The Man in the Hat, Larry Harvey, Passes


An image of Harvey wearing his trademark hat has been posted at the top of the Burning Man Facebook page.

After the celebration ended, a towering wooden effigy is burned to the ground.

Begun in the late 1980s as an outgrowth of a whimsical desire to burn a wooden statue on a small San Francisco beach, Harvey's idea morphed into a desert extravaganza that became so popular it fomented a backlash as ticket prices and attendance soared. The actual cause of death has yet to be determined, however, Harvey had suffered a massive stroke earlier this month, according to CBS News.

"Thanks for everything. (No, really, pretty much everything in my life right now is a result of Burning Man.)", read one post. "And he said, 'Can you say that again?' And I did and we did it". A non-profit organization, the Burning Man Project, was eventually formed to run the operation, with Harvey serving as board president and "chief philosophic officer".

The AP once described Burning Man as "an esoteric mix of pagan fire ritual and sci-fi Dada circus where some paint their bodies, bang drums, dance naked and wear costumes that would draw stares in a Mardi Gras parade". The event moved to Nevada in 1990.

Over the years, Harvey faced criticism for turning Burning Man into a cash cow.

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Burning Man is a multiday event dedicated to art and community, where attendees are asked to follow a set of rules that include the practice of "gifting". "He didn't fit a mould; he broke it with the way he lived his life", Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell wrote. He was 100% authentic to his core.

Larry Harvey, co-founder of the Northern Nevada counterculture festival Burning Man, has died.

In 2017, a man ran into Burning Man's flames, suffered burns over nearly all of his body and died. In 2007, a man was charged with arson after setting the Burning Man ablaze four days early. That same year a man was killed when his motorcycle collided with a van carrying people to the festival.

Some critics often likened Harvey to guru leading a cult, though he resisted that depiction.

Harvey is survived by his son, Tristan, his brother, Stewart, and his nephew, Bryan.