Burning Man is partly the story of a half-dozen eccentrics—an unemployed landscaper (Larry Harvey), an art model (Crimson Rose), a struggling photographer (Will Roger Peterson), a dot-com PR gal (Marian Goodell), an aerobics instructor (Harley Dubois), and a signmaker (Michael Mikel)—who made good. Less charitably, it’s the tale of a group of slackers who grabbed hold of the one thing that brought them notice—and, eventually, a paycheck—and have ruthlessly ridden it for all it’s worth. The truth contains elements of both, of course, but one thing’s for sure: it’s never boring.
…so said Brad Wieners in the excellent Oral History of Burning Man at Outside Online.
Let’s say that you’re the dirty half-dozen mentioned above. You’re a partner in an LLC, a corporate structure designed to distribute profits to the partners over many years. You’ve been running this LLC for nearly 20 years, and the event it owns the rights and permits to has grown to one of the biggest and most famous in the world. The contract you signed with the LLC says that you’re on the Board of Directors, and if you ever leave – voluntarily or involuntarily – you will get only $20,000 – or a share of the profits. Whichever is lesser, which gives you an idea of the sort of profits they were looking at when this contract was drafted. [see agreement at the end of this post]
Of course, you’re not going to leave. It’s worth more than 20 grand. It makes $30 million a year, it’s gotta be worth at least 1x sales. Bloomberg called it “Silicon Valley’s Hottest Startup”, maybe it’s worth $100 million. Whatever, the growth is capped in the near term, unless you can monetize the Regionals, or increase the ARPU – Average Revenue Per User, or how many things you can clip the ticket on selling to the people. When the population is capped, your options for revenue growth are limited to raising ticket prices, and finding new things to sell. Vehicle passes, coffee, ice, gas, scarves, DVDs and soundtracks, and whatever other revenue streams the owners can come up with – 44 licensed vendors in 2013.
The event is clearly immensely popular, demand is growing and so is global awareness. They are pimping the thing out like crazy in the media, with Presidential candidates and political pundits and all manner of journalists and tech stars and celebrities.
This festival of Giving and Self-Expression has become the Selfie Destination for the Selfish Generation. It’s about as radical as Malcolm in the Middle, CNBC and Taco Bell.
Here are our profit estimates for the past couple of years:
We’ve highlighted just some of the expenses to show you how much money goes to the Art and charitable donations, versus how much goes to BMOrg’s 6 Directors. If you want to see the full list of expenses, and how we calculate the profit estimates used above, see our detailed analysis for 2013 and 2012. Every expense number is taken from Burning Man’s Afterburn reports; if there are hidden expenses not listed there that would make the profit figure lower, we’re not aware of them. There are definitely revenue streams that would make it higher (like gas, exception tickets, and merchandise sales), but it is hard to estimate those. BMOrg do not officially disclose their revenues, they’ve never explained to us why. The 2013 revenue number came from a TEDx talk CEO Marian Goodell gave in Tokyo this year. The 2012 estimate is from ticket sales + ice, there could well be more sales and therefore more profits.
In the last 5 years (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) the total amount spent on art was $2,918,210. 5 incarnations of the Man cost $1,068,636. Call it $4 million for both.
In the last 5 years BMOrg have spent $6.6 million on lawyers and accountants – $1.1 million for each director. This is clearly more than the profits they are taking out. To make an investment like that, they must have something bigger in mind. Something worth more than saving up 5 years of profits.
When they announced their “transition to a non-profit” in March this year, we also found out about Decommodification, LLC – a company set up to earn royalties from the Burning Man name, licensing of the logo, and the intellectual property – which includes every photo and video ever taken by a Burner, which they can license without having to share the money with the original owner of the copyright. All the images and videos and other intellectual property that we assign them the rights to when we attend the event. The 6 directors also own Decommodification, LLC. We can estimate the size of the royalty payment by the difference in payments to BLM and “Other” from 2013 to 2012.
2012: $1.9 million
2013: $4.5 million
Difference: $2.6 million
Per director: $442,486
That’s assuming they split it evenly.
