The Positivity In Popularity

A guest post from reader Shifty Fox.

1507464_f520Good ol’ Black Rock City. Home sweet home, am I right? I stand in awe at how much it has grown over the years. These days it’s rare to find someone who hasn’t heard of this magical and idyllic temporary city in the desert. A dusty Shangri-La of sorts, in which tens of thousands of people flock to each year and tens of thousands more attempt to but can’t as a result of a population limit which in effect creates a ticket supply and demand. The good word is out and it seems like everybody wants to see what this place is all about. Now, there have always been opinions of the event becoming too popular even well over a decade or two ago. But ever since 2011 when the event first sold out, these opinions seem much more prevalent. Could it be true? Has Burning Man become too popular an event, or a victim of its own success that is simply too big for its britches? We have all read the articles and heard the opinions about how it isn’t what it used to be, and how “it was better back in the day…” Though personally I generally find it hard to agree with these viewpoints because I feel they are somewhat narrow-minded opinions that only stem from the individuals perspicacity and lack of insight, in relation to the popularity of Burning Man.

557227_10201150757269734_1559314795_nAnd fair enough. If we look at the effect that popularity has on a lot of things, it doesn’t always lead to the most desirable end results. There are small intimate venues that gain popularity and over time become the next hot bar or club spot. Small bands and DJs that start out in a garage or a bedroom make it big and are often considered sellouts once they attain fame. And there are the music festivals that started out as fairly small events and go on to become annual massive music festivals with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance, complete with corporate sponsorship and all. The state of popularity as it pertains to events such as Burning Man and other similar festivals is often shaded with negativity. There is this feeling that when so many people become privy to something great, it takes away from the unique and magical qualities that made it so special to begin with. Though a part of me can’t help but think that this feeling is somewhat selfish in its existence. After all, if something is so wonderful and positive, shouldn’t it be shared for all to enjoy? Not hoarded by a few?

Image: Trey Ratcliff/StuckInCustoms

Now what I mean when I say selfish is that I feel people often don’t look past their own disgruntled feelings of dissatisfaction over minor issues that really only directly affect the individual and their ability to have a good time. For example, the thought that because of the progressive popularity of the event, there are increasingly too many virgin Burners attending annually. Or the issue of ticket supply and demand, which is directly related to the events popularity. Often fueled by ego, an individual can become irritated because they didn’t get a ticket and someone who they feel is less deserving, actually did get one. Or the thought that with the events popularity comes what is believe to be the wrong kind of crowd. Those that are said to spectate and not participate; ‘the bro, the weekend warrior, the wealthy 1%er, or other types of people that some individuals believe should not be in attendance. But all of these things are selfishly only an issue to the individual because they believe it interferes with their standards of the burn experience as they see it fit for them. They are possibly not seeing the bigger picture and how popularity affects more than just them and their good time. And I believe these feelings and opinions do not accurately reflect the very real and positive effects that come from the popularity of the Burning Man event. Perhaps it is difficult for some to see past their own comforts and desires.

believeI am convinced there is a bigger picture to it all. I believe Burning Man to be an exception to the idea that popularity allows for negative results to culminate, and subsequently end an entity’s golden era. I believe there are direct and indirect ways that the popularity of Burning Man is positively changing individual’s hearts and minds, as well as affecting families and communities around the world for the better. I truly believe there is positivity in popularity.

Over the years Burning Man has given way to a number of great organizations that are doing wonderful things locally as well as worldwide. The seemingly endless streams of inspiration, creativity, and motivation that emanates from these wonderful organizations, cannot be denied as a positive force. Some of the more prominent organizations that are a direct consequence of the Burning Man event include:

brs_header 4
Black Rock Solar – The mission of BRS is stated as “promoting environmental stewardship, economic development and energy independence by providing not-for-profit entities, tribes and under-served communities with access to clean energy, education, and job training.” This is done often by donating hours of labor, solar products, and professional installation of solar products to these under-served communities.

