Here’s What Burning Man Is Doing to End Turnkey Culture

After the 2014 Burning Man event, turnkey (a.k.a. “plug and play”, a.k.a. concierge) camping in Black Rock City rightfully became a hot-button issue in our community. We share the concerns that turnkey camping, left unchecked, could undermine Burning Man’s principles, and we’ve taken measures to ensure that doesn’t happen.

In her keynote address at the 2015 Burning Man Global Leadership Conference, Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell put it plainly: “We are absolutely committed to ceasing the plug and play culture.”

We are doing this in three ways:

  1. All theme camps must go through the same process and meet the same standard (including being interactive, open to all citizens of Black Rock City, successfully Leaving No Trace, etc.) to be considered for placement.
  2. Our updated Outside Services (OSS) contracts make it extraordinarily difficult for concierge service operators and potential organizers of turnkey camps to order necessary equipment to successfully build a turnkey camp without showing up on our radar.
  3. A new ‘Statement of Values’ on gifting has been developed to guide our actions and relationships with individuals and groups that provide financial and other forms of support to the nonprofit Burning Man Project.

Here’s the letter from the Burning Man Placement team to theme camp organizers:

Hello Theme Camp Organizer,

We’re contacting you because you have requested Placement for 2015 in Black Rock City. We’ve made some changes to our Theme Camp and Placement policies following events in 2014 involving turnkey camps, and we wanted to inform you of them so you can plan accordingly.

Definitions

Turnkey is a category of camps along a spectrum. At one end of the continuum are camps that depend on supported infrastructure to create on playa projects. At the other end are camps providing vacation type experience packages for campmates with no specific requirement for contribution.

In 2014 Burning Man placed 12 turnkey camps that fell within the continuum as they were camps indicating they would offer an interactive aspect to be enjoyed by the entire Burning Man 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.

Theme Camp Placement Criteria / Standards:

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 Theme Camps requesting placement will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  1. Camps should be visually stimulating, have an inviting design and a plan for bike parking and crowd management.
  2. 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.
  3. Camps must be neighborly. This includes keeping sound within set limits, controlling where camp generators vent exhaust, and easily resolving any boundary disputes that may arise.
  4. Camps must have a good previous MOOP record (for returning camps).
  5. 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 including alternatives to RV lined streets).

Post-event evaluation Theme Camp Standing and access to Directed Group Sales:

Post event, all placed Theme Camps will be reviewed on the criteria above, as well as:

  1. MOOP score
  2. 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).

If camps meet all of the criteria they remain in “good standing” and may be eligible to receive access to DGS tickets the following year. Exemplary camps are the most likely to be invited to following DGS sales.

Camps that receive negative feedback will lose their good standing and be contacted in the Fall after the event. A loss of good standing will affect access to DGS.

Camps will have to make substantial changes to their submitted camp plans if they are to qualify for placement or the Directed Group Sale for the following year.

Camps found advertising are violating principles and cultural norms and will not be placed or invited to the DGS the following year.

Entering BRC with Early Arrival passes:

Only placed Theme Camps meeting all of the above criteria and receiving Placement will be given Early Arrival Passes from the Placement team for entry to BRC for pre-event set up.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you have regarding these policies.

Here’s the pertinent section of the Outside Services contract:

Specific changes applicable to vendors include but are not limited to:

  1. Burning Man does not contract with concierge camping outfits or tour companies.
  2. Groups of vendor-provided RVs or trailers using shared resources and clustered together, or formerly placed as “turnkey camps”, must now apply as Theme Camps and adhere to all Theme Camp criteria to be considered for placement.
  3. RVs and trailers will not be permitted within the city streets prior to the renter or contact person’s arrival on site without previous approval from the OSS team.
  4. All RV, vehicle, and trailer license plate numbers must be submitted to the OSS team at least 48 hours prior to the vendor’s arrival on site to collect credentials.
  5. Vendors must indicate the contact person, or renter, for each delivered item/trailer/RV, at least 48 hours prior to those credential being distributed.
  6. Vendors found to be non-compliant with the OSS program guidelines or contract may be asked to leave the event site immediately, and may not be considered for the program in future years.

Lastly, here’s our Statement of Values on Gifting:

Burning Man exists solely because of contributions to and from our community. Whether these gifts are made manifest in funds, labor, artwork, or other forms, they are the fuel that powers our work in the world. As a culture we are devoted to acts of giving that are unconditional, and as individual contributors, we acknowledge that all such gifts are given freely, with no expectation of reciprocity or exchange. Each gives according to his or her nature and capabilities, and no one is entitled to special treatment as a result. No contributor, regardless of the magnitude of his or her gift or position, will receive preferential treatment or undue influence over the course of our actions in the world.

We feel that these measures, taken together, will help foster a community and culture in Black Rock City that embodies the values reflected in the Ten Principles. But we’re not going to be able to solve this problem through rules and regulations alone. Ultimately, it takes YOU, the Burning Man community. It’s important that Burners and would-be Burners understand that Radical Self-Reliance, Participation and Communal Effort are fundamental to the Burning Man experience. The value of those principles is eroded when one engages a concierge service on playa. We strongly encourage people to avoid them to get a more meaningful Burning Man experience.

What About Green Tortoise?

Note that Green Tortoise camp is the sole exception to our position on turnkey camping because of its established program for bringing engaged participants to Black Rock City and the valuable service they provide to the community (shuttle buses to and from Gerlach during the event) — their camp is the exception that proves the rule, and we’re actively considering further changes to our arrangement with GT to bring it into alignment with our theme camp policy.

Top photo by Ron Lussier

About the author: Burning Man

Burning Man

The official voice of the Burning Man organization, managed by Burning Man's Communications Team.

140 Comments on “Here’s What Burning Man Is Doing to End Turnkey Culture

  • JV says:

    This all sounds good to me, thanks for communicating it. Sort of shines a light on why Opulent Temple might have gotten treated so by-the-book, as well. Which is fine by me.

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  • Coco says:

    So.Many.Rules. While I applaud and appreciate the steps BMorg has taken with turnkey camps, lasers, and sound cars, etc, it’s just a shame that the event has gotten so big with so many assclowns that we now need so many rules and regulations. Burning Man, I love you, but I’m ok with taking a break this year. Good luck with all the new rules!

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    • Pantsless Santa Esquire says:

      These rules only affect advanced placement of camps and the contracts for infrastructure vendors. They don’t apply directly to participants except those who want to pay to have an empty RV waiting for them on playa.

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    • Ben Zero says:

      Rules make fun more fun.

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    • The surreal McCoy says:

      A for assclowns!

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    • Cranch says:

      Think of all the rules on the signs at any city beach. Most of the rules a culture accumulates is the result of managing the behavior those who exclusively prioritize their own experience while utilizing shared resources/environments.

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    • Rhonda says:

      I agree with this a lot. I haver been attending BM as long as some of you probably have, but it the time I’ve gone I have seen this crazy change from a completely magica place to a place with so many new rules and guidlines. Because of the ticketing fiasco of demand seriously exceeding supply and not all of the people who were a key part in this city get in, while college kids and brand new adults come in with no respect for the principle take their place. I’m not saying all of the new people are bad. My first year was the year of my 21st birthday and I honor every principle and try and give as much to the playa as it gives to me. But I do see a change. I am happy to hear that changes are being made to eliminate turnkey camps and uphold tradition as well as the principles. I feel as though this year may be my last, unless I either can’t live without it, or I come for a reunion year or two (after the ticketing has hopefully calmed down) But I hope the new guidelines make is more like how it used to be for my last year.

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    • Campmaster says:

      Totally in favor of the refined rules. With 15 people, anarchy works – with 70,000 it’s lord of the flies. One ass clown with a megaphone can destroy a year of labor while insisting its “their gift” and they have a right to do so.

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  • Scott says:

    Keep up the good work. Burning Man is an essential part of my life, and these new regulations will help maintain a strong & open community that will be Home for many of us for years to come.

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  • moog_man says:

    It’s certainly a step in the right direction but the question still remains open… Why was this allowed to happen in the first place. With all your stated emphasis on the Principles.
    It does look like someone flicks you a bunch of sheets and you make an exception, then figure out how to deal with the furore after the event.
    Here’s sincerely hoping you don’t let greed interfere with your policies ever again.

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    • Peace says:

      Am I out of it because I don’t know what “flicks you a bunch of sheets” means? Is it money?

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    • Nik says:

      Why was this allowed to happen in the first place? I was wondering the same thing.

      How in the world did 12 (twelve?!?!!) turnkey camps providing a cushioned tourist experience get placement? Did they pay their way in? Did somebody honestly think that was a good idea? I do think radical inclusion allows for some douches in RV camps, and their number is so small that they will likely be reformed into less-douchy douches. But placement? That’s bizarre.

      However. It’s 30 days to the burn, the problem has been addressed with new rules that sound sensible, and bygones are bygones. It’s just not that interesting what happened last year. Lets make this burn rock.

      And yeah if burning man does actually jump the shark, as has been predicted since about 1992, then let’s celebrate elsewhere. Why not. Nobody said burning man is forever.

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      • Mr. Paperclip says:

        “And yeah if burning man does actually jump the shark, as has been predicted since about 1992, then let’s celebrate elsewhere. Why not. Nobody said burning man is forever.”

        You, man….YOU!

        well said brotha.

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    • Motherprism says:

      I heard through the grapevine that this was allowed to happen last year because of a board member of BM.org being tied to the wealthiest of them at the turn camps.

      I also heard that he resigned a few months ago and if all of the above is correct, it is probably because of BM.orgs changes in the rules on turnkeys.

      I would like to think that the board member was not getting kick backs from these camps or climbing the social elite ladder from them.

      I now understand there is a new group called “cool kids” that is doing these parties elsewhere and is by invite only. Good for them!

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  • Onik says:

    I don’t see anything here explicitly banning paid employees/sherpas.

    And I still don’t see how this will shut down individuals/camps who provide RVs/Yurts/Pods for a price.

    These are steps, but they are just steps, not the full shebang. Thanks for the work.

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    • Nik says:

      You are correct. It takes care of the placement thing. It does not disallow or kick out turnkey camps for “not being burny enough”. Which I think is a fair deal. Because if we kick out these people, then what happened to radical inclusion?

      Are we going to sacrifice our principles in order to save those same principles? That would be self-defeating.

      Next let’s disallow people with no costumes; and sparkly ponys; and people who are maybe not “cool” enough to be burners. And…. well. This cannot be it. It is radical inclusion. Burning man wins by embrace, by acceptance, by love.

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      • Nik says:

        God, autocorrect doesn’t know *sparkle ponys.

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      • Toz says:

        Completely agree

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      • AnDi-licious says:

        I don’t see that radical inclusion would be a strong reason to allow people grossly commodifying BM. Pre-placed turnkey camps are just as offensive as pre-planned turnkey camps set up far enough outside to discourage most of the rabble to go and bother their concierge and costume designer enhanced bliss. Just go ahead and ban all commercial camps except GT. And then embrace everyone who still comes – dud, sparkle pony or billionaire…

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      • Campmaster says:

        “Radical inclusion” means including different people in to experience burning man. It does not mean allowing people to change burning man to fit in with what they want it to be.

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      • A Critic says:

        “Because if we kick out these people, then what happened to radical inclusion?”

        You can’t include those who exclude the “lower” classes.

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      • Dominique says:

        Campmaster and A Critic hit the nail on the head.

        Radical inclusion most CERTAINLY does NOT include people who pay big money to look down their noses at those they apparently deem less-than.

        And closed camps most CERTAINLY do NOT fit with Radical Inclusion, either. If your camp is closed to everyone but the chose few who paid big bucks for the looky-loo experience, it violates the principles.

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  • Charlie says:

    So much Respect to the people who organise burning man, I’ve been going to festivals my whole life and other than Glastonbury you are the only one that is non-profitable and takes care of its community. People should respect you as the builders of such a great idea, you’ll always have mine. I’ll see you in the future!

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  • Swantune says:

    Personally, I’m blown away that everything I saw last year at burning man, that made feel like man, this is what burning man is turning into huh? Is being directly addressed this year in what I would call the most comprehensive method. I stand really impressed. People probably don’t say this enough but thank you for all the ways that your trying to make this
    event better.

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  • Walkabout Dave says:

    We have run across too many people looking for a “spot” or “good placement” in previous years. They ask if they can hook up and help in camp and then disappear for the entirety of the event. Radical inclusion has us trying to bring in new people but we run into those who were booted from other camps. This is a great plan to help prevent camps of these people from developing further. Thank you soo much for listening to the community and responding appropriately. Love and light. See you soon.

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  • eggchairsteve says:

    Amen.
    It never should have gotten to this point, rules and culture were already in place concerning themecamps.

    Plug and play is a concept that should never even have been experimented with… a themecamp is a themecamp is a themecamp, be it rich, be it poor; interactivity was already the rule of the city… The org made a mistake on the one, the Citizens of Black Rock stood up and spoke LOUDLY and CLEARLY that this was the wrong direction to lead us down, they/we listened and are correcting course. and I applaud this..

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  • tekket says:

    This is a great first step, makes a few logistics things harder but…

    they can still be a turnkey camp all the same as before.. so long as they host an open happy hour every day?

    if someone pays X amount to come to a camp that is setup, provides everything..shelter, food, meals, and expects nothing of them in return (participation).. that’s still a turnkey camp.. even if they host a daily yoga class for anyone around..

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    • Toz says:

      What about people who come from the other side of the world with just 50lbs of luggage. Camps where you can pay for help with being self reliant for a week in an inhospitable environment make a lot of sense IMO. Imagine if you had to travel to Afrikaburn with just your airline luggage. How would you sleep/eat/carry water/cook- not to mention look fabulous. You lack the local knowledge to buy everything that you need on arrival at a good price. What will you do with it when you have to fly home? You might only have a day either side of the event to get there and get organised…. RV rentals are a solution but we all know they are expensive as hell to take to BM and hard to secure a booking.

      Also just hosting a happy hour doesn’t get a theme camp placed. I was part of a camp that didn’t get placed once. There are a lot more theme camp applications than there are placements, Lots miss out. Just throwing a happy hour doesn’t cut it.

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      • Pink says:

        We’ve got people coming from around the world and at least one coming in on the bus. The bus rider has made arrangements with another camper that is bringing a truck to bring in water for him. I’ve seen ad hoc camps spring up on eplaya between solo campers who end up pooling together and voila! A new camp is born. Orhan camp and its two spinoffs started this way and I watched Camp Hotel Rug form from its first post two years ago. It’s called radical self reliance. There’s another guy on eplaya that came on the bus for his virgin year, brought everything he needed on the bus, including water, and then posted all the details of how he did it. It’s called radical self reliance, and yes, it is possible to do.

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      • Tree says:

        I came from Australia, booked my RV from LA to the Burn, arranged to stay with Camp Fur, on Esplanade, first year. Only brought a suitcase with me.

        It’s not impossible to do the burn self-reliant style if you come from around the world. Once you’re state side, it’s basically all the same.

        Heck, prices in the US are so cheap, you can buy your whole set-up- from thrift stores even- and be perfectly prepared for the Burn.

        For the stuff we needed that we couldn’t bring (which was not much- we actually brought stuff in *for* fellow US based campers) we arranged with people from our theme camp.

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      • Toz says:

        @pink hoping you’ll make camp with a few other randoms to get you by is pretty much the opposite of self reliance.

        It’s nonsence that you have to do what other people have done to get through adversity (ie cause one guy brought everything he needed by bus, everyone should be able to do that) everyone should be able to do what they need to do. It that’s play and play, who cares.

        Good for you @tree. But what’s the difference between hiring an RV and driving it there yourself and having camp mates provide some of the missing links, and hiring it all direct from the camp? It’s delusional to argue otherwise. BM is not a fantasy land where the rest of the world doesn’t exist, People might try to pretend it is, but it isn’t. RV companies are profiting from BM either way for example.

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      • Pink says:

        Toz, you don’t get it at all. People getting together to pool resources is how camps start. And buying/renting your own RV/box truck/car/van, getting the gear you need/want, figuring out water, food, shelter, how to stay cool, how to stay warm, shade, getting rid of your garbage after the burn is VASTLY different than buying into a concierge camp that sets it all up for you. Planning and building your burn is part of what makes burning man special. If you aren’t into that, please go the Further Festival, or EDC or Coachella. Please. Thousands of people coming from overseas have figured it out. If you don’t want to, please don’t grace us with your presence.

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      • Mixi says:

        Lol I’m coming from Australia with just 20kg of luggage plus my carry on! Done it before, will do it again. You arrive a couple of days before the burn to get prepared. You don’t just rock up the day before the event starts and have a mad rush to get everything sorted! I buy camping supplies in the U.S., food, water, and also sort out car hire – or this year, Burner Express bus tickets. It is called Radical Self Reliance, and thousands of people do it every year. It’s not rocket science.

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  • Peace says:

    Well you’ve got people complaining on both sides. “Too many rules” or “Not stringent enough” so it sounds like you got it about right. I appreciate the effort you go through to protect the culture while trying to let it evolve as naturally as possible. As for allowing it in the past, I don’t think people realize what pioneers we are. None of this has ever been done before. So mistakes happen. You try stuff. Sometimes it doesn’t work.

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  • Tincup says:

    How is any of this going to stop the whores from coming?

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  • Gatt - (The Green Hour) says:

    “At the other end are camps providing vacation type experience packages for campmates with no specific requirement for contribution.”

    It’s not a matter of income, or age, or status, or camp; as a theme camp operator I can say that this is a legitimate concern to our culture. There’s an emerging mentality of entitlement, but it can be corrected. I overheard guys, on multiple occasions, giving our root beer server hell for not serving “real beer.” “You guys don’t have REAL beer?!” “Wait, this isn’t alcoholic? Why would I drink it?” There was no human element; once they found out we weren’t going to give exactly what they wanted, we were a momentary object of scorn, and then we no longer existed.

    Then, Moon Cheese. OMFG. Place those people. We were their neighbors. They seemed turnkey-ish at first, but, watching them assemble their camp, and then repair it after the storm, was beautiful. They kept us and thousands of others stuffed with grilled cheese, and everybody one of them we met rocked the playa. GREAT camp–they made so many people happy– and it was apparent to us that they were a community of love, hard work and joy. Much respect!

    Thanks for reading. See you on the playa!

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    • Paul Russo says:

      > There’s an emerging mentality of entitlement, but it can be corrected.

      I can name it. It’s the “Trick or Treat! Where’s my stuff?” mentality. They paid for their ticket, so where are their gifts?

      But we must be gentle. Transactions are all they have ever known. Me must teach them otherwise.

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    • The Bad Shaman (Moon Cheese) says:

      Gatt! I’m just about to leave for the playa and one of my camp members sent me a link to your comment. I was all stressed and crazy trying to get things together for Moon Cheese 2015 and then my world all made sense again because of your compliment. I’m so glad that you appreciate what we do out there, and honestly the same goes for how we felt about the special brewed glory that you gifted to us, so cold and crisp and unique.

      I think the reason we may have looked turnkey in the very beginning was that we had just spent a lot of money (maybe too much) on a brand new shade structure and a potable/grey water service (ask me about the time I was baptized in grey water by the light of the temple burn (no it wasn’t on purpose)). Thankfully all of our members are on equal footing; no Sherpas, no avoiding work (in our camp EVERYBODY GRILLS!!) and there’s no princess tax for people who just want to pay more to avoid participation. Still, we had way too many virgins last year which we’ve corrected in 2015 (general size reduction too, from 93 to 70 or so).

      Thanks so much for being our good neighbors and appreciating our work. We’re just days away from lighting up the grills once again and helping feed the hungry and deserving citizens of Black Rock City!

      The Bad Shaman

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  • sparky jabrones says:

    You lost me at 2015 burning man global leadership conference…..burning man jumped the shark long ago.

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  • Jim McCo says:

    I like this attempt. However……I have the same feelings toward cell signals and “connectivity” in BRC. There is something special about being “out there”……and self reliant for a week with no connection to the outside world. Maybe good for the infrastructure to have for emergencies……but that’s it. Check your phones at the gate…….

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    • sparky jabrones says:

      connectivity? grilled cheese? puff daddy? bm used to be about self reliance with a few hundred of our best friends, in an unforgiving environment…where we cleansed spiritually and returned to our everyday lives having renewed our focus. we burned pictures, momentos or remembrances in individual ceremonies conducted with in the midst of everyone else. you should have seen it…it was really something.

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      • Peace says:

        Yes Sparky. Your Burner penis is much larger than the rest of us. You can run along now to that amazing new thing you started because you are so awesome.

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      • Oh Sparky,

        It’s ok to leave the theme camps and see the actual Burning Man that’s been developing for 25 years. Things have changed since you started the event on that clothing-optional beach in the shadow of the Golden Gate.

        Music styles have come and gone (or come and stayed for breakfast and a matinee) some art pieces have become staples while many are there for just one year/burn.

        People do participate in the silly new-agey bullshit, but they normally just mumble about “the old days” while stumbling off into a dust storm.

        If you ever return to Black Rock City, take a day or two to leave camp and actually see what it’s all about.

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  • Mike says:

    > 2. Groups of vendor-provided RVs or trailers using shared resources and clustered together, or formerly placed as “turnkey camps”, must now apply as Theme Camps and adhere to all Theme Camp criteria to be considered for placement.

    This does nothing to eliminate turnkey camps; it in fact explicitly endorses them.

    > 3: RVs and trailers will not be permitted within the city streets prior to the renter or contact person’s arrival on site without previous approval from the OSS team.

    This changes nothing from my understanding of the way things were last year. We were camped a few yards away from one of two camps staffed by employees of the biggest RV rental supplier to the playa. They were responsible for contracted maintenance on the subset of their RVs that were part of (high end, turnkey, etc) camps. They had an org-provided staging area for all of their RVs just outside the intersection of Gate Rd and 6:00 on the 9:00 side – I have pictures of it. It was created by the org because it had decreed that rented RVs could not be placed in a camp by the rental agency before its occupants arrived on playa.

    I fail to see how any of this is any different from how it was before.

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  • Danny says:

    Although it’s a good first step, it does not go far enough. It’s very simple, Stop allowing services vendors all together. It’s the only thing that enables people to come and without any radical self reliance. Vendors providing services are the embodiment of reliance on others; so why would you allow service vendors?

    Cut out the rv delivery and you will immediately solve the plug and play problem, the ticket shortage problem, and bring back the culture of radical self reliance. The people that deserve to be there are the ones who understand that value and are willing to do the work.

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    • JV says:

      Very good point, I agree.

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    • kJ says:

      Yes! RV vendors should not be allowed. I don’t see what they add to the community. They violate the principle of self reliance. Why does the org allow them? Seems like they are antithetical to the ideals of BM.

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    • Seymour Cray says:

      THIS is the BEST idea I’ve heard so far. No vendors at all, none, not even toilet service.

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    • Desert fox says:

      Danny, you have suggested the best solution IMHO on this thread, powers that be or those who agree please take note and make it known.Enjoy any of you who are lucky enough to go this year.

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    • Pink says:

      I said this last year. Why can RVs be delivered at all? Water deliveries have also allowed turnkey and just plain laziness to flourish. Our camp brings in everything ( although one of our new campers is having an RV delivered, but they didn’t ask first. We’ll see how that works. And at least it’s by Playa Slumlord). Got one guy offering to bring in 600 gallons of water in his horse trailer. We told him we honestly don’t need it.

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      • MovesMoves says:

        I also agree that prohibiting RV vendors would be a major step in the right direction. I’ve also wondered about the role the Burning Man airport plays in all this. Do turn-key campers mostly fly in? Personally, I’d be happy if the airport were closed except for emergency services. If everybody had to make the long trek to BRC, I imagine that would deter some of the luxury vacationers form coming.

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      • Some very good points here which with minor adjustments could solve many problems. I totally agree on the RV delivery ban. There is no justification for it. Everyone should arrive with their own vehicle. If you are flying in, its fine if you plan to camp with someone else who is bringing in a vehicle, but it can’t just be dropped off for you. At one time, EVERY person who came through the gates HAD to have their own ticket, but now there are service vendor credentials. Get rid of them and return to the “every person needs a ticket” philosophy. Get rid of most (not all though, see below) service vendors. I do think there are a few services which are valuable. Toilet service for RVs may be important for sanitary reasons (although everyone CAN use the portos that are provided even if they have an RV so maybe even this one is okay). This year there will be fuel depot and I think that is useful because we need to reduce the amount of stored fuel and propane due to safety concerns so I think vended fuel and propane is a reasonable thing. Of course ice continues to be a vended necessity. Not sure about the Center Camp coffee house, but no one seems to complain about having a Starbucks on playa (sorry didn’t really mean that LOL!) But overall, reducing vending to a bare minimum would get rid of lots of “concierge” camps. But the BEST idea I saw is minimizing the airport. I would like to NOT ban the airport because I think it provides some nice services, but I think the airport should function like all vehicles. you fly in, park your plane and you can’t leave again until you are leaving for good. I.e., no “in and out” privileges. That is sufficient. Sure a few people would hitch rides on planes, but if every pilot who flies people in HAS to stay at BM and have their own ticket, that reduces a lot of the ability to convey large numbers of “conceirge” campers by air. The only other exception I might make is “air rides” which are a great opportunity for people to see the event from the air but those should be limited to “if you take off with someone in the plane, you MUST return with the same people, otherwise you are barred and have to leave permanently”. I.e., you can’t go back to Reno and pick up new passengers, but you can fly people already at the event around for a half-hour to see things from the air (which is pretty cool by the way if you’ve never done it). Just get rid of the “air taxis” and most of the conceirge camps will wither away. Billionaires are mostly not interested in sitting in long lines on the highway. Of course some of the richest will have their own planes which can park and stay but then at least the pilots will be have to stay too and have tickets. If you want your pilots to drop you off, that’s not permitted.

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      • gradschoolinsomniac says:

        Some non-wealthy folks used to use the airport. I had friends who were regular people, one of them was a pilot and they had a humble little plane. I wonder if they just leave the airport for the super rich now.

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  • Jim says:

    The new rules may slow it down but unless the Millionaires Camps are totally shut down, ( and that will never happen) it will not stop. BM is getting too expensive now for the average person so Im guessing that eventually, only the wealthy can afford to go. Its close to $1000 for tickets & vehicle pass just to get in the gate not including all the other stuff one must bring… and thats if youre camping in a tent & driving your own auto. If you have to rent a RV or trailer, the local Reno renters have really jacked up the prices this year. For two people going to BM for a week can easily exceed $3000 for a simple set up… car rentals, buying supplies, air tickets, etc. This is my 11th & possibly final Burn

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    • If you’re paying $1000 for a ticket and car pass, you’re supporting the scalpers, which hurts e community.

      Report comment

    • Also, there are other ways to get to the playa than driving.

      I’m taking Burner Express (with a grocery stop) from Reno. I’m flying to RNO with airfare paid with airline miles (via a credit card that pays airline miles as a bonus; we pay the balance every month to avoid fees). I’m staying in a Reno hotel the night before and after the burn. So far that costs less than driving from Austin.

      I got lucky with a few things: a friend is bringing my bike for me and she won’t take money or anything. Since I volunteer I get fed a few times, which means fewer groceries, saving me money.

      I didn’t have to buy any gear, so that’s more savings (sort of).

      I was lucky and able to find a ticket, paid cash face value. I have an envelope labeled “Burning Man,” and into it goes cash I squirrel away all year.

      It takes all year for me to pay for Burning Man and I do it as low cost as possible. I don’t have anything that needs ice, I don’t drink or do drugs (huge money saver!). I’m not renting a car, I don’t need a car pass, I’m not sitting in the line or dealing with will call. I can get my entire camp in a rolling bag that I check for free (Southwest allows 1 checked bag free) and I have some extra stuff in a carry on.

      All of that together is less than your $1000 ticket. (Is it? It’s a little vague, maybe it’s close enough)

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      • Mike Johnson says:

        What are your arrangements for shelter and water?

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      • Mike

        I have a tent with an emergency/metallic tarp over it. In that tent is a sleeping bag and air pad.
        My camp has couches and shade, and hopefully the three-story scaffold again.
        As for water, I buy it at the grocery stop of Burner Express. I have a sturdy folding luggage cart thing that I use to roll my groceries from the BXB depot to my camp.
        I don’t bring costumes or lots of clothing changes, so I can get away with one rolling suitcase (it used to carry uniforms and chem warfare/combat gear in my USAF days) , a carry on and my food and water.
        I don’t drink or do drugs so I don’t worry about that. Plus, I get fed for volunteering at Media Mecca.

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      • Sara says:

        Just in case you find some costumes…southwest allows 2 checked bags and a carry on!

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  • Valdemoort says:

    So as long as the turnkey camps are paying their sherpas to sling some grilled cheese once in a while, or host a bar, or open a “chill space,” then we’re fine with catered sparklepony camps?

    And how are camps like Blissfits still getting placement, which doesn’t even do that?

    Or is this the plan for 2016?

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    • The Bad Shaman (Moon Cheese) says:

      As a leader of camp Moon Cheese that collectively served over 10k burners grilled cheese last year (and will do the same or more staring in about 5 days), I really hate the media coverage that mentioned Zuckerburg making grilled cheese briefly on his ONE day on the playa. We grill for 4.5 hours every night and the logistical and financials challenges of brining hundreds of lbs of cheese and bread and propane to the playa each year kicks our asses.

      It’s all totally worth it feed our fellow citizens, but I do get a little irked when someone says, “OMG are you in Zuckerburg’s camp!?” When they hear we do grilled cheese.” We don’t “Zuckerburg” our shit by handing out a half dozen sandwiches so the guy writing the article has something to mention, we are real burners who believe food is a human right! We’ll go head to head in a GRILL OFF with any turnkey sons of bitches that will accept the challenge!

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  • Epiphany says:

    Regarding, “Camps found advertising are violating principles…” Can you clarify what it means to wrongly “advertise” your camp? Our camp has open membership and every year we try to get the word out about our camp in all kinds of ways. So who advertising what to whom are you after here?

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  • kentucky says:

    when you walk down a street at brc, and the camps are open to see, the people there say hi and wave. Some come out to talk or interact and you know your at burning man. then you turn a corner and meet a wall of rv’s, closed doors, and no “friendly” at all. thanks, but that wall reminds me of what i hoped to leave behind when i started coming to burning man. to be an observer, not a actor, at a place like brc is really sad. rules can help solve the problem, but its the attitude of these people thats the core issue. keep up the good work guys, cuz there is still no place i would rather be!

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    • Powerfrau says:

      I concur. It is the wall of exclusive, walled off groups who have little contact with other folks and the increasing culture of entitlement (Entertain me! I am a consumer.) Tired of that. If people want secured penthouses, with no interaction with others, then stay home.

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  • Curious Cate says:

    I see that Jim Tananbaum, of Caravansicle infamy, is no longer on the Burning Man board of directors. That is satisfying.
    http://www.thebolditalic.com/articles/7220-burning-mans-most-hated-billionaire-resigns-

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  • Velvet says:

    Great changes. Very much appreciate the immense, frustrating work that must have gone into creating these. And recognize that it must have taken some soul searching to balance adding new rules vs letting our community get co-opted.

    Only thing I would have liked to see more is something to address the paid employees/sherpas, and that includes buying DJs to come play for your camp/car. The statement on gifting seems to hint in this direction but the people that can read that hint aren’t the ones that need to hear it.

    Thank you BMorg!

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  • Areole says:

    With less than a month before the event, these new “rules” will have no impact whatsoever on this year’s event–and do not address the Sherpa issues at all. Why not deny Theme camp designation, placement and direct ticket sales to any camp that employs “Sherpas” of any kind?

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  • admarz says:

    Great response from Burning Man to the problem of “Plug and Play” camps… Thank you! As far as all the extra rules, it just seems necessary considering the size of our city the past few years. Have a great… I mean “Fuck your Burn” everyone!!!

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  • Gaelen says:

    Sadly BM has become all that it hoped it wouldn’t. Yes, there are posters here and there which support the original intention but largely, BM has Rome’d. The drugs, public and private influence and now pressure from the BLM have turned a once spectacular event onto a Rave-esque joke.

    Burning Man has become for us, Rave-pocalipse and frankly has lost its way. As all dynasties eventually do.

    Sad, but inevitable.

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  • Julia Brown says:

    YAY!!! and, I love you.

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  • DuPaige says:

    Watching the BMORG squirm under the Commodity Camp debacle was telling. Watching them now try to extract themselves from the fallout via thinly disguised attempts at “preserving” our event is absolutely comical.

    BMORG: Wake the fuck up! We are on to you! Your own board of directors saw fit to commodify this event. The shark has been jumped! It was YOU who sold us out!

    Dont even try to come on now as some self-righteous arbiter of Burner Values. You FAILED. It wasnt until the vast majority of your constituents were on the verge of revolt that you cared enough to address the issue.

    Shame on you. And shame on us for believing for even a moment that you were any different from every other greedy, two-faced, corporate douche-bag out there.

    We remember.
    We will never forget.
    We are Burners.
    We are Legion.

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    • Jesus Christ says:

      I for one am incredibly excited that you won’t be around to sap the experience with your judgmental generic fake outrage.

      Report comment

    • You don’t have to go. You won’t be missed.

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    • Shitbag deluxe says:

      Calm down, did the 12 plug and play camps pour a bunch of sand in your panties? All you complaining, jaded, burnier than thou babies are missing the point. If plug and play camps are ruining your burn than you’re doing it wrong. It’s a city of 70,000ish people. If 1000 rich people are ruining your beloved burn. GOOD! Stay home!

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      • gradschoolinsomniac says:

        The amount of hatred shown towards other burners is pretty bad. SD: You show contempt to a fellow burner for voicing their opinion? That ain’t good. You’re being hateful cuz you think someone else is hateful. Yuck.

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  • factoid says:

    Our first year was ’96 (#getoffmylawn #coughcough #dadgumkids #yeahIknowfuckmyburn), when the whole thing took place on open playa a good 10-11 miles from Gerlach, and it felt like there were only two rules:

    – LEAVE NO TRACE
    – NO SPECTATORS, ONLY PARTICIPANTS

    Well, maybe three, since firearms were first outlawed in 1995.

    Then came 1996: The year an artist died colliding with an RV in a cross-playa motorcycle run. The year three people were horribly injured when a car ran over their tent. The year medical services treated an unprecedented number of cases of heatstroke, broken limbs and general fuckery.

    And that was the year the Washoe and Pershing County sheriffs said things couldn’t continue like that.

    So it was also the year the founders decided to ban driving, set up a basic street layout and start acting more like a civilization with a future instead of a temporary autonomous zone (look it up) that could dissolve in a puff of litigation.

    Hats off. They got the memo and started building our fair city.

    And they began a headlong march through litigation, cultural conflict, logistical migraines and just-plain-growing-pains, towards the massive present, where we need a million rules because apparently common-sense shit like “Tolerate all types,” “Don’t hurt anybody including yourself” and “Don’t be a dick” need to be codified and stapled to everyone’s tree-killing “playa guide.”

    I don’t lament the addition of rules, civil works, infrastructure or even the playa guide – any more than I lament the huge population, endless Exodus or over-kill LEO presence. They’re all to be expected as side-effects of the mind-blowingly great growth in the event and the vibrant culture we’re all sharing with the world.

    I do lament the fact that people *need* rules for half the stuff that’s been laid out.

    Again, maybe it’s just me, but I find the 10 Principles to be overly heavy-handed and cloyingly sanctimonious, just as I find it appalling and sad that the org completely violated their own principle against commodification by allowing pure-turnkey activity and burning-tourism – even SUBSIDIZING IT – in the first place.

    To their credit, they listened to our angry cries. And they nudged and crimped the theme-camp review process into shape to help combat it. So, yay. (waves tiny flag)

    But if they had stuck with “No spectators,” “Leave no trace” and “No guns or rampant driving,” – with sub-rules for basic clarification like gray-water management – the likes of Caravansicle might never have happened.

    Nor would the cultural mutation that led to it – the wholesale party-ization of Burning Man, where the bulk of the message that mass media seems to transmit from the playa and the world brings back, is “COME TO THE WORLD’S BIGGEST PARTY.”

    Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to have been a huge influx in recent years of newly- or recently-minted burners who do little more to participate than stumble around unlit in the dark, fully wasted and dance.

    Nothin’ against dancing, or being wasted – I’ve done my share too.

    But basic partying ain’t participation. It ain’t art. It ain’t doing much for the culture or the event, or anyone but yourself (and maybe the DJ). And it ain’t burning.

    Paying someone to coddle you through the entire event in an air-conditioned fort from whence you might venture out on your pre-decorated “playa bike” to rendezvous with the art car you paid someone else to build so you can dance at all the big name EDM camps and then tick BRC off your bucket list is, well, sad.

    It’s spectating.

    And it’s *boring.*

    So again, hats off to the org for taking a first step away from jumped-shark territory, and back towards the culture many of us value. Too bad spectating had to get this widespread for you to see what was happening.

    Well, I’ve ranted long enough. My oatmeal mush is getting cold, nurse says its time for my nerve pills and I don’t want to miss “Friends.”

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    • Hihoreno says:

      It is my 20 year anniversary for coming to burning man. it is the most amazing experience in my life year after year. It is impossible to go from 2500 folks to 70,000 and not have rules come into play as life goes on. People ask me what Burning Man is and what should they do? I reply that it is a different experience for everyone. I have been upset at the influx of non participants but have gotten over it. The experience is what you make of it, no more, no less. The beauty of the Playa in all its elements is the experience. People who have imagined art. built it, transported it, and left no trace are amazing. your art may be just the clothes you wear. I have helped many burners just by supplying water or a cool place to sit. enjoy your life and enjoy your burn. the only time you have is NOW. The Burn will be what you make of it. be kind to everyone.

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    • gradschoolinsomniac says:

      Factoid, that was well said.

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  • Toz says:

    I am going against the grain and saying- So what if there are Plug N Play camps? Just because someone wants OR NEEDS to have help with their BM inforstructure doesn’t mean they should be social outcasts. Radical Inclusion means that we must accept everyone who wants to come, even if we think they are “assclowns”.

    Why is it OK for some people who have the resources to be more comfortable in their own RV? But not OK for someone to travel there and have arranged for their RV to be provided for them? Why is it OK for someone to Join a theme camp, pay a theme camp fee towards the info structure and have camp mates cook their meals for them on a roster – how is this any different???

    Why are people assuming that everyone who has the need for a service like this does not contribute? Gifting and contributing is NOT limited to what we offer to people who stumble into our campsite!

    Consider the people who come from far away: travel international to come to their first burn. Not sure what to expect. Have nothing but their 50lbc of luggage allowed by the airline. Have a day or 2 to get everything organised and get there from the airport. Don’t have local knowledge. Need to find shelter/bikes/food/water/bedding etc for a week in an inhospitable environment. Why is it NOT being self reliant to find a service that provides for your needs and use it?

    Why is there this ridiculous idea that you have to suffer to be a “proper burner”? If you don’t spend all your free time all year working on something for the playa and all your money to get your gear/ticket etc together then you are not doing enough. Remember radical Inclusion?!

    Why is it wrong to want to be comfortable? To have things made a little easier on you by having food or water provided? the Playa is a horrible place environmentally. Who would want to camp there unless there were 60.000 burners with you? nobody. It sucks.

    Leave people be. Let them stay how they want to stay. Let them solve the problem of self reliance in the best way they can for them.

    The 1 rule that should exist regarding this is that people should not be paid to work at a turnkey camp. That’s it. If they are not being paid (in money- volunteering for a ticket is fine) they are gifting what they have to form part of the community.

    Glad I am not the only one who thinks this http://triplethought.blogspot.com.au/2014/10/why-i-have-no-problem-with-plug-and.html

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  • Elizabeth says:

    Really? Because Festival Concierge Services now once again has a “Burning Man” listing using your trademark: http://festivalsconcierge.com/festivals/ and offers “Plug and Play Camp Placement” among many other services: http://festivalsconcierge.com/bm-event/. They still feature the “garish” private jet image on their BM page – just no image of BRC. They may be paying lip service to the above “rules”, but you’re once again allowing the use of your trademark by a company that in NO WAY embodies anything you’re saying here. And how bout that Petit Ermitage hotel? Because there are selling a HOTEL at BM again this year at $25K a person….and I don’t see that addressed either.

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  • epiphanystarlight says:

    When you’re on the leading edge of creation, you try things that may not work. When they don’t you make course corrections and move forward. Radical self-reliance isn’t the only principle, inclusion is also important. Remember: change is the only constant. Thank you BORG for all the thought and commitment to making this event happen each year.

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  • Kay O. Sweaver says:

    Overall I say great job guys. Sometimes you’re slow to react, but I understand why. You want to do it right, not just grease the squeaky wheel, but check out the whole machine before you fix anything.

    I do still have a concern however, and that’s regarding the 48 hour advance information for vehicles and such. As someone who has organized theme camps from thousands of miles away, folks often show up in Reno hours before they hit the playa and rent a vehicle on the spot. We push everything out of storage lockers into hungry cube vans we rented half an hour ago and make a mad dash to the playa to start building. Having to sit in Reno, renting hotels, wasting precious time is a pain in the butt.

    I’m not sure the exact rationale behind the 48 hour idea, but perhaps there is another way in which to implement it? For instance, you’d better have a ticket and an early arrival pass.

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    • drop_bear says:

      Don’t despair! No precious time will be wasted. The 48 hour advance notice only applies to on-site vendors with OSS licences – it doesn’t apply to people renting vehicles off-playa and driving them in for their own use.

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  • Dancing Mandy says:

    All theme camps must go through the same process and meet the same standard (including being interactive, open to all citizens of Black Rock City, successfully Leaving No Trace, etc.) to be considered for placement.

    THANK YOU. This is what should have been happening all along. I’m glad you guys are finally making this right.

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  • Dr Bungee says:

    Everything evolves. From individuals, to organisms, to cultures. Burning Man has certainly changed over the years. Trying out new ideas is necessary for this to occur. Recognizing ones that don’t work, and changing course is crucial. PnP camps do nothing for the greater good of BRC. I applaud this decision to remove this plague from the playa.
    I have mixed feelings about he other bombshell that dropped this week, no OT and the new DMZ . Last year, on Friday and Saturday nights, I found it was virtually impossible to go anywhere that didn’t have loud EDM. While I look forward to be able to cruise about and enjoy other aspects of BM. deep playa was one of my favorite places to go. Maybe we could move the Big Noise a little further out, how about Winnamucca.

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  • MonoloidRambler says:

    Obvoisly this hasn’t been doing too much to stop millionaire camps. I’ve seen craigslist ads go out on 2 coasts for these guys:

    http://WWW.Facebook.com/groups/millionairecamp

    Esplanade placement, Segway parking, private security, the works. And talk of a helipad? Wtf BMorg! These people must be stopped!

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  • Gumby says:

    Of my 2 trips to BM actual so far both have been with Green Tortoise. Coming from Australia the logistical headfuck of sorting out the things they won’t allow me to travel with on an aircraft was a bit over whelming. But I adapted But most of the group members I have met on both tours have all participated in there own way. My first year’s participation was with the DWoM and the MARC ( Mars rover art car). Last year with the Black Rock Observatory (which rocked) and some time to assist CENSUS collect data.
    Not every first timer really understands the full majesty of attending a the Burn till they land on the player and the penny finally drops through that first experience. Hopefully they will return again to develop further in the 10 principles and gain/share more enjoyment from their involvement and participation. The principle of radical inclusion is there to allow for that. As burners we accept the things that upset us, intrigue us make us curious or give us enjoyment in that wander of ” will I turn left or right ” as part of the shared experience that still makes this the best place to visit. I like the fact they are called the 10 principles and not the 10 policies, guiding but with strong semi-flexible edges.
    So some scaling back of the Turn-key camps is good, or at least a slightly stronger brace to those principles of whos semi-flexible edges are over strained.

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  • Franko Olovka Spremna says:

    Damned, Burning Man, you can’t DO this! I have something to say, so you better pull out your note pad and have a pencil at the ready! Last year, you “gifted” The Occidental Oasis Company a tent in that Souk structure under the “man” where I purchased “The Sultan” package from those time-share grifters. That makes you liable! If I get to Burning Man this year and find that the new Occidental Oasis community built around the Temple of Promise is not there, you’re gonna owe me compatible accommodations! That, or at least an Aistream trailer in First Camp.

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  • johannes says:

    Love you for putting these rules! I know some people who are trying to make money out of BM and I really hate that. Keep the dream alive!

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  • Dean F says:

    Burning Man. Easily the most impressive thing I have ever been to. Long may it continue :D

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  • Toy says:

    Good effort to crack down on the plug ‘n play camps…clearly a threat to the BM culture…but, does FIRST CAMP have to follow these rules, too??? Probably not…they remain above the fray.

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  • Some Seeing Eye says:

    A well formed light touch approach. Let’s see how it works this year!

    For those lamenting rules, every rule has been a response to individual burners endangering the event from continuing. You can personally avoid being the next burner that creates the next rule and personally being responsible for burners around you who are tempted to create the next rule by their behavior.

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  • Rules4what? says:

    I don’t want to take anything away from how hard people work to make this event happen… Some rules are good and in others ways I hate all the rules them… But continuing to allow paid employees in camps (intentionally?) is fat and clear 100% supporting of commodofication.

    To someone’s point, all you gotta do is have a happy hour now for spectators to stop by.

    There is no reason someone who flies from around the world with only a carry on can not help with dishes or stir some food, help set up or help strike. Having paid people on site so there isn’t even a hint of obligation to participate is crap. The community owes that person nothing in terms of radical inclusion… Conceptually speaking the idea is to accept outsiders… The wierd-o’s and freaks. I just don’t see how radical inclusion says we need to find a way to allow all expense paid spectatorship.

    I don’t mind people flyong in or getting hooked by their friends, and I can imagine a few of the bigger camps have paid someone here or there for help building or maintaining something… But there’s a difference between paying people (to get some welding done or maintain your sound system) so your camp can provide for people outside your camp versus paid cooks, coke, and hookers for your private VIP campers. You can get that anywhere in the world… We don’t need to allow or radically include it at BM.

    As far as I can tell that’s still explicitly allowed as long as you have give out some free cookies on Tuesday and Thursday. And that’s the point… There might always be an exception here or there that you can’t always avoid paying someone in a pinch… Some the occasional person that manages to squeeze out a little business on the side, but when it’s repeated annually and planned that way… That sucks! I don’t see how radical inclusion could possibly apply unless you have a damned noble strategy like the green tortoise. I’m all for exceptions to rules because the world is not so simple to have one rule that fits all, but no direct statement against paid employees is lame!

    Basicslly, I see nothing that actually stops turn key camps here. Certainly it adds some technical and logistical hurdles and makes the organizes put on a face show so they can check the participation box, but it mostly just puts a pretty bow on the process.

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  • Elizabeth says:

    So, my comment previously was not approved. Here it is again removing the one violation I can see of your comments rules (more than one link). Why do I feel that BMORG has little interest in actually discouraging these camps and why, when these camps are called out by name, does BMORG refuse to post the comments?
    Post:
    Really? Because Festival Concierge Services now once again has a “Burning Man” listing using your trademark and offers “Plug and Play Camp Placement” among many other services: http://festivalsconcierge.com/bm-event/. They still feature the “garish” private jet image on their BM page – just no image of BRC. They may be paying lip service to the above “rules”, but you’re once again allowing the use of your trademark by a company that in NO WAY embodies anything you’re saying here. And how bout that Petit Ermitage hotel? Because there are selling a HOTEL at BM again this year at $25K a person….and I don’t see that addressed either.

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    • jacob says:

      Elizabeth, your post was up earlier as well, with the two links (I visited both). I do appreciate the new guidelines rules and the effort that the org has put into R & D for the whole thing, but they sound a little loopholey and a little contrived.

      You know, this is pretty funny. It is totally bullshit what that site says. It’s like when folks go in to get medical marijuana cards and the “doctor” gives them a list of specific ailments that you “must have” (i.e. must use to fill in the med form) in order to be “prescribed” medical marijuana. Smells like shit to me.

      What I can’t help wondering if all the permit crap this year is some sort of cosmic karma thing. The org refuses to actually crack down on anti-ethos behavior, and building a steak and ice cream palace for their greedy overloads is their punishment.

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  • King Charles says:

    This is a welcome step in the right direction, but as others have pointed out, until sherpas are prohibited the problem hasn’t really been addressed.

    There should be NO paid employees on playa during the event except for people working for the Org, for the benefit of the entire event. (LEOs obviously we’re stuck with).

    I think the ban on RV delivery is a good suggestion too.

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    • Mike Johnson says:

      There’s really no way to prevent paid employees, is there? People could be hired help, and nobody would know unless they admit they’re being paid.

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  • Mike Johnson says:

    Can the turnkey folks call themselves just a camp rather than a theme camp, set up in the burbs, then keep all their niceties and members only access? That would be a bad loophole.

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    • Pink says:

      It’s hard to set up a turnkey camp if you have to land grab Sunday morning, and not start set up until then. Theme camps get EA passes because we are supposed to be set up by the time the gate opens. Doesn’t always work, because shit happens, but 90% of us are usually at least 90% set up by Monday.

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      • MovesMoves says:

        There’s plenty of open land in the burbs at the beginning of the event. So nothing prevents turn-key camps from being set up Monday in the burbs (once a “contact person” has arrived) and the turn-key vacationers from coming in, say, Tuesday. Seems we need to do more. There’s no realistic way to ban all sherpas, but we could ban RV vendors, couldn’t we?

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  • Zippo says:

    Well, this is a welcome change from last year when Harley DuBois and Larry held an on-playa “news conference” with lots of media to address the outrage people felt about “plug ‘n play” camps, especially “Caravansicle”, which was organized by, of all things, one of their own so-called “non-profit” Board of Directors members. At that time, Larry and Harley said, “The event’s changing……….” as though to say, “So What”, and make the turnkey camps “no big deal”. Yes, they WERE a big deal, and many pointed out that the “concierge camps” violated just about all of their Ten Principles. I’m happy that the BMORG listened to the criticism and isn’t so big a bureaucracy that it’s incapable of yes, CHANGING, and for the better. While the new RULES can’t possibly address every contingency, and so-called “Tour Operators” will surely exploit every loophole to continue their profit-making enterprises, it’s refreshing to see Marian Goodell say, “We are absolutely committed to ending the plug ‘n play culture”. Now, let’s see what happens this year. While I’m not going because of other pressing projects (I’ve been to 16 Burns, so I know what Burning Man is), at least I’m not going because I feel that the BMORG are a bunch of HYPOCRITES. Thank you, BMORG, for at least trying to restore my faith in you.

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  • This year will be my fourth fucking epic year in Black Rock City.

    How do I know that it will be epic? Because I choose so.

    For you whining about rules, these few new rules don’t apply to you; they really just apply to a very small part of the population.

    I’m going to be in the other 98% of Black Rock City be all fucking awesome and shit.

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  • Butter Bean says:

    Yes so many rules. We could of solved the drone problem by letting us bring our guns back to Burning Man again

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  • Steven says:

    This year will tell. I don’t have a great deal of trust that these new guidelines/rules will make a big difference. I already know folks who have bought a space (RV) and are flying in with everything already set up for them. They believe their ‘gift’ is their being there. The ten principles by their nature are in conflict, and anyone can pick and chose which they want to follow. Radical inclusion, Decommodification, Radical Self-reliance, Communal Effort, Participation. Most of the people I met from turnkey camps fall under Radical Inclusion, but lack in most all of the others… the spirit of BM can be commodified and is being sold away.

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  • Kbay Kid says:

    Let’s all do our part. If a turnkey camp isn’t keeping to the principles, let’s shower them with BM love. So much so that participants may not care to return in the same pre-fab way they arrived. I’m not talking about snarkiness or unwelcome intrusion, I’m talking about one-on-one education. Let’s pull them out of their un-inclusive camps and show them better, more desirable ways to be part of a BRC camp. I’m not talking about turnkey camp intrusion (well, maybe a little), Im talking about introducing ourselves to these “don’t-know-any-better-souls.” Invite them into camps that do it right, have them share our tables for food, drink & laughter, steal them away from their sheltered reality. Show them that their camp isn’t really the true BM experience at all. Maybe the desire for these camps will lessen. Definitely not the full answer, but it couldn’t hurt.

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    • jacob says:

      In the last couple of years, I’ve met a couple of people that were going for the first time and they had no idea that not camping in a large camp was an option. To the point that it kinda was stressing them out. I’ve also met folks on playa from a so-called plug and play, and they seemed perfectly fine, some even a little bashful after seeing a larger picture.

      I can see your idea working two-fold in these specific cases.

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    • Dry Camp says:

      Use condoms!

