There was a bit of an uproar last year when we shared that Festivals Concierge Service were making money from Burning Man. Well, it seems they’ve read the rules and done their best to comply with them – and no less than Larry Harvey’s words are being used to pitch their product.
As we predicted, Larry & Co’s response to last year’s Commodification Camp Concerns has been to give a full green light to concierges, commodification camps, Mistresses of Merriment, and anything else the VIPs require.
From Festival Concierge Service:
Burning Man is not a festival like no other, it is a community experience based on 10 principles that serve as guidelines.
The services we offer for Burning Man are intended to assist you in the preparation and organization of your Burn.
We do not offer on-site concierge services.
In any case we sell the Burning Man Experience. It is a unique personal experience, and is made possible only through your participation and understanding of the ten principles.
“Scan Burning Man’s Ten Principles, and you will not find radical equality among them. This is because our city has always been a place where old and young, and rich and poor, can live on common ground. The word for this is fellowship, as in the fellowship of a club or lodge whose members, however diverse, are united by common values and a sense of shared experience. But common ground is not a level playing field, and should not be interpreted as mandating equal living conditions.”
The services, which are all provided by BLM-Licensed Outside Services Contractors, include:
[Update 5/21/1 6:09pm PST]
Take a look at this. Big thanks to Anonymous Burner for sharing this. BMOrg has already known about this for almost 3 weeks, and the site is still up. And why wouldn’t it be? They are conforming to the rules. They only deal with licensed vendors
who give the Feds a percentage of their sales.
The trolls have come out for us very swiftly after this post. Did we hit some sort of nerve?
Within an hour of me posting this story, James of San Diego
appeared on our web page, saying:
Burners XXX of burners.me spends years talking shit and dishing out hate then gets called out and identified by Danger Ranger. Then BurnersXXX cries and whines cause he can’t take the criticism. Trolls don’t let your mouth write a check your ass can’t cash…Although many long term Eplayans are way bigger assholes and are anonymous.
For anyone that doesn’t know what he’s talking about
, or is open minded enough to judge for themselves the definition of “cries and whines”
, you can read my previous response on this matter
. There’s no doubt that one thing this commenter is saying is true: the officially sanctioned BMOrg forums on ePlaya suffer from low traffic, and high trolls
. It’s not just that trolls are allowed to be there, abusing and bullying others, with support piled on from paid BMOrg employees: some of them think they have so many of the “suck up points” required to game the system, that they feel completely backed by the Org whenever they want to let their personal fancies assault the lives of others.
When you see someone on the Internet saying “so and so’s a troll”, you should wonder if really it is the person named by the attack – or is it the nay-sayer accusing others of not conforming to their desired way of being.
If you haven’t read it yet (and even if you have it’s worth a refresher) please check out our post How To Spot An Online Troll.
Thanks to Jan Irvin at Gnostic Media
for some of the key parts of that article which are his writing and insights.
Spring is here and troll season has begun once more. The Ministers of Propagandas (of those organizations that employ them
) are looking for things to do, victims to cyber-bully, and misinformation to sow…
Badger then came over to www.burners.me
to tell us:
I can’t believe you stooges have fallen for this faux site.
I can’t believe there are any stooges left who are drinking the Kool Aid so much
that they’d think “Larry & Co would never allow private concierges at Burning Man”…when Larry himself writes a lengthy blog post entitled “Concierge Culture”
and explaining why wealth divisions have never been a problem and rich people should be allowed to ignore Radical Self Reliance if they can afford to.
Source: Voices of Burning Man
PDR agreed with Badger, that Festival Concierge Services
is not a real web site.
These are the same people as last year. They were in touch with us then, and they’re in touch with us now. The New York Times already wrote about it (quoting Burners.Me as a trusted source). The Key Group, private concierge service out of Luxembourg, has a highly desirable existing customer base of Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals. A-list Hollywood stars, princes and princesses, Billionaire’s Row, Mega-Sparkle Ponies, political pundits, the DEA, FBI BLM and other unnamed alphabet agencies, experimental Google technologies, even now frikking cartoon characters…this is Burning Man 2.0. Everyone requires a handler, for their Radical Self Reliance. If you handle yourself, you’re doing it wrong.
