Israel’s second annual Midburn festival attracted nearly 7,000 revelers to the Negev Desert over the weekend. They held all-night raves and interacted with giant art installations, all with the aim of exploring the meaning of life and challenging the authority of the Man.
The festival, modeled after the annual week-long event held in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, set up a temporary city “creating a platform which will allow a communal life style, creativity, art and radical self-expression,” according to the festival website.
Midburn plays on the words midbar (Hebrew for “desert”) and “burn,” the culmination of any Burning Man event, when a wooden effigy of the proverbial Man is burned. The festival is described as an experiment in community, art, self-expression and self-reliance.
This year, the festival hosted 67 art installations, and bore a clear directive to help the Negev region by attracting visitors. It went ahead after weeks of wrangling between organizers and police, who sought to increase surveillance on the festival’s grounds and place restrictions on nudity.
Many participants created theme camps revolving around music, art, meditation, food, or performance. Typically, artists work in teams for months prior to the festival to create giant art installations across the desert floor. There is no money exchanged during the festival (except for ice). Participants dance at all-night raves under the stars, hug rather than shake hands, and try to leave the desert spotless when they leave.