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Burning Man Exposed - The Truth About the Burning Man Event


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Posted

As a ghost town explorer, I enjoy venturing out into the desert and viewing the wildlife and old towns of Nevada. Since I am one of the people who enjoy the Nevada Desert, I hate the fact that we have a group of people who lay claim to our public land during the summer and use it as their own private party. The Burning Man event is an annual event held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. The Burning Man event draws participants from all over the world and is described as an experimental city. In reality, Burning Man is nothing more than yuppies hanging out in the desert and acting like weirdos. In addition, their logic is completely flawed and hypocritical, which is the main problem I have with this group. Here are a couple of the hypocrisies I have found regarding the burning man event.

The first problem I found with the Burning Man event is the fact that they say in their 10 principals "Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community." Of course if you take a look at the cost of a ticket, you can immediately see the price is out of range for anyone of lower means and aimed at keeping the poor folks from attending. This years tickets range in the following prices: Tier 1 ($210), Tier 2 ($240), Tier 3 ($280), and Tier 4 ($320). I guess Tier 1 tickets are supposed to be for the poor folks, but do you really think poor folks can afford a single ticket for $210? So how can they claim that no prerequisites exists when you HAVE to have a ticket to participate? Is a ticket NOT a prerequisite to participate? What am I am missing here?

The Black Rock City LLC takes over the Black Rock Desert during the event and denies the public access to public land during the duration of the event. This means the event is actually exclusive to only those who are able to purchase a ticket and not inclusive as they suggest, and they do this while occupying PUBLIC land! Sorry, but that is hypocritical and elitism in action!

The next hypocritical principal of Burning man event relates to the following Leave No Trace principle which reads "Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them." So they think bringing 60,000 people into the desert, many of whom have huge bond fires, burn other materials, and who travel in huge RV's, trucks, and fly from overseas has no impact on the environment? Are they saying the desert is devoid of anything that may be affected by their pollution, noise, etc? Are they suggesting that Nevada, with the gridlock, smog, and pollution that comes through Reno is somehow not affected by the pollution of the outdated rv's, trucks, recreational vehicles, etc? Do they preach this "leave no trace" bull when talking about vehicles, SUV's, etc? I bet these same idiots are against the burning of fossil fuels and SUV's, yet when it comes to their own pollution, they dismiss it and suggest they leave no trace! I guess releasing carbon is okay so long as it's done in the Nevada desert by so called burners.

So they think after this event is over, they are leaving the black rock desert in a better state then before they arrived? Are the plants healthier? Is the air healthier? If so, is the air healthier in Los Angeles after rush hour traffic?

Another issue related to the above is the possible harmful affects on the local animals? Oh, you Burning Man people didn't realize the desert was full of animals? Well here is a news flash, the desert is alive with wildlife! On the burning man website it says to leave your dogs at home due to the fact that all the noise, smoke, fireworks, etc may harm your dog, but what about all the coyotes, rabbits, and many other animals who live in the area? Either you are a hypocrite or you think the desert is devoid of life! It's just a little ironic!

Here is a partial list of animals that live in that immediate burning man event area:

  • Mountain Lions
  • Coyotes
  • Wild horses
  • Wild Burros
  • Badgers
  • Foxes
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Mule Deer
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Gopher snakes
  • Sage Grouse
  • Many different types of birds.
  • Lizards
  • Insects

As a matter of fact, we were recently out in the are exploring and seen many of those animals in the list above. Of course the organizers and attendees are probably too high to realize that they are actually surrounded by wildlife!

Would the burning man event goers support such an event in the middle of the Amazon Rain Forrest? I think we know the answer to that, but when you are only using these platitudes to justify your actions, what else can you expect?

Next, the Burning Man event talks about self expression and art, yet if you are a photographer, which is a branch of art, you are not welcome at Burning Man. Once again we see the hypocrisy rear its ugly head! Therefore, photographers need not apply to Burning Man.

The Radical Decommodification principle is yet another contradiction. The principal talks about how the event is not to be used for commercial gain or purposes, yet the organizers sell tickets in order to attend the event and have a website to advertise the event, not to mention the fact that the company that organizes the event is an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation)!

For an event that touts the arts, freedom of expression, and the environment, there sure are a lot of contradictions. The fact is, Burning Man is a yuppie event where yuppies can gather and act like freaks. They pollute the environment and use elitism in order to keep out the "poor" folks while pretending to be inclusive. The fact is, the entire Burning Man event is a contradiction of its supposed principals. I honestly don't care if you want to head out and act like a freak, but please don't pretend that you are some kind of environmentalist.