Putting two and two together, adding the royalties to the profits, we get about $1 million a year per director – PLUS salaries, travel, and costumes.
We know the directors are getting a bit old for a
rave EDM festival. They’ve been doing this for 30 years, and they’re looking to retire. They’re thinking about the legacy they’re going to leave for the future, and the “Golden Parachutes” they’re going to take for themselves when they bail out of this thing.
As it stands, over 5 years, they might get $5 million each. A nice little package, enough to retire on, but these days, with San Francisco Real Estate prices, hardly a fortune. Paris Hilton makes that DJing in Ibiza in about a week.
But what if they could sell it? What if someone wanted to buy it?
If it was worth 1x sales, $30 million, they’d still get the $5 million – but straight away. They don’t have to wait for years, and risk that something could go wrong to fuck up their cash cow. Something like a Virus Outbreak or a Child Predator or Weather Closing the Event.
If someone wanted to pay more, though, maybe it could be worth $10 million per director. Maybe the Directors could draw out the sale, transition the community into it, and pull a few million extra out for themselves along the way.
How could someone just buy it? Wouldn’t all the Burners leave, pack up and go, fuck off out of protest at the Founders “selling out” their event? Wouldn’t people who’ve spent more than 10 years slaving away in the hot sun for months at a time to make this happen – DPW who actually do the work to build the city instead of doing the panel discussions and entertaining of dignitaries – wouldn’t they walk out in protest if they saw the 6 who took over the event taking the money and running, while they get left with no pension plan, no savings, and fewer prospects for involvement in the future?
It certainly would’ve been a risk – in the old Burning Man structure, circa 2009.
Looking at it now – after they spent that $6.6 million on accountants and lawyers and created new non-profit and for-profit companies and merged bank accounts and transferred assets amongst them, and enabled plug-n-play camps with VIP wristbands and paid servants – That Thing In The Desert is a very different beast.
Today, you could buy Decommodification LLC, and thus own the value of the event – the brand, and the royalty streams from monetizing the intellectual property. You could buy Black Rock City, LLC – the operating company of the event. If someone did that “The Burning Man Project”, the charity, would still exist, doing unspecified, vaguely Burner-ish things with a “Philosophy Center” and Larry hanging around as Chief Philosophy Officer. The Burner cult would still be there, drinking the Kool Aid and spouting the Principles as Rules like good little Burnier-Than-Thous. Paying for the $650 tickets and thinking it’s not scalping because it’s from BMOrg and “the money supports charities and the artists”. The only thing that would change from a legal basis would be the ownership of the shares
The “network of Regionals” could be something of great value to an acquirer, if they were in the events business and looking to develop new markets around the globe.
2014 has proved to potential acquirers that BMOrg can introduce new things for sale, change the box office, ticket mailing can be fucked, they can screw around with STEP, Will Call can be a total cluster fuck, the gate can even close for 2 days, and still Burners will come. In droves. The event will be sold out, and covered worldwide by mainstream media. The potential to monetize the event has now been carefully crafted to be the strongest it has ever been, with AirBnB selling rooms in camps (ironically, of course) and Billionaire Burners bringing 120 guests to commodification camps with $13,000 camp dues and fully-stocked, camp-only private bars.
New things can be sold, hell you can put a gas station out there if you want. Merchandise can be sold year round.
Looking back at the last few years through this lens, with this perspective, a lot of the decisions seem to make sense. Why do you need a massive media blitz, when you’re already sold out? Why mess around with the ticketing so much? Why such a strong focus on Virgins, on bringing new people in to the event? Why bring aboard Directors from the worlds of hospitality, hospitals, and home shopping? Why spend so much more on accountants and lawyers than on the art?
It seems like, compared to 2009, the event now is less counter-culture and much more mainstream. It has been packaged nicely for a sale, wrapped up in a neat little bow, just waiting for someone to come along, snap it up, and give the Founders a Golden Parachute they can really retire in style on – as well as a global network of festivals they can travel to, probably still on the *cough* non-profit’s dime.
Who would want to buy Burning Man?
