Too Loud For Burning Man Part 2: Dictators in a Dysfunctional Dystopia

Part I: Dancetronauts – Too Loud For Burning Man?


INTRODUCTION


Part I of this post, about how the Dancetronauts were asked to take at least a year off from Burning Man by the DMV Council, has attracted a lot of attention within the community. On WordPress it has been read by 30,000+ people; more than 6,000 of those readers shared the story on Facebook.

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On Facebook, it has reached 113,000+ people.

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The story has also been picked up by the EDM alternative media , including Dancing Astronaut, culturemixmag, and EDM Industry. Fellow Burner blogger Dr Yes at Burn.Life has also posted his own version of the story, and Unaverz has shared their thoughts. Even Voices of Burning Man has chimed in, with a post saying very little of substance.

I can see some of the content from the Facebook on-page shares. This is a more accurate gauge of the community’s real sentiment than the predictable “shoot the messenger” troll attacks directed at Burners.me in the comments here and elsewhere. These have ranged from threats of violence to comparisons with Rupert Murdoch, complaints about being too long winded and complaints about not including enough details, and the usual accusations of half truths, lies, and poor grammar and spelling.

The Facebook share commentary I have seen so far is almost entirely on the side of Dancetronauts. Here’s a sample:

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People are dismayed at yet another anti-Burner move from the organizers of the allegedly charitable Burning Man Project. If BMOrg thought they would placate a couple of dozen disgruntled complainers with their heavy-handed punishment, well now they have more than 6,000 disgruntled Burners upset with them.

The most egregious thing about this affair is it really seems that the main, true reason behind the Dancetronauts ban was the Decommodification principle.
To me, Directors of Burning Man running hotel camps with 50 paid sherpas and hookers Mistresses of Merriment provided to their customers, only handing out drinks to their VIP guests who paid $16,000 to get a wristband, is a serious Decommodification issue.
Compared to that, A DJ all excited about the track he worked on all year for Burning Man, getting on a microphone a few times to offer it for free to all the people dancing in front of him, is really not that big a deal. OK, chastise them, force them to make a public mea culpa for their sins so that others get the lesson too, then let’s all go back to being friends and throwing awesome parties together.

Members of DMV Playing Freebird at the Temple burn, as a tribute to a fallen comrade? Snoop Dogg rolling up on the Temple playing gangsta rap?  In the eyes of some, this is worse – but I’m not saying this was inappropriate for the circumstances, or that the perpetrators deserved any kind of punishment. It’s Burning Man, not the Public Library. It’s chaos. It’s loud, it’s wild, it’s funky, there’s stuff you can dance to everywhere, and if you don’t like one art car’s music, it’s incredibly easy to find another one.

The real tragedy last year was the death of a Burner, crushed by an Art Car towing a heavy trailer sound system – the same style of rig that Dancetronauts have, except the Dancetronauts have an unblemished safety record. There were also a number of terrible suicides in the community. It’s not just Burners dying: we saw the death of financial transparency that we had long been promised, with the opposite happening when the accounts were removed from the Afterburn reports. The Simpsons promoted Burning Man as a hallucinogenic drug fest. Exotic designer drugs are now being distributed there, causing medical research-worthy trauma events . Many camps have been devastated by the ticketing process, and are scrambling to get tickets for everyone. The information on sexual assaults is being kept a close secret for the first time.

All these are really quite serious issues that BMOrg should be addressing with the community. Instead, their energy goes into defending plug and plays, defending their Directors as long as they possibly can no matter how obscene their Ten Principles violations are…and punishing Dancetronauts.


THE PLOT THICKENS

Dancetronauts had no clue that they had any issue with BMOrg and the DMV until a month after Burning Man closed. They knew that they had been placed on probation in 2013, although the details of that were rather vague; but they packed up and left Burning Man without receiving a single complaint. As far as they knew, the probation was no longer an issue, and they had performed every night through the whole event without any problems.

Little did they know that even as the embers of the Man still smouldered on Sunday morning, the knives were coming out for them.

According to the DMV, Dancetronauts (not an art car, that is the Strip Ship and Bass Station trailer) received more complaints this year than any other vehicle in the history of the event.

Of course, the event is double the size it was 10 years ago, has 20,000 more people than it did 3 years ago, and has now been effectively “mainstreamed” and Bucket Listed by BMOrg’s mammoth PR campaigns in Default world media. Your mom’s hairdresser came to Burning Man to see cool shit, could we please turn the music down she needs to sleep at 11 every night.

More people at Burning Man + more mainstreaming = more spectators = more complaints. I think that can be expected in general. But leaving that aside, what of the complaints themselves? Were they all genuine? Or was there something else going on, behind the scenes?

It is my belief that the Dancetronauts were the victim of a vicious, nasty, and petty smear campaign, launched against them on multiple channels within burningman.com. This was designed not just to generate as many complaints as they possibly could, whether sincere or via “sock puppet” accounts; but also to hurt the Dancetronauts, to shame them, to negatively affect their chances of raising money to bring their Art Car to Burning Man in the future.

It was important to me to separate this post from the last one, because any speculation here is from me, not the Dancetronauts. I am not part of the Dancetronauts. I feel they have been unfairly victimized, that BMOrg need to make peace with them and allow them back this year, perhaps with a few provisos.

For those who felt Part I was one-sided and not long-winded enough because I did not include all the correspondence from BMOrg, you will be pleased to see in Part II that I am including many, many messages from BMOrg and their various agents, some paid, some unpaid, all communicated to the world via the Internet in a multitude of forums and formats. It would have been inappropriate for me to just share a few DMV emails, without providing this broader context of what was actually going on – which was a co-ordinated attack across multiple fronts.


THE PROCESS

What process was followed here, in deciding that Dancetronauts had to take a year off? The feedback process, FLIP, was meant to collect all the feedback by October 15. After that BMOrg needed time to digest it all and talk about it and see what could be done to make the event better in future. That is why they did not really address the community’s Commodification Camp concerns until December 2014 – if anyone remembers that time, which seems so long ago now, there was a real feeling that they were stalling while they scrambled to come up with a PR strategy to get the egg of their faces. But what they told us was “these things take time because we have to listen to everyone’s feedback and discuss it and investigate it to get to the truth of the matter”.

Dancetronauts went through the same feedback process, right? All the feedback collected by October 15, then thought about and discussed, then decisions made and reported?

Nope.

What about the Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy? Did they go through that process?

Nope.

So what process was it?

It seems that Dancetronauts were victim to the “real way Burning Man works”, which is different from the official way that BMOrg  indignantly insist on. This highlights Selective Rule Enforcement, and the Two Burning Mans – the fairies and rainbows facade you get from Voices of Burning Man; and the real one, how things actually work. A dysfunctional dystopia, where volunteer dictators gleefully punish thousands based on the capricious whims of a few.


TIMELINE

Saturday, Aug 30, 2014: the Man burns. Dancetronauts get there early, positioning themselves at 6 o’clock, the same spot they’ve been in the last 5 years.

Fire Conclave starts, and runs for 15 minutes. Some performers found it hard to hear the beat over the bass coming from Dancetronauts and other art cars. Others reported no problems.

It is the longest Man burn in history, taking about 2 hours to finally collapse. Many Burners and art cars left before the end. Dancetronauts were still playing music at The Man, hours after he burned to the ground – entertaining thousands. They had no idea they had caused any problems, since they received no Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy complaints. Not on Burn night, and not at any other time during the event, despite the fact they threw many loud and large parties, including at art burns like Embrace.

Sunday, Aug 31, 2014: John Curley writes a post from the Playa at blog.burningman.com:

…we admit that we were waiting for the Man to fall last night so we could escape the sound. Yes, yes, we know the saying, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old,” and maybe that’s true. But honestly, we always thought that one of the corollaries of radical self expression was that your actions not impinge on another’s experience, and let’s just say there was lots of impinging going on last night. We do not expect to hear a DJ exhorting a crowd in a way that might work at spring break in Daytona Beach, but doesn’t work on the playa. At all.

Plus, we’d like to be able to HEAR the burn. Not just the exploding shells and fireworks, but also the crackle and pop of the flames, the whoosh of embers falling, and, last night, even the climactic crash of the Man’s big legs.

But no. Last night that was not possible. And yes, we might be the slightest bit cranky about it. We’re not saying that there shouldn’t be sound and celebration, because this is the big finish, the Bacchanalian moment.  But there’s got to be a way that the sound cars don’t take over the experience. It’s not your show, comma, dude.

crimson signals burn john curley

Image: John Curley

Expecting silence from art cars while the man burns for 2 hours because you want to hear the sound of the embers cracking is kind of foolish. Isn’t that what the temple burn is for?
Although Mr Curley (I’m a fan BTW)  complains about the DJ on the mic making it sound like spring break, and the loud music making it hard for him to listen to the crackle of the flames, when he talks about the Fire Conclave there is no indication that there was even the slightest problem. He appears to have been in the 6 o’clock position, with BM founder Crimson Rose – is this the “we” he is talking about?

Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014:

Burning Man officially ends at noon. Before the sun sets on that day, burningman.com is already coming out against the Dancetronauts:

Sep 2, 2014: 5:32pm the ePlaya thread appears, “DJ Art Cars and their effect on art” by 1derphul. The Dancetronauts bashing begins immediately.

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The Groupthink hate has begun.

Wednesday, Sep 3 2014 – the burningman.com hate campaign is now in full swing.

At 9:37am, the first mention of Dancetronauts appears in the comments on John Curley’s post at blog.burningman.com:

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Meanwhile, on ePlaya:

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Stabby? This is not the first time this bully has threatened violence, including to myself. It’s amazing to see how this community based on Radical Inclusion and Self-Reliance, has elements who think the lynch mob/witch hunt mentality is the only way we can solve problems. Shouldn’t we be banning the violent people, not ones who peacefully put on shows to entertain the masses?

15 minutes later, another call to action:

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And DMV are on the case already. They want us to know that this goes all the way to the top.

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The thread is not even a day old, it’s barely a day after Burning Man ended, and already the bosses in the DMV Council are “following it”. Is this part of the process? DMV decisions are made based on what gets said on ePlaya and Reddit?

Around the same time this day, Chris Knight, aka Ghostwheel, creates a thread on Reddit: Was your Man or Temple Burn harshed by noisy art cars?

His comments on the thread suggest he has already been communicating with DMV about it, and they have already decided what the crime is and what punishment they will dole out:

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He joins in the “torches and pitchforks” call for vandalism. No need for any feedback process, since this is a hate fueled lynch mob:

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Thursday Sep 4, 2014:

It’s been a day, time to rally the troops again!

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The hate campaign now spreads to social media, with a co-ordinated attack on Dancetronauts Facebook page – again, suggesting that the punishment had already been decided by someone, somewhere:
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The spite is palpable.

Friday Sep 5, 2014:

Mere days after the end of Caravansary , Dancetronauts are already accepting responsibility and apologizing, saying they feel terrible about interfering with some of the Fire Conclave performers.

