What Is Burning Man, and Why Have Paris Hilton and Elon Musk Shown Up?
“Imagine a hallucinogenic state fair,” the reporter Rick Marin wrote about Burning Man in The New York Times in 2000.
The article described an environment of countercultural revelry, where hippies and Silicon Valley types cut loose in surroundings reminiscent of both “Mad Max” and Cirque du Soleil.
But this year’s festival, held in a remote desert in Nevada, has been a very different scene. The event was pummeled by rain that began on Friday night, leaving thousands of attendees trapped and dealing with thick sludge. With limited access to the site, attendees have been told to conserve food and water. The police are investigating the death of one participant.
The extreme conditions have challenged the free-spirited atmosphere that has long been central to Burning Man’s allure. Below is a look at the origins and development of the festival.
What is Burning Man?
Burning Man is a nine-day celebration of art and self-expression held in Black Rock City, a temporary community about 120 miles north of Reno, Nev. The festival, which has drawn around 70,000 people in recent years,…