near Gerlach, NV
Some 48,000 performance artists, dawn worshippers, software programmers, and a 50-foot-tall sculpture destined for fiery destruction, come together on a Nevada desert playa so flat that you almost can see the curvature of the earth. Attendees must bring their own necessities—food, water, and body paint—and many build their own theme camps, creating an ephemeral city in the desert. Past camps have included the Alicean Camp, featuring flaming croquet; the Barbershop Roulette Camp, where attendees subjected their hairlines to the whims of fate; and Fern Grotto, a large fern-filled adobe with a sophisticated misting system that watered the plants—and visitors—every hour on the hour. Outrageous costumes, or lack thereof, add to the carnival atmosphere, and the celebration reaches a frenzy of emotion when the 50-foot, firework-stuffed Man goes up in its final blast of pyrotechnical glory. Not for the weak of heart or narrow of mind.