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Meanwhile, the ePlaya team are still out in force across the Interwebz, spreading their message of hate and anger to as wide an audience as possible.

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Sep 8, 2014:

Stop chatting among yourselves, people. Let’s FOCUS on hating the Dancetronauts.

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Sep 10, 2014

The official moderator is forced to intervene, to tone down some of the threats of violence and vandalism:

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Sep 11, 2014 – Simon pulls back from his earlier stabbing with pitchforks pitch, and turns to emotional hate instead.

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“Shame is how we punish…that is all we need really to change things”.

Really? You couldn’t have changed things by just saying to Dancetronauts “people were pissed off about the DJ, can you please have no music on Burn night, take the mics away, and watch it around art installation burns”? To me, that seems like it would have worked just fine, ended all problems, and the Dancetronauts sounded very amenable to that – in fact, they were even suggesting it themselves. Of course, compromise and resolution like that doesn’t feed anybody’s NPD power trip.

Sep 13, 2014:

Eric The moderator’s caution has toned down the hate a bit, so it’s time to amp it back up with some helpful suggestions of ways to get Dancetronauts:

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Interesting idea to try to channel the Plug-n-Play outrage towards this art car scapegoat.

Sep 26, 2014:

Chef Juke from the DMV Council gives Dancetronauts the first official notification of any kind about complaints against them.

On Fri, Sep 26, 2014 at 4:41 PM, DMV Hotties <dmv@burningman.com> wrote:

Mutant Vehicle: Strip Ship & Bass Station

Registration #: M14-0543

Owner: Philip Plastina

Phillip, We are writing to you regarding numerous reports of incidents involving your vehicle at this year’s Burning Man. The DMV received multiple complaints regarding the Strip Ship & Bass Station this year, falling into several categories.

This email primarily notes two of them: Sound levels and promotional activity.

1) Sound levels On a number of occasions, the sound levels of the vehicle, especially while in close proximity to art installations/events was perceived to significantly exceed the levels outlined in the Mutant Vehicle Sound policy: (http://www.burningman.com/on_the_playa/playa_vehicles/sound_policy.html) Specifically, we received a number of complaints regarding your vehicle’s sound volume at the Alien Siege Machine Burn event, the Temple, and most notably at the Man Burn. It is also important to note that your vehicle was CONDITIONALLY invited for 2014 due to sound level complaints in 2013. This means this is the second year in a row that participants have had issues with the sound levels of your vehicle.

2) Promotional activity On a number of occasions, again most notably at the Man Burn, we recieved reports of DJs on your vehicle promoting their upcoming albums.  This directly conflicts with the Decommodification principle of Burning Man.

In addition to the two areas of concern above, prior to the event there was an additional issue raised with your offering Early Admission passes as premiums on your indiegogo fundraising campaign The DMV takes all complaints regarding vehicle operation at the event seriously and we work to follow up on every complaint, big or small.  That being said we want to clearly indicate to you the significance of the level concern that has been raised with your vehicle this year, both with the DMV directly and with other areas of the Burning Man organization. In the month since the event ended, the DMV has received more complaints regarding Strip Ship than we’ve ever received regarding any other vehicle, by a far margin.  We are asking that you please reply via email with any information you can provide related to the above incidents and concerns.

Sincerely, -Chef Juke for the DMV Council

Note that Dancetronauts was not even at the Temple burn, nor did they sell any Early Access passes to anyone. False accusations get made in the complaints, but never retracted.

Since Chef Juke brought up the Principles, let’s take a look at the two most relevant Principles here, Gifting and Decommodification:

2. Gifting
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.

3. Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Where is the “direct conflict”? Commercial sponsorships? No. Transactions? No. “Get the track I made specially for you for free, come and see me and I’ll give you a CD?” Sounds like Gifting to me, not Advertising.

Oct 1, 2014:

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“The system works”…what system is that? Clearly, it is not the official feedback system, because that is still open for another 2 weeks at this point. No, he is talking about their system of using burningman.com as a platform for shaming, ostracisim, derision, threats, and other forms of social punishment.

Oct 7, 2014. Dancetronauts are notified that they’re banned from SF Decompression

From: Jan Turner Date: Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 11:11 PM Subject: Re: Strip Ship To: Trav Nasty <dancetronauts@gmail.com> Cc: DMV Hotties <dmv@burningman.com>

Hi Travis, We won’t be placing your group this year at Decompression because participating groups must be in good standing.  Unfortunately, there were numerous complaints against Dancetronauts on playa.  Until that is resolved, we are unable to place your group.  You can seek further information from DMV, as they received the bulk of complaints from participants.

Sincerely, Jan, aka Blondie

DMV have received the bulk of complaints, Dancetronauts have been banned before they can even respond…and yet for every other type of complaint, BMOrg still needs time to collect all the feedback to incorporate submissions in this review process, and make decisions as part of their annual staff debrief process.

October 10, 2014:

JackRabbit Speaks, v19#4, Oct 10 2015

JackRabbit Speaks, v19#4, Oct 10 2015

The 2014 Afterburn has now been published…there is no Q & A section. Another empty promise. Note the acknowledgement that the Will Call line and Commodification Camps were the main source of complaints.

Burning Man Theme Camp Organizers, Facebook Oct 10 2014

Burning Man Theme Camp Organizers, Facebook Oct 10 2014

See that: “we respond thoughtfully (read: slowly) because we have to look into all of the allegations and offenses. There is no smoke screen. We’re trying to get to the truth…[we] are not out to take advantage of Burner communities. On the contrary, we are out to help them grow and replicate”

Except that by then they had already decided Dancetronauts fate, feedback process be damned. The most active members of burningman.com were deliberately targeting them to shame them, hurt them, shrink their fan base, and otherwise negatively impact their ability to operate. About as far to the opposite of “grow and replicate” as you can get.

Even though BMOrg couldn’t respond to anyone while the feedback process was still open, Dancetronauts were expected to respond to them in just 2 weeks:

On Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM, DMV Hotties <dmv@burningman.com> wrote:

Phil,We still need to hear back from you regarding this.  The DMV follows up on all complaints regarding Mutant Vehicle operation and we want to hear from you regarding the incidents lists.Also please note that your vehicle’s future licensing may be affected based on the complaints and/or if you do not respond.

Sincerely,-Chef Juke for the DMV Hotties and Council

Dancetronauts replied quickly, and promised to follow up more formally:
Couple things I’d like to interject before a formal response which will only adhere to the facts. Because the exaggerations are being a little blown out of proportion. For instance we were not even at or in attendance for Temple Burn. 
And I would like the opportunity to review the complaints to decipher which are even accurate or indeed from numerous people and not just the same handful who are re-creating them. As far as, what I can gather, see in posts, it’s a handful of the same disgruntle’s. Some who did not even attend the burn, yet still campaigning and gathering their friends to further continue to make complaints which are not even accurate. Something unknown to the public, is Dancetronauts has been being attacked by a group of ‘haters’ who have been harassing us and referring to as the ‘Douchetronauts’. This is something we have dealt with and I think every larger camp who might get more attention from others, naturally creates jealousy and sabotage. Now that we goofed up, here’s our chance and let’s get everyone who dislikes us (for any reason) to jump on the bandwagon… YA!! Let’s get em’ kicked off the playa! YA! Biggest [culprit] is ex-member of Roots Society Simon De Playa, who got burned for having sound complaints and music violations years ago, apparently he feels the need to call out and jump on anyone else now in the same fashion he was crucified to the cross on. The complaints, attention and gathering complaints from him and his forum posting and him repeatedly making it not even about the issue, just personal attacks on Dancetronauts. To, I believe it was yourself? Or someone from [ePlaya admins], whom even interjected with the notice, of violent, vandal and illegal threats should not be involved. Very burner like, I am glad these are the complaints and ‘burners’ whom you are taking seriously. But our 6 years as a theme camp and even longer, as art car owners, are the ones being punished.
A DJ/producer shared his music. Offered a free download of his album and talked about a track he worked on all year, especially for Burning Man, called ‘Coming Home’ that he then offered and handed out copies personally, however many of his (100) copies he brought out, as his playa gift. 
Rude, obnoxious, breaking the rules, shameless self promotion, is left to the interpretation and the complaints you received. We can cover all in our formal response once we get down to the facts of the multiple instances we are in fraction of. Because being threatened of not being able to bring our art, creation(s), theme camp and spend another $XX,XXX next year to bring it again… is a very personal and bitter feeling right now, so please excuse any passion that may dilute our sincere work and effort that we make and try to be flawless on. Honestly, we try really hard to make everyone happy, to obey the guidelines, to be be perfect. Truth is we’re not, we are regular people and humans who make mistakes and this year we made a few. We take great pride and responsibility with our privilege of having and art car, which is why we haven’t seriously screwed anything up. We have made some mistakes…. What those mistakes actually affected? Or how many people it actually impacted,in a negative, unforgiving way? Though when these things happen, we lose fans and the following, it sorts itself out. We become the black plague to them and they poison as many people around them as possible to feel the same. We take that heat, not BM, not DMV… we are not unsafe, we are not reckless, we have not harmed anyone, we are BURNERS! And to now not even be allowed to bring the ‘Strip Ship’ with no sound, no fire, no performers, etc to S.F. Decom and still be denied to participate with the other camps, okay, we will swallow it.

On Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 5:54 PM, DMV Hotties <dmv@burningman.com> wrote:

Some clarifications may be in order.

We originally sent our email to Phil directly as he was listed as the applicant for the Strip Ship and Bass Station.  We added you as you were included in the message regarding Decompression.  In regards to Decompression, the event team checks with the DMV regarding Mutant Vehicles invited to ensure they are in good standing with the DMV, given the number of complaints we received this year, this was not the case.  There are any number of vehicles that are not invited to decompression each year, yours was just one.

Next, we only are considering the complaints that were made directly to the DMV through email or through Burning Man’s FLIP online feedback system.  We did not consider complaints posted to forums, etc. or complaints that were duplicated in forums/email

In regards to the temple, the complaint was that your vehicle played loud music near the temple, not at the temple burn specifically.

Finally, we certainly will forward you text of the specific complaints.  We wanted to get a general response from the Dancetronauts prior to going into the details of the complaint.

To be clear, our main focus is trying to get a clear understanding of what happened, the validity of the complaints we’ve received, to make sure you and your team understand the scope of the complaints and work to find a resolution to the issues raised.

I also should note that while there certainly was a small group of interconnected folks who lodged complaints right after the event, the complaints were not by any means isolated to any one group or duplicated.  We received complaints from a large number of Burners who were not connected including some from within the Burning Man organization as well.