So go ahead and pollute the Black Rock Desert and the earth on your way to the event, but don't pretend to be something you're not. smile.gif

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Posted

Must be getting to that time when all the freaks enjoy trashing our desert as I see all the burning man freaks here in Reno, NV. Of course many of them want to play the hippie role while the drive through our city in their huge RV's and trucks. I wonder how many of these losers try to pretend play that they are "environmentalists" while polluting our beautiful black rock desert?

Another irony is the fact that this group is supposedly anti-corporations, yet they come through here and are welcomed by the very corporations they pretend to hate. For example, I went to Lowes today and they had a huge sign welcoming the Burning Man losers to their store, and I did see quite a few of the hypocrites purchasing items from this major corporation. I have to admit, it's very entertaining to point out all these contradictions. Did I mention that Black Rock Rock City is an LLC?

ghosttrain2 likes this

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Posted

I hear ya Bob. Being we spend our summers in the Eastern Sierras, we see these weirdos coming thru town this time of year, and have to laugh at some of the modified vans, motorhomes, and SUVs that cruise up and down Hwy. 395. The owners of Mono Vista RV park in Lee Vining used to deal with the burners, but refuse to do so (on the most part) now , due to them leaving behind a lot of thier garbage accumulated while attending the "event". Some of these folks have trashed the bathrooms and showers and seem to have no respect for other campers. It's surprising to me how many of them have expensive RV's and mountain bikes, though a lot of them drive piece of crap hippie vehicles. It's not my cup of tea, and the organisers are probably making a few bucks off of this goofiness. As far as being hypocrites, that seems to go along with the "save the Earth" crowd and liberal left. It wouldn't hurt my feelings to see this affair disappear into the sunset. Nuff said.................

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Posted

I couldn't agree more Flatiron. It's interesting that they claim to hate corporations, yet they pay a corporation to put on their little week long event. They are becoming what they claim to despise. I usually wouldn't care less about what people do, but when they go out to the areas that I enjoy and pretend that they can do as they please because they don't believe there is anything of value out there, then it really gets under my skin.

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Posted

Burning Man exposed ... I thought everyone at Burning Man was exposed ... :HmmHmm:

Burning Man has a very interesting history, but like any small, local festival, it grows beyond control and early principals / values go out the window with increased money and greed. Like Mule Days in Bishop. Once a small venue for locals, it's now a mega party with big name superstars and hoards of people in too small a space.

Working at an auto parts store in Winnemucca, many have been stopping on on the way out and now on their way back. Many in the store yesterday - filthy, smelly, broken down 50 year old school buses or assorted vehicles made up of multiple makes/models/years with blown radiators, engine / drivetrain maladies and wondering why we don't stock parts for such vehicles and why don't we sell tires?

A retired BLM management guy from here was in the store yesterday and we had a conversation about Burning Man. He was one of the early ones who worked with the Burning Man upper etchelon. He said that it was once simply a venue for aging hippies to go out and relive the 1960s, but now it has grown way beyond. Many participants are now wealthy people with high stress jobs that use this as a way to go nuts in a controlled way (blow off steam).

Pershing County is being sued by the Black Rock LLC over the county raising fees. Pershing has a very small police force and since the event is barely inside the county, they must police it. With help from Winnemucca / Humboldt, yes.

I've never been there, have no care about doing so (to the event, that is). I lived the '60s within a Beaver Cleaver culture. Like Richie Cunningham (Happy Days), I guess I just like my fun clean, modest and nerdy. :driver:

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Posted

Washoe County loves the event since all the anti-corporation burners love to shop and support all our local corporations. The irony seems to escape them. :29snick:

dery likes this

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Posted

That sounds like it would be a nice event to miss. Lol.

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Posted

That sounds like it would be a nice event to miss. Lol.

Hey, if any of you wants to go play hippie for a week or two I got 80 acres and will only charge 200 bucks a head!

Bob and dery like this

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Posted

I hear they may be looking for a new venue, so be careful El! :29snick:

El Polvo likes this

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Well-the Pershing County district attorney placed a guest commentary in the Humboldt Sun, and the Lovelock papers, explaining that the fee increases are to comply with Nevada law, for the funding of the Sheriff's Department. Black Rock City LLc. of S.F Ca says this will destroy its ability to do business. Tickets to this years event were 300-400 per ticket, for 60,000 attendee's..In 2003,salaries to Larry Harvey and his oc-organizers was $1,047,528. In 2011,they made $7,103,000.It is estimated that gross profits from this years event was between $18,000,000 to $21,000,000.Pershing County is charging 2% of those profits for expenses.I feel that California can keep it's hippies, Burning Man festival, and it's trash within it's borders.

