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September 08, 2015

From thousands of feet in the air, the annual Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert, Nevada looks relatively similar year after year (see above). But come September, each gathering takes on a new identity. This year's festival was themed the "Carnival of Mirrors," and an estimated 70,000 people made the voyage to create (and eventually destroy) the temporary Black Rock City community. For an entire week—August 30th through September 7th—free spirits celebrated art and self-expression at the momentary metropolis, eventually burning the main installations at the end of the festival. At the end of it all, you never would have guessed tens of thousands of people were living in the area's harsh conditions—the entire space is left spotless.

Attendee or not, the sights are out of this world. Here are a few shots culled from this year's attendees on Instagram using the highly popular #BurningMan2015 hashtag:

[View the story "Burning Man 2015" on Storify]

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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