Not too long ago, the annual festival was a bit more like “Mad Max” on the playa.
The reporter describes the event as “a loosely organised, frenetic explosion of community, creativity, and chaos,” while footage plays showing attendees dance and riot around a burning human effigy (a long-standing Burning Man tradition). There are no luxury camps in sight, or electronic dance music DJs throwing it down before a crowd high on ecstasy.
A young man explains to the camera that he used to be shy and reserved.
“I thought if I came out here — in such an open atmosphere — I could really be myself,” he says.
“It sounded like it was the last cool thing to do,” another attendee, dressed in monk’s robes and sunglasses, says.
The reporter mentions that the event is so remote, festival-goers must bring their own food, supplies, and lodging. Most so-called “burners” still rough it on the desert floor, but a growing number of attendees drop into luxe accommodations, known as “plug-and-play” camps.
Often at these sites, hired help assist the camp with production and concierge services around the cafeteria and lounge spaces. C-suiters shell out as much as $10,000 for a reservation.
Entrance to Burning Man in 1997 cost just $75. In 2016, it was $470, including a vehicle pass.
The costumes (or lack therof) were just as surprising two decades prior. People in the ABC news report wore Native American-inspired garb, tuxedos with masks made from tree branches, and pleather, lots of pleather. An occasional nude bicyclist rides across the frame.
Oh, yeah, and this happened:
If you’ve seen “Mad Max: Fury Road,” you might think that instrument-wielding “burner” looks familiar. The flame-throwing guitarist on wheels from the movie became a cult favourite.
Watch the full news report below: