Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Burning Man: Then and now

Burning Man then:

Burning Man now:

From Thump/Vice:

..."Burning Man is not a festival," [Burning Man CEO Marian] Goodell was early to iterate. "A festival, for many people, now means stages and food vendors and having your comforts more taken care of. We're definitely not interested in providing a typical festival atmosphere."

That statement may be a tougher sell to the much maligned, but now-entrenched upper crusters who glamp amidst luxury and a minimal sense of radicalism that sits starkly against traditional Burner tenets.

"We have watched the change in the type of people that come to Burning Man," Goodell acknowledged. "We're not gonna get in front of certain things and force issues. We are gonna nurture the process so we all get the best results. Burning Man is an experiment in temporary community, and we're the stewards of that process"...

...The more threatening challenges looming above Burning Man come from off the Playa, where both state and federal government agencies press in on both sides. The federally-run Bureau of Land Management has the event locked into an inorganically conservative growth model, inhibiting the population size to 68,000. "That's not something we're doing willingly," commented Goodell.

"The biggest danger facing Burning Man right now is that the State of Nevada has levied an entertainment tax," Goodell stated further. "We still believe that we don't fit under a form of entertainment. Frankly, we're not a Las Vegas show. We're not a car race or a concert in a stadium."

Goodell claims that the Silver State is enforcing a massive 9% entertainment tax on the Burning Man project, crippling revenue flows and long-term sustainability. "We're not able to absorb that," she said, before balefully concluding by saying, "That's the thing right now that makes us look longingly towards Utah or any other state that might not have levied that."

Still, a little bit of danger never hurt anybody, right? That's why 68,000 of the world's dustiest are entering the annual pre-Playa frenzy mode as we speak. This time next week, Venice, CA will be a sleepy beach town and certain parts of San Francisco will enjoy their most parking-friendly weekends of the year as both cities will empty out onto Black Rock City...