The Burning Man festival has reached it's transformation point . : LUSENET : Burning Man : One Thread

Now that BM has become "Big Business" can it truly maintain its place as the ultimate in outsider events? Will the nice folks who run it, who now need to make thier lively hood from this event be able to resist commercialize and cash in on this event? Is there anything rong with them doing so? What is our responsibility in regards to preserving this event as participants? Do we owe them, or do they owe us? Or is it our responsibility to create new underground events to pour our harts into and allow BM to become evermore assessable to the ma and pa everywhere. We have reached a level of total media and public saturation, it has been laid open, can the artistic fringe truely exist on CNN TOPX and MSMBC?

-- Charlie Gadeken (, November 06, 1997


BM is dead. It is now a corporate event. The rules are overbearing. It was depressing seeing all those rules while driving in in '99. Larry Harvey has run this thing into the ground. It's time to pack up. People treat BM like a fuckin' religion now. It's sad. People say "I can't live without BM!". I can. I'm a whole person.

-- Robert Kennedy (AKA The Devil) (, June 27, 2000.

1997 10,000 people 1998 16,000 people 1999 23,000 people 2000 30,000 people ? Can the city handle that? I see a wonderful thing of art, and self expression, and self reliance that I want to see continue, and I want to see that expand, for one of the requirements for self-expression is tolerance and the country and the world could certainly use a lot more tolerance. I work with some of the intolerant ones, and I would really like to see them open their minds. I'ld like to see BM expand, the question is how. I don't think a constantly expanding city is going to survive. It's going to take either satellite festivals, or new festivals with the same themes, or maybe "Burning Man Villages" at other festivals. Would the recent Woodstock Riot have happened if the festival goers had been practicing radical self-reliance and radical self-expression and could have starved the vendors out of there andtold them why at the same time; I don't know, I don't go back east; I don't want to be east when the great quake comes and everything east of California falls off into the Atlantic. But, I think a lot of festivals can be better with BM villages, and if people can attend Burning Man elsewhere, then Black Rock City will be better off as well.

-- johnny jensen (, May 12, 2000.

The only thing that matters are the ideas. They can't regulate that, or forbid it, or control it. Some ideas will never become mainstream in our lifetimes. That is the function of this sort of gathering--to provide the venue for people outside the mainstream to meet and communicate and collaborate. So what if 75% of the population are a bunch of consumer sheep looking for the latest party? When you meet somebody with something behind their eyes, you know it. So they charge bucks, and forbid guns. I wanna shoot, I'll go to the range. So long as they respect the first and fourth amendments, I'm happy.

-- Robert Holder (, September 09, 1999.

Hey Sheyna/AmyJenef: Does your vision of BM include not only hiring garbagemen and bus drivers but also professional artists? Fuck the maid service (OK - poop cleaners excepted). Bring a bus! DIY!

-- Brian Wengrofsky (, September 11, 1998.

Actually, I was thinking along the same lines. Wired did an extensive article of the '96 Bman, and didn't even bother to do an article of the '97 one. Maybe the big media, having covered it once, won't bother to do it again. And we may well have reached our maximum population growth, or close to it. Last year, not as many people showed up as they expected. They were expecting 15,000 or so, and only about 13,000 people showed. From my own personal experience, we had about 20 people in our group last year, and from talking to people since, we thought we'd have about 50 going this year. But it seems that people are backing out, and things are getting in the way, and some people have found they just don't care (heaven forbid). So it looks like we'll have about 20 people, maybe even less, going this year. If that is at all a common occurrence, then the population of Black Rock City may be plateauing out... At least we can hope.


"I am a resident of Black Rock City, and I can't wait to go home."

-- Charles Lucas (, July 02, 1998.

Good point about fringe on CNN. I think one thing we need to be aware of in the future is that with this number of participants, although we may be able to avoid commercialization, some basic amenities need to be paid closer attention to, i.e., dependable toilet cleaning, dependable bus service to hot springs (or wherever), and most importantly, TRASH BINS. It was proven this year that although no one will own up to trashing the playa, IT HAPPENED, and it will happen again. I am also strongly opposed to day passes; I think this is where a lot of the "problems" were based. Perhaps by next year, the media won't be interested in covering us; maybe we won't be "the next big thing."

-- Call Me Sheyna (, November 20, 1997.

I just wanted to say that I do love Burning Man and when it happens again in 1998 I will be there art in tow. I just seems like there needs to be other venues for this type of art and life style. Also I will concede that the first statement may be premature. But when you have 11,000 people attending your event you are "Big Business" if you want to be or not.

-- Charlie (, November 10, 1997.

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