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Burning Man founder Larry Harvey, 70, dies weeks after suffering massive stroke

Burning Man founder Larry Harvey has died after suffering a ‘massive’ stroke. 

The 70-year-old was admitted to hospital at the start of April where he was surrounded by friends and family.  

Despite his passing, the festival is still scheduled to take place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert in August this year. 

‘Our founder, friend, and original instigator, Larry Harvey has passed away. Larry suffered a massive stroke at his home on the morning of April 4. We resolutely held out for a miracle,’ a statement on the Burning Man website read.

‘If there was anyone tenacious, strong-willed and stubborn enough to come back from this challenge, it was Larry. Though we all hoped he would recover, he passed peacefully this morning at 8:24am in San Francisco, with members of his family at his side.’

Larry Harvey, the 70-year-old founder of Burning Man, has died  after suffering a stroke. He is pictured in 2011 

Harvey (pictured front, sitting on a box at the 2013 event) founded Burning Man in 1986

Harvey (pictured front, sitting on a box at the 2013 event) founded Burning Man in 1986

‘Larry was never one for labels. He didn’t fit a mold; he broke it with the way he lived his life. He was 100% authentic to his core. For all of us who knew or worked with him, he was a landscape gardener, a philosopher, a visionary, a wit, a writer, an inspiration, an instigator, a mentor, and at one point a taxi driver and a bike messenger. He was always a passionate advocate for our culture and principles that emanate from the Burning Man experience in the Black Rock Desert.

‘As he told one of us recently, Larry liked to create “scenes” that made people consider the world in a new way. He was extraordinarily successful at doing just that.

‘Burning Man culture has lost a great leader and an inspiring mind. He adeptly interpreted the manifestation of what became a movement. I have lost a dear friend who I’ve known, loved, and worked beside for nearly 22 years. The loss of his presence in our daily lives will be felt for years, but because of the spirit of who he is, we will never truly be without him.

‘Larry would be the first to say this isn’t an ending, but the start of a new chapter, and we all have a hand in where we go from here,’ the statement read.

Harvey is pictured in 1998 with Marian Goodell, one of the other earliest founders. They are pictured near Baker Beach in San Francisco where the first Burn took place 12 years earlier

Harvey is pictured in 1998 with Marian Goodell, one of the other earliest founders. They are pictured near Baker Beach in San Francisco where the first Burn took place 12 years earlier

A poster from the 1987 event which included a photograph from the 1986 inaugural Burn. It was described then as a beach bonfire and invited attendees to bring food for a 'potluck' to celebrate the Summer Solstice 

A poster from the 1987 event which included a photograph from the 1986 inaugural Burn. It was described then as a beach bonfire and invited attendees to bring food for a ‘potluck’ to celebrate the Summer Solstice 

Harvey held the first Burning Man in 1986 on Baker Beach in San Francisco along with friend Jerry James. 

It involved them setting fire to a knocked-together wooden figure on the Summer Solstice and attracted a crowd of 33 people. 

 Since then, he has overseen the event as it grew into a lucrative and trendy yearly festival drawing tens of thousands of people from all over the world. 

Speaking of the first Burn previously, he said: ‘It was like a second sun brought down to this earth, it was just.

‘It transfixed us, but… that’s where the story begins, in fact.’ 

As the crowd grew, Harvey said he noticed a hippie had taken his pants off, put them on his head and started a song about fire. 

HOW TICKET PRICES CHANGED OVER THE YEARS

1986 – 1990: Free admission 

1991: $15

1992: $25

1993: $25-$40

1994:  $30 

1995: $35 

1996: $35 

1997: $65

1998: $65-$100

1999: $65-$100

2000: $95-$200

2001: $200

2002: $135-$200

2003: $145-$225

2004: $225- $300 

2005: $145-$250

2006: $185-$280

2007: $195-$280

2008: $210–$295

2009: $210–$360

2010: $210–$360

2011: $210–$360

2012: $240–$420

2013: $380

2014: $380 (plus $40 vehicle pass)

2015: $390 (plus $40 vehicle pass)

2016; $390(plus $40 vehicle pass)

2017: $425 (plus $40 vehicle pass) 

The crowd joined in and soon everyone was singing. 

Soon, a woman then towards the effigy and held its hand through the flames. 

‘What we had instantly created was a community. 

‘And… you know if we had done it as an rt event, people would have come, and come to the gallery or something, and said “It’s very interesting, perhaps a little derivative, what are you going to do next?”‘ he said of it in a 1997 speech. 

They held another one the following year which attracted a crowd of around 80. 

By 1988, the effigy had grown to 30ft tall.  

The first desert burn took place in Nevada in 1990 after authorities in California put an end to the Baker Beach event. 

For the first Black Rock City event, 350 people traveled to the desert. 

The number doubled the following year and began taking a more organized form with Black Rock City rangers, a designated patrol, police force, which rescued lost campers and made the event more safe.

By 1997, 10,00 people flocked to the event. 

Ticket sales began in 1991. It was the same year that Crimson Rose, who went on to become the event’s creative director, joined its board. 

They have steadily increased ever since. 

On its website, the event says it used all of the money raised through ticket sales to go back into the event. 

In 2015, it spent more than $9million on organizer salaries. Other money was spent on contractors, permits and fees to host the event and taxes. 

A portion is used on grants in the art world and some is also used on a commissary to feed volunteers. It began in 1991, the first year of ticket sales when one cost sold for $15.  

1998: The festival returned to Black Rock Desert in 1998 after taking place on the Hualapai Flat the year before. The theme was Nebulous Entity 

1998: The festival returned to Black Rock Desert in 1998 after taking place on the Hualapai Flat the year before. The theme was Nebulous Entity 

2000: In Black Rock City in 2000, a Burner admires the effigy as it is prepared atop bales of hay 

2000: In Black Rock City in 2000, a Burner admires the effigy as it is prepared atop bales of hay 

The festival has grown in size and significance gradually over the years. Pictured above is the 2003 event in Nevada's Black Rock desert when 30,000 people attended and the signature effigy had grown to nearly 80ft tall

The festival has grown in size and significance gradually over the years. Pictured above is the 2003 event in Nevada’s Black Rock desert when 30,000 people attended and the signature effigy had grown to nearly 80ft tall

Since the early 2000s, the size of the effigy has grown every year.  In 2016, it was 50ft tall. 

A theme is now put in place every year. The last theme was Radical Ritual. 

Attendees pay at least $425 for tickets to the nine-day event. They form a self-sufficient community in the desert where money buys you nothing except from ice and coffee.

Organizers are stringent about how it is perceived. 

They do not consider it so much a rave or a musical festival as they do a movement and coming-together of artistic minds for a communal exercise in expression. 

The 2013 effigy once it had been set alight atop a recreated UFO. 70,000 people gathered to watch the 85ft structure being set alight 

The 2013 effigy once it had been set alight atop a recreated UFO. 70,000 people gathered to watch the 85ft structure being set alight 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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