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Sep. 1, 2018, 3:56 PM

Some say you have to experience the world of Burning Man to understand its magic.

Over the past 32 years, has evolved from a bonfire among friends in San Francisco to an international phenomenon attended by modern-day hippies and alike.

Roughly 70,000 "burners" descended on the playa in Black Rock City, Nevada, last weekend for the annual counterculture gathering. The festival is offering its fare of , 130 musical acts, celebrity sightings, and . This year's Burning Man kicked off on August 26.

Some say you have to experience the world of Burning Man to understand its magic. In the meantime, these photos of Burning Man 2017 offer a glimpse of what it's like to attend.

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Each year, a city rises on a remote swath of desert in Nevada. Burners call this temporary metropolis "Black Rock City."

Getty Images

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The festival forms in the same shape every year: a giant semi-circle.

Reuters

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Nearly 70,000 people, known as "burners," come for the nine-day event.

Reuters/Jim Urquhart

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They arrive by private plane, car, or "mutant vehicle" — a souped-up theme car.

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This anthropomorphic tree is actually a mode of transportation.

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So is this light-strung vehicle.

Reuters

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Founded in 1986, Burning Man celebrates notions of self-expression, civic responsibility, and art. There are 10 core principles that exemplify the festival's culture.

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No money changes hand throughout the event. People can gift items to each other.

Reuters

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But the festival isn't free. Tickets in 2017 started at 5 per person.

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Participants bring everything they need, including food, water, and shelter.

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The festival is also known for its dust storms. Goggles and bandanas help.

Reuters

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Clothing is optional.

Reuters

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But costumes are encouraged. Though the fashion on the playa is imaginative, attendees do follow trends, including goggles, sparkly spandex, unicorn horns ...

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And lots of color.

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Steve MacWithey, also known as "Man in the Mirror," made his mirrored suit by hand.

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Burners throw wild parties that last from dawn into the night.

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When one-percenters invade Burning Man, they bring luxury with them.

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There are a variety of accommodations to choose from, depending on budget.

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Most festivalgoers stay in tents or camp in their vans.

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Many more stay in theme camps, where small communities form. Camps emerged as a way for groups of burners to create spaces for interactive experiences. They also offer shelter.

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These two, Dustin Smith and Rebecca Wyatt, threw a wedding at Burning Man 2017. They got married in the middle of the desert.

Reuters

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The art installations are as wild as ever. This family of bears at 2017's Burning Man was made from pennies.

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These burners gave a dance performance as the "Playa Players Collective" orchestra played Stravinsky's "Rites of Spring" in front of a huge, glowing art project called the "Tree of Tenere."

Reuters

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An artist collective, called Big Imagination Foundation, built a glow-in-the-dark jumbo jet as an art installation.

Big Imagination Foundation/Facebook

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One burner traversed the playa in a car wrapped in a cymbal-banging monkey toy.

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A three-headed woman wrapped in shrouds gave some burners pause.

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There's tons of performance art. The alien-like people pictured below formed a small parade.

Reuters

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This performer spun a flaming staff.

Reuters

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While this group of burners dressed as furry animals danced on a pier.

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Some burners competed blindfolded, oiled wrestling matches.

Reuters

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Others, suspended in the air, participated in a friendly fight in Death Guild's Thunderdome.

Reuters

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These attendees watched as one art installation was set ablaze.

Reuters

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The flames reached great heights. On the last night of the festival, participants burn "the man," a giant, flammable stick figure.

Reuters

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The festival is a temporary break from normal life, until everyone packs up on September 3. Black Rock City will then disappear — until next year.

Reuters

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