In 1986, friends Larry Harvey and Jerry James built a sculpture of a man out of scrap lumber in a Noe Valley basement. Together, they hauled it to Baker Beach in San Francisco with a handful of friends, doused it in gasoline and lit it on fire. Bystanders from surrounding areas ran towards the inferno to investigate the potential emergency situation. Upon reaching Harvey and James, the crowd realized it was not danger, but a celebration.
Soon, the congregation tripled and thus incurred the first ever Burning Man. By 1990, city authorities caught onto the annual gathering and prohibited the festival as a safety hazard. Harvey, James and their crew took Burning Man to Black Rock Desert for the first time where it continues to call home today.
What started as an impromptu ceremony with 35 friends has now become one of the world's most celebrated and largest affairs.
Drawing close to 70,000 Burners each year, Burning Man is now known to many as the mecca of freedom, happiness, community and music. The festival's annual make-shift metropolis, Black Rock City, acts as a desert paradise adorned with stunning art installations and camps surrounding 'The Man' that burns at over 100 feet tall.
To celebrate 30 years of Burning Man, Mixmag has searched the archives and collected our favourite images of the loved festival. Enjoy.
[Photos: Brett Amole / Dan Miller / Dave Smojleno / David Thompson / Donald Davis / Duncan Rawlinson / Dust To Ashes / Frederic Larson / Galen Oakes / Hector Mata / Inter Arte / Jay Barmann / Jef Poskanzer / Jeff Schomberg / Jim Urquhart / John Curley / Johnathon Clark / Jonas Design / Kevin Clark / Kyle Kriegerhair / Laura Kimpton / Lauravia / Mel Lindstrom / Michael Holden / MSR / NK Guy / Ranger Danger / Reuters / Scott London / Scott London / Spencer Tunick / Steve Harvey / Stewart Harvey / Thomas K. Pendergast / Trey Ratcliff / Tristian Savatier / Victor Habchy / Waldermar Horwat / William Neuheisel]
Sydney is Mixmag's US Digital Content Editor. Follow her on Twitter here