Press Kit

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About the Burning Man Event in Black Rock City

Black Rock City takes place annually in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, the largest dry lakebed or ‘playa’ in North America. Black Rock City is not a festival. It is a temporary city, created by and for event participants. There are no spectators; Black Rock City does not book acts or provide entertainment. As a decommodified event, there are no corporate sponsors.

Black Rock City is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world. Learn about ongoing work to make Black Rock City sustainable and regenerative. 

The 2023 Burning Man theme is Animalia. Black Rock City 2023 will take place Sunday, August 27 to Monday, September 04, 2023. Learn about Black Rock City 2023. 

Participants in the Burning Man community, aka Burners, organize, make and create in alignment with the 10 Principles. Burning Man is a global, non-commercial, participatory culture that comes to life at more than 100 Regional events in 32 countries around the world through the Regional Network.

Black Rock City has a positive economic impact on Reno, Nevada and Northern Nevada. In 2019 alone Black Rock City participants contributed $75 million to the Nevada economy.

Burning Man’s historical timeline will take you through the cultural history of Burning Man as it has grown from a small gathering on San Francisco’s Baker Beach into a year-round global community and culture. For more Burning Man history, philosophy and culture, browse the Burning Man Historical Archives and Founders’ Voices.

Black Rock City 2022 Waking Dreams Recap

The 2022 art theme was “Waking Dreams”, which explored the transformative power of dreams, both literal and figurative.

In 2022 Black Rock City’s peak population was 75,069.

Shape and Size of the City

  • BRC’s border was a 9.45 mile ‘perimeter fence’ that is built by hand
  • Gerlach to BRC: 13 miles. BRC to Fly Ranch: 12 miles 
  • Total event size (perimeter fence): 3,935 acres / 6.14 sq miles
  • Area of city grid: 1,113.9 acres / 1.74 sq miles

Theme camps are the lifeblood of Black Rock City. Not only do they serve as temporary communities for tens of thousands of dusty Burners, theme camps create the city’s interactivity, offering everything from snacks and shade, to workshops, dance parties, and pyrotechnics. Explore the 2022 theme camp listing.

Of Black Rock City’s 1,271 placed theme camps:

  • 626 offered workshops and classes
  • 168 served coffee and 188 camps gifted tea
  • 159 had fire elements or pyrotechnics
  • 783 hosted a bar; 627 had amplified sound

Art & Mutant Vehicles of Waking Dreams

Burning Man art is an expression of the participatory, inclusive and interactive ethos of the culture. It removes the distinction between artist and audience, inviting all to create, connect and play. 

In Black Rock City 2022 there were:

  • 419 art pieces on playa (a new record!)
  • 84 funded Honoraria art projects, including 52 Honoraria artists from 2020
  • 51 walk-in projects (art that was not pre-registered with the ARTery)
  • 44 art projects with flame effects
  • 42 international art installations representing 22 countries
  • 27 US states were represented by artists in Black Rock City

Read about 2022 Honoraria highlights in the Journal.

Based on information Honoraria artists voluntarily shared in their proposals:

  • 20% had a lead artist of color
  • 36% had a lead female or non-binary artist
  • 36% had an emphasis on environmental sustainability

Flame effects: There were 27 art projects with flame effects on the open playa, 113 registered flame effects in theme camps and 124 registered mutant vehicles with flame effects.

Fifteen art installations were burned. The largest after the Man and the Temple was “The Solar Shrine,” by Antwane Lee. As we move to a more sustainable event, we are also doing a careful review of the number of artworks that will be approved to burn on playa, ensuring that burns only happen when they are conceptually warranted.

If you are planning to participate in Black Rock City, particular attention should be paid to the Survival Guide and the Event Preparation section of the website.

More About Burning Man

Radical Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

The Burning Man Journal

Burning Man Staff Biographies

Media Archive (past event coverage)

Academics at Burning Man