Turnkey / Plug and Play Camping in BRC

Introduction

As soon as we packed up and left the playa this year, some disconcerting stories and questions began to emerge about camps reportedly engaging in behavior counter to what Burning Man is all about.

Questions range from the logistical – how do these camps operate in BRC? Does the organization provide them with resources? — to the more philosophical – is the event fundamentally changing as a result of Burners bringing their luxurious lifestyles to the playa? What does this mean for Black Rock City and Burning Man culture?

At Burning Man Headquarters, we’ve been asking ourselves many of the same questions. And we’ve received thousands of pieces of feedback. We’ve read hundreds of emails, heard personal stories face-to-face and seen many more online.

So what is the organization doing? Over the past two months, we conducted interviews with hosts and producers of camps receiving the bulk of the negative attention following the 2014 event. We gathered information internally and externally, and held a roundtable discussion with the Burning Man Project Board of Directors.

We then held a series of internal meetings with participation from three of Burning Man’s founders, event operations leadership, and the key teams poised to address this issue directly (Placement, Community Services, Ticketing and Communications). After proposing a list of reforms and drafting this post, we elicited feedback and input from various stakeholders and community members, including the Regional Network leadership.

It took time to respond because we were determined not just to say “this is what happened” but also to say “this is what we plan to do about it.” We’ve created a list of frequently asked questions to address some of the most pressing concerns and identified the policy changes we’ve made so far.

We have a lot of work to do in the coming months. This FAQ, along with Burning Man founder Larry Harvey’s essay, “Equality, Inequity, Iniquity: Concierge Culture,” is the first step.

Turnkey FAQ

One of the first challenges we faced in addressing issues related to turnkey camps was defining what, exactly, they are.

While not new to the event, turnkey (or “plug and play”) camps began gaining wider attention in 2012. That year, the Burning Man organization started a dialogue on the topic with this post and, following a series of meetings and discussions, developed these turnkey guidelines.

The term “turnkey” has been used to describe camps with paid teams that set up infrastructure before other camp members arrive. This general definition could be applied to many camps, including many well-known, beloved and highly participatory theme camps.

Turnkey is a category that includes a variety of camps along a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum are camps that offer major contributions to the playa and depend on infrastructural support to do their work and provide their offering on the playa (the Temple Camp, for example); these camps have a team that provides support services, enabling their fellow campmates to focus on giving in ways that benefit the wider BRC community.

On the other end of the spectrum are “plug and play” or “concierge camps” (A.K.A. hotel camps, resort camps, commodification camps), where vacation-type experiences are sold in package deals at exclusive prices, often with no expectation or commitment by campers to contribute to the larger community. It is this latter type of camp we are addressing here.

Profit/Commodification

How is it okay for camps to market the Burning Man experience?
Packaging, advertising and selling the Burning Man experience is absolutely not okay. A camp that is truly commercial in nature, meaning that it seeks to reap financial gain, publicly advertises for customers and does not contribute to the greater community, is not in line with Burning Man’s principles.

Trolling for campmates that are unknown to fellow campers and charging a higher than normal camp fee is tantamount to filling hotel beds with total strangers — which means the camp’s purpose isn’t about community and connection, it’s about bodies and budget. These concierge or commodification camps undermine the social fabric of our community, which is unacceptable.

Further, bringing a VIP lifestyle experience — with velvet ropes and wristbands — introduces an element of exclusivity into a culture that values inclusion, and those that opt in to these kinds of camps miss out on the transformative power of the event. Black Rock City offers a unique opportunity to collaboratively create an experience for yourself and everyone around you. Coming to Burning Man and living in an area that’s self-contained while avoiding engagement with the broader community directly contradicts the spirit of the event.

What is the Burning Man organization doing to stop this?
Each year, we encounter a handful of companies advertising luxury, all-expenses paid package tours of Burning Man. When they make use of the Burning Man name or logo, our intellectual property team works to curtail promotional efforts by forcing any reference to ‘Burning Man’ to be removed. One of our greatest assets in this effort is Burners themselves, who are quick to report companies advertising on Facebook (where the lion’s share of promotions first surface) and elsewhere on the interwebs. We encourage you to be part of the solution by reporting these operations to ip@burningman.org.

If Burning Man stops businesses from selling things in BRC, how can it allow for-profit theme camps that package and sell experiences in our gift economy?
Burning Man does not condone this activity. Commodification camps are not only in direct conflict with our culture, they are also not allowed by the terms of our permit. Individuals and groups operating commercially on Federal land are required to have a special recreation permit issued by the Bureau of Land Management. A commodification camp operating without a permit risks citations and fines from the BLM. The Burning Man organization is exploring ways of monitoring this more effectively in the future – we will have more information available in advance of the 2015 event.

Who is making money off of elaborate plug and play camps?
Many other large-scale events sell luxury boutique camping options. Burning Man organizers have never provided these services (and don’t intend to – that’s just not who we are). Because Burning Man doesn’t provide these types of accommodations, some producers saw an opportunity and began to offer them.

While there may be some camp producers hoping to benefit financially, in all of our conversations with the hosts (the person or persons with the idea of the camp who are footing the bill) of numerous camps – including those gaining wide attention after this year’s event – we have yet to identify a single host who profited from their camp (or more importantly, ever intended to). To the contrary, hosts often end up paying out of pocket to cover the high costs of their elaborate camps.

Note: calculating a camp’s revenue using the estimated number of campers and its published camp dues is faulty, since most camps have a sliding scale for camp dues and often have non-paying guests.

Does the Burning Man organization benefit financially from plug and play camps?
No. Camps are entirely personal endeavors and the organization is not involved in the production of any plug and play or concierge camps. And no camp can pay Burning Man for extra privilege in Black Rock City.

What about actual scam camps?
This year, as in the past, there were a few reports of scam camps — in which organizers misled participants into paying for services that were not delivered. This is egregious and will not be tolerated. For 2015, we’ll work to educate participants on what to look for when considering joining a camp, and remind folks that joining an organized camp is not a necessary part of going to Burning Man. Thousands of Burners opt for living in unreserved camp spaces, walk-in camping, or to create small camps of their own that don’t require paying any camp dues.

What is the Outside Services (OSS) program? Why does Burning Man have it?
Years ago, theme camps and artists began renting generators, heavy equipment, and receiving other deliveries that arrive in semi trucks and trailers. Processing these arrivals at the gate put considerable strain on BRC’s infrastructure. In response, Burning Man created the Outside Services program.

An OSS contract ensures a company delivering to the playa follows the Leave No Trace principles, does not engage in commerce on-site (with the exception of fees for pumping), follows certain behavior expectations, and does not remain at the event without proper entry credentials. It also stipulates that each company should cover its logos – this is not something we’ve rigorously enforced (for practical reasons) but it’s important in terms of acculturation. All contracts with participants must be pre-arranged and money must change hands prior to being on site. The organization charges a fee for the OSS entry credential, which goes to support the administration of the program. More details can be found here.

Tickets

Were tickets taken out of the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) and sold to plug and play camps?
Nope, not a single one. In fact, in addition to tickets contributed to STEP by participants, the Burning Man organization put an additional 2,500 tickets for sale in STEP in 2014, which went to those waiting in the queue. Tickets are never removed from STEP by the Burning Man organization for any reason.

So where did plug and play/concierge camps get all those tickets?
Concierge camps purchased tickets through all of the same avenues available to other participants and other large camps, including the early Pre-Sale, the main Individual Sale and on the secondary market. A few of these camps also purchased tickets through the Burning Man Project’s Donation Ticket Program (see below).

What’s the Burning Man Project Donation Ticket Program?
The Burning Man organization is actively building the foundation for a nonprofit with a global vision. We have seen how Burning Man culture can positively influence the world, and each day we’re approached with new ideas, projects and partnerships in the ever-growing community of Burners worldwide. This endeavor brings with it new challenges and costs.

In the first year of this program (2013), less than 300 tickets were sold. In 2014, 1,200 tickets were sold through this limited sale intended to raise funds for the new nonprofit. The Donation Ticket Program sold tickets between May and July. No tickets were sold through this channel after August 1. Tickets were sold for face value plus a $250 tax-deductible donation to Burning Man Project. Invitations were sent to participants who had previously contributed to Burning Man Project, or who had expressed interest in doing so, including some in plug and play and concierge camps. Other well-established theme camps also purchased Donation Tickets to cover a shortfall in tickets for their build crews and campmates.

What’s up with the different ticket prices, anyway?
Years ago, Burners expressed an interest in purchasing tickets for the following year to give as gifts during the holidays. This coincided with the organization’s financially lean months — the time after event production costs were done but before tickets went on sale for the next year. So, in 2008 we introduced the Pre-Sale at a higher price point. The money raised from these higher priced tickets offsets the 4,000 tickets sold to cash-strapped Burners through the Low Income Ticket Program for $190 each. In 2014, the additional funds from the $650 Pre-Sale tickets matched almost exactly the amount ‘lost’ through the Low Income Ticket Program. In other words, the Pre-Sale tickets came within $400 of covering the cost of the low income tickets. We encourage those who have the financial means to participate in the Pre-Sale, which helps to make the trip to Black Rock City more affordable for others. The Donation ticket program was separate from the Pre-Sale, though the ticket prices are the same.

Placement / Interactivity / Leaving No Trace

Why did some plug and play camps receive placement in 2014?
Placement is granted to theme camps, staff camps, volunteers camps, mutant vehicle camps, art support camps, and camps providing critical infrastructure and event production services. We expect every camp that is placed to offer something to BRC.

Twelve plug and play camps that committed to providing interactive experiences for BRC were given placement in 2014. We did this because, in addition to receiving a reserved camping space, placement means getting on the map, which helps the organization manage population density issues, prevent land-grabbing, monitor Outside Services deliveries, hold camps accountable for MOOP, engage camp leads by assigning them a representative in the organization, and provide access to theme-camp specific communications.

Did plug and play camps take the place of theme camps that wanted to be placed?
No. We placed 12 plug and play camps outside of areas previously reserved for theme camp placement. In 2014, there were 1027 placed theme camps, villages and camps within villages. Only 58 additional camps completed questionnaires and were not placed. If you add art project support camps, staff camps and others, we placed over 1250 camps in 2014, making plug-and-play camps approximately 1% of the total number of placed camps.

Why were so many plug and play camps placed on K Street?
We placed plug and play camps in several locations throughout Black Rock City, one of which was on K Street. We placed them near the “public plazas” at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock in areas not reserved for theme camps, as we believed they would draw life and attention to the outer streets of BRC and possibly create civic space together.

Did plug and play camps pay a fee to get placed?
No. The placement process doesn’t have anything to do with money. Placement is decided by a group of volunteers who make decisions based on a specific set of criteria. No one can pay for preferential placement. No one can pay or make a donation to the Burning Man Project for preferential placement.

If plug and play camps are going to get placement, shouldn’t they have to demonstrate what they are contributing to BRC?
Yes. All camps that receive resources from the organization must demonstrate their contribution to the broader community. For 2015, all camps (other than infrastructure support camps) will be held to the same standards in order to receive placement, early arrival passes and access to the Directed Group Sale (see below for details).

Burning Man Project Board of Directors

What about allegations of wrongdoing by members of the Burning Man Project Board of Directors?
The Burning Man Project board is made up of 18 individuals representing a cross section of the Burner community. It includes the six Burning Man founders, leaders in business, nonprofits, the public sector, artists and a Burning Man Regional Contact.

Several board members have built and lead camps and other projects at the event – in 2014 and in past years. These are entirely personal projects; the Burning Man organization was in no way involved with the production of these camps and the camps were required to follow the same processes and procedures as all other camps at the event.

Being a member of the Burning Man Project Board does not grant any authority to make decisions about, or influence the operations of, the Burning Man event. This also applies to resources at the event.

Policy Changes

Regarding Tickets – We have eliminated the Burning Man Project Donation Ticket Program. Ticket sale information for the 2015 event will be announced before the end of 2014. Please read the Jackrabbit Speaks or check tickets.burningman.org for updates.

Regarding Placement – Other than event infrastructure camps, all camps will be held to the same standards of inclusion and participation regardless of how the camp is structured. All camps will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Camps should be visually stimulating, have an inviting design and a plan for bike parking and crowd management.
  • Camps must be interactive. They should include activities, events or services within their camps and they must be available to the entire Burning Man community.
  • Camps must be neighborly. This includes keeping sound within set limits, controlling where camp generators vent exhaust, and easily resolving any boundary disputes that arise.
  • Camps must have a good previous MOOP record 
(for returning camps).
  • Camps must follow safety protocols designed by the organization (this includes traffic management on the streets, proper handling of fuels, and any other areas defined by the organization’s production team).

Post event, all placed and registered camps will be reviewed on the criteria above, as well as MOOP score and strain on resources (whether a camp requires extra BRC infrastructure support, which could include undue communication or interactions with Rangers, DPW or the playa restoration team). Camps that have received negative feedback will be contacted in the Fall after the event, and will have to make substantial changes to their camp plans if they are to qualify for placement or the Directed Group Sale the following year. Camps found advertising are violating principles and cultural norms and will not be placed.

Regarding streets lined with RVs – We will strongly encourage camps to explore visual creativity and lighting options along streets to make them more welcoming, interesting and engaging for pedestrians.

Regarding entry to BRC and Early Arrival passes – All ticket-holding participants enter either through Gate Road or the BRC airport. There have never been special Gate Road lanes for members of theme camps, and there will be none in the future. There is no “concierge camp” fast lane, nor is there a fast lane for any other camp. We are exploring the possibility of making early entry passes non-transferrable for 2015, but need additional time to examine the administrative and operational impacts.

Regarding Outside Services – All outside service providers that pay for credentials pay the exact same rate for those credentials. There are no special “VIP” credentials available for higher prices. As a result of comments from 2014, we are reviewing all of our contract terms to determine whether there are additional ways we can continue holding Outside Services permit holders to the highest standards of behavior.

Regarding DMV licenses – All mutant vehicles are subject to the same licensing process. Every vehicle on the playa is taken to the DMV for licensing and is subject to the same licensing criteria, no matter the owner’s resources or connections off playa. In 2014, we heard of the rumor, but can find no evidence internally that any camp received handicapped stickers for non-disabled golf carts or other conveyances.

About the author: Burning Man

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211 Comments on “Turnkey / Plug and Play Camping in BRC

  • TB says:

    We listened, but we really didn’t. We refuse to take responsibility for any of it. What you all saw at the event didn’t happen. Move on please.

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  • Paul -V- says:

    What about hiring employees (Sherpas) to set-up/take-down the Commodification Camps and service guests?

    Doesn’t look like y’all are addressing that at all here.

    FYI: For the _vast_ majority of objectors, this was never about rich people bringing their luxurious lifestyles to the playa.

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  • Dave Rabbitt says:

    I can believe some of this, but not all of it. The Board of Directors information presented is definitely incomplete and I think this is a large enough topic that it deserves its own post. How is it even remotely legal for someone on a non-profit board to be profiteering from that non-profit?

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  • Celeste says:

    So the question of did the commodification camps that were so horrible on K street get early entry and tickets from the distributed group sale has been completely ignored. This was a question I really wanted answered and seems like since we will be pissed about the answer you are just going to pretend it wasn’t asked?

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  • JT says:

    When will Jim Tananbaum and his direct involvement with Caravancicle be addressed by the Organization? Not just sidestepped and alluded to? His name needs to be addressed by the Org. Saying his actions don’t effect the BM Project? How can someone be responsible for “spreading burning man culture around the world” when they setup a camp at the actual Burning Man event that blatantly disregards the majority of the 10 principles?

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  • redBone says:

    Just (co)modify the theme to smoke and mirrors… Because that’s what this blog/event is all about!

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  • Patricia says:

    Pay for experience camps are totally against our principles..but are not going to be excluded… Huh? This communication seems to be a lot of heat, but no light.

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  • Will Chase says:

    Just a friendly reminder about our comment policy: http://blog.burningman.com/comment-policy/ While we’re as liberal as possible in enforcing it, if your comment violates this policy, including making personal insults, it will be deleted. Please keep this discussion civil.

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  • Spedrungo says:

    It’s nice to see this information, some of which is actually new and informative. But even with months to prepare, it’s not especially satisfying.

    I don’t see any policy changes that address exclusivity–apparently, as long as a camp acts “neighborly” by not actively annoying the neighbors, they can have all the security guards, velvet ropes, and wristbands they want. Such camps are hardly radically inclusive.

    I also find the board of directors response completely inadequate. Very specific allegations were made and simply ignored.

    There’s also no mention of penalties. If a camp lies about its intentions and violates policies (new and old), what happens? Does the camp and its attendees get ejected? Apparently not. Bad camps can re-form with new names each year, and even flagrant violators can return with none the wiser. At least if they and their guests got ejected, they’d suffer some, and the guests might not inclined to take that route again.

