If elite Burning Man camps didn’t already get the memo that they’re no longer welcome on the Playa, Wednesday will be a stark reminder.
Major changes to the 33-year-old gathering’s ticket process kick in Wednesday at noon, nearly a month after Marian Goodell, CEO of the Burning Man nonprofit, admonished luxe camps in a 2,500-word blog post. Spurred by a 55-page report on the commodification of Black Rock City, “Cultural Course Correcting” laid out the ways the elite set up their own gated festivals-within-the-festival where Instagram influencers thrive.
“They are using Black Rock City to increase their popularity; to appeal to customers and sell more ‘stuff,’ ” Goodell wrote of social media influencer practices of commercial photo shoots, tagging brands, and doing product placements. “We’ve been observing some troubling trends for a few years, but this report stunned me.”
Beyond publicly disinviting Camp Humano — often compared to the Fyre Festival — and sending warnings to other camps, Goodell outlined ticket changes to bring Burning Man back to a mission of radical inclusion. Tickets are still $425 and car passes $100, but the changes are as follows:
- No more “limited sales,” where Burners could buy $1,200 tickets in July
- 10 percent more tickets allocated to Directed Group Sales, which encourages collaborative groups
- Having Directed Group Sales buy tickets before pre-sale
- Saving 4,500 tickets for $210 each through the low-income program, an 18-percent increase
- Reducing high-priced tickets by 30 percent and limiting it to two per person instead of four
She also encouraged attendees to do their part by not buying package deals, which are not approved by Burning Man, and not to let friends and campmates do so, either. Further, she requests that people report such violations to email@example.com.
“Mass consumption in our default world, ticket scarcity, and some elaborate luxury camps have contributed to the rise of a playa ‘convenience culture,’ ” Goodell wrote. “Whether it is in Black Rock City or elsewhere around the world, Burning Man is not built for you, it is built by you. Burning Man is not a festival.”
Burning Man runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 2.