Sincerely,

-Chef Juke for the DMV Hotties & Council

Again, FLIP was still open and BMOrg were refusing to address the 97% of other complaints there.
How does Chef Juke know which Burners are interconnected, and which aren’t? He states he is “certain” that there was an interconnected group of Burners who came out swinging for the Dancetronauts, immediately after the event. You can hardly argue that this is all just a conspiracy theory being invented by Burners.Me, when BMOrg’s own team heads are openly acknowledging it themselves.
What was the nature of these connections? The idea that those “within the Burning Man organization” were “not connected” to any of it seems unlikely, and directly contradicts later information from the DMV Council.
Oct 27, 2014:

On Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 8:10 PM, DMV Hotties <dmv@burningman.com> wrote:

Phil,

To clarify, we asked you for a response to the fact that the DMV had received a number of complaints about your vehicle sound and Promotion activities and we didn’t receive a response until we included Trav.  Trav indicated that his comments were not the formal response and implied that one would be forthcoming.

As far as the DMV is concerned the concern and the issue has not been resolved and we certainly need more discussion regarding both what happened on playa and what, if anything, needs to be done to resolve any concerns.

Please do follow up with us when you are available.

Sincerely,

-Chef Juke for the DMV Hotties

Oct 30, 2014:

On Oct 30, 2014, at 1:24 PM, DMV Hotties <dmv@burningman.com> wrote:

Phil,

Thanks for your email.  As I noted to Trav, we’ve compiled the specific complaints about the Strip Ship and Bass Station that the DMV received via email and the online feedback form; these are in the attached file.  The DMV reads ALL of the feedback sent to us and we would suggest that you do the same.

Please review these specific concerns from your fellow burners regarding your vehicle and let us know if you have any further thoughts on the feedback.

Sincerely,

-Chef Juke for the DMV Hotties & Council

At this point, Chef Juke seems to have been quite reasonable. It seems like this situation can be resolved, and that is what Dancetronauts are trying to achieve. Note that on Oct 27 he is speaking for the DMV Hotties, by Oct 30 he is speaking for the DMV Hotties AND the Council.

The next Dancetronauts heard from BMOrg was 6 months later. Wally Bomgaars has departed (is this Chef Juke? If not, who is he and why does he get mentioned?) Terry Schoop has taken his place. Suddenly, there is no possibility of compromise. There is only the ban.

What happened between October and April? Did the smear campaign turn into a less traceable whisper campaign, and go offline?

April 9, 2015:

On Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 9:58 AM, DMV Hotties <dmv@burningman.com> wrote: Hello Philip & Trav –

I apologize for the delay in getting back with you as I’ve just recently taken responsibility for DMV following the departure of Wally Bomgaars.

Our continuing concern is that your responses don’t address the core issues raised by DMV and by participants.

The key responses you sent us are:

1. “People have a choice to move away from a loud vehicle…”

In terms of the Man Burn, this is not a reasonable answer. Participants who have selected a spot to watch the burn cannot be expected to change locations in the middle of a packed crowd when a loud mutant vehicle parks behind them. Nor is it reasonable to expect them to do so.

2. “Dancetronauts bring famous DJs to the Playa…”

This has no bearing on the issues of music volume or civic responsibility.

3. “We have a safety team…”

Again, this has no bearing on the issues of music volume of civic responsibility.

4. “Other vehicles are loud…”

That other vehicles may have issues does not excuse yours from having to follow the rules that all mutant vehicles are required to abide by. The DMV is having discussions with all other vehicles that we received complaints about.

It’s important for you to understand that the complaints about your sound levels on Burn night are serious and include complaints from two Burning Man founders, several members of the DMV Council, other Burning Man staff and the DMV Manager (Wally Bomgaars) personally. It did drown out music from other nearby mutant vehicles.

5. “Lots of people like us…”

Again, this has no bearing on the issues of music volume of civic responsibility.

6. “We followed all the rules…”

No, you didn’t, Your vehicle clearly violated the Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy. The concerns we need you to address relate to the Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy and to civic responsibility. As noted in the MV policy:

“Keep in mind that if we continue to have the level of complaints and issues that we have been having for the past few years, we may have to take greater steps to limit large sound on vehicles. Please consider your impact on the community and help us all keep sound on MVs a positive experience.” To recap:

The DancetronautS mutant vehicle was issued a conditional license for 2014 based on sound policy violations from 2013.

Following the 2014 event, as previously mentioned, we received more sound complaints about the Dancetronauts mutant vehicle than any other vehicle in the history of the event. Despite multiple requests, you have not provided a satisfactory response to these complaints nor provided a plan to address them for 2015.

Additionally, in 2014, we were notified Dancetronauts were offering among other things, Early Entry passes and access to their mutant vehicles as a perks as part of your Indiegogo fundraiser. Early Entry passes were created specifically to allow artists, theme camp organizers and mutant vehicles owners early access to the event site to prepare for the event. It was a violation of the Early Entry pass policy to offer them as a perk.

This combination of infractions and your inability to provide a satisfactory response and resolution leave us no option but to deny a license to the Dancetronauts mutant vehicle for 2015. You are welcome to apply next year for 2016.

Sincerely,

Terry Schoop and the DMV Council

“They’re welcome to apply” – some Burners might read this as “they are guaranteed to be let back in 2016″, but I don’t. At all. What more could Dancetronauts do to return to “good standing”, if they aren’t allowed at the events?

Terry here is speaking for himself and the Council. His reductionist responses come off as snide and dismissive. The whole tone of the email says the decision has been made, and the hate for Dancetronauts seeps through. “Inability to provide a satisfactory resolution”, what is he talking about? They have been trying for more than 6 months at this point to find a satisfactory resolution, apologizing to everyone, and suggesting things that definitely would avoid the problem this year. While BMOrg just ignored them, leaving them in limbo.

The key words here are

complaints from two Burning Man founders, several members of the DMV Council, other Burning Man staff and the DMV Manager (Wally Bomgaars) personally

Wally himself did not mention to Dancetronauts at any time that he was one of those affected by their burn night actions. But now that he has left, he is named as part of the hate/punish group.

I don’t want to clog up this post with Dancetronauts’ responses to this since I have already posted them, you can read them at the end of Part I. They were thoughtful and apologetic, and offered practical suggestions as a resolution.

April 29, 2015:

From: DMV Hotties<dmv@burningman.com> Date: Wed, Apr 29, 2015 at 5:23 PM Subject: Re: Mutant Vehicle incidents on playa (PLEASE RESPOND)

Philip & Travis –

Thank you for your thoughtful replies, which the DMV council has reviewed.

The decision of the council – that Dancetronauts needs to take a year off – stands. You are welcome to apply again in 2016.

– The DMV Council

Key words here: The decision of the council that Dancetronauts needs to take a year off.

The DMV Council is supposed to be dealing with Art Cars. The art car here is the Strip Ship, and its Bass Station trailer. But it is the Dancetronauts who they want to punish, not just the Art Car: the entire crew. That’s who is being un-welcomed officially from an Invisible Council at burningman.com and 2 Burning Man founders – after months of silence and zero effort from BMOrg to accept any kind of resolution or compromise.

May 24, 2015: Trilobyte said to Dancetronauts:

Thanks for reaching out, and I appreciate the apology. Speaking for my own personal experience, the only complaint that I raised was the voiceover advertising of an album at the event on Friday, the alien siege machine burn. Yeah the music was loud and no it wasn’t my personal taste, but it’s Burning Man and part of being out at a big burn is it’s going to be loud and you’re going to hear a whole lot of different music. The advertising bugged me a lot, which is why I remembered it and followed up after the event. I volunteer with Burning Man year-round to help run the ePlaya community, and as part of that I see and hear a lot of participant feedback. While I’m not involved with the DMV or any part of their decision making process, I have to say that I was shocked at the kind and number of complaints that people were voicing. I think the ship is a fine piece of work, but have never followed Dancetronauts closely enough to know DJ schedules so I couldn’t really say whether it was just one person doing it, but it sounded like advertising was happening all week. It probably also doesn’t help that you guys operate as a commercial production company. Hooray for being successful, but when you turn the camp name into a commercial brand that makes things particularly tricky. I don’t have any advice there, you might want to reach out to Opulent Temple or Space Cowboys to see how they walk that line (from what I’ve seen, OT uses the Opel Productions name for their commercial operations). Though I didn’t experience it myself, it seemed like there were a number of complaints about the velvet rope/VIP area. The person getting into it with me on twitter defended the practice as a fire safety move, but that sounds like a pretty flimsy defense. It’s Burning Man, anybody who’s been through a burn or two probably knows the difference between fire safety line and only letting friends and ‘hotties’ through. Good luck in finding tickets, and good luck in weathering the bashing. It will probably continue for a while. Based on the feedback I’d seen it sounds like there are people out there with an axe to grind. PS – if it helps, what we used to do when I was at Space Island was keep the mic and cable with the driver in the cab of the truck. That way we had it in case we had to make an announcement, but it wasn’t something that someone on the decks could abuse easily.

See the issues being conflated here? Dancetronauts running a professional production company was not expressed as one of the issues by the DMV at all. Neither was this “velvet rope” stuff. “Selling Early Access passes” was a minor mistake that was immediately corrected and removed from the web in less than 24 hours, no such transaction ever took place. But somehow Terry managed to throw that on the pile of justifications despite all evidence to the contrary.

June 14, 2015

We publish Part I of this story. ePlaya flares up again.

It’s not clear if Trilobyte and the rest of the volunteer ePlayans get any form of compensation – either cash, free tickets, or a chance to purchase tickets in the Directed Group Sale. Or do they just volunteer their time on these forums for psychological gratification?

Screenshot 2015-06-16 05.06.25

Screenshot 2015-06-16 05.20.52

Where are these rules? What rules were broken? Surely it should be easy to point that out, given the severity of this ban. I can’t find them in the Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy, so where are they?

Other Mutant Vehicle owners want to know too:

Screenshot 2015-06-16 04.33.36


THE COMPLAINTS

So what was the end result of this unprecedented social media campaign of drumming up as many complaints as could possibly be gathered?

Eventually, the DMV provided the entire list of complaints to Dancetronauts, which you can read here. Could this file have been tampered with? I guess, but I trust my source, and see no reason why it would be.

BMOrg insisted that these complaints were collected only from emails to DMV@burningman.com and their official post-event feedback process. However some seem to be word-for-word identical to complaints at burningman.com, on the ePlaya discussion forums and the Voices of Burning Man blog. It is hard to match them up since the complaints file provided is Anonymous; this also made it hard for Dancetronauts to apologize to the 32 people affected.

There were an unprecedented number of complaints last year in general: more than 400. More tourists (replacing Veteran Burners) = more complaints.

We may never know how many of the Dancetronauts complaints were direct emails to DMV and how many were through the feedback process, called FLIP. In the same way we will probably never know how many “more than 400” really is. Let’s assume it’s a 50/50 split and there were 420 complaints about everything.

Dancetronauts got 33 complaints in total. One of these was a duplicate – same complaint twice. So really it was 32 – apply our assumption from the feedback form, 16 out of the 420: 3.8%. Who got punished or asked to take a year off for the 96.2% of complaints BMOrg received last year that weren’t about Dancetronauts?

