AP PHOTOS: Israel desert ablaze with 'Burning Man'
by Oded Balilty, Associated Press
June 09, 2014 09:45 AM | 1054 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this Saturday, June 7, 2014, photo, a man looks at a wooden sculpture that was set on fire during Israel’s first Midburn Festival, modeled after the popular Burning Man Festival held annually in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, near the Israeli kibbutz of Sde Boker. Some 3,000 people set up a colorful encampment in the dusty moonscape, swinging from hoops by day and burning giant wooden sculptures by night. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
In this Saturday, June 7, 2014, photo, a man looks at a wooden sculpture that was set on fire during Israel’s first Midburn Festival, modeled after the popular Burning Man Festival held annually in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, near the Israeli kibbutz of Sde Boker. Some 3,000 people set up a colorful encampment in the dusty moonscape, swinging from hoops by day and burning giant wooden sculptures by night. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
slideshow
Mideast Burning Man Slideshow
In this photo taken Thursday, June 5, 2014, An Israeli man rides a bicycle as the sun goes down during Israel’s first Midburn festival, modeled after the popular Burning Man festival held annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, in the desert near the Israeli kibbutz of Sde Boker. For five days, participants _ mostly Israelis _ created a temporary city dedicated to creativity, communal living and what the festival calls “radical self-expression.” (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
view slideshow (6 images)
NEGEV DESERT, Israel (AP) — For the Bedouin Arab shepherds tending their flocks in Israel's Negev desert last week, it was almost as if aliens had landed from outer space.

Some 3,000 people set up a colorful encampment in the dusty moonscape, swinging from hoops by day and burning giant wooden sculptures by night.

It was Midburn, Israel's first Burning Man festival, modeled after the popular carnival held annually in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Midburn is a mix of "midbar," Hebrew for desert, and the English word "burn."

For five days, participants — mostly Israelis — created a temporary city dedicated to creativity, communal living and what the festival calls "radical self-expression."

Some came costumed in cape or corset. Others, from babies to grandparents, went nude. Participants brought their own food and water, and shared with others. The only thing on sale was ice because of the scorching heat.

There were workshops in sculpture, drawing, and touch therapy. There was music and theater. At the "tent of heaven and hell," participants were chosen at random for one of two fates: getting massages or doing chores.

During the day, Bedouin shepherds meandered to the fence surrounding the festival to observe the spectacle. When day turned to night, a larger-than-life wooden sculpture was set on fire.

The festival took place a few miles southwest of the desert gravesite of Israel's founding father, David Ben-Gurion, who dreamed of making the Negev desert bloom — though he probably didn't envision it blossoming with hula hoops and pyrotechnics.

At the end, participants were told to remove their own trash and leave the desert without a trace.

Here is a series of images by Associated Press photographer Oded Balilty of Israel's first Burning Man festival, called Midburn.

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Follow AP photographers and photo editors on Twitter: http://apne.ws/15Oo6jo .



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