Bob likes this

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Posted

I noticed in the letter from Pershing County, they also mentioned how the police have to deal with all the problems associated with Burning Man, such as violence, domestic issues, and child endangerment, among many others. I had no idea there were so many problems during the event; so much for the "peace crowd".

Amazing how these idiots who attend have no idea how much they are paying those who are organizing these events. The thing that gets me is they say they hate corporations, yet they pay a corporation to put the event on for them! :27sign2:

Isn't it interesting that those of us who drive our big trucks, SUV's, and All Terrain Vehicles care more about the desert than the so called "environmentalists" who attend burning man?

El Polvo and ghosttrain2 like this

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Posted

Absolutely,Bob!!

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Posted

Great post Bob!

Bob likes this

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Posted

Thanks Jim.  :cheers:

Deathvalleyjim likes this

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Posted

Bob, you hit the nail on the head and there is even more.  The group I go on trips with tried to publicize the hypocrisy of Burning Man, and failed (stopbm.org, it's defunct now) several years ago. 

 

The LNT concept is a good one, but not practiced well.  In March of 2006 a friend and I went up there for the playa inspection as BLM volunteers.  We found plenty of trash left over.  The worst part was abandoned rebar stakes.  Unable to remove them, the idiots pounded them flush with the playa surface.  Wind, water and time would leave them sticking 1-6" above the surface.  Now, imagine doing 40 or 50 across the playa and hitting one of those with your tire, or flipping it up into your driveshaft, oil pan, gas tank or another critical area.  Think that might leave a mark?  I do.

 

That's one of the primary reasons we don't venture onto the playa anymore and enjoy other areas of Nevada when those buttheads are in town doing their "thing". 

 

I recently made a friend who lives a few miles outside of Gerlach on a little ranch.  Nice guy, and he's taken advantage of the discount tickets for locals.  Each time he tried to enter or leave he was hassled by the "Greeters".  In one instance, he was working as a commercial driver for a small tour bus (like on of those "short bus" things) and was prevented from leaving with a load of senior citizens.  The end result was a mess, though he did get himself out of there.  Make no mistake, they are not "inclusive" of anyone unless they see $$ from them.

 

There are probably other issues I can't even recall right now, i.e. a questionably "cozy" relationship between the LLC and BLM, disregard for public travel *near*, but not within, the event boundaries.  Oh yeah, that's it...

 

On year a bunch of us were driving on the playa during the event, outside the vehicular closure, but within sight of the trash fence.  Our goal was Trego -> Double Hot Springs.  Some idiot 'rangers' (LLC volunteers) decided to "intercept" us.  One passenger in our truck was a California peace officer.  To say he was livid (and this guy never loses his cool) would be an understatement.  Had we not yielded, they would have threatened a serious accident. 

 

No, they're a bunch of foolish renegades with no ethics.  My dog (see avatar) has more common sense and moral bearing than that lot of jerks.

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Posted

Thanks for the heads up about the rebar, could you imagine doing 40 or 50 while driving a fairly low sitting vehicle and having one of those coming through your floorboard? I hate seeing people trash up our desert! They seem to think it's devoid of anything worthwhile. 

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It's that time year again and these freaks are preparing for their annual event. :22gloomyandsad:

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On year a bunch of us were driving on the playa during the event, outside the vehicular closure, but within sight of the trash fence.  Our goal was Trego -> Double Hot Springs.  Some idiot 'rangers' (LLC volunteers) decided to "intercept" us.  One passenger in our truck was a California peace officer.  To say he was livid (and this guy never loses his cool) would be an understatement.  Had we not yielded, they would have threatened a serious accident. 

 

No, they're a bunch of foolish renegades with no ethics.  My dog (see avatar) has more common sense and moral bearing than that lot of jerks.

 

Ed,

 

What was the outcome of the confrontation with the LLC volunteers? Do they have any law enforcement authority out there? Do they have any authority to harass people outside of the event area? I was thinking of heading out to the general area and taking some photos, but outside of their event area.

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The "Black Rock Rangers" are a bunch of volunteers with no law enforcement powers at all.  The "talked" to us.  It was pleasant for about 8 seconds.  Then I wanted to either 1) end the conversation nicely or 2) deck one of them and end the conversation.  Their authority, if any, is based around civil, not criminal, principles (aside from making a citizen arrest, which is nothing unique to them). 