Now we get into the realm of speculation. Where we have to consider some clues. This I cover in Part II – Who Could It Be Now?
from Burningman.com (note: our commenter A Balanced Perspective has pointed out that this agreement was superseded in 2011. If anyone has a link to the current one please post)
Black Rock City LLC Operating Agreement
The below owners and incorporators of Black Rock City LLC, a Nevada Limited Liability Corporation, hereby declare this as their operating agreement. This agreement shall take effect as soon as signed by all owners.
There are 6 owners of Black Rock City LLC (hereafter referred to as the “LLC”). Each shall have an equal interest in the LLC. All initial owners of the LLC shall sit on the Town Council on and are referred to as Managers, one of whom is also the Director. Additional owners may be admitted by a unanimous vote of the Town Council on such terms and conditions as unanimously agreed. Unless otherwise agreed at the time of admission, all subsequent owners admitted by managers of the LLC shall have an equal interest in the LLC and the right to sit as Managers on the Town Council.
The management of the affairs of the LLC shall be by and through the Town Council which shall function as a board of directors. The Town Council shall consist of all the managers one of whom shall be called t he Director of the LLC. Meetings of the Town Council shall be called and presided over by the Director or his designee. The initial Director shall be Larry Harvey. All Managers must agree to any subsequent Director of the LLC.
The Town Council shall have and exercise all management rights, powers, and authority over the business, affairs and operations of the LLC. Such powers shall include without limitation all powers which may be exercised by the directors of an LLC including: the making of expenditures; borrowing money or guaranteeing indebtedness and other liabilities; conducting and compromising litigation; the acquisition or disposition of the assets of the LLC; the negotiation of contracts binding on the LLC, the selection and dismissal of employees, volunteers and independent contractors, with and without cause.
The Town Council shall indemnify and hold harmless the Director and Managers, for all liability they may incur as a result of their involvement in the LLC except for intentional tortious or fraudulent conduct. The Town Council may indemnify and hold harmless employees agents, independent contractors or volunteers for any liability they incur as a result of their involvement in the LLC except for intentional tortious or fraudulent conduct. Only the Town Council acting unanimously may dissolve the LLC, distribute assets, dividends, earnings or property to owners.
Compensation of Managers and employees of the LLC shall be as set by the Town Council.
Members of the Town Council may not be removed from office except for cause. Cause for removal must consist of either a breach of fiduciary duty, intentional tortious misconduct, or being inactive in the operation of the LLC for a significant period of time. In the event of removal or resignation of a member of the Town Council, the LLC must redeem the ownership interest of an owner and the owner must surrender his ownership interest as provided in this agreement. The Town Council shall meet periodically to manage the affairs of the LLC. One Manager shall keep a record of all decisions of the Town Council. The books and records of the LLC shall be kept at its corporate office and each member of the Town Council shall have the unlimited right to inspect and copy such books and records. Decisions of the Town Council shall be made by consensus. In the event of a deadlock, the Director of the LLC may call for a vote of two thirds of managers when in his discretion a vote is necessary for the LLC to operate.
PROPERTY OF THE LLC
Title to all of the LLC’s property, assets, and accounts are to be held in the name of the LLC and no owner, manager, employee, or volunteer can claim any interest in the property, assets, or accounts of the LLC. The Town Council may designate one of its managers to sign such documents necessary to purchase, transfer, or encumber real or personal property.
OWNERS INTERESTS ARE NOT TRANSFERABLE
Except as provided herein, no manager, the director or owner of the LLC may transfer his interest in the LLC. Any attempted transfer shall be void ab initio. To the extent the law requires the managers and LLC to recognize any involuntary transfer — such as an attachment, seizure, lien, garnishment or court order, etc.– the transferee’s rights shall be limited as provided herein and to the full extent of NRS 86.351.
No transferee of an interest in the LLC shall have the right to participate in the Town Council or management unless all other managers, the director, and owners have consented in writing and the transferee has agreed in writing to be bound by this agreement.