I have tagged each complaint based on what it was about. There were many complaints that mentioned more than one issue:

25 DJ plugging himself on the mic (Decommodification violation)

12 Total noise complaints (Sound policy violation):

11 Noise on Burn night

3 Noise at Alien Seige machine

1 Noise at the Temple

6 Don’t mention Dancetronauts at all

6 Specifically mention other art cars also causing problems

8 Refer to the online smear campaign as the reason they felt compelled to “chime in” with their complaints.

Here are some examples from the complaints, that show how ePlaya and other online commentary inspired them to write:

I came across a thread on eplaya about the art cars with large sound systems specifically the dancetranauts during the burn and just figured I’d chime in as someone who attended burning man for he first time this year.

***

XXX from XXX here. we’re well know to the BOrg and absolutely love you guys. i’m gonna chime in on this one

***

My first burn and bummed at Danctronaut DJ plugging himself during the Man Burn It was suggested we email, so just want to chime in

***

I found the ePlaya thread about blaring, self-promotional art cars and I 100% agree.

***

This address was given by a DMVer on ePlaya I know there is some of discussion about the Dancetronauts art car and the way they promoted themselves at the Man Burn. I was too far from the art car to comment on that…They should be allowed at the Burn, for sure

***

A friend of mine mentioned that the Department of Mutant Vehicles had been receiving a number of complaints about the Art Car music situation at this years Man Burn, and was looking for comments.

***

I suspect I am not the first, nor the last, to send an email regarding this problem, but I wanted to make sure my voice was also heard in this

***

All the comments you heard about Dancetronauts are true…Just throwing in my two cents

***

I’m sure you’ve heard from others, but I’d like to add my voice condemning the behaviour of the dancestronauts

The similarity in language amongst some of these complaints is suspicious. And these are just the complaints that explicitly mention being encouraged to write in – we can assume that still others were encouraged even if they don’t mention it.

I wager a guess that the vast majority of the 400+ overall complaints BMOrg received last year were also for Decommodification violations, but of a different kind. What the community was most upset about was the exclusive wrist-band only VIP Commodification Camps, at least one of which we know was run by a member of the Burning Man Project Board of Directors.

It appears that, despite an unprecedented number of complaints, those involved in the Commodification Camps all got off scot-free, no punishment at all.

The Burning Man Project articles of incorporation were changed from standard legal speak to be uniquely based around the 10 Principles and the partial clock-face layout of Burning Man. The Directors are all specifically bound to uphold the 10 Principles, even though there is technical loophole for them because they are just directors of the “Project” and although the NV burn is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Project, apparently the directors can do whatever they want at Burning Man and don’t have to uphold the Ten Principles there. Bizarre, right? But a legal loophole nonetheless. When you spend $10 million on lawyers, you can’t argue that such loop holes are there by accident.


COMPARISONS

Michael Franti wrote a track about Burning Man called Let It Go, and was nominated for a Grammy an Oscar for it. Are they going to ban Franti now? Or what about Missy Higgins, and her for-profit Burning Man song, We Ride? These tracks are not gifted for free, to get them you have to spend $20 to buy the soundtrack album for Spark: A Burning Man story off iTunes. BMOrg was involved in the production of this movie and took an ownership stake which brings them royalties; as far as we can piece together, the rights to all royalty streams and intellectual property were transferred to Decommodification LLC before the Founders gifted the remainder of Burning Man to their tax-exempt foundation. So every time a copy of this soundtrack and DVD gets sold, Decommodification LLC – and by extension, the 6 founders who are its partners – gets paid. Is this not a worse Decommodification violation than a DJ handing out free CDs? These artists are specifically profiting from Burning Man, they’re not gifting anything.

David Best gets paid to make Temples all around the world. Photographers put their professional watermarks on Burning Man photos, and earn money by taking them. Should we ban them?

Green Tortoise sells safari tourist packages, and gets a free advertising post from BMOrg talking about how great they are. This isn’t Commodification? But gifting a CD is?

How do Burners have a better experience of Burning Man, when we see awesome Burners like Dancetronauts getting unjustly punished by unseen Special Interests, for doing things others blatantly get away with? We’re told the Ten Principles are “just guidelines” now. We see rules being enforced Selectively, rather than one set of rules being applied equally to everyone. Decisions are made on the whims of any number of dozens of “chiefs” or secret “Councils” who think they are important to the event. These chiefs often disagree with each other, sometimes to the point of lawsuits. Complainers get attention, just like in an HOA. Burners get ignored as much as possible. Then propaganda, “spin”, and smear campaigns are employed to manipulate the masses.

The trick to navigating this dictatorship is sucking up. If you suck up to BMOrg – at least to the right people there – or even better, if you are someone they want to suck up to – then you can do whatever you want. Like, Google can use the Burning Man logo to make their search engine seem cool, and monetize Burning Man footage through YouTube. Facebook can make a shit-ton of money advertising on the side while we’re on their Burning Man pages. Denis Kucinich and Grover Norquist can use BM to promote their political careers to new voter blocs. Fest300 can plaster their branding all over their Burning Man promo videos – but DJ Sander van Doorn gets punished for doing the same thing. 210 people with registered drones have to obey safety rules, but Fest300 can blatantly flaunt them because their boss is on the BMP Board.

In this world, Burning Man: The Musical is just fine, because a Google employee is behind it. No matter that he’s never even been! On the other hand, Johan the Dome Guy who has busted his ass helping fellow Burners on the Playa for 20 years, went to the effort of creating Burning Man: The Board Game as a camp fundraiser, only to have it callously banned by BMOrg “in the name of protecting our brand”. It totally conformed to their rules for camp fundraisers, but a few insiders decided “this must be stopped” and so it was – accompanied with another smear campaign running in the community about Johan’s motivation and character. The Pee Funnel camp got banned for the accusation that they thought about selling tickets on the side, even though BMOrg themselves ultimately confessed they had actually been doing exactly the same thing for 2 years, more than 1500 times. Not to trap scalpers, like Pee Funnel had claimed: the Burning Man Project were selling tickets to the sold out event direct to VIPs specifically to make money from the difference between face value and the sale price, ie actual scalping. Who got punished when we exposed that?

This punish mentality is just horrible – we saw this same thinking with the Paul Addis affair, where BMOrg were absolutely determined to talk up the damage as much as possible to get it treated as felony arson, which led to Addis doing time in jail, ended his legal career, and ultimately contributed to his tragic suicide.

Can you have rules without punishment? Of course. That’s how the city works already. Most Burners follow the rules and self-enforce. Whatever you’re into, everyone is there to have a good time. Punishment should be the last resort, not the first thing we leap to before we’ve even heard all the facts.

This situation reminds me a bit of the Iraq War and the WMDs. They decided they wanted to go in, and made up the reasons to justify it afterwards. Gathered whatever evidence they could to support their case, no matter how spurious.

Even after all the dedicated hardcore campaign of hate, spanning months – all they could flush out were 32 complaints, 6 of which didn’t even mention Dancetronauts.

Let’s put this in perspective. 32 complaints, out of 65,992 people. We know many of the complaints were from BMOrg founders, staff, and volunteers – a group of 3000 or so who don’t get counted in the population. This is less than half of one percent of BlackRock City, and only 3% of the total complaints for the year. Is that really significant? Especially when they probably happily entertained 20%+ of the population over the course of the week (15,000 people)?

The #1 restaurant in the world is El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, Spain. Check out their TripAdvisor reviews:

Screenshot 2015-06-16 15.18.29

If they made all their decisions based on the 29 haters, the 1000 people who rated it Excellent or Very Good would never get a look in. You don’t get to be the best anything in the world by focusing on complaints, you get there by focusing on excellence.

Similarly, Apple has many people who dislike their products and prefer alternatives – but they’re still the most valuable company on this planet. A small number of people complaining, should not outweigh the very large number of people who love the Dancetronauts and think they should be invited back this year, next year, and every year.


CONCLUSION

The decision seems to have been made that Dancetronauts needed to take a year off before Burning Man ended, and the plan to ensure this happened was underway as soon as its perpetrators got back from the desert. The idea was to motivate as many people as possible to report problems to the DMV email or via the FLIP form; encourage everyone to share their complaints on burningman.com; and use Groupthink techniques to encourage the pile-on of hate. Shaming and childish naming, “Douchetronauts”. Spread lies about them. Put the word out in the community, these guys were terrible, these guys must be punished, these guys are ruining Burning Man. Find as many sheeple as you can who will go along with the rest of the flock.

turbulent priestWho was behind it? This was specifically answered by Terry from the DMV Council, when he felt the need to emphasize that the complaints were coming from 2 Burning Man founders, supported by BMOrg employees. It was also answered by Chef Juke from DMV, who acknowledged that there was an interconnected group of complainers who attacked Dancetronauts from the very beginning.

The attacks all originated out of various burningman.com platforms, and appear to have been co-ordinated. There is a similarity in days and timestamps, between things being said on ePlaya, on Reddit, Facebook, and on Voices of Burning Man. Many of the complainers appear to be connected to each other and the Org.

Some might feel this story is much ado about nothing. But it’s clear from many of the comments that this hate campaign is still going on, and some Burners feel the need to crucify Dancetronauts for things they didn’t even do (e.g. playing music at the Temple). Dancetronauts pled guilty and apologized for everything they did do. They are not questioning it. And yet, the hate is still there! Where is the forgiveness? Where is the inclusion?

The actions BMOrg took to punish them have created a sour taste in the mouths of many thousands of Burners, and have not made Dancetronauts feel welcome at the event – despite their repeated efforts to compromise and conform. So the solution to punish has not really created any resolution, since those outraged by the problems appear to still be outraged.

We’re all human. There’s always going to be a few people who want to complain, and a vast majority who remain silent. How do we work together to make things better? Not how do we hate and punish and shame each other, that is Default world bullshit that has no part in Burner culture.

Worst practice: banning an art car because a couple of senior BMOrg people don’t like them, then attacking them year-round on social media to smear their reputation.

Acceptable practice: following the sound policy and cautioning Art Cars that cause problems

Best practice: working with Art Cars that cause problems to make sure they’re educated, treating them like valuable customers and contributors who are welcome, taking an Inclusive rather than Exclusive approach. Making sure the rules are clearly stated and consistently applied. Providing an independent arbitration process for dispute resolution.

Of course, Burning Man is not a Democracy. Not even remotely close. It’s a $30 million corporation, housed within a tax-exempt charitable structure, and operated as a “do-ocracy”. This means Burners do the work, and the Ruling Group benefit. In this scenario, Larry is a benevolent Philosopher-King like Plato spoke about, a dictator who only cares about the good of his people. This model requires a dynasty of kings to provide continuity of rule to the people. The Egyptians did pretty well with it for thousands of years, but slavery was a big part of their culture. The pharaoh didn’t give a toss about justice or fairness amongst the slaves.

Show some mercy, BMOrg. I get that a couple of dozen people were pissed at Dancetronauts on burn night. And now many thousands more are pissed at BMOrg for banning Dancetronauts. So what has been achieved? Who won? How did Burning Man get better?