 

If you want photos of the event, you're going to want a map of the closure areas.  They close various areas to various uses (cars, guns, camping, existing, breathing too hard, etc.)  If it's not to take pics of the event, go a couple weeks after and enjoy the lack of those waterheads being there in the first place.

 

My buddy Jon is there right now working as an EMT Supervisor (hey, he gets paid!)  From what he tells me, lots of the 'work' is "lollypop-n-bandaid" junk, with the odd trauma now and then.  Some dehydration and OD morons always wander in, too. It's a gathering of 60,000 people, of which probably 59,000 are reckless, indifferent mental children.

 

I won't be anywhere near the desert during that stupid event.  I'm not heading up to Seven Troughs and the like until the end of September.  Pray for an early winter or at least a cold fall.

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I wanted to get some photos of how much they trash the area. I could probably wait until right after the event and get some good photos of the way they trash the place. I thought it would be a good addition to the thread. Are you heading to Seven Troughs by yourself?

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I don't know if that's going to do you any good.  The BMORG permit gives them a certain amount of time to clean up the area.  Afterwards (around early or mid-October) several transects of the event are walked, allegedly chosen randomly, with walkers (on a rope line) picking up any trash found.  The trash found per transect must not fill more than (I think) a 2'x2' area. 

 

My memory is a bit hazy, as the last transect walk I did was probably in 2007, maybe earlier - I'd have to go dig up the pictures and check the dates.  A friend of mine and I went up there, did the walks, found trash, but none of the trash overflowed the allowed 2x2 foot square.  However, it was on those walks that several chunks of vertical or near-vertical rebar were found.  We used pliers to remove them and made sure they were given to the BLM officials in attendance.  They could not have cared less.  In fact, the rebar wasn't even tossed in the trash 'square'.  It's a dirty secret, to say the least.  If you wanted to "know" how trashed the place is, you'd want to go out there with a few people after the cleanup certification walks are done and see what you can find. 

 

A group of us are heading to Seven Troughs, I'm not going alone this time.  The only solo trip I took up that way within the last 12 months was camping after Thanksgiving, with my daughter.  And a friend ended up meeting us there later with his daughter.  That trip made my wife nervous, but personally I've no problem taking a small child into the desert with me.  In many ways it is easier than taking an adult - they eat less, need less water, their gear is more compact, and if you have the ultimate failure mode(s), carrying them out (to, say, Gerlach from Trego or even Sulphur) is a far simpler proposition than lugging a full-sized human.  In fact, an adult would be left behind while help was fetched. 

 

People die out there not because they lack physical ability or resources.  They die out there because they panic and don't use their grey matter.  Q: Who the hell sets off in winter, overland, without so much as a book of matches and a knife?  A: The people whose stuff you'll eventually find, loot and profit from!

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Posted

 

 

I won't be anywhere near the desert during that stupid event.  

 

Same here. I have BM on my calendar just to remind me not to be in the area. It's a shame BLM is OK with BM. As sensitive as the BLM "acts" about preserving the desert, they condone this nonsense ..... ironic.

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Someone at the BLM must be getting a nice kickback from the burning man LLC.

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Posted

Okay, here are my thoughts on the Burning Man festival.

 

Personally, I think the general ideal is fascinating and I would love to be able to experience this Mad Max-esque experience, mostly because I would love to be able to photograph the event. In a world gone mad with greed, political insanity, rising unemployment and crime, etc... I can understand the desire to escape from it all for a while and experiment with an alternate world. Let's face the facts. If most of us in this forum were offered the opportunity to reside in an old west ghost town for a week where we would live, dress and act as if we were from the Old West era, we would jump at the chance. Some would probably judge us by calling us freaks, weirdos, fools, etc... because to them the past is unimportant. They live for the present or the future. These people who participate at Burning Man are no different. And, just like with any large group of people gathered in one place, chances are that the majority are decent people who just want to escape reality for a while and enjoy themselves, but there will be a small minority in the mix who overshadow and tarnish the event. By calling everyone who participates a "freak," weirdo," "litterer," "destroyer of property," etc... is very much akin to judging and condemning them as guilty before they have all been tried and found to be so. Have they been arrested, charged in a court of law and found guilty? Maybe Ed can find that out and let us know ;) Granted, the way they dress and entertain themselves may not be something that the rest of us are interested in, but it does not make them freaks, just individuals who have a different idea about how to escape from reality. They are no different than Civil War Re-enactors or those who participate in Ren Faires.