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    • Greg says:

      [I don’t see any policy changes that address exclusivity . . .]

      I think this statement from the blog post addresses your question:

      “Camps must be interactive. They should include activities, events or services within their camps and they must be available to the entire Burning Man community.”

      As for penalties, I’m sure that’s a tough question. It is difficult to espouse “radical inclusion” with getting ejected. Should the principle be changed to: “We believe in radical inclusion, unless you act snooty and they we will eject you.”

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      • Tina Siftina says:

        yeah, it isn’t really any kind of policy change because they said essentially the same exact thing in April 2012 on this very blog:

        ““Adventure” outfits (defined as purely commercial businesses offering a full service camp experience that have no connection to our culture and community) providing “a Burning Man Experience” are not considered to be Turnkey camps, and as of this year they will no longer be allowed at the event. “

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    • ChaosBurning says:

      Perhaps we can self-regulate the barriers and wristbands ourselves.

      If a camp is listed and placed by BM, then they don’t get to do those things, period. And if they try, we bring our “radically inclusive” par-tay to their camps!

      This is not violence I’m suggesting, mind you. But if our party is big enough, what is their lone guard or fancy ropes going to do about it? Sure, they can call the Rangers and we wouldn’t give them any guff. And you know, that any BRR worth their salt would at least deep down inside, know that we were in the right…..

      So, if that really freaks out the 1% ers or their camp producer, After a few years of fighting our radical inclusion they will probably just give it up in failure.

      I’m sort of a Jekyll and Hyde Hypocrite the way I write sometimes, but in the spirit of Burning Man, where we say we are all responsible for creating our city, Perhaps the BOrg has done enough here, and it’s up to us to “radically express” that we won’t be radically excluded.

      Does that make sense?

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      • Surfneck says:

        Makes perfect sense. All are equal, All is one.

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      • Willard says:

        I agree. BM is a business, plain and simple. They will never fully address this issue. But we can! In the spirit of the playa let’s form a group that helps “introduce” these camps to the experience. If it’s uncomfortable for them, they won’t return.

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      • Rob says:

        This is the solution. We should realize the marvellous new opportunity for fun, capers and shenanigans (in the best BM spirit) that has now opened itself up to us by the presence of these kinds of camps. I mean, come on, do we not have the wit or the enthusiasm to take this issue on and resolve it ourselves? Or do we need someone else to make some rules for us to keep us nice and safe?

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  • sinflrobot says:

    “Individuals and groups operating commercially on Federal land are required to have a special recreation permit issued by the Bureau of Land Management. ”

    Were there any camps that were issued said permit this year? How many?

    It would also be interesting to see a list of all the registered OSS permit holders and the “service” they provide…

    FWIW, I do understand how some of these areas can get gray rather quickly, but more light tends to be the best solution to that.

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  • Gentry Phacation says:

    Burning Man Board Member Jim Tananbaum’s plug and play camp is a grievous violation of what the community stands for. The idea that you could be making money at burning man, while also on the board, is an inherent conflict of interest.

    There are no transparent records of how much the burning man organization makes, or what the board members make, just how much they spend – keeping the most important facts in the dark.

    Larry undoubtably loves this arrangement. Pretty understandable why you would make a long text post trying to lull the reader to sleep while you simultaneously try to justify the transgressions.

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  • Mr. Safety says:

    To me, the biggest risk that BMO invites is vigilantism. BMO has established an extensive regulatory list of prohibitions, rules, and expectations. They apply to some people, but not others. The ‘plug and play’ camps, that sell admission and (some) offer everything from illegal drugs to hookers and gourmet food, are not held to those rules. Police bust burners for smoking pot or sharing drugs. Open prostitution and drug dealing by the large plug and play camps goes uninvestigated and the laws unenforced by the police in these exclusive environs. Most annoying to burners, are the ‘servants entrances’ velvet ropes, wristbands, and illegal and unlicensed security guards and support personnel. I can only assume that burners will be required to take the law int their own hands, exposing these camps to law enforcement, engaging in ‘citizen arrest’ of security and support personnel, breaking down entrances and camp property, and eventually setting these camps or their vehicle on fire. This would be a tragedy, and I am extremely concerned about safety and very likely severe injury or death. When (not if) this happens, it could end Burning Man. BMO is putting the entire event at risk by not dealing with this issue. It is not a class issue (luxury vs. dirtbag) or even a money issue (nearly everyone pays thousand to attend BM). It is a a lack of awareness of a very serious threat to BM, a loss of the community caring that kept everyone safe and regulated behavior. Failure to deal with this issue by eliminating the plug and play camps, private security guards (some armed), illegal activity including prostitution, will put BM at risk.

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    • DocMaloney says:

      Great comment. I too worry about the tension growing between the community, the organizers, and the luxury camps that get special privileges.
      Also, this entire “FAQ” smells like propaganda and contains several inconsistencies within itself. I have such a sour taste about Burning Man in recent years, which makes me very sad. It’s not only not what it used to be, it’s what it used to hate.
      Burning Man = animal farm :(

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  • I think a few of the above commenters need to actually read both this blog post again and Larry Harvey’s similar post.

    I think threatening to burn down theme camps and injure people is probably not the best choice of action. They’re a very small percentage of the number of camps as well as the number of burners.

    I didn’t feel the need to go into every camp (try just wandering into DPW or the commissary, or Media Mecca. They’re camps … ) and I don’t understand other peoples’ desires to do that.

    Armed guards? Where? What camp? Did you see them, or did you “just know” they were there.

    As far as I know, there isn’t much that can be done about a for-profit or commodification camps on the playa. If they’re doing illegal shit or dangerous (even more than the “danger is funny” Burning Man standard) then law enforcement can take over. I can tell you with certainty, if you walked into my camp we would welcome you openly, although it’s not really a “public” camp. Hell, one guy set up camp not knowing he was in our space but we let him stay. However, if you came in and demanded food or decided to freely use our resources, that could cause a problem.

    A better idea, go to the law enforcement camps and walk in like you own the place. They’re public servants and didn’t buy tickets, which should give you full access to their areas. Just tell them some guy from the Internet said it was kosher.

    Also, I think the board of directors are volunteer, unpaid, positions, like many jobs in Black Rock City. While the questions about Mr. Tannanbaum were answered, maybe they can elaborate and make a greater effort to inform the hysterical, burner masses.

    I imagine the conspiracy theory/drama queens will say the Org’s replies to the ticket and plug and play camp problems are hogwash and a smokescreen covering some big scam where they’re laughing all the way to the bank.

    Maybe it is. The biggest way to keep them from profiting off of you is to not attend Burning Man. Go to Cochella instead. I hear they have showers and a food court.

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    • DocMaloney says:

      Yeah, those crazy conspiracy theorists, getting upset about the way things are going nowadays! Sheesh! They should shut up.
      And I agree with you, it’s best to just have more and more law enforcement on the playa, and in our camps. That’s the way to sort it out, more cops. They’ll decide what’s best, based on the legal system, which is flawless, and in perfect harmony with the community’s values.

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    • Timeless says:

      Super Evil Brain. WHAT’S UP WITH THE NAME! Nothing evil here. Good ol’ common sense where I come from. Diddos. The sheeple are a little thick in here.

      My own 2 cents: Don’t we want to radically include affluence as well? If more affluence would support installations and art cars, so much the merrier. We need more art support camps, (I sure as hell do.) especially us poor creatures known as unfunded artists. (We are too funded! By ourselves…) Now here’s a way to help the community. Affluent burner money has made some of my finest possible and these are artworks that survived the playa to be shared in default… Thank you! (Keep it up and these nice folks may just let you stay-on.) Just because “self-funded” artists are not honorarium stock doesn’t mean a little commissary, a good night’s rest and pat on the ass by morning wouldn’t help me make your camp and all of us shine more brightly.

      Plug and players, SUPPORT ARTISTS WHOSE WORK YOU ADMIRE
      (pweeeeze?)

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      • ChaosBurning says:

        Timeless,

        Radical Inclusion is a two-way street, innit?

        Sure, we can radically include affluence, provided they are willing to do the same. If the try not to, then we must make them do it, but not with violence.

        Civil Disobedience, Protesting, Sit-ins ….. How much work do you want to put into it?

        What about the article recently about the Barkinator? Shit, employed as a re-education tool, I’m sure we could persuade a PnP camp to take down their ropes and ditch the wristbands.

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  • A says:

    Man, y’all are so harsh about your judgements! I swear that middle aged shirtcockers are way more to put up with than PnP camps… Just go an enjoy yourselves already.

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    • Timeless says:

      Fuck’n’a, A… Do we really want to weave a class struggle into the tapestry? I thought it was a working together thing. We’ve had our chance, now let the PnP’s do what they can for the whole. We need to find ways to evolve this new, controversial twist in the trail into more pathway! Why not reach the higher echelons of power with our message if we can? (I mean, as long as we’re taking over the world anyway…).

      Eventually our burning way could remake corporations, industry, even government itself. I mean isn’t that kinda the whole idea… If that’s reeeeeally where we’re going, I don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of whiners just when we have a whole world to rebuild. Burning Man is full of brainiacks so let’s find ways to not only include but welcome financial gurus among us…

      Just think of what burners can do from here, folks. I see a ruby tumbling across playa, full of spark and vigor but still a bit course. Now the polishing begins… With a 3:1 ticket demand ratio, Burning Man can insist on the most virtuous participants, PnP’s included. I hope each will adopt a different art project or cause and show us how they can help themselves to a great experience along the way! People smart enough to attain wealth and bring it to our fabled playa surely can find ways to “do well while doing good”. And so should all of us.

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  • Kay O. Sweaver says:

    I’m satisfied with most of this, though I’ll be curious to see how these policies are actually implemented on playa and what the citizenry’s response will be. The only thing that really continues to irritate me is Jim Tananbaum.

    You say that the Board consists of Burners who “get it.” Well Jim clearly doesn’t “get it.” It makes me wonder about the selection process for the board. I understand the need/desire for good fundraisers and people with experience with big projects, but they need to be Burners to the Bone. The stories we heard about Caravanicle were disturbing and its very concerning that a board member was at all involved in such a debacle.

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  • [This is an addition to my comment above]

    Or, perhaps since I arrived via Burner Express and didn’t wait at the gate, then I should be banished from Black Rock City.

    Or, maybe we should be concerned that the people int he plug and play camps are missing out on a proper Burning Man experience, being sequestered in their world. Instead of threatening them, maybe invite them to the Black Rock City we know.

    How about that for an idea? Invite them out of their prisons and into reality.

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  • maladroit says:

    I don’t really care if someone wants to build an RV fort and guard the entrances. It makes them look really, really ridiculous…but hey, it’s a free playa.

    I care about ticket-holding individuals brought to Burning Man as employees who have to do whatever an on-playa boss commands, or else their lodging, pay, and survival supplies will be withheld. A lot of work happens at Burning Man, but it seems that few grasp the significance of totally commodifying a person out there. It’s not the same as splitting up camp duty shifts, and it’s bringing in the exact money/power dynamic that most of us are trying to escape for a week.

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  • Peace says:

    First…Thank you, well done. I think you’ve addressed my concerns, and the concerns of most Burners, with these policies, We asked you to listen, and you did. After reading the previous comments I feel like it is some of us that are having a hard time listening now. We are so battered by constantly getting the shaft in our regular lives, we’ve forgotten what it is like when someone actually shows some integrity. We’ve lost the ability to take yes for an answer. And some people just get their rocks off by fighting and you didn’t do them any favors by being reasonable. They don’t have a scalp to hang on their belt. For me, this is actually what I expected. I feel I made passionate, but reasonable arguments, and apologize if that passion ever spilled over into anger. So thank you again. Really looking forward to 2015.

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  • no comment says:

    There is a Facebook page that has over 115 thousand hits and growing.
    This page generates rancor and amongst people who have never been and probably never will go to the event.
    The sport seems to be more inclined to damage than participate in the event.

    Personally I was invited to stay at a camp only to learn I was to pay 300 dollars for services that I wouldn’t use.
    I admit I am slow, would never stay at a fee based camp and just became aware of what has been developing over the past few years as the “norm”.

    I caution to support the angst of the blogger pages with responses such as the one above.

    This community of 115k likes of non -burners will never be satisfied with any official response.

    They will just drive up the angst and blow out the ticket gate again.

    I don’t have a solution just a caution not to listen to these Internet bullies.

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  • oddty711 says:

    Thank you for listening to us and addressing our issues with these turnkey camps.
    The changes you suggest seem reasonable and in the right direction.

    You’re response did bring up a couple of things:
    •Please don’t further restrict the Early Entry passes. If the EE passes become non-transferable, when someone needs to drop out at the last minute, that project or theme camp will then be down a person and fall behind on their plans. Or when a skilled worker becomes available at the last minute, their contribution won’t be lost because they can be swapped in for another team member or gifted a pass from a camp that has extra.
    I realize the Bmorg needs to pay $10/day for every person on the playa so there can only be so many passes and that most burners lead lives that often include last minute changes, so eliminating transfers would lead to plenty of unused, but sorely needed EE passes.
    So let the Artists and Theme Camp Organizers gift and manage the distributed EE passes as their plans and needs unfold. These are the Burners who are least likely to sell, trade or barter the passes so please trust them to act according to the 10 principals.
    (I’m all for canceling passes that anyone tries to sell, but I’d like to balance that with the passes still being fluid enough to get to the people who need them.)

    •Regarding Outside Services: Can you please post a list of Intermodal Transportation companies who will have, or are interested in an SRP for 2015 as early as possible? I’m part of a camp of 100+ trying to figure out how to get several 45′ storage containers onto the playa from the east coast and our biggest hurdle is getting them through the gate to the campsite because of the SRP.

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  • oddty711 says:

    Also, how does this affect Green Tortoise?

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  • Carol says:

    “We are exploring the possibility of making early entry passes non-transferrable for 2015, but need additional time to examine the administrative and operational impacts.”

    Is that referring to Jonathan Nutter aka Moon Shine and Tara Reynolds selling the early arrival passes for Gypsy Flower Power to some plug & play camp?

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  • jazimim says:

    @ Peace
    Seriously?

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  • Steve says:

    I agree with Peace. I’m satisfied with this response and feel like some of the negative comments are about thing that were clearly addressed in this post. Thanks, guys.

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  • Skol says:

    I spoke with numerous people who got their tickets from theme camps, that had extra tickets. Also learned that the DMV “volunteers/hotties” get free tickets while passing judgment on whom gets to get a license.

    Things get more interesting when ones reads the annual financial report. We are paying a lot so that a bunch of secret fraternity and sorority members never have to hold a real job (except for all they do for a year to put on a one week event that is really supposed to just evolve from all of our efforts).

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  • Forward says:

    Come on, citizens. Isn’t protecting our culture and experiment in community that we have worked so hard to establish and nurture worth fighting for a little harder? Isn’t making some difficult and potentially controversial policy changes now backed with stricter enforcement in the interests of the greater community better than kicking this concierge can down the road and hope for the best? Do not underestimate the power of commodification creep. We see its evil impact everyday in our default world.

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  • Terry says:

    “For 2015, all camps (other than infrastructure support camps) will be held to the same standards in order to receive placement, early arrival passes and access to the Directed Group Sale (see below for details).”

    In other words, this WAS NOT the policy in 2014, but of course they never outright admit it. “We will do better, without admitting we did anything wrong” is hardly a comprehensive, and transparent statement.

    Shame on you all.

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    • Burning Man says:

      Megan Miller here, with Burning Man’s Communications Team. What we hoped to do in the Placement section of the FAQ was to state clearly that in 2014, 12 plug and play camps were placed that were not held to the same standards as theme camps. We wanted to explain what our thinking was for placing them, that it was a mistake not to hold them to the same standards as theme camps, and that it won’t be repeated in 2015. I hope that’s a bit more clear.

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      • Mimi says:

        I’m looking for that part where you state that clearly, and can’t seem to find it. It’s nice that your doing it in the comment section, but maybe you can go back and edit the original post to include the admission of wrongdoing. Not everyone reads the comments. This is important enough to be highlighted and in bold letters. We waited a long time to hear you say, “we were wrong”, and it would be nice if it wasn’t buried in the comments section somewhere.

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  • Peter says:

    Isn’t paying a “fine” kind of like paying off the BLM/BMORG? If you pay a traffic ticket, you don’t stop driving.

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  • Sally says:

    How about monitoring mutant vehicles. Aren’t they supposed to allow anyone on (with respect to their limit). The turnkey camps had mutant vehicles that were wristband only. Myself and people in my camp were turned away when wanting a ride, when there was clearly enough room. Addressing this issue would be much appreciated and I thank you for all you’ve tried to solve thus far.

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    • Megan Miller says:

      Megan Miller from the Communications Team here. Thanks for raising this issue – it wasn’t covered in the FAQ and we agree, it’s a troubling trend. We plan to address this issue head on. In the past we’ve had language in our contract with DMV operators, including the following clause: “PLEASE REMEMBER: part of the agreement you sign is the understanding that a registered Mutant Vehicle is considered to be a public conveyance. This means that when you get a license to drive in Black Rock City you agree that you will share that privilege with others and give rides to those that need or ask … Proper etiquette should be followed; all participants are allowed to ride Mutant Vehicles so long as there are not an unsafe number of passengers aboard at any given time.” It’s clear this language is not stiff enough, and we’re looking to revise it for 2015. Unfortunately, we’ve also noticed that it’s not just plug and play camps engaging in this behavior. There are a number of camps with cars that use trinkets, bracelets or other identifiers to show membership. As you can imagine, it’s a hard thing to regulate and we don’t want to be policing everyone’s behavior at the event, but we are exploring other ways of addressing this issue.

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      • Bleurose says:

        As a volunteer with DMV, I can say that this indeed is often discussed with drivers when they come in for registration. And as Megan points out, I have seen this behavior on a scattered basis for many years (well before PnP camps became the rage) and it continues with breaches by a variety of operators, not just PnP operators. I am glad this is being addressed as one of the reasons I started working for DMV was because I had trouble getting to ride on several vehicles and wanted to learn more about how they were licensed and what the rules were. Of course I realized that the behavior I had encountered was not appropriate. But once I became a member of the DMV, I found that if I was recognized (as I often was because of my shirts or lanyards, I didn’t get that treatment. Everyone should be treated evenhandedly by all vehicle operators, not just campmates and not just DMV hotties.

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    • drdeb says:

      In regards to art car, we are a public conveyance. we also convey people and parties that are hosting special occasions on the playa, like weddings. If we have room and someone isn’t totally fucked and threatening to spew on the other passengers, we will pick you up, sometimes, people want rides when we are only going back to our camp a block or two or to get ice. If an art car passes you, maybe they have a broken steering wheel or are sick.

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      • Bleurose says:

        drdeb, I think most people understand that there are reasonable reasons for not being offered a ride. What rankles most people (and I doubt you do this) is when operators are parked out on the playa near some art late at night and there is obviously space on the deck and there is someone at the entrance who is looking each person who wants to get on like you would be looked over outside Studio 54 or some place like that, and when some people are permitted on and others are told, sorry, we can’t take you. I have seen that happen and this past year when I saw it happen, I very quietly went to the driver and showed him my lanyard and suggested that maybe they should call off the “line police” and permit others to board. He quickly agreed but I shouldn’t have had to do that.

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      • ChaosBurning says:

        RE Bleurose’s comment about Studio 54…

        Year before last, the same thing happened to me, and the vehicle was one that I volunteered alot of time on in past years. Mounted their flame effects and carbide cannon, did painting, wiring, etc…

        My friend who owned the vehicle was taking a year off and had a group from his home town and camp running it for the week.

        That behavior is supremely lame.

        I have an small art vehicle that I built myself, so I get some of the downsides, and that you simply cannot function as a taxi to every whim and fancy, or you’ll be zig zagging the city all night – but I will let anyone ride who is going where I’m going, and I will gift rides home to folks that aren’t feeling well anytime.

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  • @skol volunteer for DMV or Gate/Perimiter or anywhere else. They always need more people.
    If you ever go to Black Rock City, take look around. It wasn’t built by magic and it’s not run by a property management company.

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  • doo doo says:

    @Brian
    >They always need more people.

    Gee…….. I wonder why.

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    • Bleurose says:

      Because it takes a lot of work (I worked 42 hours of my trip in 2014 at DMV) and a lot of people to put TTITD on and I would bet that you’ve never offered to help out other than for your own camp. That is fine, there is no obligation to be a BRC volunteer, but please don’t insult those of us who do work very hard, often for nothing more than thanks (not everyone who works gets a “free ticket” or often anything more than a teeshirt) in order to help bring the event alive.

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  • Toot Toot says:

    @Sally
    >Addressing this issue would be much appreciated

    Yes, Sally. The hard truth is that douchebags have taken over the event slowly since about 2002 or 3. There is nothing anyone can do about these fucking assholes, aside from staying home to avoid them.

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  • Dr. Baron von Realz esq. says:

    I am a lead in a medium size theme camp (not a plug & play). This all seems reasonable to me except I might have an issue with the possibility of making early entry passes non-transferrable for 2015. I do not hire people to help build our camp and finding volunteers to arrive a week early is always a challenge. I usually do not have a name to put on some of the passes until the last minute. Just before burning man is a hectic time for both the camp leads and the placement power that be, adding a name a week before I leave in going to be a logistic nightmare. While helping build a large art project one year I ran into a early entry problem at the gate and was stuck for several hours. The only thing that saved me is I knew someone on the gate crew who could vouch for me.

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  • Elizabeth says:

    What about clearly branded, commercial camps like the Petit Ermitage “pop-up hotel”? Why not call these out by name and discuss them? The hotel is openly posting photos from the camp on its Facebook and Instagram…it is very clear that this is a branded experience and it was certainly sold – I know people who “stayed” there.
    My longtime camp is a theme camp with hefty dues but we have no “sherpas” (such a racist term), no ropes, no employees whatsoever except the outside services for agua and pumping. We build and strike our own camp and de MOOP ourselves. We lose money every year and someone makes it up. The article above sounds like a defense of US. That’s ok, or at least I of course think so. But it does NOT address the Petit Ermitages and the package holidays. Can we have a little more radical honesty, please?

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  • Laura says:

    Nothing wrong with shirt cocking or bare tits – no matter how saggy and baggy. If you can’t eat and watch at the same time, close your eyes and chew!
    Seriously tho, the ogres response is FULL of acknowledgment of all the issues. That is a stable platform on which to build.

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  • Toaster says:

    Excellent writeup and thank you!!!! Although I hated Larry’s response, I think this one shows the Borg listened and am grateful. My wish is that #turnkeycamps would be disavowed unless they can meet the ACTUAL standards expected in the community; engagement, interaction, participation, LNT etc… Thank you!

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  • OBVIOUS PLANTS says:

    Some of these responses are hysterical. They think we can’t tell that they are obvious plants…all saying the same thing in the same kind of language. ‘We talked, you listened. I feel completely satisfied now. Thanks for walking us through this. People who are still angry don’t have Burning Man’s best interests at heart. In fact, they are the real problem. Them and that awful website that shined a light on this problem and told Burners what was actually going on. They’re the problem.’

    Seriously guys?

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  • DiZzy says:

    The responses are something, but definitely not everything! They do not offer direct and clear answers to a lot of the concerns… What about all those art cars that do not allow access unless you are considered a VIP? What about the commodification camps that are rude and exclusive? What about the people that come to those camps and spectate the “freak-show”? What about more important issues such as sexual acculturation such as understanding that its not a free-for-all even if it looks like a free-loving paradise? The people creating and coming to the plug-and-play camps are not participating in the community or have a chance to be acculturated and therefore can misunderstand what its all about assuming things that are not so. You might not want to consider the real dangers of what it could all mean, but the citizens of BRC are being affected by the consequences!
    Therefore I propose a feedback platform where every citizen that has a complaint about a camp or an art car can be heard. Then I suggest you take that feedback seriously and you take action! Evasive blog essays are not the way to respond to a real threat to the community, and one day your inaction might come back and bite you where it hurts!

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  • Michael says:

    In general, it is good to see that a lot of time and effort is being made to address a very complicated issue about which many feel very, VERY strongly. I think its relevant to highlight that the people who care so much about this, care because BM is so important to them. And let’s also remember that the people working to address those concerns ALSO care deeply about BM. We’re all on the same side; we just need to work together to try to find a way to make our community even better. I know we can do that.

    But I do have a question (and maybe I am just being thick), relating to:
    “Being a member of the Burning Man Project Board does not grant any authority to make decisions about, or influence the operations of, the Burning Man event.”

    I don’t understand this. Doesn’t being on the board mean exactly that they ARE the people with (the most?) authority to make decisions and influence the operations of the event? Is the Burning Man Project something independent of the event? Or are you just saying that being a board member doesn’t give that one person unilateral authority?

    I don’t think (don’t want to believe?) any one was TRYING to subvert the BM ethos, but I think we can agree that somehow, somewhere things got a little off track.

    Now, I want to trust the board (with the support of the entire community) to do exactly what I think their remit IS – to make decisions and influence the operations of the event to make sure we stay / get back on track.

    Sincerely – thanks for all the good work, and good luck as you tackle this next challenge.

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  • phoenix says:

    Good start! Thank you.

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  • Andy says:

    This aren’t the droids you’re looking for…

    I’m astonished , for real:

    ” When they make use of the Burning Man name or logo, our intellectual property team works to curtail promotional efforts by forcing any reference to ‘Burning Man’ to be removed.”

    That’s it… if they are not using the name we are safe, if it’s advertised as “The Desert week long experience” NOBODY knows what are they talking about, and the tickets will not sell… so we are safe!

    Problem Solved!
    So next year we will not see any of those camps … right?

    This is not a real solution to what you are doing to stop commodification camps.
    You guys need to take in more serious consideration the feedback from our community, at the end of the day without the community what’s Burning Man?

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    • ChaosBurning says:

      I thought the same thing regarding the brand….

      Just because they aren’t allowed to sell it online using the Burning Man name or logo, doesn’t mean they’re not selling it!

      I’d bet that alot more of these $15K weeks in the desert are sold by word of mouth and networking than their web presence. Not to mention the kind of “high end” travel agency that would service those that could afford it.

      So is it just not OK to use your brand, or is it 100% not OK to sell out the experience?

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  • hypervolk says:

    I work with someone who paid 1000$+ (on top of their ticket) for services including shelter, food, private lounges etc. Their first burn they spent starving, wet (NO planning for rain) and cold, relying on the kindness of others to feed them. This was not a small camp and was affiliated closely with a very big Silicon Valley company. That made me sad.

    Honestly, this just makes our little camp (10 people strong, YAY!) want to be MORE friendly, create more art for everyone, make an example, volunteer, have an art car that welcomes everyone, and be extra burny next year.

    I think in response to Plug and Play, everyone should make a strong effort to bring back what they think Burning Man should be, leaving a good example and not negativity.
    <3 Dust dust dust.

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  • Terry says:

    “So what is the organization doing? Over the past two months, we conducted interviews with hosts and producers of camps receiving the bulk of the negative attention following the 2014 event. We gathered information internally and externally, and held a roundtable discussion with the Burning Man Project Board of Directors.

    We then held a series of internal meetings with participation from three of Burning Man’s founders, event operations leadership, and the key teams poised to address this issue directly (Placement, Community Services, Ticketing and Communications). After proposing a list of reforms and drafting this post, we elicited feedback and input from various stakeholders and community members, including the Regional Network leadership.”

    I noticed you did everything except involve the BRC community — no public discussion, no town-hall meetings, no conference calls, nothing.

    At the very least you should publish the minutes of all these meetings so that your deliberations can be better understood, even if we weren’t allowed to participate.

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    • Burning Man says:

      Megan Miller, with Burning Man’s Communications Team here. We could have been more clear about our process. When we said we ‘received thousands of pieces of feedback,’ we didn’t specify that that this was a deliberate and proactive effort. In a JRS sent on September 24 http://jackrabbit.burningman.com/t/ViewEmailArchive/t/18558227C8076AE9/C67FD2F38AC4859C/ we asked members of the community to submit feedback about turnkey camps through our official event feedback form. The hundreds of submissions received through this mechanism were read by internal stakeholders and informed all of our future meetings and policy changes. We also collectively read the many hundreds of comments to blog posts and on social media – this was an additional (albeit unstructured) effort to listen and incorporate the views of the community.

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    • Terry says:

      Megan — thank you for your reply but I think I was unclear. You may have invited the public to submit information, but all the resulting “actions” were decided upon in a manner that involved no outside participation. I’m sure many solutions were brainstormed, but who decided which to implement? There was no opportunity for the BRC community to weigh in and provide feedback at that point. No opportunity for the wider community to weigh in on how to actually proceed — the decision was made by how many people? A dozen? Less? More?

      Having a suggestion box is not equivalent to engaging the community in the decision making process. Confusing the two has been the BMORG’s problem for years now.

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  • Andrew B says:

    I’m sure you can tell from these comments, you’ve missed a few major points that we will continue to be upset about. Most notably, the existence of Jim Tananbaum on any Board of Directors that has anything to do with Burning Man. How can we believe anything that has been said about these camps and these changes when the head of the most referenced commodification camps (Caravansicle) has a seat on the board. Surely there must be someone else that could fill that seat. He is part of the root cause of all of this uproar, this whole problem that you are currently dealing with is partially his making. all of this work, all of this spin, all of these policy changes… his doing. He needs to step down or be removed. I Think that is one of the changes many of us are waiting for.

    I think that we would also like the assurance that if someone is caught selling the burning man experience for a profit, their tickets will be voided. If we sell our tickets for anything more than face value, and it gets reported, you void those tickets.

    These camps sold the experience for thousands more than the cost of a ticket, turning a hefty profit, and it seemed to be A-OK with everyone. It is not. The only way these camps will learn is to void tickets they’ve sold (as an experience) and have them take a massive financial loss like any of us would if we had our tickets voided.

    Thank you for taking steps towards resolving this issue.

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    • TBD says:

      I’m not a big fan of plug and play camps, mainly because I think those participants skipped a huge and important step in what it means to be out there and, because they missed that valuable “lesson”, they don’t contribute anything positive to the Burning Man culture.

      That said, how would the BMorg even decide who’s ticket to void? What is the deciding factor here? Is it that they paid money to take care of their amenities? How do you prove profitability, if it even exists?

      With my long term camp of long time burners (ranging from 20-50 people depending on the year) we all pay small annual dues. Our dues pay for storage and transportation of our communal stuff(U-haul that one of us drives). Kitchen dome and equip., shower stall pieces, shade structure etc. Pretty common practice among group camps.

      So I ask again, when you are talking about voiding tickets, how do you decide who’s to void? What is the difference between my camp and Plug and Plays other than they pay much higher “dues” and have much nicer stuff? How do you know they didn’t pay face value for their tickets? Rumors and hearsay don’t count. This is not something that is easily decided by reasonable people. It’s easy to yell about kicking them out or not letting them in to begin with, but just how do you do that and still be radically inclusive and non-discriminatory?

      If I had to pick a course of action for the BMorg in dealing with this, I would recommend that they give no placement, no early arrival passes, no address on the map, unless the Plug and Plays make a proposal to be a publicly accessible theme camp and go thru the approval/rejection process like everyone else. If they get approved, GREAT! Schwanky theme camp we can all enjoy and the camp gets to know the rest of the community outside their circle of RV’s. Win-Win. If they don’t, meh. They take their chances like everyone else.

      However, I suspect that people that want to be pampered with all the cush amenities of a PnP, who want no part of the rest of us dirty hippies in their camp, they will not bother- it will all be too loud, to dirty, too much work.

      Their only recourse will be to get in line on gate road and hope they get a good spot. Again, way too much work with no guarantees.
      It will become just another fad that passes (hopefully) quickly and we can all go back to complaining about shirt cockers and law enforcement.

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  • Peace says:

    First off…yes “seriously”. Second, those of you who still want to fight please read the responses more clearly. You are complaining about things that were actually addressed. Example, several people are asking “what about exclusive art cars” when it was specifically stated that they would not be allowed. I for one don’t want the org to get in the habit of establishing a new rule every time there is a problem. Once they start making rules against something you don’t like, there is a better chance they will start establishing rules against things you do like. The org has made it clear their policy is in support of the principles. They have even said that making a profit off of a commodification camp is not only against the principles, it is against the law.

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  • Happy Face says:

    Look guys, you can easily stop all the Republicans from coming and taking over Burning Man and turning the playa into a party for the GOP – BAN ALL RV’S unless they are transformed into art cars – Allow ONLY RV’s for builders and early arrivals.

    Now all those posers with their rented RV’s and private drivers will have to think twice about survival on the playa – they might have to sweat a little to play.

    Now that you’ve gotten rid of the posers and capitalists now we can get back to the business of radical inclusion. Just saying’.

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    • Bleurose says:

      LOL at the irony of starting a post with the statement “BAN ALL RV’S” only to end it with the statement “THEN WE CAN GET BACK TO THE BUSINESS OF RADICAL INCLUSION”! Except for the RVs of course. Listen, I am 63, I’ve been coming to Burning Man since 2002 and I would not survive without my RV. Maybe if you’re 36 its no problem, but switch those digits and it becomes a different thing. So banning RVs would keep people like me, who volunteers 30+ hours working DMV every year and helps set up HOTD infrastructure, at home. I realize there are problems and I realize that LH didn’t address all of them (and probably never will) but I also agree with some of the other commenters that the way to have a great BM experience is to go out and participate yourself. Stop worrying so much about the others who choose to commoditize their experience. So be it. Report anything that smells of inappropriate behavior for sure, but don’t spend your whole burn trying to be a sleuth. Go and fuckin’ ENJOY yourself for crying out loud, that’s supposedly why you are out there on the playa, right? I don’t hate the PnPs, I pity them (just as I pity someone who goes to Paris and insists on staying in an American five-star resort hotel instead of ACTUALLY GOING TO PARIS. My experience is a HELL of a lot more interesting than theirs, even if the maids DON’T turn down my bed every evening.

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  • Bear says:

    This post essentially says “We take no responsibility whatsoever.”

    Here’s a Frequently Asked Question that doesn’t seem to be answered:
    What, specifically did BMORG do to exacerbate this situation, and was anyone reprimanded for actions inappropriate to the spirit of Burning Man?

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  • Vaquero says:

    Siblings,
    Let us remember our fundamental belief in Radical Self Reliance. If we really believe that a group is harmful to our ethics, shouldn’t we be handling it ourselves, individually, instead of demanding results from a parent organization. Let’s never talk about the violent unprincipled means discussed above but instead enlighten those that are missing the point with our ideals. Everyone comes to BM with their own expectations, the magic is what happens when they realize those expectations had nothing to do with their actual experience. Let’s not miss the irony of the people angry about being excluded by wrist bands now demanding to exclude the wristbanders.

    If you are a burner, and you really get it, then share it, freely and with a complete heart. No one can can ever take that away, regardless of VIP areas and commodification, let’s educate the misinformed. Aren’t we trying to change the world?

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  • Rod says:

    Terry (above) is onto the right idea. How can BRC call itself a city when it has no democratic institutions, no participatory democracy, no elected representatives? A self-appointed Board cannot be said to represent the views of the citizenry. I’d settle for a Burner-elected advisory council for a start. Anyone who has ever been to a Burn can vote (BMORG’s got records, yes?); anyone who has ever been to Burn can stand.

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    • Bleurose says:

      I think this IS one of the points that we should be pressing. Yes, there should at LEAST be a way that rank-and-file burners can participate without having to be elected to what is a relatively elite board of directors, and an advisory council would be quite appropriate. Let people nominate anyone they choose and put their name on website and open the floodgates for about a week to nominating votes. Everyone who has come to burning man for the past year (or two or three, whatever is appropriate) and has an email address on file can vote. Or make it open to anyone who is registered on this site. Each email address gets a single ballot and can vote for 5 or 10 people in the first pass, and that leads to an actual final ballot among the top 30 or so nominees. Then choose a board out of the nominees of 15 people. Anyone running has to be able to attend meetings in person or virtually. Missing TWO meetings in a row is automatic resignation and the next person in line based on the voting takes their place. That will insure participation. Would I want to serve on a board like that? Absolutely and I expect many others will as well.

      Would this give us a “say”? Probably not at first, but maybe over time it would enlighten the board to realize that there are some smart people out here who would like to help and are willing to participate.

      Jon

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  • MC says:

    I thought this was a thoughtful and thorough response to the situation. The key issues – ticket access, exclusivity, and new policies – have all been addressed. I don’t see an issue with turnkey camps so long as they reinforce the culture; i.e. they are public, supportive, interactive, have a clean MOOP map and contribute to the overall event.

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  • Mordecai says:

    Do you realize that if you grant these concierge camps official status, and whose behavior is in direct and absolute opposition to any and/or all 10 Principles, then you have planted the seed in every mind that no individual or camp moving forward is also responsible for following any of the 10 Principles, resulting in the utter collapse of the fabric that makes Burning Man Burning Man. Perhaps I no longer feel obligated to challenge mySelf to the Principle of Radical Inclusion, because around me on the Playa, I am fundamentally excluded by other camps operating on an entirely different system of Principles (or in fact, no principles at all). Do not tear the fabric that binds us, challenges us, interweaves and connects us. We go to Burning Man to fall in love with ourselves and each other, to recognize our hidden potential smothered in the default world, to learn what we are capable of individually and together. We must remain connected.

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    • Curious says:

      What killed me and others was reading the glossy mag article about an elite travel co charging $50k a pop (it sounds insane to me now–did I really read that a few weeks ago?!) for a catered BRC experience. I heard so much outrage from that at our regional burn this year–artists and performers saying they don’t give all they do so someone can make money off of their art. Any for-profit camp erodes at everything we do for each other out there. It’s very difficult to be sanguine like others here who are saying “let em come” when burners who make sacrifices to bring it and gift it now feel exploited. On display so someone can make a profit. It’s deeply unsettling and divisive, to say the least. At first, there were the spectators. Now there are the paying spectators with box seats. What amazes me is the arrogance of the host/producers so brazenly setting up their obviously for-profit and largely soulless RV compounds–why didn’t they even try to fly under the radar with their racket? Placement cachet, I guess. I went up to this one art car in 2012 and asked the dude to turn off the logo he was blazing in his light display all over the road, and I explained to him about decommodification, our freedom from advertising and being advertised to. Like he’d never heard about it. So nonburnery I assume he was a hired staff art car driver, another wasted ticket at the burning man theme park. After seeing this kind of thing grow over the past three years I want to get on my knees and kiss every real burner still out there. But I honestly don’t want to even have to care about who is real or not. I ache for the folks who’ve been denied admission to the party by the fortressed set. Sad about the art cars that only tool around with arses stamped PAID–missing the interaction of randoms climbing on board who could very well be the most amazing person(s) on the planet. Or not. That’s the fun of it.

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  • kim-chi says:

    glad to see the Donation Tickets go. glad to see the BMORG reiterate core values and commit to holding all camps to the same standards. can we give them a chance to do that? can we be a productive part of the solution by reporting commodification? can we salvage this community that we love despite these growing pains? i effing hope so! trust the dust

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  • Brigit says:

    Thank you for this post–it does clear up a few questions–but leaves some OBVIOUS ones we have all had unanswered–for instance–DIrected Group Sales was very obviously left out of the section on where groups like this got their tickets–and has been a very important question for many. How many tickets did these camps get in the Directed Sales and why were some of them used (as they had to have been) for PAID staff in these camps–which would mean other people were not given access to those tickets? And the whole issue of paid staff in general has been skirted–for every paid staff person in these plug-n-play camps that received a ticket–another person was unable to get a ticket (since we sell out every year now). How is THIS being addressed?

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  • Dandelion says:

    I wish that you all would show the BM leadership some compassion. You guys are bringing your consumer mentality into this and expecting the best results NOW. You can’t expect 100% customer satisfaction ANYWHERE, and really I don’t want to turn this event into that kind of relationship.

    Regarding community input, there have been regional town halls where we have discussed this issue (I live in AZ). If it’s important to you, you should seek these events out or contact the org yourself.

    There is no way to monitor sherpas, I think that’s why they weren’t addressed above. How many people “hire” a friend to babysit their kids by buying their ticket and feeding them? How many camps hire a chef to feed them throughout the event? These activities can hardly be monitored, and as such can’t be regulated. The event has enough bureaucracy as it is!

    I don’t understand why it’s so important for people to be part of a camp. My first burn was 2003 and not until 2013, did I ever join an established “camp,” and it was a volunteer one at that. I get why people see joining a camp as an advantage, there are services provided and instant community, but I think more people should try to just camp and survive on their own. When you expect others to do for you, and your expectations are not met, that’s when troubles like this arise. If you want to have a true burning man experience, make it for yourself, don’t expect to pay someone to make it happen for you.

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  • Jose says:

    So many slippery slopes in the comments. “Ban all RVs”: I fondly remember rv-ing from Denver in 96. Not because of any luxury beyond some dishwashing – we camped outside & couldn’t even dream of showering with little water. Rather, it seemed the most practical way for a bunch of us to come & actually enjoy the trip together, as opposed to a string of separate cars.

    Point being: some of the proposed “solutions” seem way off base. But if the Internets have taught us anything, it’s that outrage is easy & cost-free.

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  • Bijan says:

    I whole heartedly do not believe “plug and play” owners, employees or agents thereof are not making a profit. This is a rediculous statement in Burning Man’s official response, above. I paid very close attention to the camp next to me, an enormous and luxerius plug and play camp, located at 10 & J. It was full of famous and wealthy people. Black limo type SUV’s would frequent the camp, picking up and dropping people off. There were a handful of “workers” doing work on the rented art cars, fixing issues with rented luxerious RV’s and such. These workers were running the camp and certainly profiting. They had the attitude of “we own this place, get out of here.” These camps had horrible energy and are contrary to what Burning Man is all about. I’m vey disappointed with the “committee” response. Absolute BS. In fact, one morning, I saw a committee meeting happening at Burning Man. The woman who is the CEO introduced herself and have a talk to other “committee” members. Guess where this meeting was held? Right next to, basically inside of, this same luxe riots plug and play camp. They are protecting themselves and an exclusive group; with reckless disregard for their own “principles.” This is all such BS, it’s a joke.

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  • Driftwood says:

    Yes siree! Nice conundrum! Pay $400 to buy an opportunity to participate in a “non-commodified” culture? Not to mention being high enough up the economic heap to be able to afford all the incidental expenses necessary to be a member of that “non-commodified” culture … or having the free time and resources to begin with! Burning Man is not the philosophical font it purports to be and few, if any of the people there are there to promote the necessary evolutionary changes requisite for a paradigm shift (i.e. a non-commodified culture) in the world as a whole! The peeps flock to the desert because it is fun to be with other peeps who are not getting down on your fun! If being part of a high priced, isolated, serviced, locked up, upright and uptight camp blows up your skirt…have at it!
    Your version of Burning Man is no less or more illusory than mine, BMorg’s, The Board’s or, The Founder’s who are soon to be bought out by the sorriest excuse for a “not-for-profit” organization to ever receive that once-upon-a-time meaningful classification!

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  • DZL says:

    Thank you for being thoughtful and mindful on this subject. I agree that there is nothing wrong with permitting turn-key camps AS LONG AS they actually contribute to BM. The velvet rope mentality is not acceptable.

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  • Marquee says:

    Lots of good info here, mostly good. But still some smoke and mirrors.

    Not sure why there was no direct punishment for offendors *ahem* K street *ahem* or why Caravannicle/Jim Tennenbaum weren’t addressed.

    I’m curious what actual, real world changes will be made if camps require wristbands, if they don’t allow participation and instead a circled wagon fort of RV’s, or if they are selling a hotel/tourist/concierge style experience that they are selling. Whether they make profit or not matters little to me.

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  • FLGweldingmomma says:

    I’m glad to know that BMO is beginning to address the issue. The topic is clearly not off the table yet. I’m certain BMO is continuing discussion to make new policies surrounding those called themselves a Theme Camp. I’d like to know if BMO already has or (if they don’t) will have a team who does the follow up on these camps to check up whether these camps are actually providing the “participation activities and/or interactive experience for ALL Burners”. AND that the real names of the individuals (not just the theme camp name) who are the leads in that camp are recorded. There MUST BE repercussions due to those who blatantly violate the principals and policies. Penalties (not financial) should be clearly listed on a document and mailed or handed to theme camp administrators along with all other expectations of a placed theme camp. There should be a list of real names of all the major players on each theme camp’s application and if that theme camp violates the policies or expectations otherwise, all individuals listed will be banished. But with the option to volunteer 40 hours to the BMO in order to re-gain entry again (like community service). A week long experience of giving as a VOLUNTEER is exactly the medicine those plug-n-play producers need.
    I also suggest to BMO to make it clear to the community via the website that they ARE in fact continuing to address this matter and not “letting it play out to see what happens next year”.
    NOTE TO COMMENT POSTERS: Rather than just whining, complaining, calling names out etc…OFFER SUGGESTIONS, ideas, resolutions on how to address whatever issue that is making you upset. The BMO are not a board of experts, they are “learning” themselves as each issue rises. And don’t forget that the BMO likes receiving feedback, suggestions, and ideas especially from Veteran Burners and leaders in the community of Burners. YOU SPEAK UP (in a positive civil “adult” manner) AND THEY WILL LISTEN!!
    One more thing…Why not ask yourself “What can I do as an individual (as a Burner who “gets it”) to address this issue myself, in a positive non-threatening way, to get the results that will satisfy me?”
    Suggestion~ Start by educating those who don’t appear to be “getting it”.

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  • rob says:

    I am glad to see some well thought out answers to some seriously tough questions. Couple suggestions if I may:

    1) Take out the Airport for incoming participants and leave it for the skydivers and medical vac. You can fly into Reno just like anyone else and wait in line like anyone else. There is NO REASON to need to fly in on a private plane. If our campmates can fly in from Israel, rent a car, wait in line, and still have a great time, so can you.

    2) DISSALLOW MOST OUTSIDE SERVICES. Sure water and port-poties service is needed. Perhaps even fuel. But you certainly don’t need fresh food delivered. Everyone in our theme camp brought their own coolers with over a weeks worth of food and we all did fine. Radical self reliance right? Are fresh veggies nice to have midweek? YES. Do you need them for a week in the desert? NO . Part of the quaintness of camping or any other self-reliant venture is the lessons learned from returning to basics and enjoying SIMPLE things again. Sure I love a fancy meal every once in a while but I will tell you, nothing beats a bowl of rice and beans when you’ve busted your but out in the backcountry, right?

    3) Radical inclusion. I know we all need quite time for ourselves. Privacy even. But bouncers and wall off camps? Heck no! How about a simple rule: Your sleeping quarters (yurt, tent, RV, whatever) are PRIVATE. Anything else, is fair game. NO walled off areas. And really it’s not that bad. Our kitchen area and sitting area were in full view of the road, and we happily shared food and drinks with passerbys. NEVER once did I feel like my privacy was being invaded or did I feel the need to “get away”. It’s a mindset really, not a real issue at all. If you need a time out, deep playa is a bike ride away.

    Anyhow, I am guessing a lot of this might come off as holier than thou, I hope it didn’t. I think Larry got it right when he spoke about inequality versus inequity. I don’t care if you own an RV or if you choose to tent camp. I DO care when you don’t abide by the same rules everyone else has committed to or when you exploit loopholes or good will. BM is an experience predicated upon core principles, when you don’t heed them you just become a tourist and with attendance as high as it has been, we don’t need more tourists. If anything we need more conscientious engaged people. Just my thoughts….

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    • knowitall says:

      I’ve seen a list of all comercial vendors in 2014 somewhere on this site, it didn’t include anything that looked like a fresh produce supply company. If you’re talking about the big refrigerator trailers that were parked not far from greeters those were used by the BMorg Commisary to feed DPW, Gate, ESD, Rangers and other volunteer and staff.

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  • Curious says:

    I feel so sad, reading this (and Larry’s) post. On the one hand it says concierge camps are unacceptable–and in another paragraph the org explains how it is accepting them and making it possible for them to play nice, even though many of them parasitized the city and the true gifting that actually builds the community–yes, I realize some of these actually bring some of the art–where? What? Distributing KNOWN pnp’s in the city in 2015 is telling us, actually, they’re acceptable, allowing these for-profit ops to return–allowing the worst violator (that we know of) to remain on the Board (and T’s not the only one) and to not feel outrage and very personally exploited means the org doesn’t feel outraged or exploited. Not if they’re in bed with them somehow. (This whole Project gig–this apparent sell-out fundraiser that supported pnps which supported the Project–how much of other ticket resources are going out into the world via said noble project; did it seem like much less art on the playa this year?) The outrage people feel is very real–they (myself included) feel violated and exploited by someone making money off a city we help create from heart and soul and backs. We (including yes many in the org) come to this city to have the chance to offer our gifts, our skills, our creativity, our hard work so we can connect with each other more authentically than by the cash system that often robs us of our souls and creates so much despair and disparity and isolation on the outside. The bone thrown about ‘contact our ip staff and report violations’– wow. Way to go org, protecting your intellectual property’ and not protecting the souls and spirits and intellectual Street property of the hardworking community (rich and poor) that brings it to the party that the org provides. The sentiment about ‘no one we know of made a profit or more important intended to make a profit’ stinks to high heaven. I get it that these entrepreneurs were over their heads catering to their clients and might have come in at an operating loss (however they define that) but I can’t imagine these concierge camps were run as gifting operations with nothing but the honorable aspiration to give these poor people the opportunity to experience BRC–albeit from their exclusive art cars and enclosures. The noblest aim of radical inclusion! That lack of for-profit INTENTION statement makes every noble philosophical statement coming from Larry & co make me want to quit my day job and plan a Brave New World turnkey theme camp. It would be a challenge to run it in such a way that it offered no value to the community, tho. On top of pretending I was catering to a wealthy clientele, but not doing it for myself, no–not for me OR my BRC community. Of course these people set up their concierge camps for profit! Of course they intended to scalp the burning man experience. Who would set up those crazy logistical nightmares for fun? Like we do our theme camps? And the org feels more sympathy (ah, sigh, they’re “naive”) and offers gestures for inclusion rather than running that element out of town. That’s what I mean by protecting intellectual property. How about a bold statement about zero tolerance for commercial profit pnps, seeing that these undermine civilization, and zero tolerance for any gestures of gross exclusivity (wrist bands, bouncers, velvet ropes, exclusive art cars)–so that anyone running such a camp will have to look so much like a regular theme camp (hello!!!) that we can’t tell they’re not a regular theme camp. (I, personally, would be embarrassed to dwell in such an artless RV barricade, like a rare and precious animal trapped in my own little zoo enclosure, protected from the population because the riff-raff wants my furs….Peanuts? Can we throw them peanuts? They have to moop them, I’m afraid, which might help some of them be less of a spectator. Or write an app for a slave to pick them up. Sorry–I realize there are probably completely decent people inside those multiplex megarigs who are just dying to get out and be the animals, not just the spectators on safari, which is what those austere settings make them look like.) But if in 2015 they don’t look like an art project or smell like a theme camp, they don’t get placement or distributed tix, and if that’s too much stress on the poor profiteering concierge trying to corral his gated city he should find himself another job. It’s gone far beyond the radical inclusivity of bringing folks to BRC who can’t do it themselves when you/they flout exclusivity, abuse others, and exploit the gifts of citizens who give from the heart. I’m sad because I’m afraid the cool people are fleeing in droves and, in accommodating some, we’re losing or already lost some of our edgy best, for whom the 10Ps weren’t just Ps&Qs–I.e., optional, depending on the paying company. They weren’t rules, they were a way of life, decommodification being a profound experience, a deeply felt engagement, far more than just a principle. So Rome is in ruins while the empire expands. And this time it’s not the barbarians at the gate, it’s shameless pirates, privateers, it’s Coachella. Yes, we know pirates work hard as sailors. And they’re not working hard for “us” like we work hard for “them,” which most of us hoped was for all of “us.” These concierge/commodification/plug-n-play/turnkey/safari camps are not such a tiny percentage when it causes this much heartache and deep offense across the community. Why are you accommodating for-profit camps? How did they win the burning man soul?