Personally I think we should be giving FCS
some props for adjusting their pitch to better suit our culture, after last year’s feedback – almost 100 comments and 1000 shares
just at this site, not to mention Larry’s loqacious diatribe against Marxism
. Isn’t that what we want – we complain, they listen, they remove the things we were complaining about, and from then on they conform to the rules. Is that what we’re trying to achieve? Making Burners conform to rules
? Or “teach them a lesson”
, is that the purpose of all this?
I am neither endorsing nor condemning Burning Man concierges. People who’ve never had access to a concierge before probably think it’s something special. Like most VIP sections, it’s really not.
However, when Larry & Co promote it by writing blog posts justifying it, it’s hard to rail against it very much. Go with the flow, I say…
This is much more of a problem to me.
Legitimate Burners lucky enough to win tickets, get them snatched away by the bureaucracy…and yet, the Concierge Commodification Camps
seem to have tickets not only for their guests and entourages, but also for the sherpas
, Mistresses of Merriment
, and other staff
Every year, they make it harder and harder for Veteran Burners
to get tickets. “Oh it’s a numbers game. It’s supply and demand. There’s no possible way to fix it”
. I call Bravo Sierra. Problems can be solved, if there is a desire to. There’s certainly enough brainpower amongst the million-strong online Burner community.
[Update 5/21/15 7:07pm]
Thanks to FIGJAM
for sharing this over at ePlaya
. The latest from Answer Girl and the full complement of the 2015 Placement Team. There is no such thing as Commodification Camps
– all camps are the same, regardless of how much they charge per hotel room or how many sherpas
they employ. It’s just a spectrum, and everyone in the spectrum is welcome. Plug-n-plays are welcome, as long as they have an interactive component on offer to other camps. Like popsicles
The Placement Team is up and running at full complement and the Burning Man Headquarters team is fully operational.We made some changes to our Theme Camp and Placement policies following events in 2014 involving TurnKey camps, and we wanted to inform you of them so you can plan accordingly.Definitions:TurnKey is a category of camps along a spectrum. At one end of the continuum are camps that depend on supported infrastructure to create on playa projects. At the other end are camps providing vacation type experience packages for campmates with no specific requirement for contribution.In 2014 Burning Man placed 12 TurnKey camps all of whom indicated they would offer an interactive aspect to be enjoyed by the entire Burning Man community.For 2015, all Placed Camps (other than infrastructure support camps) will be held to the same standards in order to receive placement, early arrival passes and access to the Directed Group Sale.
Theme Camp Placement Criteria / Standards:
Other than event infrastructure camps, all camps will be held to the same standards of inclusion and participation regardless of how the camp is structured. All Theme Camps requesting placement will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
1. Theme Camps should be visually stimulating, have an inviting design and a plan for bike parking and crowd management.
2. Theme Camps must be interactive. They should include activities, events or services within their camps that must be available to the entire Burning Man community.
3. Theme Camps must be neighbourly. This includes keeping sound within set limits, controlling where camp generators vent exhaust, and easily resolving any boundary disputes that may arise.
4. Theme Camps must have a good previous MOOP record (for returning camps).
5. Theme Camps must follow safety protocols designed by the organization (this includes traffic management on the streets, proper handling of fuels, and any other areas defined by the organization’s production team including alternatives to RV lined streets).
Entering BRC with Early Arrival passes:
Only Theme Camps meeting all of the above criteria and receiving Placement, will be given Early Arrival Passes from the Placement team for entry to BRC for pre-event set up
Post-event evaluation, Theme Camp Standing and access to the Directed Group Sale (DGS):
Post event, all placed Theme Camps will be reviewed on the criteria above, as well as:
1. MOOP score. If a camp receives a yellow or red MOOP score, the Placement team expects the camp to be proactive in addressing the issue.
2. Strain on resources. This refers to whether a camp requires extra BRC infrastructure support, which could include undue communication or interactions with Placement, Rangers, DPW or the playa restoration team. This could also include the processing of negative feedback from other departments. If a Theme Camp attracts negative attention by violating principles and cultural norms, this will similarly strain resources.
If a Theme Camp meets all of the criteria they remain in “good standing” and may be eligible to receive access to the DGS. Exemplary camps are the most likely to be invited to the following year’s DGS.
