Burning Ban

Reader Fay sends me a link to this article:

A standoff with the federal government is putting the future of Burning Man at risk.

The problems started when the event’s organizer, Burning Man Project, applied for a permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to hold the event in northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert for another 10 years.

Then the BLM responded.

The agency, which is part of the Interior Department and manages public lands, issued a draft of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) required for the permit on March 15.

BLM wants 10 miles of concrete barriers installed on the event’s perimeter for security, a requirement that organizers install dumpsters and hire companies to haul out the trash and authorities in place to conduct vehicle searches at the gate.

Okay, so:

The decision didn’t sit well with Burners.

“Many of the measures recommended by BLM are unreasonable, untenable, attempt to solve problems that don’t exist, and/or create new (and worse) problems,” Burning Man Project wrote in a fact-checking statement.

“Altogether, these requirements would fundamentally change the operational integrity and cultural fabric of Black Rock City, and would spell the end of the event as we know it,” the group added. “This is not an exaggeration.”

The irony is that attendees of Burning Man are overwhelmingly drawn from the faux artsy middle classes in Brooklyn and west coast weirdos. Both sets overwhelmingly vote for massive increases in government power, particularly in the name of protecting the environment via mass-regulation. If you want to do so much as fart in New York or California you need permission from the government. Did they think they’d be exempt because they’re holding a mass orgy in the desert? Heh.

It’s been around for nearly three decades, but the last few years have seen an influx of hipsters and tech moguls and their followers, which have made the event a cultural phenomenon or target, depending on who is opining.

Just the sort of people who want to ban fossil fuels, shut down factories, and block pipelines.

But central to the ethos of the week is sense of self-governance, which is why the new government proposals are particularly grating.

Yes, the people who demand massive government in everyone’s lives believe their own events should be self-governing.

The government also has concerns about lights being used at night, including large work lights, high-intensity lasers and search lights, which BLM said can disrupt birds and other wildlife, and contribute to light pollution. As a result, the potential to ban or curtail some of the lighting is on the table.

Expanding the unchecked powers of the environmental agencies during the Obama administration isn’t looking so great now is it, Swampy?

Burning Man Project isn’t having it.

We’ll see.

Back on Earth, Burning Man has a robust nightlife…

That’s one way to describe it, yes.

Organizers also call the idea of vehicle searches at the gate “unconstitional” and unnecessary.

New Yorkers and Californians are now fans of the constitution? I look forward to their wholehearted embrace of the Second Amendment.

“For many years, BRC has published and widely publicized a list of prohibited items that are not allowed into Black Rock City, including weapons, narcotics and fireworks. We enforce these restrictions when items are discovered in vehicles during entry,” Burning Man Project said.

Ah yes, the famously drug-free Burning Man experience, matched only by sober St. Patrick’s Day.

What’s amusing is the current generation of Burners are complaining this will fundamentally change the nature of Burning Man, which has already gone through at least two evolutions leaving it unrecognisable from the early years. In those days guns used to be a big part of the festival, and they even had a drive-by shooting range. As with Glastonbury, the spoiled middle classes who now attend Burning Man think they’re cut from the same cloth as the misfits who started the thing. Their whining about government regulations they’re happy to foist on everyone else is a strong sign that they’re not.

Liked it? Take a second to support Tim Newman on Patreon!
Share

25 thoughts on “Burning Ban

  1. As with Glastonbury, the spoiled middle classes who now attend Burning Man think they’re cut from the same cloth as the misfits who started the thing. Their whining about government regulations they’re happy to foist on everyone else is a strong sign that they’re not.

    yep – with bells and tassles

  2. It probably would have been a marvellous, if crazy place to visit in the 90s, but when a festival costs $500 it ain’t ‘free’ anything.

    I note from wikipedia that one of the founders gave up on the whole thing after 1996, (when it cost only $65 to attend). Sounds like a good move.

    £250 for ‘Glasto’ this year. Plus £45 for parking and if you fancy £1,075 for a 6 person tipi. Headliners include Stormzy, Kylie and Janet Jackson….

    Up the people!

  3. The locals hate it. Burners collect their trash, only to dump it in the nearest town.
    If an anthropologist were to stumble on a primitive tribe of anthropologists it would look like this.

  4. It’s a form of childishness, isn’t it? The demand that we can freely play and do whatever we want in our fantasy adventure-world, but the insistence that someone needs to look after us and make things safe and clean up after us when nanny calls us in for tea.