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  • Jericho says:

    “Being a member of the Burning Man Project Board does not grant any authority to make decisions about, or influence the operations of, the Burning Man event. This also applies to resources at the event.”

    You’re adorable.

    Do you really expect us to disregard everything we know about status and power with a simple wave of your hand?

    Being on the board should be considered a honor and a privilege. As long as members serve on the board, they should be required to forgo any involvement in money-making *or status-building* ventures which tap BRC as a resource.

    Of course, that won’t happen. There’s power to be had.

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    • knowitall says:

      There are two separate but united entities that produce BM.
      There is Black Rock City llc, the llc that actually produces the event. This llc is controlled by the 6 founders and it is they who make the rules. (And have been doing so since the mid 90’s). Until recently those six also owned the llc. This has now changed, the llc is owned by BMP, a nonprofit. The Board of the nonprofit is composed out of 18 people that serve in an advisory position. While technically those 18 own BM (through controling the non profit that ownes the llc) they have no direct control over the production of the event itself.

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  • Jericho says:

    “While there may be some camp producers hoping to benefit financially, in all of our conversations with the hosts (the person or persons with the idea of the camp who are footing the bill) of numerous camps – including those gaining wide attention after this year’s event – we have yet to identify a single host who profited from their camp (or more importantly, ever intended to). To the contrary, hosts often end up paying out of pocket to cover the high costs of their elaborate camps.”

    Don’t be naive. Just because they done have more dollars in than out doesn’t mean they didn’t profit. If you set up a camp for The Rich, Famous Social Betters you get connections, you get STATUS that is worth a small fortune. The wealth they use the citizens of BRC to achieve may not be monetary in the moment, but it is very, very real.

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  • Ready says:

    So one of my concerns is
    “MANY OTHER LARGE-SCALE EVENTS SELL LUXURY BOUTIQUE CAMPIG OPTIONS. BURNIG MAN ORGANIZERS HAVE NEVER PROVIDED THESE SERVICES (AND DON’T INTEND TO- THAT’S JUST NOT WHO WE ARE.)”

    As a long-time burner only missing a few burns, I too have noticed a change in the community. Of course there is going to be changes but not all should to be condoned. so these LUXURY organizations of course aren’t “WHO WE ARE” but why is it being allowed? I understand that no profit is being made over these experiences BUT that’s not the burning man experience at all! Yes other camps are creating their own communities within BRC BUT they are also allowing others to come and go as they please and re still contributing to the greater cause. As mentioned, I am accepting to change, but I would hate for this “LUXURY” to become a movement away from the integrity of Burningman.

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  • drootie says:

    “Plug and play camps are camps where vacation-type experiences are sold at exclusive prices, often with no commitment by campers to contribute to the larger community…”
    “12 plug and play camps that committed to providing interactive experiences for BRC were given placement in 2014.”

    So BMORG found 12 for-profit camps that promised to contribute to the community, and gave them large spots in great locations, thus taking AWAY from the Burning Man experience of the rest of the community?
    Newsflash, they didn’t contribute, except to their own financial gain. They took prime spots away from the community, with the blessings of the organizers. This is an abuse of the Burning Man community.

    “While there may be some camp producers hoping to benefit financially, we have yet to identify a single host (the person with the idea of the camp) who profited from their camp (or more importantly, ever intended to).”

    This tells us 2 things:
    1) “Camp hosts” (the person with the concept) never intend to profit, and never do. That would be against the rules.
    2) It’s okay if the “camp producer” (the person with the money) profits, though. That’s fine.

    Pretty disgusting. Plenty of weasel words and verbal trickery used throughout this piece.
    I’ve heard and observed that socialism tends to move toward fascism over time. Burning Man seems to be somewhere between the two at present, with a small dose of crony capitalism mixed in.

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  • Ready says:

    >drootie,
    I completely agree and in my post i played devil’s advocate. Putting aside whether or not profit is being made we know there is, and aren’t ignorant enough to say they aren’t. Why are these even allowed in the first place? These are the questions I would like answers to, and I feel like we share these thoughts with many others

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  • Jericho says:

    Also,

    Can we *please* talk about the employment aspect of commodification camps?
    Can we PLEASE make some intentional decision as to whether it is within community standards to hire servants for a camp who are not afforded the opportunity to participate in the event?

    My ideal would be an elimination of anybody {other than approved vendors, and maybe some specialty jobs like crane driving, or whatever} being paid other than not having to pay camp dues and getting a free ticket. That would ensure that people only accept “employment” by camps if they get to enjoy themselves.

    pleasepleaseplease.

    This is easily the most important issue to me, and it hasn’t been spoken of.

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    • Bleurose says:

      Well, as always there are degrees that need to be considered. Several years ago I camped with Fandango and we had a PnP in our midst. They hired entertainment staff who were paid a contract fee to perform within their “private” dome for the “guests”. I had ample opportunity to talk with many of the entertainers and staff and it became clear to me that indeed many of these (young) people would NEVER have had the opportunity to attend Burning Man without taking on the “Job” that was offered (which also came with a ticket). Now it is true they had schedules that required they be present at certain times to do their job, but the rest of the time they were able to roam the city and do what they wanted. I honestly think that those people were able to become part of our community (more even than the so-called “guests” who they fed and entertained) and I was glad they had that opportunity which they could never have afforded on their own (even WITH a Low Income ticket!)

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  • Now that the event’s so humongous… what if we just rolled with the growing trends and said, let’s hold two events every year? Now that I have kids and health problems, I’m probably too bourgie for Fourth of JuPlaya, but I really don’t need a 70,000-person, plug-n-play oriented, rich & easy Playa experience either. What if there were a second event each summer, with cheaper tickets, a different effigy to burn, less infrastructure provided by the organization, possibly a little less uptight rule-wise? Five thousand people, $80 tickets, somehow dovetail it with the development of infrastructure for the main event as summer progresses? Essentially, a Regional Burn that happens in our native Burner region: the Playa.

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    • Bleurose says:

      Well this might conceptually be a good idea, but think about it… a 5000 person event with $80 tickets? Either it would sell out in five seconds (quite likely to a whole lot of the “wrong” people who don’t realize that they are “profiting” from the donated services of the rest of us at the “regular” event and would end up with an event with nothing to show for it) or no one at all would come to the “inferior” little sibling event. It is not so EASY to create something like BM. It didn’t happen overnight, it happened over a lot of years of slow evolution and you can’t replicate it or even replicate the GOOD parts of it just be saying “lets go back to the origins”, at least not in any true sense. Regional burns already try to do some of this and they are not, for the most part, as well attended as BM. In fact, that is probably the best idea for most of us, which is to let go of the main event and start working on our local events. But the reality is that we all WANT to be there or we wouldn’t keep coming. I think that this issue will mostly get sorted out, mostly without a huge amount of rules, because it is mostly not all that important (really). I don’t like it much, but I just ignore it. I still have a great time (and I’ve been aware of PnP camps since 2010 when we had a major one camped in our backyard as part of our village.) There are still FAR more camps that really do contribute than don’t. If the few who do REALLY annoy you, go ahead and rant, but lets not think that any radical solution will really help much. In the end, those of us who want to keep attending will (regardless of any PnP “solutions”) and those who don’t will stay home (which is, of course, as it should be… no one is FORCED to attend Burning Man).

      Sorry, that is probably pretty nihilistic, but I think its a reasonable statement about reality in this situation. I would LOVE to see the BMorg listen more, I would love to see them include more of us in the decision making processes, I would like to see them take action on some of these issues, but the reality is it is still “their” event except to the extent that we make it our own on an individual basis, and we can only keep our fingers crossed that some of this might get through. When it doesn’t, our only real solutions are either accept the result or go find a different game.

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    • Doug says:

      It’s called 4th of Juplaya.

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  • Chrispy says:

    Thank you for starting this dialog. I’m happy with the majority of it and applaud the org’s efforts, but remain disappointed and disheartened over the lack of an explanation/answer to the issue of a board member’s involvement with a turnkey camp. Your skirting of the issue shows a sad lack of interest in dealing with this problem….and, true or not, reeks of preferential treatment. Not holding them accountable is NOT acceptable.

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  • Ready says:

    Jericho,

    I do understand your concern , and this was never a issue until recent years. I think the problem is that people are willing to provide these services. Although I agree that these people should be able to see the playa for themselves and create their own feelings, but they are actively signing up for this “job”.

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  • Michael says:

    Let Love Rule

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  • Templeton says:

    I think the required principles apply to every person, not to only the producer or scammer or lead for any camp, granted placement it not.
    Did you help with LNT? Pick up MOOP?
    What sort of inequality is being condoned when Caravancicle, and by implication each camp “member”, leaves a mess & MOOP?
    A scammer’s camp ends up on the back of its campers and neighbours, and the community. Without resources, does the last person leave rubbish at exodus? They did.
    So, that said, and BMO saying a previous “good” MOOP rating is required for placement, who exactly gets refused placement? No placement means no Deliveries nor OutsideServices, right? No early entry, right?
    What I don’t see is the consequences of the exclusion and MOOP, other than exclusion from 2015. And maybe, that is exactly what needs to happen. Heck, on MOOP alone, you are not welcome in 2015, must volunteer 40 hours, and petition for next attendance. What will you do next time, not what additional service providers will you hire to avoid MOOP.

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  • Swagmeister says:

    There’s no “VIP fast lane” at the gate because everyone knows it’s at the airport. Duh.

    Not bad, but still smoke and mirroring.

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  • Peace says:

    @ Drootie

    “This tells us 2 things:
    1) “Camp hosts” (the person with the concept) never intend to profit, and never do. That would be against the rules.
    2) It’s okay if the “camp producer” (the person with the money) profits, though. That’s fine.”

    Again, please read more carefully. It has been explicitly aid that if a “producer” were to build a for profit camp it would not only violate the principles of Burning Man, it would violate the law. The agreement BM has with the BLM does not allow it.

    It has been explicitly stated that if the org finds out someone is running a for profit camp, they will not be placed.

    Does that mean it will never happen? Probably not. There are unscrupulous people out there who will try to skirt the rules. That doesn’t mean it is endorsed by the org.

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  • Fez says:

    So is Jim Tanenbaum off the board or what?

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  • Dave says:

    I think the biggest thing everyone here is saying is “We don’t need or want these types of camps around”

    Even when Mark Zuckerberg first went to BRC he was made to pitch his own tent, to show him what it is all about, and he is one of the richest people in the world.
    If the plug and play camps didn’t do it for profit, then why did they?, really? To offer “the true Burningman experenice” I don’t think so. This year the number one question I got asked over and over is “What camp are you with” When I said I am not part of a big camp, the number one response I got was “oh, your not with a camp” with a derogatory tone. I got denied art car rides, of either “we’re full” or “we’re a private car” after a few of those I stopped trying.

    The biggest problem I had this year was just trying to find a camp site, I got there day one (Sunday) I started around the 9:30 area (where I have camped before and wanted to camp again this year) EVERY single site was “reserved” going up and down every street I ended up at 6:45 and almost the edge of the playa, first open (non reserved) ground I saw. The map showed all this huge area for open camping, but on day one it was still all open but marked off “reserved”

    Here are some solution suggestions,
    If an art car ever says even once “we are a private car” they should have thier DMV license revoked for the rest of the event. If they say “we are full” after enough complaints the DMV should invesigate. I can under stand the weight limits etc.

    Limit early in passes to actual artists, theme camps, etc, to the people actually needed to help setup, not the whole camp itself. (for example: no one needs 200 early in passes to setup a bar)

    Push the survival guide, I mean cram it down everyones throats, so they “get it”. Handing it out at will call with the ticket is just pointless, it hasn’t even been the easiest thing to find on the website in the last few years, make it top priority. To help people realize they are there to be part of a community and not “just along for the ride”.

    Just some ideas, this is all from a 9 year burner.

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    • Bleurose says:

      I would find it pretty unusual if not impossible to believe that any camp got 200 EA passes. Our camp got about 20 for its 80 people and some additional people (like me) had other EA passes from work we volunteer for. I don’t know of any camp that had 200 EA passes (I sure would love to see or hear some documentation on this allegation). The reality is that EA passes are distributed pretty much as you state. Most camps get FEWER EA passes than they really need and have to figure out other ways to get a few extra people in. I am sure there are a few exceptions, but I would expect that PnP camps are the least likely to be involved (most PnP camps require FEWER people for EA because the people doing the work tend to be professionals at loading in a event and can do the work of 2 or 3 volunteers). But I am always concerned about how PnP camps get tickets. Of course, as they charge a HUGE amount of money (I know of camps charging $17,500 and I have heard upwards of $50,000 in some cases), they can afford to by scalped tickets and under the current rules that BM has enforced, that permits just about any of them to pay scalpers’ prices for tickets.

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    • Bleurose says:

      By the way, I don’t know if you will read this, but can it REALLY be true that you started at 9:30 and had to cover the ENTIRE city to 6:45 to find camp grounds on SUNDAY? That isn’t even possible reality or you must have been pretty blind. I went riding around on Sunday (about the only day I got to do that because I broke my hand on Monday and ended up in the med camp and couldn’t ride my bike most of the rest of the week) and I saw ACRES and ACRES of open space. Second, after opening, the general rules say that no space is “reserved” for anyone if they aren’t there to claim it. I would simply disregard any reserved space EXCEPT for placed theme camps. You can’t reserve open camping spaces. What you MIGHT have seen on day one was the space that was being KEPT for open camp (which was “reserved” through early entry) and simply hadn’t had their signs removed. That makes much more sense. I did a tour later in the week with someone in an art car and there was STILL lots of open space once you were back beyond D street. Admittedly the space between Esplanade and D tends to be pretty much reserved for theme camps, but after that, its mostly open. I think you might have just not understood what you were seeing.

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    • Doug says:

      Our 125-person Registered Theme Camp with Esplanade placement only received 30 EAPs. Placement only hands out what is needed to set up a camp. Ditto on Directed Placement tickets. Camps only get enough for the “core” group of people necessary to run the camp (about 40% in our case).

      The ratio of denied Mutant Vehicle applications is fairly high, and one of the earliest license recipients was denied a couple of years ago because his vehicle no longer was considered “sufficiently mutated.” Too many applicants and too few available licenses. Perhaps the most beautiful MV ever, La Contessa, was denied a license one year because the owners had been complete assholes. Complaining to DMV about inappropriate MV behavior can have serious consequences for the MV owner, including revocation of the license during the event, and certainly huge uncertainty for the following year.

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  • katemonster says:

    i dont think anyone is suggesting that board members shouldnt be able to have their individual projects. but what EXACTLY is your conflict of interest policy? every nonprofit (as far as i’m aware) has one. it mandates things like, at a minimum, board members can’t vote on any issue that could benefit them (or their camp). the policy should also make clear to people working on the Burning Man event that they shouldn’t give special consideration to a camp just because a Board member is involved in it. in the interest of transparency and putting the rumors to rest, i’d like to see the policy posted.