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  • jacob says:

    While I can appreciate the effort that’s gone into coming up with these documents and guidelines and councils and committees and conferences, I’m not 100% sure that it’ll make a real difference in the long run. There are still too many loopholes and I’m not sure that we’ll ever have the balls to just ban bad shit outright unless, ironically, The Man has anything against it specifically (guns, drugs, etc). Hell, the LEOs are intentionally trying to be the biggest, most obvious plug-n-play camp in BM history, but hey, our ankles are grabbed and this is what we signed up for. I’d really just like to see BM move to a state that actually wants the revenue and tourism. There’s lots of open space in Utah and elsewhere in California. It’s not as convenient for SF folks, but, well, welcome to the club. Travel to BRC can a bitch :)

    Personally, I feel that radical self-reliance is much higher on the list than radical inclusion. I mean, should BMorg tolerate/support/condone a KKK/Christian fundamentalist anti-gay/black/giraffe march down Esplanade or on Sunday evening after Temple Burn? Really? Why not? What if they relied on no one and brought everything they needed and handed out swastika cookies to all the kiddies and had happy hour for everyone on Wednesday with only clear liquids? I doubt that we really want to include everyone, and I’m pretty sure that “lazy fucks” are on the same “don’t bring” list of essentials. If not specifically for completely disregarding the most important “guideline” of it all (IMO).

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of the laziest burners out there, but I try. I make my thingies and costumes and art and I get it there without any funding or help or pre made arrangements. It’s not easy, but I do it all year, every year because I want to amaze and inspire all of you and be proud of my contributions.

    As a future potential citizen of AfrikaBurn and KiwiBurn, having a trusted local source that, at most pointed me in the right direction for the rentals that I reserved ahead of time and survival essentials would be all that I would look for, and anyone should ever need, especially in the states. Life is pretty ridiculously easy here like that. That’s really the only vendor service that any burn should allow and encourage. Just like the guide telling you which grocery stores are good/BM supporters and the hours, the “where can I get dry Ice at 2am?” kind of thing. I seriously doubt anyone who attends really NEEDS “here’s your RV, welcome to BRC, we’ll be back on Tuesday to restock the fridge and your sized costumes are in the bedroom closet above the shoe rack and below the segway gear. Your bikes are aired up and decorated and Pablo here can help if something goes wrong”. Sure the person picking up the RV reserved it ahead of time for way more than it’s worth, but it’s complete. It’s a package. It’s toxic.

    You intl. folks that avoid all the fantasy services and rent shit in Reno a year in advance and shlep it out to BRC and deal with it backing up or breaking down are my heros. My back, legs, arms and brain work just fine and if not, there’s always the community to lend a much appreciated 3rd hand, even at Wal-Mart in Fallon you’ll find a scantily clad dread head with a huge smile and the perfect reach for that last jar of jelly. Anything beyond that is just catering to indulgence and entitlement for fleshy, useless playa blobs. You deserve to go to the burn because you made it there on your own you survived and it changed you (riding the xpress or carpooling counts). You can wear a Gov’t contractor t-shirt tucked into kakhis or a pinstriped suit or even a beautiful 20″ lime green strap-on with LEDs. You can like Electronic Country Music or Sri Lankan Jazz. We, as burners, don’t care and I believe that’s the radical inclusion part we really want and mean when we use that term.

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  • Burninggil says:

    BM is home since 2003 and I have only one thing to say: Get Rid Of Theme Camps !

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  • Liz says:

    One year, my neighbors brought in 12 giant RVs, placed them in a circle and threw camo-shade over the whole thing. They kept to themselves, discouraged outsiders and that’s the way they liked doing the Burn. They were all local – 20-mile radius. All long-time Burners. I got in with them a couple times – they were great people, hard-core, loved Burning – but didn’t care to share en masse. And they did not fucking have to – no rules. Include all. When I read the screed herein, it starts to sound entitled in its own misery – whaaa whaaa, rich-people excluding me, just like real life whaaa whaaa…whotf cares how someone else Burns? I do not doubt that some of the rich people mentioned here make business decisions on a daily basis that affect the world – I like that they are seeking whatever it is they seek- however it is achieved – on the Playa…Try love.

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    • jacob says:

      Man, this is a really good point. That group of neighbors sounds pretty interesting. I can also totally get into this kind of burn because, as an introvert I get the whole privacy/familiarity thing. It really becomes YOUR experience. I just can’t help but feeling there’s at least a little difference between those who are long-time burners and have naturally gravitated towards that or any other particular style of burn, versus someone else having no idea and thinking that’s how it all really works. Followed by those exploiting the opportunity in that mentality.

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  • Joanie says:

    Just had a fun early morning of reading these comments. I think the easiest way to solve this is:
    1. No outsiders vending onsite ( this includes RVs)
    2. No outside service providers except those hired by Burning Man. (this means toilets are OK, ice and coffee maybe — nice but not really necessary; fuel vending? I prefer not — use solar or use less)
    3. Everyone needs a ticket to get in
    Just these three changes to the rules would make self sufficiency more of a reality. Camps might have to be a bit ‘toned down’ because of them. Fine with me. The truly creative will find a way.
    Hope to see you on the playa again someday! (I couldn’t get a legit ticket last year – someone in one of those camps for hire probably got mine.)

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  • Rhubarb says:

    After reading alot of feedback and going to the burn for 11 years in a row. I can see that nothing is easy any more for most of us that don’t have a lots of $ and a mind sucking blinky box computer!The Black Rock city is and will allways be achanging for the good and the bad.More Fucknuts and duddelbutts mean more rules and more fun police to save us from our self ! It is still the best SHIT-SHOW that $ can buy,and the art,and friends you make there can be and will be what brings me back each year!I know a vrgin burner that just this week told me he has to pay $1000 for a 10×10 space in the camp he joined on top of fuel and his ticket he had to buy and work all week to put up a art project by center camp.I told him to keep the $1000 buy some food and bring some water and join our village and try to be self reliant.If he thinks his first year on the plya with a big camp fee is good i am happy for him,NOT! The camp has a head with lots of snakes on it.

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  • Arthur Goldsmith says:

    Just spent the better part of an hour reading all the comments here, and I just want to applaud our community for a very productive debate on this.

    It speaks volumes to the type of people we’re attracting; people who are passionate, grounded and practical. I love this community.

    -Arthur

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  • Forward says:

    Thank you for attending to this insidious trend. More than the art, more than the spectacle, more than the otherworldly experiences, it is the Culture of Burning Man that holds the most promise for transforming one’s world view and transcending the confines of BRC. While BMORG takes organizational steps to protect our culture, all BRC Citizens need to take personal steps as well. I, for one, am committed to sharing the Principles of Burning Man with as many as possible and whoever will listen. And as a community, we can more diligently practice and publicly validate the norms and values that we cherish so much. In the interest of the public good, I am not opposed to the strategic use of peer pressure or public shaming as well.

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  • PJ says:

    Fantastic. Shame it is a feature of human beings to follow what others have done and not attempt
    to invent / create their own.

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  • PJ says:

    Fantastic. Shame it is a feature of human beings to follow what others have done and not attempt
    to invent / create their own events / celebrations.

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  • Chriscypher says:

    I have been following burning man for years. Much like I follow the other visionaries of our times: Survivor Research Lab, Church of SubGenius, &etc.

    I want to burn. It would most likely be one of my several life changing events, and it literally brings me to tears when I think of being immersed in an environment which makes my soul tingle in what is otherwise the actual desert of daily existence.

    If you want to preserve BM, please consider the need and provide paths for inclusion. Currently that seems to be: travel across country to camp in hardship.

    I am thinking this can happen via the established camps of burners you already have. Provide a means to join!

    * which camp suits my interests, disposition, and my talents?
    * what can I do for that camp!
    * how can I join that camp? If on a trial basis… (groups make camping easier, what can I offer in return ?!)

    You have an art festival of which has (never) been seen before in human history. You provide food for the soul of dying modern man. There is a need, which is evident in BM’s growth. What is needed is a process to include all the alienated self-aware people who frankly have nothing out here in the wilderness. Except mundane lives. Maybe money. Maybe trappings of all the crap they would like to burn.

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