- a) rich and hip, but have been incredibly busy or living in a cave for 20 years
- b) rich and not even remotely hip
- c) nouveau riche, think they’re hip, could be assholes
- d) young, and therefore probably lacking in resources
- e) just scraped together enough money and time now, to attend something they’ve dreamed about and saved towards for ages
I think a) is very unlikely, by this time. More likely, the rich Virgins attending will be from b), the grey nomads RV crowd. Burning Man is one of the biggest RV events in the world, and many Burners take their RVs to lots of other events during the year. At each, they are swapping knowledge with other RVer’s, and thus building demand to go to Burning Man. If you’ve ever been to a trailer park with high end vehicles, try to picture this scene…
a couple of hot sparkle ponies in a beat-up old RV in a casino carpark in Reno on Monday, stepping out in their dusty hotpants and pasties. They don’t know how to dump the tanks on their borrowed or rented RV, but it doesn’t take them long to attract the attention of some rich old Kenny Powers type RVers nearby in a rock star bus with 4 pop-outs. The boys are freshly pumped and full of hot water, with a fridge full of beers and a ton of viagra, and would love to help the girls out with a shower or three and hear about their adventures of not getting laid by goofy young hipsters… “wow it sounds great, we’re gonna go check it out next year”
A similar sort of thing happens with all the Burners who go and then want to take their “cool” parents. And these parents then want to bring their “cool” friends and show them. I’m not saying any of this is bad – in my opinion, it’s all good…and it’s inevitable. It’s tribes, it’s trends, it’s demographics. The Burner population is ageing at the same rate as everybody else, growing as Burners breed, and not dying very much. The economics of traditional Burners have been improving over time, while the general national trend has been economic deterioration. If you promote the shit out of something as sparkly and strange and photogenic as Burning Man, then you will naturally increase the curiosity about it in the broader population. If you keep pushing experienced and economically well off Burners out of your population, to encourage an influx of young kids with less resources, you damage the broader economic ecosystem.
Burners should embrace everyone and support philanthropy, for sure. You always get more than you give. Give generously to charities you support – maybe for some people that’s the Burning Man Project, personally I spend enough money as it is on all the gifting at Burning Man, any spare cash I’m giving away off the Playa I’d rather give it to the people who are risking their lives against whale poachers in the Sea Shepherd Society.
Burning Man needs to encourage more rich people to go; and let them camp in the manner they’re accustomed to. Make it easier also for them to contribute funds to the party, for them this is a way of participation. This patronage in itself creates an economy – a much bigger economy than the BMOrg deals with.