Countercultural guru who founded 'Burning Man' festival dead at 70

Larry Harvey countercultural guru who founded Burning Man dies at 70

The founder of a popular United States counterculture festival, Burning Man, has died in San Francisco.

Larry Harvey, an American counter-traditional culture icon and the founder of the long-running celebration event or festival known as "Burning Man", was dead at 70, the organizers of the event said Saturday afternoon. The festival grew over the next four years and was then relocated in 1990 to Black Rock Desert in Nevada, just 100 miles outside of Reno where it continues to be held each year.

The festival, created alongside Jerry James was an idea that began 32 years ago at a San Francisco beach.

Harvey's longtime friend Stuart Mangrum posted on the organization's website that he didn't believe in any sort of existence after death.

Harvey had suffered a "massive stroke" earlier in April and died at home with family at his side, she said. "He was 100% authentic to his core", praised his long-time friend and Burning Man CEO, Marion Goodell, on the organization's website.

"Now that he's gone, let's take the liberty of contradicting him, and keep his memory alive in our hearts, our thoughts, and our actions", Mangrum wrote.

"I called a friend and said, "Let's go to the beach and burn a man", Harvey told the website Green Living in 2007". In 2017, the festival was attended by over 70 thousand people.

After that simple gathering, Harvey conceptualized the larger countercultural festival he would name Burning Man.

Harvey, a native of OR, grew up on a small farm outside Portland. That same year a man was killed when his motorcycle collided with a van carrying people to the festival.

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

Many stories have been told about why Harvey chose to build a wooden man and set it ablaze on the beach in 1986.

Harvey eventually formed a limited liability corporation to put on Burning Man, converting it in 2013 to a nonprofit with 70 employees and a budget of $30 million. "It's our identity", said Mr. Harvey, who often spoke against the commodification of popular culture.

Harvey is survived by his son Triston, brother Stewart, nephew Bryan and the "global community of devoted Burning Man participants inspired by his vision to build a more creative, cooperative, and generous world".

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