Nevada’s Black Rock City desert turned annual Burner haven, a.k.a. The Playa of Burning Man, has become notorious over its 30 year history for its radically unique and all embracing counter-cultural personality. With each year of the festival, the temporary Burner-created community is home to some of the world’s most colorful music, breathtaking art installations, noteworthy talents, self-expressive wardrobes (or lack thereof) and quirky casts of characters. Despite Burning Man being an all encompassing festival that promotes inclusion, gift giving, self-expression, community and responsibility, it also hosts some of the year’s biggest and most carefree dance parties. But, since Burning Man isn’t just simply a music festival, rumors have been swirling around recently regarding how, and ultimately if, dance music will be allowed on the Playa at this year’s fast approaching celebration.
As addressed on Burning Man’s blog, “News — and supposition — has been flying recently regarding a number of policy announcements and statements coming out of BMHQ related to DJs and amplified music on playa,” which includes rumors of Dancetronauts being “banned” and Opulent Temple not being placed.
They quickly cut to the chase by stating, “It could appear that Burning Man has it out for Electronic Dance Music (EDM)!! Yeah, no.”
Then took a moment to clear up any and all misconceptions. They explained that Burning Man organizers are adding a new feature to this year’s festival; a Dance Music Zone (or DMZ), one mile from The Man that will function as the only zone for sound cars to have parties lasting longer than three hours. The DMZ will have space to accommodate multiple sound cars, called mutant vehicles, at once, allowing them to stay for up to 12 hours at a time. However, the area will not permit camping or setting up any other types of speakers or structures, but urges its mutant vehicles to be mindful of their volume and surroundings.
This newest experiment implemented by the Burning Man organization will hopefully allow for its diverse community to continue to exercise self-expression while maintaining all encompassing accommodations, civil society, public safety, sanitation concerns and community respect for those outside of the DMZ and other non-partying participants.
The Burning Man team extinguished anti-EDM rumors once and for all by explaining that
“…there is no grand conspiracy to ban, marginalize or sideline EDM at Burning Man. EDM is an art form, its community has made valuable contributions for many years to the rich cultural fabric of Burning Man, and we like it that way. It just so happens that this year, we’re finding ourselves forced to make decisions about issues ranging from sound policies to public safety to Decommodification — even Leave No Trace. None of this is even about a particular kind of sound. If people were blasting bluegrass or smooth jazz or (insert your favorite music here), all of the decisions would be the same.”
They concluded, “The DMZ is not some kind of quarantine for loud dance music. It’s a new place to have loud dance parties that are both more fun and safer. And this is an experiment — if it doesn’t work, we’ll look at it again.”