How Turnkey Camps Get Placed

Citizens of Black Rock City – everyone is talking about Turnkey camps and the Placement team wants you to know: we hear you! You’re speaking up on social media, talking at parties, doing deep dives at regional events. We’ve received more than 400 post-event emails and hundreds of comments through the Feedback form.

This is a good thing. Speaking your mind and sharing your opinions is the most important thing you can do right now.

The Placement Team placed over 1,300 camps in 2014. Theme Camps, camps for volunteers coming in early to work, camps for artists, Black Rock City, LLC department camps, camps within the BRC storage container program, and Mutant vehicle camps

We also placed about 25 Turnkey camps. We define Turnkey camps as those that offer a public space and interactivity in addition to private spaces for larger groups and are typically built by a producer, rather than a traditional camp lead.

Turnkey (or Plug N Play as we used to call them) first caught my attention in 2011. I recall placing a group who needed help finding the right place for their trucks and equipment. At the end of 2011, it seemed important to set some guidelines for how Turnkey camps could create places that were mindful of the Ten Principles.

Placing more than a thousand camps in BRC is a bit like putting together a jigsaw puzzle without knowing what the final picture looks like. When a Theme Camp applies for placement, we review their intended interactivity, their history with us, their MOOP score from the previous year, community feedback and the uniqueness of their offering.

Photo by CameraGirl
Photo by CameraGirl

Placed Theme Camps must offer daily interactivity within their camps that entices people to come in off the streets and interact with fellow Burners. Talking to each other is the secret sauce of Burning Man. Camps that don’t get placement usually aren’t offering a kind of interactivity that requires early entry (to set up) or their performance from previous years left something to be desired.

Once the camps have been selected, we consider the layout of each city block, the makeup of neighborhoods and the daytime and nighttime traffic flow. At the same time, we’re talking with Camp organizers to address individual and group needs.

We ask all placed camps to provide a layout plan in advance of the event and we host a Theme Camp Forum each spring to discuss living situations, camp plans and best practices. We also hosted a separate Turnkey Roundtable earlier this year where Camp producers were invited to share their experiences, if they’d made camps before and to learn about our expectations for engaging with BRC and how they could support each other.

At the roundtable, we told Turnkey camp producers we hoped they would invest the time and energy to become Theme Camps – offering enticing and unique interactivity and promoting participation. We also explained Turnkey camps wouldn’t be placed in neighborhoods reserved for Theme Camps, but we would place them where they would get foot traffic and have the opportunity to draw people in. Most importantly we started a relationship. We started talking. They told us their plans, we told them our expectations and then everyone went about planning and getting ready.

We’re often asked why we even placed Turnkey camps if they didn’t meet our standard for public interactivity. It’s an excellent question.

We found it is the best interest of the broader BRC community if we do place them. The placement process starts the relationship, sets expectations about MOOP and accountability and helps us with density issues. Placement knows how large a footprint a camp needs and we can help with the guesswork of how big. The placement process also intends to inspire our Turnkey camp friends to become more like our beloved Theme Camps who have experience balancing public space with private living, and with using interactions to inspire participation.

It can be a challenge to get people to understand the importance and value of participation. It does matter if you are just standing around, watching. It matters to the people who are living out loud, people who are building and working and getting dirty and tired and pushing themselves in every direction, mentally, physically, emotionally, and as a community. It’s hard work to live in close proximity to people for a week or more. It takes words and commitment and time to stay friends with people after you’ve made art and burned things and lost sleep and blown your mind.

Community evolves out of relationships and relationships are built out of communication, conflict resolution, disagreements and coming together. Talking with each other keeps us engaged and keeps us participating. The contention I hear is genuinely based on our collective caring about the community we build together. Making room for this conversation ensures the integrity of the Placement process and the integrity of the event. Placement volunteers hold our integrity above all as we enact the Ten Principles in our decisions and actions.

Of course there is more to our plans than just talking. We’re looking at tangible ways to help everyone do better. Ticketing, Early Arrival passes, our outside services program, DMV operations and of course camp placement are all being reviewed as we think about where to push and where to pull.

The Placement team dedicates thousands of volunteer hours to piecing together Black Rock City and we care intimately about how we all fit together and embody the Ten Principles.

I look forward to shedding more light on what the Placement team does and why in future posts. Until then, keep talking – we are listening.

Kristen Berg (aka Answergirl) uses her PhD in Social Work and mechanical pencil in equal measure when building Black Rock City and thinking about the inner workings of our temporary civic community. Answergirl arrived on the playa in 2000 and was inspired by the effort and engagement of everyone she met. Her participation began by giving “ an answer for everything” on a playa radio station and quickly expanded to wearing khaki and walking the dust with the Black Rock Rangers for more than ten years. A charming encounter with a Placer in 2008 lead her to join the Placement Team and in 2013 became the Team Manager.

About the author: Answergirl


Answergirl oversees the vibrant crew of volunteers responsible for reviewing and placing interactive camps and other groups in Black Rock City. The Placement team works to arrange participants’ intended interactivity to create a unique version of Black Rock City each year. She also manages Placement-related communications and is active in the city planning process. Calling on her Social Work PhD, Answergirl emphasizes the importance of communication and collaboration to build and strengthen communities in everything she does. Anything is possible with a questionnaire, a pencil, and a great team.

174 Comments on “How Turnkey Camps Get Placed

  • Citizen says:

    I don’t care how much that you call it turnkey to dress it up, it’s plug and play and it sucks.

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  • Zach Wasserman says:

    How can we expect camps whose bottom line is profit to be a valuable part of a community whose bottom line is… community?

    I don’t see that PnP organizers are at all incentivized to contribute to this event that they are profiting from.

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  • Not Telling says:

    It makes me really glad that my friends and I spent well over a year building a camp together to try for being a theme camp. Apparently an interactive 24/7 bar, chill dome open to the public with programmed activities and space to lounge/sleep, and a public shade structure to share with the neighborhood is not enough to qualify for “theme camp,” yet these “turnkey camps” that provided NO public services, actively worked to EXCLUDE participants through VIP cars/VIP bars/VIP everything, and left a HUGE mess for DPW to clean up qualify for EA, ticket purchasing, and more. I’m so happy that I have worked for seven years to build up to something, and to be told that we aren’t good enough, yet these types get priority love. Awesome. Thanks, placement. You’ve confirmed the fact that I don’t need to do this, anymore. I don’t need to waste my time. This smells of such high levels of PR BS that I’m honestly laughing right now. I’ve been passionate, dedicated thousands of dollars and years of my time, I’ve jumped the hoops and tried and tried… but if the answer to getting placement/EA is to cater to millionaires in air-conditioned rented infrastructure with no public use, then… well, Burning Man is dead. Long live Burning Man.

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  • Jason Silverio says:

    The biggest disconnect of the turnkey camps are that they do not offer any art as a core reason for creating said camp. If you have as part of your coming to Burning Man some creative purpose, music, theater, healing, anything with passion, all the rest will follow. If the intention of the camp is to just get people there and make it easy to be on the playa, well that doesnt work. And if tickets are going to be allocated to camps where some go to “sherpas” or just workers at the camp, well thats really horrible. Burners have every right to be protective of the delicate fabric of what made the place so amazing. Its really about the art, period. Easy to throw the balance off because its so delicate. And for those of us that have been a core part of making this city great, it feels sad to see it used so poorly, and worse, that precious tickets went to groups that are not adding anything of value.

    I propose that more tickets be sold through STEP only program, and can only be sold back to STEP so people have to take time and fill out a profile and have more intention of actually being part of the event. Of course you would need way more will call booths, but I think this would ensure that long-time burners get tickets. And I know Radical Inclusion is important, but if its done in the way that tells amazing people that spent years and sweat making the event so great “Sorry, time for new people, no ticket for you!” well then that is sad. A conundrum for sure, as this blog post reflects. I think in the placing process for turnkey camps, they should have to display some idea of the art they are contributing, and be held accountable. Radical Inclusion of people with the intention of bringing it! Radical Exclusion of camps that are not bringing something of value to Burning Man. Use our own DMV as a great example. They are pretty stringent with the art cars they pass, no? You can’t just sting some lights on a golf cart and expect to get a night permit. They are tough! And it makes the playa at night so much better.

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  • XaOs says:

    I feel confused by this. In the 4th paragraph, Answergirl says, “We define Turnkey camps as those that offer a public space and interactivity in addition to private spaces for larger groups and are typically built by a producer, rather than a traditional camp lead.” Which sounds pretty good, since the means that preferential treatment (e.g. placement) is being provided only for camps (typically Theme Camps) that offer something to the community rather than just to their paying clients.

    But later in the post, she talks about the Turnkey Roundtable, where “…we told Turnkey camp producers we hoped they would invest the time and energy to become Theme Camps – offering enticing and unique interactivity and promoting participation.” She then goes on to say, “We’re often asked why we even placed Turnkey camps if they didn’t meet our standard for public interactivity,” and, “The placement process also intends to inspire our Turnkey camp friends to become more like our beloved Theme Camps who have experience balancing public space with private living, and with using interactions to inspire participation.”

    If I am reading this right, initially Answergirl says that BMORG defines Turnkey Camps as offering space and interactivity to the public in a way similar to Theme Camps, but later says that BMORG merely hopes that they will, that their placement “intends to inspire” the turnkeys to be “more like” the theme camps.

    Maybe I am parsing this too finely. Perhaps BMORG requires some minimal level of public contribution from Turnkeys and a higher level from Themes, but the difference in degree rather than kind likely would leave open a loophole large enough to drive a luxury bus through.

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  • Finn says:

    And where do these for profit camps get all those tickets?

    “Anonymous has shared with us the following letter from BMOrg HQ (emphasis ours):

    From: Steven Young

    Subject: Donation Ticket Introduction

    Date: June XX, 2014 [snip]

    bmp logo

    We have a special opportunity to share with you. The Burning Man Founders have made a group of 2014 Burning Man tickets available as thank-you gifts for Burning Man Project to offer to our supporters. For a limited time, your $650 contribution includes a $250 tax-deductible donation to the non-profit Burning Man Project along with the gift of one ticket (valued at $400).

    We have a limited number of these Thank You Tickets available. If you would like to make a donation to Burning Man Project, kindly send us your name, email, and phone number, and desired number of Thank You Tickets. The default maximum is two tickets. If you need more than two, please let us know in your email and we will be happy to accommodate your needs. We will send you a link to a private website with a personalized code which can only be used one time. Once the donation is complete, we will send you an acknowledgment for your contribution. Thank You Tickets will be mailed separately by Burning Man Project via express mail. These particular tickets are not refundable and will not be available for pick up at Will Call in Black Rock City.

    This is a short-term initiative about which we are being discreet; kindly do not post about it on social or traditional media, but let us know if there is anyone you would like to include in this opportunity. For questions, please contact or 415-865-3800 x 198.

    These crucial contributions help Burning Man Project share the Ten Principles and the transformative spirit of Burning Man with the larger world. Burning Man Project initiatives are helping more people around the world gain access to transformative experiences and manifesting expression and inclusion in the arts, education, and civic participation. Our generous community of donors continues to help us grow, and we are very grateful to all who make it possible!


    steve young

    Steve Young

    Burning Man Headquarters )'(

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  • eggchairsteve says:

    I love Burning Man with all my heart, and I always will… I’ve dedicated my life to it.
    Yet I have to agree that this absolutely reeks “of such high levels of PR BS” once again…

    The real issues that our community is up in arms about these camps are Commodification, and Non-interaction… and the refusal to address these concerns directly is the reason more and more Burners are beginning to doubt the core values of the organization. Burning Man needs take a real stand, make a statement, let the people know you don’t think it’s cool either.

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  • Kitty says:

    You do realize that you just laid out a set of requirements for placed camps, but then said that you are happy to ignore those requirements for camps who don’t meet them but happen to have a lot of money, right?

    I can’t stress enough how disheartening that is for those of us who work hard all year to create something for everyone to share. You’re telling us that all of that hard work doesn’t matter.

    It sounds like you are frustrated that people are happy with the amount of hard work that goes into placing camps. I get that it’s hard. But I don’t expect my camp mates to be happy if I tell them that someone in our camp doesn’t have to help with things because they have a lot of money. I might have done a lot of hard work but that doesn’t matter for crap if I’ve completely let my campmates down by being hypocritical. They won’t trust me any longer. It would ruin the vibe and ethos of our camp.

    Telling us you don’t care (which is what you’ve done by saying you place camps that don’t meet the criteria because they have a lot of money) isn’t listening.

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  • showusyourpits says:


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  • barbender says:

    Please tell me, in just a few sentences, why turnkey camps should be allowed? What do they bring that benefits the community? I just don’t see any upside to having them there. And we all see plenty of negatives. OK, it was an experiment. Let’s just say it didn’t work, and stop having them. They simply foster closed little enclaves for folks who want to watch and then withdraw. I just don’t see any reason to allow them to come.

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  • Roberto Dobbisano says:

    bring me the head of Jim Tananbaum.


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  • SSE says:

    Interactive theme camps apply, ~95% (2013) are placed, based on past performance and interactive proposals in the application, and they are audited for interactivity during the event, and on MOOP, as a criteria for future placement. They may receive directed sale tickets at ?% of campers and ? early entry tickets to be ready for interaction when the gates open.

    Producer PnP camps apply, ?% are placed. Interaction is mildly encouraged, but not required. They receive ?% of customers and staff directed sale tickets at ?price and ? early entry tickets to be ready for their customers when the gates open. They are audited for ? as a condition for future placement. They account for ?% of the vendor pass revenue and pay $? BLM gross receipt fees. They also pay ? special fees to the org.

    Although I don’t disagree with a strategy of engagement if they are not prohibited, there are a few ? we all would appreciate being filled in, because they inform the soul of the future of the event. The new transparency, right?

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  • simon of the playa says:

    decommodify or die.


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  • Peace says:

    Based on the blog, it would seem the answer would be simply to say Turnkey camps have to meet all the expectations of Theme camps prior to being placed. If they don’t meet the criteria, they don’t get placed. The difference would be that the producer of a Turnkey camp would be responsible for things that the general membership of of a Theme camp would be responsible for. I see no rational for placing Turnkey camps that won’t make the same commitment and contribution as Theme camps. There should also be a rule that Turnkey camps have to enforce a rule that those camping with them have only acquired tickets through sanctioned Burning Man outlets (i.e. the main sale and STEP). Otherwise, since Turnkey camps have a profit motive, they can use their considerable resources to subvert the ticketing system and give unfair advantage to those who want a pay and play experience. Camps found to be purchasing scalped tickets for their clients or letting folks with scalped tickets camp with them, should be banned. It is great when the wealthy and powerful attend Burning Man, but the goal is for Burning Man to change them, not to have them change Burning Man.

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  • Sarge says:

    @Answergirl – you folks absolutely deserve the attacks you’re getting in comments so far. This article was complete garbage. Thanks for excluding the FACT that many of these turnkey camps are charged a separate fee by the LLC to come and get placed. That couldn’t possibly factor in to why you keep ignoring us and placing them year after year.

    Oh, and you didn’t even once use the word PROFIT. We don’t give a single flying fuck that people are rich, or that they fly in, or whatever else. Let me explain very very clearly what it is that bothers the fuck out of us:


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  • west says:

    Such a load of bollocks. An entire blog post to justify and explain away how the 10 principles apply to all theme camps/citizens, but are merely ‘encouraged’ for these wealthy tourists and bmorg-connected ‘producers’, explicity commodifying, and thereby profiting from, the burning man experience and the community created by volunteers at their own (considerable) expense. Sure its one thing to make a buck on general ticket sales, but quite another entirely to be creating two classes of citizens under the guise of ‘inclusion’; one of us ‘normals’ that have to scrub along and work hard to create our own radically self reliant experience, and the bmorg-sanctioned royalty that simply toss money onto the table and walk up (more likely fly-in from their shiny airport that our ticket sales pay for so these elites don’t even have to suffer from a long drive and the unique hell that is entry/exodus), and party inside their own private gated communities, built without ever lifting a finger save for handing over their no-limit credit cards. The sheer hypocrisy and blatant violation of nearly every one of the 10 principles that are supposed to be the guiding light to the entire event and culture is absolutely staggering. Ya’ll need to seriously get this sorted before it becomes a complete Burn-chella 7-day luxury VIP experience the rich and famous.

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  • MAS says:

    The biggest concern for me outside of the obvious concerns that these camps are promoting spectatorship and non-participation, is how they are being ticketed.

    Last year I think we all knew at least a few people who couldn’t get tickets and heard plenty of rumors swirling around about tickets being skimmed out of STEP and redirected to these plug and play camps. It would be nice to hear from the BORG exactly how many tickets are allocated to these camps and what the acquisition path is, if for no other reason than to end the rumors that have been going around.

    I’d also like to say that I’m not against all plug & Play camps. Green Tortoise has been around for years enabling mostly international backpackers to attend. I’ve never had an issue with this and found the people I’ve met who were camping there to be welcoming and participating how ever they could.
    I do take issue with camps walled off from the rest of city with velvet ropes and bouncers with clipboards telling people that aren “_________” enough to enter. That exclusivity is available at clubs in pretty much every major city and that’s not the experience that defines Burning Man and not what contributes to making BRC the place I love so much.
    So there is a line of what kind of plug & play contributes to the city and what doesn’t. I hope placement does hold the plug & Play camps to the highest standards of participation and interaction, especially if they have special access to the limited quantity of tickets.

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  • forty_eight says:

    BRC has been re-zoned as commercial.

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  • Peace says:

    If this blog was intended to calm our concerns, I’m afraid it has failed. It sounds like an excuse rather than an explanation and leaves much to be desired with regard to transparency. I certainly hope you intend to respond openly to every question posted in these comments.

    Finn’s post is particularly disturbing. I would be very interested to know if it was real.

    What you do is very difficult and I’m sure it is very hard to meet the desires of all your constituents. That being said, the community is a pretty good resource if you are wondering if you have gotten off track and perhaps are unintentionally subverting the principles. Clearly they are saying all they want is a completely level playing field where wealth is irrelevant. Please let us have one place in the world where that is true.

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  • burnersxxx says:

    Finn’s leak is 100% real, I have confirmation from 2 different sources. Of course, there may be still other ways that camp,s like Caravancicle got 120 tickets + enough for all their sherpas.

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  • Peace says:

    That is very sad. I spend a lot of time defending the org. The fact that the letter says they want to keep it discreet shows they knew something was wrong with it. I find this very depressing.

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  • OrganizedChaos says:

    I will start off by saying, thank you for not just ignoring how upset everyone has been over this issue. That would have been a temporary band-aid to a larger problem but probably the easier way out.

    I think that this blog post is really just extremely tone-deaf to the burner community as a whole. We are not asking you, ‘How do plug-and-play camps get placed?’ We are trying to tell you that we feel like we are losing the spirit of what we all work so hard for because you refuse to do anything about it. And this article just proves it. You are holding to the radical inclusion principle as people walk through the door but as soon as they come in they are able to exclude us??

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  • Buckstar says:

    You’ll probably never see this buried under all the hate, Answergirl, but Thank You.

    After working with the docent team this year and interacting with several Turnkey Camps in person, I believe that the only logical path forward – indeed, the only path with any integrity – is to embrace the Turnkey Camps, and work with them.

    Burning Man isn’t a static and fixed thing. It is a continually evolving experiment. Turnkey Camps can – on the surface – feel wrong, or against our cherished Burner culture. But once you cut through the lies and bullshit the haters like to repeat ad infinitum, these camps can be a valid entry point to the culture, and lead the campers in these camps to greater self-actualization, empowerment, and engagement.

    I saw it with my own eyes.

    We can’t block these people, or set up black lists, or decide that someone isn’t “Burner-y” enough to come to BRC. Doing so would be even a worse defilement of our Principles than the reality of what Turnkey Camps actually are (as opposed to the hyperbole and flat out fictions touted by many of the commenters here, who have never spoken to a Producer, or interacted with the Turnkey Campers themselves).

    As we work with them to round off those sharp corners, and help them transition from Turnkey Camps to Theme Camps, I may be a lone voice in a crowd of hate, but i have a lot of respect for what you and the rest of the team is trying to do.

    You have chosen the high road in regards to Turnkey Camps. I hope that it pays off in the end for all of us.

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  • Pink says:

    This article is bullshit. We know placing is difficult; juggling type of camp, size, etc for camps that have passed the bar for interactivity, being MOOP free, and basically doing what we said we were going to do in prior years. I’m a camp lead, and this year spent two weeks on the playa; building the camp, running the camp, tearing down the camp & inspecting the ground for bits of hair, stray sequins, and making sure every stake hole was filled in.

    You don’t seem to want to admit there are two types of ‘turnkey’ camps; one which is a Theme Camp, and can apply for placement & EAs along with the rest of us, and those who are better described as Commodification Camps; existing to provide, at a profit, a luxurious BM vacation experience for those wealthy enough to afford it, complete with waitstaff & maid service. Commodification Camps break all of the 10 Principles, which now seem to only be 10 Guidelines for How We’d Like You to Behave Maybe If You Feel Like It.

    There are so many issues here, most of which other commenters have described. Special ticketing for those wealthy enough to donate big bucks to the foundation, special status including placement & EAs for camps that you only ‘hope’ will maybe become theme camps in the future, and the stink of backdoor deals and payouts to the Borg who seem to be drunk on their own propaganda and star-struck by the Names that want to come to their party, but don’t want to dirty their hands or suffer any inconvenience to do so.

    The rich & famous have been coming to the burn forever, building camps & art, blending in with the rest of us because they are the rest of us. One of the mindblowing aspects of the burn is the leveling effect the playa has. Citizens are judged not by what they have or ‘do’ in defaultia, but what they do on the playa. By not only allowing, but encouraging Commodification Camps, the Borg is doing away with what makes BRC different and special from the rest of the world.

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  • Timmy says:

    You people sound like you just got told Santa Claus doesn’t exist, and furthermore he’s also the Easter Bunny.

    BMorg already publicly stated that the event has jumped the shark, and that they’re proud of this sort of evolution. The 10 Principles have been a pain the ass for BMorg for years. You guys run around like God delivered them onto you. Larry was obviously a bit tipsy when he wrote them in 2004, and for some reason it got really out of control. You people actually took them seriously! LOL.

    Most theme camps are basically 80% turnkey anyway. 20% of campmates do 80% of the work. Most campmates stroll in on Tuesday or Wednesday and out on Sunday, hardly ever lifting a finger. And don’t get me started on the sparkle ponies (playa whores) who actually get everything paid for including their tickets.

    Burning Man is a business and it exists to make money. Simple as that. Mainstreaming the event is/will be enormously profitable, and better yet – turnkey campers don’t complain about the 10 Principles. They don’t complain about anything. They’re perfect for business.

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  • andy says:

    Is this an Onion article? Is it april 1st? So much energy put into something fundamentally against the Ethos of the event? I question ever coming back to this event now. I think you guys have seriously jumped the shark now. I was never someone to say this, but embracing these crappy turnkey caps. This is the last straw. Can’t wait for the Blog post about radical inclusion of Walmart next year.

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  • Finn says:

    The bmorg deserves all the hate they’re getting. Tell us, how do the profiteers get all their tickets?

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  • Ryan says:

    People are getting lost in this debate.

    The 10 Principles are *descriptive*. They’re not commandments, they’re not things you are SUPPOSED to do, they are a description of things that people were doing in 2004.

    That doesn’t mean that Commodification camps are okay, but saying “they violate the principles” is a weak argument.

    Commodification camps are, in my opinion, bad because they are selling the things that burners are gifting, and they are doing so without consent.

    Consent is important. We all know that.

    THAT is the thing that is wrong here. It has nothing to do with any descriptions of burning man culture.

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  • Yikes says:


    Caravancicle was reusing entry wristbands. They’d get a new load of sherpas in from Gerlach after having the previous load remove their wristbands. This is okay though since the camp’s producer is on BMorg’s Board of Directors.

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  • Jason Silverio says:

    Great point by Eggchair in a discussion we are having off line: “Why is there even a distinction of different types of camps? It’s either a Theme Camp or its not.”

    I remember in the early days of Disorient getting visits by Harley when she was in town and showing and discussing what the camp was planning for the year. We had renderings, spreadsheets, works in progress. Do the turnkey camps have to show what they are planning? And if they did, that means the Borg approved an ugly ass square wall of RVs? Again, its about the art.

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  • PrincessBunny says:

    I’m experiencing cognitive dissonance. I read: “We are listening” and I am also Reading, ” We also hosted a separate Turnkey Roundtable earlier this year where Camp producers were invited to share their experiences, if they’d made camps before and to learn about our expectations for engaging with BRC and how they could support each other.”

    Would you please explain the nature of that meeting who exactly was there in representation from the ORG and if and how the ORG addressed what concerns brought up by The “Producers”? If not would you comment on the Observation raised that this appears to be a double standard? we the citizens of BRC who live and work for those weeks out there operate within the required deadlines and responsibility.
    I and many others in this thread are asking what exactly do you mean by …”At the roundtable, we told Turnkey camp producers we hoped they would invest the time and energy to become Theme Camps – offering enticing and unique interactivity and promoting participation.”.. More specifically what did you mean by “We”? and “Enticements”? In other words what Deal did you make in the name of the Citizens of Black Rock City? Because the people you’ve addressed when you said “We” are listening, want to know who you were speaking to and what was said.
    So there you go Action Girl, If you are indeed listening. We eagerly await your closing promise of future dialog when you said; “I look forward to shedding more light on what the Placement team does and why in future posts” because we also are listening and when we hear no answer from “upstairs” we assume we are right. Also I’d like to point out that Listening is only one way communication, apparently you engaged in two way communication with the Producers, you owe us the same courtesy.

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  • Peace says:

    Perhaps this issue is important enough that this blog post should be elevated to one of the posts that appear on the home page.

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  • umm says:

    you called out the wrong Girl PrincessBunny…Answer not Action

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  • Jason Silverio says:

    On your own site you lay out the definition to Theme Camps pretty clearly:

    “Theme camps are the interactive core of Burning Man.” Harley K. DuBois, Burning Man’s Director of Community Services & Playa Safety Council, hesitated a second. “I hate to call this a rule, but if I have to have one it’s simple: A theme camp must be participatory.”
    “The understanding that Theme Camps truly are the fabric of Burning Man is now common knowledge,” says Harley. “It is a responsibility and takes commitment. Remember that what YOU do helps to create what this year IS!”

    In above post there is this: We define Turnkey camps as those that offer a public space and interactivity in addition to private spaces for larger groups and are typically built by a producer, rather than a traditional camp lead.

    Turnkey camps, as defined here, goes against Radical self Reliance “Built by a producer” and Radical Inclusion “Private spaces for larger groups”

    It also is a kick in the gut to us Theme Camp builders that take what we do, following Harley’s words above, as serious to the event as a whole.

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  • eggchairsteve says:

    I second what Peace said above as well “…it would seem the answer would be simply to say Turnkey camps have to meet all the expectations of Theme camps prior to being placed. If they don’t meet the criteria, they don’t get placed. The difference would be that the producer of a Turnkey camp would be responsible for things that the general membership of of a Theme camp would be responsible for. I see no rational for placing Turnkey camps that won’t make the same commitment and contribution as Theme camps.”

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  • goodoledog says:

    “and we host a Theme Camp Forum each spring to discuss living situations, camp plans and best practices. We also hosted a separate Turnkey Roundtable earlier this year where Camp producers were invited to share their experiences”….
    Why must it be a separate event?? See, this only encourages the “us and them” mentality that is quickly becoming the problem with such camps….
    No offense to answergirl, but that’s a pretty weak response to the outcry… Cmon, you’re going to have to do better than that…

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  • goodoledog says:

    It’s more than a little disturbing that there are private meetings being held with “producers” of plug n play camps. This blog has actually worried me more than I already was about this issue. I feel like the ORG is trying to butter me up for what’s to come after reading this.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    “tell us the story again grandpa, about when the ten principles actually meant something”

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  • Peace says:

    You folks have the opportunity to do something truly important and revolutionary here. And all you have to do is live by your own principles. Simply level the playing field. No special treatment for anyone. “You want to have a camp placed at Burning Man, you want to have early arrival passes to set that camp up? Great…we already have a process for that. Simply apply to be a theme camp. Wait…you don’t want to go through that trouble or meet the criteria for a theme camp, but you are willing to pay for the privilege…I’m sorry, this is a participation culture, not a commodity culture. Everyone is welcome but is are no special treatment for the wealthy or famous or those who want to profit off them. Sure, you can produce a Turnkey camp if you want. But you are going to have to go through the theme camp process. I’m really sorry, but if we give you special privileges because of who you are or who you represent, we will be betraying our culture and lying about our principles and we aren’t willing to do that for money”.

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  • Leesa says:

    I would like to know if “influential” people are seen as higher value participants, and if that plays a role in this issue.

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  • Finn says:

    What Peace said!

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  • Jason Silverio says:

    @Answergirl: “It can be a challenge to get people to understand the importance and value of participation. It does matter if you are just standing around, watching. It matters to the people who are living out loud, people who are building and working and getting dirty and tired and pushing themselves in every direction, mentally, physically, emotionally, and as a community.”

    Yeah, no duh.

    What you are saying here is “Aww, its hard to go to Burning Man. Lets give these turnkey kids a soft, easy intro into our well-cultivated world, ease the entry responsibility because its a challenge.”

    We all figured it out ourselves on the playa, with our friends, putting in the hard work to make something awesome. THE FUCKING HARD WAY. We earned our spoils. Turnkey camps gives the access without the work.

    The difficulties (and principals) of Burning Man is what separates the wheat from the chaff. It has always been a perfect filter to keep boring people away. We became what we are through hard-ass work, passion for art and living through the difficulties that come with Burning Man. Why make it easy for some now?

    Looking at the responses here, its pretty clear to all of us.

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  • Captain Kangabrew says:

    I have served coffee and gifted sand blasted coffee mugs for 9 years. (8 hours a day every day of the Burn) I only went this year because I was gifted tickets by friends who got LUCKY enough to get them and couldn’t go at the last minute. How many tickets went to the tourists and their servants? I can’t get camp status because my home ground is around 5:30 and I. (There was a huge RV fort down the block this year that had “Reserved ” space) Instead of the months I spend preparing and the money I spend on a camp that I share with any and all who drop in, (unlike the RV fort) I think I will spend the time working a second job and just BUY my way in like the rest of the tourists.
    This was my 10th year and the tickets cost me nothing. You would think it would have been the best year ever! Nope…..
    I will still apply for tickets in 2015 but if I don’t get to go……eeh.
    The magic is in the people who bring their magic, not people who pay for others to supply it for them.

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  • Alix Txé says:

    I LOVE BURNiNG MAN and appreciate all that headquarters does… but: WOW…. this little article here is full of BS!!

    The biggest INSULT is the allocation of tickets to these camps. THAT SINGLE INSULT HITS E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y!!!!!!

    And yet, I am inclined to ride my bike by one of them TurnKey camps and kidnap one of them said rich fellows and turn them into participants… and ask them where their wives are? ENOUGH SAID!

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  • PrincessBunnny says:

    Ah! you are so Right I inadvertently called out the wrong girl.
    If this forum had an edit function I would sooo, edit that.
    again sorry to all if it apeared intentional or snide I ensure you it was not meant so.

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  • Franko says:

    “We’re often asked why we even placed Turnkey camps if they didn’t meet our standard for public interactivity. It’s an excellent question. We found it is the best interest of the broader BRC community if we do place them.”

    i have yet to see any proof that it’s in the best interest of the larger BRC community, actually. in fact, it’s tearing the community apart, or at the very least, killing burning man because nobody except the small percentage who support Plug & Play camps (and the BMORG, apparently) wants them, and yet they are being forced on the rest of us in the name of profit.

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  • KellY says:

    Does anyone else think this sounds exactly like Republican economic theory? “If we give rich people [huge tax breaks/privileged status at the Event], then hopefully they will [invest in the economy/learn to be true Burners], even though history shows they will most likely just be [douchebags/douchebags].

    For me main question not answered here is how exactly do for-profit camps get the tickets they later resell as part of their “package”? Until the LLC answers that, the rest is all blather. (From the org, that is. Many excellent responses here, especially by Peace, PrincessBunny, Jason, and well, too many people to name, actually).

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  • Andrew says:

    “…sets expectations about MOOP…”

    Which more than a few of them ignored from the looks of this years moop map.

    I really wish the ORG would quit sucking up to these camps, and kick the guy off the board the helped plan and most likely profited quite a bit from his involvement in Caravansicle.

    Also, please stop calling them Turnkey or Plug and Play, these camps I feel are on a whole different level. These are for profit commodification camps. I’ve been a part of of camps that required dues and had a meal plan but we all had to work to make it happen, and our dues went to our gift, not into some producers bank account.

    The vast majority of the community is upset about these camps and all the ORG puts out are blog posts about how theses camps are our friends, they’re here to help us, we want them here… when no, we don’t.

    We don’t want to be part of their burner bingo, we don’t want to be something else to check off of there guide to the local wildlife, if anything we want them to experience burning man that way that we all do, through hard work, sweat, innovation, and self reliance.

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  • Mystry says:

    The first rule of Radical Self Reliance is you are fully prepared, under any circumstance, to do for yourself and I believe it excludes Turn Key Producers and their tag along campers. The playa has indeed been kind to us, but any one who ultimately depends fully on others to drag in a fully stocked trailer from Reno at $8000 for a weeks stay, then exclude me from visiting their camp, doesn’t open their bar at least once and leaves the trailer vendor to pickup and clean up has side stepped several layers of responsibility, to self and community. Theme Camps vs Turn Key, Have’s vs Have Not’s, are socially constructed hierarchies and ORG placement condoned divisions that can be unraveled. Reduce Turn Key size and clustering so they must fully participate! and integrate into the neighborhood and keep our property values high :} WE’ll invite them over for a drink if they bring the weiners.

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  • Leo says:

    Your writing reminds me of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. We now have two Burning Man events happening simultaneously: One for the wealthy and one for the rest of us. Instead of offering clarity to the “plug-n-play” issue, I smell PR bullshit, similar to that of what an oil company offers after a major oil spill. If the intent of your article to tell us that “everything is fine”, the effect is the opposite. I think Larry is enamored being pals with the rich and famous, and I have no issue with that. What I do have an issue with is the wall of silence the BMORG has had with their relationship with the PnP camps and how these camps obtain all of the tickets they need while we only have 42 minutes for a chance to get ours. Please stop peeing on me and telling me that it is raining.

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  • Dan says:

    Why plug-and-play* camps and paid sherpas are allowed through the gate would be a far more relevant topic for this blog post.

    *(sorry not going along with your rebranding)

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  • Tattoogoddess says:

    Wow, just wow. It seems as is bm hq just does not give a shit anymore and has lost held of its real principles and it’s back bone. Just another thing catering to the wealthy. Each year almost, tickets go up and up and up making it harder and harder to go every year. I had to sit out this past year cause on a budget of one paycheck coming in per month I just couldn’t do it.
    Now seeing this I am starting to see why everyone says burning man is changing. It is. It honestly seems like the little man just dose not matter anymore. Also while I’m being honest, this is seriously giving me second thoughts on ever attending again. I do not feel like supporting something that does not hold the same values as me as something I should contribute to. Favoring a rich persons camp who uses slave labor and disresaugrds labor laws while not providing anything of value to the community but only to there rich community is what is in the outside word. This is now in my home and has been oked by my “parents”. I’m sorry that’s just not something I think I can be apart of.
    Also to let it be know. I was the owner/mayor of a 50 person placed theme camp back in 2013. We did major contribution to the 3 o’clock sector. I will never be doing a theme camp again. This is just turn into a shot storm and you guys don’t give a fuck as long as the main burn core in hq are getting their pockets lined.

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  • Ron Ziegler says:

    Certain elements may try to stretch this beyond what it is.

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  • OldTimer says:

    You decide if Black Rock City is now a marketable commercial adventure or a community of people trying to better the world. Maybe it’s time for a boycott.

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  • Gary Stone says:

    There are playa whores?

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  • Rio says:

    Tickets! Tell us about the tickets!!

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  • ComCampSuck says:

    The BMorg will spin it like a politician, avoiding the question. Truth is, the Bottom line is the BMorg’s bottom line… PROFIT$. The event must continue in order for the BMorg to profit. Commodification Camps pay the BMorg huge amounts of money (profit) for tickets, for EA and for placement. Money Corrupts. The BMorg is now changing their stripes to accommodate their greed and hunger for money. Sad. Pathetic. Against the 10 principle$. If the BMorg cared about anything more than money, they would listen to the citizens of BRC, the ones who CREATE our city’s SOUL and the COMMODIFICATION CAMPS would be banned, never again to rear their heinous heads. No special treatment for $$$$.

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  • TattooGoddess says:

    Comcampaucks, you know what, I was talking to my be who has never been about all of this and he pretty much said the same thing as you. It is really sad when we have insiders and outsiders saying the same thing.

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  • Nest says:

    Kristen Berg, you have a PhD in bullshit…. There is no reason why Turnkey camps should exist and it is totally contrary to the founders principles…. You can justify the commercialization of Burning Man as much as you want but it is obvious that whoever organizes the burn these days is more interested in revenue than in “principles”… Pathetic

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  • AnnoyedCampLeader says:

    You’re joking about requiring interactivity from these folks, right?
    Because when I walked up to one of these camps I was asked if I was an contributor. Thinking they were asking how I participate, I told them I volunteer, and help run a theme camp. The response back was more or less get the fuck out since I hadn’t paid them. Yet the org has talked to them before hand. Uh.. hu..

    You know what would be great? If the org actually attempted to do better than next to jack shit with their communication with real theme camps. Because as it stands, they’ve been sucking at it. Mostly because it feels like talking to us instead of talking with us. When they do talk to us. Maybe if they would talk with us, they would know that having loud daytime sound camps so far in (district) reduces participation in everyone else’s camps.

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  • sarah haynes says:

    Love BM but can’t stand all the BS you’ve been dishing up!
    If you are listening, you are hearing these same questions over and over and choosing to ignore them. Should take about 5 mins to answer this.

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  • donaldo says:

    the emperor has no clothes.

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  • Jovankat says:

    “We found it is the best interest of the broader BRC community if we do place them.”

    It’s not really clear how you found this to be in the best interest of the community. A few examples of how not placing turnkeys has been bad for the community might have been useful.

    “The placement process starts the relationship, sets expectations about MOOP and accountability and helps us with density issues.”

    Starting a relationship and setting expectations is great, what happens as the relationship progresses? What if expectations are not met? Some examples here about the effects these relationships have had and how they’ve grown could have been helpful.

    “Placement knows how large a footprint a camp needs and we can help with the guesswork of how big.”

    You know what else helps with working how much space a camp needs? Researching it yourself. Get involved in discussions on ePlaya/Reddit, measure the vehicles and structures you’re taking and then draw a plan. Now you know how much space you need. Any information beyond that that needs to come from the BMOrg should be readily available to anyone and everyone.

    “The placement process also intends to inspire our Turnkey camp friends to become more like our beloved Theme Camps who have experience balancing public space with private living, and with using interactions to inspire participation.”

    Do turnkeys really naturally get more interactive across the years? I’d like to hear some examples of this. And even if they do surely it’s the experience of the event itself that does that not the process of applying for and getting a plot of land. And are there any incentives or disincentives to help this process? If a turnkey camp doesn’t get more interactive over a couple of years will they stop getting placement? Maybe they should.

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  • Matt says:

    Unfortunately this blog post has done nothing more than confirm the fears many have held for a while now. We all suspected that these camps were getting special treatment and now you’ve confirmed it for us.

    So… Now what? There is now a huge problem here in that the Org has caused a massive rift in the trust with the people who really do matter most, those who spend thousands of hours and dollars building the real theme camps. The theme camps which make up the majority of the city, and are arguably its most important feature.

    So what can the Org now do to repair this?

    IMHO, it has to start with transparency. Tell us exactly why you think that placing these camps benefits us, not some waffley crap. Tell us how many of these camps there are, and how much the Org made off them.

    Then tell us why the Org thinks they’re worthy of placement when every year legitimate theme camps fail to get placed, and especially tell us why these camps are worthy of directed tickets.

    They’ve opened the box now and I don’t think anyone will ever prevent the existence of turn-key camps, but the Org could definitely repair the trust somewhat by openly and honesty implementing measures like allocating space for turn-key camps on K but not giving them early entrance and definitely not directed tickets (or would that just turn these rich people into a new group of scalpers?)

    For me I don’t really even care if these people want to permanently wall themselves away somewhere, but I definitely care when they’re getting tickets and eap passes that my legitimate theme camp can’t get enough of.

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  • Ron Ziegler says:

    this is worse than the ticket fiasco.

    and you cant just dump the open sale to fix it.

    ….you need to be transparent and open…. howd they get the tickets.. .why is it OK for these people to profit off of the burn but nobody else?

    being transparent…something that is hard to do when youve never been that way. (shocking, a non-profit being transparent?! never!!!)

    ..hey HQ, fire your PR team.

    or get an ear horn.

    you suck at listening.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    the revenge of the playatariat…

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  • Emily says:

    If placement of non-participating camps is so helpful to the community, why not have placement for every camp?

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  • simon of the playa says:

    I’m Reminded of Colin Powell being trotted out to make a speech at the UN…

    nice guy…..bad speech.

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  • Thor says:

    ITT: Politically active Burners. You make up about 5% of the regular attendance. Your complaints are insignificant as the other 95% just don’t care about these things. BM is not a democracy, like almost all businesses it’s a dictatorship. Dictatorships don’t like politically active citizens – they cause headaches by asking questions and are prone to protests.

    BM, or the sake of the organization itself, would do better with a playa full of turnkey camps. It would be better for them in every way as these campers do not turn politically active within the community, and they pay higher prices for everything equaling greater profits for the business.

    You folks think you’re owed something because you attended and put up your dome and bar and art car? BM can do without you just fine, and it’s obvious they think that way. Their attitude is: Go to the other Burning Man.

    So you think BM will suck without all of you special snowflakes making it awesome… It will suck from your perspectives (so you’ll stop going), but not from the perspectives of turnkey campers, whose expectations are blow away just by the natural environment of the playa and a few art installations and then the fireworks show on Saturday night. That’s all they need to be happy out there.

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  • Anti M says:

    If such “For Profit” camps are supposed to become “more like our beloved theme camps”, then actually require them to do so. If they fail, no placement next year. Don’t take the money. Rescind the sell out.

    And yes, I think a straight answer on ticketing is very much desired by the community. How many, how much, and by what means.

    Disclaimer: Yes, I receive one gift ticket for my volunteer activity. However, I also do a long running art project where I gift out actual art pieces, and spend far more creating art than the price of admission.

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  • Dave Pyro says:

    LOL, the Burning Blog spin machine. Turnkey camps are a way for their organizers to make money off of wealthy people wanting to go to Burning Man without the hassle. It’s just supply and demand, no need to pretend or try to gloss it over

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  • Liquid Wrench says:

    How is this? just GO FOR IT! Allow turnkey camps. print out a map of where they all and reports on everything that is known about their finances.

    Make the Thank You Tickets at least twice as expensive to get… say $1500 or $2000 each… milk them and make it a real status display to show off that you are in a Turnkey camp.

    Make it the THEME of burning man some year (this year) STATUS, HIERARCHY, INEQUITY, CLASS CONFLICT.

    I think that would be a super exciting event!

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  • Real Prince says:

    Why hasn’t Jim Tannenbaum resigned from the board? If Caravansicle was his camp and it was obviously counter to the spirit of themecamps because of the VIP exclusivity as a place for the rich to fly in, to exclude the rest of Burning Man as their personal play space, then to treat their hired hands horribly and to leave a huge mess… really?

    How is this person on the Board of Burning Man? Getting rid of him would be a step in the right direction. The fox is in the hen house. If the BORG won’t do something about it, 2015 is going to be very interesting for these camps as there are at least 4 groups actively planning “reeducation” events for next year’s exclusive, Coachella inspired enclave camps. Clowns and Burners storming their walls to get at the caviar and top shelf liquor. Sound trucks and every imaginable Burner annoyance known to man. What happens when they hire security detail to keep us out?

    And how long will it take for volunteers and artists and everyone who make Burning Man happen to realize they’re creating a play space for the rich who get preferential treatment and bail? This is a critical time for our community to deal with this or Burning Man will indeed become just another entertainment event and the whole supposed cultural meta view will be as hollow as the soul of the money barons checking off their bucket list items by paying 17K so someone else can create their experience in Black Rock City.

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  • Robyn says:

    Turnkey camp managers and investors profit from my volunteering at the event. I suspect that if PnP camps are allowed to continue, then thousands of volunteers will stop giving up their vacations – stop sacrificing their time so that the 1% can profit and enjoy. Without volunteers Burning Man will die. RIP!

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  • Starfish says:

    What I would like to see:

    1. Plug and play camps who do not meet the criteria for a theme camp are not given any early entry passes.

    2. Plug and play camps, because of their immense size, are given a “location” to set up. Sure, rope off a space for all of them together, like walk in camping. That doesn’t bother me personally because it prevents them from having all of their employees taking up an entire block elsewhere before anyone else gets in, since they have the ability to fly in “place holders.”

    3. No special ticket criteria. If they want to buy tickets during the early purchase round that’s fine as we all have that option (if we can afford it). Otherwise I think they should get in line like everyone else.

    4. I don’t know how to deal with the whole paid labor thing, but it’s not something I’ve been able to reconcile.

    5. Radical inclusion, to me, means we welcome the stranger. Come. Play. Participate. Contribute. Leave no trace. We welcome you, stranger, but we also expect you to respect our community, not make a mockery of it. Once you are here, you are no longer a stranger, you are either a member of the community or not, and if not, this may not be the place for you. That’s not just for plug and play campers imo but for everyone. Not everyone gets it until they are actually at BRC, but at that point they need to make the choice whether this is their community and if they are willing to be a “good citizen” or not. It not, please don’t come back.

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  • Snuggles says:

    That Steve Young email makes me really, really sad.

    “SHhhh, keep it on the download, but if you have any other rich folks, let us know!”

    horrible. fuck you guys.

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  • OrganizedChaos says:

    I find it interesting that the only defense of this blog post seems to be, ‘The BORG (leaders of our community) doesn’t care about you. Go find another event if you don’t like commodification’

    This city is built off the volunteers. Go ahead and drive us away and see what happens.

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  • Peace says:

    Fortunately Thor is wrong. The event cannot continue without the consent of the Burners. The 5% who care (according to Thor) probably provide 80% of the “show”. If the theme camps decided to boycott the event over this issue, it would stop being a draw to the folks who live in the Commodification camps. If the Turnkey camps are actively protested on playa, it will become difficult to sell that “experience” the next year. No one wants to spend $30k to be a pariah. This is not like the wishy-washy occupy movement. There are real, simple, easy to understand, “demands” here. Level the playing field. No special treatment for anyone. Directed ticket sales are for theme camps ONLY. Turnkey camps who want to be part of directed ticket sales must apply and be accepted as theme camps with the exact same rules and expectations as any other theme camp. All this requires is integrity on the part of the board. They have placed themselves in conflict with the community. All that is required to fix that is a short blog post that says “we’ve decided only theme camps and work camps (i.e. DPW) get placement and early entry. If Turnkey camps need placement, they will have to apply through the theme camps process”.

    This could turn into a win-win for everyone. I believe there is enough potential profit in the PnP racket that some producers will produce amazing interactive these camps to get placement. That gives the community some new places to play, the producers get their filthy lucre, the Turnkey camp participants get a more authentic Burning Man experience, and the ORG actually gets to stand up for its principles (sort of).

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  • Feral says:

    I call them ‘Turkey’ camps. You write ‘they must offer public interactivity’. We know that isn’t true. I say ‘place’ them outside the boundary of Black Rick City. Plenty of room out there. They can be true tourists and check in and out each day. Bus em in. Bus em out. Mark my word – there will be Motel 6’s out there one day. Oops, there already are.

    I read the blog several times. It must be a group written article, cause it seems to be done by more than one person. A statement is made, then the reverse is stated. Blah blah blah. Two words sweet talkers – Sell Out.

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  • Trillion says:

    I don’t get it. Why give any space to these camps that are so completely against Burning Man’s principles?

    It’s a noble idea that placing them in the midst of active neighborhoods would encourage them to change their ways, but I’m afraid that is just unrealistic. Neither the high-strung camp managers nor the sheltered “customers” they harbor are likely to change their ways and assimilate with BRC culture. One is there to provide a neatly packaged product to paying clients, the other is there to consume the BM “experience” that was promised by the salesmen.

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  • Yo Mama says:

    For fucks sake, such an insane PR Bullshit.

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  • Ron Ziegler says:

    we’ll allow rampant profiteering if they hold some dumb Ted talks, and have a chill dome!



    you cant ‘participate’ your way out of being forbidden from making a profit on the playa.

    bad idea.

    bad PR.

    bad listeners.

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  • Peace says:

    I disagree with Ron. The TED talks are a great addition to the community and the type of thing that should be required of Turnkey camps.

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  • Ron Ziegler says:

    for-profit camps should be banned.

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  • NeonBunny says:

    I remember when placement’s motto was “We can’t place camps that increase in size without increasing in interactivity, and we have too many camps that have become bedroom communities that we can’t place”.

    And before they were called Plug and Play, they were called Gated Bedroom Communities. If you didn’t place them then, whey place them now?

    Let them show up on Monday with everyone else, they can bring in their trucks, land grab a space just like everyone else. If it takes them 5 days to set up their hotel so that their customers paying tens of thousands for a plush room with room service that brings them caviar and ecstasy, then they can show up on Saturday to party along with all the other weekenders just like them. 10 years ago, we called these weekenders Frat Kids. Now the frat kids have graduated and gotten high paying jobs, so they still come, they just pay alot more money. But hey, better to have them spectate on just the weekend rather than all weekend long!

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  • forty_eight says:

    Isn’t there some statistic about how many virgins come out each year?

    I don’t understand how folks conclude that people are being excluded if PnP wasn’t allowed to continue.

    It’s not like there is some barrier to entry that PnP overcomes.

    The only thing excluded would be allowing the profit motive to shape the landscape of BRC.

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  • Karl Baba says:

    There is a new dynamic now that the event sells out (no pun intended) each year. For each person who gets a back-door ticket, or each sherpa that is hired and given a ticket, somebody else is denied access to the event. There’s no getting around that.

    The profitability of Burning Man is also skyrocketing in this new supply and demand opportunity for tickets to inflate. Now there is a $650 opportunity and the rest of the tickets are $360+$40 ( let’s face it, you’re not really trying to discourage people from bringing cars, the whole event comes in on vehicles) No longer a system where buying in early gets you a discount. While the general population and the ticket revenue in general skyrockets, not that many extra scholarship or low income tickets are being offered.

    What’s this mean, Burning Man is tempted to collect the free money and profit because they can. Promoters are tempted to make a lucrative burning man business selling the private camp experience because they can, and suddenly there are exclusive VIP zones.

    Maybe all that would be OK and the right of the Burning Man promoters if it was a regular music festival where the promoters paid for all the content, but at Burning Man there are people, usually paying full price for tickets, raising money, spending their own money and spending countless hours to give something to their Burning Man community and the BMorg gets to profit from that. My suggestion is not to kill the Golden Egg laying goose by getting too greedy, as things are already be abundant on the commercial side of BM.

    Anytime somebody or something becomes so famous or popular that they can do anything they want and get people to do anything for them, the danger of their corruption becomes highly elevated. Wishing the BMorg people well and that they can gracefully manage the success of this event



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  • Decibel says:

    Remind me again of the DEEP impact that a Plug N Play/Turnkey camp has on your experience. Do you go out to K street and get denied entry to private parties? Because it is a REALLY big fucking city with plenty of places to hang out. Are the other 60,000 people out there not interactive enough for you? Is it not fair to you that some people just have more money and are more eager to dispose of it prior to getting to a temporarily (mostly) decommodified zone?

    Or is this about something else entirely? Is this about how 3 years ago your friends didn’t get tickets to burn? Then they stopped going and lost interest in the event. They stopped going, you are still passionate – lash out at the injustice! Those tickets used by some rich person should have gone to your pure burner friends, the ones YOU abandoned for the dust in a sign of luck and a lack of solidarity!

    So unless you work Resto, remind me again just how these camps effect your burn in ANY way whatsoever. “It’s not fair,” should be the first thing on your soapbox.

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  • Ron Ziegler says:

    if we arent personally impacted by it, we shouldnt care?

    clearly that is BS.

    go ask the IP team how they feel about asshole profiteers using burning man as a backdrop for their boots, or wine… a thing that likely doesnt deeply impact anyone.

    they feel pretty damned serious about that, hell, the IP lawyers cost a million bucks a year…… and they are all too happy to get help from burners reporting people…

    …and suddenly when the profiteering is on the playa, and OK’d by the machine, then we arent supposed to care?.. or we’re only supposed to care if it “deeply” impacts us?


    tons of things can be thought up that dont personally impact well over 99% of the people at burning man but which are pretty damned important… and which we should care about…. i bet you could think of some.

    nice try Decibel!

    Report comment

  • simon of the playa says:

    Dave……please tell me that you got at least a blow job and free tickets to the autumnal gathering for that post.

    if not, i’d say you’re a cheap date.

    Report comment

  • Hello Kitty says:

    With all due respect, Answergirl, you might have considered a minor in communications to supplement Social Work. Many words to say one thing: Burning Man management is not impervious to the currency of privilege and the purveyor of inequality: cash.
    Not so different from the real world, after all…
    It was nice to dream a little. But get out before you hit Vegas.

    Report comment

  • Mark De says:

    Radical inclusion of the radically exclusive. Tear down the walls and let the proles into your club or expect playa justice

    Report comment

  • Mancakes says:

    I got sick of the BMOrg ignoring the incredibly consistent response from the community on this – it seems we have as near to a consensus as has occurred in recent Burner history, and they keep trying to muddy the waters by shifting the terms and frames of reference.

    So I made a change org petition (Black Rock LLC – End the commodification of Burning Man by for-profit camps). If you care about this issue, please go search for it & sign – I’ve left the link out for now so as not to get caught in spam filters, but will submit another post with it included.

    I also created a wiki page so we can collaboratively develop what we see as being the best response, whilst all being able to agree that a response is required (per the petition).

    Report comment

  • jonnnney says:

    Hey Answergirl,

    A bunch of friends and I would love to be given good placement for our camp, but we don’t really feel like going through the process of being approved as a theme camp. How much do I need to put down to be considered a turnkey camp? What is the going rate for good camp placement on the playa? $100,000? $200,000? I am in the ballpark? Don’t worry I have no problems lying to you about how my camp is going to be all sorts of interactive and I have a MOOP plan that looks amazing on paper. Oh I am also going to need some directed tickets sales and early entry passes for my employees to build everything before I fly in.

    Send me a quote.

    Report comment

  • 12yr Burner says:

    These camps are known to bring in prostitutes. Are you paying attention at all? You’re fostering this, the human trafficking at your event is on you, BMORG!

    Report comment

  • Rex Barton says:

    “”Timmy said…
    Burning Man is a business and it exists to make money. Simple as that. Mainstreaming the event is/will be enormously profitable, and better yet – turnkey campers don’t complain about the 10 Principles. They don’t complain about anything. They’re perfect for business.””

    Then it is time that all volunteers gets paid?

    If it is all for profit then why should/would anyone volunteer?

    Report comment

  • P Fluff says:

    I find it disappointing that the majority of you, the participants, the life-blood of the event, are so outraged by AnswerGirl’s explanation. The city is expanding and growing and this is a transparent answer to how and why and where camps get placed, AND how they are creating discourse with the leaders of the turnkey camps on how to be a successful addition to burning man. There are plenty of individual camps that have nothing to offer but are considered a “better” example than turnkeys, and plenty of them still leave moop or don’t add, within their camp, an interactive element to the experience. Since when did burners get so hateful and judgy? You could take those less-than-great interactions you’ve had with those turnkeys and talk to them about how they can do better and right by the ten principles face to face, calmly and eloquently. Maybe explain the apparent unfairness you see and how these types of camps are affecting the event you hold so dear to your heart. Or you could spend your time bashing the placement department, or the Org about things they know are painfully in need of attention. All that said, I struggle with the integration of turnkeys but believe there are more productive ways to go about influencing change. I also believe in knowing when a good thing is gone, or no longer fits into my life, and have complete faith in my decision to step away. That time hasn’t come for me yet, I still enjoy, love, and build that city because I want to. The moment I don’t want to anymore is the day I just won’t. In the meantime, show me another event with a similar capacity that behaves any differently. Then show me a better sense of community.

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  • Tatonka says:

    dont pee on me and tell me its raining :(

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  • Please Stop with the Lies and BS says:

    “The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying, but they keep lying to us, and we keep pretending to believe them.”
    ― Elena Gorokhova,

    “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
    ― Abraham Lincoln

    “When truth is replaced by silence,the silence is a lie.”
    ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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  • Leo says:

    P Fluff,
    I warned you not to drink the Kool-Aid!

    Report comment

  • Ron Ziegler says:

    we’re judgy because these assholes in these for-profit camps are turning out gifts and labors into their very own profit center

    and the people who are able to deal with it it are enabling it, and obfuscating, and misdirecting, and redefining terms.

    you cant hug your way out of this one “P Fluff” …..the judgement of those who decided this is OK, and those who continued to work in a system which allowed it is well placed..

    some wiser more principled people would have quit over this… perhaps they did.

    …there ought not be any ‘struggle’ to ‘integrate’ these asshole camps. they should be banned, for profit camps on the playa shouldnt exist.

    if KRUG gets slammed on this blog by the same LLC/blog master for turning the playa in to their profit center why is it OK for a fuckin BOARD MEMBER to run a for profit camp on the playa? or others ?

    total BS.

    this is worse than the ticket fiasco.

    you cant “listen” your way out of it.
    you cant integrate it
    there is no open sale to dump.

    perhaps not having anyone who is actually from the community on the board of the non-profit/LLC is coming to bite you in the ass….. because you have some really out of touch leadership.

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  • Ron Ziegler says:

    showing up to burning man to run a camp and turn the gift economy into your business model is nefarious.

    why should anyone volunteer anything at that point ?!

    when we’ve tossed what used to be core values out the window, why wouldnt everyone else just say “fuck it” and go for-profit themselves?

    …Bonnaroo has lots of For-Profit attractions, shampoo companies set up big tents and give people free hair washes….. thats interactivity by burning man standards… and its all under the logo’d up corporate banner.

    so how will Burning Man be different from bonnaroo?! the same shit will happen, but it wont have a corporate logo?

    …nice, real “Radical.”

    Report comment

  • RatBastard says:

    “a successful addition”

    That’s an interesting assertion. What is your definition of success here? There has never been a barrier to any of the turn-key patrons from being participants, so why exactly is this particular arrangement necessary to Burning Man – in your opinion?

    Report comment

  • Leo says:

    I hear from an unreliable source that Starbucks is making a bid for Center Camp.

    Report comment

  • Trapper says:

    Burning Man has gone from

    Lets create a Temporary Autonomous Zone


    Lets defend the Temporary Autonomous Zone from the encroachment of government and commerce.


    Lets defend the illusion that there is still a Temporary Autonomous Zone

    The PnP camps and DPW working conditions / minimum wage / safety / workers comp could well be the issue that pops the “we’re all participants / No spectators” bubble. If that happens it will become very hard to get people to volunteers and spend their own $ to support what’s perceived as a rich peoples party.

    But as they say, no my circus, not my monkeys.

    Trapper (BR Ranger, Retired)

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  • Brigit says:

    My my…that said a whole lot of….well, NOTHING. Way to appear transparent without being transparent, folks.

    These camps commodify Burning Man. Tell us how they DON’T if you think they don’t. Don’t tell us a bunch of mealy-mouthed platitudes.

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  • ADB says:

    Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket….Eric Hoffer.

    When ticket demand exceeded supply, the Burning Man event has veered off towards the racket end of the spectrum.

    As long as demand exceeds supply, those who organize and prosper the event are free to do what ever. The only hope is that they do not lose sight of their own histories, and not fuck up their wonderful creation. The only hope is that they care.

    Someone mentioned the 9 & K neighborhood, so I biked out there. The workers swarming around Caravacicle lacked the joyous energy that radiates from most other camps. The walled monolithic RV enclaves were lifeless and cold, at least when I passed by. My favorite sight was a small row of porta-potties that each had a large air duct ported to it from a swamp cooler. No hot smelly toilets for our pampered weathy sheep we are fleecing and serving up a parody Burning Man experience to. There was a prominent sign on the one porta-pottie adjacent to the ring road saying “NO PUBLIC USE”
    So Answergirl, and other BMORG members, please ask yourselves, is this your vision of what should be considered appropriate for BRC?
    How do such camps contribute to the community and culture you have nurtured over the years? Do you even care? Should Burning Man be a venue for the pursuit of profit? Should Burning Man culture become one of elites and commoner? You are in control. Us participants are not.
    If you don’t care, please cash out and leave the event to those who do care and want to nurture and preserve the Burning Man ethos.

    Report comment

  • Paris Mache says:

    Volunteer to work for free at burning man? WHY?

    Why would anyone volunteer so others can make tons of money?

    Report comment

  • “Take what you can, give nothing back.”


    Joshamee Gibbs
    Captain Jack Sparrow

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  • Robyn says:

    Answergirl, I’ve met you before and I think you’re an awesome person. I’m sorry you had to be the messenger, and sorry you’re taking the heat. It’s the chicken shit top level who needs to account for this mess. I hope someone in the ‘super six’ has the backbone to own up to their responsibility and craft a reply.

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  • Shaunab says:

    Just like the Real World…

    If you have enough money the rules (or principles) don’t apply.

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  • Andrew says:

    I had this idea…

    We’ll just called it Apple Store Black Rock City.

    It’ll be a big glass cube, we’ll pre-sell Apple products like iMacs, iPods, iPhones all off playa- we’ll charge an extra $10,000 on top of the list price and throw in a ticket to Burning Man, that way we can say we’re not making a profit on the ticket, hell, we’re giving them away. but that iPod, yeah it’s 10 grand. We’ll create custom iYurts for them to sleep in, all controlled with an iPhone app.

    We’ll have free Wi-fi, so they can stream the burning man webcams and not have to participate at all. Free tech support, because why not. All of this will only be accessible to the people that bought our products before the event. We’ll pay our staff, provide them with outfits that all mark them as employees of Apple BRC.

    We’ll have the iDevices custom engraved so they can say that they bought it at Burning Man.

    We’ll hire U2 and Coldplay to come out and do exclusive shows for our customers…

    I’m really not sure how to work prostitutes into this idea. And i’m not currently on the Board at the Org, so it might be a trick to pull it off.

    Dear the Org,
    If this sounds even remotely absurd, it shouldn’t. This is Caravancicle. This is what you’ve been trying to tell us is the future of Burning Man. If i did this idea, you’d have to come and next year and say “maybe next year apple store BRC will catch that burning man spirit and open it’s doors to the rest of us”.

    it’s BS. JT needs to not be on your board if he’s going to reap profits from the event.

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  • Finn says:

    I also feel sorry for these shills. Answergirl, and now Will is out there doing the good work too. You are fighting a losing battle, and when you lose, you will lose your soul. This is your Colin Powell moment. Choose wisely.

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  • TomForNow says:

    Sigh. Just sigh. Well, at least I got two years out of it before the rich came in and kicked the sand castle over.

    There’s always other TAZ events; just don’t claim that you “burn” anything or than any “man” is allowed or lots of toothy lawyers will show up. Otherwise, as my dearly departed dad would say, fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke…

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  • Nik says:

    This is a poorly written article – kinda deserves all the flak it gets here, and I am a staunch defender of the BMORG in general, and I also think embracing turn key camps is the way to go. But the article makes it sound like PnP camps get special treatment, get placed despite not fulfilling the criteria other camps have to fulfill. With a very weak explanation as to why.

    So here is my take:
    The most important thing to know about PnP camps is the number. There are 25. Out of over 1,000 placed camps. 0.25% – that is a drop in the bucket. Surely, if PnP camps made up 10 or 30% of placed camps, burning man would have sold out. But the number is so low, special treatment is not going to undermine the burning man spirit.

    The second most important thing, not mentioned in this article, but obvious to those of us who believe in the integrity of the BMORG and who’ve been around for a while: Rules can change. PnP camps get a bit of a free pass in year one or two. But come 2015, it’s a new year, and if, say, too many PnP camps appear, or some have misbehaved in 2014 – the honeymoon could be over just like that, and these camps wouldn’t be placed, end of story. No early entry tickets, no special sales, etc.

    If the BMORG has been consistent about keeping the spirit of burning man alive. It’s also been consistent about changing the rules when that was needed.

    If you believe they’ve just sold out, then no one can help you. They haven’t and it’s unlikely they will; and if they sell out, then I won’t go anymore – hey nothing lasts forever. For the time being, however, it’s all in the green.

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  • Elkay says:

    It just seems so obviously wrong to give preference to money. I loved BRC because everyone was equal, and that made it easy to give. It is looking like every other place now.

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  • Kenjamin Franklin says:

    If you make exceptions for the requirements for the love of money, you will corrode exactly what Burning Man is at its core. P&P camps are for spectators, abet rich ones, and this is not an even for spectators.

    Radical Self Reliance is not a subordinate principle to Radical Inclusion – Do we Radically Include someone who refuses to leave no trace? No – we do not – we instead do not place them again. When you go to Burning man you sign up for all the principles, you do not get to cherry pick them, no matter how rich you are.

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  • heathen john says:

    If turnkey camps followed same rules as theme camps, they would still exist, but in much smaller numbers. It’s a shame to see the organizers actually encourage “default world” economics to encroach into what used to be the largest TAZ in the world.

    Report comment

  • Mitz E Tops says:

    I can’t wait for the Krug Champagne Camp next year … but then, it will probably be Dom Perignon, no? “None for you, filthy hippy!” Arf.

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  • Pink says:

    Posted a link to the site that now has a picture of a receipt for some of the tickets bought by the special code in the Steve Young email, but the moderators deleted it. Anyways, it’s an order receipt for 10 ‘donation’ tickets at $650 each plus 4 vehicle passes, placed on August 25.

    So if you are wealthy enough to get the special code, you can buy however many tickets you like at any time. Even the last minute. Wonder how well prepared this buyer was?

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  • Rio says:

    Let’s get back to tickets for PnP Kamps:

    The issue of how they get their ticket supply has been raised 44 times in the three posts from Will, Answergirl and Rosie.

    The issue has been addressed by these folk 0 times.

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  • anotherguy says:

    It’s now clear how they got tickets.

    Search for “BURNILEAKS: How Commodification Camps Got Tickets [Update]” in Google, which leads to a post on Screenshots of “donation ticket” screens with an order for 10 tickets.

    Also, search for “Burning Man VIP Tickets reddit” in Google. Details how Larry and Marian visited Soho House in LA (basically a country club for well-heeled and -connected urbanites). From the post:

    “At the end of the speech, Marian told the audience that if anyone wanted to go, Burning Man was sold out already, but if you spoke to them they would hook you up with tickets. My friend went up and they gave her a card and was told she can purchase a ticket for $600, that $350 would cover the ticket and $250 would be donated to a Burning Man charity of her choice.”

    So there you go. BMORG is blatantly courting wealthy enclaves and offering the opportunity to buy tickets outside of pre-sale, general sale, STEP and OMG. And with no time or amount restrictions. Must be nice. You know what would be really cool and in line with the generally agreed-upon BM principles? If BMORG reached out to underserved communities with the same kind of ticket perks. That would be kind of awesome. But no, same ol’ same ol’, butter up the already fortunate and well-connected with offers they could easily get on their own. Kind of like those Oscar gift bags. Whatevs…

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  • Pluto says:

    I fly-in, and cannot contribute as much as I’d like, but I really try. I do my shifts, sleep in my tent, and play my drums whenever I get two minutes. I hope that I help, in a tiny way, to build an interesting space. But I think about those glorious crazy-ass people who labor for months building camps and art and cars … what a kick in the balls to those people that build the GUTS of this city to have someone just buy their way in, do nothing, and take tickets that a “contributor” could have had.

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  • G says:

    Don’t misinterpret or take offense at link being deleted here. I think it is a blanket policy to do that. Not sure why. A while back I posted a link to a photo on this website, and it was deleted.

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  • anotherguy says:

    Just another thought on this. I THINK I understand the BMORG’s intentions here. They want influential people to come to the playa and have their perspectives questioned and, hopefully, transformed; wherein, they can go out and assert their undue influence upon the world in a playa-enhanced manner.

    Problem is, this is basically trickle-down economics. Give the wealthy some incentive to do good, and the benefits will trickle down to the rest of us. Of course, history (very RECENT history, in fact) has proven this idea to be somewhat faulty. Just like hedge fund managers fighting for their 15% captital gains tax and plunking their earnings offshore, the commodification camp CUSTOMERS (they are customers) get easy access to tickets and come to Burning Man with the same sense of entitlement and lack of community.

    So, Larry, my man. It ain’t working. You wanted to be a player. I get that. You wanted to rub elbows with the big fish (never mind fish don’t have elbows). You were a humble carpenter and now look at ya. But seriously, stop the madness. We all welcome the wealthy with open arms. They help pay for the big art (although that rationale is tired), they bring out the hot sparkle ponies, they always have great drugs. But it’s just not worth it, man. They know this is a game, seems like you don’t. Let the come, but make they jump through the same hoops the rest of us have to jump through. That’s all we’re asking…

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  • Sandstorm says:

    There have already been so many eloquent posts written in this thread, posts by people who are justifiably anxious, concerned and angry over the fact that some members of the BM BOD and THE BORG have allowed a very specific type of capitalistic profiteering to invade and infest an event and community that is built upon a gifting economy in which SO MANY COUNTLESS PEOPLE gift their time, money and labor to make AWESOME THINGS HAPPEN IN BRC. What I will add to those well crafted comments is this:



    Before this blog entry was made public so many Burners thought that event had reached a tipping point for many valid reasons. This atrocious piece of propaganda has made it clear that some people in THE BORG and the BOD did not learn the right lessons from the TICKET LOTTO FIASCO of 2012.

    Burning Man is dead. Long live Burning Man.

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  • Darwin says:

    I say Storm the Bastille(s). I would like to know the camps that Real Prince mentioned that are planning a re-education plan for the plug & plays.

    Think flashmobs complete with a portable bar, snacks, music, etc. Just pouring into one of their restricted areas. As they attempt to usher us out we give them hugs and dance with them. Or maybe bands of burners with pitchforks and torches.

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  • Goodoledog says:

    #answergirl… (if you are real person)
    Let’s hear it. How are people involved with these plug n play camps getting such a large an mount of tickets?
    How are we to believe that the “customers” of these vacation destinations are obtaining their own tickets when they can’t even furnish their own food and costumes.? The ORG is clearly providing tickets to these people in some dirty backroom dealings. I for one won’t be taking anymore more of these posts sincerely until that legitimate question is answered.

    There is plenty of evidence around the Internet that these camps are being offered tickets that me and my family are not invited to participate in. This is bullshit. And right when my daughter has taken her first trip out there with me, you assclowns decide to sell out.. I’m a long time participant, huge contributor to this experience spanning over a decade. I have hundreds of memories, where I was personally involved with transforming someone’s life on that playa. And now, I’m ashamed of this organization. It’s not worth it to you to sell out your principles for whatever reason you think you have. Trust me.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    from the SF Guardian.

    i’ve taken the liberty of replacing the words “San Francisco” with the words “Burning Man.”

    “It isn’t as if Burning Man hasn’t seen a tech boom before. Burning Man’s dotcom boom of 1998 to 2001 also led to significant displacement in Black Rock. But this latest one is focused on the city and visibly changing it faster. Many long-time Burning Man residents worry not only about being forced out of the city they love, but also that their city is being changed for the worse. Critics say that Burning Man’s communities of alternative culture, ethnic or otherwise – the soil of its creative mojo and legendary social movements – are being turned into playgrounds for rich people. If Burning Man’s soul is its social and economic diversity and status as a refuge for those outside the mainstream, then it is being lost.

    Emerging in its place is the mostly white, male-dominated, monied monoculture of the tech industry and there appears no end in sight.”

    art imitating life…

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  • Tom Matthewson says:

    Oh you silly people, stop worrying about it.

    These things are above your pay grade. Go to the party, enjoy yourselves and let others enjoy themselves. Don’t worry that others have money and you don’t. Maybe if you keep working hard you will someday be able to stay in a nicer camp, and wouldn’t you be sad if all your complaining made them go away when you could finally afford it.

    Larry is a nice guy and he has spent years putting this all together, so you should be worshiping him, not complaining.

    Why do you care so much that wealthy people have it a little better? Isnt that what hard work is all about, having the finer things in life? Some people are more accustomed to nicer things and need to have nicer things around them. They may not want to stay in dust blown rags,. but they still want to party with you.

    So don’t worry about this nonsense, you have you fun and you let others have their fun, they have earned it.

    And instead of lashing out at Larry, say a pray to him, you owe him for what he has done for you.

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  • elkay says:

    We don’t care that they have it better. Are you listening at all? We care that we can’t get a ticket because they bought all of them through channels that are closed to most of us.

    Report comment

  • Troll Matthewson says:

    let the games begin…..

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  • Troll Matthewson says:

    I can’t wait to go back a month early next year and stay for month afterwards to volunteer for Larry and the BMorg. More people need to do this because without your efforts there will be no Burning Man, it takes a village.

    Everyone needs to quit complaining, forget about all these silly issues and focus on what is important, our gathering on the playa. And be sure to sign up to help your local events, help us change the world.

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  • h.g.crosby says:

    sorry Troll,

    but i’d rather Stand in Defaultia, than burn on my knees…

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  • roberto dobbisano says:


    we want tananbaum.

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  • FIGJAM says:


    These were ‘certificates’ produced in bulk that had been pre-signed by the pope which pardoned a person’s sins and gave you access to heaven. Basically if you knew that you had sinned you would wait until a pardoner was in your region selling an indulgence and purchase one as the pope, being God’s representative on Earth, would forgive your sins and you would be pardoned. This industry was later expanded to allow people to buy an indulgence for a dead relative who might be in purgatory or Hell and relieve that relative of his sins. By doing this you would be seen by the Catholic Church of committing a Christian act and this would elevate your status in the eyes of God.

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  • Absinthe says:

    Please answer the obviously glaring questions in this thread. You’re supposed to be being more transparent now, yes? Please embrace that.

    From my perspective, you should have told those people to sign up for STEP like I did (though I was not able to get tickets through there). If there were tickets available you should gave reopened STEP. Offering tickets to rich people at private events while others are unable to obtain them except through scalpers or incredible luck from last minute can’t-goers is NOT COOL, and undermines the spirit in which all the ‘normal’ burners participate.

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  • AC says:

    Fire the ‘producers’
    Close the airport
    Pack a tent

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  • leo says:

    If the BMORG is changing the rules on how to obtain tickets, then hell with being fair and having a level playing field. What does it take to get on the V.I.P. list to purchase a “donation” ticket after the general sale and OMG sale are over? Is there a secret handshake of password to move to the front of the line? If so, please send it to me and I promise not to share it with the remaining 99%. Scout’s honor (fingers crossed).

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  • James says:

    Like anything good that gets popular, it falls along the wayside to the rich that find it the best ‘new’ thing in town. Thank you BMORG for showing your support for Corporate America and selling out. Again.

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  • Al B There says:

    People cheating to get tickets when real burners are excluded should be pranked.
    These rich fuks want to come out out and play, well lets play with them. It will be fun.

    What do you think would happen to a regular burner if he/she tried to crash a richierich party? Exactly, and turn about is fair play. Be creative, have fun, but do something to protest them cheating.

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  • TTATC says:

    @Al B There

    I vote that all non-commodification camp art cars with killer sound systems roll through the K Street (BRC, not Washington DC) routinely day and night with the decibels turned up to warp 9

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  • Please sign the petition: “End the commodification of Burning Man by for-profit camps”

    I appreciate your post Answergirl. Thanks for sharing a bit of the behind-the-scenes action. However, if the BM 501(c)3 truly cares about the Burning Man community’s ethos and culture and does not want BRC to lose its magic and purpose, then please sign this petition. Burning Man will only be sustainable longterm if it stays true to “The Ten Principles”. De-commodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, and participation represent 5 of these 10 principles. Turnkey, plug-n-play, for-profit camps operate and exist outside of and against these principles, by definition. Only fulfilling an incomplete and arbitrary selection of these 10 principles is not enough. The principles do not exist individually, but collectively. The community is compromised when all 10 principles are not treated as one organic and interconnected system.

    Please help end the commodification of Burning Man and save our home!

    Sign the petition on Change(dot)org:
    Link – bit(dot)ly(forward slash)DeCommodifyBRC
    “End the commodification of Burning Man by for-profit camps”

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  • Chowski says:

    I want to sign the petition. I am as pissed off about Burning Man being sold off to teh highest douchebag while the rest of us create experience for them. My only concern is retribution. The petition requires that I provide my email, so does buying a icket for next year. If Those That Make The Decisions are already licking the taint of the Commodification camps, what makes anyone think they won’t simply block us from getting tickets (or placement) in the future. It’s a sad state of affairs that the highest priority goes directly to coddling the for-profit sector. Sad and sick.

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  • Cheaters Suck says:

    In the history of man no petition has ever done jack shit. But if you want to sign the petition set up a new email account somewhere.

    A better method than using (typically ignored) petitions is action, I am liking the art cars with killer sound systems roll through the K Street (BRC, not Washington DC) routinely day and night with the decibels turned up to warp 9, CRANK THE UMPF UMPF UMPF!!!

    Constantly dropping some seriously rotten eggs in and around the cheater camps is another “natural” method of having fun with the cheaters in the cheater camps.

    Those cheaters wanna tickets away from real burners, and they dream they will get away with that in Black Rock City with no retribution? All we have is time for fun on Playa.

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  • Leo says:

    this topic is not going to go away, regardless of how much spin the BMORG attempts to respond with. An honest response from the BMORG would go a long way to show that they are actually listening to the 99%. If the BMORG decides that there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, at least have the balls to tell us straight out and we can decide if we want to participate as the entertainment for the guests of the safari (commodification) camps.

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  • Not a Zoo says:

    Can you hear it coming?

    Dance little monkeys, Dance for the rich people! Entertain them!!


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  • Really? says:

    It wasn’t just K street, 6:30&G had a placed plug ‘n play with “interactivity” that involved a information type booth that was manned sporadically and was full of Asian tourists with early access wristbands. Really?

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  • Zipper says:

    How Turnkey Camp (TC) members get tickets is a big deal to posters here. It is improabable that members of all 25 disparite Turnkey camps got their tickets the same way.

    Did all of the $600 Holiday Sale tickets sell out during the holidays? Or were there some left over to sell later?

    What percentage of TC members got them like the rest of us?

    Answering the questions regarding tickets for TC would help address the issue of access fairness.

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  • Zipper says:

    Let’s also talk about what happens if BMORG does NOT interact with the TC producers and they are on their own.

    I beleive this is important because I do not beleive they are going to just go away.

    For the Ultra high end Turnkey Camp (TC) , they can simply designate employess or subordinates to wait in the tcket queue to get the number of tickets they need.

    Lower priced producers could do the same thing with any recruited Joe Schmo, giving that person a dedicated limited dollar value debit card to purchase the tickets. If the Schmo gets lucky and gets a ticket he gets paid a bonus. Otherwise the producer has his recruits just buy them at the markup price during the Holiday Sale.

    Or the Producer says to the TC prospective, “You get your own ticket and that gets deducted from the price.”

    Ok, Tickets handled. Now for setting up camp.

    Producers and assistants(with their own tickets) get in the gates and go to an outlying area and just start putting up boundaries in non reserved areas wherever they choose and wait for the customers to arrive. No limitations or control on the boundary size.

    Bear in mind that not all of the TC are going to have the RV’s all delevered and waiting. Many will have their customers pick up the vehicles outside and drive them in. Not the Ultra’s of course, but they are the minority anyway.

    With a situation like this BMORG either has to ignore it or dedicate additional personell to police or prevent it. Police state.

    What if you are the lead guy for a group that did not get Theme Camp placement and you are just trying to make a space for you and your friends coming later? How do you look any different than a producer holding space for customers?

    The point I am trying to make is that if BMORG does not engage with producers in advance, they will end up with an unknowable rogue situation at the time of the event with even less producer accountability than what they have devised so far.

    Pushing the TC’s underground will not advance the goal of participation.

    There is an old idiom “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”.

    To BMORG, I say keep the dialoge going with the producers. Up the info to the rest of us Burners as to how this population subset is educated to take on our values and to participate.

    On this issue, more transparency is necessary.

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  • Sam Gallow says:


    we wont fall for this “oh but we have to, if we don’t, we’re doomed” bullshit.

    ….no, we dont have to allow for-profit camps.

    they banned all sorts of shit already.

    they have a fuckin gate and it is locked down.

    MAYBE a mom and pop operation can go under the radar.


    not the big guys.

    not the TANANBAUMS.

    ..dont try and pretend this is OK, or can ever be justified.


    nut uh.

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  • Peace says:

    @zipper – either the producers meet the requirements for theme camps or they don’t get placed. If they think they can pull off a good $15,000 experience without placement and early entry, fine, give it a try. At least we won’t be throwing the principles in the shitter.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    a hard rain is gonna fall…

    playa justice is a bitch, Karma even Bitchier.

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  • Lola Houk says:

    Why are so many of you filled with HATE. Money is used to create Burning man! How spooky! How horrible. I know that it is so unjustified that rich people pay for many Od our good times at burning man. How terrible. Get over it. It’s their good time too! However they get there, create camps and events free to the public, that is not my problem. I am simply glad I only purchase a ticket.

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  • leo says:

    We are not filled with hate, we are frustrated by the lack of transparency and the abundance of spin offered by the BMORG.

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  • Peace says:

    @ Lola – if you think it is just a soulless party in the desert, you are probably right. If you think it is an important social movement based on desperately needed principles, you are dead wrong. Those of us who think the latter would prefer if you just went to Coachella.

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  • King Lawrence says:

    Rules (aka principles) are only set up by those who intend on NOT following the rules themselves.

    Rules (aka principles) are for the the lower classes, the schmucks, the peasants.

    Rules (aka principles) are created for the minions who need to be controlled.

    Rules (aka principles) are only for those who do not have the money to laugh at the rules.

    The BMorg, Larry and the high Dollar plug and play producers are laughing at common burners, they could not care less.

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  • onemandown says:

    This seems to fly in the face of Decommodification & Participation. Chalk me up as one more long time burner opposed to the preferential treatment turn key camps are getting.

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  • MeinKampfyKouch says:

    That’s it. I’m setting up a playa info booth and taxi services in this plug and play neighbourhood. All directions and rides heading to deep playa re-education camps.

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  • Disillusioned says:

    The posts on here are about the only thing that make me hopeful for the future of this event. Otherwise, I am feeling pessimistic.

    I have been a longtime burner and very dedicated volunteer, and sadly the more hours I spend volunteering for the borg the more cynical I have gotten about the event and the leaders.

    The people in leadership once had a great idea – many great ideas – animated by such good will. But they are human, and it appears they or someone advising them started to realize that they could profit from the ideas they generated. And a little profit was not enough. They also made *important* friends, and hired lawyers to help them minimize their liabilities and expand their opportunities for enrichment.

    And, like all cautionary tales, it changed them – and thus the good will that had animated their ideas vaporized, replaced by empty platitudes and requests to trust them because they care (or once did) and they have our/the event’s best interests in mind.

    I hope they understand that they have done major damage to the community psyche. I also hope that they can recall their better angels so that they can un-do this mess and restore the event to the amazingly special participatory experience it once was. It will be to their great credit if they do so.

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  • Sanders The Roar says:

    The most hilarious part is how the BMorg still assumes people will continue to happily volunteer (NO PAY) to run this for profit event.

    But Larry and the rest of the greedy slime balls have no idea that ship has sailed.

    Sure some virgins, schmucks, noobs, idiots, morons will probably still brain dead walk in and say they will work for free, but who would want anyone that stupid doing anything for them? Oh thats right Larry and the BMorg are being proven they are that stupid. They have no idea, they are so fuking clueless that it is hilareous.

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  • Tino says:


    Eventually most of the art, big camps and cars will be produced by companies. Many of the big art cars out there this year were owned by events companies quietly promoting their services.

    When the burners finally stop doing it for free, then the money will move in. It’s already happening. And no one will complain anymore because almost everyone out there will be part of some kind of company promotion. The camps and art and cars will be bigger than ever, however soulless. More articulated buses with the tops chopped off calling themselves art cars.

    The tourists won’t care. They will be everyone else who is not employed to be out there. Anyone out there taking selfies, anyone with a camera around their necks who is a non-professional is a tourist, IMO. They don’t give a fuck as long as they’re entertained by flashing lights and the fireworks show at the end of the week.

    That’s the future. And there’s a lot of money to be made.

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  • MASS PROTEST says:

    Wow! Alot of unhappy folks. Answergirl you gave no answer, dont get caught up in the whirlpool of deceit. Stand up for yourself and dont become bullshitgirl!
    “burning man” needs to morp into a new event….sounds like there are alot of people out there that could make this happen. If you dont think this is viable solution then PROTEST at the event, block the access to center camp, block the access to the commissary, parade slowly! Law enforcement will not interfere and the rangers will support you, The protests has many friends in the rangers, there is alot of them that are tired of volunteering for corporate profits of any kind!!! MAKE YOUR DISSATISFACTION KNOWN, MASS PROTEST!!! BMORG does not get it and never will, take back our city now WE have made it what it is today, not BMorg or any individual or any of the “founders” WE have with all our collective energy.

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  • Leo says:

    There are many good questions being asked. So where are the answers?

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  • Swagmeister says:

    So basically, you’re saying that you gave theme camp placement and directed tickets to a select group who made it clear they were going to flaunt the 10 principles and absolutely not operate under the same rules as other theme camps?

    Got it.

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  • DB says:

    That guy made money showing something I made to someone. That guy sucks and fuck that guy.

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  • SO says:

    They are making money off of our gifts.
    They are not following the 10 principals.
    and they are getting special placement, so that you can try to change their mind? I dont understand how giving them the chance to collaborate, giving them your approval, and giving them placement would help to change their mind?
    And are they also getting group ticket sales?

    Obviously the Burning Man community has spoken and this needs to stop.

    Here’s what I’m hoping to hear from you: “Our bad. Sorry for the bullshit. We’ll change this. Thanks for your input.”

    It’s okay to admit you were wrong.

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  • Patent Pending says:

    I kind of “get” the idealism behind allowing these TurnKey camps to exist. After my first year, I wanted to spread the ethos to the default world – more than at any time since. But they aren’t learning anything the way they’re doing it. They won’t have the life-changing experience that they can take back with them to make the world better, even though they may be the ones with the means to do something about it.

    Level the playing field. Somehow. Running a theme camp is very hard work. It shouldn’t be easy.

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  • CapnJoe says:

    I can see it now! Simpsons Turnkey Kamp. Experience Burning Man just like Bart and the bunch. You don’t have to contribute anything except lots of money to the powers that be!

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  • Adam says:

    As a person who defends Burning Man against the overly jaded and the cliche insults people adopt en masse, I have to say that this post has hints of BS and it’s aromatic enough for me to comment.

    You hope to inspire turnkey camps to become theme camps?

    Inspire them by allowing only theme camps. Make a rule. You’ve more than enough applicants.

    Obviously, that’s the fix. But, since you’ve not taken that stance, there’s obviously a reason why. That reason is hidden. That reason was not shared with us here. And there’s a reason for that. And it’s probably something with which we would not agree and that’s why the reason is left out of this post. And THAT’S why is smells of poop and lies.

    Bmorg, simply put, your reasons for allowing Turnkey camps are probably more self-serving than you’d like to let on. But. I’m sure we’d appreciate an uncomfortable truth over sugar-coated bullshit.

    Good luck. Do better PR.

    It’s not terrible, but it’s not terribly honest. And we can smell it.

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  • SarahS. says:

    Let’s all stop using the word “Turnkey” camp. The issue at hand is people SELLING (commodifying) a burning man experience, FOR PROFIT.

    Turnkey is extremely misleading. Some of the best camps are turnkey, and provide services for their camp. How would all the art get built if camps didn’t have services? How would the art get funded if not for the generous donations of some extremely wealthy folks who can only come to BRC for a few days? Rich people there for the right reasons are NOT the problem.

    The problem are the ASSHOLES actually SELLING the Burning Man experience, and those buying into that experience, who have zero reason to follow the principles that have been laid out because their “vacation” is bought and paid for.

    Our camp has a work requirement… a pretty hefty one. There’s work to be done pre-playa, on-playa, and post playa. Some can’t do much work beforehand, so they are required to work more shifts on-playa. Others can’t stay after to help cleanup, so they are assigned other duties before and during the burn. Some really can’t stay for long on-playa, so they end up doing a lot of the pre-planning work, or running our fundraisers. These requirements apply to our camp whether you are rich or poor or somewhere in between. We make the work requirements such that you wouldn’t want to be in our camp to have a vacation. ;)

    I think in order to get placement, a camp needs to contribute. Whether that contribution is art, an art car, music, or something else creative, there has to be some requirement. Secondly, I think anyone caught setting up a camp that makes a profit off the event should be denied placement, fined, banned, or even prosecuted (depending on the severity of the incident). Our camp rolls any leftover funds from prior years into the following year, making things cheaper for next year’s campers. There is never an intent to profit, nor should there EVER be for ANY Burning Man camp.

    This should be spelled out very clearly on the tickets, and in all the literature. It shouldn’t be hard to find these camps online for policing purposes, but if they can’t get the tickets in the first place, that will help quite a bit. Keep them out of the directed sales! No interactivity? No advance ticket sales!

    Sarah S. – LA area burner

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  • Dragon says:

    TC camps serve the emotional needs of some of the founders as they have always wanted recognition by people with money. They know who they are and their excuses flow to justify taking big money, handing out bundles of tickets and pandering to wealthy people.
    Personally , my BM contribution has averaged $7000 yr. over a 16 year period. Never gained a dime personally but suppliers did. The early years allowed for a “semi-automous” event where we were free to express ourselves no matter what the squares thought. Haven’t heard much about that lately?
    I was a very active volunteer for 12 years until the org decided that outspoken volunteers had to go away. Within 2 years all of us that were part of the non commercial Burningman were gone, replaced by eager newbies. All hail the new Burningman, INC. May the Tannebaum’s of this new Org rot in hell for the ruination of a event that changed my life and thousands of others.

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