 

We can all point our fingers at them and say, "Look at all the trash" or "What about the animals who live there?" Well, look around at our own streets and environments and think about how many wild animals were permanently displaced from their homes so that the homes we all live in, the stores we shop in and the streets we drive on could be built. We are all guilty of the same things these people are being accused of, but on a larger, more permanent level.

 

I've read complaints from people in this forum about how unfair it is that certain lands and areas are now inaccessible to explorers because a small pocket of rare lizards, birds or bugs are being protected by the "insane greenies." My home state of California is frequently targeted as a place of environmentalist weirdos because of our protection policies of endangered or rare species.

 

I agree that some things about the Burning Man festival are wrong, like the high cost of tickets and the sense of elitism going on. This is held on public lands, which should mean that the public is welcome to attend, without having to pay an extortionate fee. However, what does that ticket fee per person encompass? A one-day pass to the event, or does it pay for the entire week? In any case, the public should be encouraged to attend, photography should be allowed and the elitism needs to be stomped out.

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Posted

Cindy,

 

You bring up some points I have seen, but I would like to respond to some of them.

 

My main problem with burning man event is all the hypocrisy, which I feel I did a good job of exposing in my first post. Please point out where I am wrong? The fact is, these people claim to leave no trace, all the while contributing significant amounts of pollution to the immediate area. They claim to leave the playa in a better state than when they arrived, but as Ed has already proved, this is completely false. I could go on, but I would just be repeating what I already posted. This makes them hypocrites.

 

You are comparing senseless environmental destruction from a group that claims to be pro-environment with necessities of life. You need to compare apples to apples, not apples to oranges.

 

If I were to be given the opportunity to live in an old ghost town, I might take them up, and if I did, I would work on rebuilding the place and not just to burn it down when I am done partying. I think I would pass on the opportunity to dress up in old time clothes though, just not my thing, but I wouldn't bash on those who do.

 

I do think they are a bunch of freaks who just want to party in the desert, but that's not my problem with them. I can care less if people want to dress up and party. Again, I see no reason to repeat what I already posted in my first post, but the reasons I dislike them has nothing to do with the fact that they are freaks and dress funny.

 

The problem I have with the burning man event is the fact that they are hypocrites who cause needless pollution while claiming to leave no trace and be pro environment. Rather than repeat everything I have posted already in my first post, maybe you can just show me how I am wrong. The problems I have with burning man are all listed there.

 

Since I live in the immediate area of where this event takes place, I get to deal with all their traffic and non-sense first hand. I can't even go to my local Walmart without having to sit in line for 30 minutes due to all the anti-corporate, anti-consumer burner consumers in the area. If I didn't live here and enjoy exploring my surrounding wilderness, I probably wouldn't even think about the event or their hypocrisies. Out of site out of mind. Unfortunately I am stuck here for the moment and I enjoy exploring the surrounding areas. I wouldn't have a problem with them holding this event in your local park or in Golden Gate Park, but something tells me the locals wouldn't like it very much.

 

These people have double standards, one standard for them, and one standard for the rest of us. You see, if these are people who are real burners, they are supposed to be radical environmentalists, anti-consumers, and anti-corporation. That is pretty much the theme of the event! They would hate anyone who drives an SUV, or an old muscle car, yet they are driving moving trucks full of lumber to go to a party hundreds of miles away. They would be lucky to be getting 8 MPG. In addition, they are probably anti-logging, yet they build huge structures with wood only to burn them down when they are done partying. These are the types of people who support closing of certain locations due to environmental reasons, so long as it does not affect them. I once had someone tell me they supported closing off vast amounts of public wilderness to vehicles because they hiked and it wouldn't affect them anyway. These are the things that get under my skin. It has nothing to do with them dressing up and wanting to party.

 

I knew a lot of people who went to this event and they were all extreme liberals who claimed to be pro-environment, anti-logging, etc. You get the picture. I know not everyone who goes to this event thinks this way, but that is supposed to be the theme of the event. Kind of like an earth day event where the participants decide to spray paint the trees for fun is how I would explain it.

 

Most of the participants think there is nothing out there. They honestly believe it's devoid of wildlife. I am more than happy to educate them on this point. In addition, as others have pointed out, these people don't just stay in the immediate area and have been known to cause destruction to the old ghost towns in the immediate area. Anyway, this post is getting rather long, but I hope you will be able to see it from my point of view. It has nothing to do with them dressing up funny and acting like weirdos, as I would put it. :)

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