Burning Man returns for first in-person festival in two years

The event, held in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, began on Sunday with the theme Waking Dreams

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After a two-year hiatus owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Burning Man has returned in all its costumed, communal glory.

The annual week-long festival, held in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, began on Sunday with the theme Waking Dreams.

Scroll through the gallery above to see some of the highlights from this year's festival

About 80,000 campers have made their way to the temporary Black Rock City for the festival, which celebrates self-reliance and expression.

Participants design and build all the attractions at the short-lived metropolis, as well as organise all activities and events.

The festival features myriad works of art, from sculptures and buildings to performances. It is named after the large effigy, The Man, which is set ablaze on the penultimate night of the festival. This year the event wraps up on September 5.

Burning Man began in 1986 in San Francisco and was moved to Black Rock Desert in 1991. The 36-year-old event was interrupted in 2020 and last year, with virtual events and burning sessions held in its place.

With the festival now reprising a sense of normality, participants, who pay $575 a ticket, can expect to enjoy parties with music ranging from disco and 1980s pop to Latin and jazz. Meditation and hypnotherapy sessions will also be held, while a hammock forest will give participants the opportunity to unwind.

Events will also include a projectile hurling contest, a foam weapon standoff, as well as a bikini armour crafting workshop. Educational sessions will include talks on the overlap of artificial intelligence and astronomy. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, meanwhile, will hold an experiment to map the gift-giving economy of Burning Man, according to US news website Axios.

The festival is organised by the Burning Man Project, which holds smaller versions of the event in the US and around the world. It also spearheads community initiatives including Burners Without Borders, Black Rock Solar and Global Art Grants, all of which are founded to promote the Burning Man principles of self-expression and anti-consumerism.

Updated: August 29, 2022, 12:25 PM