The Shape and Size of the City

It was far from easy, but we did it!

Starting with a vast, desolate playa, Department of Public Works crews, theme camps, artists and thousands of others worked together until Black Rock City was a crescendo of lights, sound and exhilarating creativity.

“All of this wildness and everything that we do is in one of the most remote and inhospitable places on the earth. It’s perhaps the only place it could be, since it tends to make people who are not into it nervous when the spectrum of possibilities is even suggested, let alone acted upon.”

~ Dr. Hal Robbins, SEE TV Mutant Vehicle (Burning since 1996)

Shape and Size of the City

  • At its peak, there were 75,069 participants in Black Rock City 2022
  • Including the city and playa, Black Rock City was 3,935 acres or 6.14 square miles
  • The city grid (without playa) was 1,113.9 acres or 1.74 square miles
  • The trash fence, which circled the city, was 9.45 miles long

The Waking Dreams Man

  • From toes to the top of head, the Man was 34’ tall
  • Including the Man Pavilion, the entire structure was 64’ high
  • The Man and Man Pavilion were 100% solar powered

Art and Interactivity at the Man Pavilion

Around and beneath the Man, the community created provocative, immersive experiences incorporating dance, performance art and music — often all at once.

Mexican artists Víctor López, Luis Sánchez and Tania Quezada illuminated the interior of the Man Pavilion with magical realist murals that spoke of allegorical journeys.

“My work is based on exploration of my own family and my ancestors, my roots… I consider the Black Rock Desert a sacred place. Taking my ancestors to this sacred space within a creative endeavor is something very important in my life and work.”

~ Víctor López, Zapotec artist and Man Pavilion muralist (Burning since 2022)

Empyrean, Black Rock City’s 2022 Temple

Empyrean by Laurence Renzo Verbeck was selected to be the 2020 Temple. When the 2020 event was paused, the Temple team co-created the virtual Ethereal Empyrean Experience. In 2022 Empyrean rose in its physical form and was released by fire.


A dream you dream alone is only a dream.
A dream you dream together is reality


Interactivity & Community

Humans are the real marvels of Burning Man. 80,000 Burners converged on Black Rock City to create shared experiences — collisions in the Thunderdome, pranks and shenanigans, dusty orchestral afternoons… and YOU doing whatever you love to do.

Theme camps create the city’s interactivity,

offering everything from snacks and shade, to workshops and dance parties. There were:

  • 1,190 placed theme camps
  • 67 placed villages 
  • Many unplaced and impromptu camps

“What’s happening now is the work of thousands doing things I can’t have even imagined. What a sandbox we have to play in!”

~ Rob Schmitt, Cacophony Society instigator (Burning since 1990)

Shape and Size of the City

Black Rock City and beyond happens through Civic Responsibility — individuals stepping up and getting things done. As Burning Man culture grows, Burners are taking their passion for service around the globe.

769 mutant vehicles were invited to Black Rock City. At any moment, you could be picked up by a giant rubber duck, illuminated by a flaming octopus, or conveyed by a ship chased by a luminescent shark.


This year in Black Rock City there were:

  • 27 art projects that lit up the playa with fire
  • 113 registered fire art features in camps 
  • 124 mutant vehicles with “poofers” and other flame effects

“I don’t talk about burning the Man. It’s releasing. I always feel like: if we can release the Man, we’ve won.”

~ Crimson Rose, Burning Man Co-founder, “The Ritual and Risk of Dancing with Fire,” Burning Man Journal (Burning since 1991)

A Great Circle of Fire Artists

Before the Man burned, 29 fire groups — 1,282 fire performers and crew — encircled the man, lit their props and flowed into the largest convergence of fire performers on Earth. 

In 2022 Fire Conclave performers originated from Canada, Costa Rica, Russia, the UK and the US; they represented 19 US states and two Canadian provinces.