Bring Back Root Society!

ah, the irony: Burning Man claim ownership of this image, yet tell Root Society they don't understand Burning Man

Anyone who was at Burning Man in 2010 will surely remember what to me is the most amazing stage I have ever seen, anywhere. Root Society had a 5-story high rectangle, with a massive DJ booth in the middle. There were dancing girls inside the rectangle, and unbelievable visual projections on the outside. The sound was phenomenal.

Jeff, the Captain of Root Society, shared some comments over on Alyssa’s PR blog.

We were challenged even before the tix disaster:
After 8 years in a row running Root Society, we took the year off in 2011 to quietly protest some ridiculous decisions bmorg made in 2010:

This in itself indicates a problem – Root Society was the best thing there in 2010.

We asked for simple consideration given to music theme camps:
-please don’t charge us a ticket for every truck we bring into the festival with gear to build and put on 6 days of entertainment free for your attendees

I can’t believe they even have to ask. This seems like a no-brainer.

-help us with well over 100 bags of trash that get left at our camp every year.
I call this “the ass end of the gift economy”
-help us MOOP where 15,000 people have made nightly residence instead of embarrassing us with the “red map”

A very valid point. It’s the people visiting from other camps making the MOOPs, not Root Society. They can be expected to clean up their own trash, but 15,000 people per night? At most other events, the promoters pay to clean up all the trash people dump on the dance floor.

-acknowledge that music has become a wonderful addition to the BM experience. This is one of our biggest themes each year. We push (subtle but firm) to integrate both art and music (a wonderful form of art!) into the grant program so we can create a awesome interactive experience AND offset some of our costs.

The music was amazing at Root Society, but their installation was about so much more than the music. The cost of it must be staggering.

This last challenge has always been met with the same answer,
“We never intended BM to be a music festival”.

I’ve been going since 98, and I remember one of my first impressions being how much great music there was, everywhere. Music of every kind of genre (this was before dub-step!).

Some of the best music I’ve ever heard has been at Burning Man. For a $400 ticket, you get to see some of the world’s best musical talent, having the time of their lives. I remember Christopher Lawrence playing when nobody knew who that was. I remember Paul Oakenfold playing an 8-hour set in an artificial stonehenge. Only about 20 people there, don’t reckon many of them realized the DJ would later be the first electronic musician to win a Grammy. I’ve seen Oakey play to the crowd all over the world, from massive raves to small clubs to the pool at Rehab, and that was the best Oakenfold set of my life. I remember Carl Cox at Opulent Temple in 2010, clearly having a blast pulling the chain to trigger the flamethrowers. His next album release was “Global Underground 38 – Black Rock Desert” – free publicity for Burning Man, presumably because he loved it so much.

Burning Man is one of the best music festivals in the world, and the promoters don’t even have to fund the talent. It’s churlish of them to take the position “we don’t want music, that’s not what it’s about” when they also take the position that “Burners create the party” – clearly this is what Burners want, 15,000 people at Root Society and that’s just one stage.

Back to Jeff’s comments.


And with this simple response, comes the assumption that we will just keep on “bringing it” each year–no matter what– SO WE DIDN’T in 2011!

Did the BMorg even notice? Your fans definitely did.

We were finally told point blank “that we don’t understand the basic burning man principles” and that it is our choice to do what we do. Why not just bring a small tent and a few gallons of water”. True.
2 important principles listed below:
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.
*Radical Self-reliance

It is laughable that representatives of Burning Man said this to Root Society. Like, really, what assholes – “you don’t understand Burner principles”. They comped 60 world-class fucking DJs to play for us for free, on one of the sickest stages of all time. They brought their own trucks in, set up and tore down that stage, did it all themselves, gifted it to all of us, and Burning Man can’t just smile and say thank you? They should be throwing tickets at these guys.

We desperately missed being there in 2011, but found solstice in sitting out and we have every intention of coming back strong in 2012. We really just don’t know where to start…

note:we have been invited to a theme camp resource meeting on Feb 15…I’m hopeful.

This is the first piece of promising news I’ve heard since the announcement of this whole sorry ticketing fiasco.

13 comments on “Bring Back Root Society!

  1. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought
    this publish was good. I don’t understand who you are however certainly you are going to a well-known blogger if you happen to are not already. Cheers!

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  3. At the same time those music camps are able to raise money all year long with parties while the artists are struggling to survive and begging for donations

  4. You want your trucks in for free? Too bad. You need to pay like the rest of us. We don’t owe you anything. It’s the GIFT economy, remember? Do you really need to wave your giant penis in the air then turn to us and demand respect? Bmorg was correct in trying to school you.

    I remember you in 2010 (Bassnectar flaked…. wonder why? Broken sound card? yeah right.), and quite frankly I did not notice you weren’t there in 2011. There are and always will be many many many great things to see at Burningman besides your little led box.

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  11. Has been fun partying with Root Society over the years. Quite frankly, it was probably time for them to retire and give someone else a shot…. There are many large-scale sound camps at BM. None are indispensable. They all create a wonderful contribution to the event, as do all theme camps actually.

    Sorry, no special treatment for you guys! If you want special care, there are other events that RS can create their show at….

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