Good standing is of benefit as it will affect future placement.
Camps not in good standing will be contacted and will be expected to make substantial changes to their submitted camp plans to qualify for future placement of the DGS for the following year.
For most of you, this information is familiar and reflects what you are already doing. For some of you, this information means you are going to need to increase your interactivity and upgrade your public facing spaces to reflect the spirit of radical inclusion.
We are here to support all of you create an amazing and interactive city for everyone at Burning Man to enjoy.
For more information about this and other topics you can watch the Theme Camp Forum. We recorded the March 21 event.
Fuze Meeting link: https://www.fuzemeeting.com/replay_meet … e9/7113130
[Update 5/22/15 10:51am PST]
Thanks to Pooh Bear for bringing this to our attention. BMOrg are openly promoting one of the oldest tourist packages, Green Tortoise, which is about $1000 per head. Many major camps charge much less in dues, I am curious to know how this pricing sits with everyone.
The price of the tour is not so important. It’s nonsense to say “this is great at $1000 because they funded some art and gave people rides on their bus to Gerlach, but it sucks at $16,000 because they funded some art and gave people rides on their art car”. BMOrg have decided “it’s a spectrum” which makes all things welcome. If any Burners thought Commodification Camps would be shut down, I hope now you realize that despite whatever words were said, and however many feedback forms were filled out, that isn’t what actually happened.
The Voices of Burning Man has an official response, from “Burning Man” – yes, the symbol now speaks.
YMMV on how much actual caboose actually got kicked, and with what level of force.
They’ve said they’re trying to stop it. Even though FCS aren’t actually doing business at Burning Man…what’s next, any TaskRabbit services for Burning Man get banned? No more trunk shows?
We have contacted Festivals Concierge Services yet again, reminding them that they can’t offer “Burning Man concierge services” or use our IP to promote their business. We’re also taking a number of other steps to protect our principles and our stance on this issue:
- Notifying participants in our Outside Services (OSS) program not to do business or subcontract with concierge companies like FCS or their clients.
- Revisiting and revising the overall OSS program structure so companies like this can’t exploit the system.
- Notifying BLM that FCS will not have a contract with Burning Man and should not receive a BLM Special Recreation Permit to operate its concierge business on public land.
- Coordinating with DMV and Placement to ask Mutant Vehicle operators and theme camp organizers not to provide services or camping to FCS or their clients.
- Working with our Ticketing Team to prevent FCS staff from acquiring event tickets for resale to their clients.
- Communicating with YOU, our community, to keep you informed about these activities, and to solicit your help with combating the packaging and sale of our culture now and in the future.
Can anyone explain to me how BMOrg could possibly think the Ticketing Team might be involved with FCS acquiring event tickets for resale? Isn’t the event sold out, there are no more tickets?
The messages seem mixed to me. Concierge culture is OK (says Larry), and then it’s forbidden (says “Burning Man”). Shouldn’t we be focused on bringing more beautiful art into the world, rather than what things can They stop that They were previously promoting a few months back?
[5/22/15 9:35am PST]
Some hilarious commentary from some of the usual crew of haters on the official BM Facebook page, suggesting that we are lying about this story. Well, just click the links people, you can go to the web site yourself. It is very real, despite whatever “caboose kicking” is being talked about, there they are: still in business. With even burningman.org advertising their offering now. That is, if any Burners have any kind of anti-authoritarian, rebellious spirit in them…
And don’t think FCS are the only ones offering this service – they are just facing the wrath of Burnier-Than-Thous because they were brave enough to “stick their heads above the parapet” as Ross Asselstine describes it. They visibly tried to conform to the rules and promote the Ten Principles, after receiving community feedback last year. Most other concierge services aren’t doing anything remotely like that – that we can see, anyway…instead of “great, thank you, we asked you to make some changes and you did that”, they will face attacks from Burnier-Than-Thous and factions within the Org. All in the name of…what, exactly? Are they going to ban First Camp and Board Members Camps from having concierges? Paid staff? Nope, nothing’s changed, just more hot air, diversions, distractions, smokescreens. All part of the carnival, the hucksters, the chumps and suckers and rubes, making the spectacle for the ringmasters.