Burners Without Borders – The objectives of BWB are to “promote activities around the globe that support a community’s inherent capacity to thrive by encouraging innovative approaches to disaster relief and grassroots initiatives that make a positive impact.” The Philippines, Haiti, and the United States are few of the places they have offered disaster relief for various unfortunate catastrophes such as fires, hurricanes, and floods.

Black Rock Arts Foundation – The folks at BRAF have made it their mission “to support and promote community, interactive art and civic participation.” This is done through a process of presenting grants to a number of artists and arts programs. BRAF works with various communities all over the globe to produce creative and often unusual works of public art that serve to conjure the inspiration in people, and create a sense of community.

The Regional Network – This is the most prominent byproduct immediately stemming from the popularity of Burning Man. The event has inspired others to organize and create events with a similar ethos to the Burning Man event. Currently there are roughly 130 regional families spread across 6 continents in 31 countries around the world that are officially affiliated with the Burning Man Organization. There are also an untold number of non-affiliated groups and events as well.

These organizations are byproducts directly related to the popularity of the Burning Man event, which is a melting pot for like-minded people, that gives them the ability to network and become inspired to create these types of organizations, families, and events. These are only four listed examples but there is a plethora of other small groups and organizations that have come into existence all around the globe as a result of the growth of the Burning Man event, community, and culture. These are undoubtedly examples of positivity in popularity.


Open Playa

Aside from all the positive effects emanating from organizations and regional groups, we also have the individuals themselves and the profound and life changing experiences that are often had while attending Burning Man. The capacity for positive energy that the individual radiates back out into the default world long after they have returned home is something that should never be allowed to reach a maximum limit. I refuse to think we need less people sharing in a culture that produces such untold amounts of utter positivity.

Image: Unknown/DustToAshes

Image: Dust To Ashes

There is an infinite list of constructive things to be gained by the individual while marinating in this playa pool of positivity; whether it is a sense of family and community, the feelings of impassioned closeness with others, emotional purging and sense of spirituality, the use of social skills in an unconventional world, the networking, the friends, the fun that never ends, the projects, the laughs, the cries… the self-discovery sunset and tequila sunrise. It is virtually an endless source of positive energy, ideas, and knowledge. And it is largely (if not completely) due to the growth and popularity of Burning Man, that all of these things have the ability to thrive there and continue to inspire others who visit our dusty home, to appreciate, motivate, create, and then take these values home with them, so that they can be injected into the veins of life, and the individual can and go on to inspire others to do the very same thing.

For most of us who have attended it is easy to understand the harmonious and magical way in which Burning Man touches many peoples lives, and how it continues to directly effect most of us on a daily basis. But it may be more difficult to imagine the even higher untold numbers, possibly in the millions, of people that are indirectly affected by the Burning Man community in roundabout ways, without ever having known it. I was once one of those people.

Image: Hanna Mumper/Shifty The Fox

Image: Hanna Mumper/Shifty The Fox

About 17 years ago I was a completely lost and irresponsible kid who really had very little direction and even less drive. Always feeling like a lone black sheep I carried around a lot of weight and stress with me from various things in my life. From family issues, to the deaths of loved ones, and throw in a handful of other destructive devices, they were very confusing times indeed. On top of that I was still trying to find out what my worth was to the world. Over time I had tried various things to alleviate this weight but as a young adult back then, I really had no idea what I was doing. Who really does anyhow? Things were pretty obscure and uncertain at the time. But it was by chance, (or fate?) that I would soon make friends with a few Burneresque types in a small town up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Through my friendships with these great people I would eventually go on to participate in the creation of small events and get-togethers that carried a similar Burning Man ethos and vibe. I had yet to attend Burning Man at the time, and wouldn’t for some years. The clueless kid that I was, I had no idea that at the time my life was already beginning to be affected by the Burning Man community in this second handed sort of way, years before I had ever attended the actual event.


Image: Dust To Ashes

Image: Dust To Ashes


La Contessa

I eventually moved to the land that originally gave life to the Burning Man event, the beautiful and unique city of San Francisco. I fully immersed myself in the Burner culture and community. I finally attended Burning Man, as well as other events and began volunteering for little projects here and there. I tried to educate myself as much as I could on the history of this fascinating experiment of a not so conventional community in the desert. I had been turned on to this seemingly endless world of ideas and creativity. I found a number of people whose life stories were similar to mine, people who had imagination and ingenuity, and radiated positivity. I fell in love with it all. And over the years as I continue to bask in these pools of positivity and meet new and interesting people, I can’t help but see all the wonderful things that have been created by Burners. It makes me curious about all the great things that have yet to come in to existence by the many potential Burners of the future.


Image: Hanna Mumper/Shifty The Fox

Image: Hanna Mumper/Shifty The Fox

So now here I am, having done this dance in the dust year after year for over a third of my life. I have undoubtedly evolved mentally and grown as a human being, for the better. I feel eternally grateful for the things I have learned in that desert, and the experiences I have had. I have a stronger bond with my family and have forged close relationships with a number of great people that I may have never met otherwise. All of these people that I relate to have seen the changes and the effects the event has had on me, and in that, they have felt the effects themselves. In the desert I have learned to let go of the things that stop me from living my life and I have taken those lessons and reflected them back out to the rest of the world. I shudder to think of the road I may have traveled had this community not diverted the direction of my life and pushed me down a different path. I can honestly say that Burning Man has changed me as a person. It has transformed my interactions with people, and has forever broadened my horizons and the outlook that I have of this magnificent world on a daily basis.

Image: Ari Fararooy/Vimeo

Image: Ari Fararooy/Vimeo

In a way it can be said that Burning Man inadvertently affects every single person in the default world that we Burners come in contact with, without them ever even knowing it. The same way it did to me when I was younger. Before I had ever stepped foot on that desert floor. Now I pose the question, if Burning Man can have such a strong and profound effect on me, and I am just one person, how many others has it affected in this way? And even more importantly, how many others have the potential to be affected by it in the future? Only time will tell. As the event grows in popularity, so does the community. And subsequently the culture, the networks, the families, the art, the love, and most importantly the human individual all grow with it.

So now, every time I hear someone say that Burning Man is too popular or too big for its own good, I can’t help but laugh a little on the inside and think to myself, “if you only knew…”


Image: Michael Holden

Image: Michael Holden

30 comments on “The Positivity In Popularity

  1. Imagine the positivity might the BMOrg have utilized the popularity towards building the community and the culture. Imagine the positivity might they have directed one half of the tickets through the Burner community, through the theme camps whom provide interactivity and entertainment, mutant vehicle owners, artists and prior artists, fire troupes, flow community, prior long time volunteers and burners whom have contributed greatly, mates of volunteers, many volunteers with the regionals events and communities, and other Burner communities. Imagine the positivity might they have distributed tickets in such a manner, purposed towards building the community and culture, in the place of ‘out with the old, in with the new’ and the Defaultification of the event with near to three of four attendees being on the playa solely three years prior or lower. There is no prerequisite to join the community, perchance, why not distribute numerous more tickets purposed towards building the community, in the place of ‘we will sell near to all tickets to any person’?

    Some of the awesome regional communities are doing so in regards of their events, utilizing the ticket sales purposed to maintain and build their communities, distributing numerous tickets within their communities, of which, anyone might join, there is no prerequisite to join. Anyone might join the community and contribute to the crowd sourced events, and gain tickets, in the place of tickets, in the main part, being distributed towards people whom desire to party and spectate at an awesome festival without desiring to contribute towards the throwing the crowd sourced events, or desiring to participate in the communities.

