Burning Man festival comes to an end
RENO (AP) – Thousands of revelers cheered as the annual Burning Man counterculture festival climaxed with two spectacular pyrotechnic shows on the northern Nevada desert.
Fireworks erupted as the 40-foot-tall wooden figure known as “The Man,” the festival’s signature effigy, went up in flames Saturday night and fell to the Black Rock Desert, 120 miles north of Reno.
A huge fireball later shot up into the sky after the torching of a 90-foot-plus art piece called “Crude Awakening,” billed as the event’s tallest structure ever. It also was preceded by a fireworks show.
The eclectic art festival was to end its weeklong run Monday after the burning of more artwork Sunday night, including the “Temple of Remembrance.”
Don Hoadley, 61, of Mesa, Ariz., said the traditional torching of The Man gives him “a sense of freedom.”
“I bring all my issues here every year, and take some time to get away and meditate and think,” Hoadley told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “When The Man burns, I give all of the issues that have developed over the last year, and they burn with him.”
No major problems were reported by authorities.
The crowd peaked at 48,011 at 4 p.m. Saturday, up 23 percent over last year, said Jamie Thompson, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Mangement. The event is held on public land managed by the agency.
“It’s been a very smooth-running event with cooperation from everybody concerned,” Thompson said. “We’re pleased with how it went.”
A male celebrant was taken Saturday to a Reno hospital after he was seriously injured in a fall from a domed structure, Thompson said.
A San Francisco man was arrested Tuesday after allegedly burning The Man four days ahead of schedule, but festival-goers rebuilt it.
Dust storms created complete whiteouts that sent participants scurrying for shelter both Friday and Thursday. Temperatures were in the upper 90s over the weekend.
The torching of Crude Awakening was postponed Friday night after the wind storms produced too much static electricity, Thompson said.
Crude Awakening, whose centerpiece was a wooden oil derrick, was designed to underscore the nation’s dependence on oil. The theme of this year’s gathering was “Green Man.”
As of midnight Thursday, the BLM had issued 115 citations, 50 of them for drug violations. Pershing County had issued 20 citations and made six arrests.
The event got its start in 1986 when Larry Harvey and Jerry James burned a wooden effigy on San Francisco’s Baker Beach. It moved to Nevada’s desert in 1990.
Festival-goers stay in Black Rock City, a temporary town that covers five square miles on the playa of the remote Black Rock Desert.