2024 European Leadership Summit

This April, from the 5th to the 7th, the Burning Man European Leadership Summit (ELS) 2024 welcomed 250 Regional Contacts and community builders from across the Regional Network to gather in an inspiring and collaborative learning atmosphere. They shared their experiences, hard-won expertise, successes, and challenges drawn from their year-round efforts fostering community events and initiatives inspired by Burning Man’s 10 Principles.

Participation is by invitation only.


As part of Tallinn Music Week spanning 3-7 April, 2024, Creative Culture Making: The City As Canvas, brought together the public, Tallinn Music Week and ELS participants for a discussion about how our cities can be more creative, connected, thriving, and fun. What are some lessons from Burning Man and its guiding principles? What roles do creative spaces, music, dancing, and nightlife play in the health of our communities and cities? Elena Natale (founder of club Hall, unda festival), Steven Raspa (Burning Man Project’s Associate Director of Community Events) and Ivo Upan (Estonia Burning Man Regional Contact) joined an insightful panel discussion moderated by Marko Lepik (Speaker, Workshop Facilitator, EQversity.com)

What Happens at a European Leadership Summit?

Connection and Growth – Connect with like-minded Regional Contacts, artists, and culture hackers, all united in their commitment to applying the 10 Principles to build a better world. The ELS welcomes new and seasoned ELS participants, offering a space that values everyone’s contributions and encourages growth.

A Dynamic Learning Environment – Expect a series of engaging workshops, insightful talks, and interactive sessions led by forward-thinking peers and inspiring speakers from across the Burning Man Regional Network and beyond. Gain insights into the latest trends, strategies, and best practices in community building.

Some of the 2024 ELS topics included:

  • Environmental Sustainability: Explore strategies for a sustainable community future.
  • Cross-Cultural Communication: Adopt communication that harmonizes diverse voices.
  • Regional Event Best Practices: Ensure safety, cultural sensitivity, local engagement, and mindful scaling.
  • Permanent Placemaking: Uncover the art of creating lasting community identities.
  • Burning Man Philosophy: Dive into the ethos defining Burning Man culture.
  • Community Decision-Making: Explore techniques for collaborative decision-making.
  • The Impact of Art: Learn how Burning Man and Regional Events create artists.
  • Conflict Management and Resolution: Turn challenges into growth opportunities.
  • Storytelling: Discover its importance in connecting and uniting us.
  • And much more.

Collaborative Community Building – At the core of the ELS experience is the opportunity to co-create with a diverse and passionate group of Burners. Share experiences, exchange knowledge, and work together to tackle challenges. This summit is a crucible for forging lasting connections and collaborative partnerships.

A Celebration of Culture – Tallinn was the perfect backdrop for our gathering and celebrating past, present and future.

Content Proposals for ELS

 Learn more about the proposal process for the 2024 ELS.

2024 Theme: BEing and Bridging: Together We Gather

This year’s theme, “BEing and Bridging,” isn’t just poetic—it’s a call to action. It’s about finding the magic in togetherness, in the shared spaces we create and the bridges we build in our hearts, our communities, and across cultures. It’s about coming together, not just in presence but in purpose, to celebrate our differences and discover our united strength in creativity and resilience.

In a world often divided, we propose something radical – a gathering that transcends digital disconnection, political partisanship, and the noise of the everyday. This summit is about the daring imagination required to envision and build futures worth dreaming of. How will we bridge the gaps in our world with ingenuity, love, and bold action?

The journey to the future of Burning Man – and beyond – starts with us, here, together.

The Invocation: Together let us gather the meeting points and thresholds of being. From far and near and places we have yet to visit, let us bridge the spaces within and among us. Let us step across the simple planks, the clever footbridges, and the fanciful thresholds we have built, and stand together in a new space of our own making.

The Moment: On this the 25th year of the Burning Man Regional Network, we find ourselves standing at a kind of threshold that bridges where we have come from and where we want to go. We will likely get there by doing what we have always done: making shit up together, trying stuff, and making it real in ways that open the heart, seem like magic, but come about with a lot of very real sweat, tears and laughter! We will also very likely do it by building bridges. In fact, each of us is a kind of bridge, welcoming others to join us and sometimes even crossing ourselves(!) to discover what awaits us on the other side. 

Questions to Ponder: “If we are each a bridge of sorts and we choose to gather, what do you call a gathering of bridges?” And how many bridges does it take to create a magical meeting space where we can be truly ourselves AND together in the world at the very same time? 

The Proposal: Amidst political partisanship, war, and techno-corporate mumbo-jumbo realities that are churned out these days on an assembly line of plastic-wrapped electronic consumer reality shows, alternate fact sound bites, short-attention spans, and AI-generated disposable products, let’s try to do something different. Let’s gather authentically, with curiosity, with love, and particularly daring imagination! Then, while we are together enjoying just being together in person again, let’s contemplate what bridges need to be built and what kind of futures are worth creating.

The Heart of the Matter: Our theme this year reflects on the joy of gathering in person again and our work bringing people together: to be wildly creative, to do good work in the world, to find themselves, to celebrate differences, to find commonalities, and discover our interconnected humanity in relationship with the natural world. 

But what is “together”? Well, that’s up to you. It doesn’t mean we always agree. We are a community of contrarians and contradictions, after all. “Togetherness” can be a fertile meeting place at the continental shelves of embodied consciousness, where diversity of experience, varied perspectives, and human potential all commingle in nutrient-rich waters of encouragement and possibility. Part of that is just making the space to be and do and share!

The Invitation: How many bridges does it take to create a space of togetherness? 

Answer: Just one…and an invitation to join in the act of creation. 

Past Years’ Summits

The annual European Leadership Summit both strengthens the international community and showcases an exemplary creative and cultural hub to ELS participants. Previous Host Communities include: