6 of Burning Man's Most Epic Man Burns Ever

Article by: emily ward|@_drawylime

Fri July 20, 2018 | 08:40 AM

As the name goes, Burning Man is full of burns. Sunday night's Temple Burn is a beautiful, sombering display; dozens of art pieces, camp structures and art cars meet fiery ends, but none top the grandiosity of the "Man Burn." To celebrate an entire week of inhabiting Burning Man's experimental society, Saturday night's Man Burn is the big hurrah, an astounding conflagration after months of preparation, building and appreciation by the Burner community.

What began as a small bonfire on San Francisco's Baker Beach in 1986 has become an annual expedition to Nevada's Black Rock Desert for more than 80,000 people. An anything-goes zone where radical self-reliance, art, gifting, and self-expression guide the way,  Burning Man's event week is full of dazzling everything. At the end of all that, it's hard to imagine there's anything left that could still give you butterflies, yet the Man Burn is the most spectacular of spectacles. Symbolically, the Man Burn is a formal ritual for participants to celebrate the end of the week, and reflect on their experience however they see fit.

Thanks to dedicated Burners, most of the twenty-plus Man Burns since 1986 are available on YouTube and the internet for us to gawk at a thousand times over. The six Burns below were chosen for their unique design and/or size, or for incredible fireworks or burn patterns. 2013's "Caravansary" Man was a Burner favorite; at 85 feet tall atop a 117-foot wide spaceship, it wasn't the tallest Man ever (the tallest ever, 104' was in 2014), but that spaceship.... truly mind-boggling.

Burning Man 2013, "Caravansary"

Burning Man 1988, "Year One"

Burning Man 2000, "The Body"

Burning Man 1997, "Mysteria"

Burning Man 2017, "Radical Ritual"

Honorable Mention

Burning Man 2007, "Crude Awakening"