Larry Harvey, co-founder of the Burning Man festival, has died. He was 70. His festival changed the world as we know it.
Larry suffered a stroke earlier this month and passed away at home on Saturday morning, a statement on the organisation's website said.
The globally celebrated anti-establishment, anti-consumerist festival that he and a friend began 32 years ago on a San Francisco beach grow into an annual counterculture festival where up to 70,000 people gather in Nevada's Black Rock Desert. New York Times writers have described it as, or compared it to, a 'weeklong cyberhippie carnival', a 'fringe culturefest', 'a hallucinogenic state fair', 'a full-scale countercultural declaration of independence', 'the internet made flesh' and 'the Whitney Biennial reimagined as a rave party'. By 2015 the Burning Man Project reported annual revenues of $37.5m, of which $30.4m was ploughed back into running the event.
As the statement on the Burning Man website says: "Larry was never one for labels. He didn’t fit a mold; he broke it with the way he lived his life. He was 100% authentic to his core. For all of us who knew or worked with him, he was a landscape gardener, a philosopher, a visionary, a wit, a writer, an inspiration, an instigator, a mentor, and at one point a taxi driver and a bike messenger. He was always a passionate advocate for our culture and principles that emanate from the Burning Man experience in the Black Rock Desert."
As Mashable writes: "Burning Man's fame far outgrew the numbers who made the actual trek to Black Rock. In particular, Silicon Valley took to the event with a vengeance. Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos were regular attendees. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page were not only enthusiastic Burners themselves, but chose their CEO, Eric Schmidt, because he was the only candidate who had been to Burning Man. But Larry's mind was forever on the philosophy behind the event and the good it could do in the world at large. Burning Man was never just a party or an arts festival to Harvey; it was what anarchists call a Temporary Autonomous Zone, a space to try different ways of living, that would inspire change back in the "default world." Harvey called Burning Man a "hundred year movement," and felt that regional events known as 'burns' would soon overtake the need for one central Burning Man."