    The BMOrg might have respected the Burner community within these regards, listened to Burners, and taken advice from the regionals, in place of their top down control over a bottoms up, crowd sourced event and community. Imagine the positivity might the BMOrg have placed Burners on the Project board of directors, in the place of, in the main part, their rich mates. Might they have done so, requiring of the BMOrg, to make decisions, utilizing the popularity, purposed towards building the community and the culture, for the benefit of the Project and the community. Imagine the positivity of utilizing the popularity and raised tickets sales, of $30.5 million within 2015, to pay all costs of the artists, and present towards the artists a fair contract, much more art would be on the playa might they have done so. Imagine the positivity of utilizing the raised ticket sales by paying all DPW labourers a fair wage, and gifting several thousand free tickets towards mutant vehicle owners, sound camps, and other camps providing of entertainment, purposed towards supporting them in bringing their efforts to the playa, that is solely fair, purposed towards building the community, and building the event for the future.

    The Burning Man Project has an awesome future, might they utilize the positivity of the popularity towards building the bottoms up, crowd sourced, community and culture, of which, they are not doing.

    • Hey there, ABalancedPerspective. First off I want to thank you so much for reading the article and caring enough to comment back. I really appreciate it.

      So I want to start by saying the main point of the article has less to do with focusing on the ticket distribution system,. But I like the points you have made and would like to make some of my own in response.

      Burning Man does indeed take a large portion of the tickets (roughly 1/3) and through the Direct Group Sale distributes them to the already existing Burner community, theme camps, artists, fire troupes, and volunteers. In fact some of the repeat volunteers get gifted free tickets as well. This is an experimental idea that happened subsequently after 2012 ticket situation where a large portion of core people did not receive tickets. So to me, it looks like the organization is definitely making attempts to balance things out. I give them credit for this. This is no easy task. Is this solution perfect? No. But it is trial and error. This entire Burning Man entity is one big experiment. We take ideas and try them out. We find out what works and what doesn’t. We use different systems to acquire better results. And we keep the systems that seem to work and tweak things here and there as the years go on to improve the systems being used. For instance the Direct Group Sale is a great way to distribute tickets to the existing Burner community. Could they include more than 20,000 tickets in that sale? Maybe. And maybe they will in the future.

      “Based upon past history, Burning Man targets specific collaborative groups within the community for participation in the Directed Group Sale. This program does not have an application process, but rather relies on a predetermined set of groups for participation.”

      “The Directed Group Sale was designed to give core members of designated groups a first chance at tickets so they can begin planning their projects. It is not a guarantee of tickets, rather its intention is to make it easier for groups’ core contributors to get their basic ticket needs met.

      While it is a first-come, first-served sale, the advantage of this sale is that the number of invitations to register is carefully managed to keep the odds of getting tickets in this sale quite good. Registering for access and getting into the sale requires active participation and initiative on the part of the group leads and individuals seeking tickets. There is no way to anticipate how long the sale will remain open since not everyone who is invited actually registers, not everyone who registers participates in the sale, and registrants who do participate in the sale buy different quantities of tickets. ”

      You are correct that some of the regional events do have great ticketing systems that work for them. Mind you these events are significantly smaller and do not run into the exact same issues as the larger event. But the regionals are in direct affiliation and contact with the BMOrg. They have meetings where these issues are discussed and ideas for smoother systems and a brighter future are discussed. So please don’t think that they are doing nothing to improve things. Everyone has an opinion of how they think things could be better, and when they see that the BMOrg is not implementing their ideas, people tend to think they are being ignored. But they are not. In fact the BMOrg takes hints, tips, and ideas from the general Burner public all the time. And they are always willing to listen. Though complaining about things on the interwebz and social media may not be the correct way to go about being heard. It is however, indefinitely the most predominant way that people choose to voice their opinions. So imagine a small group of people, say 200, trying to listen to the rants and ideas from 150,000 who are all shouting their opinions at the same time. It is easy to see why not everyone may be heard.

      There are however, other ways of going about voicing opinions and being heard. Writing articles for one, is a huge way to make your voice heard. A carefully articulated, well written article, without a doubt gets attention and sparks conversation. This article is a fine example of that. Same goes for proposals. If you have a good idea, write it up in a professional and respectful manner and send it to key people accordingly. I promise you will get a response.

