Larry Harvey, who organized the first of the now-annual Burning Man arts festivals in 1986 on a San Francisco beach, has been hospitalized in critical condition following a stroke Wednesday, festival organizers say.
Harvey, 70, suffered a “massive” stroke Wednesday and remains in critical condition, according to a post Monday on The Burning Man Journal.
“While his prognosis is unknown at this time, Larry is receiving excellent round-the-clock medical care and constant companionship from his family and very close friends,” the post reads. “We know this news may be startling and saddening for many of you, as it has been for us.”
Burning Man has evolved into an arts extravaganza at a temporary tent city created each year in the Black Rock Desert about 100 miles north of Reno, Nevada, attracting 70,000 people in 2017. This year’s event will be held from Aug. 26 to Sept. 3. The festival takes its name from the traditional construction and burning of a wooden effigy, called The Man, at the event.
Harvey, who has remained heavily involved in the event, organized the first Burning Man in 1986 on Baker Beach in San Francisco wiith co-founder John Law, according to The Reno Gazette-Journal. Harvey has told several versions of the story behind the burning of the first effigy, including a joke about an ex-girlfriend that has become part of Burning Man lore.
The nonprofit festival, which now has a full-time staff based in San Francisco, has been criticized by some in recent years as a money-making scheme, the publication reported. But the annual event continues to be a massive draw, typically selling out within minutes when tickets go on sale.