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  • Tul says:

    Overall this is an encouraging response. Eliminating donation tickets is just obviously the right move now that tickets are scarce and commanding prices above face value.

    The part that feels missing is transparency. Corruption lives in the shadows, and the fact that BMORG didn’t feel it was possible to release “what happened” until they released “what we’re doing about it” does not bode well.

    The internet has made it possible to easily release very detailed data on campaign contributions for instance, without the need to packetize it up into digestible graphs and summaries. This is what we should be getting: lists of how many directed tickets and early admit passes are going to which camps, who uses what percentage of DPW, OSS, and other services. This data should be available essentially as soon as the event is over, perhaps even sooner. Then let any interested party analyze the data rather than letting BMORG be the sole analyst.

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  • KB says:

    I think that strictly limiting the number of rental RV’s would filter out a lot of non-participatory intentions. Even my well-intentioned artsy friends who rent RV’s just don’t get involved like those who build their living setup. Ever. And, any way you look at it, an rental RV is an artistic insult, the least creative option imaginable…people rarely bother to cover the logos anymore. Having to consider and create your living situation automatically engages a number of the principles from the get-go. ..

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    • Jose says:

      “Ever”? You are way off base. We used our rv to anchor a shaded dancefloor open to all, and used the small generator to invite others to play Pong video-projected on the rv’s side. The small propane fridge allowed us to surprise deep-playa walkers with a frozen popsicle at mid-day. Careful with the holier-than-thou pronouncements, as we’ve all seen plenty of tent camps that do jack.

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      • KB says:

        Nope, neither way off nor holier-than-thou, just calling it as I see it happening more and more every year. Of course there are exceptions to the norm, which is why I suggest restricting the numbers, not a flat-out ban. Rental RV’ers would need to show how they’re contributing as well as how they’re going to spare the rest of us from seeing the logo (remember… non-commercial event..?). People can hang a facade or net of lights on those things, and if they can’t be bothered, then they don’t bring a rental. While many tent camps “don’t do jack”, they set it up themselves and they aren’t bring the un-contribution of a massive rectangle covered with commerce and zero character.

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    • Curious says:

      I assumed many burners didn’t screw with logos of RVs, trailers, U-hauls the past couple years because of the oppressive presence of law enforcement pulling over anything looking Burnery as probable cause–hearing of so many people thus harassed made me want to look joe boring on the freeways myself. So a lot of dull RVs were maybe from that or thousands of nOObs didn’t get the memo that burners love how many ways you can f@ with brands like u-hore, etc. There’s a big difference between the burners you see sharing a rig, say, and the banal gated communities that have no clue or desire to make fun of defaultia and status quo-tients.

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  • Pilgrim says:

    @KB I think this is a reasonable solution. To bring a rental RV in you gotta apply for a pass. Limited number of passes. Special exceptions for pregnant women and families, old folks, and those with health problems.

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  • Jason says:

    So Concierge Camps that have no problems horrifically coercing and abusing slave-labor “sherpas” are too noble to even have profit-making *intent*? How did the BMOrg not die of laughter when fed that line of b.s.?

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  • Pilgrim says:

    “We have yet to identify a single host who profited from their camp (or more importantly, ever intended to).”

    Complete BS.

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  • SquirrelyGirly says:

    This is a thoughtful response to most of our questions, and I appreciate the thought and time that went into this the making of this FAQ. I would also like to see more clarity on how any of the Board Members of Burning Man Project could have so blatantly “done it wrong”. A little recognition by them as to what went awry in planning and what is being done to prevent these situations would be appreciated. We’ve all learned how to participate and do it right. Everyone should be help to that same standard.

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  • Burning Man says:

    Hi there! It’s the Burning Man Communications Team here (including Will Chase and Megan Miller if you see our comments elsewhere). Just wanted to let you know we’re here, following along and reading all of your comments. We’re going to clarify and answer questions where we can — you’ll see our responses in this nifty box you see here. Some questions will require further reflection. In the meantime, keep the comments coming and the dialogue going — this is an important conversation for the community to be having and we appreciate your participation.

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  • Lughnasa says:

    Jim Tananbaum. Get him off the board. Simple as that.

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  • Pilgrim says:

    Hi there Burning Man Communications Team:
    Can you see that the larger issue is trust? Where’s the empathy from the board? Would it prefer the event be without its veterans?

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  • trial_by_fire says:

    If the BM Org is expected to be transparent with their funds, then all major placement camps should be expected to be transparent as well.

    This is not too much to ask.

    If you have the ability to organize a substantial amount of people, collect funds, and build a large camp, I’m fairly certain you have the ability to record the costs, expenses, and even profits.

    And I’m sure a few of them have most definitely paid an accountant to keep the books, and found ways of writing these expenses off as “business expenses” (which I have no problem with, but it’s proof that you do in fact have records).

    The BM Org has set the example, and all else should follow.

    The Turnkey camps and their “owners/founders/ceo’s/whatever” will probably not read this post, or any of the comments.

    But, if they were expected to sit through a townhall style meeting ON THE PLAYA, only then perhaps would they be forced to see our fears/tears/frustrations/disgust.

    I’m not saying we should line them up and pie them, but an honest, public and inclusive discussion should really happen in person, at “home”.

    Like any decent family would do.

    Or if BM is going to grow, and blend more into the “default world”, then perhaps some sort of “court system” should be imposed.

    *Btw I can’t even believe it’s gotten to this point.

    But, if you commit a “crime” on the Playa, with respect to The 10 Principles, then you should be tried by the BM community, or at least heard!

    Hey Larry,

    The Principles may not be Commandments, but they sure as hell mean the world to a lot of people… and to outright disregard them, is a complete and utter “fuck you” to everyone who’s ever breathed that fine dust.

    To the turnkey camps:

    If you’re going to come to our party, show some respect… please!!!

    Because if it wasn’t for us, you’d have no “party” to crash.

    You’d have not “freaks” to ogle at.

    You’d have no place to bring your rented model gf’s.

    Or dusty orgy’s to waddle into, and be accepted at.

    Or naked chicks to take picture with.

    You’d have no clue what electronic music is, let alone what “type” you’re listening to.

    Whatever it is you came for, just keep in mind… you paid to be here, and so did we…

    But we didn’t make the money in a week to pay for our trip… we worked our asses off all fucking year to come here!

    We live this life all year long, and you obviously have no clue how much this place means to us!

    So again I will say it:

    Please show us some respect!

    We let you in, we keep the party going, we keep the art flowing, and the fire burning… and we have been very very accepting of you (and all)… so don’t ruin it!

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    • Bleurose says:

      Two points. First I do NOT think the BMorg has set an example of transparency. This is one of my major gripes right now. In fact, I think the new non-profit structure is more of a subterfuge to keep things less transparent. There has not been, in the past 5 years at least, any accounting of revenues by the BMorg. The expense accounting has been vague at best and very tardy (compared to the accounting that used to be done when the event was much smaller). Those of us who have done “rule of thumb” accountings of our own realize that there is quite a bit of money that seems to have been taken in but hasn’t wound up any place obvious. I am NOT saying I know where it has gone or accusing anyone, just that I would love a much clearer accounting. Any non-profit should be EXPECTED to provide a COMPLETE accounting including how it pays its senior staff and/or board members, before it should expect to get tax-deductible donations. So I for one will not be donating any money to BM until that happens. I wish I could as I know there are some good things that are being done, but I want to see real transparency from a company that uses the tax laws of our country to save money (something most of us can’t do).

      The second thing is please note that NOT ALL of us “live this life all year long”. I love BM but I also am not a 24/7 burner when I return to the default world. Yes, I try to live by some of the principles, but not all (I can’t imagine my life without the benefit of commodification for many things I like to do). BM offers me a respite from the day-to-day world but I do not think it would work on a universal basis. I am just not utopian enough to think that is a good thing. I still want to have a place to go every year where I can let my hair down, have a great time, help out and do good things, but I am just not sure the world is ready for this everywhere all the time. Just my $.20 of course, your mileage may vary. :-)

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  • trial_by_fire says:

    Get rid of the airport, and 99% of the plug-n-players will never even consider coming…

    Simple as that.

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    • Mr. Wendell says:

      I have to agree with what has been said about the airport. It should go and those people who just come to the playa and “take” away from our community and “give” nothing in return would not dare to spend a day on the gate road (in the rain). Fellow burners spend all year preparing for a week in the dust. Creating art, music and sense of community that they give away once they reach the playa.

      Larry seems to be buckling under the pressure of the default world. Are you kidding me…The Ten Principles sound like suggestions now. I hope you have enough volunteers to pick up all the MOOP that I am going to fucking leave on the PLAYA!!! Since it is only suggested that I pack it in and pack it out. Of course, I am kidding because I believe in the Ten principles that were established for the Good of the Community.

      I will be there next year and I will give my time, love, and energy away to help build a better community.

      I think that Larry should grow a pair of balls and just fucking keep the PNP off the playa!!! I mean Really!!!!

      Mr. Wendell

      I suggest you

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    • Bleurose says:

      Agree about the airport. It should be used for emergency evac services, skydivers and kiters. Anyone who flies in to go to the event should be shuttled to the front gate where they would have to proceed like a walk-in camper. Anyone who makes that trek on foot should DESERVE to be able to stay!

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      • Pink says:

        We had a wonderful camper who for two years flew to the burn in his own plane. He gifted us flights above the city; not just for the camp but anyone who asked & got to the airport early morning. He also flew to Winnemucca to get parts for El Pulpo when they broke down. But the commercial flights that have popped up in the last couple of years? Ban em. Hell, I’m for most of the commercial services including water deliveries & grey water removal can go. Hard to do a fancy camp when you’re really being self-reliant.

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    • Doug says:

      The BORG has identified the airport as an important component in their plan to reduce traffic on 447.

      Most of the people who bring in their own planes offer gift rides during the week, while taking nothing for the hundreds of dollars it costs for fuel and maintenance for those flights.

      That said, there are several part-135 operators operating air charter services from Reno to BRC. They pay the BORG a lot of money to be an outside vendor, so don’t look for that to get shut down.

      It is necessary to operate a gate at the airport to be sure anyone returning from a “gift ride” actually started with a ticket. Eliminating the ability for people who had just flown in to come through the gate at the airport and requiring them to somehow travel several miles to the vehicle gate would be extremely illogical with a sole purpose of (partially) satisfying the envy of people who don’t have small planes, while just further clogging up the main gate. By the way, people flying in pay an extra $50 to cover the costs of airport operation.

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  • trial_by_fire says:

    And get rid of the coffee in center camp… it send the wrong message:

    It breeds “reliance”, encourages “commodity”, and gives a thumbs up to the “sherpa” culture.

    Report comment

  • Ken says:

    The worst part about BM for me is all the people who whine and complain about how “It’s not like it used to be, it’s sold out” or “It’s ruined, you ruined it it!” blah, blah, blah. You don’t like it? Don’t go. You want to see a different direction? Quit your bitching and make it happen. Be a shining example of change, take Radical Responsibility and don’t wait for someone else to make your experience better. Do it yourself.

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  • FLGweldingmomma says:

    @trail_by_fire ~ great suggestion but, modify that “No Airport” a little bit by setting limitations on the # of planes who receive entry (giving out a limit # of passes), limit the # of times you can exit the playa & return to 2x (hence the limitation of # of people potentially coming in, who cares if the passenger pays $5000 or more, there’s only 4 people total), and possibly requiring those traveling by airplane to camp out there next to the AIRPORT! LOL!
    I’d really like to read more comments but, most of them end up being complaints with no resolutions, ideas, no good idea to contribute to the process of making this issue someday become a non-issue. It pains me to read any further.
    Dear BMO,
    I would LOVE to be invited to a consortium or brainstorm session dealing with this topic and possibly a few other issues. I’m a 9 year BM veteran, every year since my first was as a member of an interactive theme camp and 5 years as hard working core member of groups bringing large scale art installations (which means hella work volunteering time for 8 months off-playa and 75% on-playa time = very little personal play/free time, all in exchange for one gift ticket) and, I am very proud to have shared my life with this community on and off the playa. No regrets. Now I am a Mom, and yes, my child has attended twice (thank you for offering the low-income tickets). I am grateful that BMO has taken great consideration for the safety of children but, primarily I’m grateful the arms are open. Through me, and her personal experiences, my daughter will learn very early on how to become inclusive, share without expectation, gift without expectation, participate, inspire others, enjoy life without stress, love, eliminate fear, not to judge others who are different, to live off-grid, to live comfortably without, be grateful, AND hopefully continue my legacy. She is the future of Burning Man. I will continue to do my best in sharing the wisdom of the Principles of BM with those who have questions, are curious, or are interested in participating at the event someday. That is my promise.
    In Addition, I would enjoy the opportunity to share with you an off-playa project I am launching which will “inspire” teens to become the future “Makers” (skilled trades) of our world.
    Let me know if and when you decide to have an open forum. I’d really really like to be there. You’ve got my email. <3

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    • Hugz - MRL says:

      Thanks for sharing your note – this was sweet in a sea of not so wonderfulness.

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    • Doug says:

      Most people who arrive in their own planes DO camp in or next to their planes.

      Read up on Part-135 Air Charter Services. That’s where you might want to focus your anger, and you might be able to slightly reduce the number of rich people attending if you got them banned. (Which isn’t going to happen, and even if it did, would simply result in rich people arriving in luxury buses with open bars and hookers and the like.)

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  • fri-'net-ik says:

    Comments section, tl;dr. I’ll read you in the morning with some caffeine. In the meantime, thank you .

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  • Jim says:

    It’s about time somebody acknowledged the backdoor tickets.. that pisses off just about every burner that ever struggled with computer tie ups during ticket sales week to hear they let some exclusive donor slip 250 into the door man’s pocket to walk right past you. Tickets should be first-come first-served.. Period.

    I’m also wondering now burning man has evolved to it’s near capacity in the desert, how they intend to choose which theme camps will be allowed ‘directed’ tickets? Seriously, when I see the same theme camps year over year with a complete lack of innovation or for that matter any sort of evolution in art, I’m not certain whether to be shocked or comfortably numb. Why choose to direct tickets to a theme camp, who may of course, contribute a lot to the event, but wouldn’t you say it gets old real fast when most of the established theme camps are remarkably, always the same? The same infrastructure, the same contribution, the same furniture.. year after year after year. Should burning man evolve, or should we keep a certain percentage of the venues stagnant, with no creative change to their theme camps? I’ve seen several things on the plus side for established camps for their consistent contribution to the burning community. But I’ve also seen the downside in that these theme camps seldom change their purpose, their contribution, or for that matter, their decor. Some of your named theme camps, should be evaluated upon a really important factor beyond simply, contribution. If burning man is to hit the population cap, what incentive do theme camps with placement have to do anything to evolve or change, besides just being the same camp in a different place, offering the same service, with the same infrastructure? I’m aware of consistency in decisions to place theme camps, but would it be too much to ask for theme camps to actually evolve and change? Regional burners burn their art, thus providing a fresh canvas for the next year. So do artists, and so does burning the temple, and the man. But some of these ‘established’ theme camps with priority placement and a long established track record of service, also have their down side. They’re non-evolving, they’re fixtures.. simply the same old furniture, in a different location. In a perfect world, with maximum capacities being reached nearly every year, wouldn’t it be a good idea to perhaps encourage theme camps to change their decor every once in a while for the sake of evolution, and for the sake of art? Regional burners burn their art each year, prompting a renewal of the regional art, but the same can’t be said for established theme camps that attend year after year, with the same infrastructure. When they apply, is there any consideration whatsoever to the applicant, whether they plan to offer change as part of their contribution? There are some who are major proponents of consistency and familiarity, but burners should evolve, art should evolve, and theme camps should also be expected to evolve as well, lest a maximum capacity burn be ladened with the same furniture, just in a different location on the playa. If theme camps continue to receive directed tickets, would it be too much to ask when they apply for them, to ask them what they will be changing with their camp to make it new and different from previous years? Perhaps it’s just my way of thinking, but I’ve seen some of the same art cars every year, the same inner circle familiar landmarks, and I begin to wonder if there’s not a call for *some* noticeable form of evolution in directed camps? I wish the directed tickets were directed to evolutionary art, not camps with the exact same M.O. year, after year, after year.. without even changing the doorstop.

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    • Curious says:

      Harsh. Wow. I’m thankful for any veteran burners. Older camps are not the problem in this particular discussion, which is about PNP. But I do think they’re an important backbone to this growing and changing community.

      (And the old & familiar are a nice anchor for you to offset your brilliant new theme camp. So, please, bring it!)

