The Original Burning Man Takes a Look at the New

So lately, all of my friends have been talking about Burning Man and planning for this year’s festivities because a rumor has been floating around that this could be the last year it will ever happen. Whether this rumor is true or not, I’m really not sure.

I’ve never been to Burning Man myself, and I thought I knew the history behind it and kind of what it was all about, but not really. Whenever I heard about it, people only talked about rave-like dancing to electronic music, camping for a week and bringing your own supplies, naked people running around, and making it an excuse for a week-long drug session.

I mean, I love electronic music. Win. I live in San Francisco and if I cared about naked people running around, then I definitely would need to move. Win. I like camping and although I havent been for a week, I could try it. Win. But the thing about everyone surrounding me constantly being on drugs freaks me out, to be honest. Not that I’m totally against them, just don’t want to have to deal with it, really.

Anyways with all these burning questions in my mind if Burning Man is really what everyone says it is, I decided to go to the source and find out for myself.

I sat down with Jerry James and Mike Acker in Jerry’s Mill Valley home to talk about what started Burning Man. For those that don’t know, Jerry James is the original cofounder of Burning Man alongside Larry Harvey, and built and designed the first man in 1986. Mike Acker came along after he was hired by James in 1988 to build the third burning man at Baker beach.

We talked about them building the first original burning man, what they think of the event now, and how much it has changed over the years.

Listen to the audio story and enjoy!
It’s always good to know what something orignally was intended to be before diving into how it is now.

To see what Jerry and Mike are up to today, take a look at these websites and acknowledge their current work.





Posted on May 12, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I really enjoyed your article on Burning Man. I’ve never attended Burning Man but have always been curious as to what it was all about. It was very interesting to hear from the originators with their views on how it has changed since the original event.

  2. I hate the Burning Man drug-fest stereotype; I’ve been known to do drugs myself and have no problem hanging out with people on them, but there is much more to Burning Man besides drugs. There are drugs at Burning Man, but they are way less obvious than pretty much any other festival you can go to (police presence is heavier at Burning Man than most other festivals, and commerce is a big no-no in Burning Man culture, so there are no open air drug sales). If you’re participating in the electronic music culture in SF, you’re way more exposed to drugs and people on them then you would be at Burning Man as a whole. If you go to one of the rave camps at 4 in the morning, yeah, there will be a fair number of people on drugs, but I doubt that’s much different than a nightclub in SF. Even at the late night rave camp, far from everybody is on drugs, and there are plenty of other things you can do at Burning Man besides the late night raves.

  3. Top class website from Janean Hersha

  4. Great project and interview! My first burn was in 92 and I’ve been back 12 more times, bringing my son in 07, 08, 09, 11. I don’t do drugs personally; I haven’t noticed more drugs or less over the years.

    • Thats awesome! Its definitely interesting to see what people think about it then versus now, and if it’s changed at all! Definitely different from the original Baker Beach days. 🙂

  1. Pingback: Important links and videos for your weekend « the magic wonder blog

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