Here you will find links that will take you on a trip through the past — through the history of Burning Man — from its early days on a small beach in San Francisco through its evolution into the bustling temporary metropolis of 60,000+ people and sprawling diaspora that Burning Man has become today. Indeed, Burning Man has grown from a small group of people gathering spontaneously to a community of over a million people.
It is impossible to truly understand the event as it is now without understanding how it has evolved. For a high-level overview of each year, see our Historical Timeline.
For more details, look through the archives for each year, starting with Burning Man 1986-1996 for the legendary story of Burning Man’s beginnings. These archives contain descriptions of each year’s art theme, theme camps, large art installations, as well as maps, journals of our city being built, the newsletters to the community, issues of the Black Rock Gazette (a daily news publication that was produced and printed on the playa), and clean up reports for each year.
These archives represent the history of not only our event, but our community and our culture, as they are one in the same.