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  • Dave says:

    To Jim,
    I tottaly agree, a huge example is barbie death camp, When I first went they said “come by, have a drink and torture a barbie” last time I went there they said “we don’t want our barbies disturbed” they have the exact, I mean exact, same setup year after year, offer nothing interactive, now I have heard thier “village” is over 600 people, they deserve nothing, as they offer nothing. They don’t need 600 people to setup the same old thing year after year. They forgot what Burningman is all about! BTW what is up with the “villages” anyway?

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    • meathands says:

      Our camp “Shadyvil” became a “village” this year to bring back radical self reliance and creativity. Rather than having 1 large camp of 200 we split into 5 groups sharing greywater, showers, shade and previously owned/stored infrastructure. Each camp needed to provide its own theme and host events independently. Now we have over 50 people involved in building, creating and facilitating rather than the same 10 overworked people each year.

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  • Mediocre_mente_cognoscitur_ex_jucundo_trahit_mysteria says:

    As a co-organizer for a theme camp I have some questions about the policy changes. Please see below.

    “Camps should be visually stimulating, have an inviting design and a plan for bike parking and crowd management.”

    We have a crowd management, and bike manage plan that has been working. We also talk, and tweak out layout every year to entice participation. However we simply can not compete with a dues camps, or camps with a benefactor when it comes to the visuals. Everything in our camp for public use is a personal project of individual members who wanted to share the thing they built. Always not matching with other projects or structures. Because of this I would like to know what will be the criteria for a visually stimulating camp with an inviting design?

    “Camps must be neighborly. This includes keeping sound within set limits, controlling where camp generators vent exhaust, and easily resolving any boundary disputes that arise.”

    One of the issues we had this year was a discrepancy among the sound level of the internal sound camps near us. Of the four or so near us, only one seemed to be outside the limits. So much so that it seemed to some of us that their sound was preventing participation not just at our camp, but at camps all along our street. So my question is, will there be a monitoring program in place for 2015?

    “(whether a camp requires extra BRC infrastructure support, which could include undue communication or interactions with Rangers, DPW or the playa restoration team)”

    Finally could you please go into more detail about that statement?

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    • Doug says:

      Black Rock Rangers *should* be able to do something about camps that are violating the sound rules (but you may have to push on them a bit to get them to do their job). The sound rules are very clearly spelled out in the theme camp application, complete with a maximum decibel @ a specified distance limit.

      Placement will help camps that have been “bad,” in terms of MOOP or SPL understand that isn’t acceptable behavior with punitive placement in subsequent years.

      Anyone who thinks camps operate with carefree impunity has clearly never run a theme camp and dealt with all of the various agencies and departments who believe they have the authority and mandate to make your life miserable. Let’s just say that registered theme camps do not want to be the source of complaints to law enforcement, Black Rock Rangers, BLM or the BORG.

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  • mortician says:

    Thanks for this, for the most part, it answers my questions. My main concerns were concierge camps receiving favorable placement without having to hold to the standards other placed camps must meet, VIP art cars and other private Vegas-EDM-style club behavior that is both culturally offensive and in violation of DMV rules, and lack of clarity on ticketing, with a scarce resource there would of course be outcry if there was a perception access was not (reasonably) equitable. Sounds like the right discussions are in progress and it will be interesting to see this thought translate into actions over the coming months.

    I’m not in the camp calling for the removal of specific board members, I don’t need blood from a stone. Its better to know that the lessons of the mistakes made with this years most notable, and offensive, camps are understood and steps will be taken to prevent another camp from repeating their mistakes. As Danger Ranger said on his (highly recommended) facebook post about all this (and these camps in particular), mistakes can be great opportunities for learning and growth. I would suggest that if its not already being done as part of placement reviews, in the camps application process if they make mention of using producers or camp organizers who come from the Coachella/EDM/Tomorrowland world, red flags should be flying as to whether they have the right BM experience to produce a culturally appropriate camp, or if they are just bringing EDM VIP culture to the playa, which has elements which do not fit the principles and cause friction with the community (prime example= Caravancicle). There are lots of fancy camps fully produced and chock full of the rich and powerful who have been getting it right for years, who have been wonderful additions to BRC, its not required to provide that experience on playa to get those folks to attend if thats the goal.

    Look forward to hearing this years ticketing info. Proud participant in the pre-sale, I am more than happy to pay a little extra for my ticket to help subsidize anothers.

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  • Fishstick says:

    My two cents: Don’t. Place. Turnkey. Camps.

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  • Hugs - MRL says:

    I agree completely with Andrew! Mr. Tananbaum (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here) needs to either step down or be removed. He is NOT Larry nor is he one of the original founders, he is simply a board member.

    Boards of not-for-profit organizations — especially large ones like Burning Man — exist to ensure that two things happen 1.) The organization continues usually through fundraising and long-term planning and 2.) ensuring that the culture of the organization is kept in tact. If a board member of another ‘member’ organization the size of BMorg were to act as Mr. Tananbaum has in a similar situation that board member would be quickly asked to relieve themselves of their post. Especially if it was thought the issue could lead to a long principled inquiry as we are lead to believe occurred.

    It really doesn’t matter if Mr. Tananbaum is or was responsible for the actions of his camp — as a board member he IS responsible at the highest level for the two primary functions called upon his office. When he allowed himself to become mired in the conflict surrounding his camp he failed failed at half of his charge as a Board Member. There is mountains of evidence to corroborate his camps evils and none to suggest he did anything but participate.

    The fact he is still on the board after this months long inquiry further taints both him and the new Burning Man Board and no length of time nor good will is going to change that in the minds of the many Burners who have also devoted life, love and passion to our Playa.

    If you really care for Burning Man then:
    – for the sake of Burning Man’s long-term good
    – for the sake of lowering tensions
    – and in the hopes of seeing good come out of a very difficult situation;

    Mr. Tananbaum I plead with you, resign your post on the Board of Directors and remove yourself as a lightening rod within these circumstances.

    If Mr. Tananbaum can not or will not remove himself then my hope, and I would say the hope of many Burners – for the same reasons stated above – is that the Board will chose to relieve Mr. Tananbaum of his post.

    Maybe he’s a scapegoat, I’ll call it for what it is, but this is part of the human condition. If you’re in a position of authority and abuse the trust empowered to you, you should expect to be called upon to answer for that abuse.

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  • G says:

    Bears repeating,

    ” I’m sad because I’m afraid the cool people are fleeing in droves and, in accommodating some, we’re losing or already lost some of our edgy best, for whom the 10Ps weren’t just Ps&Qs–I.e., optional, depending on the paying company. They weren’t rules, they were a way of life, decommodification being a profound experience, a deeply felt engagement, far more than just a principle. So Rome is in ruins while the empire expands. And this time it’s not the barbarians at the gate, it’s shameless pirates, privateers, it’s Coachella. Yes, we know pirates work hard as sailors. And they’re not working hard for “us” like we work hard for “them,” which most of us hoped was for all of “us.” These concierge/commodification/plug-n-play/turnkey/safari camps are not such a tiny percentage when it causes this much heartache and deep offense across the community. Why are you accommodating for-profit camps? How did they win the burning man soul?”

    Thanks Curious!

    I will add, it matters not if these “PnP”s made a profit or not. It is a question of how they violate the principles/”suggestions”. What does luxury coddling of a clientele whose only “radical self reliance” is to have access to enough defaultia currency to buy their way into the event in an unseemly extravagant manner (and be coddled of course). I work in the tourist industry, and bringing coddled, spoiled tourists to BRC is antithetical to how I understand the Burning Man ethos.

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    • Curious says:

      Thanks, G. Frankly, it can’t be fun to shepherd a flock of radically unselfreliant folks on and around the playa. Some old burners initially set up concierge camps to offer such experience and assistance, or support, in the beginning. I understand some folks travel from afar, say, and really want an easy landing pad for their first experience, or whatever the myriad reasons some need extra extra hand-holding. I’ve met many who do the research and figure it out themselves or find a camp that needs volunteers and doesn’t fleece them. I can understand someone being afraid to wander into the desert solo. Elite VIP outfits now are so bewilderingly out of place and over the top that one wonders how such a nonindigenous life form landed in a city founded on everything but luxurious accommodation and catered, curated experience…. Until one faces the blank reality that the org that has worked so hard to trumpet the wonders of this radical experiment, examined the navel of its success and formulated ten or so principals that made it a success—til one accepts that the org gave away the very keys to the city. To elements in direct opposition to its foundational virtues. It didn’t seem to make a principaled stand for the very principals that make its city so special. It seems to have welcomed the “enemy”–commodification–gave it a nice big landing pad and left it to the community to cry foul and call for re-decommodification! Crazy! We all know it takes lots of money to run the show, Burners just don’t want money stealing the show.

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  • Eric says:

    I left SF on Sunday morning (since the Playa was closed) , and waited 4-5 hours in line to get in on Sunday evening. It was tedious, but at least it was a shared experience. it’s upsetting to think others are “cutting in line” via the airport.
    Anyhow, I ended up on K Street (lots & lots of open, empty, but “reserved” spots, WTF?) near several plug & play camps. and it reminded me of not being able to get into a dance club, cause I was not cool enough. I think the idea of doormen at these camps should be discouraged.
    Also, something needs to be done regarding the proliferation and overuse of Segways (license them too perhaps?) , the Techies/Models etc that are using them are creating danger by driving them too fast, and it’s a bad mix with bicycles and pedestrians….I saw several serious near misses up on K street..

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  • Terry says:

    Just one more comment to the BRC community and BM staffers alike.

    Please keep in mind that the reason both sides are so passionate about the future of the burn is because the event has come to mean so much to so many. The discourse and discussion is needed because none of these issues are black and white. While we all can point to instances of what is appropriate and what isn’t, codifying it in a manner that is fair, reasonable, and nurtures the BRC community is very tough.

    Our camp always has a public and a private space. Does it make us elitist to have an area just for our campmates?

    Some of our camp meals are planned in advance, and although we love to share with new playa friends, we reserve the right to choose who we gift it to. I don’t think that makes us evil.

    We happened to be placed next to a Rich Kids’ Camp (with paid sherpas, butlers, and cooks) so we know the difference between camps that give and camps that take. But it is going to require time, a lot of thought, and plenty of errors, to figure out how to encourage one and discourage the other.

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    • Curious says:

      For every plug and play citizen who needs butlers, cooks, Sherpas, art car drivers, camp maintainers, entertainment companions–let’s say one PNPer needs a support staff of average four servants, that’s five burning man tix for one participant to enjoy the city, versus one ticket for a radically self-reliant burner who is the city.

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  • Bruce says:

    I met a group of women after the event who told us that they had special access through a different road and did not wait in line. It was the road that semi’s used for deliveries. They were not part of any project, just “knew the right people”. I suppose that this kind of thing happens at all events whether official or not.

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  • Eric says:

    I have one more comment.
    Somebody delivered fully stocked RV to our camp (on K St) , while we were out. There was nothing we could really do about it, since it just showed up.
    No one showed up to it for a couple days.
    Mid week 3 guys pulled up in a car, and explained they had rented the RV on AirBnB fully stocked, and delivered for the week.
    Luckily they were very nice, and we welcomed them into our camp.
    They bailed abruptly, without notice leaving the badly leaking RV, with food rotting in the sun..
    This business of pre-configured delivered RV’s is really, really not inline with BM principles, and IMHO should be stopped.

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  • Sage Haas says:

    Sounds like a lot of class warfare. Different price tickets, Guaranteed Tickets for those who can pay more. Under the guise of gifting for Christmas. I believe in low income tickets, but the Organization should be absorbing the cost of those. Donations should be also used to off-set low income tickets, A link on the buy ticket web page.
    RV’s, fences, rope, around the perimeter of camps totally enclosing the camp should be illegal. Having to walk around a large camp to get to the portapotties for handicap person is not acceptable. Besides the inclusion question.
    RV’s are good for people the have health condition, or disability and sparkle ponies.

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  • tomtom says:

    As someone who works in the ‘default world’ as a personal Concierge, these “plug and Play” camps break my playa heart. They bring to our beautiful community a sense of entitlement that should stay in the default world. I will say that I have seen first hand how these ‘P&P’ camps affect the general playa population, feelings of being excluded and looked down on for not knowing the ‘right people’. I do know the right people, I work in their default homes and travel with them on their default vacations, their P&P’s don’t interest me. They sadden me because I’ve also seen the affect it has on the P&P playa population, they simply and profoundly miss out on the pure joy, love, inclusion, art, community, experience, work, character building hard work, it takes to get to and build your playa home. I have never seen a ‘P&P’ hit a playa wall, I’ve seen them BURN OUT and then CHECK OUT. Maybe when we see an ad for a plug and play camp we gently and with kindness suggest that Los Vegas is the vacation for them…you know Doormen, Bell Boys, Room Service, VIP everything, and your models won’t get all dusty…In the meantime when you encounter a Doorman on the playa give a little giggle, a BIG hug, a wink and walk on by. Because instead of going HOME )'( that doorman went to WORK.

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  • Regis says:

    One thing not addressed at all– should there be people being PAID for their services while at burning man? This is a huge distinction between P&P camps and ambitious art camps. When someone is paid to be there– whether a doorman, a sherpa, a bartender, a setup crew or a DJ– they are no longer on equal footing as participants. Rather, a line is drawn between a consumer and a service provider. They are not judged based on immediacy, who they are in that given moment. Rather, they are judged by the service they are being paid to provide, and slip back into their societal role that we try so hard to avoid at burning man. And they certainly aren’t free to radically express themselves, because they are paid to act a certain way. This is how burning man becomes a festival! I think it is appalling that this central issue is IGNORED in this post, and saddening that nothing will be done about it. If a major camp gets placement and then fails to follow the most basic principles, ignorance is not an excuse! They should have read the 10 principles and the survival guide before asking for reserved space! They should NOT get a second chance, because in all likelihood, they were violating the ethos and didn’t care, and will probably try to find another way to do it next year.

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    • G says:

      I said it before in this website, and I will say it again. When I biked past Caravansicle early event, the vibe was immediately perceptible. The workers there were doing it for the money. The vibe was grim, joyless, and repellant. That made me aware that in my 14 burns I unconsciously became used to, acculturated to, crews working for the love, joy and passion of it.
      Dear BMORG, suspending all of Defaultia’s tit-for-tat economic behavior for that one week and within the trash fence is one of the genius and magic things about TTITD. I beg of you will all of my being, that you firmly swat the money/economy camel’s nose that poked through the BRC tent last year.

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  • Chowski says:

    AM I GOT ENOUGH TO GET ON YOUR PAYROLL?!

    I am so relieved that Those Who Matter have decided that the Commodification of our Home by Boardmembers and other party-planners is not a problem, and is now never to be spoken of again! The only thing missing from the post is directions on where I can send my application to be a Mistress of Merriment for next year’s Douchebag-o-Rama-Camp on 7:30 &K. Since tickets are now reserved in large part for “non-Commodificaiton Camps” and the rest of us actual Burners can’t get tickets, I’m going to stop trying to Beat ’em and Join ’em! Imagine, I get a precious, reserved-for-the-friends-of-Those-Who-Matter ticket (free of charge!), a free straw mat to sleep on in my “non-working” hours, occassional use of rental Segways, and proximal access to the Elite! I won;t have to deal with creating art or getting myself out there, plus, I’ll get paid thousands of dollars just to show up and sling drinks for some billionaire bucket-listers. In a few years, maybe I’ll start my OWN Playa Hotel that’s totally not for profit, and you aren’t invited. And maybe, one day, if I work real hard, I’ll be able to pay other people to create my burning Man experience for me, so I needn’t bother with all the hassle. I just know I’m going to LOVE this new Burning Man. So all you loser Plebes, get your camps together and start planning and paying for all the fun activities that me and my new employers will get to enjoy if and when we leave our compounds. I am so glad they listened to our concerns, and have solved the problem that never existed.

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  • burnersxxx says:

    These statements are untrue. I made Danger Ranger aware of them this morning. Rather than correcting his lies, his chosen response has been to spread them to a wider audience. Now he has made burningman.com is a party to his slander.

    I would expect that blog.burningman.com should be subject to the same TOS rules as eplaya.burningman.com . Please remove the personal information from this comment.

    Doxing me might distract some of your faithful, but many of us are smarter than that. Burning Man should not be about how much money someone has, that seems completely against the Ten Principles.

    For the record, I do not own any homes or an aircraft, I have never flown into Burning Man, I drive my own RV which I bought in 2011 for $19,000 on eBay. I do not employ trolls, professional or volunteer. I have only ever posted on this site as burnersxxx, which is the handle I write my articles at burners.me as.

    Danger Ranger is welcome to write a guest post at Burners.Me, if he feels anything inaccurate has been said there.

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    • Burning Man says:

      Sorry, nothing in this post violates our comment policy. A comment not being 100% factually accurate is not grounds for removal.

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    • Gary says:

      Does this mean the BORG blog posts don’t have to be “factually accurate” then?

