Cultural Course Correcting: Black Rock City 2019

Hi! Marian Goodell, here. We’re gearing up for Black Rock City 2019, and are about to begin this year’s ticket sales. More important than ticket sales is the work we all do and should do to be good representatives of Burning Man culture on and off the playa.

As CEO of the nonprofit Burning Man Project, I do a lot of listening. People enthusiastically share their Burning Man experiences, ideas, and concerns with me. Lately, participants have been talking about some alarming changes in the culture of Burning Man in Black Rock City, and their speculation as to who and what is causing them.

This past November I attended an academic symposium in Switzerland on the spread of Burning Man culture. A presenter from Finland shared several dozen observations and quotes from his participant interviews. The following really struck me:

“I am disappointed with the attitudes of the mutant vehicle and art car folks. Their gatekeepers are very discriminatory on who they let ride. I was actually told, ‘No, it’s too late for old people to be out, anyway,’ ‘you’re not pretty enough,’ and ‘we’re only picking up hot girls right now.’ I asked other camp members and heard similar stories. One gay couple said they had tried for 3 years to get on a vehicle and they were denied every time.” -Retired Artist, Male, 70 [1]

That just broke my heart. How did we get here? Who thinks saying this is okay on or off the playa? This isn’t Burning Man.

After Black Rock City 2018, our Communications Team compiled examples of commodification and exploitation of Black Rock City and Burning Man culture. The report is 55 pages long. We’ve been observing some troubling trends for a few years, but this report stunned me.  

Surely you’ve seen examples. Whether it’s commercial photo shoots, product placements, or Instagram posts thanking “friends” for a useful item, attendees including fashion models and social media “influencers” are wearing and tagging brands in their playa photos. This means they are using Black Rock City to increase their popularity; to appeal to customers and sell more “stuff.”

Is this okay? How could it be? Isn’t this commodification? Even if the intention is to express gratitude, isn’t this an exploitation of the Black Rock City community? What about our principle of Decommodification? It’s fair to say this behavior has been around for a while. Posts of gratitude cross referenced with hashtags started off slow and innocently enough, but are now wildly out of control. Failing to make clear what behavior is unacceptable has compounded the problem. I recently heard rumors of more than one product or business launch happening on playa in 2018. Seriously, people. This really isn’t Burning Man.

One of the most distressing trends is the increase of participants (both new and experienced) who don’t seem invested in co-creating Black Rock City, and are attending as consumers. Mass consumption in our default world, ticket scarcity and some elaborate luxury camps have contributed to the rise of a playa “convenience culture.” In some cases, camps or companies are offering “all inclusive” pre-packaged Burning Man experiences, claiming they will preemptively meet all of their client’s needs. Burning Man is anything but convenient, and therein lies its transformative potential!

Black Rock City requires significant investments of time, energy, and resourcefulness. Part of what makes Burning Man unique and powerful is that everyone has to work hard to be there. Planning, securing a ticket, packing, building, organizing, contributing, and engaging are part of the journey everyone should experience. Though it manifests differently for each one of us, personal effort is integral to the social agreement we make with our fellow community members when we decide to participate in Burning Man.

Whether it is in Black Rock City or elsewhere around the world, Burning Man is not built for you, it is built by you. Burning Man is not a festival. The invitation to participate is more than an invitation to have an amazing experience. It’s about CREATING that experience for yourself and those around you.

Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of people who are doing it RIGHT. There are tens of thousands of generous, thoughtful, creative individuals who put in significant time and effort to create an extraordinarily engaging experience that is beyond anything on this planet. But some people just aren’t getting what Burning Man culture is all about, and we are all responsible for changing that.

GOOD CITIZENSHIP

In an effort to address some of these negative cultural trends, Burning Man Project launched Project Citizenship in 2017. This effort emphasizes the importance of civic responsibility and participation. Areas of focus over the past few event cycles have included “contributing to Black Rock City,” “Leaving No Trace,” “being kind to yourself and others,” and “being prepared.”

As part of this initiative, we have sent emails to tens of thousands of ticket holders, produced and distributed videos, aired public service announcements, added cultural quizzes to ticket registration, included reminders in the ticket purchase process, published a series of blog posts, executed social media campaigns, and created acculturation resources for theme camp leaders and participants (for a full update please see this recent post).

FROM COMMUNICATIONS TO OPERATIONS

While Project Citizenship is an important piece of the puzzle, we know communications alone won’t put Black Rock City culture back on course; especially since the people who read and watch are often the people who are already invested and engaged (we are often ‘preaching to the choir,’ so to speak).

Burning Man Project controls the levers that provide people and their resources access to Black Rock City, and we are actively examining the impact of our own policies and procedures on the city’s cultural direction. Over the next two years, the organization is going to implement some operational and logistical improvements to reinvest in our culture. We must ensure Black Rock City’s future as a vibrant hub of connectivity, creativity, and generosity.

Burning Man founder Larry Harvey was passionately committed to steering the culture. Before he passed Larry joined the first phase of an initiative to set a cultural direction in Black Rock City for the future. After Black Rock City 2018, we received 4,804 survey responses from 78 countries related to this effort. Respondents provided thoughts on the placement process, the configuration of the city’s neighborhoods, and the value of interactivity in Black Rock City. Many expressed concerns (which we share) about the dilution of the 10 Principles such as Radical Self-reliance, Decommodification, and Participation on the playa, and offered perspectives on the role that money plays in camps.

The data collected represents diverse voices and sometimes divergent opinions. For example, one person wrote, “Why shouldn’t someone whose heart belongs on the playa also earn a living working within the community,” while another said, “If you’re paid, then you’re not giving a gift anymore.” There will be a more detailed update on the cultural direction setting project soon. If you’re interested participating, please join the conversation on ePlaya, Burning Man’s decommodified forum for year-round discussion (or this group on another site you may have heard of). We expect this initiative will yield more ideas to manage the positive growth of the culture.

2019 BLACK ROCK CITY TICKETING

Part of my role is also to weigh financial risks and to guide operational decisions such as how and when we sell tickets. I know many of you have been anxiously awaiting ticketing details for 2019. We took some additional time this year to reflect on whether ticket decisions we’ve made have contributed to the cultural challenges we’re facing in Black Rock City and, if so, how we might make better decisions going forward.

Photo by David Nelson-Gal

We will announce complete 2019 ticketing information on tickets.burningman.org in a matter of days, and there will be some substantive changes to the structure of sales. We made these changes with two objectives in mind:

  1. Support economic diversity and authentic engagement in Black Rock City.
  2. Target and reduce factors that have inadvertently fostered a “convenience culture.”

Changes for 2019 tickets will include:

  • Moving the ‘Pre-Sale’ to after the Directed Group Sale. We are prioritizing the Directed Group Sale since it supports key contributors to Black Rock City (theme and mutant vehicle camps, art collectives, and core teams).
  • Growing the Directed Group Sale. There will be 10% more tickets allocated to the Directed Group Sales. Meaningful participation is the most valuable currency in Black Rock City.
  • Expanding Low Income allocation. In our ongoing effort to enable participants with limited budgets, we’re growing the application-based Low Income Ticket Program by 18%.
  • Adjusting high-priced ticket sales. There will be one high-priced ticket level and we’re reducing the overall number available by 30%. Higher-priced tickets will now be limited to 2 per person instead of 4 per high-priced tier, and buyers in what was formerly the “Pre-Sale” will no longer be able to participate in subsequent public sales.
  • Eliminating the ‘Limited Sale.’ For the past two years one could purchase $1,200 tickets via Burner Profiles into July. This will no longer be the case.

These changes are intended to ensure that those willing to make the trek to Black Rock City are ready to contribute, and will help deter concierge-type camps from purchasing blocks of tickets on behalf of their would-be clients.

You can help, too.

  1. Do not buy package deals to attend Burning Man. Period. You know it’s a “package deal” if it includes a ticket and accommodations. If it doesn’t feel right, it isn’t. Don’t do it. There are NO approved vendors for this type of offering.
  2. If you are aware of such package deals being offered or sold, please report them to doingitwrong@burningman.org.
  3. Do not buy tickets from unknown and non-trusted sources. And, never pay more than face value plus fees.
  4. Do not let your friends and campmates do these things, either! Do your part.

The organization will continue to offer STEP, our robust ticket exchange, buy-back, and resale program. Those engaged in projects will find it easier to acquire tickets within the community and those aiming to just attend as consumers and spectators will find it more difficult to do if the community continues to self-police. In addition to making some revisions to the way we sell tickets, we’re addressing issues with a few specific theme camps and making some changes to the Outside Services (OSS) program.

THEME CAMPS

In 2015 we published this piece explaining what we were doing about “turnkey” camps. Since then, we have worked to identify camps that were not effectively acculturating their camp members, not delivering on their commitment to interactivity, were overly focused on the convenience or comfort of their campers, were exclusive or uninviting to participants not camping with them, and/or were in some way commodifying the Burning Man experience. The Placement Team provided those camps with specific feedback and education tools, and requested they correct these problems in order to receive camp placement in the future. The majority of camps that were previously struggling stepped up to the plate and shifted the culture of their camps in positive ways.

Photo by Maciej Gryko

However, some camps continue to fall short. After negative reports from participants and nearly every Black Rock City operations team, we told Camp Humano that they are not invited back in 2019 as a placed camp. Humano was a strain on resources, had a poor ‘leave no trace’ record for three years, had a very poor 2018 environmental compliance record including multiple BLM citations, and was the subject of many complaints from neighboring camps. These issues were escalated to Burning Man Project leadership and the BLM. This camp has been given clear next steps to get in good standing, but must make and demonstrate major changes in order to receive future placement.

There are a dozen other camps who’ve been sent warnings and are being given a chance to course correct. We have also made changes to the placement process for Mutant Vehicle (MV) camps. MV camps that were too large relative to the number of people it takes to build and operate their vehicles now have size limits or must become fully interactive theme camps. Through these changes and others, the organization is going to continue to intensify our efforts to reward camps that are ‘doing it right’ and weed out those who are poor community members. The integrity of our culture is our highest priority. 

OUTSIDE SERVICES

We started the Outside Services (OSS) Program to help groups build large projects in a timely fashion, and to monitor service vendors and gather information about the growth of camps. Before OSS, theme camps and art projects experienced costly delays at the gate, complicated entry and exit requirements, and difficulty maintaining and servicing equipment. Burning Man personnel were being regularly pulled away from primary responsibilities in order to troubleshoot related issues.

The OSS program grew from 16 credentialed service providers in 2012 to 60 in 2017. This is a 375% increase in just five years.

While many groups use the program in a limited capacity as intended, OSS has become the production backbone for others. Over the years, we’ve seen huge jumps in the number of RV, trailer, and generator rentals through OSS, and a corresponding increase in environmental compliance violations, including fuel management and grey/black water spills on the playa. We’ve also seen companies expand their offerings to include convenience items like e-bikes, Segways, mutant vehicle rentals, and loading RVs ahead of time with food and water. This was not the intent of the OSS program, and we are now taking stringent steps to ensure the program is better aligned with the 10 Principles.

Photo by Philippe Glade

In 2018 we started making changes to the OSS program. We limited the number of service providers to the same numbers as in 2017, we didn’t allow problematic providers to return, and we allowed only returning providers to participate. We instituted further restrictions by limiting the number of rental items each returning provider could supply. This has successfully capped growth in this area.

For 2019 and beyond we will share more information more quickly about people taking advantage of the system. This includes revealing the name of service providers who have a history of not being forthright in their communications and/or failing to obtain required permits. In the future, it is our intention to help you, the citizens of Black Rock City and members of the Burning Man community, make more informed decisions about who to collaborate with (or who not to collaborate with). We are counting on you to actively help maintain our culture.

We will continue to consider what additional changes may be possible. We want to support complex projects and big ideas on the playa, but not at the expense of our culture.

WHAT COMES NEXT

Burning Man is about connecting with yourself and with others. It’s a place and a culture that encourages direct and immediate experience. You get to create your own reality, and to do and make things you wouldn’t be able to accomplish alone.

If we are to succeed in fulfilling the mission of Burning Man Project, we must preserve and protect the community ethos that sets Burning Man apart from mass-produced events. Please know that we see the same cultural issues that many of you do, and we’re taking steps to address them.

Burning Man strives to stand in technicolor contrast to the typical consumerist, status-driven, brand-saturated, optimized-for-your-convenience world. We create Black Rock City every year because we believe there is value in having an entirely different kind of experience — one grounded in what you have to contribute – to say, make, do, and share.

I’m personally committed to that vision, the staff at Burning Man headquarters and beyond is dedicated to that vision, and we are counting on you to join us.

This is Burning Man.

Photo by Lenae Luke

Source:
[1] Data from the Burning Stories research project by Dr. Jukka-Pekka Heikkilä from Aalto University, Finland.


Top photo by Scott London

About the author: Marian Goodell

Marian Goodell

Marian serves as Burning Man Project’s first Chief Executive Officer. She first attended Burning Man in 1995, met Larry and the other organizers in the fall of 1996, and in 1997 helped found the contemporary Burning Man organization. In previous roles, she was the Director of Business and Communications, briefly oversaw the Black Rock City Department of Public Works, and steered the development of the Burning Man Regional Network, which is now on six continents, with more than 300 representatives in 37 countries. Marian is currently leading the organization’s efforts to facilitate and extend the Burning Man ethos globally.

640 Comments on “Cultural Course Correcting: Black Rock City 2019

  • Monique says:

    Thank you so very much! This is so good to hear.

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    • Ziggi Ziegler says:

      Thanks for the update :)

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    • Roxann Souci says:

      Wow! This is incredible news. I applaud the efforts being made to make sure that the Burning Man experience stays true to its original purpose. Thank you for listening to those of us who were compelled to express our concerns.

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        the original purpose? that ship long sailed, it’s a work in progress, different every year. much of what was appealing about the early burns on the playa has been rendered extinct or otherwise banned. we were first out there with no law enforcement, no perimeter fence, no gate. handguns. random explosions and fires. digging a hole to defecate. obviously a lot of that didn’t scale well and rules have continued to be introduced ever since.

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      • I love this news! As a six year burner, I too have noticed increased noncompliance with the 10 principles. We can all work together- on and off Playa

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      • robotvox says:

        Ted brings up an interesting point. It’s like entropy in reverse, a chaotic/anarchic system that breaks down into order over time. And always growing in size. Apparently the official term is negentropy but it sounds like I just described life itself!

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      • Steve Mitsis says:

        This is great news!! I love that new people experience the Playa but I have seen most of the problems that have been mentioned. I’m so excited to see that these problems are being addressed. I’m grateful for the change and hopeful of what it will bring.❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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      • Julie says:

        Very much appreciate these pursuits, and BM’s awareness for what has been transpiring to the detriment of the intended community and experience. Please consider making all electric vehicles, including bicycles and seaways, required as DMV approved art vehicles, as their use has greatly impacted the playa, and caused considerable danger to participants, given the speed and recklessness often exhibited in their use.

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      • Meredith Suarez says:

        This was a very well written article/blog. I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who has felt much of the change that has happened over the years in BRC, and that steps are being taken to ensure that the culture of BM reflects the 10 principles that I what brought me to the playa over 10 year ago. Thank you for your all of your efforts.

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    • Astro says:

      Excellent commentary. Absolutely trending towards consumerism, jerrys looking to “hook up”, many expecting the experience to come and serve them. Little to no gifting but bellying up to bars wanting to partake. Discriminatory Art car practices for sure… Plug and play camps ruining the entire BM cultural dynamic

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      • Jim Williams says:

        I agree, the Jerrys… its hard to weed thru the muck and get to the baseline of good conversation. Used to hop on art cars, yup. Now its so hard to have an art car, so many rules, 5 hours in the DMV line. I really can’t blame the art car owner who used camp resources to pay for it, keep it running, and have the walkers on the outside. I miss the Good Ole Days, but its a year of metamorphic proportions, acceptance, and pushing fwd into the abyss… Im in. I don’t care that they have a inclusive camp, shit, my neighbor has a maid in the default world, and now on the playa.

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    • Oracle says:

      We work on and off the playa to create community in nyc by throwing a mini burn at our home in
      The hamptons to acculturate our new campers. Also attending regionals like Maimi. The reality is I don’t have time to go to brc a week before to set up the Infrastfucture of our camp and rely on paid people to do it for me. (I would be useless setting up a grid anyway and I am a child psychiatrist and without me my community would suffer if I left for more then one week as I am the only person in the Hamptons who treats kids. However we treat everyone in our camp as if they were family and everyone who walks in gets the same treatment. We also cook for each other with is something we have always prided ourselves on. Our camp has a washing station And I massage strangers, I love massaging people at the massage tent rubbing them down and getting them clean. Touching everyone (with consent) from all walks of life. They are so grateful and I love that. I get more then I give which is a lesso. I learned way before burning man.
      Not sure the correct balance as to use our resources in the best way possible to ensure if people have the time they give that if they have the money they give that and if they have the talent they give that. It’s a big questions but we continue to strive to create the best camp we can.

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      • As much as I regret how inconvient the playa is for you and that your skill set does not currently match those required to create BRC, I think you miss the whole point of Burning Man. This is building a utopian society for a brief period in an impossible place and leaving behind our consumer culture. Please engage in some self examination on the criticism that you appear to wish to transplant your socioeconomic status from the Hamptons to the Playa. How can one grow if you cannot step beyond your comfort zone? How can you really understand and appreciate what goes into BRC if you are not willing to pick up a wrench, hammer, duct tape or tape measure and engage in some sweat equity? BRC is a safe space to try, and a safer space to fail. IMHO it should not be an extension of privilege in the normal world. Doctor, perhaps heal thyself?

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      • Ole Kristian Ouff says:

        It’s nice to hear that you try to make your camp as good if an experience as possible, but what you do is still immoral and destructive to the principles of Burning Man.

        It doesn’t matter that you are a good person, it doesn’t matter that you are important. You are still breaking the culture. If you can’t spend one week building a camp, and nobody else wants to build the camp, then the camp shouldn’t exist. It’s not okay to pay people to build it for you. It’s not a for-profit event for anyone.

        I agree with the poster above me. You really should examine the long-term consequences of your actions and what it does to this community. Burning Man is an oasis for escaping consumerism and cocreating. Whatecer is at BM is what people decide to bring, not what they pay someone to bring. For some people this is the only oppertunity they have foe escaping consumerism. Don’t take this away from us, please.

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      • Jared "Dusk" Paul says:

        I understand what you mean about not being trained in construction and related fields.

        I also understand what you mean by having limited time.

        The solution, however, is not to resolve these challenges by throwing money at them.

        My camp is made up of people with a wide range of means and trades. We have a designated foreman who creates a plan to erect our camp using everyone’s help regardless of skill level. It’s an incredibly empowering experience for people who are construction-challenged (like me) to build stuff!

        If we know we will have fewer campers in a given year, we edit our ambitions. Sure, this takes patience. Sure, we’re lucky to have a couple campers who know how to do this. If you don’t have a camper to serve as your foreman, either elect someone to learn how to do it or better yet: recruit someone!

        The members of our camp who can arrive early for build, they do. Others commit to pulling more weight during teardown and/or taking on additional shifts and camp chores during the Burn.

        Members of our camp who have limited capacity to plan throughout the year MAKE THE TIME. It’s all about simple time management. This could mean executing a project by starting early (like, now) and investing 1-3 hours of work into the project each week; this is how I tackle leading the kitchen and meal plan for my camp of ~100 people. Slow, incremental steps add up.

        I PROMISE YOU that the experience of finding solutions that are creative and hands on is infinitely more rewarding than just chucking money at challenges.

        To walk through our camp and know that WE built everything and WE manage all our kickass amenities and WE will tear everything down, pack it orderly for next year, and leave literally NO TRACE of our time in BRC is so amazing that it’s almost indescribable.

        Don’t let money rob you of this.

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      • “It’s not okay to pay people to build it for you. It’s not a for-profit event for anyone.”

        I can’t not speak for you or tell you what you “should” do. I can say that what you wrote is clearly in conflict with the 10 Principles. While you may be comfortable commodifying your experience (paying people), please be aware that alternatives exist.

        Your post shows a lot of self-awareness and a true desire to help. Rather than doing what you do in the default world (helping others), maybe Burning Man can be a time for you to help yourself.

        You say you don’t know how to build a grid or a camp. Come visit with us, we will show you how. Everyone in our camp has learned lots of skills around setting up and running a camp specifically because they see Burning Man as a safe space to explore.

        The journey within can be scary and fraught with danger. But the joys of learning what moves you can be the most rewarding times of our lives. I encourage you to spend time on yourself. Trust that you can do more than you believe. Those who love you will spend time assisting you as needed. Just as you touch others, let others (of all walks of life) touch you.

        Here’s to loving you.

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      • Kawefwa says:

        Lol, you lost me at the hamptons…and then I read a bit more whining and stopped reading…

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      • Patty A says:

        Perhaps it would be better to create your experience somewhere other than Burningman? It sounds like you have a good thought to give back to a community, but Burningman may not be the place that best fits that need as it requires full participation and radical SELF reliance.

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      • Carmelo J says:

        ^this Oracle guy doesn’t seem like he belongs at Burning Man. although he can easily fit well at the bigger mainstream music fests and even get a vendors spot setup for him to do massages, yay!

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      • Magnum says:

        I find it amusing that most of the respondents are implying that Oracle is somehow “doing it wrong”. Remember Radical Inclusion? It applies to everyone, regardless of your personal opinion of their situation.

        What concern is it of yours that Oracle has to pay another for assistance in getting to the burn? Why does their burn this impact your burn? And of more importantance, why do you care? The bottom line is that it shouldn’t. And if it does, Maybe you are the one not doing it right.

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      • redbehr says:

        For those that have replied… where does it say what your gift is or how you participate must be?

        Are those that have physical limitations that can’t swing a hammer not worthy of being on playa? Or what about the surgeon, nurse, firefighter, psychiatrist that volunteer to keep the community safe? Are they not worthy because they’re not wiring up camp lights or building the kitchen for a theme camp? Rangers, Lamplighters, PG&E… more volunteers. They build some stuff… but they DO more than they build. Worthy?

        My first burn was in 2000. I understood that it was important to participate. I’m not “artsy”, not a big party party person, wasn’t great building stuff, BUT I was an EMT. I jumped in with both feet and volunteered with Rangers. That was my gift, it’s how I participated -helping people. I was part of the community. My community. I’ve been volunteering every year since. Have I built much of anything? Not really.

        Am I not worthy.

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      • bozofish says:

        Brilliant satire.
        It is satire, right?

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      • CaptainJack says:

        Geez….How many times did you mention the “Hamptons”?

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      • suzQ! says:

        can I come to your mini nyc centric burn in the hamptons?

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      • Will says:

        I love the idea of a The Hamptons regional! Thank you we’ll be right over. What’s the theme for the party? I’ll have to buy a new dress

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      • Charlie says:

        This person is telling you that they create a burn that uses the principal s .. You missed the whole point of their post and critisized them for being loyal to their child patients. Burning man has plently of people to build. This person is still using the principals to learn about what it is to BE a burner. You dont have to go to black rock city to be a burner. It is not abiut the location. It is about the principals.

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      • GI Joe says:

        I applaud your openness and introspection. Like me, you must be trying to be the best burner you can be. I see so many things you are doing right. I do not agree with any of the judgements people are passing on you but I value the thought many have put into your post. Like you said about your post, “it’s a big question but we continue to strive to be the best camp we can be”. I think many of us have big questions about how to be the best we can.

        I would only like to offer the observation that if you have a week to go to regional burns perhaps you can find a week to pay fewer people to create your camp. I don’t care if you swing a hammer if that’s not your thing. I believe you can lower yourself to same level as many burners by limiting what you have on the playa to what your and your campmates’ labor can create. At the end of the day if we each limit ourselves to our labor for just that week, we are all starting with and have exactly the same currency – unlike in the default world – and this is a powerful frame to be in. We cannot experience this every day.

        If you want a giant sound system or massage tent or some interesting food (to share with everyone) then recruit a dozen engineers or cooks or masseuses to play a role alongside you – some of whom can swing a hammer or build a grid. You will have created 12 more burners who can experience what you’ve learned.

        You may feel this is just “not possible” either with your time or your role in your community. I don’t know much about your profession but I believe we each set our own boundaries. And I also feel that I have learned many times through my experience that what is possible and impossible is a matter of framing. My first burn I did not have a “full week” to give to Burning Man. I now see that as ridiculous, but I did not then.

        I liked what someone above said about “physician healing thyself”. I think the benefits of outsourcing as little as possible would pass to you. Of course there are limits. A pilot must fly you to Nevada. Someone must make the clothes you wear on the playa and the food you transport there. There’s no getting around those things. It’s where you choose to draw the line about what you are creating on playa that I believe can be meaningful to you.

        I hope that is useful food for thought. Please keep burning and keep improving.

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      • Heidi Oleson aka hiho says:

        Ever try to burn by yourself or with your mate and forget all about the giant camp? it is the ultimate in radical self reliance and gifting. and a very freeing experience. for the first time in 20 years my husband and myself were camping without the “group” . it was amazing and one of the most enjoyable experiences at burning man. I was free of all the drama and was able to volunteer to help everyone who crossed my path. I served bloody marys at another camp, fed random burners, decorated bicycles, provided shade and showers, directions, hats, sunscreen, minor first aid, counseling for newbies and distressed burners and just had a great time. free yourself. this will be my 24th burn and it changes all the time. accept the change, learn, grow and be happy Larry and the gang decided to persevere and continue with the grand experience.

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      • Zeke says:

        So clearly doesn’t get it. I’m guessing “scanned the article” because there wasn’t time to read it. This is what’s wrong with the event…

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      • Jesus says:

        I just wanted to say thank you for your brave post on the eplaya. I was disappointed by the harsh condemnation posts of the first folks to reply. And there were some really lovely posts and I hope you weren’t so turned off that you missed them, or so triggered by then that they didn’t register. Jared “Dusk” Paul ‘s. The next post, by Bear was 1/2 n 1/2. And so on.

        It’s clear to me that you’re a participant even though you are paying someone for set up. And that turnkey camping’s reputation is based in many cases on accurate perceptions – AND in lots of cases is based more on prejudice. I’m SO glad that there are numerous really high quality posts in this thread (n sub thread) from folks who can step into others’ shoes.
        And FYI, someone mis-gendered Oracle, who I figured out is a ‘she’.

        Hug.

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      • Robertplattbell says:

        New drinking game: drink a shot every time she says “Hamptons “

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      • Pierrot Activatus says:

        So far I’ve only attended regional burns, where the turnkey / plug&play phenomenon has not reared its head so far… Now with that, I’d like to add the idea that the very existence of servants on the Playa does in fact impact everyone’s burn.

        Servants are not burners. They aren’t there to live the 10 principles, or participate in the gathering. They are there to earn a living for their families by serving their masters, and potentially having a horrible time. It’s like the girlfriends-for-hire that Humano and other trust fund assholes were said to drag out into the desert, being overall miserable, as one would expect someone to be if they were dragged out into the desert to be a sex toy for a middle-aged banker or tech exec.

        It adds people who are not only unaligned with the burn, but in fact compose an entire underclass or proletarian class, from which perspective, all burners, even those who came to build and perform in their own camps, are, in fact, oppressive masters. They are The Man they were dragged out on chains of financial responsibility to serve and attend to, against their preferences.

        Would you rather be gifted music, a place to party, and a shot of drink by people like you, who built it for the kicks of it, for participation, for seeing the smile on your face, or would you rather be gifted the unwilling servitude of a bunch of dejected slaves who’d rather be indoors somewhere with TV and their families, paid off as a ‘gift’ to you by rich assholes who can’t be bothered to lift their own hands to build, DJ or serve you drink themselves?

        I don’t know about you, but I sure know MY preference.

        Report comment

      • Tony says:

        WOW -WOW N WOW . Just reading your posting and the reasoning you state, OMG

        Report comment

      • eyeroller says:

        excellent trolling…

        Report comment

      • TheMule says:

        My first time commenting on ePata, as I true to figure out the process of participating I never my first Burning Man.

        I am turned off by the first responses to Oracle. I, for one, don’t plan to participate in order to have people I’ve never met tell me i “should examine my own [psyche].” I can find condescension elsewhere, with less hassle. Plenty of people in the world willing to judge me & give me wise advice for improving my character.

        Please tell me that not Burning Man. OR is it?

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    • Zack Black says:

      If you really want to do right by adjusting ticket sales, then the only proper thing to do is eliminate re-selling. What Burning Man really needs is a You-Buy-It-You-Use-It ticket system. NO MORE SCALPING. You say “don’t ever pay more than face value”, but when we can’t get a ticket because the website is jammed up, what choice do we have but to turn to scalpers?

      Report comment

      • Christian says:

        This is the answer.

        Report comment

      • alex says:

        the answer is to continue the sale of 1200 tickets as before, which disrupts scalper economy much more than it helps turn key camps. Ita a dumb move to get rid of it.

        Report comment

      • Michael bernath says:

        I 100% agree, as a former BM participant of 12 or so years, who has pretty much quit trying to get a ticket anymore, because of the terrible way tickets are sold and then resold by scalpers. I have most years gone as a solo or in a couple, rarely with a camp, so the group sales effort won’t help participants like me at all. That helps camps who contribute which is great, but there are thousands of people who participate in smaller ways, like me. I did psychedelic harm reduction, massage, scented oil treatments, and cooking for people. But I don’t have access to a BM camp, to team up with and get a ticket. So the last few years I have just been shut out. I even took my mom who is in her 70s a few times, and built an art car to help her and others get around. But the last few years it just sits in storage. This is all because I get shut out of tickets the day they go on sale, every time. I join the queue the moment tix go on sale & wait in the queue and always get dropped or don’t get a ticket before they’re sold out. Ther are ways to prevent the tix from being sold to scalpers. Best way is to link the ticket to the participant such as with a face photo and name on the ticket, like big international music festivals do. You have to prevent any resale and scalping, and you have to really prioritize having burners attend, not prioritize maximum ticket sales. But prioritizing large camps doesn’t help solo participants, only cliques.

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      • Rasalon says:

        Exactly this. Why not have the tickets tied to name at purchase, non-transferable, but can always be resold through STEP? I am a BRC volunteer at 20 hours for the week and had to cancel volunteering in 2018 as could not afford the $2000 tickets on eBay.

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      • a.ec says:

        the best answer seems to continue to be simply adding a name and address to each ticket sold and require each participant to show some form of matching ID upon gaining entrance to brc… i get that this type of solution to one set of problems would create an altogether different set of logitics and philosophical problems for all who are participants of brc, however, it seems to me that the negative impact felt would be a good amount less than what is caused by the set. of issues described above and others felt, especially in more recent years, by everyone attending the burn. from a perspective of pragmatism, this seems to be the best way to move forward, imo….

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      • Dustbunny1.0 says:

        I couldn’t agree more! Every single time I’ve tried to buy a ticket during the general sale, I’ve experienced the crushing defeat of being shut out. Yet somehow scalpers always manage to have plenty of tickets to sell.

        I live in San Diego–home of the original Comic-Con–whose tickets are equally popular with its audience. Scalped Comic-Con tickets are simply not available, because, even if you buy them to gift to friends, you must furnish their names, and everyone goes through a rigorous photo ID check-in process at the door.

        I’ve never bought a scalped Burning Man ticket–I prefer giving burningman.org my $900 or $1,200 during Presale over enriching the scalper/extortionists who make it difficult for everyone else to a get ticket. I was told the extra amount I pay goes to fund art projects and infrastructure, and I’m thrilled to do so. No, I’m not wealthy–I save up all year in order to get to the Playa.

        I support all the ideas presented in this article except scaling back and postponing the Presale. I agree with the poster who said (I’m paraphrasing) that this action plays right into the hands of scalpers.

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      • Jared "Dusk" Paul says:

        To the posters above:

        If you come accross a scalper it’s your civic duty to report it.

        If you need a ticket it’s your responsibility to network and find one. It can be challenging but it’s not impossible.

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      • Zack Black nailed it ! All ticket buyers names should be listed on their tickets. If you can’t use them, then BM credits the first buyer then resells them. NO MORE SCAPLING.

        Thanks Zack

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      • Jeff Labodda says:

        Several years ago a friend I had tickets to Burningman however a last minute family emergency made it impossible to attend. Fortunately I we were able to resell our tickets (at less than what I paid) to someone who was fortunately able to use it to their advantage. Eliminating reselling of tickets is not the best answer. Unfortunately their is a limitation to how many tickets are available and only so much room on mutant vehicles. This requires not everyone can be included. I see many comments indicating who should be banned from, or not allowed to attend because they “don’t contribute or participate enough”. Isn’t that going against the principle of inclusivity? By excluding persons that don’t meet ones ideals or are perfect Burners seems contrary to our beliefs of accepting all, even if we don’t necessarily agree with them. But I do understand the concerns about those just there for the experience.

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      • William (Burble) says:

        I am going to add my voice to the people who are sad to see the $900/$1200 sale disappear. Year after year, after year, after year I have had my hopes crushed in the main sale and my only hope is to save up and take the pain of the expensive tickets. At least that money goes to artists who build “the big stuff.” I REALLY want to see named tickets and a strictly controlled buy back system owned by BMorg. I also would love to see a system where if you miss the main sale, you get an extra draw/point in the next year’s sale, giving you a better chance the longer you are not selected. Too many long-time Burners have stories of going for 5 or 10 years in a row and then not getting drawn for the main sale since 2012, 2013, 2014 or whatever.

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      • Seeker says:

        last year I ended up buying a ticket, but at the last minute I got comped a ticket through my volunteer team on-playa. I gifted my extra ticket to a complete stranger in Gerlach – the gates were already open, the ticket was in my hand, there was no time to log into STEP. I think this is important.

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      • Jesus says:

        Uh, Michael bernath: start a camp!

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    • Uncle Dan says:

      Thank you for listening and taking action! This is soo important for our city.

      Report comment

      • Jane Ebbern says:

        I really liked the tone of Marian’s post/ article on Burning Man course correction and think that linking ticket sales to the ID and photo of that person is key to stopping scalper sales. But I caution too much emphasis on the group camps. Don’t forget about the solo or small informal groups. I went as part of a foursome in 2017 and would like a chance to go back. We were a low footprint , but long assembly monkey hut tent camp that had no noisy generator or air conditioner – exactly the type of burner participation that you want to encourage. But this new policy will hurt my ticket sale chances. Above all you should make luxury camps illegal – must be ways to ban them outright?

        And maybe we should make at least one volunteer shift compulsory? I felt so satisfied doing a perimeter MOOP volunteer shift – great to give back and a wonderful way to connect with other burners. How to get everyone doing this?

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    • Lisa says:

      This is awesome. Thank you so much for not only striving to improve and maintain the integrity of Burning Man, but for letting participants know about your efforts. Kudos to you <3

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    • Maxx says:

      This makes me believe that anything’s possible!

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    • Jill says:

      Thanks for everything you do !!
      J and J

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    • Richard Starkey says:

      THANK YOU!! Unfortunately you didnt address the fact that celebrities and wealthy people do NOTHING but show up to Burning Man, where paid workers have already did the work. Also, the have’s buy up a LARGE portion of tix and keep the working class people from getting in if they arent long time attendees with clout and group recognition. Ive tried since 2010 to get a ticket but havent yet. Regardless, I plan, pack, build and prepare each year at a very high financial cost JUST to see my little man make his way across the browser but never actually get the chance to buy a ticket. I’m 46, running out of years, and have had Burning Man on my must do forever. I hope these changes help.

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    • Savages says:

      I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg gets his hands dirty? Also that guy from the “Hamptons” should stay there.

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    • Alisa Steen says:

      These changes all sound AWESOME!! I’m excited! Keep up the good work. Thank-you!

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    • Talking Points says:

      Very open and transparent. Love process stories!

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    • Chase says:

      I am pleased to know that my observations are shared by others and that there is intent to address concerns.

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    • Inspire says:

      Beats Boutique supports this project whole heartedly! We got your back! Thank you for all of your efforts!

      1ove

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    • Stuff Tree says:

      Be the change you want to see.

      Owning an art car is hard and stressful and you can never give everyone a ride who wants one. I was kicked off an art car to make room for more cute girls in 2001… So I built my own art car.

      It’s up to you to make the playa better/

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    • Sylvetron says:

      Thank you for standing guard from the default world!

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    • Cary says:

      Thank you and I support the new direction!

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    • Thank you infinitely for this Marian!! My tribe and I completely support this and you!! Keep going!! :)
      With love and gratitude always!!
      -Gio

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    • Connie Fisher and Jim Reis says:

      Thank s so much for the changes, went to Burning Man from 2000-2007. So many changes now , we always participated in community activities, our camps were inclusive to all burners. Pancakes in the morning and always being involved. Loved the burn always was great to be on the playa. Love to participate again❤️Wonderful memories,

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    • Star Moore says:

      Thank you for finally saying something!

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    • Jeanie says:

      Right on right on. Ive not been for awhile but yes it’s work to be out there. I’m glad to see this. I heard people last year talking of buying things out there. I was really surprised. Thank you.

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    • I stopped attending BM for these very reasons. I’m happy to hear that HQ is taking corrective actions. Black Rock City is worth saving. Good luck!

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    • Bob Kat says:

      The fact that Burning Man has a “CEO” is counter cultural. The fact that there is “doing it wrong” email address is counter cultural.

      Report comment

    • Way I See It says:

      I wish you luck with this – but your event will be sadly be bought down by ‘the beautiful ones’ wanting to sell stuff via social media. Its the new world order.

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    • David Gross says:

      It is interesting hearing and reading how the event as changed and the good and not so good of it all. So glad the Org is looking for positive changes and asking participant input. I must read up on things. Gross

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    • frpbypass says:

      thank you for updateee ;)

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  • FiredUp says:

    Wow, the timing on this article is perfect. This article needs to apply to regional burns who identify themselves as Burning Man sponsored events. I was recently was in South Florida for a regional burn that needs to read this and also take action…Protect the foundation of our culture don’t exploit it!

    Report comment

    • Angel says:

      Hmm… I was there too. I didn’t really see any exclusivity or commercialization. You must have had a very different experience.

      Report comment

      • Edward says:

        I think they are referring to the video/footage taken by that cringe worthy Miami production biz. The owner of said business used LB footage to promote his business (and did a great job of only focusing on model looking women making kissy faces) he even used his logo stamped in the footage. When the online comminutiy had a horrible reaction to it- LB organizers basically said the community is wrong and “you just don’t like seeing pretty people having fun!”. Thanks for understanding the problem!

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      • Edward says:

        Also we can talk about the lack of LNT. In fact… you HAD to have noticed all the public garbage bins and overflowing dumpsters.

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    • Hazard says:

      We are already going this way (Old School) at our Regional. Great timing!

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    • BurnByNumbers says:

      Yep.

      I found that by Saturday most of the people I spoke with didn’t know the 10 principles existed. There were people working the burn perimeter video taping the crowd rather than, you know, working the burn perimeter. I met folks who refused to volunteer at all. I also met people who worked hard volunteering everyday, who made great art, who sought to include others, and more. There was still a good heart there (group of people) but they seemed way out numbered by partying tourists on the third day. I’ve been wondering how we can shift the culture back at LB and in BRC, this seems like a good start.

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      • K~Love says:

        Yeah, Love Burn is a real issue. Each year, it seems less and less authentic. I believe it was actually advertised in Miami publications this year. It also seems to have the lowest percentage of true Burners attending of any regional I’ve experienced. And with that, moop, sexual agression and theft. I hope the organizers are listening. They’ve got some real challenges.

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    • Primrose007 says:

      Love burn needs to lose their sanctioned status. Rampant theft, overflowing garbage cans, porto’s and oversold tickets. People eating food provided for volunteers on shift. Constant videotaping and cell phone usage. Destruction of property by unsupported pieces of art. Sponsored ads to promote the burn. The gifting of tickets to big burning man camps to bring their pre existing art rather then encourage any community building to inspire creating new art.

      Report comment

      • Terbo Ted says:

        rampant theft, overflowing porta potties and vandalism of art have been part of the experience on the playa for over twenty years now. everyone seems to forget these truths.

        Report comment

      • Corbeau says:

        Breaking News…
        Primrose declares that LoveBurn is doing it wrong and demands the revocation of their sanctioning!

        There is a contingent of burners who are working to help LB stay focused on the path and reflect the culture.
        People eating food intended for volunteers? Maybe they worked nonstop on shift and were given meal tickets to use after shifts and since you don’t wear the shift shirt/radio off shift….yeah that’s a real thing.

        Unsupported art destroying property? I’m guessing you refer to an errant huge orb getting loose. That was not planned, nor the fault of the owner. Apparently, an art car or cart broke a key component of the moorings and they didn’t bother to tell the camp. If someone cut your brake line & you crashed your car, would that be your fault?

        Some of the sponsored camps actually were bringing new projects and used LB to test them out. So I guess it’s BRC that’s getting the second hand art. Since when is something created last year any less original art anyway? It’s still awesome, it’s still fun and the camp still made it.
        Some of us busted our asses to help make this work and find ways to make sure that it was gunna be way better last year.
        By the way, where did YOU volunteer and what steps did you take to educate the ignorant folks who you encountered? Maybe I crossed paths with you at one of the leads meetings.
        Being a dyed in the wool uber-burner…you DID volunteer right?

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      • CherriePoppins says:

        Temporary loss of sanctioning has happened to numerous regionals while they got it together. Why would LB be any different?

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      • Mr. Glasshouse says:

        Interesting.
        Perhaps these “Burnier than thou” critics should offer solutions instead of judgemental, overstated critiques.

        Meanwhile BRC has been morphing into a sparkle pony ranch, with exclusive “do not enter” art cars and “turnkey” camps that literally have treated paid workers like slaves.

        So is the case in point that LB doesn’t have enough of THOSE things?

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      • Irwin says:

        @ Mr. Glasshouse – I think many people are frustrated by the dismissive public response of the LB organizers when legitimate concerns or suggestions are presented. And now the LB facebook page has suddenly become moderated, with all new posts requiring admin approval.

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      • Jade m says:

        Maybe I’m just *super* old school, but I think the ability to post “live” from the playa is an overwhelmingly large factor of cultural dilution you used to have to actually be there to be there. And once you were there, you were committed. You genuinely had to unplug and be present because there wasn’t a choice, after 20miles outside of Reno. It was inconvenient. It lead to various issues and crises, but it was the great leveller. No matter who you were off playa, on playa, you’re just another burner, relying on your own internal resources and what you chose to bring. And Arctica. :-)

        Is there possibly a way to roll back that tide? Because if you tell a “social influencer” they can’t post at all for a week, they’ll stay away in droves.

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      • Tigger says:

        What jade m said. 100%

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  • Alex Domingo says:

    Marian, nicely said and please stay the course!

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  • Tammara says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful and integrative approach. I really value this kind of communication and inclusiveness.

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  • Shenanigans says:

    Thanks Marian.
    Cultural custodian is a difficult job, and while we, the dusty masses, are more free to rage and point fingers, and burn a capitalist in effigy (virtually, on reddit or something) .
    I appreciate the thoughtful, measured response.

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    • who cares says:

      Oh Thats funny! Marian this shit has been happening for years, I guess its never too late to open up them there ears. Direct input has history, radical listening has none. BUT thanks for starting to!

      Report comment

  • Paul "Rocket" Berick says:

    Thanks!! Love every one of these initiatives!

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  • Fati Meow says:

    As the lead for a small, 10-year camp, I am so grateful for this *remetamorphosis*!

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  • Awesome says:

    Thank you Marian, well thought out and appreciate the in sight.

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  • SweetSpot says:

    Fabulous news!! I have struggled with the change in culture to the point where I had wondered if I would come back but this makes me excited to return home – to my community.

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  • spect a billis says:

    no offense mm but these things have been trending for a a long time, i know this and i haven’t even been back for some years. might want to think about your approach, this is a lot of time and effort to learn important lessons that were handled fairly well with previous staff. maybe its time for something like simple immersive journey’s back into ‘your’ community, that should provide the insights you desire. word of caution though, be mindful of telling people who you are, never know who you’re going to run into.

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    • Jose says:

      Got to start somewhere. Difficult things are hard to address fully and completely but getting the conversation started is what builds a better future. What do you mean by, “never know who you’re going to run into.”?

      Report comment

      • spect a billis says:

        others conflicts i’ve handled, others issues with me… compound that over the years, and i’m still trying to figure out people and our crazy community, even if they bring up something a decade ago to discuss.

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  • Huge applause to you and our community for stepping into this process and having the courage to nudge the culture in a healthier direction. I hope we make bold changes fast enough and that the community adapts in ways that further the diversity, participation and creativity of our community!

    Thanks Marian.

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  • Jeremy Roush says:

    The members of OKNOTOK (a theme camp) are gathering today for the first work day of the season, and there are few messages that could be more motivational as I prepare myself for a weekend of dusty hard work. Thank you listening and taking care.

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  • Trilo says:

    Very well said, thank you. Kind of a shame, though, that instead of directing the conversation to the online community on Burning Man’s own site, it’s directed to a site that engages in commercial data mining on an unprecedented scale.

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    • Michael says:

      -if this is true, it sounds to me like you should make a great deal more noise about it than just mentioning it in passing in a comment.. how many people are going to bother reading all the comments? ..hey.. maybe everybody will?

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    • Megan Miller says:

      Thanks for pointing this out, Trilo. We’ve added a link to the Cultural Direction Setting thread on ePlaya above, and encourage folks to join the conversation there.

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      • Good News Bear says:

        Yes!!

        Please… let’s stop using internet areas that harm our dream. You have a website (burningman.org), use it. Encourage other people to use it. This is how we create the change we desire – by creating the change we desire.

        Report comment

      • Ginger says:

        Right on MM. I saw the option for links both forums and got the gist that the “other” site not mentioned was NOT burning man.

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    • MGH83 says:

      Let’s be real here. The reason Eplaya is no longer the forum of choice for burners is because a small group of unkind, snarky regulars made it essentially impossible to ask questions on Eplaya without unleashing a tidal wave of unkindness.

      Eplaya became unbearable for enough burners that they shifted the discussion elsewhere, to a forum where snark was funny rather than malicious, and where newcomers were welcomed and encouraged to join the conversation.

      Years ago, when Eplaya was the only real forum for burner discussion I had multiple new campers consider skipping the burn altogether because they were scared it would be a judgmental and unkind environment…based on their experiences with Eplaya. I’m super grateful to have somewhere else to send newbies for discussion and information, and I’m glad that alternative was listed in this article.

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      • Costco Soul Traders says:

        That’s correct, under the horrible moderation by trilobite and others who censor all who aren’t their pals, eplaya became a shit show. Now the same 100 pathetic losers spend twenty hours per day hitching moaning and attacking the 99%.
        Anyone who has thousands of posts on an online forum is a sad shell of a person with no connections in the real offline world.

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  • The says:

    In partnership we grow this beautiful experience. From us I would like to thank you for this continued conversation about growth and management of Black Rock City. No challenge is met within a day but thoughtfully worked through. We work in concert to not exclude anyone from Burning Man and also to provide opportunity for experience. Well done Marian.

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  • Jonathan Rosen (Soup) says:

    I really like what’s being said here and how it is being communicated.
    One of the things I have thought a lot about is how to separate support that is necessary vs. support that is convenient. For example, in Nectar Village, we bring in all of our own trucks and unload them ourselves, with the exception of one large trailer (size dictated by the weight of battery cargo) that needs a semi driver to tow it. We don’t have a semi driver in camp, so OSS is necessary for that one trailer.
    But the other 7 trucks we do ourselves and are proud we do it every years. We are all almost 20 years older than when we started doing this, and we feel it. But it is what we do and part of us. Part of a valuable routine that is part of our camp culture.
    There is a lot we could do to optimize for convenience. More things delivered to us. Help unloading or setting up. But the question or bar I have tried to use in approaching those opportunities is how they will transform our experience (beyond the obvious of being easier on my aging back)?
    The more we edge towards convenience that come from outside our community, the less ownership we have. For me, that means less joy in what we accomplish. It is the start of a slippery slope of transactionalism that commodifies some of the literal foundational elements of our community.
    I don’t want to be resistant to change but I do want our large village, as it matures, to be anchored in traditions that developed as part of an ethos. For us, that has translated to do what we can ourselves and to carefully question if we really need something or if it is a convenience that may come at a cost that is far more valuable than monetary currency: our experience and that of others.

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    • Ronica says:

      Soup – great description of how camps can have meaningful dialog that helps them evolve while maintaining to true to themselves, the principles, the BM ethos. Thanks!

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    • aFeinberg says:

      Great stuff Soup. Look forward to hitting my 20th as well. Having OSS to help is super but maybe a way to help alleviate some of that work burden is to start incorporating some younger folk. Both to learn them of the culture properly but also to help with the load. Personally I’ve always enjoyed taking a virgin or two because I know they will be educated properly and help perpetuate the culture. Keep doing what you do! <3

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      • Geomom says:

        Well said. Bring the next generation into the dusty, sweaty, physical work that it takes to build, maintain, and tear down a camp. For them, it will be an awesome experience. I worked for many years in remote survey, mining, and exploration camps, and part of the charm was doing just that. Burning Man is a rare opportunity to be a little uncomfortable for a week.

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      • Jared "Dusk" Paul says:

        I love what Geomom just suggested about bringing in younger folks. I think that approach is critical to sustaining our culture.

        As we age, we ought to accept that how we participate and contribute will evolve, and that’s OK.

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    • Good News Bear says:

      Soup, I love you so!

      This is why no matter what happens, we always bring our mutant vehicles by on our way out to the playa to see if we can help Nectar in any way. You guys are, literally, the life blood of so much big art. The power you provide is legend – for good reason.

      We are building a new (smaller) vehicle this year and we can’t wait to grab your crew (and Trouble!) and smile, smile, SMILE! Save us a popsicle or two…

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    • Tigger says:

      Soup, brilliantly articulated. Thank you.

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  • Dusty says:

    Thank you Marian. All sound like good experiments. I’d also add, that if more stringent restraints are needed on the luxury experience crowd, that you also control the keys to their build-time. It’s hard for them to advertise and sell a luxury experience if their crew can’t get sufficient access to build it ;)

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    • snoozer says:

      This ^^^ Great that the org is taking action but I’m not sure if I saw much by way of limiting the crazy amount of early arrivals for camps that don’t really do shit except make their fly-in patrons comfortable

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  • Griffen says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my little 10 principles heart. I’ve waited to hear this from YOU the one voice it HAD to come from for years. With gratitude, thank you.

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  • Dale Weber says:

    I appreciate the proactive steps in trying to correct the shift that our very unique event/culture has taken. The first share about exclusive mutant vehicles resonates deep for me. As a mutant vehicle owner we have always welcomed anyone to ride with only one exception; those who wish to harm others. Fortunately, I can count on one hand the number of times that has been an issue in ten years with the Red Rooster Ranch. I applaud the changes in DGS, placement and outside services. Burning Man was never intended to be a resort experience. We must strive to keep Burning Man edgy… an experience that requires us to rely on eachother. (And thanks for sharing the Nevada Burners group photo!)

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  • Robyn says:

    It sickens me when I arrive early to help build the city and drive by the gigantic RV lot, ON PLAYA, full of machines waiting to be rented to people who contribute nothing.

    Marian, you and the board are squarely to blame for these problems when you started coddling P-n-P camps and the wealthy long ago. I don’t think you’ll ever get the camel back out of the tent, but I applaud the new policies mentioned above.

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  • Eric says:

    Love it. Thank you!

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  • Matt says:

    Yesssssss!!!!!! What we’ve been waitin for!!!

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  • Dusty Lashes says:

    Such a well thought out article to all the many “things” and challenges we all face together to preserve our ethos while we continue to grow. Thank you guys for addressing the challenges with a game plan!

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  • Fire Buffalo says:

    It’s getting bad. When I feel more of a Burning Man vibe at Fourth of Juplaya (at times) things are out of balance.

    2018 was the first time I’d been back to the Burn in years. It was sad (and a little unsettling) to see entire blocks consumed and poorly illuminated due to plug and play camps (infrastructure) taking up that space.

    I have a background in security and I immediately saw opportunity for people to be harmed (as a 6’1″ male I felt uncomfortable walking in these areas). Just years prior there would have been neighborhoods there with people. Now it’s just rows of darkness.

    My draw to Burning Man has always been the neighbor lottery. Now the neighborhoods feel like they’re fading away.

    If anyone from the .org would like to reach out to me for my observations and risk assessments I’d be happy to field any questions.

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    • Ann Capp says:

      CHARGE HEFTY PARKING PRICES FOR RVs!!!!
      I’ve been to Burning Man in 1999, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2016 and 2018 – big changes, but the worst was last time with ALL THE FUCKING RVs everywhere and NO ONE having any type of etiquette on being a good neighbor with an RV. Generators noise and stinky gas fumes ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT. Worse, people hiding in their RVs to escape the elements – VERY UNFRIENDLY. Just in 2016, people with RVs usually shared the shade structure and invited a little local community. Not so with all the selfish twats in 2018. What a difference two years have made.
      The neighborhoods are dead, dead, dead. If we go again, it’ll definitely be walk-in camping.
      Why would any camp with a poor MOOP record be invited to return after ONE bad year – THREE TIMES it took?

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      • Fire Buffalo says:

        From one AnCap to another…

        I don’t think RVs are to blame as much as the inflated ticket prices. Each year the price to lease the playa goes up and this is passed on to the participants.

        Sadly this is where entitlement and human nature comes into play. In years prior I’ve watched people collide trying to pick up MOOP. Now people don’t even give it a second look “I paid XYZ for my ticket I’m not picking that up”.

        With respect to RVs. 2018 was the first year I had an RV. I had a row of chairs tracking the shade it created and I welcomed anyone to take a rest (gifted water or other refreshments) and made great connections and had great conversations.

        In short, if we want to revitalize our community we must consider moving the burn to a location with a better lease.

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      • Maestro says:

        Ann, there are plenty of good people in RV’s. It’s the big plug-n-play rental RV people who really slide fast down the slippery slope of failure to abide many (or any) of the ten principles.

        We share an RV with a bunch of friends in our camp, and our campmates use it when they need a break from things. Like a lot of other burners, our RV is essentially a dedicated Burning Man rig. Not everything works well on it, but it serves us and our camp, and helps us support our art project by supporting the people in our camp.

        You shouldn’t regard every last RV as ‘not worthy’ just because you don’t use one yourself.

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    • Paranoia says:

      You felt unsafe because of darkness? You think dark means crime? So strictly based on availability of electric light, which EVERYONE should have at night via headlamp or hand torch, immediately people will be attacked. Darkness equals danger. When you’re in the dark desert. That’s really a huge level of unjustified paranoia.

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  • CJ says:

    The more “convenient” going to BRC becomes, the more we will find people that are there for the wrong reasons. Burning Man is supposed to require a great deal of effort as self expression and community requires those things to have meaning. We should ban all outside services that do not directly contribute to the facilitation of major projects on playa, and in special cases, those who require ADA support. That means no more pre-stocked RV delivery. No generator rentals that don’t power an art project or a camp’s interactivity purpose. No e-bike and Segway drop-off. Hell, if I had my way there wouldn’t even be RV dump services either. If we want it on playa we should bring it or build it ourselves.

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    • Robyn says:

      “Burning Man is supposed to require a great deal of effort as self expression and community requires those things to have meaning.”

      So true!!! And excellent post.

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    • Airkat says:

      I agree completely.

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    • Joey Rick says:

      “bring it or build it ourself” — that was the spirit when I initially went in 2007 and in a few subsequent years, but not lately. THAT is the fun — blistered hands, a sore back, conditions that can be a little scary because Mother Nature has a way of reminding us of our humility. Beautiful people looking at sculpture is for the Smithsonian, maybe, not the Playa. Make it harder, and it’ll get better again. Thank you.

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    • G says:


      The more “convenient” going to BRC becomes, the more we will find people that are there for the wrong reasons. ”
      HEAR, HEAR
      THIS!
      I have made the point many times. If the gentrified convenience P & P “participants” got out and busted ass with the rest of us, crapped in the common porta potties, got their hands dirty, maybe bloody, and experienced the hardship / ordeal side of the Playa, their experience would be far more profound and beneficial for them.
      Going to the Burning Man to be pampered???? B.S. !!!

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      • Olderburner says:

        Yes!! Ban RV’s, huge gennys and P-n-P camps. 18 years on playa, and no more. Why? Last few years, I hauled out 15 wet, soggy bags of trash from my newbie riche neighbors who, as they were leaving, said, “we paid XXXX for our tickets, let the org deal with our trash!!” nah, i’m tired of seeing moop everywhere, feces all over the deep playa, and fucking segways. I say make it HARDER. you might have a drop off in attendance, but people that go will WANT to be there and contribute.

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    • Yes CJ I agree – the hardships of BRC and the route into it are keys to its and our culture. BMORG can make things more difficult and at the same time interesting, unexpected and immediate. But mindless difficulty such as the pseudo-random e-melee at ticketing time serves no positive purpose. See my post here: harvie branscomb says:
      February 10, 2019 at 9:05 am

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    • Milayna says:

      Agree with this 100%

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  • Rachel Boyer says:

    Thank you so much for addressing these very disturbing trends. After attending 11 burns I have seen the gradual shift away from the intent and spirit of Burning Man. When I first came to Burning Man the idea of a turnkey camp was laughable. For me, Burning Man was and has always been an immersion in unconditional love. This is the most precious thing! I am so grateful for you and I hope that the spirit of Burning Man continues to shine far into the future!

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  • John Rettie says:

    Well said. I have been twice and am looking forward to attending many more. I was disappointed to see how many, especially it seems younger folk, were attending just to be entertained rather than to entertain and create.

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  • Chris Miller says:

    Want to reduce the largest segment of spectators at the event? Limit, regulate, or eliminate airport entry.

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    • bruce says:

      After watching some of the fly-in crowd last year, my first thought was that the airport should be limited to emergency flights and BRC management. Eliminate the fly in visitors….require everyone to drive, wait in line, eat dust. It’s good for your soul I’m told.

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    • Peter Y says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head. The airport is 100% the problem. And it’s a very easy fix.

      And stop with the RV vendors.

      No plane in/out, no turnkey housing = problem solved.

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    • Spanky D says:

      Agreed Chriss! “Why not limit, regulate or eliminate airport entry?” Those folks could be required to pay the $1200 for tickets, (not that that would make a difference to the One Percenters) or impose a two volunteer shift mandate. I’m sure their servants would end up working, but the community could benefit.

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    • John Foster says:

      Bingo!! You hit the nail on the head. Waiting in line, eating dust, yup, yup and yyup!!

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  • patrick c barbour says:

    Seems like the rave aspect of Burning Man encourages bad behavior. First year I went (back in the day), the rave camp was a separate area out on the deep playa. I’d love to see that again.

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    • Charlie Sallans says:

      You need to quit it with such an uninformed comment. You may not value that part of BRC culture but it does not mean that it is not a valuable source of connection. Have you ever been to a rave? How does dance music have an affect on the commodification of burning man or it changing the culture negativily? Do you believe, with it came turn key camps or people willing to pay thousands of dollars for a ticket? There is no line up. My first burn was in 2008, I was 25. It felt like my age group was vastly underrepresented and it was mostly older people. I paid face value for my ticket and bought second hand for $275 by someone who couldn’t go. I didn’t go last year even though I had a face value ticket for many reasons. I was disheartened by tickets selling for $700 buck on Craigslist, and knowing of people willing to pay 100.00 buck on a POS bike instead of buying one off of someone out of Gurlach NV for $25. It is people who are willing to desperately throw money at a situation instead of taking risks, getting creative, planning ahead, being willing to face being possibility of feeling uncomfortable. As the years passed, I saw more young people attacking Burning man and let me tell you, they are not the ones showing up in RVs, hiaring people to do for them what they are unwilling to do for them selves, denying people rides on art cars. Your comment is so irrelevant to what the heat of the message it the letter is. I miss the days in 20020, 2011 and 2012 when there where “ravers”, eating spam and tuna out of cans, sleeping in tents staying out at these so called raves, thrashing around, showing true heart as they connected with each other under a unifying beat till sunrise. These kids are an in dangers species at burning man and I long for the days that they were there. Blaming it on the ravers is just so silly.

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  • Angela Elsey says:

    Is it possible to eliminate concierge camps???

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  • Lara Pearson says:

    KUDOS and Thank YOU, Marian and BMOG Team for listening , hearing and honoring the community’s concerns and working together with us to address them. I am so grateful for my 15 years *and counting* in BRC and appreciate the enormity of the task you all are faced with and the grace and transparency with which you are meeting it. )'( GRATITUDE )'( LOVE )'(

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  • Anon says:

    Remove the airport. Stop those from flying in. Didn’t you say things shouldn’t be comfortable? Who do you think pays for those luxury flights and costly airfares?

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    • Noah says:

      I have read a few posts about eliminating the airport. I have a feeling they come from people who live geographically closer to the Playa. As a 10 year burner coming from the east coast, it is VERY challenging to get all the way to the Playa, and takes an additional 2 days off of work relative to those who live for example in the Bay area. 2 years ago my grandfather died 2 days into Bman, and I had to get back to Montreal to pick my kids up and then to Winnipeg for his funeral. Without the airport, I never would have made it. Being radically inclusive means making accommodations at some level to allow people from all corners to attend the Playa and bring back from it all the things we learn there.

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      • Anon says:

        I’m sorry about your loss,

        However, respectfully, your N+1 situation doesn’t justify the airport at BRC. Reno is a few hours away, with daily regular flights to the East Coast. Even if you keep it for emergency situatins, it doesn’t wash away the stain of luxury campers arriving and leaving by air.

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      • ranger biteme says:

        what about people who fly to BRC every year in their own planes and spend most of the event giving free rides to participants for a unique view of the city. as a former airport volunteer, i love the unique culture of the airport. have you been there? there is usually a lovely display at the airport. come volunteer! also, a friend who is disabled and volunteers/teaches every year must fly in because the long drive is too painful.

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    • Silvergirl says:

      An airport makes life threatening medical evacuations possible. A 2.5 hour drive to the closest trauma center can mean the difference between life and death. Perhaps you mean limiting general aviation traffic there….

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    • Dr. Fiesta says:

      Completely disagree ! lots of people who fly in contribute in creating blck rock city. In fact sometimes its the ease of being to fly in that facilitates their ability to help. Please dont place evryone who can afford the luxury to travel by plane in the box of spectators. Sure there are some but just cause you fly doeesnt me you are a spectator. Myself included. Burning man is a logistical puzzle and having the aiprort there can really help with that, contributing to building black rock city.
      it also helps decongesting thbe roads, besides it being an amazing experience on itslef. I used to drive to burning man for 9 years. Now i hav e a semi that is hauled there, but i still work my ass off , and contribubte as do all my campmates. Plus the airport lets in a veruy small number of the population, i doubt that most “spectators” enter through there. The problem aint with how you GET THERE , its with the leaders of the event and of the camps to ensure that we help acculture those who come to this beautiful city.

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      • Cowbelle says:

        “Please dont place evryone who can afford the luxury to travel by plane in the box of spectators.”

        The event is meant to be decommodified. This is a massive step away from that principle.

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      • Good News Bear says:

        People who have not had an experience often misunderstand what the experience can bring. So many people who have never been to Burning Man tell me it has drugs and naked people running around – to which I answer in the affirmative, but also so much more.

        Do some spectators come in via plane? Sure. But the airport is so much more than that. Anyone who has hung out there for even an hour would know that.

        Expand your world. Spend some time there. What’s the worst that could happen? Come find out for yourself what is happening over at the only scheduled temporary airport in the USA! What?!? It’s true.

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  • Keith Aeschliman says:

    It would be nice if there was a limit on the number of mutant vehicles. It seems to be getting out of hand. Anybody with a decorated golf cart seems to be bringing it to the city. I was completely crowded out of watching the Train burn by a huge number of mutant vehicles gathered around. If you are on foot or a bike, it is very hard to work you way through all the mutant vehicles. Also, it was scary when they all decided to leave it the same time. We went to the Man and hid out until the traffic died down.

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    • Chef Juke says:

      Keith,

      There is and pretty much always has been a limit to the number of Mutant Vehicles, The DMV has turned down up to half the MV Applicants each year due to the limit. The number of licensed Mutant Vehicles on the playa has been relatively the same for the last 10 years.

      -Chef Juke
      DMV Council

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  • I guess no one actually reads the BRC Weekly newspaper? We blew the whistle on turnkey camps in 2011, as well as the exclusivity of art car ridership in 2013 (with the cover headline “Are you hot enough to get on my art car?”) That was nearly SIX YEARS ago. This new commitment to “course correction” is great… but I fear that at this point, it might be too little, too late. I sure hope not though.

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    • Stow says:

      Never TOO late Adrian! I remember THOSE articles – snarky, funny, and on point as always. It’s on all of US to keep the heat on the board, and each other – and YOUR voice is one of the MOST important. Yup, BRC has gotten OFF course in some significant and PREDICTABLE ways as it’s grown, but we’re still the FREAKY center of the energetic universe for those magical eight days. Fuck ’em, THAT’S worth fighting for!

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    • The Hustler says:

      I couldn’t attend in 2013 and I even read that one.

      By the way, thanks for BRC Weekly. One of my favorite things is to chill in Center Camp Cafe with a chai latte reading the paper.

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    • THE ShadowCat says:

      Adrian, I adore Black Rock Weekly. I cheered when you published the not hot enough to ride my art car article. After multiple attempts to get on art cars and having my efforts be ridiculed and shamed because of my age and lack of hotness, I gave up. If BMorg’s new plans work, I might have a chance. And for what it’s worth our little camp offers silly fun, posing for photos with a group of friendly skeletons known as the Jungle Camp Family. It was put together with love and too much money on my charge card – Burner style all the way. I’m also a proud Box Office volunteer! Bring on the changes!!!

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  • Kathy Barton says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Having read the entire article, I appreciate the thoughtful attention and intention to correct the course Burning man has been traveling. Last year was our 10th consecutive burn and we’ve weathered the varying attempts to guide its growth, and I sincerely hope that these adjustments will have the desired effects. There are many of us that live with the culture in our heart and have been struggling to manage the challenging interactions with people who are either ticking off a box on their bucket list or are so completely non-self-reliant that they are like tourists on an alien world at best, and at worst are expecting every single experience to be for their benefit and convenience and damn the peons. Speaking from experience, it can be a very souring experience to have someone take advantage of the hard work you put in to provide a creative, interactive, hands on activity. I look forward with hope to experiencing the sheer exhilaration that Burning Man can be once again.

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  • Christl (Holdie) says:

    I can’t tell you how excited I am to read all the news about working to bring back the 10 Principals and Burning Man as it was intended. Everyone should feel the love.

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    • Barbara BARE McLean says:

      Exactly…. what a great post of new information and change certainly a long time coming but I am also excited about this change and i would bet Larry is proud as can be. Hope ro land a ticket come ticket time… and see old friends on the playa… Thanks Marion Goodell et al… much love to my Burner Family

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  • Bob C says:

    Named tickets and doing away with the airport would dramatically cut back on the eurotrash, jet set party crowd that are currently enabled by the ease of after market ticket sales and ability to.come and go with little effort.

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    • Rasalon says:

      Exactly this. Named tickets would eliminate scalpers.

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      • zyryo says:

        i think the people dealing with the tickets are just to lazy to print names on every ticket. $1500.+ from each attendent doesn’t seem to be enough to pay for their time. It’s a huge rip off when you go to BM and have to pay to make art and create other things to entertain the masses to be generous. Plus the way things are going with BM, you might as well go to the PNE or disneyland to be around the same kind of shitty people that are invading the plaza.

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    • JJP says:

      Hoi Bob C, what does your definition of “Eurotrash” include ? Who would you put into this basket ? Cheers, JJ

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  • Michael says:

    I think there needs to be more focus on incorporation of radical inclusiveness. Overall, I think this is a good piece. However, it is too narrowly focused on commitment to deco-modification.

    Some of the challenges facing Black Rock City are really about how we treat one another. Marian points to this too – issues of prejudice, rudeness, exclusion. There is a real opportunity here to think of how we can spread a more positive attitude in the community.

    Many people assume that these instances negative attitudes were brought there by capitalism. There is probably some truth to this – the easier it is to make to Black Rock City, the more likely that people will come who have no commitment to the 10 principles. But this is not the only obstacle facing social interaction on the playa.

    I was surprised by how unkind people can be at Burning Man. To be fair, its a big place, in a harsh environment – not everyone has the time or patience to be your friend or lend you a hand. But too often the playa can feel like a closed and cliquey environment. I’ll note that at local events – I never find these issues a problem. At local Burner events I always find everyone to be so kind, open, and friendly.

    At points, the crusade against “fake burners” actually worsens this problem. People try to figure out if your a “real burner” before lowering their guard, and welcoming you with non-judgement.

    There are many ways to burn! True – just showing up isn’t enough. You need to live by the 10 principles. But if we forget that there are many ways to burn, then the 10 principles will become 9 – as radical inclusivity drops off the map.

    Some things that I think the organization should consider:

    -Developing norms around how to encourage commitment to the 10 principles without (too much) snark

    -Identifying causes for prejudice at BRC other then commodification

    – What is the balance between self-reliance and radical inclusiveness? How can we become more helpful without sacrificing individual responsibility?

    -What is the balance between immediacy and radical-inclusiveness? How can we be more friendly and inviting, without sacrificing independence and curiosity?

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    • Noah says:

      Here here. Agree 100%. Some of the spirit of 10, even 5 years ago, has slipped as far as the closeness we all share while on the playa together. The random non-familiar familiarity that prevailed is waning. I agree a new focus on this is critical for our culture.

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      • Lander Meek says:

        Excellent point. This year will be my 8th consecutive. Over that time I have noticed a marked difference in overall kindness and inclusiveness. Last year while chatting with a gentleman he asked what camp we belonged to. When we told him we camp independently he sneered with disgust and said “oh you are THOSE people.” Gave us a dirty look and walked away.

        Well, Mr. Judgy McJudge, last year was my 7th and my wife’s 10th. We haven’t been going long as some and a fair bit longer than others. Each year we try to contribute in new and different ways. And every year we participate in as much as we possibly can.

        For us the experience is all about the culture of openness, free expression and inclusivity. Be it sharing hot cinnamon rolls with our neighbors on a cold night, dancing at distrikt, or sipping absinthe with strangers in a dust storm. We ARE the community and you ARE the community. There is no “us” or “them.”

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    • Kaiju says:

      Along with most other commenters I deeply appreciate this post, and the efforts of the Org/Project to rectify the issues we’re all seeing. But I have to agree with commenter Michael, who points out there are other cultural issues that cannot be ignored. Rudeness, disconnection, exclusion, etc are surely tied to the commodification issues, but after several burns over 15 years I’ve seen some deeper cultural issues at play that cannot be blamed entirely on the turnkey camp weekend ravers.

      To be blunt, the “burnier than you”, “fuck your feelings” attitude of so many Burners is a mood killer of the highest order. A few years ago I was appalled at the reaction of Real Burners to a very reasonable attempt at discussion regarding native headdresses as costume at the burn. ”how dare you try to police my experience” and similar bullshit. Then just this last year, I witnessed a conversation online where someone tried – with painful politeness – to talk about being misgendendered constantly at BM and her failed attempts at requesting correct pronouns on the playa, asking “how can the BM community work on this together”. The many responses that piled up were horrifying. I know the respondents weren’t representative of all burners, obviously MANY are truly engaged in making BM as inclusive and welcoming as possible. But as a queer, gender non-conforming person, it was extremely painful to read and witness, and was possibly the final straw for me in terms of my relationship with the burn. I am fully aware that BRC is not a utopia, and I do not expect that (though I try to create and find that energy when I’m there). But I DO hope that as a community, we can move past the incredibly selfish, cruel, childish impulses shown by (often old-school) burners who don’t believe they should be asked to change and adapt, ever, for the sake of other people’s feelings. And I would like to think that asking new burners to consider how they treat others is as important a discussion as asking them not to sell shit on Instagram while on the playa.

      This is a difficult comment for me, and I expect to be condescended to by Real Burners. But it cannot be ignored that a not-insignificant portion of the community thinks I should enthusiastically use their goofy playa nickname but me requesting a certain pronoun or maybe please consider not wearing costumes that are super offensive to other folks is a bridge too fucking far, snowflake.

      (I would also like to add that racial inclusion is a massive discussion the org and community needs to attune to, but it’s not my place to speak for POC on the topic.)

      Thanks for listening. I believe Burning Man can be better, if it wants to be, but it’s not just about RVs.

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      • Joey ficklin says:

        Thought provoking. It goes hand and hand, IMO, that cracks in the walls are a sign of a bad foundation, and damp and mold are the signs of a small problem, usually easy to fix, left too long. Fortunately, both are repairable. PnP is a cultural erosion for sure, but the least civicminded, least inclusive, and rudest behavior I experienced this last year was at the hands of long time burners with serious cases of BTT. Including serious cases of entitlement witnessed while working a perimeter, and very angry, frightening, and thoughtless activities well into Tues exodus morn. It is nice to see the permits have been filed, and repairs are ginning up. :) )'(

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      • Good News Bear says:

        Thank you for this!

        As a POC who has been involved with building half a dozen (inclusive!) mutant vehicles, discrimination in BRC is a real and painful thing. While this is not the forum to discuss it, I am glad you mentioned it in your comment.

        I am sorry you have had so many disturbing experiences. I took a couple of years off after one too many bad experiences but am totally stoked to return this year. If your road brings you back Home, here’s to having more fantastically positive conversations to overpower the older negative ones :)

        PS: If you do return, I hope you will look us up and stop by to say hi. We will welcome you with open arms.

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      • Barbarella says:

        I’m so sorry this happened to you! As a queer myself, I have been bummed to not see as many folks not on the gender binary as I would like. I wonder if other folks have experienced the same situations you have, and that’s why?
        If you find yourself on playa in the future, come visit Barbarella and Fabulous of Camp Piper! We could always use more queer friends:)

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  • DANIELA ARDIZZONE says:

    There is a big factor that wasn’t mentioned. The rise of the turnkey camps has allowed people from other countries, who don’t have a way to bring their own camp setup, to come to Burning Man in the past few years. I have noticed more and more foreigners come to BM and it’s great, however the majority are wealthy and join turnkey camps. A solution could be to open a channel that provides resources, more information, and help for people from outside US for camping, traveling etc, so that they don’t need to join a turnkey camp in order to come to Burning Man.

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    • sovamind says:

      The solution to this is for them to join or establish theme camps with local Burners. If I was going to go to AfricaBurn I would first find an art project or theme camp, or volunteer camp to join before even considering going. This not only removes the people that fly in with no contribution or understanding of the culture but helps to build international connections between Burners and reinforce our culture worldwide.

      I think having a published directory of projects, camps, and volunteer opportunities that includes historical information and if they are taking on new members would be a great resource for the community. Maybe even allow people to post reviews and messages back to the camps through it as well.

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    • G says:

      The Org has the power to regulate what goes on in the city, and they already do. They can adopt requirements / regulations that make such camps participation intense without gentrification.

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    • Raking BM great again says:

      Hi Daniela! One foreigner here! Here in Finland we have an active group of 100 or more burners, and we’ve been bringing art installations to the playa for several years. We also work actively together with Scandinavian and Estonian burners, organize regionals and other gatherings. So I know a lot of international burners. But when I read your post I realized that I don’t know anyone who would’ve ever stayed in a turnkey camp. I always thought they were just for rich Hollywood celebrities!

      Of course coming from overseas makes it quite a lot trickier, and more expensive. Therfore you see most of us camping in cheap tents, and really calculating what we need to fly in. But that’s part of the journey! Of course I can’t speak on behalf of “all foreigners”, but my educated guess is that most of us would rather see the turnkey camps disappear…

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    • Pedro says:

      You want to subsidize people to fly in jets thousands of miles to come to bm? I’m all for people donating charity for that, not everyone paying a tax so the world can attend!

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  • Noah says:

    As a 10 year burner I am so INCREDIBLY happy to read this piece Marian. I am not familiar with the full composition or workings of BMOrg, but I was worried with the passing of Larry that Bman would change course. I am beyond comforted that our “home” is being attended by the right people who understand it’s special nature and meaning, both to the burning Man community and to those in the default world who are lucky enough to have burners bring them a slice of what we have learn and carry from the playa. Most of us long time burners have been guilty, at one time or another, of taking the easy or more convenient way out. Preserving the Playa experience for what we make it and are to make it takes work and re-dedication from us all. Having guidance to that end, to have leadership help us all to “reset”, is critical. Many thanks for that.

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  • TranquilityPeace says:

    Oh my thank you! I’ve been watching the slow (or maybe not-so-slow) degradation of Burning Man ideals and 10 Principles for years, and I was beginning to believe all the nay-sayers who like to point and laugh and jeer that it’s really all about the money and that the leadership doesn’t actually care about this ongoing cultural revolution. Please please continue to speak (and act!) from the top. Your encouragement to folks who get it right, and correction of those who simply don’t get it at all, are crucial.

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  • Kevin says:

    Sounds like a good first start.
    Next up:
    Banning chartered flights into the airport!

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  • Freddy Hahne says:

    Hear Here Marian. Very well stated.

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  • John Parulis says:

    Tax the rich. It’s a new movement started by Alexandria Cortez in the Congress. Let’s bring it to Burning Man too. Just ban any kind of discrimination too- age sex, gender income levels. Penalize the violators with expulsion or huge cash fines. Why not? Limit the amount of burnings except for the Temple and Man to help reduce Burning Man’s carbon footprint. Tax RV’s period unless they’re for DPW, staff, artists, doctors other valued contributors.

    Amen
    Cowboyangel

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  • Jim Van Osdell says:

    We have been hoping that this would manifest itself to keep the Burn and Larry’s vision alive and well.

    We have been ‘burners’ since 1998 and sadly watched the evolution of the event stray from the vision.

    THANK YOU for taking note and addressing this sooner than later!! GOOD JOB!!

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  • Tim Green says:

    Thanks for wakeing up and realizing the problem. I feel like the Org. has a huge amount of responsibility for letting this happen. I’ve been 12 times and was absolutely shocked this year. And finally realized that you no longer care about the 10 principals that we cherished and served as a benign filter from the “ photo op” non participatants
    Thanks
    Hi hopes

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  • Lazlo says:

    This! So much this! Thank you Marian. This is a big step in the right direction.

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  • Jujubee says:

    Thank you for this. It is so challenging to make modifications when something this organic is in motion! I can see the big picture through the communications, surveys amd thoughtful massaging that are happening. The trickle will become the river and the metamorphosis of the experience and offerings will continue. But people:

    The coming burns will not be like the first ones ever but if there are things i miss about a previous burn i can make them happen and show others.

    People all have different things they want from a burn but need to adopt the principles so we have a common understanding of protocols.

    Every burn is sacred starting with the environment and souls there! Let’s show reverence!

    XOXOXO

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  • Guillaume Allilaire says:

    Thanks for that. I have only experienced BM once yet, but I have also been to Afrikaburn, Midburn, Borderlands and Nowhere several times and there is the same problem of people consuming burns instead of being a part of it.
    I hope they will struggle as hard as you to maintain the principles and the BM philosophy.
    Hope to be at BM this year to be a part of this renewal. Please in your price tickets policies, think about foreigners not eligible to low income ticket but with medium incomes and a lot of expenses to come and participate.
    Bravo for your dedication.
    Hope to meet you in the dust

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  • Martin says:

    Each year I’m dismayd as more people upgrade from tents to RVs and then to bigger RVs.

    Report comment

    • Jose says:

      I’ve been 5 years in a row in a tent. It’s hard and I noticed myself sleeping way more every year because of it. I understand how a better sleeping situation can lead to a more fulfilling burn. I definitely want to upgrade since BM seems to be a recurring theme in my life. I’m grateful for having tented and attented BM.

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      • Mitzi says:

        bravo! i have camped at 22 burns (and counting) in a tent. i know that not everyone is physically able to tent camp, but i firmly believe that experiencing the heat and dust is an integral part of the burn. hiding from it in an RV immediately removes you from the whole experience.

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    • Alex says:

      whats the problem with RVs? we are not lacking space. Is small extra degree of comfort somehow against the ten principals? Radical inclusion unless your bavk allows you to stay in a tent, unless you are fit enough to walk to the bathroom for ten minutes, unless you dont need to go too often, unless your heart let you handle high heat. Right?

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      • Moonbeam says:

        Glad to read this. Would like to return Home which is much missed. Have a handicapped son who is begging to attend that can not unless it’s by RV with an golf cart to include him. Please understand all that arrive by RV May not just be for convenience. It’s very expensive and do believe most is aware of the enviremental impact which I do not take lightly.
        Also, forget about any Mutant ride being caring, kind enough to stop and allow two “hippy” 60 year olds on board. Just has never happened. Would of loved to ride on a sand ship. Sad. P.S. Have camped in tents for our burns to date.

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    • Admiral Fiesta says:

      What’s worse is the amount of foam used (and subsequently trashed) in ever-increasing quantities for hexayurts. I feel like every year I see more and more foam chunks scattered around the playa. It’s time for burners to step up and do the responsible thing: when the week is over, eat your hexayurt. The foam is tasty, nutritious, and full of the vitamins and long-chain hydrocarbon polymers that hard-working burners need most in their diet. And if you’re careful about where you bite, you can start eating your yurt on Saturday morning and still sleep in it till Monday! This is just one small step that burners can make toward living more in line with the 10 principles.

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  • Frank BRC-DPW says:

    Great write up on a long overdue topic.
    We will see if it holds any weight outside of the web..
    Thanx…

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  • Jose says:

    How many people have been denied entry to robot heart when it’s clearly empty and they allow “hot people” on? Robot Heart has to be one of the best examples of not letting people onto their art car because they don’t want to tarnish their image with unworthy people.

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    • Moonbeam says:

      *Sigh*. So true of every ride that simply passed us up… just not beautiful enough to join.. Very unexpected behavior at BM.

      Report comment

    • Jeremy says:

      Yes it’s noticeable there are more taker glam camps over the past few years… but Robot Heart is absolutely not one of them.

      Robot heart is an absolute gift to the playa. I know I speak for thousands of people when I say many of my most magical and memorable Burning Man moments have been spent at Robot Heart sunrise. The music is divine, people are friendly and respectful, it’s love and good vibes all around. Truly everything I love about bman. The beautiful costumes, dancing, and free self expression…? Made safe and possible by Rheart’s intentional friendship with BLM officers.

      I know for a fact the camp is 100% built by campmates, no hired help. It warms my heart having seen nearly every Robot Hearter do their part and mooping the dancefloor under the scorching midmorning sun. Their infinite generosity with both champagne and water at sunrise is well known.

      As for getting on the bus? When it’s not crowded, all it costs is a smile. As for when it’s crowded, it’s as simple as being friendly and patient. It shouldn’t be a surprise the bus gets packed and the only possible strategy “1 person out, 1 person in”. Having spent a few hours volunteering to help on door duty, I can attest a toxic attitude is the only thing turning people away at the door. Aside from which, I’ve never understood why everyone wants to be ON the bus… the music is way better in front of the bus anyways :)

      I love Robot Heart, they’ve permanently added a rich texture to my life and Burning Man I would never have dreamt possible.

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  • Papa Bear (not the placer) says:

    I am thrilled to see the org is taking the feedback from the “cultural direction” survey and discussions seriously, and is taking more active steps to try to change things.

    In particular, I applaud the changes to the pre-sale. Many people didn’t realize that the pre-sale allowed one person with means to purchase as many as 10 tickets (4 at each of the two tiers, plus 2 more in the main sale). That, by itself, was enough to enable PnP/concierge camps even if they were unplaced. Now everybody is on more or less equal footing at 2 apiece.

    I’m hoping that denying Humano placement and warning a dozen others turns out to be a “shot across the bow” presaging ongoing higher standards for theme camp behavior. I know it can be difficult to get a clear and unbiased picture of a camp’s operations, but it also shouldn’t take negative reports from multiple departments and other participants *plus* a bad LNT record before a problematic camp starts feeling real heat.

    I’m less optimistic that allocating more DGS tickets will improve things (particularly to the extent that problem camps still get them), but time will tell. All in all, it’s a good start.

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    • Papa Bear (not the placer) says:

      So, Marian reached out to me with a little more information in reply to this comment that makes me more confident problem camps will face more pressure. To wit:

      “Camps who have received a warning of any kind from the organization will usually see a reduction of anywhere from 25-75% of their previous DGS allocation. The reduction is related to severity of the infraction. “

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  • Jonathan Blank says:

    Thank you for this post and the efforts you are making to keep Burning Man, Burning Man and not Fyre Festival.
    Suggestion: close the airport and do not let people fly into Burning Man.
    Forcing everyone to sit through road entry will keep a lot of the people who aren’t serious about the festival out.

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    • Gatt says:

      “Suggestion: close the airport and do not let people fly into Burning Man.”

      Terrible idea. Closing it to commercial/charter activity is an arguable point, but, closing the airport to burners who bring their airplanes down and share the joy of flight around the playa wouldn’t solve anything.

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      • Robyn says:

        Many people who arrive by airplane bring nothing to offer. They often don’t even have their own means of survival. They are there only to spectate and take. Other than closing the airport, how would you propose weeding them out. Perhaps they should have to wait in line at gate like everyone else, rather than getting royal treatment directly into the city.

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      • Nard says:

        Give me a break. The 300 out of 70,000?

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      • pearlsnaps says:

        The airport has a lot of positives.

        I met amazing pilots last year that gifted a flight in their cessna. It was one of the most beautiful moments of my burn and it was given authentically as a gift. More so than many of the stickers or patches I received because of intent, not magnitude. They slept in a tent under their plane. I met them doing spontaneous moonlight yoga on a work of art. How is any of that taking? All of that is 10 Principles.

        Also one of our art support crew found out 3 months before the burn that his wife was pregnant. The airport enabled him to drive out with us, do a week of setup and then part of the burn and then fly home to support her. That is magical and a gift in itself. He was completely self-reliant both independently and because he was part of the community willing to execute his arrangements. The airport helped him give the gift of art even if he was not going to be there to see the man burn. And he was our ace in a particular specialty so I have so much gratitude for the airport.

        Eliminate the airport and you eliminate these wonderful and moral by the principles stories and simply add a lot more cars to the burn and more money thrown at problems having the right burner could solve.

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    • The Hustler says:

      The airport helps take the strain off of local highways and the small towns through which burners arrive in Black Rock City.

      Closing the airport will force more people to drive in – I don’t know how many, but it will be more. That could mean more RVs, in addition to more cars.

      I’d like to see more alternate means of getting to BRC.

      I believe it’s not wealth or mode of transportation that is the problem, it’s ignorance or disrespect for the Burning Man culture.

      I’d rather see more chartered planes than more (or any) black smoke-belching hippie bus or some janky RV with trash bags falling off.

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      • Dr. Fiesta says:

        Completely disagree ! lots of people who fly in contribute in creating blck rock city. In fact sometimes its the ease of being to fly in that facilitates their ability to help. Please dont place evryone who can afford the luxury to travel by plane in the box of spectators. Sure there are some but just cause you fly doeesnt me you are a spectator. Myself included. Burning man is a logistical puzzle and having the aiprort there can really help with that, contributing to building black rock city.
        it also helps decongesting thbe roads, besides it being an amazing experience on itslef. I used to drive to burning man for 9 years. Now i hav e a semi that is hauled there, but i still work my ass off , and contribubte as do all my campmates. Plus the airport lets in a veruy small number of the population, i doubt that most “spectators” enter through there. The problem aint with how you GET THERE , its with the leaders of the event and of the camps to ensure that we help acculture those who come to this beautiful city.

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      • Spanky D says:

        Has anyone considered expanding the Burner Express to include using a passenger train like Amtrak? The railroad tracks run through the town of Gerlach and across the Playa right next to BRC. I’m sure a temporary train station could be set up at either point, and BRAT could help transport passengers by buss from there into the city.
        Does anyone know where those tracks run to and from. What city could someone board the train in, that also has a major airport they could fly in and out of?

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    • Mariposa says:

      And then the same people that say ban the airport and make everyone wait in line st the gate will be bitching about how long it took to get in the gate and out for exodus, giving the gate staff attitude, and then posting about how the gate should be run better.

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  • Very exciting that more techniques are being applied to influence these outcomes. It’s great that the Org has the tools it needs to gradually play a more active role in editing the event.

    At the same time, I hope that we will all strive to remember that most of the people who are making these unsatisfactory decisions will be happy to do a better job, and we can each play a role in making the case, both by having fun and by being patient.

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  • Seabreeze says:

    If BMOrg really wants to signal self reliance, start with Center Camp and return to “the only things you can buy are ice and coffee” principle. And when I say coffee, I mean coffee. Not an ice latte half caf half decaf cappucino mochiatto delivered in a soon to be disposed of cup. You’re at Burning Man. If you didn’t bring something to drink out of, you’re doing it wrong.
    If you NEED specialty items, bring them. Radical self-reliance, right?

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    • Geomom says:

      I couldn’t help but notice how sad and empty Center Camp seemed last year compared to previous times. Maybe it was mourning Larry? Maybe I just picked a bad time. I think you are on to something. Just coffee and tea, not Starbucks. I saw long lines to get drinks, but not many people staying and hanging out.

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    • gem s. says:

      I worked the single espresso machine at Cafe Temps Perdu in 1997, 3am to 7am shift. We had espresso drinks even then. I think cappuccinos are unlikely to be the real problem.

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  • Murphy (Burner at Mobility Camp) says:

    This is very good news. It may be worthwhile to note (again) that what happens on the macro, structural level of BM translates into what happens with interpersonal interactions. Almost all of my BM experiences have been positive and rewarding but I’ve had enough experiences with snarky brats in BRC to make me wonder if a flaw was starting to appear. This is even more true for BM in social media. I believe this comes from a sense of entitlement and privilege that originates in the “convenience culture”. When you really have to put effort into participation you value the presence and the quality of experience of others. So thanks again, kudos and keep us posted.

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  • Jed Shapiro says:

    Marian, what a well crafted and thoughtfully delivered message. I teared up in a number of places. My wife said, “nailed it” from across the room as I finished reading out loud. Thanks for showing us what leadership with integrity looks like. Exemplary job of respectfully calling the BM community to reconfirm our shared core values and what is at stake if we drift further away from them.

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  • Karen Tarapata says:

    In recent years, those of us who build interactive spaces have begun to feel like Carneys for entitled spectators who offer nothing and demand much.

    Thank you.

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  • Thank you for this articulate piece. This year our camp will doing much more to help support the 10 principles. We will go further to make sure our campmates are committed to the 10 principles and not just assume our campmates are fully on board. We are not inviting back people who showed an unwillingness to embrace what we hold dear about BM. We’re limiting the size of RV’s welcome in our camp too. We see our campmates as part of a theme camps responsibility.

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  • La Jackie says:

    Thank you for addressing this important issue. I moved my camp out towards the burbs because I feel those of us who follow the 10 principles are out there trying to maintain the old ways. The fact I perceive them as the “old ways” is disheartening. I truly hope the changes work because there are monetary barriers for some burners which prevents them from attending.

    Thanks again!

    For those who complain about RVs, I understand. I spent 10 years in a tent before getting a travel trailer. But please realize there are burners out there who come in RVs that respect and follow the 10 principles. Some of us truly have reasons for travel trailer/RVs such as medical. I felt so guilty about a generator the past several years that I am converting to solar.

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  • Robert Parsons, Santa Cruz, CA says:

    My BMan story is far too long to write here, but I made 14 yrs on the playa, from 1998 until 2012, and served in camps, picking up what blew into the trash fence, and entertaining thousands with my performance art. Then BM created an exclusive ticketing regime, designed to maximize revenue, and I could never get a ticket since, because they built a system for elitist posers. Now you’re sayin it’s a problem? Duh! Another Coachella for LA douchebags and wanna bees. Thanks for betraying us loyal, enlightened, inclusive (now ex) Burners. I’ll know that you’ve fixed something when I can get a ticket again.

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  • Ifellfromthesky says:

    “I am disappointed with the attitudes of the mutant vehicle and art car folks. Their gatekeepers are very discriminatory on who they let ride. I was actually told, ‘No, it’s too late for old people to be out, anyway,’ ‘you’re not pretty enough,’ and ‘we’re only picking up hot girls right now.’ I asked other camp members and heard similar stories. One gay couple said they had tried for 3 years to get on a vehicle and they were denied every time.” -Retired Artist, Male, 70

    Sounds like he tried to get on Roboheart…
    Sad…

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      • Ifellfromthesky says:

        *Hoe-say

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      • Hoe-say says:

        @Ifellfromthesky “Hoe-say”, I believe I have been christened…

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      • WildLight says:

        No, check out the original post in comments — the author of the comment said: “that was either the Shark or the Squid in 2002.”

        Robot Heart throws incredible dance parties for thousands of people each day, and they work hard to create a safe and inclusive experience for everyone on and off the bus. Campmates serve long shifts at the door throughout their burn week because their intention is to share the experience. Often more people want to get on the bus than allowed at capacity, and some get upset or feel rejected when asked to wait. Of course if someone trying to get on is rude or entitled, or too intoxicated, the guards are not going to be enthused to let them in.

        And hey, while it’s fun on the bus, I’m not sure why people fixate on it so much. It’s also awesome on the dance floor and surrounding art cars — the sound is better facing the speakers, and that’s where most of the camp and friends hang out anyway. And beyond that, stepping out closer to the trash fence a bit away from the music is a special experience in its own right.

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    • Chef Juke says:

      Hey,

      If you had a bad experience with ANY Mutant Vehicle, please let the DMV know.
      We follow up on any complaint/report on any Mutant Vehicle we receive. But the fact is, we don’t receive that many direct complaints as compared to the number of anecdotes we see on social media. If there really is a problem with how an MV is behaving we want to know so we can have a discussion.

      You can email dmv@burningman.org ANY time with ANY questions or concerns regarding Mutant Vehicles.

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    • Hot Koko says:

      I’ve been to Robot Heart countless time and I not my friends have ever been turned away. I love the atmosphere and community at Robot Heart and always feel welcomed and loved there. They are one of my favorite camps and the experiences I have there have been wonderful!

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  • Allen says:

    Contrast causes clarified creation.

    Your adamant observation and commitment to the truth allow you to sharpen the policies for the benefit of all.

    You are guiding this magnificently.

    Thank you!

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  • Yoshi says:

    So glad to read this! Since my first Burning man I was astounded by the level of human creativity and participation that I saw. I don’t want to see Burning Man turn into another consumerist festival like Coachella where people go merely to be entertained. It’s an example of how the world SHOULD be. As someone who’s found their artistic calling due to my Burning Man experiences, I’m grateful that the event has inspired me so much and allowed me to find my tribe around the world. I’m sure that my experience has been the same for many other small artists who can make a living thanks to the Burning Man community. However I have been increasingly disturbed by the amount of exorbitant spending I’ve seen by some of my clients who spent more in a week to attend Burning Man than I made in a year. I’m happy that BMorg is taking steps in the right direction to correct this problem. Burning Man is something that is constantly evolving and has grown past an event into a cultural movement. Being a Burner stands for something and I hope that in the future the Burning Man community will be able to grow stronger and resist being tainted by wealth and consumerism.

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  • Some Seeing Eye says:

    Thanks!

    Suggest:
    Promote a philosophy, “if you photograph now, post it when you get home.”
    “If you see X say Y.”
    Continue to refine measurements of the culture, both public and internal.
    Add more qualitative research to the Census.
    Encourage burners to keep in touch with their new and old burner friends throughout the year, including face to face.

    It takes time to turn a big ship, especially an open source one like the event, but it is better to turn than crash into an iceberg.

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  • Hi Marian,

    2019 Virgin Burner here (ticket gods be merciful…).

    As a would-be “newbie,” I’ve been watching these conversations, and I’m happy to see the organization “steering the ship” closer to its original heading.

    I admit I’m a bit bummed that more tickets are going to DGS. Our little group (3-10?) is itching to do something interactive at our camp, and we’ll be in open camping. We live *hours* away from the nearest placed camp’s home base, so meaningful contribution with them just isn’t possible. So, I’d offer that “Radical Inclusion” should also mean considering if the ticket program favors people who happen to live in large cities with options for joining an established theme camp.

    That said, I can’t imagine the amount of thought and care that has to go into these decisions–digging past symptoms to find underlying issues, balancing the competing needs, considering unintended consequences, finding the right way to deal with camps not doing their part, etc. Clearly you’ve done your homework, and it sounds like these decisions are in good hands with you and your team.

    Cross your fingers for my little group to pass the ticket lottery… Beaumont, Texas needs more representation in BRC! Hope to see y’all on the playa!

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    • Aburner says:

      I’m in the same boat, and I think that 10% increase to camps mean a 10 decrease in the main sale, where we get are tickets, we have been camping at the same place for 8 years now

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  • Cherry says:

    In the words of Mr. Burns, “Exxxcellllent”!

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  • Silver Cowboy says:

    This is great! I’m glad to see this kind of self-evaluation from Burning Man leaders. It is nice to read about their concerns. I agree with it all.

    HOWEVER; this is not new. Many of us have had these concerns for years. If this negative behavior reported in this article is new to you, then you haven’t been paying attention. Do you even attend the event? Those who use the event as background for their glamour photos and those mutant vehicle builders with a very negative non-burning man party attitude have doubled every year for at least 5 years now. I’ve been attending since 2000 and I have seen the changes over time. What I do is ignore those people but it gets harder and harder to do as the MV get bigger and louder. Finding a peaceful place to reflect and socialize with others is hard to do. I think they have a place at the event (read that again before commenting that I want to get rid of MVs) but perhaps allow them out on the playa every other night. Quite often they interfere with art installations with a sound element to them.

    ALSO; this is nice to say about tickets but how do you enforce it? How do you prevent people from buying more than two tickets? Scalpers have figured out ways around the system and they will continue to do so. Nothing stops people from having multiple people from multiple places buy tickets for them. For the past ten years I have struggled like hell to get two tickets because I play by the rules. Theme camps often end up with many more tickets than they need. Nothing stops a member of a theme camp with guaranteed tickets also purchasing tickets in the main sale. My own camp has struggled for a long time to resist becoming a theme camp and we give to our community because it is the right thing to do not just to get guaranteed tickets. We may lose that struggle, however, if tickets will only go to theme camps.

    Having said all that, the positive and good most often outweighs the negative which is why I continue and will continue to attend every year. There is room for improvement but that is life and the love-hate relationship with Burning Man. It seems as though getting two tickets will be even harder this year. I will have to start my ticket begging early. Anyone have tickets to sell??

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    • Meowshy says:

      “Do you even attend the event?”

      Dude.. seriously? This was written by Marian. Everyone knows she stays in SF during the event, eating bon-bons with cats on her lap while watching the live feed and laughing like The Joker.

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  • Paul Carey says:

    I used to write about the commodification of the Burning Man experience. By 2006 I had had enough. No more running 24ft trucks to the playa to entertain spectators. I went back in 2010 to confirm. My burn is regional now.

    What really saddened my was not my situation. I had a good 10 year run that facilitated deep personal growth. What got me was the hopelessness felt by contributors of modest means that their art would be lost in the spectacle of large scale art.

    Large Scale Art: If you create specticle you invite spectators. Spend that money in ways that will encourage small contributors.

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    • Fox says:

      Sometimes, the large-scale art is the small-scale contribution of many individuals, mostly who have never held tools or built anything at all. Through the experience they learn skills, confidence and above all, become part of the art. It is a hard process. Plus, as artists, we love spectacle, spectators and the act of creating something large, ephemeral and immediate. It is how we roll. It is how we burn. To quote/paraphrase JFK, We choose to do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

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  • Kurt from Buffalo says:

    If stars align, this is to be my 13th. Reality warning: Evolution of BM reflects unavoidable societal shifts. Those with faces buried in their cell phones in the default world may not be capable of following many of the 10 Principles. Until a certain point, BM was only cool to those who went. The age of information, and relative prosperity, has blown that up. Holding tight to the culture that has made it “home” starts in our camps, those we spend time with, and to the projects and activities in which we choose to participate. Birds of a feather, as long as we accept new birds, and teach them.

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  • Gatt - (The Red Baron) says:

    BRAVO from the Green Hour and the Red Baron mutant vehicle!!

    We only attend every other so that other people have a chance, and, even though this is our “off” year, this journal entry gives me great joy for all of those who will be able to attend. Make the most of it!

    Cheers! Have a great burn, everybody. See you in 2020!

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  • Aburner says:

    That increase of 10% to the camp sale, dose that mean a 10% decrease in the main thicke sale?

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  • Mapper says:

    Things really started going down hill when persistent communications arrived at BRC (cell and mobile phones) Now everyone can stay in constant touch with everyone (including off the Playa) and continue like “normal” with their FB posts day and night staying connected to the Default World. I am sure it has something to do with all the $$$ the mobile providers make with their temporary towers.

    Disconnect the Playa and watch how quickly things will improve.

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    • Joshua says:

      Nailed it. It’s too easy to let the outside world in.
      Unplug from the Matrix.

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    • Starfish says:

      I agree with you – mobile phones and immediacy don’t mix well.

      However, I have worked on multiple art projects over the years, and when that thing you need for the art gets broken or mysteriously wasn’t packed like you thought it was, being able to get a message out to team members not yet on-playa can be a lifesaver.

      It beats a trip to Reno, so it can’t be all bad.

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  • Joshua says:

    Wait did you just tell us how to Burn?

    Really appreciate the time, attention, love and effort put into this. This is cultural preservation in the face of a massive multigenerational and incredibly savvy digital psychological networked reward system mind fucking. Meaning – Stop taking fucking pictures at Burning Man and posting them to Facebook or wherever. Just stop fucking doing that. Stop whoring our our culture! Just be in the moment. Just be with your friends. Stop turning your life into a point scoring game for clicks and likes and shares and temporary endorphin rushes. That’s not it.

    It’s the people you fuckos. The memories you make together. Both good and bad. That is what lasts. Glitter blows away. Drugs wear off. Clothes fade and crumble. But memories and relationships – if nourished, endure.

    I wouldn’t trade all the fuck faux fur in china for the experience of being invited inside the Man and shown how all the neon works. Yea. I did that! Or taking a nose dive from 10,000 feet in the Burning Sky plane! Or watching the Playa from our camp scaffold with close friends before spilling out into the night like a roving pack of Jedi trainee’s….for the past 10 years. Or having sushi at the Golden Cafe Supper Club. Or staying in the French Quarter and dancing on the balcony to funk music form the SS Sassafras. Get it? All of those incredible experiences came from human connection. Not fucking LED lights, or faux feather head dresses or trying to be a perfect looking human.

    And if you don’t know what “Zone Trip 4” means pick up a fucking book.
    The history of this culture is rich, vibrant, counter cultural, and still alive.
    Make Burning Man cacophonous again.
    Fuck your Burn. )'(

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  • Motor says:

    TOO LITTLE TOO LATE. If you want to reign it back in you should have been listening 10 years ago!

    Ban Cell Phone Towers.

    Revoke ALL vendor services except grey/black water removal.

    Only sell tickets to artists that are contributing art, or theme camps that release full names of all attendees, and verify they are highly engaged with the 10 principles.

    Allow art cars only under under the rule that they must allow other attendees to come on board that are not with the camp. This should be enforced by bmorg staff.

    Report comment

    • Eric shutter asshole says:

      LIKE. how naive are they to think that if they ban Humano or any other camp, the partners/ friends won’t just reapply for the same thing! Ban the people,not just the brand!

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  • Bill T. says:

    I can only hope that the true vision of BM continues to play out and I can be a part of it this year. I’ve long awaited the opportunity previously stifled by work and schedule. With that no long net an obstacle (due to retirement) I am ready to “participate” in the experience.

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  • Stevie Hate says:

    Hey, sorry if covered already, but where can we read the complete 55 page report mentioned in article?

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    • shazbat says:

      ^^What he said. Let’s see the report results. Certainly these are steps in the right direction, but not necessarily aggressive enough to kill the cancer. Discontinuing the airport commercial flights would’ve been solid proof they’re fully committed.

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  • karl Baba says:

    Heartened to see an effort to preserve the essence of the event. Thank you.
    Knowing there are trade-offs and unintended consequences to changes makes policy making challenging but low hanging fruit is a good place to start and looks like that’s starting.

    Burning Man doesn’t have to have mega-amazing-high-dollar camps/art/sound to be inspirational and transformational, but it does need that spirit of giving love and sharing experience to be a new paradigm of living together.

    I’d like rich people to come to assimilate a new way of competing to stoke people out by providing something to the community instead of competing to have the most money, I just think it’s important that they get that message and earned experience instead of creating a dust free oasis of consumerism and privilege to dilute the BM experience into safe little glimpses when it’s nice out

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  • Paul says:

    Thank you so much! Even since 2012, when I first attended, the changes were alarming. I really hope the course correction will be in time and effective enough. It would break my heart to see Burning Man go the way of so many good things.
    To me, cell phone use on the playa seems a big part of the problem, because it tends to get people into default world mindset – thinking in social media terms, not in real ones. But that particular Pandora’s Box seems to be open for good.
    To all those commenters (and, right now, that is about 100 already) who share the feeling: Let’s work hard keeping the playa alive. Let’s not retreat into “it used to be much better until somebody let all the kids in”, but keep the event subversive, spontaneous, and unglamorous.

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  • Bob Saint Clare says:

    Unfortunately, I think this is *nice*.
    I believe the intention is there, but this feels completely ineffective. Just like the many past tweaks to the ticket sale have been overall ineffective.
    On one hand, this dictates how one must participate -via Group Camps- to the detriment of solo mobile participants (ask me about the BoomBike).
    BUT the solution is REALLY simple: ban RVs and trailers (with exceptions – e.g. kids, medical condition, 65+, …).
    We’ll get self-reliance back, the poseurs will be gone, and it will require true commitment to the event from all.

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    • Papa Bear (not the placer) says:

      I think that’s too broad to be a good solution. People have been blaming RVs and trailers for at least 20 years. They weren’t the root of the problem back then, and they aren’t now (though pre-placed rented RVs and trailers via OSS might be a different story).

      I know a number of burners that used to come in tents who now come in RVs. Doing so means they can dedicate the time and energy they’d otherwise spend on creating a living space to creating art, building a theme camp, or volunteering with various departments on playa. They also mean simpler meal prep and better sleep – and as Soup alluded to in an earlier post, that’s a big deal for those of us who are now a multiple decades older than we were when we first started participating in the event.

      Better to start with narrower changes more carefully targeted at the worst problems and then gradually broaden from there if necessary. That’s what I think the org is doing.

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  • LiminalRising says:

    Introduce a “Safe Places” section in the “What, Where, When” !

    Change Burning Man Culture so that drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) is recognized as is a growing problem, and make it priority of the Burning Man Organization to actively address this, instead of simply encouraging participants to “use the buddy system.”

    Law Enforcement remedies do not address participant needs as prosecutors in Nevada do not typically prosecute when the perpetrator says the sex was consensual. Assuming the perpetrator can even be found – if it was a DFSA and the memory of the victim is hazy.

    Sexual Assault is a part of Burning Man. The Cultureup unitl now has been to say “it’s normal in a city of this size”, or “it really doesn’t happen at an event like Burning Man,” or “there is never more than one person charged with sexual assault in any 1 year – Marnee Benson”, or “there are 5 to 20 alleged assaults every year… but most of these do not arise to the level of felony rape.” Let’s stop managing the optics of the situation, and actually give participants support.

    Please create a “safe spaces section” in the “what, Where, when” and allow Camps to identify themselves within it.

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  • OAk says:

    Thank You!, Thank You!, Thank You!

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  • Terbo Ted says:

    re: art cars…

    I have been camping with an art car camp, and I sort of volunteer as ‘security’ for this art car- it takes a lot of work to keep it running- and I ride my bike with it when it’s out, helping provide a safe path for it to pass through crowds and so on.

    The reality is, we have to restrict who can go on the art car because it’s precipitously overloaded before it even leaves camp- like we’re on a train in India- and this vehicle has a history of major breakdowns on the playa. Adding any more people would be a safety concern, there simply isn’t even enough room on it for our own camp mates. Like I said, I ride my bike next to and not on the thing.

    Also, this isn’t a popular topic but theft has always and continued to be a huge problem on the playa. If we simply let any stranger onto our bus, the likelihood of people’s backpacks or jackets or other items missing is quite real.

    I could go on and on.

    It actually really kills me when I have told absolutely gorgeous women that they can’t come on the bus. But it’s not about if you’re young or old or hot or not, it’s melange of space, safety and security issues, for the vehicle itself and my campmates. I’m not a safety third kinda person.

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    • YMB says:

      @ Terbo Ted, if it’s really about safety and occupancy load, there should be a clearly stated occupancy limit and that should be the determining cut-off factor, period. If it’s not, your art car is being disingenuous by making exceptions for some and not for others, and excluding some and not others. I think that’s called discrimination.

      (As an architect, I’m truly sympathetic to the safety factor and think it should be respected and adhered to. But it’s really hurtful and demeaning when the safety factor is ‘negotiable’ based on some elusive other quality that is exclusionary.)

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        That’s why so many of us ride bikes. Like I said.

        We also simply say ‘it’s completely full’ which is adequate and truthful.

        Your phrasing makes it sound like we’re racist.

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        there’s only room for people from our camp, period, there are more campmates than space on the vehicle. the people in our camp who aren’t as eager or able to ride bikes ride on the vehicle. this is pretty reasonable and not at all discriminatory.

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      • YMB says:

        hi terbo ted, i apologize, i wasn’t trying to namecall in that fashion. i was reacting to this phrase: “If we simply let any stranger onto our bus, the likelihood of people’s backpacks or jackets or other items missing is quite real.” it begs the question of how you make judgments about who gets access and who doesn’t. if the judgement is simply, ‘we’re full to capacity’ that’s one thing. but if it then has an overlay of ‘who might steal shit and who might not,’ and if that then gets tied to someone’s appearance, it can get slippery real fast. maybe just putting up a sign that says ‘full, for safety sake’ would make this whole process of preceived evuluation less of an issue, for all art cars that are maxed out.

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      • YMB says:

        (or, if the art car is really just for camp mates, and indeed, only has room for campmates, why not make that incredibly explicit so those who try to get on and can’t can better understand it’s not a personal judgement? maybe it really just comes down to total transparency.)

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        “what???” I think yelling ‘we are all full’ several times in a row so people can actually hear you while having to deal with a trainwreck of soundsystems clashing and all of that other chaos going on is pretty transparent.

        it makes sense that people would be feeling excluded when it’s that moment when our camp mates are all getting back on the bus from some stop over. but communicating out there isn’t the same as typing at a keyboard, especially like if there’s a dust storm, or you’re dealing with people who are high or drunk, all very real concerns out there.

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        we do have a FOB/schwag/light/keychain thing we give out to people who are on the bus so they can be identified coming and going. if people don’t have that they can’t get on. most people are pretty understanding of this.

        there’s no way to operate a limited capacity art car like it’s a public utility in a town of 70000 people, or as if it is an amusement ride at some free version of Disneyland.

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      • YMB says:

        yeah, i get that it’s crazy-making to communicate out there. i’m also not trying to piss you off but as someone who’s never gained access to an art car, i’m truly interested in brainstorming how it can be a less bad experience for those on the outside wanting to participate (and not being able to). i have a couple questions: could signage be effective for communicating limits and setting expectations? do you have capacity to go out on runs that aren’t primarily for campmates, leaving space for others in the community to ride?

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        Two great questions!

        Signage… would probably get defaced or fall off or covered in playa dust or hard to read in the dark, or even hard to articulate in words… I know we had some sort of cardboard sign once that said “FULL CAPACITY” or something like that… a sign not as useful as an actual person to talk to…

        Capacity… it’s amazing how much work it takes to keep the thing running, clean, supplied, all of that. Almost our whole camp is consumed by these tasks at one point or another. The runs out are maybe once or twice a day, conditions permitting, including weather and mechanical concerns. When it does go out, the cat herding build up is a huge task, and by the time we depart camp it’s so full it’s likely to be scraping along the ground. A few years ago the thing died on the drive into BRC, and was unable to drive all week… our camp spent enormous amounts of time and effort to try and get it running, even fedexing in parts!!! Even when it does go out, there are always x amount of things that are broken on it that are needing service. I’m not sure if it’s ever been 100% functional ever! So adding strangers to this… uh… it might look great or glamorous in pictures, but it might just all be held together with zip ties and duct tape…

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    • WildOne says:

      Maybe the root cause is that now mutant vehicles are purpose built as transportation means for camp mates. As you said your self, it doesn’t have room even for all of your camp mates. As someone who helped build a mutant vehicle, Tiki Island, we purposely designed it NOT to be a people carrier, instead if was an experience you found while on the Playa. You got on it to dance or hang out when you found was parked somewhere on the Playa , and then got off as we took off to another spot on the Playa… Maybe the difference between a mutant transportation vehicle and an interactive transportable experience. Why not just put a sign at the entrance to your car which clearly states – Sorry Camp XYZ playa transportation vehicle only. Too many mutant vehicles are becoming just that, camp transportation vehicles for people who don’t want to ride their bikes or walk. That also contributes to non engagement, especially of your newer camp members who might have joined because they thought it would be great to be shuttled around. They themselves, end up missing out on the experience of random adventures which are created when you actually ride your bike or walk the Playa… So maybe that is another solution, mutant vehicles should only be granted a DMV permit, if they are designed as hop on hop off vehicles, you jump on, the vehicle rides along, comes to a stop after a while, maybe at an art piece, the temple, the trash fence, etc, empties, and then takes off empty for a few minutes, before stopping to pick up random people who want to hop on. This system will also encourage more people walking and riding their bike on the Playa… This is how it certainly it used to be… You actually had to make a mental calculation if you wanted to hop on the art car, because that means you will end up somewhere and have to figure out how to get back…find another car to hop on or walk… In other words interact with other burners.

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        Lots of good ideas there. But how do you enforce them? What if there’s room for 30 people and 300 want to get on? That could result in even more hierarchical Studio 54 type choices about who can get on or off. And like I mentioned above, weather and mechanical problems can really complicate things. Often, as you suggest, getting on the vehicle isn’t really a great idea if you think it through… what if they are about to go spend six hours at the trash fence in a 110 degree dust storm with no water and only gifted room temperature diet gluten-free basil chutney spice almond milk wine coolers to drink – a fifteen minute walk from porta potties- and the most annoying DJ you’ve ever heard in your life is high as a kite and plowing away full tilt on a half broken sound system with non stop technical difficulties… and the one person right next to you who smells awful and is taking up your space keeps whining non-stop about how they want to go back and they lost their stuff…

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        and really, in the old days out there, everyone could drive wherever they wanted at any time at any speed and art cars were often only built to carry the driver…

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      • Elvis says:

        “but as someone who’s never gained access to an art car”. You never got on a tiny art car. There are converted busses that have room for 100. I’ve never been shut out of those. Try those. Not the dune buggy golf carts.

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    • RnoRenee says:

      I hear what you are saying Terbo Ted, the struggle of Art Car contributors is real and often unacknowledged! Out of my last 13 years of attendance I have contributed my Art Car for the last 7 years up through 2017. Although Chef Juke and the Hotties were always amazing and helpful, I just don’t think most people understand the costs, time, sweat, blood and tears (literally) that are required to build and bring even a modest art car to the playa. I for one, had no idea how involved it was! For my first 5 years of attendance, I will admit, I was judgmental of the Art Cars that didn’t look like the builder “put enough into it”. I also felt dissed when an art car denied me access *claiming* to be full, even though it looked like it could hold more. So I thought ” Ok, I’ll just build my own!” Plain and simple… I didn’t know what I didn’t know! . First of all it is exceptionally difficult to get all of one’s fabulous ideas into actual physical form. Every year I added, subtracted, changed, and modified my art car. Secondly, getting the art car to the playa is a gig all of it’s own! The time required, along with the financial and emotional cost of all of that is just stupid crazy! Overall though, I loved the artistic contribution and I loved meeting participants from all over the world. What I didn’t love was the massive liability that I had incurred by becoming an Art Car contributor! Eventually I decided no longer allow individuals that were obnoxiously drunk or high to ride with us. I was just not willing to take on the liability of their actions. I learned this lesson on my first year art car after having a drunk ass person jump off while I was driving and do a face-plant right into the playa! My brother in-law became our “bouncer” for lack of a better term, so he could limit our dance floor to a safe number of bodies. Then there were the those who tried to jump on while it was moving. It was frightening and I was not prepared to deal with such an onslaught of riders. For the following years I reduced the size of my art car to 10 people or less- so that I could more easily manage the riders. I loved giving rides, like picking up the couple who were taking turns pushing each other across the deep playa in a wheel chair because both had physical issues. I loved giving the 5 brides a spur of the moment ride to their weddings out by the Man. I loved towing the DPW VW Bug back to base camp after it broke down in deep playa. I loved picking up the couple who were married the night before and stayed out all night till dawn dancing and were just too exhausted to walk home… you get it. Over the years I had so many excellent conversations with random people who I just picked up along the way. I also had some negative experiences… One of the more memorable negative ones was once after giving four random young men a ride back to their camp ..they informed me that I needed to be back at their camp at “6:30 am, sharp” the next morning because there were some things they wanted to see across the playa (they really thought they could put in an order like an Uber!) I kindly informed them that I didn’t take orders, but if I was up at that time and they saw me out driving they could flag me down. They were pissed and indignant because “it was my duty to provide them with transport”. That mentality was not uncommon, though usually to a lesser degree. I also continuosly had different articles of trash left on my art car which I then became responsible for. And of course there is all kinds of damage (lights, upholstery, fixtures) that is done to the art car just by people getting in and out of the vehicle. People can be destructive without even meaning to be. People can also be wonderful and fabulous! Its a mixed bag and after 7 years I finally sold my art car and went without one last year! The absence of stress was palpable and so freeing! I was so glad to no longer be under that feeling of liability and under those expectations that are placed upon the Art Car contributors by BMorg and by the community! I HOPE BMorg can get BM back on track… but I can’t honestly say that my faith is that strong at this point

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    • Burnerman says:

      Are you serious? You can’t only transport people in your camp. That is absolutely discriminatory. You should reserve a set amount of space, let’s say 50%, for non-campers. BM is about inclusion, in case you haven’t noticed.

      And “security” is not a valid reason. Your own campers could just as well steal stuff. You could steal stuff from your fellow campers. Other art cars let people on, for crying out loud, if you’re going to come up with an excuse, come up with one that makes sense.

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        I suppose then that art cars should be treated like a free public shuttle? But not?

        It seems good advice now is that if you are riding on an art car and want to leave your jacket and/or backpack/purse on board, you should get a bike lock and put your personal belongings in a lockable case and chain it all up inside.

        I’m going to stop riding in art cars period and ride by bike or walk instead.

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    • Chef Juke says:

      Ted,

      I would STRONGLY encourage your and your campmates to consider taking part in the Burn Area Imprecise Transport (BAIT) program. It give you an opportunity to share your vehicle with the public at large at specific times for a 90 minute round trip from the city, out to the man, the temple and back. If you just did 2-3 ‘shifts’ per week, you would both get the opportunity to engage with folks, show off your vehicle and have a more participatory experience (and so would they. the DMV expects to have a significant push to have more vehicles and riders this year, so please discuss with your mates, putting BAIT into your planning.

      Sincerely,
      Chef Juke
      DMV Council

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      • Terbo Ted says:

        I keep expanding my personal rules in regards to the Burning Man experience. A few years ago I made a decision to never go on, up or in any structure intended to be burned. This was after getting injured inside the Lighthouse and it being so crowded there was no way to safely exit the structure in any sort of timely manner.

        My new personal rule will include never riding inside an art car again. I’ll definitely go on or in them when parked, if invited by the hosts. But I’m going to insist on riding my bike or walking to get from point A to point B.

        The bizarre entitlement people have in regards to wanting or demanding to go on art cars without understanding the consequences of such are maddening. Are we all supposed to share our tents and bedding now? Everyone shares the RV AC when it’s hot out? Where do consent boundaries of personal space and property end out there? Are the use of bike locks going to be banned? Can I share your girlfriend? She looks like lots of fun and no one should discriminate against me just because I’m old and a little overweight, it’s not fair that you’re not sharing.

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      • RnoRenee says:

        Yes Chef Juke, I thought BAIT was an excellent concept. Your team of hotties did well when you brain stormed that solution up! I participated in it in 2016 – It’s first year, and I guess because it was so new I had very few riders waiting (I think only one, maybe two, if I remember correctly). Unfortunately BAIT doesn’t do anything to aliviate the tremendous liabilities that Art Car contributors face. But it may help the miscommunication issues between builders who appear to be discriminatory and community members who come off as entitled or demanding (both of which could just be misperceptions) The green flags let everyone know which Art Cars are actually open for public service… and as an Art car owner, I loved the idea of contributing to the community in a structured and verifiable way. -win/win

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      • MV Admire-er says:

        I couldn’t take the time and sadness that time would be filled with to read this thread about MV’s and the trials and tribulations of both operators and wannabe passengers….

        My first year I was invited onto The Contessa, THE ship of all ships to ever sail the playa. The entire crew was dressed as what we think pirates or shipmates and captains should look like. At least 15 of the crew was a band, and they would moor the ship at various places, the band would leave the ship, start playing and about 10 dancers of their crew would put on choreographed dance.

        I told one of them how much I admired their entire project and he said “Come on board and check it out!”

        Perhaps the next year, I asked to ride another art car (they weren’t “MV’s” in those days) and was rejected with no kindness at all from the asshat controlling entry into a very empty vehicle.

        I never asked for a ride for the next 15 years.

        But on my 16th year and I was invited onto a first run on the “VW Bus” from the Walter camp. (Caliope camp?)

        I don’t go to TTITD to deal with rejection. It’s not a big deal for me in the default world, but why tempt it out there? I meet the kindest people out there and our interactions can be 2 seconds or the entire week long. I don’t need anything from MV’s but to enjoy them from the outside. One of my favorite things to do on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday is to hang out at the DMV both day and night to check out the MV’s getting approved, and sometimes have GREAT conversations with the makers as I admire their work.

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  • Terbo Ted says:

    Humano has been one of my favorite camps these past years. I missed 2018 but their first year in 2016 was excellent for burgins

    https://burners.me/2016/09/10/year-of-the-mexicans/.

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  • YMB says:

    This is really good news. As someone who is now priced out of being an on-site BRC citizen (but who in the past was a camp organizer and an art-piece creator), there is a lot of wisdom in realizing how much the ticketing process very directly affects the composition of the community. I really hope this year’s ticketing process will give those who can’t quickly pay top dollar the chance to attend as a citizen again.

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  • Damun says:

    Beautiful to hear … and such important steps in the ongoing development and evolution of the culture and community of BM … and building the culture and community that we want to live in year-round, world-wide.

    I’ve been going most years since 2003, and it’s great to see the continued evolution, care, and thoughtfulness, year by year.

    Thanks, and good luck exploring how to address these complex issues.

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  • Joe says:

    Thank you! Overdue but I’m hopeful to see a true change.

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  • Gatorman says:

    Bravo, Bravo, Bravo!!!!!!!

    Thank you.

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  • Hanneke says:

    Ive never been to Burning Man but I have wanted to for years because Im a creative and I love to see that creative/ coworking atmosphere. But then all these influencers and celebrities popped up and it became a commercial circus. Put me off from going. It’s good to see things are about to change to bring back the original idea of Burning man.

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  • Terbo Ted says:

    what happened to my post praising Humano? they have been one of my favorite camps in recent years. I missed their 2018 camp but 2016 was very impressive for burgins…

    getting increasingly annoyed at org censorship of conflicting ideas. vibe crusher.

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  • Sam from Australia says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. Thanks for your letter Marian, it’s a difficult (also rewarding I’m sure) job you’ve got but small steps to re-correct course and build awareness for the community will get us there. Sometimes people just need a firm reminder!!

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  • Thank you for your efforts to address this problem.

    I think one possible way to solve this problem is by implementing 100% directed ticketing where everyone must show how they would participate before being allowed to purchase tickets – art project, performance, volunteering, etc. You should to set-up a system where people would submit a participation proposal and then you decide how many thickets would be sold to them in order support their proposal. I think doing this would greatly help to successfully move Burning Man towards reaching it’s participation, decommodification and civic responsibility goals.

    Thanks!

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  • Anna Straca says:

    1) Drop your numbers.

    It’s not necessary or advisible to be at 78,000, for two reasons: one, it’s not necessary because Regionals are now so numerous. Two, it’s not advisable because the present size of BRC is and has been straining the capacity of infrastructure as all at BMP would know first-hand. Size brings serious challenges, and super-sizing isn’t a healthy diet. Get trim, lose that excess baggage you’ve picked up along the way.

    Bigger may be better in the archetypal spirit of enterprise, bit the sparks that lit this fire weren’t supposed to ignite a dumpster fyre.

    2) Support your Regionals – get out there, personally.

    Your channels , comms content, GLC and ELS presentations & talks and are gushingly florid with narrative that indicates BMP is thrilled, amazed and enthusiastic about the spread of Regionals – and supports them in all manner of ways. The reality doesn’t square – far-flung regionals would benefit from your wisdom and funding to grow sustainably so that they become fertile nodes of the broader cultural ecosystem, and go on to spawn and spark in ways contextual to their locations and civic landscape. Walk the talk – back it up by sending your team out of their comfort zones to bright & scary new frontiers, of which there are many, some of which are barely on you radar. That’s how fast this community is growing – the center itself, being hemispherically and historically Western, largely appears not to fully appreciate how far the reach, and fertilty, of Regionals has become.

    The result of greater global Regional interaction by the core mothership BMP crew will engender a re-callibration that will spawn resilience through first-hand experiences of how, why & where the growing global community are navigating obstacles that would be new, familiar or unexpectedly universal to BMP staff and crew. And when I suggest sending your team, I mean everyone and I mean everywhere else other than the comfort zone of the US and Europe.. The GLC, Autumnal gathering, sessions at Eskalen and the ELS are all very good and well – as is Fly Ranch – but there’s much more happening beyond. Get out there – way out there. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to confirm that both the culture and community are growing, robust and bucking some serious broncos at far-flung rodeos. And many of those involved have not ever been, or could even afford, to get to the Gerlach Regional Rodeo each August. They don’t need to do – Burning Man is happening everywhere, and often in a more accessible and dare I say more authentic manner.

    3) Cast out the moneylenders

    Allowing plug and play camps, and the entitlement mentality they attract to be offset by large art and art car patronage (or donations to BMP) is the gateway drug. It compromises the decommodified spirit of our culture, the community and the temporary cities that we create, globally, by reinforcing an ‘us & them’ separation. We don’t need them – or the Instagramification of our culture they feed and feast on. We need doers, makers, outsiders, original thinkers, mavericks and pranksters – the type that open minds, not check books.

    4) Narrow the eye of the needle

    Add more creative obstacles to getting a ticket. The acculturation questionnaire is great thinking (and a good example of how BMP learned a trick from Regionals) – build on that. Bait & switch is fair game, as the ends justify the prankster means: the result is humans engaged to a greater degree, finding a home and throwing their hearts at it all. Cacophonize the entry path to the experience by using the hype as leverage to flip the script. You’ve nothing to lose, but much lost ground to gain.

    Thank you to you all, for everything you do. Let’s set the world alight.

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  • Terri Petersen says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! Another thought regarding discouraging those who are merely “takers”…is there a way to discourage/limit folks who only arrive late in the week? My experience has been that the atmosphere really deteriorates in the last couple of days before the Man burn. Folks that come just for the weekend are likely not contributors.

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  • Tony B. says:

    In the article:
    ““I am disappointed with the attitudes of the mutant vehicle and art car folks. Their gatekeepers are very discriminatory on who they let ride. I was actually told, ‘No, it’s too late for old people to be out, anyway,’ ‘you’re not pretty enough,’ and ‘we’re only picking up hot girls right now.’ I asked other camp members and heard similar stories. …”

    Yes, and this has been going on FOREVER. The creepiest is when a car stops, and you go to get on as a couple, and they welcome you on, hand the woman a drink and kind of push her forward into the vehicle, hold the guy back for a moment with some pretense of something legit, then push the guy back out and say “ladies only tonight.”
    You wonder what is in that drink?
    I dunno, but my wife figured the game out, despite the guys on the car telling her ‘I don’t know, he just took off.’
    Anyway, she’s no fool and the dude ended up wearing the drink and she got off the car.
    Yeaaaaah… So indeed, Burningman may be changing, but that was either the Shark or the Squid in 2002. same thing, more or less, happened later that week with the other car (I just forget which happened first), except we wouldn’t let them separate us at the door after that first time.

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    • Chef Juke says:

      Tony,

      Very sorry you had such a negative experience on a Mutant Vehicle. One of the challenges the DMV has is that we hear about these types of incidents more as hearsay on social media than direct reports from participants. And when people say something has been going on “Forever” we believe them, but we don’t have any direct info to be able to follow up with a MV Owner about (or get to see who are the vehicles with multiple reports of issues).

      As the person in the DMV who is tasked with following up on EVERY complaint on Mutant Vehicles each year, I do very much take it seriously when someone has a complaint about a vehicle and do my best to try to ascertain if a situation was a one-off or a pattern and make sure we’re having the right conversations with the MV owners about it. But we get relatively few complaints each year.

      In fact, there are complaints about more vehicles in this thread than the DMV received this year directly, so we have to get folks to let us KNOW when there are problems, and not just assume that we are aware of them already.

      You can ALWAYS email dmv@burningman.org if you have any questions or complaints related to Mutant Vehicles on the playa.

      Thanks,

      Chef Juke
      DMV Council

      Chef Juk

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      • Pooh says:

        He Chef,

        Do you have a team of volunteers that can “shop” the mutant vehicle situation? Basically they would go out and attempt to utilize the mutant vehicle system as intended (an informal and chaotic transportation system) and report back on what they find. It’s a bit more proactive than waiting for complaints. Don’t use cute young people though. This is a job for old fat people like me.

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  • Wizard says:

    Marion — thank you for stepping up! It’s going to take me a while to digest this, but I’m floored by this!

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  • Brian says:

    GREAT article… we have owned and operated the “Whomp Wagon” for the last three years and have always been fully inclusive to EVERYONE… We added fire cannons last year, so if you see us out there this year, please come say “hi” and fire the cannons!!!

    )'(

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  • Todd says:

    Thanks for this effort. This moment in human history is one of deep conflict. Powerful interests from oil to data, are trying to rig the system for their monopoly and enjoyment, which means our displacement and misery. Burning Man needs to rig Black Rock City for equality and sustainability. In addition to these measures, I suggest abolishing all pre-sale, extra expense tickets. These tickets guarantee a disproportionate number of rich folk and the “all inclusive” crowd. Make it equally difficult, and equally random – except for the legit art projects and inclusive encampments. To raise money, so that these folks get their special buzz, have them pay lots of money for events off the playa. Galas in San Francisco where they get their picture in the society page. Philanthropy is about doing good, right? No, it is usually about making the donor feel good. So let’s move that out of Black Rock City. Lastly, the RVs rented on site, or even in such abundance is nuts, aesthetically offense (to me), and totally polluting. Burning Man needs some carbon accounting. The wood is already going up in smoke, let’s start to limit the fossil fuels burned by RV generators. Let’s rig Black Rock for sustainability, not fossil fuels. PS – I’ve been three times, the last time was dispiriting for the first time encountering “tourist types” refusing to participate, or even be safe by defiantly claiming “dark-wad” status as if it were a badge of honor. Let’s hope move this kicks some ass.

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  • Oddty711 says:

    Thank you Thank you for such a thoughtful and measured response to the cultural issues that have been growing over the last decade.
    Sadly many of the responses here include suggestions to address symptoms of a larger problem that would all have much larger unintended consequences. Ideas like closing the airport, putting names on tickets and banning RVs would all disproportionally affect ADA burners and put up additional barriers to core burners attending. I really respect how your response to these issues is holistic and not reactionary.
    In my 15 years of burning the largest cultural evolution I’ve noticed is the disproportional growth of DJ/Sound camps and MVs. And while music is great and has been and should continue to be part of BRC, the entitlement and non-participating culture that follows many music festivals outside of BRC has crept in and this is likely the root of our problems with PnP camps, exclusionary behavior and non-participation.
    I suspect if you focus on changing the culture of these camps and MVs we will see fewer groups and attendees who don’t get it and less bad behavior overall. I fully support actions like giving Robot Heart a time out for a few years until they can accept “embrace the stranger” as one of the 10 principals, without thought to appearance or age. Or limiting the combined total of sound camps and DJ MVs. If you focus your attention and enforcement in this segment of the city, the problems of entitlement and their symptoms will decrease.
    I favor this approach over other, more global strategies like reducing the overall number of art cars.
    As to OSS, I understand limiting vendors to those who understand the 10 principals and won’t abuse their access. However I’d like to advocate for a balance where we can have multiple options of vendors for at least the common needs, like hauling in our camp’s semi-trailer, specifically to prevent price gouging. This past year my camp transitioned to a semi-trailer to save money on storage locker and truck rentals so we could redirect those funds to expendables to allow us to increase our visible appeal and run our bar for more hours fo the day. If there’s no competition of vendors in OSS, then prices will rise and that will come directly out of gifting budgets.

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    • Claire says:

      Oddty711,
      Without a doubt the ADA status will be respected not just because it’s federal law and BRC is on BLM but also thanks to the built in ethos such as what the DMV offers. I believe Maid Marian was focused on the pre packaged RV’s.

      I would invite you to contact the DMV to double check : While BRC kept on growing the number of authorized & registered artcars aka mutant vehicles has very much been kept at the similar number for years.
      There are indeed a greater number of sound cars. You may remember the early ones Space Cowboys and Disorient who both decided to seek Deep Playa rather than stay on Esplanade. Or may be this was previous to your time.

      I very sincerely do not understand your stance on Robot Heart which has now over 10 years on playa, and actually mostly in deep playa.

      In no uncertain words, you seem to wrap entitlement, plug n play, bad behavior, exclusionary behavior, non participation, under one finger pointing at Robot Heart as if the Fulcrum.
      Your comment ‘until they can accept “embrace the stranger” as one of the 10 principals, without thought to appearance or age’ comes thru as one of the most despicable behavior on playa : ‘The Holier that Thou’ burner.

      Do you know of their many outreach at BM? They do not talk about it but ask and you shall find out about their regular outings through the week bringing refreshments & sustenance to artists working on their pieces in the harshest of elements. Have you ever lent them a hand in gathering the dozen of bikes left behind strewn across the playa at the end of their 10-12 hours gifting music?
      Did you help fill any of the garbage bags they pass along to pick up moop from burners not so committed to LNT to then carry them back to their camp?

      Did you ever know that early on as the gates open, they drive to the gate to add a bit of umph to the gate crew welcoming us in the city standing there for hours in heat & dust and yet always with the right word and smile. I was stunned. That one hot afternoon, I was working on my artcar when I heard the smoothest of bossa nova coming my direction, looked up, ran to them to ask where they were going: there they were crawling to the gate. It apparently was not their first time, and I bet not their last one.

      Besides delicious yoga sunset sessions with chill music, or that pretty amazing surprise/non advertised live performance several years back of Thievery Corporation on top of the graffitied bus, all their music activities are far from esplanade into deep playa not impacting neighbors. In other words one has to go and seek them.
      If it is not one’s vibe, one does not have to go nor stay!

      Do not discount the amount of interactions, kinship and friendships formed either for that moment or long lasting around that sound car.
      Please do not mistake nor underestimate who is attracted to that music, that moment, that heart.

      Nor should you draw up the profile of the active camp members. There are no sherpas nor concierges there.
      They each invest much sweat and participation of all kinds equity.
      Get to know them before you lump them into labels that do not fit them.

      How would you feel if we were to say I single out Oddly’s bar to be blacklisted because he did not let me fill-in-the-blank. You are invested in your bar, proud of it, feel that you participate and gift, and want to share it.
      I would be surprised if you were letting someone rule your bar if entitled, altered to the extent of being belligerent, etc. You catch my drift.
      I can promise you that 99% of artcar owners and operator/crew will be challenged many times over the course of a run, a DJ set by borderline abusive requests & pressures. I have seen it and I have lived it. It takes a great amount of mindfulness, conviction and dedication to work with that, and there are choices to be made for the greater good.
      Will this person create good and respectful spirit around a crammed space if they act in such pressing manner at the door? of trying to board? Or at any bar?

      Is your quick and loud judgement call stemming from some unfortunate encounter or a turned down request to get on board delivered with entitlement or even possible provocation as I have often witnessed over the years under the ‘inclusivity’ umbrella open to so many interpretations.

      It just occurs to me that you may not have been there where a group of playful naked men asked to come up AND dance in the heart? Or how about when Mr. C took over after DJ Tennis that late Friday morning last year?
      Discrimination? None.

      It is an easy cheap shot to target them. I for one, and I have seen many other around and onboard the bus, am not a young skinny babe, I carry my grey hair with pride of the many years I have lived along with my dancing full body and do feel a sense of belonging as they have not ever made me feel I should not be there, all the contrary.
      It’s about timing, awareness.
      It’s always comes down to how one interacts that will lead the nature of the exchange. At your bar, at Robot Heart, at center camp, in line at Artic, on any artcar, etc. one has a choice to enter into an exchange without provocation, nor slamming the word inclusion loudly to test one’s level of adherence to the 10 principles.

      One interesting fact is that other very large size music artcars that came long after RH are far more restrictive of access.
      It is not as noticeable because by design their door access is not facing the community gathered by the sound system but placed either behind or on the side of their vehicle.
      So yes at peak times there is a troupe of peeps waiting some more patient than others, some more pressing and agitated and agitating than others, some more altered than others.
      The irony is that the sound and room to dance is so far greater in front in the dust.
      I do not envy the peeps at the door and yet they do it in hope to get as many to go up taking turn to enjoy the view for a bit meanwhile concerned about the comfort and space for the VJ’s & DJ’s at work in a limited space. As for the heart, it’s about safety.

      To be clear I do not camp with Robot Heart I happen to have stumbled upon them on one of their first sunrises back in the day, way before IG.
      It’s about the music and the community enjoying it.
      I would hope that one is astute enough to look at its diversity rather than cheaply disparaging such eloquent, generous & dedicated efforts.

      And I am referring to their many other gifting to the community at large, the entire playa, to the burners that may not come to RH for night & sunrise sets, nor the hook ups with Mayan Warrior, nor magnifying the Distrikt experience.

      I am talking about their magnificent participation to lending (after major professional tuning) their sound system to amplify richly the Symphonic Orchestra around the Tree of Life, the Baba Yaga, the Sonic Runway…
      Were you at any of these? MANY burners WERE, Many burners of all ages and creed were moved deeply. Many refer to these moments as special.

      Besides the likes of Eggs bar, HOTD, Spikey’s, the Bar Alley and a handful more which are major components of the BRC matrix, I in all sincerity doubt that any bar has such wide reach and celebratory effects for all ages, all communities within Burning Man.

      How would you feel if we were to push for the reduction of number of bars in the city because
      frankly they are very many bars.

      Many burners, new and old, link the number of bars with the upsurge of the frat house party atmosphere that keeps being louder and far more noticeable throughout the city with all its ramifications.

      If indeed you are at your year 10, you know what I mean about their proliferation. Few were libations spots back in the day. I reckon that while offering a festive atmosphere, opening, manning a bar may not be the most complex.

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  • Will says:

    Mariann,

    Thank you. I can only hope that there are actions and outcomes that come from this. I have not attended the last 3 years because of the shift in the culture I felt. I was a medic with Emergency Services for four years both on Playa and off at SF events, I love that team and miss the opportunity and fulfillment of working and giving in Medical. However, my experiences outside my shifts became so disappointing (many of the things you and others have mentioned in this thread) I could not go back.

    I have a friend, a young musician, who wants to experience the transformative community that I have described, but I have honestly been worried that only disappointment awaited. This post is the first true ray of light – of hope- that the culture and community may not be totally corrupted. And, the first time I have even thought of attending in a long time.

    Thank you.

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  • Ryan says:

    The directed group sale doesn’t necessarily stop the problems laid out in this article. I’ve seen theme camps “sell” large chunks of their camp ticket allotment to super wealthy people or models at high prices to garner “street cred” or attract the “cool kids” to their camp. While it’s nice to see BORG more actively address these issues, what really needs to happen is more policing of the 10 principals. If you ban or bust and expose bad actors all of the non participant people will change eventually. We all know who the really bad camps are, and still somehow they are back every year with a different camp name at worst.

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  • Trendar says:

    Hell yeah! Excellent news all round, and thankyou Marian. Let’s see how all this develops over the next year or two.

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  • Elizabeth Garris says:

    Thank you Marion. Thank you for addressing these issues and helping us move into a future that serves us all not just a select few.

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  • Chef Juke says:

    Regarding ART CAR / MUTANT VEHICLE issues,

    There are a number of comments in this thread about negative experiences with Art Cars/Mutant Vehicles. And one of the major problems we have is…people complain (sometimes vaguely) on Social Media but don’t actually send these complaints to the Burning Man DMV.

    We can’t work to address the problem with a particular vehicle if we don’t know about it. EVERY Mutant Vehicle that applies paints a rosy picture of what they will do on the playa, but we can’t ride (or try to ride) every MV, so we don’t know how they are behaving, treating people unless people report it to us.

    For reference, the DMV received reports from participants concerning negative behavior by a total of, i believe, 5 vehicles at last year’s event.

    Believe it or not, we follow up on EVERY complaint that comes into us about any Mutant Vehicle. Every fall we look at all the Black Rock Ranger reports of vehicle issues and every email and website submission of a complaint, and circle back to the Mutant Vehicle owners to discuss.

    So if you had a bad (or a particularly GOOD) experience with a Mutant Vehicle, it’s fine to post about it online, but it’s better to let the folks who can help address the issue know too:

    email dmv@burningman.org

    Chef Juke
    DMV Council

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  • Marian –

    I want you to know I really appreciate this. Obviously you and some other people have been paying attention and giving this a lot of thought.

    If I could share a little if my own experience – I won’t bother talking about how things have changed, etc.; everybody knows all about that by now. What I’d like to say is this:

    When I came to the Playa for the first time, *I didn’t buy a ticket – it was given to me.* That means that someone thought that it was time for me to come; that I needed to be there. I think that’s important. (In fact, since I started volunteering for medicl,the only tickets I’ve ever bought I gave to other people.

    So there you have it. I’m not saying that )'( needs to be a members-only, by invitation-type thing, but there has to be a limit on newbies and a major effort to stabilize the population that “gets it.” It sounds like that’s maybe the direction we’re headed. I really hope so, and I hope it’s not too late.

    Cheers, and best wishes.

    Artifex Felix
    Aka Solaris
    Aka Jack

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    • Munchkyn says:

      A limit on newbies? Seriously? What happened to “radical inclusivity”?

