Larry Harvey, the man behind the Burning Man festival, died Saturday at the age of 70, according to the organization's website. It was founded in San Francisco in 1986 as a bonfire ritual for the summer solstice.
"Our founder, friend, and original instigator, Larry Harvey has passed away", wrote Marian Goodell, Burning Man Project CEO.
"As he [Larry] would have wished it, let us always Burn the Man", the organization said in a statement.
The festival attracted so many attendees from the tech community in the late 1990s and early 2000s that it was often joked that Silicon Valley would shut down during Burning Man because so many tech employees would head to Black Rock to hang out.
After he created the famous "Burning Man" around 70,000 people from around the world now flock to a dry lakebed 100 miles east of Reno every August for what has become a weeklong celebration. He was surrounded by close friends and family, and Burners sent an outpouring of love and appreciation leading up to the time of his passing. In 2017, a man died after running into the Burning Man's flames.
A native of Portland, Ore. and college drop-out, Harvey worked various odds jobs around San Francisco before beginning his journey towards making Burning Man come alive in Black Rock City, Nev. "And he said, 'Can you say that again?' And I did and we did it".
Over the years, Harvey faced criticism for turning Burning Man into a cash cow. At the center of this temporary but virtual metropolis is the Burning Man itself, a 40-foot-tall wooden structure outlined in neon and stuffed with fireworks that's set afire in the festival's climax.
The adopted son of OR potato farmers, Harvey in 2011 at the age of 63 acknowledged a hard upbringing, noting that he was no longer afraid of his dad.
Larry Harvey, 70, died in San Francisco on Saturday. He settled in the Haight-Ashbury district for many years. He was president of its board and "chief philosophic officer". One ticket to Burning Man can range anywhere from $425 to $1,200.
In 2017, a man ran into Burning Man's flames, suffered burns over nearly all of his body and died. That same year, three other people were injured when a drunk driver ran over their tent. That same year a man was killed when his motorcycle collided with a van carrying people to the festival. In 2007, a man was charged with arson after setting the Burning Man ablaze four days early. They settled out of court and Harvey retained control. Harvey was adamant about the value of experiencing this type of culture.
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