All owners of an interest in the LLC agree that their ownership interest may only be transferred to the LLC which may purchase the interest of an owner. In the event of an involuntary transfer, death of an owner, resignation of a manager, or a manager’s termination by the Town Council for cause, the holder of an interest shall immediately transfer the interest to the LLC pursuant to this operating agreement.
The interest of all owners of the LLC shall be valued at $20,000 plus 10% a year after 2000, or the average book value of the owner’s interest in the LLC measured over a 12 month period, whichever is less. If the pro rata average book value of the LLC is negative, the value of the member’s interest shall be $1.00. In the event of a voluntary or involuntary termination of any manager or the director, the LLC shall promptly purchase the interest from the holder. No other form of transfer, redemption, or cancellation shall be valid.
In the event of the dissolution of the LLC all remaining owners of the LLC agree that debts and obligations of the LLC shall be determined and satisfied prior to any assets being distributed to any manager or owner, further unless unanimously agreed by the managers in writing, any remaining assets shall be utilized to further artistic expression and community formation.
This agreement replaces and supersedes all prior written or oral agreements of the owners on subjects covered by this agreement. This agreement is binding on all successors, heirs of owners of an interest in the LLC. Each party to this agreement agrees to execute such additional documents as may be necessary to carry out the terms of this agreement. This agreement may not be amended except by the unanimous written consent of all the owners of the LLC. This agreement shall be governed by the law of the State of Nevada. Dated 5/19/00.
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I think it’s a good spoof of JP Morgan Chase. 🙂
“2012’s Burn Wall Street featured bank tellers and ironic advertising for Bank of (un)America, Chaos Manhattan, and Goldman Sucks. There was a report online that a JP Morgan exec wrote a $100k check for the installation, which distracted a couple of hundred occupiers for months and had a budget over $200,000. Hard to substantiate, but JP Morgan’s name was not mocked.”
ABSOLUTE LIE!!! Common guys fantasy its not a journalism!
if you have some evidence, please share. We are not saying “SOMEONE SAID SOMETHING ON THE INTERNET SO IT MUST BE FACT”. We are saying “HARD TO SUBSTANTIATE”. Why didn’t they mock JP Whoregon/Organ/MoreGin?
If you want to accuse us of lying, please provide some evidence.
Here is a picture of Chaos Manhattan:
Which was mock up on jp morgan chase. Also I was a build lead on this project and can assure you, that there was no money donated by any global financial corp.
Oh look! A corporate logo.
Can you please confirm how many people worked on the project. Where did the money come from?
Its not a corporate logo, its a MOCK UP on the corporate logo. Also you may want to look in the fact that we burned it to ashes.
We had a great crew of 5o people. I am not gonna disclose the financial situation on public website. I respect people’s privacy. I said enough, and you acting like a child.
Right. Ironic advertising. It’s hard to see how the logo in your photo mocks the actual logo. Is it the different colors that make it funny?
What do you mean “I said enough”? Is there some big secret here, that means people aren’t allowed to speak of Burn Wall Street, more than 2 years after it burned? Pardon me for asking you to provide evidence when calling me a liar. How very immature of me.
J.P. Morgan Chase was clearly mocked.
He proves it, and you continue arguing with someone who built the installation. You continue to badger him and stick to your previous statement (it certainly hasn’t been corrected under the picture) even with contrary evidence. You even ask HIM for evidence when you’ve provided none whatsoever of your claim and there’s clear proof to the contrary.
If you so desperately want all the cynical things you say to be the truth you’l cease to do anything close to journalism.
It’s hard to ever really know what the amounts are because of the shell game with different organizations and due to/due from that goes on… which is very typical of NPO. The executive board is now an external organization (LLC) that operates the non-profit… which is also very common even among “reputable” NPOs. Also while not deceiving accounting tricks, those descriptions are vague and not GAAP (http://afterburn.burningman.com/13/financial_chart.html)… they’re also not signed by any audit firm so I take them with a grain of salt.
I would be curious when their first set of audited financials come up because they will need to provide a few years worth of numbers in addition to the current year numbers (which should be compared to any afterburn reports unless they have issue some kind of prior year restatement). Also, I would be curious to know what John Law’s cash out was since I’m sure he settled on a cumulative basis.
