RENO (CBS / AP) — More than 50,000 revelers are gathering on the northern Nevada desert for the climax of the annual Burning Man counterculture festival.

Federal Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Lisa Ross says a record 53,341 people attended the event on Friday night, a 9% increase over the same time a year ago.

She says the agency hopes to release Saturday’s attendance figure later in the day.

Last year’s event, climaxing Labor Day, attracted more than 51,000 people to the remote Black Rock Desert about 120 miles northeast of Reno.

The annual celebration of radical self-expression was expected to make its usual climax late Saturday night with the torching of its 40-foot signature effigy.

Ross says no major problems have been reported at the weeklong art, music and performance festival.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (4)
  1. Donald Sandri says:

    Is “Burning Man” really any fun? Seems like it is the media darling right now. I’ve had friends attend Burning Man since the early 90’s. Used be a giant sex orgy according to my buddies..

  2. Stephen Tynan says:

    While Rome burns….

  3. Agent P says:

    Donald –

    Isn’t that what all these type of ‘gatherings’ are pretext for anyway…? Times & technology change, but human nature doesn’t. Didn’t change at Woodstock, and hasn’t changed since, on the actors –

  4. PeepsRepublikOfKalifornia says:

    Counterculture? Twenty years ago, maybe! By next week they will be accused of being mush less radical than the TEA Partiers!

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