      I have spent years supporting Burning Man from the outside, either helping build artwork or writing news articles about them for Playa publication, so everyone can learn more about these creative and beautiful contributions. But I’ve never actually been to Burning Man. I’ve never been able to buy a ticket. I’ll try again this year.

      If I do get a ticket, I hope I run into you. We can sit outside my tent and watch the sunset, and you can share your wisdom with this newbie. I look forward to learning from your experience. I hope you won’t shut me out because of my lack of it.

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  • The Dude says:

    Marion,

    Thanks to you and the teams for looking at the problems that have developed as BM has grown. As with growth there often comes a time of adjustment. By addressing these issues openly there should be no criticisms about closed door meetings.

    You go girl!

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  • The Hustler says:

    I feel that the culture and philosophy of Burning Man is a mechanism where we can ask ourselves and our neighbors who we are as humans; what Burning Man, the United States, and other nations are as cultures; and what our individual place in these cultures is.

    I applaud the effort to steer Burning Man toward a more just and robust community.

    I believe it is an unprecedented task: what other city of 70,000 – as part of a culture of many more – makes active measure to steer the culture, especially away from consumerist or fascist ideologies?

    It’s easy to say these changes are too slow or too little, but I believe making slow corrections makes them more stable and allows the citizenry to adopt those changes more naturally.

    As a Burning Man volunteer staff member, I get to interact with Burning Man staff, the community and people who are trying to understand more about us and how everything works. I’m honored that I get to do that (I have to admit it’s also a lot of fun) and that I can share the philosophy and culture of Burning Man in a university environment (I’m a returning comm university student).

    Reading this makes me pretty damn happy; thanks for your work and the work of the army of people who make this crazy experiment work.

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  • Charlie Altamont says:

    I advocate for a Silent Burn.
    A chrysalis year for the Giant Sound Camp monstrosities
    No sound system over 500 watts

    I guarentee thousands of Chad&Becky tourists will not attend when word gets out their 23 favorite DJs arent performing in front of 100K watts or at their turnkey after party

    Sometimes healing hurts a little. Turning down the “festival” vibe and turning up the “community” vibe needs to happen. Theres a thousand other places built to buy music

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    • Charlie says:

      charlie charlie charlie,

      if it is too loud, you are too old. why are so many people demonizing sound camps. this isn’t a bluegrass festival or the rainbow gathering.

      if something i don’t understand or value gets in the way of me enjoying my burn, it must be the problem and therefore, it must be controlled.

      Sorry, Charlie. Nobody gunna ban loud music. just ain’t gonna happen.

      just stay in your camp and steer clear of the Esplanade or 2 and 10 where it is safe. Or better yet, you should just Buil a Wall and make Burning Man Great Again. Keep out all the young ravers, and create a sound police task force. maybe not let anybody under the age of 35 in for 2019 Burn you know. Not until we figure this whole sound camp thing out.

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      • Fuckdubstep says:

        Douchebag, the noise isn’t limited to anywhere. The noise cars drive the entire length and width of the city blasting 100 decibel noise 24 hours. There is no quiet place to escape drug addict ravers. DJs like you are the problem.

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  • Nomad says:

    Thank You, I would love to see a question like “How do you plan to participate at this year’s Burn?” on the ticket registration to remind people that participItation is key to the event, and to get them thinking now, so they have plenty of time by gate opening.

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  • David says:

    I understand the need for a police presence but burning man has become a police state with fear and intimidation! That combined with the gauntlet that we must drive through with our Butt’s puckered getting to black rock has made it oh so uncomfortable. We are spending thousands of dollars and mean no harm. Why are we treated with fear?!

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  • Navlyn Wang says:

    I have proposed this before – there are huge benefits in getting rid of new entry after Wed – less “tourists” who do not contribute to the city actively, more tickets for those dedicated to co-creating the city, and for birgins, a much more integral experience where they can see and appreciate how the city comes together.

    I have brought many birgins to BRC, and I always tell people that I will only bring them if they commit to being there from the beginning.

    Has a change like this been considered for ticketing? Wondering if the Borg sees any downsides that I don’t see? I would love to contribute and help figure out if this proposal has legs – it would require some basic analysis of the in/out patterns and the operational capacity of the city, but I can see a version of this really getting us back to the original intent of the burnin man culture

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  • Dorian says:

    Wow! Amazing initial steps!

    Frankly I’ve been blown away by the art car issue. We tried to get on so many in 2017 and finally a buddy literally called in a favour off-Playa and got us on one. How crazy is that?! It all seemed to fly in the face of what Burning Man is about.

    I spent the following year designing an inclusive art car but since then we’ve gone a different direction.

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    • Chef Juke says:

      Dorian,

      Wish that you would have let the DMV know. We often hear about stuff anecdotally (as in your comment here) but very few people email us directly and let us know about a negative interaction with an MV. We do follow up on EVERY report/complaint sent to us.

      Also, the last two years we’ve had the Burn Area Imprecise Transit program that had MVs showing up on routes throuhout the city to give rides, but so far, not that many people have partaken. and a numberr of the MVs were mostly empty while driving folks through the city, out to the man and temple and back again.

      We’re working to get the word out to more folks this year, but it should be easier to get a ride on an MV.

      If you DO have a bad experience with an MV to report, please email dmv@burningman.org and we’ll follow up with the MV owners.

      Chef Juke
      DMV Council

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  • Dorian says:

    Is like to see tiered vehicle passes for those on-Playa (deliveries being different).

    Car $100
    RV $300
    Panel truck and larger $800

    Permits must be stuck inside windshield for duration of event.

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  • Paul Carey says:

    In this view of this 90s burner, the projects biggest issue is one of growth. A few years back I reviewed the CVs of some of the board members. All of these folks were 1%-ers,, high value earners. For the most part the board was focused on growth because that is what they are ultimately responsible for in the defaut world.

    In the decade from ’97 ~ ’06 the project grew pretty much organically. Since, wow. Growth for the sake of growth is the philosophy of a cancer cell.

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    • Sous les pavés says:

      *Oh hell yes, the demise of organic growth* aka let’s milk this cash cow, is one of the most serious roots that caused the fall of a really truly unique social experience/experiment. Between the thin facade of “inclusivity” was the ever growing ticket model absolutely to generate as much income as possible, even so much to tell their own departments to cut their budgets so more money could go to the juggernauts guise of spreading the “ethos”.

      “Burning Man founder Larry Harvey was passionately committed to steering the culture.”

      Another massive misstep is the idea that manufacturing an ethos around a previously organic event
      and then attempting to control and mold the population around said ethos is even remotely sustainable. Especially when blatantly pandering to the 1% with OSS as well as private chefs / hired staff to wait hand and foot on the Org’s First Camp, and throw private parties to woo potential donors to the conveniently crafted non-profit. The great divide of “us versus them” between staff and volunteers / participants starts from the top. The emperor is pretty fucking naked at this point ya’ll.

      “Burning Man Project controls the levers that provide people and their resources access to Black Rock City…”

      Who runs Barter Town? Don’t you forget it.

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      • Joy says:

        ^^ This

        But – what shall we do next? I say, ditch it. Let the Titanic sink, run for the lifeboats, our only goal will be the Western shore. Now that we – in theory – know better, we should be able to create our own Burn, organically, without the greed and the short-sightedness. Sure, it won’t be 70000 people in BRC. So what?

        Do we have, um, emotional attachment to the place itself? That same place where we BURN the fuckin’ Man?! Where we leave NO trace? Where we celebrate ephemerality and non-conformity and creativity… and still go back to do the same experience, every single fucking time? If the substance doesn’t deliver, don’t take more – maybe it’s time to change the setting, man. Out of the ashes, bitches.

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  • Shaun says:

    Ha. This bull is why I only go during 4th of July. That and ditching my students their first weeks of classes is wrong in too many ways.

    Fyre festival on the Playa, 2019. Yay!

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  • G says:

    2011 was the pivotal turning point. Ticket demand exceeded supply. “Radical Inclusion” died then and there. A lot of the original culture did too. The core participants who came year after year and contained, developed, and shared the culture was fragmented and shut out. So many of the benchmark camps just vanished. The allocation and competition for tickets has encouraged gentrification.
    It is a super difficult and complex situation to deal with. Burning Man is so much a victim of its own success. The resistance to the “Disney in the Dust” trend is noble, and needs to be nurtured. Marion’s essay here strikes a hopeful note. IMHO the course of action outlined could be more forceful, it feels a bit weak. The battle is on to prevent the event from becoming more of a hollow parody of itself than it already has. Time will tell. Organization is what saved the event in its early years, organization was the most amazing thing to me when I first attended in 2003. My proposal here for the ticketing process is simply another facet of detailed and effective organization. Any city has rules that make it the city what it is. BRC is no different. I wish the best of luck to the Org in this endeavor.
    IMHO, named tickets and some sort of qualification process for ticket sales is the key. There needs to be a checklist of qualifications and intent, as well as some demonstrated understanding of the Principles. That would be a good start. With some regret, I think that buying a ticket needs to be a bit like a job interview.
    Since 2011 ticketing has been inherently exclusionary anyway. I say shape and construct that exclusionary process to best preserve the community behaviors that were nurtured in the past. The Org. has, or can get the systems in place in this day and age of digital data processing to do this.

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  • Ross Williams says:

    Too little…. too late. As if any of this is new. This SLIDE into “default world” culture becoming far too predominant has been going on for at least a decade. MY first clue came when me and my company were asked to help “fix” the Man after the arson incident. After paying my employees triple time to get the job done in time……. and driving it to the Playa from Reno myself at midnight……. my wife and I were treated like LIARS and criminals…. after pulling a 24 hour turn around. I nearly drove back without delivering the goods. I knew then, BM leadership, who were in First Camps and who denied our entry without checking who we were…. had lost touch with their own culture. My company used to print the “blueprint” maps of the official city grid for years.Good luck getting it back… Too little. Too late. You’ve lost many of those who were the better citizens of Black Rock City by virtue of your own disregard for the situation for over a decade….. and by default….. have invited in ALL that is “common” from the “default world.” Sad. Disappointing. Stupid.

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  • splat kenoreno says:

    Well expressed, Marian,

    The changes have come at a seemingly exponential rate over the last ten years. A backstep towards smaller, more easily interacting communities, all Burners, would warm my soul. Thank you for speaking to these issues.

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  • T Crow says:

    Well, good luck Borg. Our 12th and last year was 2012. Encountering dozens of assholes every day on the playa got old. Between the careless, clueless tourists and the hateful, verbally abusive “staff”…no thanks, the magic is long gone. I can go elsewhere to spend my hard earned money and vacation hours.

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  • Rabbi says:

    Thanks Marian it’s great to see these changes happening and I appreciate the care and attention that you give to the 10 principles. I feel it’s likely that these changes are going to make a difference.

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  • ASW says:

    Thanks for this article. It breaks my heart to see these things that are described here happening on Playa. Newbies think it’s just another festival, and everything that makes The Burn so special, so transformative… is slowly disappearing.
    Here’s another example… here, a very large audience now thinks this is ok:
    https://www.instagram.com/p/BtodJMSDKRs/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=10o6exg2x12w

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  • Sweet Baby Jesus says:

    1. Sell tickets based on entry dates. Those entering on Sunday night when gates open are filled first. Monday second, etc. You can only enter on the date your ticket is for. Priority goes to people committing to the week.
    2. Sell tickets with the ticket holder’s name on it.
    3. The airport is for emergencies only.
    4. Ban any camp that advertises DJ’s or lineups

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    • Rasalon says:

      Excellent points, amen to this, wish it would be implemented.

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    • Blue Coyote says:

      Thanks Marian,
      Nice to hear someone is paying attention to what amounts to a playa-wide culture crisis. I’ll be reiterating some common themes in this thread, but the importance of these items cannot be overstated because they must be heard and fully implemented if you truly care about this culture. Here they are:
      1. Close the airport to non-emergency, non-essential flight.
      2. Drastically limit on-line connectivity in the city.
      3. No “warnings” for camps that screw up. You know the rules going in— period.
      4. Create a ticket system to drastically curtail mid-week entry “tourism.”
      5. Actually enforce the MV volume agreements, and consider limiting the noise levels even more.
      6. No pre-placed RV’s except for staff.
      7. Don’t just ask ticket buyers if they know it’s not a “music festival” ask them exactly what they will be adding to the culture.
      8. Empower and train the rangers to be much more proactive in being bold cultural ambassadors who are not afraid to educate the unprincipled.
      Oh, there is more, but this would be a nice start. When I see these issues addressed I’ll know the retro-metamorphosis has begun.

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  • John says:

    How about getting a handle on placement. Loyal, long standing great camps and villages get pushed farther back near the outskirts of the city, while new, terrible, seemingly always abandoned camps move closer to esplanade. Try putting an end to the pay for placement bullshit.

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  • Oh-No! says:

    I’ll uphold the 10 Principles in practice and deeply in my heart. I’ll continue to have playa dates with my grabber as we MOOP sweep until the trash fence and back to camp, I’ll continue to look community in the eye to share a crusty smile or high five our calloused, labored hands from building that extra shade structure for folks to rest under.. but after 8+ years of publications outlining particular P-n-P cultural exclusion or MOOPy chubs getting placement (in BRC Weekly and other public platforms) .. I raise an eyebrow at this article.

    BM org has outlined lofty goals… Skeptical that the org’s changes are 1) Implemented 2) send timely waves of adjustment

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  • Jason Roth (aka: Goldfish) says:

    I would personally like to see this addressed:

    “Do not buy tickets from unknown and non-trusted sources. And, never pay more than face value plus fees.”

    I’ve always been able to find the tickets I’ve needed, but as they become more scarce, it kills me to see them on after market sites, like e-bay, selling for WAY over the face value. This freezes up a lot of tickets until right before the event when they need to be unloaded and foster the wrong kind of participant.

    My solution: move to a 100% electronic ticketing system and keep STEP open through the event. This would eliminate the incredible stress that goes along with dealing with shady re-sellers, or even genuine ones, because of the trust one party must give up in order to complete a transaction with a high value. If people still want tickets, give them souvenier tickets at the gate.

    Expanding STEP seems like a simple and easy fix that would eliminate scalpers all together and eliminate a huge burden on those trying to find after-sale tickets.

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  • BlueBerry, Aka DaddiBrown says:

    I am flabbergasted (that word means WTF nowadays) that there were ONLY “4,804 survey responses from 78 countries”. Geez, get it on with Participation and give BORG some feedback!! BORG, Good On Ya! THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO!!! Burning Man can help raise the consciousness and vibration of thought for attendees, which this World needs a lot more of. Thank BORG. BlueBerry

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  • Helix says:

    Thank you Marian, this is all welcome news. As a ten year burner I have been saddened to see the decrease in attendance by veteran burners. I remember seeing a census report within the last couple years which detailed that the number of burners who had attended more than 5 Burns had gone down to under 20%.

    I know it’s inevitable for people to lament how things have changed and the addage “it’s not like it used to be” could be applied as a blanket statement to anything in life. However I am a true believer in the importance of the natural evolution of this grand experiment of ours and think that the world benefits from getting as many people as possible to make the pilmigrage. After all spreading the principles and ethos of BM to more folks can only make the world a better place.

    That said, without the elder tribe members to guide the newbies who is left to guide them and impart that ethos? So figuring out how to make it easier for people who are steeped in the culture to return and to feel invested in the community is of tantamount importance.

    Since BM is a city, we are subject to many of the same challenges faced by any modern cities. I liken this one to the issue of gentrification. How do you welcome an influx of new and young people into the city without displacing those who made the city to begin with?

    I’m so glad to here that the org is thinking and talking about these things. Please let me know how I can help!

    With love!

    Helix

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    • Notyourname says:

      So glad to hear that you have heard, and are reacting to this shit. I am a participant and have friends who work for the .org. I know how hard they work and how easy it is to see people “doing it wrong”
      I’m an open-minded person and I just want to have fun.

      Keep it real you all
      X

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    • Kenneth C Baldwin says:

      Well said, Helix. As an elder and a 9X Burner (since 2004), I heartily concur. At 72 I’m not quite ready to relinquish my relevance and am always eager to share my knowledge (and the hospitality of my old motor home away from home) with anyone who shows interest.

      While I would love to come to BM every year, I have been unable to do so because of the high demand for tickets. Last year I resorted to the Pre-Sale to insure I had tickets. While that was quite an expense for me, I was fully compensated by knowing the extra money would be used by artists to create some of the myriad attractions that continue to lure me.

      Among those attractions is the opportunity to finance and house a virgin, volunteer for MOOP patrol and in non-organizational ways, hang out at Center Camp, meet and gift random fascinating people, occasionally meet young/old friends, and jet around the Playa on my bicycle.

      Now tell me, where else could I get all of these experiences concentrated in one place?!

      Love and Peace,

      Kenneth

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  • Roscoe says:

    May the Force(BRC) be with you! Love your enthusiasm!

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  • Dear Marian, Everything you said needed saying. Everything you are doing needs doing. I’m proud of our own friendly theme camp (Pepperland), the core corps of which has kept the faith on all these concepts for 15 years or more. We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and we’d be so happy to see that the ugly can be eliminated and the bad, minimized. We thank you sincerely!

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  • b says:

    boring man. sorry this sounds like an insurance seminar

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  • MJ says:

    The borg seems to be in conflict with itself. A few years ago, we were told that we needed the Medici’s in order for art to be made on the playa. The need for well heeled burners led to the explosion of OSS to include delivering your complete BM experience. Last year, we had what was effectively a hotel built that didn’t let anyone but their paying customers to share in what they brought. I have no problem with RV’s, lets just make burners drive them themselves. As this culture matured, it got stratified just like the default world. If simply spending money is radical self reliance the problem will just get worse. Lets make ticket purchase opportunities equal for all. Make EVERYONE participate in the lottery to get a ticket, and I mean everyone. Make the theme camps submit the name/burner profile of everyone that will get one of their tickets and then shut those people out of the main sale. DGS simply gives some people a chance to get a camp ticket AND enter the main sale.. meaning they get to decide who comes, not the lottery system. The idea of linking a ticket to a name is a great idea. If you can’t attend after you’ve got a ticket, return it to STEP.
    PnP was a bad idea from the start. End it all. If you don’t bring it in, it doesn’t get in.

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    • roissy says:

      With a directed sale purchase you are locked out of the main sale. You can ONLY buy two tickets on the same credit card and burner profile…
      If you are trying buying more, you need another card and profile…

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      • NY says:

        I think MJ means that a camp member can purchase 2 DGS tickets via his/her profile. That frees up another camp member (who will get that extra DGS ticket) to participate in the main sale to try to get 2 more tickets for the camp. If both camp members were blocked from the main sale this wouldn’t happen.

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  • Kevin says:

    I am of mixed minds on the changes to the ticketing. On one hand restricting PnP and camps that are inward focused is a positive step.

    I do feel though that you may be undervaluing the open campers back in K and L streets. These are streets filled two through eight people camps that are participating in the culture in less flashy ways then the premier camps. It may be the locals banding drinks together for the local bar and conversation spot. It could be Beer 30 and their comfy chairs and good conversations, or Camp Manatee who takes it upon them selves to decorate the portas with christmas themed decorations. This last year, we saw three virgin burners setup and display some of the most moving LED art at their camp that was worthy as any of being displayed on inner playa.

    The number of main sale tickets are taking the brunt of the changes. I worry how the next generation of dreamers is going to make it to the event if the competition between return burners and theme camps in the main sale makes it even more difficult for someone new to attend. I worry this will lead to some stagnation in the event.

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    • shazbat says:

      Kevin is absolutely right about the K-L burbs and Open Camping! THESE are the folks keeping the ethos alive. I volunteer a ton of hours w Earth Guardians on LNT, and personally witness it. For my shifts, I choose to work those zones because brings me so much joy!! I hate working the placed camp zones with their RV blockades lining the streets, or the elitist P & P’s and their clueless “leaders” who care less about the Principles, more concerned about assembling the innumerable boxes of brand new bikes they promised their clients than the fact their showers are spewing rivers of grey water all over the playa.

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      • Dr. Fiesta says:

        yeah i agree with a lot of this ! I read on another post that someone spoke to a placement guy who said that they were gonna try to place the whole city in the future ! Don’t know how true this is, but it would be a HUGE mistake to head in that direction. Camps evolve organically , and people need to begin small and gain experience in order to have the knowledge and resources to create a new camp. It usually takes a couple of years for you to c reate the network and decent infrastructure in place to create a successful camp. And you need to also be very acculturated to the principles. We need to always be allowing in fresh blood, and the ability for them to thrive in the environment of black rock city. Making everything placed and allowing less unregistered camps is gonna make the event more stagnant and less rich. It also takes away from the spontaneity.

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  • Thomas Van Dam says:

    Amen. I am young to this community…4 Burns in a row…but am committed to sustaining this community into the future. I am a Ranger and an active camp participant. Let keep true to the Principles.

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  • Sandy says:

    Paying per axle for camping would help

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  • Bryan says:

    Thanx for continuing to work to keeping the soul of burning man.
    I like the new ticket structure. It is difficult to get a ticket because I am not officially a theme camp.
    Participate.
    Stop by my the tin shack for a fresh ground pour over coffee and un obstructed sunrise view if your feeling it.
    I might even tune up your shitty bike. Maybe.
    4:00 all the way out past the last street. Look for the corrugated tin shack with the couch on the roof. If you can’t find, enjoy what you do find.

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  • This is great. How can we help spread this news beyond the “choir”?

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  • Doug Thompson says:

    How about the overemphasis on celebrity DJ’s? Any way to restrict it to more grass roots / underground / amateur DJ’s? That would keep away a lot of the type of people that are not in the spirit of the 10 Principles.

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  • Exactly what I wished for as a birthday present.

    Hornycorn/Robin
    02/08/78

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  • Honeybadger says:

    Thank you :-) This is a solid, and heartening message to read. Seeing the results of the survey, listening to the community and coming up with solutions at this scale in a relatively short time period? Simply awesome.

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  • Pepe says:

    I applaud the effort! Withstand the pressures! Preserve the culture! Nothing is more important than the ten principles.

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  • Very timely… Just as I discovered this Facebook group that is in response to this exact issue… The name speaks for itself…
    “Too Ugly for Robot Heart”
    https://www.facebook.com/TooUglyForRobotHeart/
    – Plaid
    Playa dust eater since 2002
    1 of 8 LA BM Regionals

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  • Rachel Klein says:

    This is such great news! I’m so very happy y’all are focusing on this! Thank you for all the hard work you do!

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  • Penguin says:

    The main issue for the last ten years is that Burning Man has become “the place to go” and it should never be about the place, rather it should be about the art and the community. I read this article and have high hopes that there is a chance that things will move back towards the core, but I still have the fear that the default world has creeped a little too far in to make it go away easily.

    Call me old fashioned but I dislike RVs, generators, cell-service and such being on playa – I’d love to see the 2020 them be “The past as future” and go back to the roots of people and art in a temporary community – no RVs, no generators, no technology, no vendors, no container delivery, etc – call it a cleansing, a rest or a sanity check – progress isn’t always good and sometimes things were already perfect before we tried and make them better.

    I do however whole-heartedly applaud BMORG for listening and working towards a better tomorrow.

    See you in the dust.

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    • shazbat says:

      ^^This!

      2020 theme “The Past as Future”.

      “…go back to the roots of people and art in a temporary community – no RVs, no generators, no technology, no vendors, no container delivery, etc…”

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    • Kenneth C Baldwin says:

      I like your idea of occasional BM themes, with limits on RVs, generators, and loud music, that encourage a slower, quieter pace of life, such as found at the Oregon Country Faire.

      At the same time, since I live where it is quiet and I’ve slowed down, I love the bustle and noise of the Esplanade and out beyond. Just not when I return to my temporary abode in the outer city.

      As they say, variety is the spice of Life.

      :-) Kenneth

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  • Bernd says:

    It is a good comment at the right time.

    I live in Germany and I am dreaming to become a burner since abot 20 years.
    This year I hope to have the chance to be there at 60th birthday!!!

    Allthough I now become a little bit afraid of not getting s ticket …

    I think you are completely right!

    Hope to meet you in BRC ;-)

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  • Baba says:

    Totally agree.
    In my view participation, communal effort, LNT and decommodification are the cornerstones of what makes BM events special and unique. Regardless of who you are, if you stick to them you are a burner!
    Jahlove§§§

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  • Katharina von Quadt says:

    Strong changes ahead, perfectly matching the “metamorphosis” of 2019!
    I enjoyed every sentence I read now and am glad to see the shift enacted! How amazing you all listened to all the voices and read all these remarks and heard the voices!
    Many talks to people inside and outside the premises seemed like their Burning Man experience was a mere massive drugged and drunk party which was difficult to get to – but you make it work with enough connections and cash. Art cars and camps you were “invited to” – if you are cool or interesting enough … i always enjoy the walk in and out and everywhere, the talks you have, the experiences you share – so last year I was actually sent away from a camp because I was not one of them – which was very strange and disturbing.
    It was referred to as a campsite and the party – I am trying to stay away from criticising others, but even on a normal campsite anywhere in the world I would always invite people, help out, exchange goods of just give them- that’s the idea of a community at least to me.
    Even if your new regulations and changes mean that people like me, that only make little impact such as giving great hugs, good vibes, spirits, share dances, dry tears and handing out bracelets but do not make an own camp or an art project, cannot easily participate and enter anymore, I still find it great “for the greater good” of the burning man organisation to navigate away from the mass consumption seas it’s been sailing on for a while now.
    BRAVO BRAVO

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  • Hamtail says:

    I am a several year burner who my first year was proud to have been drilled in the 10 principles by the long time burners who took me.
    One principle that I feel has been let go and contributes to the greater problem is Immediacy.

    Everywhere I go on playa there are instagrammers stocking up on photos for their accounts. For marketing later or live streaming the whole thing for their “followers.” NO!
    People spending all day trying to get the best picture in their “cool” costume. What happened to self expression? I wish people were wearing and doing what made them FEEL good and then they could stop worrying about it and go out there and experience it.
    PUT AWAY YOUR PHONES! STOP LIVING BURNING MAN THROUGH A SCREEN! So Long as you spend the whole time with your phone. You’ll always been thinking about what Burning Man can do for you (socially, financially etc) in the default world. How can you live a different life on playa (one that you can bring back to the default world) if you don’t leave the default world behind and actually challenge yourself (yes self reliance isn’t easy necessarily) and try a new life on playa!?

    Ok I’m done. I love all of you. Thank you all for caring!
    Love

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    • Kenneth C Baldwin says:

      Good point, Hamtail. That said by someone (me) who doesn’t own a “smart phone” and limits his computer screen time. I lived TV-free for 60 years, but from recent experience I have an inkling of how one might get mesmerized/fascinated by digital media/technology, perhaps to the diminishment of actual experiences in immediate time/space. I’m largely ignorant as to whether that is an actual consequence or even a consequence that is of general concern to those who grew up with well-developed digital technology.

      I do BM device-free, as I’m only peripherally digitally connected and generally don’t stay in touch with friends in that way. But for those who do, enjoy sharing the wonder that is BM with your friends!

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  • playamoth says:

    Only in Burning Man could a maid become a CEO. (wink)

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  • Slaphappy says:

    This is the best post Ive ever read, thank you so much Marion.

    Nothing will make everyone happy – and some comfy entitled are already bitching and pushing back in comments – but this post hits everything our campmates have been frustrated or just sad about for a few years now.

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  • Farid Naib says:

    A fantastic post. Thank you for tackling this serious problem. Burning man has to evolve, but needs to control this evolution so that its core principals remain.

    Turn key camps are not part of burning man, then you are a tourist rather than a participant. I suggest including with each ticket a simple legal document that has the ticket holder agreeing to the following..

    No commercial placement and an agreement that if any commercial placement does occur that each person involved agrees to pay a $10,000 fee.

    Acknowledgement that they are not in a plug and play camp (which would have to be defined, difficult) and subject to removal if they are

    Agreement that they will not deny food or passage to anyone based on looks, age, etc. DUH!

    No resale of the ticket with out registering it through the appropriate BRC and having the buyer sign the same document.

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  • Pixie says:

    So happy to hear about these changes! Have seen too many people showing up as consumers, not participants.
    Love the 10 principles.

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  • Barnyard Man says:

    No holes on the playa.

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  • Honey Bee says:

    I am so pleased to hear that actionable, measurable steps are being taken to counteract some of the negatives that have developed at Burning Man.

    Now, if only we could get people to not get so trashed that they crap on the porto seats…

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  • Maid Marian and community. Black Rock City deserves some occasional radical change in addition to the incremental and almost hesitant change as described. Here are some radical ideas:

    1) For at a least one year, build BRC without the man and man burn, or at a minimum announce a plan to burn the man early and at an unannounced time. The man burn is the least interactive, most couch-potato audience creating event at BRC. It is a festival within a non-festival that overshadows one entire day. It also I think draws the least healthy element to BRC and discourages or degrades many of the 10 principles. It seems that greed and entitlement almost reign at the man burn. This change alone might resolve the ticket shortage and culture degradation.

    2) Provide vouchers for many of the DGS tickets for the next year at BRC at one or more most inconvenient places and times that are shared only by chance and by word of mouth. During a dust storm deep playa. One voucher per person. Of course those vouchers could be transferred by a process like STEP made for theme and MV camps.

    3) End the profit-making in ticket sales. That’s not just the scalping but the ridiculously high fees taken by Ticketfly et. al. BMORG sets a very poor anti-principled example with outrageous ticket charges that don’t benefit the principles and as a natural result a tax has been piled on. Every year this reminds me of a failure to adhere to principles. It feels like airports that add $20 extra for the rental car bus or future train.

    4) Make it harder or at least more unpleasant to arrive by aircraft. I’ve arrived this way only once in 1994 and it was a mistake. The difficult journey to BRC is one of the best foundations of the BRC culture as you mentioned. Air travelers seem to feel entitled to a quick and relatively painless journey. That just encourages instant and temporally brief gratification

    5) Think further along these lines. We burners can figure ways to retain and improve our culture, and we need very little central infrastructure or governance to do it. But as long as fences and tickets and LEOs are present, we depend on masters of those less than ideal mechanisms to make the most beneficial decisions.

    Ma’aM the Mammoth

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    • G says:

      #1 is fascinating. it would encourage week longers, not weekenders, it would keep people alert and more primed for immediacy. The spontaneity would be just plain fun, and the burn would not be the grand rote ritual it has become. The 2007 Monday night burn was so much fun because of exactly that. “Hey the Man is burning! let’s go! Unpredicted, unscheduled spontaneity.
      Safety concerns make ti tough, there would have to be a perimeter set up and a sweep within the perimeter done as fast as possible to best preserve the surprise element.
      I’d love to experience a burn without the circle of blaring throbbing art cars.

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      • Thanks G. Yes the impromptu Monday burn during the lunar eclipse is a model for what I am suggesting, but it is essential that it become known prior to ticketing that the man burn won’t be on Saturday but instead sometime during the week. Yes sufficient safety procedures are needed and would of course limit the fabulous immediacy of the unexpected man burn that we experienced in 2007.

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  • Carly says:

    As a two time burner and body positivity enthusiast, I will never forget the fat shaming I endured at the Duck Pond. I was refused service by a bartender with angel wings (ironic) and I will never forget the way he made me feel. The Duck Pond was joy in 2014 when I first went and then Shame in 2015 when I returned. These other stories break my heart and I’m grateful that our experiences are being validated and looked at and
    Getting called out. Thanks for the efforts- it can only attract good things in the future.

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  • Tobias Edelmeier says:

    Thank you! I think you are addressing a lot of the community’s fears and it’s great to see action is taken to preserve this great place.

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  • Fox says:

    To me, the Elephant is very much like a rope!

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  • Ilan says:

    Thank u so much for the candor & openness; we in Israel confront same issues, and it’s very lucrative to build upon your experience, insights, and re-considerations.
    However, I’m sorry to say part of the problem is the event’s size. We’re at 11K participants & already suffer heavily. Down-scaling is a necessity…

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    • Kenneth C Baldwin says:

      Ilan, I do agree. I live in a sparsely populated county in northern California and sometimes visit urban/suburban areas that have many more problems than we do. That’s not to say that we don’t have our own unique problems.

      The exponential growth of BM definitely created problems, such as increased congestion, noise, and dust and fewer campsite choices. That definitely created a bit of a challenge for those happy with “the way it was” or for those wanting to briefly escape similar environments at home. “Orangutans are skeptical of changes in their cages” (sung by Simon and Garfunkel), is a universal truth. The big question is, are we flexible and adaptable enough to gracefully weather the policy changes by those we do not control or do we agitate for what we want. Perhaps a bit of both?

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  • shazbat says:

    Cultural erosion is the direct result of BMorg’s deliberate past actions: behind the scenes manipulation of ticket sales, along with consciously enabling elites and P n P’s. You’re reaping what you sowed. Kudos for taking baby steps that may help staunch the cancer, but more aggressive measures are required to save the patient. Last year was the final straw for me. I’m over BRC. I’ll be supporting multiple Regionals instead.

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    • Exburner says:

      This was my 3rd burn, and last year I even left early. Will never go back until something changes. BMORG took too long to address something the community already knew at LEAST 10 years ago.

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  • Frederic says:

    I think if one would to reduce the size (or remove) of those huge Rave-camps/areas, then that would reduce the number of moopy ravers who compare this to the bigger EDM-festivals and fly in just for DJ:s and the Party. For the past years, they just get bigger and bigger, with no reason. This aint no Tom****land damn it.

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    • charlie says:

      Really? This is the best you got? you’re lame. What makes you better than a bunch of “moopy ravers”. Is it possible that you are scapegoating a younger group of people simply because you don’t understand it or it doesn’t resonate with you? The blessing about there being over a 1000 different theme camps is you don’t have to go to the ones you don’t like.

      It’s gotta be those darn kids with their loud music again. do they need to cut their hair and go get real jobs too? How about this for a solution, A ban on electronically produced music on the playa. that will fix all of burning man’s problems. Or maybe these pesky sound camps, with their moop problems pre-date you and your ideals of what burning man should be. pretty sure that techno has been on the playa since the inception of burning man and i am guessing that it will continue to be there long past when you decide your too cool to go any more.

      I hope that you practice a little self-awareness when you start to judge the raves and remember when you were once young, and some older generation was confused and maybe a little scared/ threatened of something they didn’t understand and thought that things would be better if only, those darn kids behaved.

      who knows, maybe you could go to a sound camp this year, pick up some moop, dance, engage in good conversations with younger generations “those moopy ravers” and impart your experiences and what keeps you coming back to burning man year after year. maybe i’ll meet you at one of those sound camps, give you a big hug, help you pick up some moop together. bring earplugs though.

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      • Fckdubstep says:

        The sound, noise RAVE music CAMPS always score a red on the moop map every year. That’s where the trash is , the drugs, cops, fights, thefts, rapes are. DJs and EDM contribute nothing but problems.

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  • Morphine (Lee R Tillman) says:

    A tear rolls down my dust stained face…Thank you!

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  • Playa Turd says:

    Burning crybabies “waaah you won’t let me on your art car…” It *is* a festival. A detestable one at that.

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  • Velvet says:

    Fantastic article and commitment! Thank you so much Marian!

    Like everybody else i have my own ‘perfect’ solution that wasn’t mentioned (close Gate Thursday!) but everything you said is certainly putting action to the words we’ve been hearing for a couple years!

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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    • Slaphappy says:

      Velvet, we’ve shared the same top recommendation for years! Close gate Thursday 11:59p is #1.

      Those arriving later seem to be 85% “takers or festival junkies” and arguably don’t have TIME on site to fully participate and assimilate into this unique community environment & culture….not to mention the time to tangibly assist with building or creating something.

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  • Ama Robyn says:

    Heartfelt thanks to all who continue in their tireless efforts that support Burningman Community! Am very appreciative of the gift to be able to participate in such deep reciprocity! There is victory in the process! Looking forward to 2019!