I’m don’t assume that the board is full of angels, but it’s really hard to pin point any kind of crazy financial gains without independent audit firm really going through their books ….which will happen now. Any material financial connection between other organizations will have to be disclosed as well. So until we have audited financial statements, these numbers can be whatever they want to be since there is no legal requirement for them stated fairly with GAAP since they were not a public entity back then nor actively seeking for investments in a public domain.
they have filed a 2012 IRS form 990: http://501c3lookup.org/burning_man_project/
there’s not much to it. Basically, they are accumulating cash in this vehicle. The only director employed by it is Jennifer Raiser for $10k/year. She is group treasurer. They recently announced they are consolidating Black Rock Arts Foundation and Burning Man Project, which will give them just above $1m in assets. We covered this one here: http://burners.me/2014/07/28/art-world-rocked-by-burning-mans-latest-move/
BurnerCPA, obliged for your comment, but, we are not to view these numbers.
In despite of Larry promising of ‘all would be revealed this summer’, ‘a clean, well lighted, suite of rooms’, it is not to occur.
Black Rock City LLC, the for profit corporation doing business as Burning Man, whom owns the event upon the playa, is owned by the 501(c)3 Burning Man Project, whom elects the board of the BRC LLC corporation. The bylaws of the Project have many statements purposed towards hiding conflicts of interests solely within the board of the Project, hiding from donors of cash, labour, entertainment, and art towards the Project and towards the BRC LLC, owned by the Project. The tax levy papers of the Project, of after the BRC LLC is owned by the Project, is not to be viewed prior to 9 months after the tax levies papers are sent towards the U.S. government, of, with an extension of time to send the papers, will permit us to view the tax levies papers of 2014 within 2016 April, a very big time from the present.
They have stated, towards us, their salary of 2010 to 2013. The afterburn report of 2010 states $7.1 million of payroll salary, with solely 30 salary employees, of which, by simple maths, states over $4 million of each burn, as salary of the 6 former BRC LLC owners, paid towards them as Senior Staff. They also stated, they licence the Burning Man(TM) name and trademarks from their Decommodification LLC, perchance, I estimated of $2 million to $2.5 million each burn. In addendum, they stated they will be ‘paid for the value’ of the Burning Man(TM) name and trademarks near to 2016 end. In addendum, their Decommodification LLC, licences images of the art, and of the playa, as stated within the ticket terms of 2014.
BurnerCPA, I hope you can provide your analysis of the BRP filings for us all to see.
I think the source of my anger and disillusionment is no that the event has morphed into something that is never was before. It’s the dishonesty of it. Why not just come out and admit that you are now running and EDM type event? Why not just say, “hey, we’ve changed”? Drop the pretense of the 10 principles. Be honest about you shift in intentions. They will never run out of people to buy the tickets.
I’m with you. I don’t care if the Founders make $100 million EACH. Just don’t tell us we’re saving the world with Skrillex.
I don’t think the change is intentional, it is a consequence of following the money and the SV crowd. And that’s why the dishonesty bothers me all the more. It is not a specific plan that is secret, it is the control of information, pure and simple. They who control the information control the situation. It is the way non-democratic governments work, as you can readily see in the international (and national) news. It is also the way corporations control their customers and emplyees.
Don’t you love the Lilly Ledbetter case, where the court found that her claim was “too late,” even though she made the calim as soon as she knew what others were paid. By withholding the salary information – often making disclosure and discussion gounds for dismissal – the corporations avoided the consequences of doing wrong. This is a common theme today – withholding information from those who need it most to make free decisisons.
Of course infromation control is also the athema of people working together for a common goal. If you can maipulate the information and the perception of others, you can manipulate all involved.
As for the financials, what is most glaring to me is looking at the hard costs to do the NV burn over the past 10+ years. The last time I looked, the hard costs have been around $7 to $8 million. While the revenues have grown substantially, over that same period, the overhead has changed from barely $1 million to $12+ million. Has the NV burn become better-managed? Is the experience better?