Let’s have objectivity, consistency, fairness, and transparency. Let’s also have compassion, empathy, leniency, and humanity. Dancetronauts have apologized, they’ve offered to make changes. This decision out of the blue to ban them, after 6 months of silence, and years of great contributions, is excessive and churlish. Please show some leadership and over-ride it, welcome Dancetronauts back this year and let’s see how well they behave. If they do the same stuff all over again, then I would be the first to say “they deserve a ban”. It is very hard to see how that could happen at this point, though. Seems to me they already learned their lesson, and further punishment will not bring further benefit. A show of leniency would go a long way to restoring faith in the Ruling Group from the Burner Community, and would be good for morale.

135 comments on “Too Loud For Burning Man Part 2: Dictators in a Dysfunctional Dystopia

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  15. This whole thing is just fucking ridiculous.

    It seems the problem with the new wave of middle class hippies is that they follow their forebearers… too up tight and fond of rules fur their own good.

    Whether you like Dancetronauts or not isn’t the issue, their treatment has been damned shabby considering their contribution to the city over the years.

    More anarchy, more mischief, less whining bastards who want the city to be civilised.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I said read the blog’s first page, it states it’s agenda. I took from it as being an agenda of concern for the BM culture. Burnersxxx does not call himself a Minster of Propaganda, that’s someone else’s work to coordinate mouthpieces and spin the spin, so No, I don’t agree, sock puppet. *hiccup* Drink, the cool aide *hiccip*

    Like

    • My apologies, 1.) the about post was intended as a reply to someone at the bottom. It has not context up here. 2.) broke one of my cardinal rules – don’t feed the trolls.
      Out of here… *Drink…* you know the rest.

      Like

  17. OK, isn’t it time for a poll? I suggest:

    A) Proscribing them from the 2015 NV burn was justified and logical;
    B) Proscribing them from the 2015 NV burn was justified but capricious;
    C) Proscribing them from the 2015 NV burn was not justified.

    Like

    • given the ballot stuffing we saw with the last poll, I don’t think that would be fair to Dancetronauts. They have already pled guilty and apologized, so what’s the point? A better poll might be to see if any Burners think BMOrg could make capricious decisions, or if politics and NPD play a role in any of the decision making.

      Like

      • People can make capricious decisions, organizations with checks and balances can mitigate that somewhat. I have yet to see what I would consider a capricious decision around major policy made by the BMORG. I disagree with some of their decisions, particularly around “spreading Burner culture” and the disgusting catering to the rich and powerful. But I don’t think those decisions are capricious. I think they truly believe that exposure to Burning Man will change some of these powerful people for the better. I think that’s naive and beside the point, anyway.

        Politics almost certainly plays a role in BMORG decision making, because BMORG is comprised or people (people!), and you can’t get away from politics when you get a group of people together. As for NPD, you know my thoughts on that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You have cited your own examples of caprice. And there are no “checks and balances.” The BOrg populates the BoD to expand their cabal, while rigorously disenfranchising the burners, and silencing anyone they can, like the Regional Representatives with NDAs. It’s a clear pattern to many of us.

          Like

    • We’re making progress, as I predicted in my last update to part I. We’ve gone from “it’s all lies” to “it’s all half truths” to “it’s biased and false in some ways”.

      The next step forward will be the critics giving some examples of their alleged falsehoods, and providing evidence and references to back up their claims.

      Like

      • The last two posts were mostly not outright false, just a little cherry-picked and presented in a way to support your position that denying the Dancetronauts crew an MV license for 2015 was unreasonable and uncalled for. It’s a valid position, one I disagree with given all the evidence I’ve seen, almost entirely on this here blog. That’s the thing, those of us who have slogged through the entirety of both posts can honestly come to different conclusions. I can think you’re a little nuts with the conspiracy thinking, you can can think I’m naive in missing all the signals.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Absolutely. I received the email chain between DMV and Dancetronauts, and did some investigation for myself. I found that there did seem to be a distinct pattern of organized complaints. Then I found that even BMOrg themselves acknowledged that this was true, and that the original complainers were interconnected. I then presented my case, with as much evidence as I could gather given my own time constraints. The post grew extremely large, particularly because there was so much evidence. So I split it into two, to prevent Dancetronauts from being associated with any of my own speculation.

          People are welcome to read the evidence and come to their own conclusion. As I have said here many times, there is no requirement that readers have to agree with me, in fact we welcome dissenting opinions – just not personal attacks, or unsubstantiated claims.

          To me the timeline clearly illustrates what happened here. If you think it’s not a conspiracy, then you must think the complaints weren’t interconnected… so why would Chef Juke say they were? And why would Terry feel the need to mention that this was coming from 2 Burning Man founders, what relevance does that have to the Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy?

          Like

          • I blanched at the mention of the two founders, just like I did with Phil mentioning all the Grammy winners they “gift” to us lucky plebs. And I’m sure some people encouraged others to complain based on their own sour experience with Dancetronauts. But the complaints were based in fact, and lots of people agreed with them. I also think that complaints about sound cars in general have been rising, and the overall playa experience is getting more and more impacted by the insane arms race that’s occurring with sound systems, so that the BMORG had to start addressing the issue. I don’t think they were even making an example out of Dancetronauts because there was zero publicity about it until you published your first post. I have to say, I think that only added to the number of people siding with the BMORG on this.

            I’m mostly surprised that people aren’t making the connection to a camp getting denied placement based on the MOOP report. Same damn thing, and it happens all the time. Dancetronauts are not unique in this. As I mentioned in another comment, there was a car in front of us at the DMV that got denied due to lack of decoration. It sucked, but I’m in favor of that kind of rigor. And I’m in favor of the new rigor around enforcing sound car policy. I think the publicity around this, thanks to mostly you, will raise awareness that there are sound regulations and they will be enforced. That’s a good thing, in my opinion.

            Liked by 2 people

          • It wouldn’t have had to come to this if BMOrg had followed their own Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy, and let Dancetronauts there was any kind of problem. They were loud all week without a single complaint, so how were they to know? Especially if they were on probation, which presumably meant the authorities were paying attention to their sound levels.

            At least, as you say, some good may come out of this ban – I see that in terms of unwritten rules being more clearly understood.

            Like

          • It would have been better if they were given some notice during the event, but most people won’t take the time to file a complaint on the playa, or would even know how to do that, or be aware that there are in fact sound regulations. And you know, they were already given a warning the year before. I mean, honestly, that was their notice. They had a whole year to address it. They didn’t, and decided to go even bigger. I’d agree that if this was the first year they received complaints, they probably shouldn’t be denied an MV license. Maybe. I don’t know, I don’t have much sympathy for placed camps that leave a lot of MOOP, but I’ll give you that much. And the mindset, coming off of a warning the year before, that we’ll go as loud as we want until somebody tell us to turn down, is not taking responsibility for their own actions.

            Like

          • Sorry, I wasn’t clear. I was using a camp that MOOPs as an example of a group flouting a rule and being denied official status the very next year with no warning during the event. Happens all the time, and it’s a policy I agree with. So the fact that Dancetronauts even got a warning and were given an MV license the next year was generous. That they didn’t heed it at all was unfortunate.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m on an all-night code deployment call, so I’ve got nothing better to do, ha. So I’ll ask, what is a scenario where you think denying an MV license due to sound violations would be appropriate? Something more egregious than Dancetronaut’s behavior in 2014? More on-the-spot oversight and communication from an official BMORG representative?

            Liked by 1 person

          • Since I wasn’t there – and no-one took any SPL measurements – I can’t take a position on whether they were too loud or not. From the video evidence there were clearly far, far more people enjoying the music than the complete aggregate of all the formal complainers and all the ones coming out on social media now.

            So is that a sound violation? Or just “some people liked it, some people didn’t’?

            Regardless of the answer to my question – which I know is not really an answer to yours – the correct thing to do would be “somebody get on a radio and tell those guys to turn it down because it’s interfering with an art performance” – or, someone get off their ass and go talk to them. Complain to a ranger, register a complaint, notify them of the compaint – is what the policy says. If that had happened Dancetronauts would have turned it down AND probably apologized immediately too. As any art car should do. Art cars follow the policy, BMOrg follow the policy. End of story.

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          • “… the correct thing to do would be “somebody get on a radio and tell those guys to turn it down because it’s interfering with an art performance…”

            Not if you think they might be part of the in-crowd! That’s the problem of caprice.

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          • Is it simply majority rules? Let’s say there’s a small performance going on with 20 people watching, but Dancetronauts comes rolling in with 500 people in tow. There are obviously more people enjoying Dancetronauts than the other performance, and certainly more than will file a complaint. What’s the ruling there?

            Do we really need people running around with sounds meters taking SPL measurements (I had to look that one up) telling cars to turn it down? If that’s the case, than personal responsibility goes out the window as people abdicate good citizenship in favor of top-down enforcement. Yes, ideally things would be handled in situ, and I hope this instance increases the likelihood that that will happen going forward.

            Liked by 1 person

          • I’m don’t think SPL measurements are the best way either. But they are *a* way – and from everything I’ve seen, no way was tried. Not a complaint, not a recording, not a noise measurement, not asking to turn it down. A bit of booing, but look how far away the DJ is from the perimeter – there’s no way they would be able to hear that even if the music is not off.

            It’s only the privileged few that get to sit in the front rows at 6 o’clock that can even tell there is a conclave performance going on. Most of the 70,000 cannot see anything.

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          • “…I’m don’t think SPL measurements are the best way either. But they are *a* way – and from everything I’ve seen, no way was tried…”

            They will not use sound meters because that is an objective measurement, and someone in the in-crowd might get in trouble. If they do, it would be selective testing to support selective enforcement. I would expect they would even fudge the readings as necessary to fit the BOrg agenda. But there would be the risk that someone might take independent measurements. There might even be someone like me there, an ASA member with some turquoise paint stains on their fingers, and that would cause more problems. No, I doubt they would use anything objective that cannot be finessed as necessary.

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          • If by privileged you mean those who show up way early to get a good seat and wait for hours for the show to start, then sure. And yeah, there are the connected people who can go inside the ring. But you know, that’s a performance. 99% of performances on the playa are witnessed by a relatively small audience. It doesn’t make them any less important. Again, to my mind, the majority must respect the minority. It’s not a popularity contest. I couldn’t care less about the fire conclave, I think it’s boring as fuck. But I’d feel like an asshole if I interfered with their performance. Or any performance.

            You’re right, there’s no way the DJ could hear the booing. But I bet some of the other crew could, the much written about Dancetronauts safety crew. It would have been nice if the conclave could have radioed…somebody. In the middle of their performance. That would have been nice, yes. They really should have thought of that, the onus really is on them. Not Dancetronauts, they are to push the limits until somebody tells them to turn it down. And do you really think if, during the conclave performance, some regular burner somehow reached a Dancetronauts crew member, they could have convinced that person to climb up to the sound guy and tell them, “Hey, there’s some random person down there asking us to turn it down.” And that, upon hearing this, the sound guy would actually turn it down? Do you think that would happen?

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          • I presume at least one of the people in the Dancetronauts crew has access to the BMOrg radio channel, and if not it could have been broadcast on the MURS safety channel.

