Burning Man is a globally known, week-long festival in Black Rock City, Nevada that is known for a number of principles including radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, gifting, communal effort and general kindness and caring. One particular camp, White Ocean, unfortunately dealt with quite the opposite of these principals this past week as they were ransacked by vandals.
The camp posted a lengthy status to Facebook during the event to describe the “very unfortunate and saddening event” in which “a ban of hooligans raided our camp, stole from us, pulled and sliced all of our electrical lines leaving us with no refrigeration and wasting our food and, glued our trailer doors shut, vandalized most of our camping infrastructure, dumped 200 gallons of potable water flooding our camp.” The goal of the status was to share the “disgrace” in order to make it “something very positive.”
The status actually seems to take a stab at the Burning Man organization itself, as they wrote that “We actually had someone from the organization tell us that in paraphrase ‘it makes sense that you have been sabotaged as you are a closed camp and not welcoming.'”
This is part of a larger debate around the idea of the “plug-and-play” camps that exist at the event. The Reno Gazette-Journal describes this type of camp:
“The camp, a temporary home for Burners from London, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, is considered a plug-n-play camp. Hired help assists the camp in the concert productions and the corral of RVs that surround a catered cafeteria and lounge space. Outside of the camp, White Ocean provides a stage beneath a row of archways.”
Many Burners believe that these “plug-and-play” camps are truly against the principle of radical self-reliance; they continue to be a debated controversy in the burner community even beyond the borders of the week-long event itself. According to the Wall Street Journal, the camp was funded by entrepreneurs and business partners Timur Sardarov and Oliver Ripley and its expenses reached a total of of several hundred thousands of dollars. Although the camp performers played for free for BM attendees, White Ocean provided food, transportation and lodging for the artists.
White Ocean is an art and sound camp that has existed on-playa since 2013 and is known for its beautifully stacked lineup of musicians that play at the camp throughout the week. This year’s artists included Luca Bacchetti, Be Svendsen, Jamie Jones, YokoO, Bedouin and more. The camp was located at 2:00 and Guild this week at the outskirts of town, where you could sway to the constant tunes deep into the night.