Yup. Absent the numbers, this was the picture that was emerging to me.
As for begrudging them the cash/equity windfall, my complaints are:
a) the misrepresentation that the ticket income goes to support art, while the preponderance of the financials says, no;
b) the misrepresentation that it is non-profit – as I have said before, does Bose speakers claim they are non-profit just because the non-profit MIT owns 60% of the stock?;
c) the lack of enfranchisement and gratitude for the Burners who made it happen – why not have some sort of Burner representation on the BoD?
Sure, they can take the money and run, but in doing so they have squandered the opportunity to make the Burner spirit and innovation something permanent. Yeah, they like to sell that as what they are doing, but a top-down organization is not set up for this to happen.
Burning Man is a stone soup event. It is nothing without the Burners – their money, time and creativity. I am a dues-paying member of several stone soup organizations, which are absolutely nothing without the free effort of the members and their dues. However, those organizations have existed for decades, and are constantly renewed by the members. We elect officers from the membership, and the salaried staff do what the elected offers say, not the other way around. The credibility of the staff and officers always comes from an understanding that they represent and draw from the membership.
However, my stone soup organizations have no profit, in addition to being “non-profit.” We give grants and sponsor research. We even write documents that are used to govern the way the world deals with important and even critical issues. It is a different direction, a path that the BOrg did not take.
As gustavocado observed in another post, the BOrg is taking the path of the Bohemian Club. And you can see who got what benefit from that sellout.
Your estimates don’t account for major expenses like fees paid to the government, law enforcement, event infrastructure, operating expenses for the entity that produces the event, taxes, etc. You’re make a very incomplete picture here, which renders your argument faulty.
I hope you realize that the costs listed don’t add up to 100%. The difference is the costs that are paid to others, as you note, as well as lawyers and who knows what sweetheart deals, that the BOrg carefully hides. The analysis is only of the overhead and profit.
Since the BOrg keeps many of the numbers hidden, you can always fault ANY attempt at a detailed accounting for where the money goes as being “wrong.” But no one ever provides the missing amounts and breakdowns.
“I am thinking of a number. What’s your guess? Sorry, you are wrong.”
In this post, I have provided HIGHLIGHTS, not reproduced the entire financial charts. I have updated the story to make it easier for readers to find links to our detailed analysis that the profit calculations are based on. These include all the expenses you’ve listed here. Your reading is incomplete and your reasoning is faulty, there’s nothing wrong with ours. If anything, BMOrg’s profits are higher than our estimate.
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I am gobsmacked, by appearances, perchance, it is a plan. I do not have time to pen comments of detail, but
As you state, their plans, perchance, might be stated by the board members they place upon the board. The board members of the hotel companies, and the cubes, of the small company, upon K Street might be of the rationale of the BMOrg planning of their conference center and living flats
I am in agreement with you upon the rationale of why might they place new directors, familiar with buying and selling of corporations, upon the board of the Project
burnersxxx, you were fooled by their lie of their prior operating agreement, of 2000, remaining upon their website, in despite of a new operating agreement penned within 2011. View Scribe’s article of Man on the Move. I do not know the rationale of stating lies, as this, or lies of omission, as their ‘Where the Money Goes’, published within the RGJ, and within Forbes, purposed towards hiding cash directed towards their pockets. I was of the belief of this not being legal, of a 501(c)3 non profit, are they making attempts towards losing their 501(c)3 permit of California?
Priorly, they stated the plans were to donate the BRC LLC, doing business as Burning Man, to the Burning Man Project at 2013 end. But, their statements within 2013, and within 2014, are of it ‘transitioned’ to a non profit. I am curious as to the terms of donation, or, the terms of sale. I was of the belief of them donating the BRC LLC to the Project, for, perchance, a $30 million deduction upon tax levies, purposed towards paying little cash of taxation levies, upon the other cash directed towards their pockets?
Larry, and the other five, prior owners of the BRC LLC, by simple maths, received $16 million to $20 million, of salary, within 2010 to 2013. They stated this towards us by $7 million upon the salary payroll line within the afterburn report, with solely 30 employees, within 2010. Thusly, they obtained 4 years of over $4 million of salary of each year.