      In my opinion I do believe that we need a balance of the two. Older and experienced Burners who help bring the art and structure to the event, as well as new people to bring fresh ideas and help the community grow. It is my belief based on what I am seeing over the years, that we are in the process of refining a system that favors this.

      I have to disagree with your last statement however. I do believe that we are utilizing the community and its popularity, and have been building from the bottom up since day one. Thought I agree that Burning Man has a bright future. Even brighter than it current gleaming state of positivity.

      I want to thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me.


  2. Hey Shifty,
    Thanks for this great post. First off, I appreciate how you answer all feedback – even when it’s somewhat negative.

    I totally agree with the part about tickets. I think nobody is “entitled” to a ticket, no matter how much you gave to the community. Because gifting means you don’t expect anything back, right ? Not a ticket, special treatment, or even “consideration”… And let’s not forget about radical inclusion : everyone should be equally welcome. Even Grover fucking Norquist or frat bros/douchebags… It’s our role to educate them and to transmit our culture – or not. Hopefully they will have a transformative experience. If they don’t – well there’s a chance they will not come back. But you will.

    I’d also like to share my insight as a relatively new (3rd burn next summer) and “naive” burner. I really don’t understand the people who say that virgins / 1%ers / bros / any kind of “mainstream” influence ruins the event for them. Seriously. Maybe this is because I didn’t see the event evolve. But honestly, I think the magic is still there, maybe it will be weaker for you because you just became used to it, but it’s there. So much love, sharing, caring, art, beautiful randomness, positive energy, healing, madness around you ! You have to look reael hard for the “bad stuff” to see it and to be bothered by it. For instance, I spent quite some time wandering around the playa, and I haven’t seen people being not inclusive, or being walled up in their camp, or any kind of “VIP only” attitude. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, I’m aware of that. It means that you can easily ignore it – or choose to ignore it. I think it’s one of the greatest thing about burning man. You don’t like what you are doing at this exact minute ? The people around you make you feel uncomfortable ? The music is not at your taste ? Just do something else, there are still a million amazing things happening elsewhere right now. You are in control of your experience and of your trip in this desert. You have a choice. If something is ruined the event for you, it because YOU let it happen.

    • Ferdi The Tiger, what a great name. I want to thank you for your appreciation. I try and make it a point to address every opinion. I understand that not everybody sees things the same way I do and negative responses are ok and even expected.They are actually reassuring in a way. They show me how passionate people really are about “this thing of ours”, and I like that. All of these words are really only my opinions and all I can do is share them and offer a different way of looking at the whole thing. Which is really my only goal. A different perspective.

      I want to thank you for sharing your insight as a 3 year Burner. A lot can happen in 3 years haha so whether or not you see yourself as a vet or a newbie is all a matter of your perspective. For some individuals it is hard to welcome new people into our not-so-secret society. For me personally, I have to be accepting of each and every type of person out there. Because they were accepting of me when I was first coming around. I gain absolutely nothing from denying others want, need, or desire to attend. Or judging who I think should be allowed to attend or not. Not because of any BM ethos or any ’10 Principals’, but because it serves me no purpose whatsoever. I have had the time of my life with people of all sorts. And I have experienced shitty times with people of all sorts. Some people are great and some people are shitty. Some people are wealthy and some people are not. Some people participate and some people spectate. But generally, most all of these individuals are good people who are willing to be better if you show them the way.

      If a person is seen to be a non participant, rather than complain about these folks, which a lot of people tend to do, but why not engage them and show them how to have fun. Invite them to join in give them options of things they can do. Sometime all people really need is an extra push. Maybe there is something holding that person back. Lack of social skills, or feeling out of place or not wanted. These are common things on the playa. So you are right, you can choose to ignore these things and outing these types of people and then complaining about them, we can be proactive in engaging them and showing them what possibilities they have at their finger tips.


