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This forgotten news clip shows the insanity of Burning Man in the '90s


burning man 97

Today, we know Burning Man as an oasis in the Nevada desert where the tech elite and modern-day hippies gather in the shadow of some pretty crazy art installations.

Not too long ago, the annual festival was a bit more like "Mad Max" on the playa.

A video clip from 1997 resurfaced last week that shows a news crew from ABC's "Nightline" discovering Burning Man for the first time. The Huffington Post spotted it making the rounds.

This is Burning Man before it became a survivalist summer camp for adults, before the likes of Paris Hilton and Katy Perry turned out.

The reporter describes the event as "a loosely organized, frenetic explosion of community, creativity, and chaos," while footage plays showing attendees dance and riot around a burning human effigy (a long-standing Burning Man tradition). There are no luxury camps in sight, or electronic dance music DJs throwing it down before a crowd high on ecstasy.

A young man explains to the camera that he used to be shy and reserved.

burning man corset

"I thought if I came out here — in such an open atmosphere — I could really be myself," he says.

"It sounded like it was the last cool thing to do," another attendee, dressed in monk's robes and sunglasses, says.

The reporter mentions that the event is so remote, festival-goers must bring their own food, supplies, and lodging. Most so-called "burners" still rough it on the desert floor, but a growing number of attendees drop into luxe accommodations, known as "plug-and-play" camps.

burning man parking

Often at these sites, hired help assist the camp with production and concierge services around the cafeteria and lounge spaces. C-suiters shell out as much as $10,000 for a reservation.

Entrance to Burning Man in 1997 cost just $75. In 2016, it was $470, including a vehicle pass.

The costumes (or lack therof) were just as surprising two decades prior. People in the ABC news report wore Native American-inspired garb, tuxedos with masks made from tree branches, and pleather, lots of pleather. An occasional nude bicyclist rides across the frame.

Oh, yeah, and this happened:

burning man car

If you've seen "Mad Max: Fury Road," you might think that instrument-wielding "burner" looks familiar. The flame-throwing guitarist on wheels from the movie became a cult favorite.

mad max guitar guy

Watch the full news report below:

SEE ALSO: Vandals just decimated Burning Man's 'fancy camp' founded by the son of a Russian billionaire

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