            Having a radio is one of the privileges for the BMOrg minions out there, and when the Founders are sitting down to watch the Conclave, I have no doubt that there are many minions nearby.

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          • Is that the case? Do large-scale cars get access to BMORG radio channels? Maybe they do. As an former art car owner, I hadn’t heard of that, but then ours was relatively small-scale. I suppose anyone with a radio could find the BMORG channel, but then would they get an official response? And anyway, it’s not Dancetronauts that needs access, it’s the person asking to turn it down. I guess they could approach a ranger, and then the ranger would radio HQ, and then…who knows. Maybe the ranger would approach Dancetronauts safety crew. That seems plausible, and something that I think will happen more going forward, thanks to the publicity you’re giving this issue. I’m not exactly giving you credit here, because I think any good that comes out of this is a side-effect. But hey, at least it will happen.

            Yes, minions. Egos. NPD. Conspiracy. There you go again. Ha.

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          • So the conclave should have radioed the rangers, who should have radioed the founders, who should have radioed the spotters? Or maybe bypass the founders, the rangers should have radioed the spotters, who would then contact the sound guy, who would then, presumably, reduce the volume. I suppose that chain of events could happen. Would take maybe 5 minutes, maybe longer. During a performance, but yeah, I guess since Dancetronauts imposed themselves in such a way, there’s really no other course of action. Going forward, I hope this procedure is communicated to performance groups and sounds cars, and followed through with, when needed. Doesn’t change my opinion of the instance at hand.

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          • For temporarily offering an early entry pass as a gift and for DJs repeatedly promoting their music while on the mic? I’m sure that was a factor, and even if it was the only factor, in light of their previous year’s warning, I’d still support the BMORG’s actions. Lack of advertising and general commodification on the playa is one of my favorite things about BM. It’s jarring to come across when it does happen. It’s a crucial element of the event. I like very much that, for instance, music is happening and I don’t hear a commercial or a song announcement of anything other than the music. It lends to the otherworldliness of the event, and any promotional material immediately takes you out of it. I remember a few years ago an art car cruising down our street playing some music, and then a Pandora ad came on. They were either streaming Pandora or were playing back a previously recorded stream, and man it just spoiled the moment. Dancetronauts apparently did this throughout the week. Screw that.

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          • The MOOP violations is another example of the in-crowd getting a pass on criteria that would be a problem for the peasant burners. It is part of the BOrg’s agenda to reward the in-crowd, and entice people to suck up to them in hopes of garnering their favor.

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          • “…MOOPs as an example of a group flouting a rule and being denied official status the very next year with no warning during the event…”

            MOOP is at the end for a camp. But the point is that the worst MOOPing was by those that were part of the in-crowd, and knew they had a waiver of just about any rules. After all, if you can commodifiy, why not leave a trace.

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          • I sense a conspiracy here. Nomad is inserting his comments in between mine and burnersxxx’s after the fact, so he must have double secret access to this blog that us plebs do not. Elitism! Cabal! NPD! Mambo dogface in the banana patch!

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          • …Of course it could be that the WordPress geeks parse new comments and put them under any previous comment that is quoted… Nah, it was that sacrafice I made to Apollo this morning.

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          • Nope, not time zones. It is clearly my sacrifices to Apollo… or Starbuck, or Boomer, or Loren Green. Anyway, I sacrificed to all of them, and the they pretty well empowered me to reply to any post at will, immediately below. Instructions are in the Nefarious Conspiracy Handbook, 2015 edition, and was also covered at the last “Meeting.” 😉

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          • “I blanched at the mention of the two founders…”

            Let’s see of WordPress parses this comment and put it near the top. Of course it could also be Apollo working his magic. I suppose we will never know.

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          • “…Of course it could be that the WordPress geeks parse new comments and put them under any previous comment that is quoted… Nah, it was that sacrafice I made to Apollo this morning.”

            You’re saying there’s a more plausible explanation for something than a sinister conspiracy? Nomad, I’m proud of you.

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  18. Cubitron is a good reason to go to the NV burn. Different each year, and you can choose to enjoy, or dance, or walk away.

    Stay out of my face with your “gift.”

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    • By posting a photo of a Nazi (comparing them to BMORG?) You immediately lose your case, lose your credibility and are shown to be a fool. Your right to make noise stops where others ears begin. I like Dancetronauts at a distance. However most of us feel that Burning Man is not an EDM event and it’s not a rave. That is what it has turned into. BMORG has moved in recent years to lower the volume and the impact on the people who are NOT listening to the music. That includes preventing art music cars from cruising on the residential streets of the city 24 hours blasting music at top volume. A lot of people would be fine with instituting quiet hours or reduced volume hours in BRC. They are the silent majority who are at BM for the art, not the noise.

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      • Yup. That sure made a lot of sense as a comment to my comment. Never thought of flashing lights as a Nazi. All I can say is, NO SOAP RADIO!! Say hi to Nick Danger.

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      • ‘A lot of people would be fine with instituting quiet hours or reduced volume hours in BRC. They are the silent majority who are at BM for the art, not the noise.’

        The majority at BM are newbies, solely 28 per cent have been to two, or more, prior burns. Perchance, Hushville might be bigger, in due of numerous people whom desire the new Burning Man to be most quiet. In addendum, their gift might be ear plugs, with the Burning Man(TM) logo, gifting towards any whom might traverse by Hushville.

        The foto of Goebbels was most appropriate, in due of the Minister of Propaganda, and in regards of the social media crew of the BMOrg commenting upon this site of the manner of ‘I’m just trying to find a way to invoke Hitler so that this teapot tempest can die the quiet little death it warrants.’

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      • I notice this comment is copy-and-pasted from Facebook. Either it is you posting twice, under different aliases, or you couldn’t be bothered coming up with your own retort so you just copied somebody else’s.

        Here is my reply to them/you:

        BMOrg is the only organization since the Nazis that can be compared to them, since no-one else would employ a Minister of Propaganda. The idea that the majority of Burners aren’t there for the massively packed music areas is not supported by the statistics. Perhaps if you go to bed at 11pm every night at Burning Man you wouldn’t realize what actually goes on… Just like if there are 5,000 people at an 11am yoga class, I might miss it. Pretty sure I would have heard about it though.

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        • Dude, I need to know this. Do you actually think there’s something sinister with BMORG having a Minister of Propaganda, or do you realize it’s a joke and you’re just riffing on that? Because if it’s the former, then I just don’t know, man.

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          • The entire concept of irony gets to the essence of what this is all about. From Helco to Ashram Galactica to Occidental Oasis to Caravancicle.

            If the Minister of Propaganda came up with a bunch of funny jokes – Piss Clear/BRC Weekly/The Shroom style – maybe I would laugh. Instead, what comes out of this office is self-congratulation, spin, misdirection, smears, even outright lies – all the classic techniques of Propaganda. If you employ a Minister of Propaganda, and you disseminate large amounts of propaganda, how is that a joke?

            Liked by 1 person

          • I see your point on this, then. He is the official voice of the BMORG, so I suppose whatever he writes could be seen as propaganda in the strictest sense in that’s it’s BMORG-approved. I don’t think they have any sinister or even dishonest intentions, so I still think his title is funny. But as with everything, perceptions will vary.

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          • The “Minister or Propaganda” thing is a hipster irony, like the FB “Burning Man Sucks” group. They say something for effect, but also misdirection.

            Does someone still publish Piss Clear?

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  19. I’m just trying to find a way to invoke Hitler so that this teapot tempest can die the quiet little death it warrants.

    Really. Who fucking cares?

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  20. Seems like burners.me is just trying to stir up shit. Dancetranauts fucked up and not getting a DMV pass is a reasonable consequence. And this article is written like someone is having a manic episode.

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  21. “Members of DMV Playing Freebird at the Temple burn, as a tribute to a fallen comrade?”

    You had better fact check that one – typo, maybe, subtle mis-direction, probable.

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  22. My money is on the Crimson Rose connection. That fire mumu gets me every time, it’s so fitting. So this was her moment to be the Man – raising her arms up to ignite the flames, her moment in the spotlight filling her ego with… ego stuff. But the music wasn’t to her taste and took a bit too much of the limelight from her large being there flaming mumu and all. So she raged against them, almost certainly.

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  23. Jesus Zos, you REALLY don’t get it. At all. Accepting responsibility is an amazing idea – one you have so completely missed in your contempt for the BORG that your blog has become unsalvageable at best, and a parody the rest of the time. The louder you cry and complain about these things, the more laughable you become.

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    • ” A show of leniency would go a long way to restoring faith in the Ruling Group from the Burner Community, and would be good for morale.”

      No, it would not, as clearly shown by those that don’t think roving sound pollution is appropriate. Plant it at 2 and 10 so I can avoid it if I like, preferably pointed to the OPEN desert, not the playa where the art is. Many of us would see it as the opposite – unfounded caprice based on the appeals of the House of Lords. What is best for the peasant burners? Freedom to choose, including not being assaulted by a traveling EDM party.

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  24. I find it interesting that so many people want to brag about how they didn’t read the entire article posted here as some sort of badge of honor.

    I’m just getting caught up that the Dancetranauts even caused a problem. I appreciated the detailed and long article detailing and timestamping the events as they unfolded.

    I presume the large art car that I could hear from around 2’oclock was them. I personally thought it was pretty cool that someone had made an art car that could project sound over such a large distance and have it still sound good (without clipping and distortion).

    In my opinion, part of building large scale art is not only creating a large structure that people will most likely try to climb on, but also having a solid burn plan for when the structure goes up in flames. Part of that, should take into account people’s attention spans. A 2 hour perimeter starts to get to the point of a structure being dangerous and hard to contain. How alert does everyone on perimeter stay for those 2 hours? I’m not bringing this up as a straw man (even though the Man looked like a straw man). I’m saying that for a long time, I was waiting for that structure to collapse (longer than I wanted to). I think the art car being there at least provide me with some entertainment as a noise cannon.

    I’m sure that you would have a more significant amount of people that liked the art car than complained about it, but confirmation bias is rampant in “feedback forms”. You don’t often get people saying things that they liked about an event that people complained about. It becomes more of an “only email us if there was a problem” system.

    But when you get legitimate complaints (and some of the complaints are definitely that) at any event (BM, regionals, other), a decision needs to be made. Usually for me I would make that decision based on risk assessment. Does the participant or group pose a safety risk or is it likely that they will provide a safety risk for people at future events? If it isn’t a safety risk than it is an opportunity for education. I think that education has already happened and is ongoing, as this camp experiences backlash that seems to be primarily fueled by one DJ promoting his music. (I seem to remember it happening, but I was too busy having a fantastic time to take much notice of it).

