had though is our Temple walk. The Temple is one of the only sites where there is no party. No loud music. Occasional singing and acoustic sounds like a guitar/sitar but nothing caustic. It is where people go to say goodbye to a marriage and leave their certificate after their divorce. One of the most heartbreaking items and reflections left this year was the hat of a man who had attended and died. There was a note accompanying it from his parents who had come to the festival just to leave it behind, say goodbye and then watch it burn to the ground along with everyone else's heartaches and disappointment. It is honestly impossible to walk through that space and not tear up.”
“The night the man burns is a party. The night the Temple burns there is silence,” he said. “50,000-60,000 people just sitting their silently letting things go and heading home to reflect and focus. Our first year we sat next to a woman who had met her second husband at Burning Man after the passing of her first nearly 25 years prior. He had also passed away. She brought some of the clothes she had met him in to watch burn as she said thank you for the years spent together.”
“The festival is often misinterpreted by those who don't have the opportunity to go. Sure, there are parties. Sure, I do see drug use. Never anything hard or massively troubling (at least not with those I hang out with), but many of those perceptions are the minority experience. The families aren't there for that. Nor is the often older demographic group that has been coming for years and helps to keep the festivals message on track. Nor are most of the young people. People go to spend time with each other.”
“During the day you can ride your bike around and just make random stops at all the camps giving things out. A typical afternoon might include a corndog, being launched in to a pool of stuffed animals, a freezer truck with hot beverages, the very gay "bear shower happy hour," a Madonna dance party with snow cones, and then a touching communal dinner back at camp.”
“You just never know what is out there and you can only see about 2% of it anyway so you give up and learn to just go with the flow. The place is unique but in a way that you would wish everywhere could be. The people seem freely themselves,” Travis told Bored Panda. “The hardest part about leaving is knowing there will be a loss of these freedoms. And, with those loss of freedoms is often what makes it hard to be the nice and expressive person you wish you could always be. Burning Man is an experience for sure. How you categorize... there aren't really words for that in any language. I think this is why it is so universally appealing.”
The very first Burning Man festival was held on Baker Beach in San Francisco, in 1986. And every year since, the gathering has attracted what seems to be the most creative (not to mention peculiar!) people on Earth.
When I saw photos from the Burning Man for the very first time, I thought I was looking at some alternate post-apocalyptic timeline where Mad Max somehow got crossed over with Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. It was mesmerizing. It was confusing. But nobody can deny it was a feast for the eyes.
Note: this post originally had 151 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.
But what does the festival stand for, and what are its core values? Well, back in 2004, the festival’s co-founder Larry Harvey came up with the Ten Principles that encapsulate what it’s all about. Among these are the ideas that absolutely anyone can be a part of the festival, that we should all give others gifts unconditionally, and that the festival shouldn’t become exploited by commercial sponsorship.
What’s more, the festival promotes radical self-reliance and self-expression, as well as communal effort and civic responsibility. Lastly, the Burning Man respects the environment, calls upon everyone to participate as fully as possible, and values immediate experience, which helps overcome our inner barriers.
I would love to experience Burning Man for myself — what about you? What do you love most about the festival? Is it the quirky costumes? The supernatural art installations? Or the marvelous atmosphere?