      • Agreed, being proactive is even better than ignoring 🙂

        Some people don’t want or like to do that though, and I can understand why. My point was that it’s so easy to ignore/avoid some of the less great aspects of BM, I can not see why one would be “bothered” by what is a very small minority in the community (and will most likely stay so).

        • Is it that they don’t like to do that? I don’t know very many Burners that don’t like to be proactive and helpful in teaching others. Maybe they just didn’t think to do it at the time. Complaining is usually the easiest first reaction to go to. And if there really are Burners who don’t like to be proactive in engaging and motivating others to want to participate, then they are the very people that they are complaining about.

          Kind of a “if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem” kind of deal. It’s hard for me to listen to people make complaints about something when they aren’t proactively doing something to try and change it. Complaints are welcome but they aren’t worth much aside from bringing awareness to an issue. But a person should do more than that. It can’t just end there.


  3. Shifty, I would really love to know how you got out of that place of feeling frustrated and “selfish” because I’m having a hard time getting out of it. I’ve given a lot to the BM community over the years and quite frankly feel really distressed and disillusioned about the direction its taking. Maybe its because I came to BM to get away from the mainstream. Maybe its because the pressures of income inequality from the default world are now seeping onto the playa. Maybe because I’ve heard lots of talk about changing the world over the years but in practice haven’t seen that much action outside of drug fuelled parties.

    I really want to get back to that place of loving BM without reservation, but right now I just can’t.

    • Hey there kayorsonweaver. So I know how you feel. Seeing behind the curtain can take away some of the magic. It’s a sort of Wizard Of Oz effect. It’s easy to become jaded on things when you have invested so much time into something and begin to see the inner workings of it. Now this is only my opinion, but in the past, for me I found that these types of feelings stemmed from my outlook on things. I think I was focusing too much on the few negatives and in doing that I was blinding myself seeing from the vast amount of positives. I had to realize this to be able to break away from.

      So we take an issue and really break it down and think it through. Income equality for example. Is the attendance of wealthy people really and issue? Some people think the wealthy folk just come to spectate and not participate. But realize that there is a good amount of art, mutant vehicles, and wonderful camps that are funded by wealthier folks, that everyone gets to enjoy. On the flip side, there are average Burners that come to the playa and don’t do anything but drink other peoples booze, eat their food, seep in their camps, and do very little to participate. In my experience I have seen more drifter types who panhandle and hike their way to BM with no gear and doing a lot less in the way or participation, than ANY wealthy, RV driving, all expense paid 1%er.

      So what we have here really is an issue of human beings either participating or not. Not specifically the wealthy. And they I have to ask myself if the wealthy people have affected my Burn for the worse in any way. And for me the answer is no. Aside from create some cool things for others to enjoy, they don’t affect me much at all.

      Maybe you just need to find the right thing to focus your energy into. Those types of parties may not always carry the positive things that we are speaking of. I am lucky enough to live in San Francisco where BM is practically everywhere you look, so it is easy for me to find a lot of great groups to get involved with, that are doing great things.

      These jaded feelings that you have are the PERFECT material for turning into creating something big and long lasting. You seem to have a want for things to be different. So you should take those feelings and create, or help others create things that fall in line with your visions. That is how so many of the organizations we have now have come into existence. You have to take the bad and turn it into the good.

      You are obviously a thinker, and you have a love for the community. Those are great qualities for a project or a group out there. Maybe try a new approach on the event. Join a different crew. Volunteer for BMOrg and get a better understanding of these issues from the inside out, rather than the outside in.

      I want to share with you a quote that I try and apply to nearly everything in life. Also I would like to sincerely thank you for taking the time to read my words. I would love to chat more in the future.


      “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” -Mary Engelbreit

      • I think your closing saying by Mary Engelbreit is fatuous, pie in the sky thinking, and not really any deeper than “Don’t worry, be happy” which in a way exemplifies your article.

