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The 10 (+1) Principles of Burning Man

Burning Man co-founder Larry Harvey wrote the Ten Principles in 2004 as guidelines for the newly-formed Regional Network. They were crafted not as a dictate of how people should be and act, but as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture as it had organically developed since the event’s inception. (Graphics by James Wickham)

Radical Inclusion

Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Everyone is welcome. Everyone is invited to create an atmosphere of tolerance, acceptance and inclusiveness.


Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

Bring your beautiful self. Bring your smile. Share your talent – bring art or host a workshop. No matter how small or big your contribution – it is of great value and adds to the success of this event.


In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

We are humans, we don’t have a price tag. Don’t sell, buy, exchange or trade goods or services at the event. Create a space free from advertisement.

Radical Self-reliance

This principle encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources. Radical self-reliance at a burn can literally mean taking care of everything you need to survive.

You are responsible for your needs, you are the co-creator of your dreams, you are the magician who brings your vision into being.

Radical Self-expression

Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

You are beautiful - show it. You have talents and gifts – bring them on. Be yourself. Be your best self. Be someone you want to be, today. Express yourself in a costume, in smiling at a stranger, in jumping on stage.

Communal Effort

Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Co-creation is magic. Joining a team is fun. Share the effort. Look out for opportunities to give and share with others.

Civic Responsibility

We value civil society. Community members who organise events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavour to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Take responsibility for your community and for the wellbeing of your fellow participants and co-creators. Don’t destroy other participants efforts or experience. Take initiative if you see someone not at ease, unwell, sick or being harassed. Be nice and request others to be nice, respectful and responsible. Respect and ask for consent.

Leaving No Trace

Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavour, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Live a sustainable life. Create a sustainable event. Take everything with you that you brought here when you leave. Help to keep the venue clean and tidy.


Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Get active. Lift your ass and dance. Talk to a stranger. Show your talent. Shine your smile. Bring your gifts and share them. Join a workshop.


Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Let go. Be yourself. Be here, now. Be in the moment. This is the only life you have. Don’t wait to live tomorrow. Enjoy the present experience. Be mindful and attentive. All this won’t be here tomorrow.

The principle above all principles: Consent

We take consent extremely seriously and would like our community to be fully on-board with us in this. We want to celebrate an event where a strong culture of consent will create both the safety for people to express themselves and the dialogue that may bring great personal interactions.

Consent means to us:

Communicate your intentions clearly and explicitly, both when you are asking and when you are responding. If unclear though, anything that is not a resounding “YES” you will accept as a “NO” and move on.
Be true to yourself, know your boundaries, and know how to communicate them.
“Offer” interactions, don’t: “take”, “seize” or “expect”.
Ask. Respond.
Listen. Understand.