    Based on their track record, it is unlikely that anyone is likely to be injured physically from the car, but I’m not a Otolaryngology, so I don’t know at what level an art car becomes dangerous to unconsenting participants who are too close to a noise cannon car. We have come to expect loud things at BM. If you are sensitive to that kind of thing, than you might have to adjust your viewing location for an art burn. However, the DMV regulates that stuff, so if they need to set a decibel level based on distance to an art burn, I’m sure they could handle that. I haven’t really looked into the regulations at all, but I suspect that it is more of a vague “don’t be an a**hole” rule instead of a hard and fast decibel level/distance thing.

    I think most of the complaints fall under things that could be handled with dialog between the DMV and the art car. None of this ever needed to go to social media. I shouldn’t have any commentary on the situation that should in any way be relevant to the discussion. However, the way that these kind of things work is that when you get a bunch of messages through the official channel (i.e. email), you address the complaints seriously, and it is unlikely that you would assume they weren’t all unique complaints and not a few people making many complaints. Frankly, speaking, I don’t think that that these alleged people would need to use sock puppets. I think they got enough people to chime in who saw the art car at least once on the playa to make the stir they wanted to.

    Obviously, I think most of the reasonable folks will see there decision as a little heavy handed, but it sends a clear message to the other art cars. Follow the rules that the DMV makes. They aren’t loose guidelines. The Plug and Play camps is a straw man to this discussion. The DMV doesn’t care about the Plug and Play camps. The DMV cares about a decomdification issue that fell under their jurisdiction. They care about a sound policy issue that fell under their jurisdiction. They only care about making rules that get things done when it comes to the vehicles driving around. They just had someone die relating to one vehicle, so even if this incident isn’t that severe, they need to be able to make rules and have people follow them if they determine that they are important. If the rules end up too heavy handed, than there can be discussions, or people volunteering in the DMV to change heavy handed rules from within. That is the nature of the do-acracy that burns usually are. You can’t always just shrug and say “they signed the waiver” or “the back of the ticket says injury or death”. You want to create a fantastic environment with safety measures in place that no one even knows are there.

    I think that this whole situation is charged such that a lot of good discussion will be had all across the forums and social networks about sound policies as they relate to art cars. Maybe it will drive some change, maybe it won’t.

    I think that unless new blood is making its way into the ranks of the higher up parts of the departments and/or counsel, than you will continue to see similar handling of situations as they pertain to burning man.

    I personally think that the future will be at the regional burning man events. The hydra has already split, and you are already seeing successful events being run on a smaller scale that reflect lessons learned at BM and regionals all over the world.

    The ORG is only hurting itself by acting more or less unilaterally. This incident wasn’t handled very delicately and only time will tell how it effects everything as it trickles down. Then again, I’m only basing this off of the accounts here, and not fact checking sources, etc. I have no reason to doubt the email correspondence though.

    I don’t think its a big conspiracy though. I think the ORG is very blatantly doing things that go against the theme of what the event has been trying to build for years. The view from the top might look different to them, but I think there are a lot of people who would love to see this event continue safely (indefinitely). Just like the art we burn though, there is beauty in destruction. There is beauty in rebuilding a city from nothing. We don’t need the ORG anymore if it comes down to it.

    Liked by 4 people

  25. I’m shocked but not shocked that simon the troll is behind much of this. The guy is an incessant keyboard jockey, but this is too damn far. Shame on you simon for taking it to that level. With that said, what is wrong with all of you?? It’s freaking BURNING MAN!!!! If you don’t like the sensory overload that makes that place so insanely amazing then my god! STAY AT FKNG HOME. We won’t miss you. Really. We won’t. I promise.

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    • The titles of the posts state the matters in a most proper manner, ‘Dancetronauts: Too Loud For Burning Man’, and ‘Too Loud For Burning Man Part II: Dictators in a Dysfunctional Dystopia’. It is most apparent the answers in regards of these queries is yes, the BMOrg, and many Burners, are of the belief they are too loud for the new Burning Man. In addendum, of the same manner, the Doof Warrior would not be permitted at the new Burning Man, the sound is too loud, and the fire is most dangerous.

      Burning Man priorly was of a cacophony of fire, and of sound, and of anarchists whom do not desire authority, and of what in bloody hell might be occurring, the ‘freaking BURNING MAN of sensory overload that makes that place so insanely amazing’, of which Malia states. The new Burning Man is purposed towards spectators, whom complain the fire troupes are of too long of a time, the man burn is of too long of a time, the sound is too loud, and all rules must be obeyed might you desire to be in good standing.

      It is required of the EDM sound mutant vehicles to park at 6:00 of the man burn, purposed to point their speakers towards the opposite of the city, all whom are not newbies know in regards of the sound is most loud at 6:00. But most are newbies, or near to newbies, thusly argue for space in the front of the EDM sound mutant vehicles, without being of the knowledge of the man burn, and most especially, after the man burn, it is bloody loud at 6:00. The Dancetronauts parked in the most proper manner, at 6:00, behind of other mutant vehicles. They were a tad too loud of when the fire troupes occurred, of which, they stated an apology. And, of when the man did not fall, and burners were leaving, they turned their sound bloody loud, made attempts toward gifting a track, and they were not within control, in the manner of the prior Burning Man, of fire, and of sound, and of anarchists whom do not desire authority, the freaking BURNING MAN of sensory overload. The were not of the realization of this is the new Burning Man, the rules are most important. Thusly, they are banned for a year, perchance more, and they must lick the arse of the Borg, in the manner of numerous apologies.

      The shark has been jumped.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Simon didn’t post the first complaint on eplaya. It was someone who rarely complains about anything. Simon, among others, did say to email DMV if you were upset.

      Snark on eplaya is a culture unto itself. If Simon posted ‘time for the torches and pitchforks’, a common snark to complaints, this blog would have cut the out of context post and opined that Simon was calling the masses to torch the Strip Ship and impale the Dancetronauts.

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  26. One of those douche bags raped a friend of mine… They’re whole attitude and “contribution” has been an assault on the burning man I once knew and loved. Good riddance….

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  27. No one is banned for life. Please stop whining about a group that self-admittedly lacked the ability to enforce the Burning Man principles. Their absence is allowing some other camp to have an opportunity to radically express themselves. If Dancetronauts truly feel bad about the BMOrg DMV decision, they can spend a whole year interacting with the community by holding fundraisers (for the fire conclave they “unknowingly interfered with” and support a future temple project they will pledge to not impinge upon with their sound.) I honestly can’t even finish this article because of the self pitying whining and crying about not getting approval. Burning Man is no longer as renegade as it once was. Get over it and comply or start your own goddamn Playa party if you have so many sound groupies like RobotHeart did with Further Future.

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    • Nobody said anyone was banned for life. There is no difference between “banned for a year” and “asked not to come back for a year”. Will it only be a year? I guess we will find out next year.

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    • I like your taking this as inspiration to be creative. Repeating anything is, well, uninteresting, be it fire conclave or dancing in front of speakers. Surprise me. When you seek the same, instead of something new, you are wasting space. And we have 5 billion people who are doing that already.

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    • ‘ Get over it and comply or start your own goddamn Playa party if you have so many sound groupies like RobotHeart did with Further Future.’

      I was most curious of when the statement of ‘Might you not like it, start your own festival’ might occur. I am of the belief of this is a most awesome idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Damn, who has time to read ALL that? Better yet, who cares…. I don’t! Poor bastards don’t get to cruise around blasting crappy beats with space babes frolicking about. Boo freeking Hoo

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  29. DMV approval is a finite resource, yes? Meaning that, due to the size of the city,not every car that applies can get a pass. If your vehicle does not follow the decoration rules, you won’t get a pass that year. It seems reasonable to me that if you don’t follow other rules, you might similarly get denied a pass. I may be misunderstanding, but nobody has been “banned” from Burning Man. A vehicle has been denied DMV approval for a single year. They can still bring their sound and vehicles – they just have to leave them parked in camp.

    (I’m not arguing that Dancetronauts deserve consequences while other camps have no punishment, just that I don’t think denial of DMV approval is an unreasonable consequence for complaints.)

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    • Gotta agree with Halcyon on this. Mobile Sound Assault Cars (aka Mutant Vehicles) have gotten out of hand in the past. 2012 was particularly bad, but this past year things seemed a bit better. I chalk that up to most vehicles following the rules, but it also takes enforcement for those rules to have any meaning.

      I missed Dancetronauts two bad nights/hours, but won’t miss them on playa next year. Frankly, I wouldn’t miss ANY camp or vehicle. We should never take anything for granted out there, we cling to tradition despite the event being about cacophany and immediacy.

      If you go to the playa because you really want to dance at a particular stage or on a particular art car, please sell your ticket who wants to bring art to the playa. Give your ticket to someone who wants to do something unique and fresh and fun and new. Burning Man isn’t a rave, and already does plenty to coddle high maintenance jet set crowd. Any time some loud ass car gets banned the whole city benefits. Any time some jaded old burner doesn’t go because his old toys aren’t allowed, that’s a good thing. Let someone new in.

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      • “If you go to the playa because you really want to dance at a particular stage or on a particular art car, please sell your ticket who wants to bring art to the playa.”

        Thank you for saying this, it’s been at the back of my mind during this whole thing. So many people freaking out that their favorite sound car won’t be there this year are really missing the point of the event, in my opinion. Burning Man is not (or shouldn’t be, any way) Disneyland where your old favorites are there waiting for your return. It’s a temporary city that gets built and razed over a few weeks. The BEST thing about the damn event is not knowing what to expect year after year, or even during the week as schedules become moot, and that aspect is getting harder to maintain, both because there are more and more mainstays on the playa, and due to the incessant pre-burn documenting of the upcoming art (in Kickstarters, the damn Burning Blog, Instagram, etc) so that hardly anything is a surprise anymore.

        This aspect is only tangentially related to the issue at hand, but I’m glad it’s been raised. And I also appreciate Halcyon’s comment. There are PLENTY of art cars denied licenses every year for all kinds of things FAR less egregious than what happened with Dancetronauts TWO YEARS IN A ROW. A car a few spaces ahead of us in line at the DMV in 2009 got denied after hauling the thing out there simply because the hood wasn’t concealed enough and still looked like a car hood. I’m in favor of that kind of rigor, because otherwise it’d be a shitshow (more than it already is) of half-assed jalopies cruising around. And for the same reason, I’m in favor of the (sudden) rigor around enforcing sounds regulations for sound cars. It’s long overdue, for the reasons many have stated here about the every increasing ubiquity of blasting EDM. And I LIKE EDM, but Christ already. I’d feel the same if it was any kind of music, as soon as it overpowers the event, something needs to be done to ease it back.

        And dude, I’m a fan of your blog, but the these last two posts really went overboard, to the point where I’m concerned with your mental state.

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    • I think your point is fair enough, and there is no need for me to argue with it. Especially since Dancetronauts have owned up to the problem and are not protesting. But looking at the way this has all taken place highlights some much bigger problems in our community – the attitude of some of the Founders towards EDM and Burners in general, the threats and malicious social engineering from ePlaya, the lack of transparency, and the injustice of plug-n-plays getting a pass while Burners get punished hard for relatively minor indiscretions.

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      • I’m going to take issue with the things you said here.

