With Burning Man becoming the hot new destination for the upper crust, it’s steadily gotten the attention of the Federal Government. The Burning Man Festival is overseen by the US Bureau of Land Management that provides the permits every year for the event. This year, the permitting process has been hampered by a new, significant request. The BLM is requesting a new facility be built (in time for the event this year), at (reported) cost to Burning Man of over $1mill. While some are speculating it’s related to the recent switch of medical service providers at the Burn, it seems this VIP facility is now on the short list of things that needs to get done before the permit is issued. You can see the full request list for the area and a whole pile of extra information on the story over at Burners.me. Highlights include popsicles, air conditioning, flush toilets, running water and food rivaling Reno casino buffet lines. Additionally, they’ve got 4 private medical units, for themselves, not for general BM usage, I’d wager.
As you can imagine, this did not go over well. Not only is the BLM scrambling to claim that the home away from home is needed for “safety,” and to ensure “VIPs” (unnamed as of yet) have a good time. This comes on the heels of the larger conversation about “plug & play” camps, the name that Burners have given to the camps of non-participatory rich that don’t integrate with the greater BM community, but just hang out and treat it like a day club experience without the pool.
With the the former Senate Minority Leader (yes, Harry Reid) weighing in, calling the facilities “outlandishly unnecessary” and reminded BLM officials if they needed to use a flush toilet they could go to Gerlach, 10miles away. And the Rep of the region of Nevada where the Burn takes place, questioned the need for the encampment as well. We all want to make sure people who are working hard to make this event happen are rewarded, but asking burners & BMOrg to cough up 6-7 digits of extra cash just so some Department of the Interior big wigs can show up for a day or two, enjoy the party & be the only person pooping in a flush toilet for 15km in any direction is a little much.
What do you think? Do you think federal agents should get their own Burning Man Four Seasons? Is that just the cost of doing business these days?
(Photo from the Burning Man Blog)