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Watch Burning Man 2018 live

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For those without money to burn

Burning Man is a house divided at times. It has it roots in Bay Area bohemianism but for decades has famously gone down in Nevada, and although it’s a celebration of counterculture and post-status quo ideals it’s also prohibitively expensive to actually partake in.

What are homebound burners to do? Well, there’s always the vicarious experience of the 24-hour Burning Man livestream, broadcast via YouTube straight from Black Rock City.

The stream went live on Sunday, the official opening day of the great desert debauch, and will continue through the grand finale on September 3, which of course will include the ritual giant effigy burning that gives the entire shindig its name.

Those who have never seen the climactic inferno before can check out a recap of last year’s conflagration here.

The ceremonial immolation is an awesome and sometimes startling sight. It’s also potentially hazardous, as we learned in 2017 when 41-year-old Aaron Mitchell, a resident of Switzerland, was fatally burned after leaping into the flames. Festival organizers say they don’t plan to install fences around the burning figure this year in spite of the tragic aftermath.

Note that the livestream is audio-free, which is probably a good thing given that the raucous nature of the festivities would just sound like jumbled chaos anyway.

It does make watching the silent partying a slightly surreal experience though, particularly at night, when the desert glows with lights and neon-illuminated vehicles crisscross the landscape like enormous fireflies. A relaxing spectacle in the small, strange hours of the morning.

Update: You can listen to the aural stylings of the playa over at BMIR at 94.5 FM. (Available in the U.S. only.) Also, since the entirety of Burning Man isn’t visible via live stream, check out some of the eye-popping art and architecture gracing the temporary city.