        The event once a respite for malcontents, artists, nonconformists, and those disenchanted by a society/culture intent on raping the planet has been taken over by the default world many were trying to escape. I seen no indications whatsoever that those responsible for managing the event have any intention of reversing course. It appears to be all about money at this point.

        • Well maybe not exactly. I totally agree with this statement of yours:

          “The event once a respite for malcontents, artists, nonconformists, and those disenchanted by a society/culture intent on raping the planet has been taken over by the default world many were trying to escape.”

          But I don’t see that as the goal or even the fault of BMORG. Rather, the event reached a tipping point in the mainstream consciousness where suddenly it became a bucket list type of event. I don’t think there’s a way to unring that bell, I’m just a little sad it happened.

          • There is definitely a nostalgic feeling for how great a thing once was. And I feel that as well. But for myself personally, I cant marinate in that feeling forever. I have to evolve with it and see where else this goes and what else it can offer. And I get that not everyone wants to do that. Some people took what they got from it back in the day and no longer see it as useful for them. And that’s ok too.

            One thing that is for certain no matter what happens, there will always be people unhappy with the current state of things. It is impossible to meet every individuals standards for how they think things should be.

        • Hey there, Chuck J. Thank you for participating and sharing your feelings.

          I personally don’t consider the closing quote to be silly. It is a sort of motto that has carried me through some tough things and I think it applies especially to this situation where we have so many people who want to talk about changing something but that don’t really do much in the way of making that change happen. I feel also that there are somethings that cannot be changed. For example the popularity of the event now days, is not going away. So rather than sit on it and complain about the negative things that one might think comes from the popularity, offering a different way of thinking about it, might change how you see the situation to begin with, and with it ones thoughts of it being negative. And that is simply all I was trying to do with this was offer another way of thinking about the effects of our community and culture becoming so popular. As well I cannot share in your view of my writing promoting a “don’t worry, be happy” feel. That was not my intention. This insinuates that people should stand by and do nothing and that everything will be ok in the end. Which I think is obvious that I nor anyone else really would want. If anything I want people to be more proactive in creating ideas that will help things move along for the better. Unfortunately a great number of people turn to complaining but then don’t actively do much outside of that in the way of creating the change they would like to see. A lot of people just throw their hands up and walk away.

          I respect your last paragraph, and many people share in your feeling there. However this is really a matter of perspective relative to the individuals experience. I feel the desert is very much a respite from the default world, and many others share that feeling as well. I agree that those responsible for managing the event have no intention on reversing it’s course. Nor do I think they should. I personally am pushing for moving forward, growing, and evolving rather than reverting back to a simpler time. It is hard for me to think that it is simply about money. Having been around these people, and volunteering in the offices, and seeing and hearing the personal intentions of some of these great people first hand, it is just not possible for me to think that it is solely about money. This of course is just my own point of view.

          Thank you again for chatting and sharing your point of view.


  4. Accepting change is one thing, but pretending that the growth in popularity and the changing nature of the event is purely a good thing is another. As with any other genuinely interesting and unique cultural artifact, the more mainstream culture participates in Burning Man, the more diluted it gets. I remember being a 17 year old punk rocker wishing everyone would participate in the scene because I was still naive enough to believe that simply being exposed to it would be enough to make people see the light. But of course, as more people began attending shows and listening to the music, the more simplistic and meat-headed (and violent) the scene became. The sublime wit of the Dead Kennedys or the artful way X blended musical styles, etc., morphed into frat-boy monstrosities like The Offspring, for instance.

    I’m not saying this change can or should be somehow thwarted. It’s inevitable. I still believe people can be changed by attending Burning Man, but not at the same rate as Burning Man is being changed by people.

    • Hey there JV. Thanks for the feedback. I fully agree that the changing nature of the event is not solely a positive thing. With these changes comes new hurdles to work around and new problems to solve. My main point was to bring to light that there are a lot of wonderful things that come from the popularity of a community where a number of people believe there are only negative effects to be had by that popularity.

