Business Insider has yet another “the rich are taking over Burning Man” story, this time focusing on a company that will deliver a ready-made “Container Camp” for you on the Playa. Who needs Radical Self-Reliance, when someone else can do Leave No Trace for you?
From Business Insider:
Gene Temen, president of Quick Space, has been supplying the Burning Man event with office trailers for the event’s hospital and administrative buildings for seven years.
Three years ago, the team at Quick Space realized they could repurpose the trailers as living quarters. The units come with insulation, air conditioning, lights, and flooring, Travis Lekas, the operations manager for Quick Space, told Business Insider. This makes them perfect for campers who would rather not deal with the realities of living in the desert for seven days.
They call them “Burner Bungalows.”
Burners can paint and add onto the trailers however they wish, for an additional fee of $300 for the exterior and $200 for the interior. So instead of building a camp ground from scratch, they can either use the trailer as a shelter or build around it and use the trailer for storage. “You can paint it if you want to paint the inside or the outside — whatever you want to do,” Lekas told Business Insider. “It also comes with three five-gallon bottles of water, a first aid kit, a fire extinguisher, and a garbage can along with additional garbage bags.”
This might not sound like the whimsical and artistic camps that Burning Man is known for, but the idea is to give campers the base on which to build their dream camp, Lekas explained.
And although they don’t look like the typical Burning Man structure, which can range from a yurt to a tent to an RV, the trailers are practical. The ready-made storage units come with necessities like water, insulation, and air-conditioning, and can be used for storage both during and after the event.
The company will also come and remove the trailer after the week is over, fitting with Burning Man’s “leave no trace” policy after the seven day event is over, which is included in the price. You can store your Burning Man gear in the trailer until the next year and not worry about shipping it or needing to fly back with all of your stuff for $750 per year of storage. [Source]
These containers are actually a pretty good deal.
The cost for the trailers is about $3,745 plus a $1,000 security deposit — more if you want to decorate the interior and exterior and store the unit all year. Generators also bear an additional cost of $250 [Source]
It would cost you way more to buy your own container, deck it out like this, and transport it to and from the Playa. These things weigh 6,000 lbs empty, meaning that mid-sized forklifts are usually required to move them around. It doesn’t come with a bathroom, but it does come with water, a trash can and air conditioning. Power is available for limited hours, or you can purchase 24/7 juice with a generator upgrade. You better hope that A/C works well, because these steel boxes BAKE in the desert sun. Yes, even if they’re insulated.
You can find out more at the Burner Bungalows web site.
I’m all for containers at Burning Man, if they’re painted. It should look like the world’s craziest city of art, not Iraq or Afghanistan.
The trailers might also be a good compromise for burners who were previously planning to rely on the fully-furnished luxurious camping options, or “turnkey camps,” that have been recently banned from the playa.
That means no more built-in personal chefs, sherpas, or other luxurious features associated with concierge camping. But with the trailers, tech millionaires can still have air-conditioning in a pinch and protect their belongings from the sand and dust. [Source]
Business Insider perpetuates the myth that BMOrg heroically banned Commodification Camps, concierges, and sherpas, after listening to all the community feedback last year.
In fact, what happened is BMOrg just re-iterated the same policy that was already in place last year – that camps that get placement must have an interactive component. Similarly, despite BMOrg’s recent blog post Kicking Concierge Caboose at Burning Man, accompanied with a hearty “LOL! Nope!” on Facebook…Festivals Concierge Service are still happily in business helping their VIP clientele prepare to fly in to a pre-packaged Burning Man experience, complete with custom costumes and chauffeur driven art cars.
Concierge services such as FCS are not breaking any laws, Burning Man does not have jurisdiction over global commerce and their Outside Services contractors have a literal license to make money off Burning Man from the Federal government. If these services don’t accept cash on the Playa, then it’s hard to argue that they are even violating any of Burning Man’s Tin Principles – which we’re told are “just guidelines” these days.
I guarantee you that there will be even MORE sherpas at Burning Man this year, not less.
Expect to see more Burner Bungalows too:
Lekas told us that the company currently has 50 orders for units this year, and if the rise in interest over the past few years is any indication, they could double their orders by 2016.
“Our first year we started off, we just built a camp,” Lekas said. “The next year and the second year, we started off with five bungalows, and then our next one went to 40 bungalows. We’re hoping next year to supply 100 bungalows.” [Source]
According to Reddit, the Org are running one of these businesses too, and there is a 3 year waiting list to get a container:
How many bungalows does the city need to host, before last year’s ironic timeshare sales become a money-spinning reality?
Burning Man’s official web site recently published an open letter to luxury vacation tour businesses, which stated quite clearly that none of the luxury services offered by Caravancicle in their $16,000 canvas cubes was considered out of line:
burningman.com also promoted a Case Study of “how to do it right” for Safari Tour profiteers, which lays out how they’re taking a hard line against the practice, by publicly endorsing it. Maybe someone can help explain that one to us! It seems to me more like a nice (free?) advertorial for a commercial tour package operator, a chosen one that BMOrg give tickets to every year for them to re-sell for profit.
Meanwhile, at the exact same time that Business Insider publishes the latest “rich Burners” article, VICE brings one of their own out promoting private aircraft travel to Burning Man. Mixmag also had a story about $15,000 plane rides to Burning Man.
Coincidence? Or PR campaign?
Tickets might be “sold out”, but the marketing to the elites is just getting started…