  5. It’s a form of childishness, isn’t it?

    The entire subculture is infantile. Have a read of this post, if you haven’t already.

  6. Do they walk there, or do they bicycle?

    Presumably they wouldn’t dream of destroying the planet by flying for a non essential reason.

  7. “£250 for ‘Glasto’ this year. Plus £45 for parking and if you fancy £1,075 for a 6 person tipi. Headliners include Stormzy, Kylie and Janet Jackson….”

    And festivals are shit. You spend hours getting in and out. The booze is terrible. The food is rubbish. You’re subject to the elements. You sleep in a tent. You shit in a portaloo. The music is distorted by the wind during the day, and at night, you’re so far from the stage you’re watching a giant TV screen. Most of the bands don’t care, because it’s not their fans going anyway.

    The whole thing about music festivals was that it was was the basic, cheap, large scale thing to do. You didn’t have to pay for a concert hall or nice toilets or seating. Just a field. And you put 10s of thousands of people in and the scale made it cheap. It was £20 for a Glastonbury ticket in the 80s and that was less than seeing one headliner play. How they became something people think is good, I don’t know.

  8. And festivals are shit

    I’ve had some fantastic times at festivals*. When you’re with a good bunch of people, the weather does its bit and the music is right, they can be a lot of fun. Finding new bands, meeting random friends for life that you’ll never see again and generally getting carted; you can fit a lot into a weekend.

    There’s a time and a place for them though and it’s no longer something I’d bother with. I also get the impression that most UK festivals now feature the same acts, and the same brands (FFS) in a slightly different selection of fields.

    *Not Glastonbury though. It’s been far too large and far too full of w@nkers for decades now.

  9. You need to (if it’s your thing of course), try some of the Swiss festivals. Free entry, city centre location, stay in a proper hotel, rarely attract more than a few thousand people to the biggest events. I’d never have paid to see Sinead O’Connor, but somehow glad I did, and never thought I’d see Morcheeba again having once seen them supporting at the Academy (our host will remember) in the mid-90s. And while some clubs are priced to keep the riff-raff out, Switzerland is basically an entire country priced to keep the riff-raff out.

    The problem with the current unimaginative, rhythmless whiney beta male synthopop, overamplified hood sisters, Michael Autotune etc. is that everyone in the world has to see a small handful of acts now. Like Barcelona, Rome, Venice, and the current Manchester City team, there is only one.

  10. the Academy (our host will remember)

    Yes! Although for Club Trop rather than concerts.

    Thud will remember it too: I think he used to get paid to beat people up in there.

  11. Oh my.

    Indeed. I have at least one other reader who was a *big* fan of that place. She knows who she is.

  12. I hope she doesn’t remember me any more than I remember her …

  13. I hope she doesn’t remember me any more than I remember her …

    I don’t think she’d stoop to Allen Hall 😉

  14. Ah. Ok. Not Gabs then. One of those soulless mixed sex tower blocks instead.. I am safe…

  15. Dads Army nailed it decades ago

    They don’t like it up ’em

    Even earlier Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander

    Dear Lefties, Welcome to Equality

    😛

  16. I’ve never understood why they don’t just buy a large chunk of worthless desert and hold the whole thing on private property. The BLM has been screwing with them and inventing bizarre mandates for a while now.

  17. Having NSA sex with random attractive women sounds like hell on earth to me.

  18. I’ve never understood why they don’t just buy a large chunk of worthless desert and hold the whole thing on private property.

    For all the cooperative spirit at Burning Man, back home they’re the sort of people who would leave you dying in a ditch if you disagreed with them on some trivial matter. There’s a reason they’ve had to invent a weird subculture to find a sense of identity, it’s because their value system is incompatible with normal society. Such people are rarely going to own property, let alone collectively.

  19. Having NSA sex with random attractive women sounds like hell on earth to me.

    The problem is a lot of them aren’t attractive, there are no shower facilities at Burning Man, and by definition they are absolute lunatics.

  20. Bloke on M4, best festival I’ve been to is Cambridge Folk Festival even though it is chock full of Grauniad readers. Music is great, so’s the food and the beer. Shame it has priced me out this year, north of 300 quid for 2 of us for 2 days.

  21. If you want to do so much as fart in New York or California you need permission from the government.

    Farting is allowed in California as long as you have a sign saying that farts are know by the State of California as a cancer causing agent.

Comments are closed.