      I enjoyed your last sentence. I think that by people changing Burning Man, Burning Man is changing the people. It’s sort of a living organism that feeds into itself. It is a wonderful and interesting entity.

      Thanks again, JV.

    • Also Shitty I would hope that you can note the difference between a person moaning about not getting a ticket, and those of us who are concerned over the change of direction the event has taken. Saying our concerns are a result of selfishness is like saying people should not be concerned over ,say, the minimum wage. “Hey I’m making it pretty good in this economy. All those poor people should just look at how good things are for others and stop being so negative”. Or, “I have insurance and great medical care, why should I be concerned about the health care system in our country? If you can’t afford to see a doctor, it’s not my fault. Stop being so negative!”
      If you are concerned with the general lip service to the events purported principles by its own board, I think that’s a hell of a big difference than simply grousing over no ticket. And BTW I think it’s perfectly acceptable to grouse over a lack of tickets. But not acceptable to say “I got mine… Stop being so negative”.

      • Hey there rocketgirl, thank you for your feedback. I do indeed see the difference between people moaning over a ticket, and those concerned over the change of the event. The posting was not really focused so much on the topic of tickets, but rather showing that there are great things to be gained from the growth of the event and community. My comment about the thought being selfish was purely my own opinion that was formed from my own personal experience in the past of not having received a ticket, as well as other friends, and seeing how judgmental a person can be over others who did receive a ticket. It was only long after this time had passed that I realized the thoughts I had and the others around me, were a bit selfish. I do indeed want others to gain what I have from this wonderful community.

        Your comparison to minimum wage and the health care system seems a bit extreme, but I respect the point you are trying to make. I’m really not trying to tell anyone to stop being negative, or insinuating that anyone is being negative to begin with, but rather I’m just trying to offer a different way of thinking about the positive effects that the growth of our community can have.

        Thank you again for offering your perspective. I very much appreciate any and all feedback.


      • Are you really comparing not being able to get a ticket to Burning Man to a lack of health insurance and minimum wage?

        • No, I’m not. But I am saying that to criticize those who at concerned and bothered by the state of the system running the event is like turning a blind eye to the inequities fostered by that system. To tell us to get over it and ignore these inequities is a similar mind frame as ignoring other inequities in society in general. It’s a similar attitude to me. Yes Bman has fostered a bunch of great things, and I love the community but I feel the community has been betrayed by its leaders and it’s important to me so I don’t feel like turning a blind eye to what has happened. Label me as you will.

          • Hey Rocketgirl, I appreciate your passion. I hope it is clear here that there was no criticism or labeling on my part. I indefinitely was not suggesting anybody turn a blind eye, or “get over” anything. Perhaps you may have missed where I was going with this. I am merely suggesting other ways of looking at how popularity is affecting the event in the bigger picture, in a very positive way. Burning Man has its share of obstacles to work around, and most of us who are tightly woven into the BM community hear about these things on a daily basis. I just wanted shine a light on the positive side of things. We all hear so many stories about BM becoming too popular, that I wanted to show that there are many good things to be had as a result of that.


            – Shifty

    • Perspicacity – keenness of mental perception and understanding; to have knowledge; insight; discernment; penetration.

      I am aware of the definition and it flowed properly with my statement. My apologies if there is some sort of confusion here.


    • Thank you, awayoflife0. I am happy you loved it. Your comment was the first one I read this morning. So thank you for helping kick off a great start to my morning.

      Have a lovely day. 🙂


  5. Thank you for the link!. It would be helpful if they included the links to the images which they are using for their content, or not to strip off the original watermarks.

    • If you click the images you will be linked to the source, which is also listed below the photo. With the exception of the feature image, which for some reason WordPress is not allowing me to. Sorry, hope it wasn’t too much trouble.


  6. Is it possble to download a larger file / better resolution version of that image at the top?
    A quick search on line found nothing like it.


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