Burning Man founder Larry Harvey dies at age 70

Burning Man founder Larry Harvey dies at age 70

Harvey is credited with co-founding one of the most influential performance art events in history, the Burning Man festival: a weeklong impromptu city of 70,000 participants that arises annually on a dry alkali lakebed in northern Nevada - a spectacularly inhospitable environment. On the festival's penultimate night, a huge effigy or Man is set on fire in a massive, jubilant celebration.

The festival, created alongside Jerry James was an idea that began 32 years ago at a San Francisco beach. He suffered a stroke on 4 April.

In the past years, Burning Man attendees have included Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. "And he said, 'Can you say that again?' And I did and we did it".

Within a few years the event had outgrown Baker Beach and moved to the desert. Harvey was also an activist, artist and philanthropist.

His death was announced on the Burning Man website.

It wasn't until afterward, Harvey recalled, that he had the epiphany that led to Burning Man.

Today the multi-day annual Burning Man event, held in late August and early September, attracts tens of thousands of people, and features interactive art exhibits as well as big-name music performers.

"As he told one of us recently, Larry liked to create "scenes" that made people consider the world in a new way".

Burning Man's announcement of Harvey's passing describes him as a someone who "didn't fit a mold" and "was 100% authentic to his core".

Although known for retaining its joyful celebrative atmosphere as it grew from a small gathering to one of big proportions, Burning Man occasionally had its problems.

While Harvey would speak frequently about Burning Man in the years that followed, he would reveal little about himself and it was often hard to discern truth from fiction. Last year, a man died after running into the burning flames and suffering burns on nearly his entire body. That same year a man was killed when his motorcycle collided with a van carrying people to the festival. Harvey was adamant about the value of experiencing this type of culture.

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