Parents are bringing their young children to Nevada’s counter-culture Burning Man festival showpiece despite its reputation for drugs and desert storms.
Visitors to the artistic showpiece, which prides itself on ‘radical self-expression’, are known for posing nude in the desert, dressing in extravagant costumes and setting sculptures of humans alight.
Nonetheless, up to 2,000 children are expected at the festival, which begins this Sunday in the desert north of Reno, and where organizers are putting on family-friendly events such as an Intergalactic Family Dance Party.
‘Burner’ parents face difficulties with diapers as they cannot dispose of their waste at the site.
‘Our son is such an extension of our life, and Burning Man is a part of our life year-round,’ one mother told the New York Post as she took the three-year-old to the festival.
Parents are bringing their young children to Nevada’s counter-culture Burning Man festival showpiece despite its reputation for drugs and desert storms. An 18-month-old toddler is seen at a previous Burning Man event
Visitors to the artistic showpiece, which prides itself on ‘radical self-expression’, are known for posing nude in the desert and dressing in extravagant costumes
The sun rises behind a 100-foot-tall model of a man that was erected over the campground in Black Rock Desert, Nevada for last year’s Burning Man event
Bianca Snyder said bringing her toddler ‘was an adjustment’, although he is allowed in free of charge.
Organizers tell visitors to ‘leave no trace’ so a baby’s diapers have to be packed up and disposed of afterwards, she explained.
Another mother, Samantha Zirkin, had an alarming experience when she discovered that the ‘Magic School Bus camp’ where she had planned to stay was really an LSD-based community.
More than 50 people are arrested each year at the event, most on drug-related charges.
One man said he had seen Google co-founder Sergey Brin at the event with his child and thought ‘Why can’t I do that?’.
As a result, he is bringing his two children to the festival this year.
This 2017 photo shows the massive campground that is erected specifically for the festival and taken down immediately after
An art installation at the Burning Man festival which prides itself on ‘radical self-expression’, and where visitors are known for posing nude in the desert
They wanted to dress as Disney characters but were warned not to because of the festival’s anti-corporate worldview, he said.
The first Burning Man celebration took place in 1986 in San Francisco, when artist Larry Harvey burned a 9ft wooden sculpture of a man on a beach to mark the summer solstice.
In 1990 the festival moved to Nevada’s Black Rock desert, where a steampunk city pops up every year, and has inspired copycat events around the world.
The tribute festivals including Afrika Burn, held at Tankwa Karoo National Park in South Africa, and MidBurn in the Negev Desert in Israel.
The week-long festival hosts some 70,000 people, who pay $390 for entry.
Earlier this year the U.S. Bureau of Land Management recommended that attendance be capped at the existing 80,000 level for the next 10 years.
At least 70,000 people are expected to descend on Black Rock Desert for the week
Founded in 1986, the festival is known for celebrating music, art, self-expression and sexual liberation
In 1990 the festival moved to Nevada’s Black Rock desert, where a steampunk city pops up every year, and has inspired copycat events around the world
As the event has grown from a few hundred to tens of thousands of attendees, the increased vehicle and foot traffic has led to more frequent dust storms.
In a mission statement on its website promises the festival ‘will bring experiences to people in grand, awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit’.
Organisers say they hope to ‘address social problems, and inspire a sense of culture, community, and civic engagement’ through the event.
Attendees are expected to abide by Burning Man’s ten core principles, which include ‘radical inclusion’, ‘radical self-reliance’ and ‘radical self-expression’.
They are also supposed to ‘leave no trace’ after they pack up and go home.
However, after last year’s event a partially reassembled airplane which had been a main attraction was spotted lying abandoned in the Black Rock Desert weeks later.