Midburn, Israel's Burning Man, Marks Biggest Year Ever

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If you know someone in tech, or someone who has a lot of money, or someone who loves bad art, you probably know all about Burning Man, which—as far as I could gather by pretending to listen some years ago to a tech-minded and moneyed bad art lover—is a festival that takes place every year in the Nevada desert and that encourages its 70,000 participants to erect pointless structures, dance around them naked for a few days while swallowing copious amounts of drugs, and then burn down their encampment and spend the rest of the year going on and on and on about how much they love Burning Man.

Sand, tech, too much familiarity: As soon as Israelis learned about the festival, they realized they just had to have a version of their own. And so was born the Midburn, a portmanteau of midbar, Hebrew for desert, and burn, American for “I have no idea what to do with all my spare time and money so I guess I should literally burn both.” Convened for the first time in 2014 not far from Sdeh Boker, the small kibbutz in the Negev famous for being the home of David Ben-Gurion, the festival soon grew in size and stature. This week, it convened for the fourth time, attracting nearly 12,000 people, a record number, making Midburn the world’s third-largest Burning Man-type festival.

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