Burning Man Responds To Vandalism At 2016 Event


Burning Man is one of the greatest spectacles in the world. In the dance music community, we know it as the greatest arts and music festivals running today. To the rest of the world, it’s pretty much that festival where people wear crazy outfits and spend days in the desert. Ultimately, what Burning Man does strive to do is unite people with love and compassion.

Even though the goal of the event is community, not everyone there always acts that way. Old-school Burners, as they are called, have complained about Burning Man’s recent introduction into the mainstream, leading to more people attending due to the popularity and not for the real purpose. As a result, different and new kinds of camps are being set up and not everyone is welcoming to these new things. There were multiple reports of vandalism to camps this year and unless changes are made, we could continue to see an increase.

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A metal working group at the fest called Iron Monkeys reported its shop space was vandalized on one of the nights.

“I have never directly experienced vandalism or destruction of art on playa to the degree I did this year. I have heard stories of such behavior and witnessed art being damaged due to carelessness or inebriation, but never this,” Karen Shults says. “The Iron Monkeys pour blood, sweat, tears and love into what we create to offer unique experiences and interactions with the participants of Black Rock City. To have this level of disregard, disrespect and maliciousness offered in return, admittedly by a small few, breaks my heart.”

A Burning Man representative responded to the story with this statement:

“In the wake of the 2016 event, we need to call attention to some unfortunate incidents of vandalism. The goal is to bring to light the fact that this stuff happens in Black Rock City, to open a discussion about why it happens, and — hopefully — to end it.”

Iron Monkeys has been at Burning Man for 10 years, so to see things like this happen is discouraging. Another group, White Ocean, had its trailer doors glued shut, water dumped out and power cords cut. At an event that has always been sostrongly based on community and love, it’s hard to see how anyone could justify these actions. Burning Man’s leaders are hoping that these events can end up bringing the Burners even closer together in the end.

H/T: EDM Sauce