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Burning Man turns festival into a wonderland

Midburn event is an experiment in community, art and self-reliance.


May 27, 2015 | Latest Photo Prev Next
woman looking at mirrorwoman looking at mirrorPhoto: MENAHEM KAHANA / Shutterstock
May 27, 2015 | Latest Photo

Across the world, a woman sits in front of a mirror for an art installation. She took part in Israel's 2015 Midburn festival in the Negev desert which concluded Sunday.

The five-day event is based on the U.S. Burning Man festival. Burning Man was started in 1986 when a few friends in San Francisco met on a beach and burned a nine-foot wooden man, which one of the friends described as an act of "radical self-expression." They started planning annual gatherings, which later emigrated to the Nevada desert. The event grew by word of mouth and boasted more than 65,000 participants in 2014. The 2015 festival will be held this August.

A woman and a child look at sculptureA woman and a child are enchanted by a fiery sculpture. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/Shutterstock)

Festival-goers still build a large wooden sculpture resembling a man, which they burn at the end of the festival, giving the event its name. Among the many guidelines for the gathering, participants are urged to be independent but inclusive, practice giving and civic responsibility, express themselves without reserve and leave the desert exactly as it was found. The overall vibe is one of community, where everyone is encouraged to live freely, in the present.

circleParticipants share their insights around a bonfire. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/Shutterstock)

Just like the American festival, the Israeli version is an experiment in community, art, self-expression and self-reliance. According to the Midburn festival's website, participants come and set up a temporary city in the Negev Desert “creating a platform which will allow a communal life style, creativity, art and radical self-expression."

body paintBody paint, an ancient art, has been making a comeback lately. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/Shutterstock)

This was Israel's second-ever Midburn festival, and it drew in over 6,000 people, double the number of last year's participants. Festival-goers danced in all-night raves under the stars and interacted with 67 giant art installations. They created theme camps around music, art, meditation, food and performance.

shadowsAs scorching day turns to pensive night, the festival takes on a mysterious feel. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/Shutterstock)

bikeIf there's one thing cooler than riding a bike through a desert, it's riding a bike through a desert at night. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/Shutterstock)

flame artsBurning Man has a whole set of guidelines for flame arts. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/Shutterstock)

kissingFrom mountains to deserts, a kiss is a kiss. (Photo: MENAHEM KAHANA/Shutterstock)

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