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But this 28-year-old celebration of free expression in a tent city in the desert makes Somerset’s annual orgy of mud, booze and bands look as tame as a Scout jamboree.

At Burning Man, the hallucinogenic drugs are on tap as people strip down to virtually nothing and dance late into the night on top of weird ‘mutant’ vehicles done up to look like everything from alligators or space ships.

And they tend to emerge from its sexually liberated atmosphere talking as if they have found Nirvana.

Meanwhile, Google chief executive Larry Page said last year he wanted to create a lawless society where inventors could test new products without consequences.

He said this commune would be modelled on Burning Man.

Starlets have been spotted walking around naked while, two years ago, a supermodel and her boyfriend were seen dressed in Native American tribal costumes.

The sight of those early Burners with their wild-coloured hair and pierced faces burning wooden effigies prompted local people to think they were Satanists.

The desert is like an ocean: A pirate ship cruises the Playa during the Burning Man 2014 festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada which draws hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world each year Sex between ‘Burners’, as festival-goers are known, is known variously as ‘dust love’ or ‘tent trysts’, and old hands suggest it is simply ‘selfish’ to stick to monogamy.

Public nudity, especially by women, is actively encouraged, while orgies — or at the very least partner swapping, if not threesomes — have become just as much a feature of Burning Man as the ceremonial torching of a huge wooden effigy of a man to celebrate the summer solstice.

Ms Guber Brufsky says the cost is a ‘bargain’ — allowing people to be ‘anonymous and uninhibited in a safe environment’.

And even if they only want to observe, the festival has turned into what some say is a ‘voyeur’s paradise’.

But the hippy founders described the burning of the effigy which is the festival’s climax as a ‘spontaneous act of radical self-expression’ and say it has nothing to do with paganism or Devil worship.

One of Burning Man’s founding principles is that it should ‘encourage the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources’.

City in the desert: An aerial view of the Burning Man festival reveals the true scope of the event.

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