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Larry Harvey - What Burning Man is and the Festival's Beginnings

From Audio: Podcast 572 – “A Tribute to Larry Harvey”

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station description Psychedelic Salon
Psychedelic Salon
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Duration: 04:01
Larry Harvey, a founder of Burning Man, discusses the beginnings of the festival, what the festival is, and reminds us that the festival is created by participants.
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Larry Harvey, a founder of Burning Man, discusses the beginnings of the festival, what the festival is, and reminds us that the festival is created by participants.
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I don't know. Well, annually we build a temporary city, uh, on a prehistoric lake bed in the wilderness of Nevada in the U. S. And, uh uh, it now has a population annual population of of approximately 70,000 people. And, uh, and it is a city. It's not just a festival ground. In fact, people live in it. It's many things at once. It's a, uh, the world's largest interactive art exhibition. Uh, it's a wilderness camping trip at the same time and a place subject to vicissitudes of nature that are, uh, frequently awe inspiring and, uh, and sometimes appalling. And, uh, so it's a It is survival camping, even as it is also, uh, cosmopolitan city. You have to remember, this is created largely by participants. You know, uh, it's not a big name stars, you know, playing a massive crowds. Uh, if you want to stage at Burning Man, build it yourself. If you look at it as an entrepreneurship, which we didn't really, we looked at it as a project are non profit is called the Burning Man project, something we do together. But from that standpoint for ours is one of the biggest success stories in the postmodern era, you know, to start from something so simple and now to be global in scale and growing fast. Uh, I don't think that's a bad thing. I we never saw it as a retreat from a society. We never saw it as a refuge from society. Well, maybe some people have, but I haven't and the people who let it. And I never thought that way. We thought that those values combined represented potential for a good way of life. We're not hiding from the world. We're trying to change it when people go to burning man and they're so moved that they want to go home and be as they were at Burning Man. Find a way to be that way outside the event. Now, if it were a consumer event, they wouldn't have that feeling. This isn't so much about transactions, it's about transformation. And so they asked for some guides, some credo, some something because without the customs that had grown up in the in the in the surrounding environment of Black Rock City, they were at a loss. They didn't know what to do and given the principles, they said, Okay, now we can talk to one another, and now we can share ideas. And it's made coherent just by these these these simple ideas. And, uh uh, So we formed, uh, we're now a nonprofit. We started out we were limited liability company for years, and myself and my partner is owned it. We surrendered our ownership and transfer it to a nonprofit. Its mission is to seek out anything that acts and behaves like our culture. Whether it's in our lineage or not doesn't matter. And to find those embers wherever they are and blow a little oxygen into them and and and fan that flame. We have now seen incredibly diverse array of activities that have united people, uh, in various places that that, in fact, if looked at through the lens of the 10 principles to define that way of life in unexpected ways, uh, you know, philosophy should address what makes life worth living
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