Height of Man: 32 feet, standing upon a 47-foot, pyramidal Temple
Location: Black Rock Desert
Population: 30,586

  • Theme: Beyond Belief
  • Burning Man organizers successfully met the challenge of new stipulations in the event permitting processes in order to allow Black Rock City to become a reality once again.
  • The initial response to the ticket sales announcement far exceeded experience from previous years. We knew early on that we would see high enthusiasm and turnout.
  • The creation and launch of the Extranet in 2003 revolutionized the way volunteers and participants share and access information throughout the Burning Man community around the world.
  • The Regional Contacts program continued to expand, as new regional groups continued to organize and started to put on their own events and to communicate with each other. A Regional Summit was held on the playa, and the Regional Contacts were all brought together for the first time.
  • Black Rock City saw the addition of a new street and additional port-a-potties, as interest in the event continued to grow and population increased to the highest numbers ever.
  • Two new spire-lined walkways connected the 3 and 9 o’clock plazas with the Man. These avenues gave Black Rock City a new look, aided nighttime navigation, and created a new challenge for the Lamplighters, who are responsible for lighting the streets each night. This addition was the first major change to the Lamplighter workload since the addition of the walkway from the Man to David Best’s Temple of Tears in 2001.
  • The city contained 504 theme camps in 2003, up from 487 in 2002. The space allotted to theme camps remained the same as previous years, while the population density of mapped areas grew immensely – 12,000 to 15,000 participants camped in mapped theme camps that comprised approximately 30% of the city.
  • For the second year in a row, we were blessed with beautiful weather, except for a small storm during set-up and a white-out storm on Sunday. For the first time in years, the clean-up crew was not lost in a several-day-long white-out storm.
  • At 12:15 p.m. on October 10, 2003, Burning Man passed the Bureau of Land Management’s clean-up inspection with flying colors!
  • According to the Bureau of Land Management, Burning Man is the largest Leave No Trace event in the world.
  • The winter Town Hall meeting took place on December 14, 2003 after a year absence. Participants were invited to this open forum to ask questions about issues of interest. For the first time, the Town Hall session was accessible over the web, so Regional Contacts and others could view and participate in the event.
  • For the first time in 2003, dogs were not permitted to attend the event.
  • Recycle Camp collected more than 96,000 cans, then crushed them and donated them to Gerlach High School. The high school received $800 for the cans, which will help fund programs and projects at the school.