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What you need to know about Burning Man

Each year, tens of thousands of people gather at the Black Rock Desert to take part in a unique event focused on creativity and expression. Burning Man is a week-long festival that kicks off every year on the last Monday of August and leading up to Labor Day - the first Monday of September. The landscape, which is located near the cities of Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, becomes an experimental community in which citizens create everything on their own and rely on each other. Depending on where you enter the city from, pick up your Las Vegas car rental or Reno car rental and head to the desert for seven days of outdoor antics.

About Burning Man

Burning Man is unlike any other festival in the country. You won't find stages filled with famous musical acts or local vendors serving up food and wine. Rather, you'll pull up in your Nevada car rental to see temporary society of like-minded people immersing themselves in the spirit of art and creativity. The more than 60,000 individuals who take part in the event embrace the beauty and tranquility of the Black Rock Desert (also called "the playa"), building campgrounds atop an ancient lake bed and commit themselves to a level of self-expression that is often shunned in modern-day life.

The festival has a different theme each year, and past motifs have included "Fertility 2.0," "American Dream" and "The Body." It's up to each participant to contribute to the fest in their own unique way that helps bring the theme to life, whether it involves dressing in costume, creating a piece of artwork or heading a themed camp. There are generally few organized events, but there are nightly bonfires, parties, exhibitions, workshops and unusual activities all put together by the people who make up this experimental community. On the Saturday night of each fest, the people gather to watch a massive wooden figure - from which the fest takes its name - be set on fire. There's also a burning ceremony in which a temple is burned to the ground.

The Ten Principles

Another unique aspect of the fest that you should know about before arriving in your Burning Man car rental is the Ten Principles. These guidelines were written by Larry Harvey, who founded the fest in 1986, and they are meant to express the culture and purpose of the fest. Among them are radical inclusion, the notion that anyone can be a part of this creative community, gifting (the importance of giving to help others without expecting anything in return) and radical self-expression and -reliance. Leaving no trace is also a major principle, asking the participants to leave the Black Rock Desert just as they found it - a beautiful natural habitat. Others include civic responsibility, participation and communal effort. Additionally, decommodification is key, enhancing the spirit of gifting by keeping commercial products, advertising and transactions out of the Burning Man community.

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