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    • Gary says:

      It much more than a “comment” when it is straight from a board member. It carries weight. Unless we are to assume all the blog responses from Will, Answergirl, Halcion and more are not accurate as well.

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    • Gary says:

      Snide, rude, threatening personal comments about or directed at any person, be they other users, the moderators, Larry Harvey, other Burning Man staff, Burning Man volunteers, your own mother…we don’t care if you have a low opinion of someone — that’s your business. But this isn’t the place to get personal about it.
      The above applies to the Burning Blog authors too. If you’re going to talk smack about an entry, talk about the entry. Don’t attack the author.

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  • Leo says:

    All of the commodification camps should be placed on K street between 7:30 and 10:00. Since BRC is a city, we need strict zoning to keep the riff-raff (aka the 99%) away from the “wealthy neighborhood”. By the way, this discussion has been going on and the BMORG has no mention of the conflict of interest by board member J. T. I’m sure the this discussion will continue until J.T. make a formal apology, volunteers to leave the BOD, or is dismissed from the BOD. It the meantime, the radio silence continues.

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  • Curious says:

    Looking forward to reading the K Street signage. Kommodification village. Kommode street. Kraptastic avenue. Kake: let them eat street, Kantankerous burner korner, kan you spare me a dime alley, keep the change drive, Burner King.

    We were asked to offer helpful suggestions.

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  • Cosmic says:

    Reminds me of Animal Farm. Perhaps it will all end the same way.

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  • Youss says:

    Interestingly, I was supposed to join a PnP camp this year but got (by chance) an administrative issue and couldn’t go to the US. After the Burn I looked at the facebook page of the camp, and read that the week was awful for most of the people within the camp. The people who paid about 1000 $ for a week were complaining that they didn’t received the services they paid for, and the organizer complained about the people who joined the camp because they totally missed the BM experience with their selfishness and lack of self reliance. At the end, nobody was happy and everybody spent a lot of money…

    When I look at burners comment regarding this year experience, I can avoid making the analogy with the social issue that can rise in western countries regarding immigration. As western countries were looking at bringing immigrants for cheap labor, BM wants to spread its culture to the default world. As immigrants were dreaming about an Eldorado, first time burners are dreaming for a life changing experience.

    But people cannot embrace a new culture just by being there. People need help and education. Otherwise people try to find their own way by going to what they are comfortable with, and avoid the challenging new experience due to their fear of failure. At the end, you have in western countries ethnic communities that live between them without exchanging anything with others, and you have PnPs camps that live behind closed fences, missing completely the BM experience and culture. And of course start the hatred and the fear that these people will mutate (for the worst) the essence of the country or event.

    It isn’t an easy issue to solve but try to avoid the pitfall that most states have fallen in. You have a culture that promote love, sharing and freedom, you must keep this in mind.

    I would love to have a mentor for my first burn, so he or she can show me how to be self reliant and survive the hard condition in the playa. I’m sure that would be a great solution to share your culture and values to new comers and having less sparkle ponies and commodification camps.
    It’s very difficult for plan for BM especially when you don’t live in the US (that explain the potential English mistakes in my comment, I apologize for this, let me know if anything unclear). The survival guide is an amazing source of information and eplaya as well (guys you do a really great job with that), but seriously it still seems very difficult for to plan for everything.

    I hope I’ll be able to come to Burning Man in the coming years and enjoy the amazing life changing experience and be part of this mind blowing community. Wish all the luck and courage for burners and BMORG for solving the current issues you are facing.

    Lot of love!

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  • Emily Latella says:

    Turkey camps? Turkey camps? What is all this talk about turkey camps? Why do we want to put the turkeys in a camp? I mean its just a few weeks until Christmas when they will all be sitting on their roasted asses in the middle of the table. Let ’em run free for the last few weeks of their miserable existence.

    “Miss Latella, its TURN KEY CAMPS!”

    Oh… never mind.

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  • Bleurose says:

    COULD… NOT… HELP… MYSELF… :-)

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  • B;ueschaser says:

    Jeeee-immmm? Here, Jimmi, Jimmi, Jimmi. Where’s Jim (T)? With Waldo? In a leftover Bin Laden cave?
    Please explain how you, a board member, can so egregiously remain invisible these last months, in the face of your commodity camp failure—be it intentional or not. The silence is deafening. Have you no courage to face the community? Or perhaps you’re busily huddling with your attorney to properly vett and obfuscate a feeble defense; when do you plan to raise your head up out of the spider hole?

    And if camps who flunk Moop test at end of BM don’t get placement the next year, be sure to evict the RV circle organizers at 3:15 & K. I was at corner of 3:30/K all week and was very last camper to leave the block—except said CC camp. Be happy to provide the pictures I took showing a spotless playa, right up to the RV wall. Yet HUGE red spot shows up on Moop Map! Gee , where could that have come from? Thanks for listening…..

    Psst: JT>>>>>>>>>>still waiting!

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  • Leo says:

    This post is a good start for answering some of the questions and concerns expressed by the community. There is still radio silence about Jim T. and the apparent conflict of interest with being on the board of directors and organizing a commodification camp. It seems like one of three responses would be appropriate:
    1. Jim T. posts his side of the story on “the Voices of Burning Man”, perhaps with an apology or at the minimum, an alibi.
    2. Jim T. voluntarily resigns from the board of directors.
    3. The board of directors dismisses Jim T.
    This issue will not fade away, in spite of efforts to downplay it or pretend it never happened. Let’s hear jim’s side of the story. Perhaps his efforts were well intended but had unforeseen consequences. We are waiting (sound of crickets chirping).

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  • Blaze says:

    Yeah, someone is talking, but they don’t seem to be saying anything. Is it really possible that the Ivory Tower over BRC is so tall and out of sight of the dust down on The Playa floor that The Borg just does not understand what all the fuss is about?

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  • johnnyjet says:

    i used to be a bm activist, but after the ’03 burn that i missed ’cause the Nat’l Guard sent me to Iraq for the oil war, and after the greenwash of the greeningman(yes the center camp now runs on biodiesel, but the house sized generator is still a house sized generator, and they’re still buying and burning fuel) i am now an AEZ activist, and to be a better AEZ activist i built my motorhome w/ solar and a composting toilet that doesn’t use water (what part of radical self-reliance do you not understand) come by the AEZ and i’ll give you the tour – actually take the AEZ tour and learn about solar, wind, grey-water disposal, sun ovens and all kinds of neat stuff. So turn the burn into your burn, you want to scream something political about the system, then do it, name your camp something political like ‘white trashistan’ or whatever, tell the world that you’re a burner, they aren’t, but do it in a humorous way – you slimy excuse for dogfood!!

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  • RICKSHAW says:

    I applaud Bleurose’s reply to (not so) Happyface who wants to ban all RV’s. I am almost 68 now and the days of backpacking or car camping are over. But I’m the guy who passes out the cold water and beer to dusty strangers passing my small camp. I’m the guy who cooks a dozen hot dogs and eats two. I’m the guy who passes out glowers to darktards and I become the local first -aid station on my block. Need something fixed, come on by. Maybe we’ve met Happyface?

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  • leo says:

    A frequently asked question concerns the apparent conflict of interest with JT being both a board member and having a commodification camp. Does it take 3+ months to get an answer to this frequently asked question? It would be great to hear from JT himself.

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  • jay says:

    Is it true that since 1995 dr dre (THE RAPPER) has been financially behind the Burning man Festival.

    drdrestartedburningman.tumblr.com/

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  • Marquee says:

    Hurrah to Leo and his 3 answers? When will JT be address!

    ——-
    Leo says:
    December 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    … It seems like one of three responses would be appropriate:
    1. Jim T. posts his side of the story on “the Voices of Burning Man”, perhaps with an apology or at the minimum, an alibi.
    2. Jim T. voluntarily resigns from the board of directors.
    3. The board of directors dismisses Jim T.

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  • Peace says:

    @DR Thanks for the information. Not that it will do any good with some people. Some people just get off on being mad. That are like the character in rebel without a cause “what are you fighting?”…”what have you got?”… I can say myself that the rumors and the time it took to get some answers had be very concerned and I appreciate all those who kept the pressure on and let the org know we needed answers. Now the org has given us answers (I think the right ones) but they are not good enough for some who seem to refuse to even acknowledge we’ve gotten answers.

    As to the JT situation, he screwed the pooch. But I’m with you on not dumping someone just because they made a mistake. Mistakes are awesome. Big giant knarly mistakes are even better. They are a great learning tool. I don’t imagine JT will be doing that again and hopefully he can use his experience to discourage others from doing it. A blog post by him on what he intended and what went wrong would go a long way towards healing and would be helpful to others trying to do the same.

    The link you posted is not working. I think it would be helpful to lay out what the rules for Board members actually are, who they are, why they were chosen. Just something so we feel informed.

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    • Gary says:

      I was actually inspired by your own previous quote “Peace”

      “When I lived back east I witnessed Don Henley of the Eagles fight to save Walden Pond from development. When asked why he chose that particular fight he said his dad had told him to “pick a fight that is small enough to win and big enough to matter”. That’s what this is. I can’t stop greed from ruining the default world, it’s gone too far, but I can join with my fellow Burners and stop greed from ruining Burning Man…and it matters.”

      Passing blame to JT’s contracted and paid producer, rehashing Gypsy Flower scam and claiming falsehoods against the critics does not “save the pond”. It does nothing actually to solve the issue at hand and may not even be true since it is just a “comment” and can not be taken and true.

      We need more clarity, civility, accountability and whiskey. It’s ok for us and BORG to admit fuck ups but they need to do that rather than justify, blame and displace responsibility. We are not monkeys in a zoo to be sold to the highest bidder who can fly in and grab their rental segway, RV, food and more to tour us in our native habitats.

      PS I’d like to be the first Don King on the playa and bring together Danger Ranger and Burnerxxx in Thunderdome. No wrist bands needed.

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    • Peace says:

      @Gary – What I was asking for was for the org to clarify that commodification camps are against the principles and will not be sanctioned or placed by the org and that tickets not be provided to anyone because of wealth. With these two posts they have made it clear that commodification camps are against the principles and will not be placed by the org. They have further said everyone has to go through the same process to get tickets. What I specifically asked for was that all placed camps be subject to the same rules. The org said yes. It is time to take yes for an answer. Perhaps at some time in the future they will show us they made these comments in bad faith. If they do I’ll be right back on the barricades. But for this to work there has to be trust at some point. From what I see the org made some errors, admitted them, and has taken steps to correct them. I’m not looking for perfection from people. I’m looking for good faith and integrity. There was a time there where it appeared the accusations the org was motivated by greed and not the spirit of BM might have some basis in fact. I am satisfied now that is not the case. The org isn’t greedy, they are human, and they are working in uncharted territory. As for JT, do you know why John McCain, among all the Republicans, is a champion for campaign finance reform? Because back in the eighties he was involved in a campaign finance scandal and he learned his lesson. JT has been burned and publically embarrassed. He has been to the depths. He knows he cannot profit off of Burning Man. If he still wants to be involved he must see something in it besides money. He could end up being our greatest ally in fighting off commodification camps.

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  • Peace says:

    Another suggestion…make theme camp/placement applications public.

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  • Dave says:

    I have an idea.
    How about we find where the turnkey camps are located and have an “assholes with megaphones gathering to tell them what we all think” like at 3am nightly.

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  • Dave says:

    To Burningman, out of 174+ comments, have you noticed not one person thinks that the turnkey camps are a good idea?

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  • Bud says:

    What happened to Radical Inclusion

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  • Marquee says:

    Still waiting for my substantive response. Everyone, we need to keep pressure up on the Concierge Camp issue! How can we let the Board commodify their own event, ignoring the values we all strive to follow, while we just let it happen?

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  • Peace says:

    @Marquee – Everything you’ve asked was answered in this post and in Larry’s previous post. Did you actually read them? The org has come out and plainly said Commodification Camps are against not just the principles, but the law. Board members can’t profit off them because NO ONE can profit off of them. In regards to camp “employees” the communication team has already said they are preparing an additional post.

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  • Joseph says:

    As new as I am to the burning community I really do feel as burning man is home to me.. Its a life changing place! I think people need to look at this topic from several angles. Yes there are some issues that need to be addressed, moop, contributing to the community, ect. But isn’t also part of our ways to be loving and caring to anyone? Instead of pushing them out we need to adapt as a community. Welcome them! And show them our ways! We have to at least give them a chance. I wanna also pointed out this is could be good for us. I’ve spent hours and hours talking with a man by the name of Timeless, who has very good ideas on this. It would be cool to see some of them take on funding for art projects! Lets be honest there are a load of artist who have these incredible ideas but don’t ever get the chance because of the costs! I really think this could help create a balance in things. As amazing and fun as it is to create things to bring and share it can also be expensive. Who knows maybe this would encourage some of them to take pride in what they can contribute and make there camps themed around the piece they have funded! There are many different ideas here and I think we as a community need to discuss and invest some time and thought into them. I highly recommend reading the comments that have been being posted viva @timeless! Thank you for your time!

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  • Rave'N says:

    Be careful what you ‘say’ you will be allowing, doing and not allowing or doing… Based on the final statements in this post, *that* camp in all red on the MOOP map, that we ALL saw the advertisements of *that* $13,000 Burning Man experience better NOT be granted a, ahem, theme camp spot in 2015.

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  • Elizabeth says:

    I would really love to see a response to the Petit Ermitage issue. This is a HOTEL setting up branded business on the playa. BMORG has no comments whatsoever?

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  • Propagandada says:

    The first year I went to Black Rock City in 1997 (late by some accounts), there were not 10 Principles. There were only two guiding principles, and they went on to be included in the Big 10 (there are probably 10 more waiting to be added I’m sure). These are to me still the two most important rules regarding Life on the Playa – LEAVE NO TRACE and NO SPECTATORS (spun into “Participation”). Yes, I said rules, not principles, because there is no namby-pambyness to them and “Principles” is really just a word spin on “Rules”. Tourists, aka Spectators (and other words that involve scatological references), whether they come from Reno for just the weekend of the Burn or have paid handsomely for a spot in a Commodification Camp arriving by private plane from somewhere far away, have long been known to be some of the best examples of those folks who are “Not Getting It”, mooping and groping to their heart’s content. and thinking to themselves “I can do whatever I like because this is Burning Man! ” It is to them that we, the Citizens of Black Rock City, cry out a collective “Fuck Your Day!”. They don’t get IT and they need a very, very bad spanking.

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  • johnnyjet says:

    sure let the turn-key camps in, but with mandatory labelling on the map and with a giant flag over their camp that reads “ASSHOLES!!”

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  • Doug says:

    I want to believe. Really I do, but …

    They say they go after infringement of their Burning Man trade mark by pnp’s. We’ll see if that’s for real, or if it’s BS.

    Google “Green Tortoise Burning Man,” and you’ll get taken to a page offering travel, food, water and a place to pitch your tent in a registered theme camp (Green Tortoise Village, which has been around for at least 2 years). Price is $995, and they can get you a ticket.

    The page offering this package uses the term “Burning Man” in 26 separate places. InternetArchive shows an essentially identical page has been up since at least August 2013.

    I’ve just taken the suggestion in the original post and submitted an “IP Violation Report” to ip at burningman dot com. DMCA takedown should take 2 weeks at most. Clock’s ticking, and the world is watching.

    If the BM references come down within a few days, and Jim T. posts a mea culpa, quits or gets fired, there’s hope. And if nothing happens, then, well, nothing is really going to happen and Larry’s hoping it’ll all blow over.

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    • Bleurose says:

      The Green Tortoise website is interesting. Their price is not totally outlandish (like the $17,000 and $30,000 cases I have heard of). They encourage participation. All of that is good.

      I had one real gripe with their proposal however. “…you will be camped at our site which is near Center Camp”. HTF do they know that? They might HOPE that they will be near center camp but unless the BMorg is actually promising things that they swear they aren’t, no one is going to know WHERE they are placed until sometime in June or so. That is, of course, unless they have some inside hook that gets them special privilege (which Larry Harvey says they won’t, at least not this year).

      So at the least, they should take down that claim of favorable placement.

      IMHO of course! ;-)

      Jon R/Bleurose

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  • Mutant Vehicle Owners of America says:

    I just went to the Green Tortoise website and all I want to know is …how the fuck can they be offering a package deal that includes a TICKET? For $909.00 you can get a ticket, transportation, water, a place to camp, and whatever else they offer.
    So…..how is it this can happen?….unless….wait, I know…it’s not Burning Man anymore!

    WTF

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    • Mutant Vehicle Owners of America says:

      Oh….it doesn’t include a ticket. They will sell you a ticket if you book with them now. Wonder how many tickets GT is guaranteed and if they charge a handling fee? Still a pretty good deal for what is included. If you are coming from overseas this might be the best way to get to the Burn.

      So,
      never mind. Nothing to see here……..

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