I am of the belief they stated near to $7 million of salary payroll upon the the afterburn report of 2013, not of the $8 million stated within the post
Larry, upon announcing the transition within 2014 March, stated ‘all would be revealed this summer’, and of some Burners might not be within agreement of the plan. Perchance, might the plan have been revealed, upon the minutes of the meetings, and of the votes, of the board of the Project, that any person, or their representatives, might view and copy at the Project office upon Alabama Street, as is required of a 501(c)3 non profit corporation? Might any students of journalism, whom might comprehend of this, desire of bylines within big papers?
I am curious as to the beliefs of the awesome Burners whom throw the regionals parties, whom penned the BMOrg’s secret contracts, as to whether any statements, of the contracts, might prevent of the BMOrg from selling the reqionals parties, that you throw, of your awesome voluntary labours?
– The BMOrg, perchance, might place within a package, the BRC LLC, Burning Man, owned by the Project, the Burning Man(TM) name, trademarks, and licence of images of Burning Man, owned by their Decommodification LLC, and the regionals parties as a one. I hope of this is not true.
I think it’s whack to use multiple images of Dadara and his crew in a negative, rich men in suits context. He’s been burning for longer than you and making legit art for the playa for years. The Exchanghibition bank was awesome and their suits also fit into their piece. Real burners, art makers, not dance camp candy raver, fresh to the rodeo types bitching about the org. Carry on, just don’t group in word up artists with your blah blah blah blah suits and money bad, bmorg a problem posts. Use some shots of first camp or playaschool.
I like some of his work, he is obviously extremely interested in monetization of the Playa, given how many of his pieces relate to this in some way. I definitely do NOT like the Like4Real and believe that symbolizes everything that is wrong with Burning Man right now.
You are a covetous, envious little man.
Clearly, you don’t know me.
They don’t put on the event…it is done by the tens of thousands of volunteers that PAY their own way, as well as spend MONTHS out of each year creating camps and art pieces to which they are required to hand over the rights to the Org, while footing most of the bill out of their own pocket.
The Org doesn’t build shit. They rake in the fees and pay meesly rates to full time employees and token favours of a couple hundred bucks to art installations that cost tens of thousands. DPW and Playa Restoration are for all intensive purposes volunteers. They might get paid $400 a week to work full time in the desert for a couple months doing back breaking work so that the Org can profit off of their backs.
Exactly. Hard work in sub-standard conditions, in some cases dangerous work. They get food…
did you see a picture of that pig they ate tho!
nope, anyone got a pic?
Why would you begrudge the people who spent the last 30 years putting on this world renowned event for cumulatively hundreds of thousands of people a comfortable living and retirement? Do you expect all of that to be done, and well, by unpaid volunteers? How do you propose the volunteers have the time do any of it if they are also having to work full-time paying jobs? Decommodification works on the playa, but the BORG has to live in the real world the rest of the year.
Who’s saying I begrudge them anything?
Is it right for them to jump the shark and make the event as commercial as they can, so that they can then sell it to a bigger corporation and make the most money for themselves? What will happen to the thousands of volunteer workers then? There are people who have literally given their lives to this event, in addition to these 6. What happens to them? This is not like a typical Silicon Valley exit in which everyone who was an early employee benefits because of the value of their stock options. And nor did the founders come up with some breakthrough technology. The difference with Burning Man is WE built this city. As far as we know, there were no investors behind this. Just Burners. And DPW crew who are there for much, much longer than the 10-day Burning Man event. There are 100 people up there this weekend, walking the line and picking up MOOP.
This is more of a comment about Silicon Valley than about BM, so perhaps a bit off-topic – would argue that BM is somewhat similar to SV, in the sense that it still discriminates the people involved in a project for a long time or even since the very beginning between founders and others (where the founders are not necessarily the very first people to join or the ones that worked the hardest). It just disagrees on whether the discrimination factor is around 10 to 100, or infinity ; )