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  • NateyPi says:

    I’d like to start by saying that any move to preserve the culture of Burning Man is a good one. If anything should be the currency for a ticket, it should be participation. That said, I do feel the steps taken may not fully address the real problem; while at the same time having a limiting effect on newcomers to the culture.
    My first burn I came with a camp through friends. I did group activities and the camp did its best to make the burn better for everyone. Should camps get more tickets … ABSOLUTELY. That said, I felt like I missed part of the experience of radical self-reliance by being part of a camp. My next burn I planned out all by myself and felt a much greater reward. I’m going to be on my deathbed and my kids will ask what was my greatest moment; I’ll reply it was when I built an evaporation shower in the desert : ) I also contributed in my own solo way to make the burn better for others around me.
    My point is different people burn differently. Camps are the most critical piece of Burning Man, but if too many tickets go through them only, we’re still risking BM becoming a cliquish, friends of camp members event.
    I agree with many of the people who previously stated the solution to a large part of the culture decay is to prevent the resale of tickets. (At least outside the jurisdiction of the Burning Man Organization). Each ticket is assigned a name at purchase. This will prevent concierge ‘camps’ from getting bulk tickets for their ‘customers’. It will also mean that a person who wants a ticket and is willing to go through the efforts needed to obtain one and get ready for the playa can do so.
    Thanks for the changes and hoping they will bear fruit.

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  • Wally Glenn says:

    I remember in 2007 when I needed to get from the Man Burn to the Crude Awakening burn. My ride disappeared and I tried to get onto any art car knowing that all of them were headed that way. I had to walk the entire distance.

    The elitist attitude of art car owners was well ingrained back then. Since that time I have never ridden on an art car unless I knew the owner. I used to do fire art inspections for art cars for the DMV.

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  • Shaggy says:

    Thank you for the multi-department effort to try and turn things around. It’s clear from the messaging that’s come out that everyone now understands there’s a problem and wants to try and address it. This has given a lot of people hope that maybe we will see positive change.

    That said I would however like to express my concerns regarding the annual increase in DGS tickets.

    Placement is now giving tickets to camps for 50% of their population, and the DGS is now about 50% of the publicly available tickets. Does this not mean either camps will not find enough people, or open camping will be wiped out?

    Open camping is already reduced to just one or two blocks in most parts of the city, and shrinking (despite Placement claiming otherwise last year). Not everyone wants to be in a Theme Camp, often for reasons to do with anxiety, general Introvertedness, or a fierce sense of independence.

    Burning Man used to have an element of spontaneity and that’s been almost completely wiped out by Placement. One now has to jump through hoops to maintain a relationship with the ORG, just to have a reasonable chance of even going at all. Running a theme camp has been turned into a job, complete with an annual performance review (“Good Standing”). This used to be what we all went to the desert to get away from, wasn’t it?

    Further, many camps are run by self-described “benevolent dictators” but really some of these are less benevolent and more abusive in nature. There seems to be no check or review of this and in fact Placement has openly said it’s not their problem. A camp’s membership can not even “overrule” a camp lead who’s been abusive – since they are the sole link to Placement/DGS. The only option is to abandon the camp and suffer reduced odds of getting tickets the following year.

    In other words, the DGS gives power to specific individuals, not groups of hard working people. It imposes a hierarchy. I don’t think this is what our culture was ever meant to look like.

    I’m not entirely against the DGS but I do think it should have been capped at 10,000 – with the bar raised for qualification each year as demand increased, with preference for those bringing something new.. This was done for MV licenses and it worked out well.

    The existing DGS structure (and placement) has spiraled out of control, because everyone and their dog saw getting placement as the best way to ensure ticket access. In other words, there’s now plenty of camps that have placement solely for DGS access and no other motivation. Many of these camps are less interactive than the few remaining unplaced camps out in the burbs.

    I know this went long, but thanks for reading. I do appreciate that making decisions around a 80,000 person event isn’t that easy, and do think that overall this was a very positive journal post.

    Cheers

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  • Post Reno Host says:

    Thank you for the information, and your service to our community!
    One thing not addressed that I find has brought a negative community and list of abuses to BRC is the large DJ camps.
    As a Reno resident, I have hosted European “Burners” for years and have seen a real shift in what my European “Burners” have come for. And, as a result, I have gotten too emotionally upset to host another group. At first, many years ago, the trip was a life changing experience for someone that truly desired to both experience and be part of the whole community, with appropriate and thoughtful “gifts” and a desire to participate. As the years went by, I have found that this group has grown, and their mission is purely to attend the EDM raves. They sleep much of the day, figure which hot DJ is where that night, drug themselves heavily, head out at night to party, and return to sleep the day away. Most do not join camps because, I suspect, they do not want to be required to help. Nor, do they volunteer in any way. Nothing is brought to gift or show appreciation, in any way. It is all about the drugs and DJ’s in large, loud camps, that are not always the best citizens, themselves. Most years, there has been great drama at my house the days after BM ends, with lots of crying over straying guys and hurt feelings, and irritating friends, and the terrible time that they had because of “fill in the blank”. But, they still come every year. (Which makes me wonder why it seems so easy for the Europeans to consistently get their tickets during general ticket sales.) 2018 brought a drug arrest of a house guest at Robot Heart. A first timer girlfriend of one who had stayed for years, who was warned repeatedly about the possibility , and was taken to jail.
    I was tired of the assumption that I would not care about the growing mounding boxes of stuff that I was expected to store, even after I made it clear that 2017 was the last storage year. I will no longer help people that I do not believe “belong” and are willing to accept the 10 principles.
    My love of BM, my fellow burners and my desire to help make my community’s trip to Reno easier, has been very much taken for granted by this group, a part of many, who think of BM as just another “must attend” EDM festival to brag about having attended, leaving that many fewer tickets available for those that are truly interested in being part of the beautiful city and all of its parts.
    Get rid of the EDM DJ camps and I believe you will get rid of a lot of trouble.

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  • Zoe says:

    Thank you. But –

    We’ve (the oldies) been begging for years for you to hear us on these issues. Begging. How bad did it really have to get? Pretty bad!

    I’ve never understood why BM doesn’t sell a capped amount of RV passes like LIB.

    And why aren’t tickets named to the purchaser and ONLY allowed to be transferred through step – even to then nominate a buyer?

    And can we please try to create a giant installation of cell phone blockers out there? Fuck these fucks calling each other and loudly talking about when to meet at Robot Heart. FUCK THAT SHIT.

    Bacon.

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    • Slaphappy says:

      Cell phone blockers 1000% YES YES YES.

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      • G says:

        HEAR HEAR !!
        Part of the experience of going, that would be severance from Defaultia was one of the best things. I did not know about Hurrcaine Katrina until I go to the motel room on the way home. It was like a retreat. We all got along with out cell service back in the day, sure as fuck people would bitch and squeal, but, yeah. BLOCK CELL SERVICE! Sunday night at 12 am event opening, start it up Monday at noon.

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      • George Orwell says:

        Yes, and the jammers will have to be run by a team of guerillas, not the ORG. Because FCC.

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    • exburner says:

      I was just thinking that RV’s should be limited to a certain number. Hell they could even do a lottery for it since RV’s are so popular. The reality is, nothing will change until it does. I’ll believe it when I see it.

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  • Peter says:

    Question – High priced ticket sales – “buyers in what was formerly the “Pre-Sale” will no longer be able to participate in subsequent public sales.” Does this mean that if you purchased such tickets anytime in the past (or just last year), you have to wait and wait until some post sale for higher priced tickets? I was happy to pay for the higher priced tickets because I knew that the offset went to the low income program, much like I pay higher priced camp dues (that are moderately priced) to allow for more of my camp mates to come who cannot afford those prices. So, now I am disincentivized for high price tickets, even if I can get them?

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  • Thanks and praises to your article! Because I live in Hawaii and fly to SF, the burner express has been awesome. Staying at hoverlandia has been a great way to easily get to my daily shifts at center camp cafe, and the igloos! Cashiering there is a great way to see the entire community! Please make it easier for me to get my ticket! It’s such a dress every year to get the ticket! Aloha!

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  • Prince says:

    Marian – CEO, HATS OFF TO YOU!! I’ve been waiting for an email like this for some time. Total Badass! Mad respect! I didn’t personally know Larry, but I know who you are to him, and can I just say, (I’m saying it) I’m so freaking excited for this new era/time within our organization. I’m black, gay, 2019 will be 11th-year on playa, I’m co-lead for Yummy RumiNations, getting married to the love of my life on Friday before the man, and reading this post just put a groove in my step and a strong sense of pride for my Home, our Home! XOXOXO!! ❤️

    PRINCE AKA SWEET BABY RAY!

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  • WittleWabbit says:

    Thank you Marian, and I appreciate this article and these future efforts.

    After seeing the change in “culture” or vibe by Friday, to a full-on Rave or party scene, my suggestion is to close the gates on Wednesday…(or something like that)… You can leave but you can’t come in.

    Now I try to come as early as possible and then leave by Saturday, because it just feels too dangerous and frankly, it seems like most who arrive just for the weekend have no idea what are the 10 principles.

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  • Vice Mayor says:

    I appreciate the sentiments, Marion, but the BM Org set this whole commodification in place. Remember the daVinci year? Larry’s exhortation to “Honor the Patrons?” Yes, honor those that pay, not those that create. I am a long time Burner (16 years) and the co-developer of a large Mutant Vehicle (that accepts ALL riders, by the way). Changes to the culture didn’t happen by accident, they were allowed to happen by a money, fame, and power-concerned organization.

    There is SO much that is incompetent about the tickets sales. A another poster advised, the Org should duplicate the ticketing of the large music festivals that match name & ID & photo to each ticket. We knew several people who had purchased REAL tickets from 3rd parties who were refused entry at the Gate. Turns out the tickets had been reported as stolen. These folks had done their due diligence before purchase and found no listings of their stolen-ticket serial numbers. So they do everything right, and they get screwed – at the Gate! FIX THE TICKETING!

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  • Luke Kosakewich says:

    I love the direction this is going. I really love what Burning Man is about and you are keeping it true to the roots. Thank you for preserving the culture of Burning Man.

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  • air besar says:

    I’m with the few other commenters who wish that solo participants were recognized as a valid part of the BM society. Even though I’m not in a theme camp, I leave no trace, I pick up other’s MOP, I always have art in my camp, I bring extra food to give to others, I donate bottles and mixers to the local bars, I try to be a considerate neighbor, I enjoy meeting new people, I have a little tent – not a big RV, etc. etc.

    I’ve participated in somewhere around 6-8 BMs over 15 or so years. But, I haven’t been able able to buy a ticket for several years even though I click in a heartbeat after noon. And this article says that this year, there will be fewer tickets in the general ticket sale.

    I wish Burning Man recognized solo participation as valid and didn’t feel it necessary to cram solo participants into camps.

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  • Wild Bill says:

    I am so happy that there is movement here. I hope that it is enough. My first burn was 2012 and I saw a gaggle of Segway’s weaving through people as if they were simply obstacles and not people. 2018 was the worst with gasoline scooters going 35 mph and making lots of noise. I have taken to walking as I experience more than on a bike. Please shut down those motorized vehicles.

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  • klaus says:

    I am so so happy about this. We have been going for 13 years and camp with Ashram Galactica. We have seen long time camps collapse because old time Burners could not get tickets while “Pay to Play” camps are all over the place and people flying in for the weekend from LA are paying top dollar for tickets while not providing anything for the community. THANK YOU!

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  • My Asshole Itches says:

    my asshole itches

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  • Jan says:

    I understand why you have to reconsider your policies and have to take these measures. All i Hope is that it will not become virtually impossible for new Burners from Europe to participate in and experience your great communcity !

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  • Plane Speaker says:

    The airport has also drifted from its original genesis. It’s become a stifling and logistical nightmare and enables much of what the article describes. But it does have a good purpose and its volunteers are some of the hardest working, most giving burners around.

    Private pilots who fly in and who gift free rides to participants – great!
    Commercial charters who bring in the plug-and-play crowd and the weekend partiers – not so much (it’s out of hand).

    If charter arrivals were limited from Sunday to Tuesday, and departures allowed only on the last Saturday and Sunday, it would be a good compromise and it would serve to limit the non-contributing spectators.

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  • Exburner says:

    Last year (2018) was my 3rd year. And I honestly regretted going. I went by myself looking to make friends like I usually have done in the past at burning man and other festivals. But I found a very standoffish clique(y) attitude among more of the attendees then I have at ANY music festival. I felt like I was in middle school. Not one of the ‘cool’ kids that fit in. Therefor unless something drastic happens to burning man to change what it has become. Count me out. I have to say that ‘commercial’ festivals have more friendly people then burning man does.

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  • Locker from mountain project says:

    Marian you’re out of touch with reality. Bm has been referred to as a FESTIVAL since it started. The signs at the entrance say FESTIVAL. get OVER yourselves.
    Half of the people are part of rave or social media culture. That’s why you’re paid so well.

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  • Kelli Hoversten says:

    That sounds like a great start.
    Is Burning man going to stop lasers at the man burn? Is it really that inportant for the Art cars to use their lasers at the man burn? The original rules that were made banned handhelds and all lasers at the man and temple burns, then “ special treatment “ was given to several Art cars being allowed to use their lasers in 2017. Then in 2018 Burning man made the decision to allow lasers at the man burn again after the fire conclave ends. There is also a problem with lack of consequences for camps and Art cars using their lasers before they have been inspected. If there are no penalties why should those people care about the rules put in place to protect people. Anyone caught with a gun would be dealt with by law enforcement and probably be removed from the event. If camps and Art cars we made to not use their lasers the rest of the event if they break the rules it would make them take laser inspection rules seriously.

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  • BM_is_awesome says:

    What about Merkabah?

    Here is a letter sent to placement about them in 2015!

    SENT ON SEPTEMBER 26TH 2015

    After having amazing neighbors in 2013 and 2014 in the 10 o’clock sector we were excited to be back this year and before heading out to the playa we never could have imagined that we would be writing this letter after the burn. But our neighbors caused us so much stress and frustration that even though this isn’t something we want to be doing, we wanted to make you aware of what our experience being placed next to Merkabah was like.

    We don’t really care how people choose to burn. And we used to find Plug and Play drama a silly distraction, because it rarely affected most Burners (as far as we knew). At most we felt bad for Plug and Play campers who were missing out on Burning Comradery. But we also believe strongly that a driving principle for placed camps is to be good neighbors. It is disconcerting to have had our experience so disrupted by another camp’s disregard for their neighbors that we felt like we needed to write a letter so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

    The camp’s name is Merkabah, and as insight into how neighbourly they were, they were issued thousands of dollars in fines by the BLM for dumping rubbish and spilling RV greywater onto the Playa surface. And that’s the tip of the iceberg.

    Unlike the attitudes of our other neighbours (from this year and many before), Merkabah’s attitude made hugging problems out utterly impossible. Each day from preburn to teardown was a new drama that was met with indifference from Merkabah and its apparent leaders, Eli and Austin:

    Preburn: We contacted placement to see if we could speak to our neighbors about the fire lane requirements. One of our camp leads spoke to Eli, and both agreed to share 7 feet on each side of our border for a fire lane.

    Friday (Early Arrival): The Governess asked us to share five feet on each side of our camp, rather than just sharing with one, so that both of our neighbors could be in compliance with the firelane policies. We agreed to give up five feet next to Twisted Tentacles and maintained our agreement to share seven feet with Merkabah. At this point 12% of our camp had been given up for fireline compliance, which meant our space was tight but workable.

    Saturday: Merkabah places enormous commercial generators in the fire lane which we had previously agreed to share. We did not raise the issue as construction was still underway and we thought they might move the generators later – however the industrial generator was directly bordering our camp and outside of Merkabah’s “RV wall”.

    Sunday: We asked Merkabah to move their generator, as it was designated a shared road and the generator was blocking our vehicles from entering our parking lot. Eli initially refused and told us to drive around them (which was not possible), but then a friend of his (whose name we did not take down) came over and assured us they would move it. We asked if it could be placed inside of their RV wall or further from our camp to block noise, which they agreed to do. Later that afternoon we noticed that it had been moved over a few feet, giving us access to our parking lot, but was still placed against our camp with zero sound baffling.

    Monday: We again asked if they would move the generator, as it’s exhaust was blowing into one of our monkey huts making some of our camp members nauseous. It was also emitting a high pitch noise throughout our camp whenever it was under load. We were told they would.

    Tuesday: At this point trash has started to show up in our camp from our neighbor. Their primary outdoor carpeting was astroturf and it was degrading in the wind. We also started noticing feathers. In addition we’d get wrappers and plastic in our camp following their daily produce delivery (the vendor was Bonanza Produce out of Sparks, NV). We brought this up with one of their camp leads, Austin, who told us he would take care of it and the generator issue.

    Wednesday: Multiple RVs were leaking what appeared to be blackwater, and their camp dumpster was overflowing. Trash from the dumpster and their kitchen was blowing into our camp, and their produce delivery again resulted in trash blowing into our camp. When one of our members approached their kitchen to discuss the trash problem he was told that it was not the kitchen staff’s job to pick up moop. Our member enquired further, asking if they were paid staff, and an exasperated kitchen worker responded “Yes, this is a plug and play camp and we work here.” Our member was then pushed out of the kitchen by their staff.

    At this point we approached the rangers to mediate the issue. They informed us that BLM was already over there and that we should work with them, but by the time we got back to our camp BLM had already left.

    Thursday: We moved one of our cargo vans between the monkey hut and generator to baffle some of the noise and act as a wind buffer between the exhaust and the monkey hut. We spoke to one of the water vendors, who informed us that the BLM had already fined the camp for multiple infractions.

    Friday: A member of the BLM along with a member of the LNT team (Bear) came by to document the issues. Pictures were taken of the overflowing dumpsters and leaking RVs. We were told that the location of our cargo van did not cause any safety issues and was a good solution to a bad situation.

    BLM told the camp to at least put a tarp over the dumpster to limit the garbage blowing out of it, which they did not do until the next day.

    Later that afternoon their produce delivery occurred. The vendor, from Bonanza Produce (truck ID US DOT 137858), was upset that the location of our cargo van (which was approved by BLM and in our camp) meant he had to drive around and approach the kitchen from a different direction. He came out with one of the kitchen managers and began screaming at one of our camp leads, calling him an asshole and telling him to fuck off. The camp lead told both the kitchen manager and the vendor to leave our camp or he was going to get the police, at which point they both left. The vendor made sure to blast his horn and give everyone the finger on his way out.

    Saturday: BLM came for their now daily inspection of our neighbor, during which they fined them again for the pile of garbage they had sitting next to their dumpster, which at this point had grown considerably.

    Sunday: We spent a significant portion of time cleaning up the moop (astroturf, feathers, plastic, various pieces of fabric) that blew in from their camp. We were in camp all day doing our own teardown and not once did a member of their camp come through to de-moop their access road.

    Monday: One of the BLM Rangers, as well as a representative from BRC, came to our camp to review the situation before we left. We showed them that our area had been completely cleaned, which they recorded, and we expressed our concern that trash would blow in from our neighbors after we had left. They assured us that they had documented the issues with our neighbors, so if an issue did occur we could show the continual problems that occurred. They also encouraged us to contact placement ourselves to describe what happened.

    They also finally had their dumpster removed. We took a small video showing the pile of trash that had built up since Friday, which also shows where the generator was placed along our border (this video was taken after our teardown so it does not show our monkey huts or other structures).

    [VIDEO]

    To summarize:

    They put more effort into shielding themselves from the noise of their generators than they did their neighbors.
    They took advantage of our kindness and the firelane policy so use a portion of our camp as their access road, and lied about keeping their portion of the access clear.
    They did nothing to fix the generator to keep exhaust from entering their neighbors sleeping areas.
    They refused to deal with their own moop and placed that burden on their neighbors.
    Their RVs leaked a variety of fluids all over the playa, and were ignored (even after they were informed) until BLM showed up.
    They regularly made promises they had no intention of keeping to temporarily placate their neighbors.
    They had paid staff on playa without properly training them to leave no trace.
    Their vendors were extremely rude and hostile to their neighbors, to the point where threats of calling law enforcement had to be made.
    They let their trash and moop build up to the point where it was regularly found in neighboring camps, and when informed of this refused to change their behavior.
    They constantly attracted law enforcement due to their disregard for the playa.

    During our time on the playa we also spoke to other neighbors of theirs. We highly recommend you reach out to The Enchanted Booty Forest who had multiple problems with them. The Twisted Tentacles (who requested that we be neighbors again next year) also documented some of what happened and expressed absolute shock at the garbage in the camp. In addition we have many more pictures of this which we’d be happy to provide. They are on multiple phones and cameras so if this is something you want let us know and we’ll compile them for you, although I believe the Leave No Trace crew and some other BRC representatives also documented quite a bit.

    In previous years we have gotten along extremely well with our neighbors. House of Skin has become a group of friends to us, requesting to camp next to each other each year we are placed. This year they were not placed (of their own wishes) but we still managed to hang out quite a bit. This year we’ve become close with Twisted Tentacles, and they told us they would ask to be placed next to us. Our biggest previous issue with a camp ended in hugs after two conversations. The jump between having good neighbors and having neighbors who clearly cared nothing about their neighborhood was a shocking one for us.
    If you need any more information or want to talk this through further please feel free to reach out.

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    • Merkabah says:

      This is not your father’s Burning Man. These are modern times. Get with the program! We like to have fun and do what we want to do. And we want to get high. Don’t harsh our vibe, grandpa.

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      • Kenneth C Baldwin says:

        I guarantee that your rude and defensive attitude will cause you nothing but difficulties as you traverse your lifetime. Better to learn kindness, tolerance, and gratitude.

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  • serge says:

    good changes.

    and ten years too late…
    and after countless burners have pointed this out ad nauseum…
    or stopped coming altogether…

    but good changes nevertheless.

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  • Nobody Special says:

    Marian Goodell – “please remember not to commodify Burning Man”

    Marian Goodell – makes at least a $245,000 salary for Burning Man.

    http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/452/452638273/452638273_201612_990.pdf

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  • Ketchup says:

    ***STANDING OVATION!***

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  • John (Senator) says:

    You have been granting huge plots of land to extremely expensive pay-to-play camps that include fancy chefs, flushable toilets, prostitutes, bartenders, exclusive art cars, private party domes and DJ’s, etc. And then shake your head at commodification and art cars that refuse riders? It’s hard to understand what you are thinking. Reserving huge plots of land for people to set up such camps for which they charge $10,000 per person is the biggest contributor to the problem you are talking about. Stop doing it. And stop denying it. I experienced these camps first hand, and know people who were paid to work in them. Stop enabling people to get rich off of Burning Man.

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  • Bevan Noble says:

    Even though I have never been to Burning Man, what I saw and heard from people who have experienced it, have inspired me to be better. Your comments / report saddens me. I hope you can remove that which is not the burner ethos. I will still try to get a ticket so I may also help to change Burning Man for the better. Burning Man is a fantastic opportunity for change for the better.

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  • pamela reffner says:

    I stopped going to Burning Man in 2009 when they decided to put up a cell tower… that was the beginning of the end for me. And I has morphed into something that never should have been. I am grateful that I was able to experience the true Burning Man though. It changed life.

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  • Real Sunshine says:

    YESSS PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

    Had goosebumps reading this article. Excited for getting back to the core of what this community is about!

    Bold and necessary move. Way to go!

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  • Rusty says:

    Can we just ban RV and generators ? Everything else would just fall into place after that.

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  • KLOVE SF says:

    (4) Girls, 1/2″ lag screws, Impact driver and a shade structure that isn’t going anywhere! We learned, designed and implemented. All while providing a badass shade lounge, with beer, to anyone who needed it. Radical self reliance! I love the new direction.

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  • Andrew Sullivan says:

    Thank you Marian. As a long-time participant in a very DIY camp (Bike Mutation), I really appreciate the effort being made to promote this crucial part of Burning Man culture. I have long said that the key to Burning Man making any sense at all is the No Vending rule, and this is an important step to bring us back to it.

    We’ll make sure to bring extra spray paint for the PARTICIPANTS who can now show up.

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  • Peter Lynch says:

    A lot of hypocrisy in your text. It criticizes what it is allowing at the same time. Camps like human, ibiza camp and that of the Russians are the proof that you sell anything for money. And the airport runway? Is that being decommodified? and the parachutists? And the controllers of robot heart and mayan warrior that only let the car climb beautiful girls? This is just text to be good with the readers and at the time of the decisions nothing

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  • Scott Potter says:

    Everything I read in this article I agree with. It has been along time coming and I hope your efforts do produce a BM culture more like intended and not a summer vacation for people who just come to party and not do anything in return.

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  • I would love to see the airport be limited to only essential BM needs.

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  • Holly says:

    I’m very glad to read this today. I made a hard decision after last year that the culture has really deteriorated enough that I don’t want to attend anymore. Its turning into just another festival with sparkle ponies everywhere and little interest in what the Ten Principles were designed to create. This is a creative event with everyone doing their part to create something out of nothing. This is not a spectator event. It’s not a week-long, drunken/high, debauchery in the desert. If that is what people want, there are plenty of other festivals for that. I attended my first year completely on my own with no assistance from anyone but my campmates. I did service work throughout the week and I grew substantially as a person. This past year saw ugliness I didn’t expect to see at Burning Man. I will concede that, as with all things, change is inevitable. But the direction this change has taken isn’t pretty. Its exclusive. Its judgemental. Its self-serving. It has all the entitlement of the default world. I don’t need to travel through two states and hang out in a hot, dusty climate for that when I can easily get it staying home. The joy of giving and sharing your talents, expression and creativity are among the reasons I continued to return. I genuinely hope to hear that the Ten Principles will make a comeback and we’ll remember what it means to act collectively rather than separately.

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  • Barbara Sharanowski says:

    Wonderful article! Perhaps a dedicated ticket sale for volunteers who did at least 4 shifts the preceding year in addition to theme camp sales. This rewards all community participants, big and small, rich or poor.

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  • Avary Kent says:

    Thank you Marian for the transparency in how the Project is addressing cultural integrity.

    I’m inspired to volunteer more!

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  • RichardFF says:

    As I watch with horror at the dystopian world we are becoming (the whole world and the trollocracy of trump), it is refreshing to see that some people are actually sticking to principles because those principles mean something. Even if they could monetize this and do a big private equity play blahblahblah, you reject that and focus on what it means. Also, the fact that you choose non-totalitarian approaches to building a utopian experience, you don’t dictact and use a heavy hand, that has been tried by so many failed socialist paradises. I say BRAVO, you are listening and trying to stay true to your principles and for that you are to be commended., I will also note that history teaches us that principled leaders who try to strike the balance and do the right thing for everyone are usually roundly criticized as being not agressive enough by the advocates of radical change and for ignoring tradition by those who believe the early days were perfect. It is often a somewhat lonely and thankless experience. I am glad that you are unlike that hacks and whores who are in government who are bought and paid for, you know that the right thing to do is the right thing to do, and some trends spelll future harm and must be reversed by progressively more specific means. To me I see this as a fascinating study in servant leadership, I hope we can all take these lessons back to our broken society outside of Burning Man. It needs help. Sorry for the rant!!

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  • Ms. X says:

    What a Great Strategy to bring this Critical Issue to the table at the pre-ticketing phase with a web pop-up notification. I fully agree and support the efforts announced here. After not attending for four years, and returning in 2018 – I observed a tragic and sad decline in the BM Experience. It was “extremely lacking” on so many fronts. The Commodification and the Interactivity priciples have been seriously disregarded. I am so glad to hear that the BMORG is reflecting and attempting to implement new logistical efforts in the attempt to bring back the “True Spirit” of Burning Man Culture. That is an incredibly huge task. But definitely worth pursuing. If EACH of the 70,000+ participants agree to do our part – we CAN CHANGE the Culture and the Experience. Good luck to us this year in 2019. And **Long Live the Heart & Spirit of Larry Harvey**

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  • Michael aka Kavi on the playa says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for finally waking up and getting off your ass. I’ve been going since 2004 so I’m not a super old school veteran, but I have seen the community change dramatically. It’s not OK. I’m pretty much done with BM and was not planning on going back. I’ve just gotten tired of folks taking a free ride when I show up every year with my beloved family and watch everyone build and work their asses off. I love giving to my fellow burners and virgins, but it’s clear there are a lot of folks who are just not taking the time to learn what this is about. Maybe I’ll go back after seeing this. Maybe. You created this. Now clean it up.

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  • Grace says:

    Thank you for addressing several concerns about the event. While some people feel its a trip to the desert, I
    take pride in the hard work of getting out there from the East Coast. In addition, I think this may help explain to those who don’t ‘understand’ participation what the rest of us try to do!

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  • Marisa H says:

    Overdue! Thank you so much for finally taking some action and balancing the glorious past with an evolving future that adheres to the 10 principles.

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  • Thank you so much for such heartfelt and thorough attention to cultural course correction of beloved Burning Man. ♡♡♡

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  • Andrew Calo says:

    It’s about Goddamn time. Do more.

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  • Crazy Wayne says:

    well let me give a little background here before I comment I’ve been going to Burning Man for 18 years now in a row I have run theme camps built to Temples actually assisted on a third and even brought a crane out of the Playa to assist with erecting a lot of arch and even a temple one year I helped many art projects that had disasters that was one project that didn’t have a crane whatever I would always jump in and assist and help with everybody but it has turned into a total shitshow out there it is becoming more of a default world than the default world and so many ways the commercialization I think when the Billionaire Boys with the duck hit the plier that was the turning point they basically brought in a bunch of paid ladies and would only let them ride on their art car and many of these large theme camps that Supply everything urges nothing but a debauchery I’ve also noticed a lot of these camps are taking huge spaces not even marking them off and then contact Rangers to evict people off of their spaces didn’t you come back days later and they’ve only filled it by 1/3 the city has gotten very huge but the density of camping has sprawled widely some people will Camp very tight like they used to in the early days other spread out everything including their trash that blows in the Wind I’ve seen many large art cars that are basically selling out to some of these larger theme camps by collecting several thousand dollars to go to a private run for their groups it’s actually turned into so many sideways businesses out there and select grouping it’s not fun anymore I remember in the early days when you needed something or whatever there was always somebody there to help somebody and I helped a lot of people out there over the years but now the majority of the sparkle donkeys and ponies have just destroyed the community after I ran one large theme camp I was involved in for 7 years I handed the camp over two others to run the camp I needed a break from it all so I decided to camp out at the far end at 6 and just kind of be away from it all and have an easy year I was totally amazed by literally two or three thousand Sparkle ponies walking by dragging nothing but a carry-on suitcase with them I was kind of curious so I gave one of them a ride and a town as I was heading and just thought I would see it as an experiment what the hell this chick was up too well she had no cap or any place to go she basically saw camp that look cool and decided she would throw a little Sparkle and walk in and take over I did this in several occasions with the sparkle ponies I was quite disgusted with them showing up with nothing expecting everyone to assist them it’s really getting bad out there with all the begging and people who don’t bring anything to the party or they’ll just park a car in your camp that they’re using to drive around in town and you’re trying to figure out where this vehicle came from I actually had this happened to my camp and Center Camp one year I haven’t even arrived yet to set up and this car was parked in the middle of my Camp well I had to disconnect my trailer and drag it out with a big toe strap into the center of Center camp then them reattaching my trailer and getting things situated for my camp and the person comes back and it’s give me a bunch of crap on how they want to put the car back and somebody told him it was okay to park it there when none of this was true I told this person if they leave that card my Camp they won’t find it till after everybody has left because I’ll drag that thing till the tires fall off I was going to haul it to the airport and cover it with a tarp.
    well I explain that to the idiot and he decided he need to park his car somewhere else but he was totally concerned it might get Dusty or somebody might scratch it what the hell is with people these days .
    couple years ago I was recruited to haul in a kitchen trailer and supplies for one of the very large art projects on the Playa the original deal was that I would receive a ticket for delivering this trailer 500 miles to the Playa.
    well when I got there many people were happy to see me on the Playa is I had work with many of them working on the temple was David best the prior-year but the ticket was not given to me I was told no but this did not happen until after I had agreed to Halt sandrina’s trailer in from Gerlach which was about 30 ft long so I spent three and a half hours going out and fetching that and coming back only to find out I was not going to be getting my ticket I had an early entry pass to be on the Playa from early August on to the cyst and help others with their major art projects which is something I love to do.
    what really sucks is that I had already had a ticket in hand which I had sold to somebody that needed a ticket to complete their group well that wasn’t a very smart thing basically I did not get on Playa until Tuesday of the event I spent two weeks in Reno trying to find a ticket making contact with everybody I knew even a few people at Burning Man I’m quite disgusted with the whole situation and plus there were some weird things that happened this last year that I just think that burning man has taking such a bad turn that it has evolved into the default world.
    It was totally amazing after the burn in 2016 to look across the Playa and see over 3,000 rental RVs all sitting parked in one area until they could shut alarm off disgusting.
    I just don’t feel I need to waste any more time with this Burning Man crap I’m going to sit out this year don’t think I’m going to go unless maybe somebody gives me a free ticket but I’m not going to set up a good camp cuz if it gets ugly I’m driving off and going to go do something else but I just don’t have love for it anymore it is stab me in the heart too many times.

    Take care and I hope you all have a good Burning Man and I hope this gets straightened out.
    Crazy Wayne

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  • KMNDR says:

    It would be nice for camps that are actually doing things at there regionals a chance to get into the DGS. Let’s get some new blood on the playa. Not just a bunch of tent city. We plan on bringing our camp to the man this year but are worried of course about getting enough tickets for our crew to go. It would be nice if you had some sort of delegation that would visit the regional burns and help out these camps that are actually doing something a chance to get into DGS. Seems like you are just rewarding the same people over and over again. I do think all this is in the right direction though so kudos for that. I also would like to say we are at Love Burn every year. The weather this year played a huge part in things not going together completely. Some people did try others just gave up and stayed in their tents. We set up a brand new stage this year only had a little bit of people mainly just burn night we were packed. Anywho we will wait in line like the rest and try to get tickets. Just wish you had a program that allowed established Regional camps a chance to swing for the fences.

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  • Viola says:

    Thank you for this article. As a Burning Man attendee since 1999 I noticed a sharp increase in commodification since the BMorg allowed both cell phone towers and more extensive use of the airport for attendees. May you reconsider these choices? Having internet access in particular definitely contributes to the commercialization and commodification of the event. Not to mention that anyone using Instagram while on the playa is getting massively advertised to.

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  • jstar says:

    While I support the organic nature of change, I appreciate the intention put into the planning of this event to ensure it stays a unicorn. I’ve been going for 10 years, and about 5 years ago was my first rejection from an art car – and it wasn’t kind. SInce then I have found the majority of art cars / mutant vehicles exclusive – one of the most noticeable changes over the last decade I believe (besides the sound camps…geemus). Thanks for continuing to uphold the principles and all the hard work! xxoo

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  • barbi says:

    Thank you Marion! This gives me hope. Of course the evolution of BRC is inevitable but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be monitored. Thank you for setting in and taking measures.

    For me personally, the ‘influencer’ at BM is the fastest way to kill something beautiful. Everything about it is fake, nothing is genuine – a stark contrast to the BM I know and love. With that said, I’m curious what Burning Man Communications Team plans to do, if anything, about the cell service that has hit the playa in the last 5 or so years? I think making BM a deadzone for it’s duration will have an immediate impact on combatting the issue of decomposing culture.

    We need to bring back the curiosity of what all goes on at Burning Man and stop the instant sharing !

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  • Ju says:

    Airport is just a major VIP line and needs to be closed. Cell phone jammers would also do wonders

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  • kelzum says:

    is sad to hear this!! social media is taking over, but its very good to know that you guys are already dealing with this!!!! im trying my best to attend for the 1st time this 2019!!!

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  • Jack Trash says:

    Although the sentiment and desire for change is there, we are dealing with a 21st-century monstrous creature using 20th-century weapons. I fear it may be too late.

    Why is it that an event that prides itself on creation and destruction, a culture that holds and practices “leave no trace”, still carrying on today? The event itself is the art, yet we have bolted on so many additions, removed so many parts, that this Frankenstein is no longer a facsimile of what we once were so proud of.

    The T in TAZ stands for temporary, I recall, and perhaps the real answer is not a constant modification of community with little tweaks and improvements, but rather the committed timeline of a gracious and noble end to BM, as it is today, while we are still at a relative high point, and before BM becomes a shell of its former self, and an embarrassment to those who loved it dearly.

    What is wrong with winding it down? Was this supposed to go on forever? People make the individual choices to stop going for a whole host of reasons. Some of us just graduate from BM, but unlike a university, BM was never supposed to be an institution.

    How long do we argue for change, when in fact we have the power to fully represent that creation and destruction cycle using the event itself. Burn the man, burn Burning Man. What a greater lesson of letting go and rebirth than to give BM a few years’ timeline, with a grand and dignified finale it deserves.

    If you want to really spread the ethos of BM, my advice is make the event every 4 years, much larger, longer, and in a different country each time, much like the Olympics. It is time to leave the desert and really challenge ourselves, and truly include the world, whatever that looks like. We choose this because it seems impossible, just as no one could have dreamt way back in 1992, when folks stepped across the line, what BM would be today. The works of thousands of volunteers who have come before today deserve the dignity of a grand finale out there in the desert.

    Some of the greatest minds of our generations are within our community, with the highest and noblest intentions our community has to offer, and yet, we squabble about RVs, douchebags, and DJs.
    Where is the aspiration of art, community, and that can-do spirit we all love? I say, follow all your recent themes and evolve, be the metamorphosis, and wrap up what we will know many years from now as “The Beginning Years”

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  • Gus Oenning says:

    2019 will be my first Burning Man and the only thing I am worried about is the only thing I shouldn’t be worried about: my body shape.

    I really hope this would be a more inclusive place, with people of all sorts. But it seems there’s a lot of supermodels there. Maybe I am wrong, we’ll see.

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  • JV says:

    These are real, concrete steps to address issues that have been getting worse for years. It’s great to see this. Let’s hope it’s just the beginning.

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  • Balooshi says:

    Breath of fresh air. And yes to this!

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  • Jared "Dusk" Paul says:

    I love this. Thank you, Marian. Thank you BMorg.

    I’ve been Burning since 2001 and have noticed changes, some great and others not so great.

    From my point of view, mobile cell service has had a net negative impact on BRC. Mobile cell service hinders participation and immediacy. It fuels tourists, especially the Instagrammers. It has increased the likelihood of being photographed or otherwise recorded without consent.

    If there is a next step beyond the kickass changes being laid out in Marian’s post, I hope it addresses mobile cell service.

    Mahalo

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  • AC says:

    While I most certainly do welcome the BRC 2019 cultural course correction, and I do feel this action is long over due, I am dismayed, disappointed and dumbfounded by various statements contained within. For example, Marian’s statement ¨Lately, participants have been talking about some alarming changes in the culture of BM in BRC….¨ This statement provides clear evidence that the BMorg remains out of touch with actual transpirings on the Playa, that crucial census feedback and other essential forms of feedback is not reaching the BMorg in an urgent actionable manner. For years, a plethora of veteran burners have witnessed the degradation of culture, the disregard for principles and the encroachment of capitalism on the Playa, and have been and continue to be extremely vocal with their complaints, criticism and feedback. Why did it take years for the BMorg to recognize that there are serious problems on the Playa and to finally take action?

    In another example, Marian asks ¨How did we get here? Well, to be perfectly blunt you have allowed it. As a veteran burner, I´ll gladly indoctrinate any virgin who didn´t even bother to crack open the survival guide or read the principles. I always bring plenty extra and look forward to sharing food, drink, shade and shelter with hopes that I help make someone´s experience truly memorable and transformative. But I am helpless to control the growing number of turnkey camps, the growing number of carelessly ridden electric bikes and Segways, the growing number of vendors who pass through the gate. Our burner community is awesome and we do a great deal to self-police, but in my humble opinion ¨we got here¨ because you (BMorg) allowed capitalism and greed to cloud your judgement. Where is the accountability?

    While I fully recognize that change is inevitable, we need not sell our souls for the sake of change.

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    • Shay dayan says:

      A friend of mine said that electric bikes are llowed this upcoming year at burning man is it true? I couldn’t find anything saying that is not allowed.

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  • RnoRenee says:

    Yes Chef Juke, I thought BAIT was an excellent concept. Your team of hotties did well when you brain stormed that solution up! I participated in it in 2016 – It’s first year, and I guess because it was so new I had very few riders waiting (I think only one, maybe two, if I remember correctly). Unfortunately BAIT doesn’t do anything to aliviate the tremendous liabilities that Art Car contributors face. But it may help the miscommunication issues between builders who appear to be discriminatory and community members who come off as entitled or demanding (both of which could just be misperceptions) The green flags let everyone know which Art Cars are actually open for public service… and as an Art car owner, I loved the idea of contributing to the community in a structured and verifiable way. -win/win

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    • RnoRenee says:

      Oops I meant that ^^ to be a reply to Terbo Teds’ comment on the Art Car aspect of this article – not a stand alone comment- hope it’s not confusing to anyone

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  • Miley Cyrus says:

    I appreciate to blogger for wonderful post. will definitely share this blog to my group.

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  • sparkletaint says:

    This looks like a good start. It’s not perfect, but it is really nice to see the BORG acknowledge what Burners have been saying for years.

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  • Seti says:

    >More important than ticket sales is the work we all do
    The first crack in the story.

    And not every art car owner wants fat, old queens dressed as nuns on their cars taking up space and complaining about everything.

    >the spread of Burning Man culture
    Like herpes. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

    >Burning Man is not built for you, it is built by you.
    I thought it was built by DPW. At least that’s what they said while stealing my cooler of beer and groping my underage daughter.

    >Support economic diversity
    What about ethnic diversity? BM is so white that if you have a tan you’re a second class citizen.

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  • Romeo Phillips says:

    I camped with Humano The Tribe, and I can’t believe all the lies I’ve read. Burners are the most angry people on the planet. We had one leaking plumbing pipe and it was fixed the moment it was discovered. Our people spent much of the day cleaning up moop from surrounding camps that blew into our camp. Sometimes it would fly back into their camp and they’d bring it to us. Most of the trash that we hauled off the playa wasn’t even our trash.

    Sure, we like the ladies. The ladies like us. It’s none of your business what arrangements we have with them. Stop being envious and get a real job so you can get hot girlfriends.

    You people smell, and are disgusting.

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    • Michael says:

      Burning man is for bored middle age people such as yourself. Everyone that attends this joke of an event is a disgusting human IMO.

      Find a new hobbie. Wish someone would just drop an a-bomb on the playa so I never will have to see another photo of this ugly artwork and lame costumes.

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      • Romeo Phillips says:

        I’m 1/1052 Native American. So my costume is authentic. It makes me so angry when I see other people wearing Indian headdresses. It disrespects my people and my innate spiritual connection to the land and feathers and soft leather shoes. They don’t know what my people have gone through. My costume is super rad, though!

        HOW! That means peace be with you in Indian.

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  • Cassy says:

    Cute article, doesn’t address the actual cause, and way too long for the people who create the problem to actually read it.

    #1 Forbid A class RVs, forever, for any reason.
    #2 Placement – forbid all PnP camps. You know who they are when they apply and turn in those perfectly spaced a class RVs plans and apartment sized generators. No more. You allow them, give years of warnings, then complain later how “it” damaged the culture? Hogwash. We count on you to weed them out before the event!

    You want your culture back? Forbid these forever, and have placement act as protectors of the culture. you can repair everything at the org level by forbidding these people from attending & buying.

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  • John G says:

    Seems like a simple enough fix for me. Just disallow the transfer of tickets.

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  • Michael says:

    All you burners are the same. Delusional. Burning Man is a scam, and this is just more bait to legitimize one of the lamest gatherings of middle aged humans in the history of mankind. Burning man died during the first dot com bubble.

    This year I am going to the Juggalow gathering instead of burning man, as there is a broader sense of inclusion from complete strangers. Even if they are meth’ed up mid westerners.

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    • Rick says:

      I’ve been to a Juggalow event. The women are 10x hotter than burner chicks, and they have crazy clown fetishes. Also, there’s no way to identify people if things get a bit too nasty.

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  • Scratchedoffmy Bucketlist says:

    I see hypocrisy here in two places.

    Radical Inclusivity…only if you’ve been coming for years, but not if you want to get clean and sleep comfortably.

    Radical Self-reliance…this should eliminate all group camps and require everyone to bring their own backpack.

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  • Stuff Tree says:

    Be the change you want to see.

    Owning an art car is hard and stressful. I was kicked off an artcar in 2001 to make room for more cute girls. I didn’t get mad and complain online… I built my own artcar. There will never be enough room for everyone who wants a ride and I have had to tell many people “Sorry no room”

    If you want an artcar ride, build one. Be the change you want to see.

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  • Christopher Benevides says:

    Thank you, totally agree!!! This event is about building yourself and others. Not popularity or selling stuff !!

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  • Rob Blakemore says:

    Thanks for the update and the work on this Marian.

    Please can I briefly signpost Glastonbury’s answer to tickets going to scalpers. As one of the world’s biggest events of its type – with 150,000 people buying tickets, the problem of scalpers used to be rife – but is now minimal. Putting a photo and name on the ticket, and permitting resales through the Glastonbury organisation only – put an effective stop to it. Although I understand the reluctance to do it (with so many gifted tickets at Burning Man), I think that having a photo on the ticket, and requiring ID, will likely be the only way to address scalpers once and for all.

    All the best. x

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  • William Berg says:

    As a proud member of Surly Camp, we take real pride in offering rides to all that are inclined to do so. Our only restrictions are that our guests follow our safety rules and do not engage in behavior that could compromise ours or their fun. We have a long history of being one of the most accessible MV’s on the playa with a bike rack open to guests (if there is space). We post walkers that are always ready to guide our ride. Trash bags for all to use and we moop along the way. We even offer the upper deck to guests as a priority when underway.

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  • Martyn says:

    Late. But, better late than never. Given it’s relevance in today’s world if there is one place that needs to be maintained as pure and clean as possible, it’s BM. A relief to read this. I remember going to this intensely ego-vomiting camp and as I entered was picked out and screamed at by this narcissistic guy who turned out to be one of the camp leads, which I found out as I left and bumped into him again, after which he continued his heavy abuse, even though I had not said anything to him, had not given him a foul look or anything like that. And the girl who was with him was cheering him on. And all that just for the sake of it, seeing me and feeling he could attack me and belittle me. Pure narcissistic abuse out of nowhere. Camps with cunts like that who come to BM to showcase themselves on social media and copy paste their narcissistic system to the Playa should be kicked the fuck out ASAP. The problem with most progressive organisations is that they are too soft, too reasonable, for too long, instead of putting their foot down and just telling people to stop or leave. Many people forget that there is a second side to love and it is called ‘tough love’, which is pure love energy as well, but then involves protecting yourself and others from malignant energies or actions. So, thank you. I am fully on board.

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  • Runs with Scissors says:

    Does this mean we can’t dress up like Indians anymore? Everyone tries to ruin all the fun!

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  • burning man is a complete hypocrisy. I’ve attended over 10 times over the past 20 years, and I can say this response to the ‘Humano’-type camps is a joke. Saying “Burning man is not a festival” is a complete joke because it is a festival. It’s people spending thousands of dollars (even the ‘poor’ ones) for a week to party, make art, eat food, do drugs, bang random people, pee and poop and make believe the pee and poop is disappearing, and to CONSUME. Try to sugar coat it all you want and greenwash it all you want, this is a festival and it feeds right into america consumerism. Bigger and bigger every year. More and more every year. More people flying in on airplanes to Reno. More people renting giant RVs and burning millions of gallons of gas, diesel and jet fuel. More people buying food and booze and equipment and stuff they throw away at the end of the week. Trying to dress it up like it’s something else is again, hypocrisy. The Humano-type camps and the invasion of silicon valley money and douchery is everywhere ‘cool’ things on planet earth are. All the cool things are discovered, co-opted, and over run by this money and douchery. Jackson hole, Cannes, Tulum, Burning man, it’s all the same. Douchery. Silcon valley dudes flying, buying their way into cool, consuming, and then leaving before the next board meeting starts. Moneyed gatherings over run by guys in jets carting around hanger-on chicks who are following the money and free food and drugs. Everyone at burning man needs to get over themselves, especially the leadership. They are stacking their money year over year, but trying to cultivate an image of ‘leave no trace’ and ‘we’re amazing for the earth’ when in fact they are not. Just stop pretending to be something you’re not.

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  • Stephen Bissinger says:

    I understand the org’s stance in saying “Burning Man is NOT a Festival” in their desire to fully distance themselves from the post-FYRE-era-currated-Festival-experiences so prevalent in today’s society.

    However, IMHO, not only IS Burning Man the Godmother-of-all-Festivals… I really would have preferred the org to take the stance that Burning Man’s Culture and Principles are the standard that ALL other Festivals should ASPIRE to be.

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  • CaptainJack says:

    Oh come on…BM has become a commercial operation flooded by money and overseas trips to attend symposiums on what went wrong.

    When Silicon Valley and Hollywood showed up, BM went groupie and the “values” went out the window.

    BM could fix this with a simple ticket sales process. But their ticket process is the root of “Radical EXclusion.” And they didn’t fix the root cause of the problem.

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  • Coot Wyman says:

    Amen! Stick by the principles and we’ll continue to grow as a community.

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  • Jim U says:

    Still no day pass option? This really needs to be considered; not everyone is able to go for the full week, but would like to experience it for some of the time.

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  • Traveller says:

    I have attended 3 burns since 2015. The community and the art are amazing.

    Some camps are indeed purely commercial and definitely break the 10 principles. They are parasites.

    But they shouldn’t be confused with camps that give so much to the community: it pains me to read such negative comments about the big music art cars, Robot Heart in particular.

    Of course, not getting on the bus right away can feel like rejection, always painful. But let’s be reasonable: you can’t fit 70,000 people on that bus. Of course, when it’s crowded, camps come first, and there is and will be a bigger queue to get in all cool things on the playa; it’s simply numbers!

    I can just talk about my experience: last Year Lee Burridge played at Robot Heart and I really wanted to see that one. I showed up and ended up chatting with some members of the door crew, passionate peeps giving all their nights to run the bus. I waited patiently and I did not see any sign of the attitude some people describe, the crew manning the door stayed cool while many burners got frustrated, some would become abusive or aggressive…we are all humans.

    I believe many people got frustrated because they felt entitled; not only thinking they are at a festival, but that they should be able to go backstage whenever they want. Meanwhile, there are many DJs playing every night at the burn, and some very good ones play to very small crews: no queue there, so do your research, be open, avoid the crowd!

    I’ve met people from many camps , rich and poor, local or foreign, young , old etc…this is the diversity we respect, but respect goes both ways and also means respecting the constraints of the people managing a show, a camp, an installation. Everywhere on the playa, I turned away from queues that seemed too long, the playa is wild and wide!

    On a separate- and I personally feel – more important note – I was very surprised that Marian did not address the global footprint of the event. I understand it is much harder to tackled and far less popular…

    Coming from Australia is a trek and my carbon footprint bothers me; probably the only thing that will prevent from me coming more. MOOP is no joke, love it, little wood fire is all right but fuck how much oil do we burn?

    Banish air conditioning, you will lower the petrol burn proportionally with the number of less committed people! Same goes with flying (except for key services) … create a special price for electric vehicles and provide green power throughout the camp: we have burners specialists of the new energy grids, renewable etc…

    I understand making the burn full electric would mechanically make the costs much higher (for now) and thus the event more elitist; but we need to transition ! How can the “vibrant community” we pride ourselves to be not raise the alarm on this?

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  • Tim R says:

    These changes are all in the right direction. Here are a few more:

    Block cell phone signals and ban photography for all but approved artists (like it used to be). There is almost nothing more corrosive to the culture than these tethers to the default world.

    These recording and communication processes MAINTAIN IDENTITY and the identity they maintain is the one that CONSUMES and that EXPECTS AND PROMOTES NORMS.

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  • Bo Hopson says:

    Hooray for you. Burning man will turn into a god forbid Coachella. I praise you for the changes you are making. You are doing great.

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  • MAG says:

    Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!!
    It’s been so sad to see it turn into a shallow narcissistic fashion show for the self absorbed. I’ve grown to the point where I can’t even watch random videos taken at Burning Man because they’re just so shallow and ridiculous. I really hope you can just do away with the bulk of the consumerist large sound camps and I don’t hesitate to include some of the most popular art cars (Robot Heart, you have no heart. Really.) To a better Burn for everyone who participates!

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    • OJ says:

      It’s easy to target Robot Heart without acknowledging the last 10 years the camp members have spent creating, building, and investing in Burning Man. Their entire camp is built by campmates, the cars are driven by campmates, the bars, door duty, mooping, and every other unsexy detail is all taken care of by campmates. On top of that, Robot Heart has been an instrumental part of creating incredible experiences that we’ve all had the benefit to enjoy—sunset meditations, philharmonic concerts and art collaborations, providing the perfect soundtrack for adventures out in deep playa. Far from self-absorbed, everything they’ve created has brought life to the playa for everyone. They truly are citizens of Black Rock City.

      It’s also easy to misconstrue the bus as elitist, if you pretend safety and capacity aren’t real concerns. When there is space, I’ve been welcomed on the bus, with all sorts of friends. I’ve also had to wait a long time when it was crowded. Your choice to wait, I have a lot more fun dancing outside! It’s just reality that the bus is popular, it gets packed, and there is a limited amount of space. As long as you’re not aggressive or entitled, it’s the same policy for everyone.

      I don’t camp with Robot Heart, but I have made so many good friends dancing in front of their speakers, sharing drinks, soaking in the sunrise. They’ve created one of the most generous families I’ve found on the playa, and so many of my favorite memories were formed on a backdrop they created.

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  • Kavi says:

    Great conversations. I can’t find the comment about the cell towers, but TOTALLY agree. One of the best features of BM was the lack of cell connection. Just kill it.

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  • Lotus says:

    I love the public acknowledgment that a course correction is needed. After skipping a few years I returned to the playa in 2018 and was saddened to see so many people obsessed with consuming and observing, and not partaking and building. I distinctly remember walking around the Man late at night and feeling disgusted by everyone holding up their phones to take a selfie.

    But let’s be honest, BMorg knows exactly what is going on. They know which camps are plug-and-play. They even set up an airport to facilitate entry for the rich. If BMorg wants to stop the consumerism attitude, they could easily do more on this front. The minor changes announced so far are just a small step.

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  • Tahoma Doyon says:

    When a event/festival gets huge it’s easy to fall into the corporate mainstream of profit and business as usual. Not that there is anything wrong with other festivals but I like how Burning Man is doing their best to stay true to their roots. Way to remind everyone what you all are about.

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  • Tatiana says:

    I can’t but think that in order to make sure people don’t treat burning man as a festival, it would be important to somehow restrict the weekenders, since they are mainly the ones treating it as a festival. Maybe entry should be generally allowed until Wednesday, unless very specific circumstances? I have struck out of getting tickets some years and heard a lot of weekenders got theirs and I thought it was unfair, people who truly want to experience BM as opposed to people who will get the tickets, pay a ton for extravagant camps and go on Friday because they couldn’t handle any more

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  • MAGNAT Pauline says:

    Amazing to hear this ! This is very well thought !

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  • Secret Shopper says:

    Well, it’s a start. But frankly, the level of screw up that you talk about getting a ban should get you a one year ban the first time for the camp, and you keep doing stuff like this, a 5 year ban for the the leadership, at a minimum, and a perma ban for the org. I’ve only been in 2015 and 2017 (but I’ve been not going since it was on the beach), but I am very understanding of the people who leave Thursday or early Friday, and that’s because you have serious cultural problems. Heck, perhaps the gate should close at 4am Friday, and that’s it, no weekend people at all.

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  • JonesBunny says:

    Burners are mostly progressive liberals. Scapegoating the 1% is natural for them: our problems come from the culture of rich people and they are ruining everything. We must blame some ‘other’ for our shortcomings. The 1% make up 1% of the population at BRC, and they’re ruining everything?

    Take a look in the mirror.

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    • Jared "Dusk" Paul says:

      I don’t entirely disagree with you. Part of this conversation should include a degree of self evaluation. Every BRC citizen enjoys a degree of privilege, even folks like me with an income hovering around (or below) the poverty line. To what degree are we individually blind to our impact on the culture?

      Earlier in these comments someone who seemed well-meaning rattled on from their perspective living in the Hamptons. It was easy for most of us to notice that person’s blind spots.

      I don’t immediately blame the 1% for all of our Burning Man problems, but I do think that with their access to resources and influence comes a heightened level of accountability for their behavior.

      We other 99%… or perhaps more accurately, us in the 2% thru 50% or so, can hold the wealthy accountable but to effect permanent, meaningful change I agree with what you suggested: let’s take a look in the mirror.

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  • Heather bleasdell says:

    Thank you for this. I did not experience the luxury camps during my last visit in 2017, but I had friends staying in first camp… and let me say… I found first camp to be totally UNburningman in spirit. The generosity I experienced on the playa did not permeate first camp. I found “the founders” to be swimming in a sense of privaledge and entitlement, totally disconnected from the everyday people and lacked approachability. I think the culture of the “over-seers” should also be examined. Thank you again for your post and best wishes for 2019 burn.

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    • Julie Julie says:

      First Camp was a bit different last year than in other years. It was the first Burn after Larry Harvey died. I know many people who camped there (and nearby) in 2018. We were paying our respects to the Man (Mr. Harvey). It was all very emotional. Mr. Harvey’s body was brought out to the playa in a freezer rig in a specialized coffin. We were able to pay our last respects in person. At the end of the event, his body was buried exactly under the Golden Spike.

      Many people don’t want me to tell this story, but I feel it is owed to all of the people that make Burning Man such an amazing place.

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  • outro_lado says:

    Get rid of the high priced tickets completely!
    Have very strict requirements to be a theme camp. Do not allow camps to set up accommodations for their campers. You talk about reducing OSS, how about eliminating except for artist support?
    Burning man is about setting up your own tent and building your camp together, and making food together to share with your camp. Deemphasize mutant vehicles that are DJ booths and that post lineup announcements. My hope is that Burning man will fall out of fashion for the international jet set Ibiza crowd. These people have no idea what it means to work and contribute, they only understand paying someone else to do their labor. They present themselves as providers of some phony pseudo and empty spirituality, complete with their “tribal” decorations. Burning man as a backdrop for photo shoots and instagram models is a truly sad development. It is time for some serious culture jamming against this style.

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  • John Koenig says:

    My first Burning Man was 2010. I logged on the second the ticketing website opened and, ~ 20 minutes later, had my ticket (<$250). Ticketing was "improved" for 2011. It took me EIGHT HOURS to get my ticket (and said ticket was MUCH more expensive). 2012, there were more "improvements". I didn't get a ticket until AUGUST (and more expensive still). In 2013, I was in Fernley, NV just before Burning Man opened (because I had been unable to buy a ticket through "normal" channels). Over the next THREE DAYS, I was unable to buy a ticket! In 2012, I had volunteered to arrive early to help set up the airport and was told they were already "fully staffed" (I did stay one day after on my first year to help tear down). I volunteered at the airport all three years I attended Burning Man (as a pilot working shifts in the tower for "ZEUSS, aka Unicommander;" Carl Sagerquist was a GREAT person to work with / for). That volunteer service got me ZERO consideration in getting a ticket in the years I WAS able to buy a ticket or, in 2013 and later. Burning Man acknowledges that the event cannot happen without volunteers. In my case (and others I know of) Burning Man takes those volunteer hours for granted and, leave many volunteers scrambling and struggling to get a ticket (often unsuccessfully) while seasoned volunteers are forgotten. I've heard that Burning Man claims it wants to get "new people" to attend. How many of those "new people" volunteer in any meaningful way? I'm VERY glad I had the chance to participate the three years I did. I'd love to "come home" again but, being able to attend another Burning Man seems VERY unlikely unless major changes / REAL improvements are made in recognizing the value of volunteers and helping volunteers to get a ticket. :(
    FlyGuy

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  • Larry L says:

    What keeps Humano or any of these camps from coming as a different new camp and taking it further next year? I think BM has a real problem because all they have to do is make a new brochure.

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    • June Bug says:

      >What keeps Humano or any of these camps from coming as a different new camp

      Nothing. What keeps underprepared newbies and normies from showing up and demanding rides on my art car to take them back to camp? What keeps them for asking for mixers on Patron night? What will ever stop them from asking for goddamn everything, like demanding rides to Reno? Like demanding beef and cheese when they’re hungry and don’t like the canned soup that was freely offered to them? The same soup that I live off out there… It’s not the 1% that’s the problem.

      Oh, and how about the guy who asked to take a shower and left the water running because it was too cold and spilled it all over the playa… Is it my responsibility? Yes, it is. Why should I even go back?

      Or the woman who opened a bottle of Frog’s Leap sauvignon blanc ($50 a bottle) and spilled it all on the playa because she didn’t get to ride on an art car.

      The 1% is not the problem.

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  • Krok-o-dyle says:

    Quoting percentages without supplying actual numbers to apply them to–as in your “ticket changes for 2019” spiel–actually don’t mean a damn thing.

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  • dusty filter says:

    Haven’t RVs and Trailers been part of the builder community pretty much from the start? Haven’t there always been some attendants who experience [more than contributing or consuming] before building ? Isn’t the virgin year for everyone a sensory overload blur? Is recommending playa gear for other attendees either first time or or not on social media [example you have posted] something new? Don’t people recommend such things anyway and Social becomes more of a channel? Lastly, hasn’t camp dues been part of the theme camp ecosystem already for a long time, and dues typically vary depending on services?

    I had a long chat with Larry on this topic and I feel the biggest takeaway for me was organic growth and no explicit policing. Organic means we do not know where it will go. If someone wants to spend $$$$ and show up in a luxury RV, how different is that than the $$$$ being spent on elaborate art cars [mayan worrior] – I know art cars participate, but they are also selective about who gets on and off. So – as long as the core tenets hold, is it a good idea to try to police the reef [as Larry put it] or let it have a life of it’s own, but rather spend time on mechanisms that encourage “willing” follow of the core tenets/principles.

    I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I sure do feel this is more grey and do have many many questions.

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  • Lisa Bertschi says:

    Marian, I’m so delighted to read about the new/old direction the BM Project is taking. I wished there was a way to reduce the oppressive “policing” too.

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  • Barbara Sharanowski says:

    I have not been burning for very long, since 2015 – but it changed my life. I love that BM is the perfect mix of my two homes – Canada and America, through community and individualism. True individualism (aka immediacy, radical self-expression and self-reliance) invokes exceptional innovation, creativity, personal growth, and freedom – cherished features of our home. Community (encapsulating at least 4 principles) compels us to be the best environmental stewards and individuals we can be in a social setting. To give, include, cooperate, and protect our community creates the love and social beauty within or home. I am always bewildered by the ability of humans as individuals and community members to reach for the stars and hit the galaxy, and I see it every year on playa or at my regionals. Individuality needs as much nurturing and encouragement as does community.

    But there are three principles that need some deep thought as the community inevitably evolves, like all things.

    Decommodification: Turn-key camps are revolting to most of us because most of their members do not PARTICIPATE in building the community, their members take do not give, they likely sodomize mother earth when no-one is looking, and they are so far from radical self-reliance to be a meme. Yet, many of us do not embrace this principle well and contribute to the problem. We create as much consumer culture by buying our costume trinkets and lights, by using our throw away zip-ties instead of reusable bungies, by burning fossil fuels instead of using renewable energy, by not recycling at our camps despite other camps making it easy to do so, and a whole host of other ways that would make a 5000 page treatise. We do these things because it is easier, and we too live in a default world that constantly trains us to consume. This consumption creates the hypocrisy of LEAVE NO TRACE – because even if the trace is not on playa, it’s in a garbage can or floating in the ocean somewhere. We are annoyed by the instagram whatchamacallits promoting their douche-baggery, but we may not be so annoyed if someone gifted their innovative renewable zip-ties on playa and subsequently received a business boost in the default world. The “line” can muddy quickly. Thus, while the BMORG works to clean-up the more obvious problems, it is up to all of us to individually PARTICIPATE in decommodification with the lightest trace that we can. This will ensure continued “transformative change, whether in the individual or in society (Burning Man Project, 1989-2019),” as we evolve through time.

    Sorry for the long post!

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  • SpAcELuK says:

    Ben Fatta! Bravi, it was and is necessary to do it.
    Amici vitia si feras, facias tua!

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  • Kiki says:

    Stasis is a stage of evolution.

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  • Exburner says:

    Here is the pamphlet for Humano camp leaked. Fyre Festival at burning man. You cannot save burning man Marian. It’s over.

    https://mashable.com/article/burning-man-humano/?europe=true&fbclid=IwAR0-CNEBG1BMFx6phOCAD9YgT8DGdLUJ2VjkDwE8ODSr867ML-1yBS2XxMM#59Em3fXttaqO

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  • SILVIA MARTINEZ says:

    Burning man is not a festival!!
    And that’s what make this event so Unique an special!

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  • Haley says:

    I’m in full support of any changes to be made to bring the heart back into the playa. Every year I’ve been less and less excited about diving in because of the new culture that has been created. I would love nothing more than to see some of this squashed in future burns. Thank you for seeing what we see!

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  • Stryfe says:

    I’m calling BS, Marian. The BRC team knows exactly who these people, camps and art cars are. If you REALLY wanted them out you would deny their artcar and theme camp applications. I guarantee they wouldn’t show up if they actually had to arrive and setup on Sunday like the regular folks. As long as the BRC team gives them access, this crap will continue to exist

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  • Jwang says:

    As far as course correction and your 10 principles, especially “leave no trace”, how do you justify the huge amount of green house gas released by the annual burning of the man? It seems like a perfect example of cognitive dissonance

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    • Danger Ranger says:

      Every burner that goes back out into the world spreading our principals, including Leave No Trace, is making an improvement in the world. The light from our fire has far more beneficial impact globally that it’s carbon footprint in the desert.

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      • Ummno says:

        That’s interesting. You would think that the thousands of bikes left over on the playa would be something that would be in the ‘leave no trace’ principal.

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      • jwang says:

        But its not practicing what you preach. Its quite the entitled philosophy to “spread your principal of LNT” but not practice it. Burning an effigy and spreading harmful chemicals in to a protected environment does not make the world a better place. It may make you feel better but it does irreparable harm to OUR environment.

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  • Don says:

    As someone, as a musical artist and social activist and healer, who has never been to Burning Man (yet) but has many friends who are long term participant cocreators, but is a lifelong veteran of both the Rainbow Gathering and Oregon Country Fair as well as smaller nonfestival Healing Gatherings, I am so glad to see this clarification and re-commitment to the visionary transformative nature of this gathering. As a low income person on disability, I appreciate the commitment to financial accessibility. I look forward to seeing this evolve more and the possibility of finally getting involved! Yay Burning Man!

    With love from Oregon Country Fair land where we call Burning Man our “evil twin sister”

    Blessings!

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    • who cares says:

      Go to BM and see first hand how similar these two events are. There are not even close to being sisters. I always find it funny that those who haven’t gone to BM sure know about it. I have been to the fair 25 times, BM 14, there are not even the same species.

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  • Bud says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t really believe any of this is meant with any sincerity at all. When the event started to sell out, and the org decided to introduce super expensive pre-sale tickets, who exactly did they think they were going to attract? Community-centric, 10 principles people? Hell no. That’s the price point that invites entitled assholes looking for Coachella in a different venue. They knew *exactly* what they were doing, and note they still aren’t stopping crazy insane overpriced tickets.

    At the end of the day, the org makes tons of $$ by letting big luxury camps in. A lot of those camps make it because they know someone in the org, or have someone on the inside pulling for them. They will continue to do so as it is key to their business model.

    That kind of crap is why I really don’t care about going to burning man again. I help other people on their projects from afar, but the event jumped the shark a long time ago when it became about making money.

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  • cap'n Jonny says:

    A couple things occur to me that might work .

    1 require every plug and play camp to host a substantive event . Make a condition that all the paying guests personally participate.

    2 Treat all rideable art cars like public transportation, with bus stops throughout the playa and city , requiring riders to dis embark at regular intervals or locations . If they wanted do continue on they would have to go to the back of the line of people waiting to get on.

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  • dandelion says:

    It’s kind of funny that BM Inc. want to force a non-consumerist, “decommodified” life style whereas BM Inc. itself engage in and enable, IMO, one of the biggest mass-consumerist and commodity-based behaviors on this planet in the build up to and the week of the event and during the return back to the so-called “default world”. Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Weyerhaeuser, not to mention the petrol companies, are royally laughing their asses off on their way to the bank!
    I don’t think BM Inc. get their own message themselves. Take for example the oxymoron of “no money exchange” and the center cafe, where in earlier years I could actually trade for a drink there occasionally, these times are long gone, and cash is still king. Is BM Inc. and their exorbitant admission fees any different than the all-admired billionaires of the “default world”, extracting and controlling vast sums of money and deciding where they’re best applied through some non-profit sham? And why should BM Inc. employees be allowed to make an income but not others? Is this all-inclusive??
    Don’t take me wrong, BM is a fun place to be, but to present it as anything different than the “default world” on steroids is in my book just a big stinking heap of feed-lot cow manure! The only event that more or less lives up to BM’s credo is Rainbow Gathering, it is what BM would like to be seen as but fails miserably at.
    Please stop pretending and just let BRC be what it has become, a temple of mindless, consumerist partying, cloaked in a sparkly, glittery vail of do-good and community building, all the while using up countless amounts of resources! Or even better, stop the madness altogether and let the playa be again what it was before the hoards arrived along with their irreparable destruction, a breath taking, awe inspiring place of serenity on this beautiful planet earth! (But what about all the people making a living through BM Inc.? Hello lumber jacks and coal miners…)
    And while I’m at it: “Leave no trace” my derriere! Ever heard of E=mcˆ2? What happens to all that burned up mass of crap, including the “Man”? Thousands of tons of micro and nano particles conveniently rendered invisible by combustion and blown out of sight by mother earth’s winds!
    Sorry to burst your rainbow bubble, but that’s how it is. So if you want to attend an incredible party, scrape your pennies together and get in the ticket line, but if you want to make a real difference, get to work in your “default world” and stay away from the playa!!

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  • Janna says:

    I’m spiritual but not religious. Like and subscribe.

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  • Toe says:

    Our camp went solar a few years back. It makes a big difference to one’s burn experience. We shape our infrastructure and then it shapes us.

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  • Cindy Bunny says:

    IG models get a very bad reputation on the playa. These women are Burners and should be treated with respect. Everyone struggle to get to BRC and it’s not fair to marginalize a group of women who like to have their pictures taken. They’re Burners like you and me, and they like to ghost fuck the playa. Stop being so judgemental, you misogynists!

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    • Trevor says:

      We had an Instagram model in our camp last year. She was totally amazing. She was an artist – actually, a performance artist. He poured a pound of playa dust in her vagina, followed by a bottle of Pepsi. Then she squirted it all onto a blank canvas. That painting later sold for $50,000.

      Unfortunately, she died of toxic shock and was pronounced dead at Renown South Meadows Medical Center in Reno. The good news was she was off the playa when she died, so she didn’t count as a Burning Man death (thank God!). But she was absolutely beautiful and it made everyone sad for a bunch of time. But she’s in a better place now.

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  • Nope says:

    Looks like the folks at BM are getting pissed that other people are profiting besides themselves.

    Since when do they care about any of these things? All I’ve ever seen them care about is money.

    That seems to be the core of the issue here.

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  • Sail Man says:

    The last time I went to TTITD was 2014. I had skipped a few years and felt that the vibe had changed so much.
    In fact, it had changed so much I questioned as to whether or not I ever wanted to return. I felt that so much of what I was experiencing belonged somewhere else, that many of the people, groups etc I interacted with and observed were not burners, but lost denizens who belonged somewhere else, say Ibiza, and not on the playa.

    BM needs to get back to their roots and Marion’s letter seems to indicate that they understand that. I hope they succeed. And I do have an older son who has never been, but been very involved in the regionals, so I will probably make at least one trek back to see how successful the org is in getting back to the true burner roots.

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  • Moves says:

    Yay! I’m a 15 year burner & founder the PINK GYM at Comfort and Joy Village. (Come visit.) We’re open for everyone all the time – of course!!!, and we sweat a lot setting up our gym each year, which is well worth it because of all the joy our patrons express upon finding us. I think its terrific that the BORG is taking the steps outlined in this post. I hope you do more in this regard, not less. Think about closing the airport except for civic support. Do more to limit the role of outside vendors to what’s necessary to set up the public-facing/participatory aspect of camps. Ban those huge air-conditioned trailers that plug-and-plays use. If fewer vendors means that highly inclusive and participatory camps, such as my own 150-person village, don’t get fresh vegetables brought in or we have to decentralize our showers, well, that’s an acceptable price to pay to address the larger issues discussed in the post. I have access to vegetables and long showers 51 weeks of the year. What is critical is preserving a culture based on the 10 principles for one week of the year. It’s a soul changing experience that has changed my life. Happy to rough it a bit for that!

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  • Molly says:

    We need to ban people who have a high net worth. People should submit their tax returns before being allowed to receive a ticket.

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  • upcycle says:

    contrast – go and ‘take in’ any public beach on July 5th before 2019 and then look @ the playa during…. and then after )'( – society as we know it is leaving it for everyone and anyone – the default community sucks in so many certain classic ways, this is a known known – so…we clean up the playa, we clean up the beaches, we clean up the mountains – we’ll create a giant vacuum to suck up all the bad stuff and then we’ll decide how to blow it up! – It’s the many walking among the many – this year’s metamorphosis should surely be subtlety and intensely be about trying to transform those litter bugs that throw it on the F’ing ground into one’s that just F’ing don’t…it’s so simple – your own personal ‘footprint’ is key – If you attended ONLY! to your own apparent personal ‘footprint’ that would be enough! – Everything can be broken down in ALL ways – your own apparent creativeness in the breaking down of your camp’s recyclables is key to your camp – as well as your own personal ‘footprint’ – how bad are you or others in any of your peep’s groups of ‘campers’ that are making a giant fucking king kong style fucking foot print that is NOT relative to your body or your camp size – would you shit close to your own kitchen if you didn’t need to stay there very long…

    who are you leaving it for? You are responsible for you and yours….

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    • Zen Rha says:

      I was raised by hippies. Is there some way we can recycle them? So many weak men and presumptively strong women. The whole culture is fucking mess… Oh man, and the recycling mafia!!! It just never ends with these people. The highest form of progressive Zen is eating your own shit, and then donating shit of your shit to the children to eat.

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  • Cliff says:

    I was really impressed by Marian’s article, for its honesty and its clarity on what the Org identifies as the challenges facing our community and how they can help mitigate them. I think at this point we have a case of trying to get the toothpaste back in the tube, but I also don’t think the Org should be held liable for how they managed our evolution in the midst of rapidly changing technology over the last 10 years or so. Social media has exposed the masses to Burning Man, and unfortunately what’s most often shared falls directly in line with social media in general…..make it look good. People don’t go home and post photos of the inside of their tent filled with a half inch of dust, or a morning selfie taken when trying to navigate home while the dehydration and hangover is kicking in. Burning Man has captured the interest of a whole lot of people because of how well we photograph, rather than because of our community ethos. I don’t like to tell people how to Burn, but I do think it’s right for the Org to try and minimize the business opportunities for those that have exploited a niche market. Also okay for them to take a policy line against the exclusivity and insular nature of most of the turn-key camps.

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  • Moves says:

    Having read a couple hundred comments, I’d like to add my voice in favor of taking down the cell towers. Not having cells reduces the temptation to commodify and promotes immediacy. I burned for 10 years when we didn’t have cells and survived – indeed it was kind of exciting if sometimes inconvenient. Like the dust storms.

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  • Philip Sager says:

    I am really pleased to see this message- the steps being taken are going to improve Burning Man. I will say, that the concept of denying Camps placement is excellent and for turn-key camps, I hope that management will be very firm.

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  • Steve Johnson says:

    I think this is the life cycle of festivals the world over. They tend to grow to a point that the brand grows bigger than the idea and many tourists arrive who are there to party hard for a few days then go home with photos and nothing more. Its nice that more people are excited by this idea and exposed to an alternate lifestyle but I feel that BRC became a social media event more than you know an actual experience.

    I stopped going a few years ago when I started noticing more and more Silicon valley VC types with their “paid” girlfriends. Knowing how these people conduct themselves in their daily lives put me off having to then see the one-up-man-ship on show. Who got the prettiest model or who got the most expensive camp. The antithesis of the core idea of burning man!

    Much happier attending smaller, lesser known events in the US and have also done Afrika Burns in South Africa which was special as few people know about it.

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  • Edward Woodward says:

    i love burning man festival theres so much money to be made off it now. you could say its a victim of its own success but i say make as much profit while you can, cheers!

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    • Tiger Bunny says:

      Exactly. Decommodification is for the little people. There is a huge black market with cash being exchanged on the playa. The 10 principles are just something Harvey dreamed up. Things have been off-the-rails since 1997, and since then a lot of people have made a lot of money. Just keep the yuppies and hipsters in happy-land and they’ll open their wallets.

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    When is the right time to introduce duct tape in a new relationship?

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  • Colsen says:

    I’ve never attended any Burning Man event but I’ve always lived to what this gathering of likeminded souls stands for.
    Nevertheless, the media, photos, articles and stories I’ve seen and heard sort of planted a seed which grew into a dark and thorny bush, representing my perception towards an event I’ve never even attended.

    As somebody who lives for music and believes that it is the ultimate weapon to bring peace to this world, even the soundtrack of a not so silent, yet once again peaceful revolution, I do admit I still hope to participate in one of these events when the time is right for me.

    Anyway, to summarize my vaguely described point,
    I’m very happy with this update!
    I understand the difficulties of keeping matters “under control” when a gathering like Burning Man grows not only in temporary population but also popularity.

    Whenever people ask me what the biggest problem in the world is nowadays I unfortunately had to reply many times in the last years “a lack of basic respect” and it’s a shame that a lot of attendees don’t seem to care much about the unity we all stand for.
    I also remember the pictures of the bicycles that were left behind…
    LEAVE NO TRACE, how hard can this be to understand?
    It’s also ridiculous to start “policing” attendees of course but how can somebody care more about their product’s sales figures, personal wealth or fake online popularity than this beautiful Utopia you have all managed, and continue to manage, to create?

    All my love and universal respect and hope to see you someday on the Playa,

    Colsen

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    • Colsen says:

      Also just a random brainfart on this matter,
      I’ve only attended European festivals so far but know a handful who’ve reached about the same age of BM and struggle with the same, let’s just call it, “popularity” issues.

      Maybe gathering your brilliant and highly experienced minds could result in finding ways to deal with the issues you get when your brand grows so popular it’s getting harder to keep any sort control?

      Anyway, Europe out!
      PEACE

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      • Julie Fluffy says:

        All of this was planned by the organizers. It’s not a case of whoopsie – we grew too big and normies took over and now we have too much money. It was the plan since BM started turning a profit.

        Your father’s Burning Man was a lot different. People were outspoken and challenged the organization. And there was a huge, vibrant online community. The only thing left of that is the Reddit hugbox forum and ePlaya, which gets about 5 postings a day. The organization intentionally killed ePlaya by making it impossible to know which forum to go to ask a question or make a comment. So no more dissent. No more challenging the organizations decisions that led to the mainstreaming of the event and the problem they see now: If fucking boring. And the spectacle that it once was (its primary marketing tool) has faded.

        Go once to mark it off you bucket list, but don’t get involved.

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  • Scott London says:

    Amen. Good on you.. looking into it, and acting upon your discovery ..Yes it different than it was and it will continue to change but sometimes a little “Bow Thruster” is needed to get back on course.. Good on you !!!! Keep up the good hard work !!!

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  • Kara Noble says:

    Really – thankyou. There was an uncomfortable feeling at my last burn around the elite-burners. It brought distraction and dissonance. Making the exciting and exhausting commitment to BM begins today, figuring out tickets and then one rides on the tremendous excitement of it all for the next 6 months!! Love you guys.

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  • Charlie Bryce says:

    interesting retrospective. I am glad you went beyond the explanation of assuming they don’t know the ten principles. They do they just don’t follow them and create a moopy experience. People interactions is a wonderful reason to go. People who advertising things should probably be banned from the event forever. Staging a business venture at BRC is just unbelievable. Find out and identify who they are and just tell them, “You are not welcome here anymore.” They won’t come back. The experiences of interaction with other people are raw and real unlike many things we interact with in the default world which is I have something to sell and I will make you buy it. Everything in the Default world is this way. The absence of such makes BRC a real gem. We can experience an interactive immersion into a community which pushes the envelope of limits of personal expressions and support all who do. Everyone supports the community by accepting everyone for who they are and accepts their contribution to make the experience better. Everyone has talents to offer and are what make BRC what it is. I would like to receive a copy of the 55 page report of exploitation and commodification and come with some answers for the community.

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  • Aaron says:

    I would appreciate knowing which things were being marketed in our city. I would go well out of my way to avoid those items when shopping. Enough people boycotting those things might (maybe? maybe not?) have an effect on the bottom line somewhere. That could be a strong voice collectively and a way to vote with our dollars. Shaming product lines, companies or especially people is not being our best selves and a public stockade method would probably be counterproductive. It is just fine, however, to quietly and firmly say ‘Thank You But No.’

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    • Janet says:

      We camped next to a camp called, The King. They were at 9:45 and D. They supplied the whole block with the best Whoppers you’ve ever had. It was amazing! I would never reveal the name of their company.

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  • Bonnie Princess Charlene says:

    I have long wondered if the Borg’s focus on large-scale visual/climbable art has contributed to the cultural decline on-playa. If all your grant money is going to gigantic, rich-people-scale art, it makes it pretty clear what your priorities are. Big stuff! Big, fiery, glittery stuff!

    Of course that is going to invite commodification and general douchebaggery. I love the large-scale work, but to me, the heart of Burning Man lies in the weird side projects, the small theme camps that used to be scattered throughout BRC, in areas that are now boring endless RV suburbs.

    The more Burning Man does to support getting poor and low-middle-class people with high creativity out onto the Playa, the better. More low income tix is a good start. I don’t even know if it’s possible to recruit the kinds of wildass, subversive, out-there performers and firebugs and small-camp-makers that used to flock to Burning Man, in the current culture. Last time I went, I sure missed them.

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    • Leon says:

      Being poor doesn’t mean you are creative. Most likely the opposite.

      Report comment

      • Bonnie Princess Charlene says:

        Well, someone hand Leon here a gold-plated cigar! He can puff on it at his turnkey camp whilst the uncreative peasants labor uselessly at their tiresome endeavors, probably some detestable ideal having to do with “community” or “radical self-reliance.”

        Ugh! Could someone please sweep the riffraff out of here so that the true creatives, those with blue blood and deep pockets, can build their dreamworld on the Playa?

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    • Leon says:

      >whilst the uncreative peasants labor uselessly at their tiresome endeavors
      Just make sure you do a good job.

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  • Benoit Verdier says:

    Totally agree with all you said! Let’s keep BM as close to the original ideal.
    However now it’s time to tell us how we can get a ticket….. For people like me d friends coming from very far away (France) the organization is key and is a real expensive budget… at least 10 times the price of a ticket.. (flights to and from Reno, RV, hotels before and after, etc…). We are already end-February and cannot book anything before being sure to get a ticket…. Please….

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    • Sally @ placement and special services. says:

      But the French always want special things, like fresh baguettes and cheese. We really can’t afford to give them special treatment anymore. It’s our company policy going forward.

      I hope you will understand.

      Kindest regards,
      The Burning Man Organization

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  • Sebastian Suarez Pereira says:

    Queridos amigos de Burning Man. Estoy totalmente de acuerdo con ustedes en frenar ésta tendencia comercial que se viene desarrollando por parte de algunos participantes en pasadas ediciones. Por mi parte estoy intentando reunir dinero para poder asistir este año. No es sencillo dado que vivo en Sudamerica (Uruguay). Les comento que mi profesión es iluminador y manejo todo lo que refiere a la tecnología en LED y controlado bajo el sistema DMX. Ofrezco mis conocimientos y servicios a disposición de quien lo requiera. Tal vez alguien necesite de mi aporte y cuente con la posibilidad de ayudarme a mi a poder participar. Desde ya muchas gracias! Y larga vida a Burning Man!

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  • Alexis says:

    What a breathe of fresh air! Thank you BM for staying true to your roots and aknowledging/stoping the attendees who don’t respect and follow the principles. We are now more then ever looking forward to 2019 coming home.

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  • Marco says:

    Very linear thinking, not sure reality is so simple.

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  • BCsnowbird says:

    Appreciate hearing the previous downfalls and improvements planned to get up to par with the intended mandate – self and community with respect.

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  • Thank you Marion! I love you, and our culture, and our city. As a 17 year Burner, I am glad to see strong steps finally being taken to let our Principles rule again! If there is anything the leading (fake) brand in BRC can spoofily do to help, Playatech is always seeking new ways to engage everyone in principled experiences that benefit art.

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  • Bernie says:

    We need to send these people to Camp Re-education. There, they will learn how to properly redistribute their wealth and adopt progressive ideals.

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  • Sparks says:

    Seems like shrinking the pre sale number and raising the price to $1400 is self defeating in structure with minimal overall impact. Charging the PNPers more would have more direct impact both in discouraging the practice and increasing revenue. That being said, I wouldn’t mind the $1400 ticket if it included early entry.

    RE: traffic/entrance: price tickets according to entry date. From early entry to late arrivals (by bus only?).

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  • Satan says:

    If you’re serious, close the airport (why sanction priviledge?) and forbid cell phone use. This was supposed to be a pilgrimage to leave behind our “other” lives and see what emerged.

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  • Dorne Pentes says:

    I’m just re-reading this wonderful post. I’m so glad the BMORG is taking steps to preserve the Burning Man ethos and experience. I pledge my efforts to help, with more radical participation and civic responsibility.

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  • David Knox says:

    This is such a huge relief to know that steps are being taken. This needs the focus of the Org and all of us from now forward unto eternity to restore and preserve the culture that has opened up so many lives!

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  • phoenixchild says:

    I hoped I would attend BRC this year, but it looks like that will not happen.
    However, I’ve found trepidation and disillusionment silting down in the posts I’ve read regarding Burning Man. The wearing away of the culture seems to be forming a flat bedrock of negativity through the community. Whether it is those blatantly perverting the principles of Burning Man, or those concerned
    the festival will wither away from its original ideals, the outcome seems to me to head in the same direction: despondency and deterioration.
    This was to be my first burn, and metamorphosis (2019’s theme), was to be the key to salvaging what’s left of my time here.
    And there, in the theme, lies something greater than me. Hope.
    All who attend should take with them the 10 principles, love of something greater than themselves, and hope. With enough sweat, tears,
    determination, courage, and hope, the story of Burning Man will again be told of how all of you stepped away from this cruel joke we call the modern world and relinquished your commodity, “civility”,
    “sociality” and contemporaneous for the
    gifts of simplicity, serenity, epiphany, love,
    and, most of all, humanity.
    Let me ask that you all do this for those will follow you down through the generations.
    I may never get to Burning Man, but please keep the dream of such a place alive. After all, no matter what the future holds, I’ll still be able to dream.

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  • Layla Wright says:

    This is awesome! I’m hoping to go to my first burn this year! I’ve been volunteering with Comfort and Joy and The GLAMCOCKS for over a year now. I want all of our communities to be better for and with each other!
    xoxo
    Gem N’Aye

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  • Chester says:

    What’s the age of consent on the playa?

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  • Portland Flyboy says:

    With this year’s ticketing changes, BMorg seems to be saying that being in a large camp brings more value to Burning Man than coming as an individual. For 7 of the 8 years I have attended Burning Man, I camped with a small non-official group or alone. The year I did join a group, I felt most of the individuals in the camp were there to have fun and experience, but did very little contributing, other than camp chores. By increasing and prioritizing the directed group sales, BMorg is neglecting a large group of people who make Burning Man so special…..that is individuals who come on their own, bring stories, crafts, art, experiences, love etc to the event. Why does BMorg think attendees participating in an organized camp bring more value to the Burning Man experience than solo random campers?

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  • Danielle Foster says:

    Brilliant article, well written and inspiring.

    I really appreciate what you say and support it wholeheartedly.

    Thank you, Marian

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  • Rev3rse says:

    Dear Burning Man Organization,

    For many years I have been seeing amazing pictures of your festival. The first year I got on playa, it was truly a mind bending experience. It changed me for the now me. Yet my RV was simple. I even hardly had enough hot water for the whole week! However, it was the best days of my life. The year after, I decided to buy a ticket again and I got selected. I was sooo happy!!!! The theme was Robots and so I was able to reuse my custom costume and…

    Do I have your attention yet?
    thanks for scrollling. You dirty troll!

    bueno

    Why the fucK are we complaining about people appropriating our culture by using social media!? We are strong, we are social and we don’t hesitate to fight back! (at least if I remember correctly)

    As a community we generally have two things in abundance: 1. Time (that we waste on mindless scrolling), and 2. Creativity (that we waste on designing a 1M dollar art car, should we win the Powerball).

    Let’s put those things to (marginally) better use!

    Go on your favorite social media (or Instagram), find those people-brand who use BRC to promote themselves or even worst a brand! If you don’t know where to look, try searching for babesofburningman# blackrocitybeauty# or similar easy targets. In the outrageous case that they are promoting a brand by tagging it@, it means you’ve got a good lead.

    Now that you’ve found a “burner” that mistakenly went stray, add your little combination of spice-pepper-comment to their post:

    1) Speak you mind in ONE sentence (but don’t be insulting)
    2) Dont forget to Tagthem@
    3) Name precisely what vegetable they remind you of (pre- or post-digestion)
    4) Help your fellow burners contribute by using a simple hastag such as:
    Yourfuckmyburn#
    MakeBRClameagain#
    POOP#
    etc…

    Maybe it will give them the nudge necessary to take down the post, or strongly edit it in the right way. Maybe you’ve just made a better use of that 20min commute to your default job and got a LOOP out of it. Either way, im sure the cacophonic cacophony of Can Fhocico would bee.

    We give them plenty of love on Playa (and we will keep doing it). It is our civic duty-ish to remind them off playa when they fuck up.

    Comment with your favoriteprinciple#
    nextyearwasbutter#

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  • Cynthia says:

    So happy something is being done about this. It’s hard not to judge when you’re simply riding your bike off into the playa and see a professional photographer and a super tall IG model/ “influencer” in the most lavishing clothing having a photo shoot…no, good bye, put your damn camera away.

    I hope we can all do our part and help recreate BM to what it was always supposed to be in honor of Larry.

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  • Kerry Maggart says:

    Yay! Bravo! Thank goodness you’re taking steps to preserve the heart of the event. While it’s impossible to stop everyone who’s looking for a way to monetize Burning Man, you’ve certainly taken a step in the right direction. I cannot wait to attend BM this year and hope that it has recovered some of the original spirit.

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  • Joe Burner says:

    So much judging going on. Perhaps we should add “Thou shall not judge” to the Principles? So sad to see fellow burners judging each other here Part of what makes BRC and the BM ezperience so amazing is the different cultures, backgrounds and religions. Once we begin judging and dictating how people should act or behave and cast them out for being too rich or poor or pretty or ugly or even for how hard they work or suffer at the Playa we are attacking two basic and profound principles which are, Radical inclusion and Self Expression. In fact, I would go as far as saying that this judging of our brothers and sisters is both racist and discriminatory.
    Some people have too much money and do want to have a more comfortable experience at BRC. How dare we judge them for not working hard enough or for not suffering the elements of the Playa as much as the next guy? Wether someone can build a beautiful bridge with their two bare hands or pay someone to build an ugly one, we should not be the judge of their creations. Instead we should use our hands to applaud them both.
    Why should we be bothered by some rich guy wanting to be comfortable at the Playa at his level? How is that so different than I a poor guy bringing a better bicycle or cooler to have a more comfortable experience? A Bel air billionaire I met two years ago had to leave his mansion with 3 butlers and 2 chefs and private jet behind and fly commercial, rent an rv and bring only 1 chef to cook for him and his friends. Everyone suffers the elements of the playa at their own level because everyone is different.
    Yes, there are assholes rich and poor everywhere we go in life so why should BRC be any different. Yes, there will be those who take what we do here for granted and take advantage of this amazing experience and place. It is not up to us to judge them or cast them out for being different. It is up to us to embrace and educate them and bring them to a higher consciousness. That will not be done as long as we keep judging.

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  • Theresa Baca says:

    I’ve been attending since 2000 and there was no internet access. That means no immediate social media. I believe having towers that Completely changes it. Going to BM used to mean disconnecting from the outside to be more open to connecting to all kinds of different people. Key word connection, not exclusion.

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  • Lisa says:

    Hello every one.I saw comments from people who already got their loans from pure heart loans and then I decided to apply under there recommendations and just few hours ago I confirmed in my own personal bank account a total amount of $40,000 which I requested for. this is real a great news i am advising every one who needs real loan to apply true their via mail (Johnsonloanfirm32@gmail. com) I am happy now that I have gotten the loan I requested for.

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  • John Foster says:

    Delusional….crocodile tears. This stuff is allowed and condoned on every level. Having been to 3 Burning Man burns and a Global Leadership Conference I was slowly introduced to systemic non-inclusion. As I rose in my camp’s management team I was ‘included’ in more ‘special events’…clearly not for every Burner.

    I say crocodile tears because all you have to do is just look at ALL the photos that the BORG offers as examples of Burning Man and they are all pretty, pretty, pretty people. No fat, old, ugly peeps. No man. Geez, I mean really look, reeeealy look at the photo that accompanies the 10 Principals. Seriously, it is a young man in make-up…made to look perfect. What are you selling here?! You have been selling exclusion !!

    One year I brought a case of home brewed beer to the Playa, to gift it. I gave half of it to Black Rock Brewery and the other half to another camp in the French Quarter. The french quarter place thanked me and then showed me the art car that it had and told me aaaaall about the on Playa accommodations that the camp provided for the peeps that supplied the money for their big, big art car. WOW!! In my face!!

    Oh, “That just broke my heart…” BS!!! It is everywhere, starting with the BORG. And if you are just NOW seeing it…man you just got your sight back. Congratulations.

    BORG, you have sown these seeds, so shall you now reap and please, please, please don’t give me this BS about the steps we are going to.. blah, blah, blah.

    Yes, this ship can be turned around. Just don’t act like you never saw the iceberg. Holy shit…BS.

    Keep rocking…you are, none the less, doing it much, much, much better than anyone else.

    Less is More

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  • advocacia says:

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    A single woman’s tale of woe specially arrives to head.
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    She had employed an lawyer to protect a divorce
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    There was no created agreement. The lawyer she had chosen seemed to be worried of the opposing counsel and did very little to transfer the situation forward.
    In fact, the law firm authorized the case to be dismissed from the court docket docket for inaction.

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    In fact, the lawyer authorized tens of thousands of pounds of
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    When the law firm recognized that the spouse had used the income and the legal professional cost
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  • bobby z says:

    What incredible hypocrisy, Marian. You say that BM shouldn’t be exclusive, and that everybody participates, but the story of the people who aren’t allowed to ride on the art car because they’re not pretty enough has always been a part of the event. Even in your own camp, first camp, exclusivity is the main practice. You, yourself, practice exclusivity, Marian, and hold yourself away from what you claim is a shared community. No, BM is an event that is funded by everybody, but exclusive to a small in group. The art car story you site is the norm, not the exception, and everybody knows it.

    The last time I visited BRC, I stopped by first camp to visit a friend (Marian, you and I know each other), and couldn’t get a member of your camp to even pause to answer the question, “Have you seen —-?” I won’t reveal the name, because I know for a fact there will be a reprisal for them. How? Because I’ve lived it. Your own camp is the biggest enforcer of exclusivity in the city, and sets the president for the rest of the weird, “You’re not cool enough to be included.” vibe.

    It’s awful strange to show up to an open, all inclusive, quasi-spiritual event, and find a doorman telling people they can’t get in. You’re not dressed right, or you’re not pretty enough, or you’re excluded because of some other shallow reasoning. You know it’s a common occurrence, and one you practice in your own camp. You also know it’s the way it’s always been, and you use it to your advantage in maintaining the volunteer workforce that makes the city actually happen. Part of the pay for volunteering is partial “in” status.

    Which brings me to the grossest part of your practice of exclusivity. Marian, BM has turned you into a rich person. The funds that we all pay to attend, line your personal pockets, and your practice of exclusivity creates classes of people within the city. Some people are cool enough to ride the art cars, and some are not. Some are pretty enough to get in to the party, some are not. I’ve attended BM multiple times over a decade, even spending one of those burns with you, personally, and EVERY EVENT I’ve attended has been HIGHLY exclusive. This isn’t a new thing, it was just as present at my first burn in 2007, as it was in my final visit in 2017. The barrier to entry is the reason I’m not coming back. I went deep, and only found a shallow, drug addled experience of being alone in a crowd.

    Few actually care about the BRC community, at least not as much as they care about incredible amount of drugs they can pack into a week of debauchery. Gross dudes trying to get attention starved girls to go back to filthy tents to have forgettable (regrettable), sleazy times.

    People (sadly) often use the event to commit suicide in spectacular fashion, but we simply brush it under the rug instead of facing why it happens. Why? So the party can go on undisturbed. That’s a filthy little secret, isn’t it? Not quite as filthy as the porta johns, but still pretty grimey.

    Instead of trying to deny away the classism of current BM, why not embrace it and admit it’s more about the drugs and sex than it is the community. Why not just admit that it’s a party for the beautiful people, funded by the mutants and rich benefactors? Would it really be so bad to face the truth? I posit that the all inclusive BRC you talk about is a fantasy. It has never been about the community, it’s about the individual. And being about the individual has made it an exercise of ego. Please think about that. Surely, you are aware that it’s more about your personal legacy than it is about creating a mutually beneficial future, otherwise your actions would be different, your focus would be different, and the outcome of your work would be changed.

    You’ve become out of touch, due to maintaining exclusivity. I would ask you to reconsider your actions, because they color the tone of the entire event.

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  • Asher says:

    Thank You Thank You Thank You!!!!
    To a better Burn for everyone who participates!

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  • Subversion says:

    Thank you much!!

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  • Fabio Blancarte Diaz says:

    Amen! Thank you for trying to re-direct and not lose sight of what made this gathering so great in the first place. I really hope there is a practical and real way to start the decommodification process so we may return to our roots.

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  • Suziey says:

    Love all this.

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  • Paul says:

    Last year at BM I had my bike stolen which was all lit up and locked. I go to get my bike and it was gone, someone stole my locked bike. A fellow burner gave me another bike so I could cruise around, I put a few lights on it along with a lock through the frame around the tire, went dancing and came back and my bike was stolen again, twice in 2 nights. Last years BM was absolutely terrible because of what the bike thief did to me. I did not go out at night and was really bummed that I missed out 6 nights of fun because some punk shit head stole my bikes. Our neighbor had his trailer broken into during the day also yes they stole his bike too along with there food and coolers. There are too many thugs going to this event and should be weeded out. I don’t think I will ever go to BM ever again because of what is has turned into, a suto rich kids 7 day retreat to get away with shit that will have no recourse ever haunting them.

    Later people

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  • Laura says:

    I have never been to Burning Man, but it has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. I believe in the 10 Principles and have lived by many of them since long before Burning Man existed. I have been reading this website in hopes of attending in 2020. I am an avid primitive camper and I love being offline and off-grid. I am a Registered Nurse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker and I planned to volunteer with the Emergency Services team as part of my way of participating and gifting. I think I have a lot to offer and gain from the experience. I have been excited about planning this experience until reading some of the incredibly judgemental and negative posts here. Some of you sound like very immature high school kids. I am a 50-year-old overweight lesbian who is not “hot” by traditional American heterosexual male standards (but my wife thinks I am!). I now wonder if I should even consider going to Burning Man. Will my appearance and actions be scrutinized and judged by everyone there as they appear to be on this website?

    Regarding paying people for services, it reminds me of touring with the Grateful Dead as a teenager and young adult. Commodification started out innocently enough with people bartering or selling hand-made t-shirts, jewelry & food just to make enough to get to the next show. Over the years it progressed to people bringing mass quantities of items from Guatemala to sell at a large profit and many of these sellers didn’t even attend the shows, they were just there to make money. It really changed the whole vibe of the Deadhead experience. It was about this time (mid-to-late 1980’s) that people started being rude to each other, scalping tickets, and otherwise not “getting it.” It sounds like a similar transformation is occurring at Burning Man. I wish I had been able to attend before people turned so hateful.

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  • Susan C Jones says:

    Wonderful news! Thank you for all your research and seeking feedback and working so hard and thoughtfully on finding solutions! All very much needed and appreciated, and inspiring! Fantastic read. Thank you for the community updates and focus <3 Much love and thanks :)

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  • Michael says:

    Love the new direction!

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  • Thumbelina says:

    My first burn was in 2001, then I came back after my Peace Corps stint in 2005 and have been participating ever since. A lot of my friends stopped coming over the years because BM changed too much for them – maybe there were too many newbies, or too many rules, or their favorite artists stopped coming. I always thought, “If I don’t stay, how will the newbies get acculturated? Who will teach them about MOOP? If 50% of the people coming have never been before, will BM culture be able to enfold and immerse them, or will it be too diluted and the newbies will change BM culture more than it chages them?” I was disappointed in my friends for leaving BM culture because they didn’t like the changes they were seeing, rather than staying and helping new people experience what we loved about it so much.

    I came back year after year and did my best to embody the ten principles in every action and word, in the hopes that the essence of BM culture would stay strong throughout all the changes. In my experience, BM has done a great job of keeping the magical feeling of being part of community that is something different from what most people experience on a day-to-day basis despite all of the changes and challenges that come with growth. I believe there will always be people at BM that don’t get it yet, because it’s their first time, or they’re obtuse, or they’re running with the wrong crowd. Rather than get mad at those people, or think BM is “ruined,” I choose to be as friendly and accepting as possible, because for me, part of BM culture is acceptance and tolerance of people who are different. I’m not mad at people in plug-n-play camps, I just feel sorry for them, and hope they can be infected with BM culture despite their insulation. BM offers so many types and kinds of experiences; I know I wouldn’t like all of them, yet it’s okay with me that other people like them.

    Yeah, it’s annoying to have to pick up after other people (I’m proud of the times I’ve cleaned human shit up off the playa, but I puked on it once, too, so I’m no saint) and maybe the cap on attendance unfavorably benefits either those who are money-rich and can buy expensive tickets, or time-rich and can get tickets by volunteering, yet overall my experience isn’t too adversely affected by those still in the beginning of their learning curve, or who have a different interpretation of BM culture than I do. I think if we all just keep showing up and being the best Burners we know how to be, people will continue to be inspired, rejuvenated, and opened up on the playa, which is what is most important to me. The fact that the culture is being consciously discussed, with many people adding to the talks, is a sign to me that BM is still on the right track. I love BM culture!

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  • Adriana Campos says:

    You are doing a well job for the community !!
    Thank you

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  • Honey B. Adger says:

    Thank you for making this so important. Integrity is the only thing that gives those principles any value. We are just humans who tend to do human things, but by holding us accountable for our actions and promoting awareness is how we grow.

    I just recently (Jan 2019) attended my first local burn in Miami. I have lived a lonely sheltered life afraid, hiding from the world scared of rejection, bc I’m not like anyone I know. I attended because the Miami burn bc I read those 10 principles, and I believed in them. I was filled with so much joy at the thought of celebrating those ideas with so many people. I was inspired by what a “burn” means, and I burned. I burned until I was free! This small event changed my life, and I had the experience that I believe the creators intended. We must have standards in place that protects the integrity of the experience.
    If we don’t stand for something, we will fall for anything.I appreciate the courage it took to publicly admit any shortcomings, and I thank you for standing up for us. Good luck with the movement, don’t be discouraged by a few bad seeds. Your family will carry this torch and spread the good message with us.

    This will be my first time participating in the BM experience, and I am pleased that this is my first impression!

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  • Jamie Proctor says:

    Thank you so much for trying to core t these things, especially the issue of decommodification.
    I’ve attended since 2012 and have seen and alarming increases in instagram photo shoots I have to avoid hitting in the middle of deep playa in the last few years.
    I’ve also run into many unwelcoming “theme camps” that just don’t have the community feel to them.
    That being said I come every year because of the enourmous amount of camps and people who DO want to contribute to everyone’s experience. These people still outnumber the opposing by a landslide but I think the adjustment to the community is going to be to beneficial. Thank you for all of your hard work!

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  • Escucha says:

    You sell tickets for double the price for anyone who can afford to pay for them…

    And now you seriously wonder why you have shity people at your party????

    Money is the ultimate excluder in this world.

    Burning Man is the ultimate exclusion fest and excludes anyone who can’t afford a $1,200 party ticket.

    if anyone disagrees with this please give me a call my number is 504-500-7739.

    Please stop excluding people from your party.

    THANKS!

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    • Chris says:

      Oh yes I forgot they don’t pay you “CEO” enough money for you to read responses to your article…

      Better raise the ticket price to $4000 so that they can pay you enough to read the responses.

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  • Esther (Misty) says:

    Thanks for the efforts to keep BM as it was conceived. I really agree with all the changes you are proposing. I think there should also be some kind of support for the people that is making the regional BM reality. We work very hard to expand the culture and many people has never been to BM before, thus it’s very challenging for them to get to BM for the first time trough the Direct Group sale or Pre-Sale

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  • Heather says:

    I can’t say enough how much I LOVE everything about this blog and this new double down effort to bring back the principles! Burning Man’s principles are WHY I love Burning Man so much. So excited to see this!

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  • PhoenixofBRC says:

    YES YES YES YES YES!!!! I have been to BM 8 times in the last 11 years and I have seen the the culture dramatically shift, but little did I know, the shift was already well on its way my first burn, I just did not see it like it is so blatant these days. I so appreciate the efforts being made to making the 10 principles the golden rules to participating in the event and to hold those accountable for falling short because “they are not getting it” and recognizing that “this is NOT Burning Man”. Now I can stop trolling those Instagram influencers and venting at them that they are being “bad burners”. I was seriously thinking about being a “radical self-reliant self-police officer” this year handing out violations of the 10 principles to “bad burners” lol

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  • Ian Lisman says:

    Glad to see the culture being reclaimed!

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  • Ashley Ott says:

    THANK YOU!!! Our culture is sacred.

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  • Julian castillo says:

    I love burning man

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  • Zoom says:

    Some of the largest camps offer 0 contribution memberships. My camp had VIP-only toilets (for organizers and artists?) and Instagram models who show up for 2 days to take photos around the playa and leave.

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  • Amanda C says:

    I salute you for being a guardian of this special place and educating new and old alike. Last year was my 1st burn and I changed as a result of it.

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  • Jesus says:

    Who is the ticket vendor for the 2019 burn? Is it still ticketfly? I noticed that my ticketfly logins are gone – not even recoverable with a password reset.

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  • Mike Munger says:

    Why is Metamorphosis spelled incorrectly for the theme this year?

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