        “The Dancetronauts owned it and aren’t protesting.”
        They should own it and they shouldn’t protest. They were warned about the noise, put on probation, they violated their probation and they were scalping Early Entry passes. Because they apologized shouldn’t mean anything. I guess we’ve gotten to the point in our society, that an apology for doing something wrong is now considered extraordinary. To me, apologizing for doing something wrong is a minimum standard. You don’t get credit for apologizing when you do something you were told. It to do. Someone shouldn’t be praised or excused for doing what is expected. Because they admitted their mistakes and apologized means just that, it doesn’t mean that the punishment is lifted.

        “But looking at the way this has all taken place highlights some bigger problems in our community…”
        Exactly. This was an issue between the DMV and the owner of the Dancetronaut sound car and their stages. The first post and the ping back were something out of Fox News, full of innuendo and conclusions drawn from a preconceived position. Posts from ePlaya and social media aren’t facts. Following those posts with comments such as, let the hate begin or, keep the hate going, is just plain wrong. To me, hate is a pretty strong term, it might not be to you so we might be arguing semantics, but why are the people that don’t like the music and the volume haters? How is their action of going online and expressing how they can’t stand the noise any different than you posting their comments to point out that they’re “Haters” (which, I’m assuming you’re using that term as a pejorative). When someone says they don’t like something, that’s theirs. They own it. They possess it. You can’t say they’re wrong. You can say, that you like it. That’s yours. But when someone says they don’t like something, you have no right to any other statement without actual facts to support your position. You offer no proof that the BORG has it in for these people. Zero. Just a lot of suppositions and prejudice. You’ve become the lynch mob you accused the BORG and the Haters of being.

        “…the attitude of some of the Founders towards EDM…”
        Fire and art are everywhere, but I only need to look the other direction and it’s gone. I can move if I don’t want to see something. I can step back if the fire is hot. I can be a quarter mile away and the fire is nothing but a distant light. But EDM is different. EDM forces itself upon you, there is no way to escape it. It pervades every aspect of Burning Man. It is 24/7 and relentless. It is the one thing that is brought to the playa and affects everyone’s burn. People will have strong attitudes about it, because it’s imposed upon them without their say. So, I say all that to say, deal with the attitudes. Expect pushback. You’re forcing it on every person there.

        “…malicious social engineering from ePlaya, the lack of transparency…”
        Innuendo. If you have something other than social media posts to support your claims of maliciousness, like internal emails, then post them. Otherwise, you’re the one guilty of malicious engineering when you toss out a comment like that, as though it’s a fact we all accept.

        “…while Burners get punished hard for minor indiscretions.”
        Gosh… I have so many issues with that. Just because someone goes to Burning Man, does that make them a Burner? What’s a Burner? To me, a Burner is someone that adheres to the Ten Principles. The playa is the place to be introduced to it, but if you never go back, are you still a Burner? If you go every year, spend a lot of your own money and it’s nothing more that a dusty, dirty, weeklong Electric Daisy Carnival, are you a Burner? I think it was you in the first post that said they go to EDC and NASCAR promoting Burner Culture… I’m sorry, that’s not promoting Burner culture. That’s raising money. Nothing more. It’s not bad and there’s nothing wrong with it, but let’s be honest. The sound cars have become competitive and it’s about raising their profile to generate money throughout the year. Let’s see their transparency. Where are their books? Did 100% of the funds from EDC, NASCAR and the Other festivals go back to the playa? Was any money made? When you feel the need to mention they brought the #9 DJ and quote listings from Forbes, you’re not being very burner. It’s monster trucks. It’s drag racing. Draw any analogy you want from the default world. I have no issue with the sound cars playing festivals and making money. I hope the kill it. But please don’t hold them up as the paragon of virtue while trashing the people that put on the event. They weren’t there on Baker Beach, so depending on your perspective, they are either changing the event or destroying it.

        As to the issue of them being punished hard? My Lord, that’s a tough punishment?

        I do agree with you on the issue of PNP. For me, it’s the same with kids. If you can’t be responsible for yourself, you shouldn’t be there. Kids are dependent on their parents. They don’t plan. They don’t prepare. They’re more an accessory for the parents self image. They can go as a family when the kids can be radically self-reliant. If they don’t experience the play until they’re old enough to, it won’t stunt their development.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I agree with most you said, but understand that “I guess we’ve gotten to the point in our society, that an apology for doing something wrong is now considered extraordinary,” is a precedent set by the BOrg. Note how they have established the coinage of apology in lieu of action. They apologize for commodification, and do more of it. Confusion is inevitable. Those confused just don’t understand that what is good for the gander, is not good for the goose – at least if the goose has not maintained their “inner circle” rights.

          Dancetronauts just thought they had earned the right to play the posturing game, while doing what they want and commodifying their efforts with promotion if not actual fees for their “gift.”

          BTW, next time I am coming toward you on the highway at night with my high beams, I want you to know that the extra light is my gift to you!

          Like

          • I don’t see the BORG using apology in lieu of action, an event like this has to be a nightmare to run and I’m comfortable with the notion that they’re basically good people, trying to good things and from time to time, there will be inconsistencies. I’ve done the planning for and worked at Super Bowls, World Cup Soccer finals, NCAA Finals and they pale in comparison to something like this. Their (the other big events) only goal is to get the event done and make as much money as possible.
            Zero principles.
            Zero transparency.
            Something like the Man is already logistically complex, then add in the Ten Principles you’re trying to adhere to while everyone is armed with a keyboard and self righteousness. It’s got to be a fucking nightmare.

            I worked for guy that was a union rep. Daily, people would call with any perceived slight being portrayed as the greatest injustice of all time. He would quietly listen to them, they would go on and on about how so and so said this or didn’t do that… Just like this whole Dancetronaut issue. Then, when they were all done, he’d say:
            “OK man, thanks for coming by.”
            They’d say, “Wait? Aren’t you going to do anything?”
            He’d say, “Man… You got fucked. You got fucked real good. But you know what man? You’re not the first guy to get fucked around here and you’re not gonna be the last. You may not like what happened and maybe you could show that someone somewhere don’t follow all the rules. But you gonna be just fine.”

            Not sure how to take the brights in my eyes, but I’ll be sure to wear my shades when driving at night. 🙂

            Like

          • The BOrg has apologized for Caravansicle commodification and promised transparancy, but has done the opposite, to name only two.

            The astounding difference betweeen the events you name and the NV burn is that most all people come to the burn because of the other burners and what they bring, as a gift. In your events, they can piss off as many people as they want and they will still sell tix simply because of the event.

            Not the same with the NV burn. If enough of the gifting burners (art, theme camps, MVs) fail to show, the event will collapse – or turn into an EDM event. So, the BOrg have a Minister of Propaganda, and have preservation of their positive facade as a top priority. They don’t have to do what they say, only present an image that gives the proper impression to keep the gifting burners coming.

            Like

          • Well, I just disagree with you. I don’t see the BORG in the same light as you.

            With regards to the events I was using as comparison, my point was that these are some of the highest profile events in the world and the organizers give zero fucks about any principles or the participants, beyond getting their money. The BORG have a tougher job to do than the other event organizers. The logistics and adhering to a set of principles makes their job really tough. My point behind that, was, I’m ok with the occasional inconsistency.

            Like

          • We all have our own perceptions of the world, the NV burn, and the BOrg. What I have learned about the BOrg, including direct correspondence with Will Chase, and the flagging if my FB profile, has risen to the level where I don’t expect to ever gift to the NV burn again.

            That it has not risen to that level for you is your perception, and your decision if you continue to gift at the NB burn. Of course going as a spectator, like the events you cite, or the CCamp people and others who don’t respect the Tin Principles, does not require you make any personal contributions or gifting.

            For those that still go to the NV burn, you would have to answer the question if what you have learned about the BOrg has increased, maintained, or decreased your level of effort in gifting. The sum of that is how much Burning Man can be found there.

            Like

          • If you have to discount my perceptions and direct experience in order to maintain your perceptions and level of commitment, that speaks for itself.

            Like

          • Considering others’ perceptions as discountable opinions simply because you do not agree is group-think. You live in a very limited world.

            Like

    • ‘DMV approval is a finite resource, yes?’

      My belief is the BMOrg owes transparency upon the details of the finite resource towards the mutant vehicle owners. The mutant vehicle owners are spending thousands of dollars of their cash on their mutant vehicles, the BMOrg pays near to $0 to the mutant vehicle owners, and the mutant vehicle owners are most concerned in regards of might they not gain the desired licence. What might be the number of day licenses, for the playa, for mutant vehicles of car size, or bigger, and what was the number within prior years? What might be the number of night licenses, for the playa, for mutant vehicles of car size, or bigger, and what was the number within prior years?

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Just more repetition and half truths and spin. One: first you say the complainers don’t know what they are talking about because Dancetronauts didn’t play at the temple burn. Must be a smear campaign. Even after posting the email that specifically mentioned the complaint was playing too loud at the temple period.

    Then you make the conclusion that we are all part of a conspiracy because the dancetonauts didn’t play at the temple at all. Which wasn’t even what Travis was saying; he also erroneously interpreted ‘playing loud at the temple’ to mean ‘playing loud at the temple burn’. What Travis did not apologize for was playing loud at the temple, nor did he say they did not set up by the temple. In fact, a couple people mentioned that after Alien Siege burned the DJ announced they were going to the temple.

    So read a bit slower and stop coming in pre-biased. They blew it, didn’t get an MV invite and weren’t invited to play at SF Decomm. After also being warned the year before about sound levels at SF Decomm. Too bad. The members are not ‘banned’ even if one email from DMV did refer to ‘Dancetronauts ‘ instead of ‘Strip Ship & Bass Barge’. Get over it already.

    Like

  31. Pingback: Too Loud For Burning Man Part II: Dictators in a Dysfunctional Dystopia — Festival Fire

  32. It’s not about the ban but clearly about the process, the violent threat by this Simon dude being unsanctionned , the untransparency ..etc
    Maybe they deserve the 1 year ban, even though I don’t think it is a solution to the problem.

    The main information is that some Burning Man founders should retire

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Holy crap dude. You must have a ton of time on your hands. I wouldn’t apply for a job with cliff notes. I applaud your thoroughness but I have to tell you, no one has the time to read this stuff.

    I’ve scanned social media and the two things I find are one group who think Dancetronauts got exactly what they deserved and another group who think the DMV went too far…until they find out what actually happened.

    What is most interesting is Dancetronauts appears to be in the first group. They have said the accusations are true. They have said they knew they were on probation. They have said they negatively impacted other people’s burn and behaved in an inconsiderate manner. They have further accepted the ruling of the DMV and said they have learned from the mistake. I hope the car returns next year. They are welcome to attend this year. No one was banned. The car didn’t get a permit.

    If there is “hatred” and mistrust pointed in your direction, why do you think that is? You might learn something from Dancetranauts about accepting blame.

    And now…

    NPD…drink!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Pingback: Dancetronauts: Too Loud For Burning Man? Part I [Updates] | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

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