AN Accrington expat said it is a ‘great honour’ to be leading a prestigious event with more than 70,000 artists across the world taking part.

Andrew Johnstone, a muralist raised in Dill Hall Lane, will take the reins for the upcoming annual Burning Man Festival held in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, USA.


He moved to San Francisco 25 years ago and established himself under famous architect William Holgate working on cathedrals, palaces and architectural treasures.

In 2005 Mr Johnstone worked with Rod Garrett to design ‘The Man’, the centrepiece of the festival and was named Design Steward of the Man in 2011 when Mr Garrett passed away.

The festival is called Burning Man because a large wood sculpture of a man is set on fire.

Mr Johnstone said: “It’s an amazing thing to be a part of and a great honour to have the responsibility of leading the project.

“The idea of the Burning Man Festival is that no one who attends will be a spectator, they will all be working on their various projects.

“There will more than 70,000 people attending this year who will work to this year’s theme Da Vinci’s Workshop.

“Because of the theme we have constructed a Vetruvian man base to match the theme.

“It’s all top secret at the moment and so far it has taken us around a year just to work out the mechanics of a spinning base.

“It’s a very humbling experience to be a part of Burning Man and when I left Accrington I never thought I would have found the chance to be taking part and leading such a prestigious event.

“We have been working on the project for a year now so we’re ready and raring to go.

“If any artists from Lancashire ever find themselves out in San Francisco or attending the Burning Man Festival drop me an email at”

It will take place from August 28 to September 4.