Surreal photos from Burning Man take you deep inside the madness

Over the last 31 years, Burning Man has evolved from a bonfire among friends in San Francisco to an international mega-event attended by modern-day hippies and tech moguls alike.

Nearly 70,000 so-called burners descended on the “playa” in a Nevada desert last week for the annual counterculture gathering. The festival is offering its standard fare of surreal art installations, over 130 musical acts, celebrity sightings, and out-of-this-world fashion.

Some say you have to experience the world of Burning Man to understand its magic. In the meantime, these photos of Burning Man 2017 offer a glimpse of what it’s like to attend.

Each year, a city rises on a remote swath of desert in Nevada. Burners call this temporary metropolis “Black Rock City.”

The Shanti

A post shared by Christian Lamb (@cthelamb) on

Nearly 70,000 people, known as “burners,” come for the nine-day event.”

They arrive by private plane, car, or “mutant vehicle” — a souped-up theme car.

Zeytinli rock festivali değişik bir deneyim oluyor…?? #burningman #burningman2017

A post shared by @kuveytopulos on

This anthropomorphic tree is actually a mode of transportation.

Amazing Art Car!!! #burningman #burningman2017 #artcar #mutantvehicle

A post shared by Laura (@cricketkittycatmastermind) on

Founded in 1986, Burning Man celebrates notions of self-expression, civic responsibility, and art. There are 10 core principles that exemplify the festival’s culture.


Burning man 2017 )'( – – – – – – – #burningman #burningman2017 #burners

A post shared by Eric Stanchak (@smatch) on

These range from “radical inclusion” — the belief that anyone may be a part of Burning Man — to a ban on commercial sponsorships, transactions, and advertising on festival grounds.

A few of my favorite people…

A post shared by Christian Lamb (@cthelamb) on

But the festival isn’t free. Tickets in 2017 started at $425 per person.

Gone burn ✌? #burningman2017 #blackrockcity

A post shared by Raul Aragão (@raul) on

Participants bring everything they need, including food, water, and shelter.

But costumes are encouraged. Though the fashion on the playa is imaginative, attendees do follow trends, including goggles, sparkly spandex, unicorn horns …

? #BurningMan

A post shared by Carol Chafauzer (@carolchafauzer) on

… and lots of colour.

Steve MacWithey, also known as “Man in the Mirror,” made his mirrored suit by hand.

Burners throw wild parties that last from dawn into the night.

DISTRIKT SUNSET || @burningman #burningman ?

A post shared by Katherine Rosero Realpe (@rouserosero) on

One-percenters have invaded Burning Man. They brought luxury with them.

#PlayaWarrior ???? #BurningMan ?

A post shared by Paris Hilton (@parishilton) on

Ultra-rich festival-goers can charter a private plane or helicopter to the event. A week before it starts, volunteers cobble together the Black Rock City Airport on a dusty road.

The company Black Rock Helicopters even decks out vehicle interiors in burner-style.

#helicopter #burningman2017 #burningman

A post shared by Eric (@blackrockhelicopters777) on

There are a variety of accommodations to choose from, depending on budget.


A post shared by Christian Lamb (@cthelamb) on

Most festival-goers stay in tents or camp in their vans.

Here we come ? @precisionpilot #love #adventure #burningman #ourhome #vanlife

A post shared by Cyn (@that_widows_peak) on

Many more stay in theme camps, where small communities form. Camps emerged as a way for groups of burners to create spaces for interactive experiences. They also offer shelter.

Eventually, luxury camping sites known as “plug and play” camps made their way to Burning Man. Guests shell out thousands of dollars a night for high-end spots.

?? #burningmanstyle ??

A post shared by Burning Man Style (@burningmanstyle) on

The art installations are as wild as ever. A three-headed woman wrapped in shrouds gives some burners pause.

My lady. #burningman2017 #playaparty #brc #deepplay #industwetrust

A post shared by Megan Schoenbachler (@meganlouella) on

NOW WATCH: Executive Life videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.