Burning Man 2015: By The Numbers Part 1

SR-71 Blackbird using Afterburner. Image: Wikimedia Commons

SR-71 Blackbird using Afterburner. Image: Wikimedia Commons

BMOrg have just released the Afterburn Report for 2015.

Some information that used to be provided, is now hidden. Here are some of the key details missing:

  • medical services visits, nature of injuries
  • arrests and citations
  • number of vehicles
  • number of aircraft at the airport
  • entry and exodus times
  • volume of ice sold
  • number of people watching live video stream

All of this was freely available in the past; it’s hard to see how BMOrg can claim to be “more transparent”, when they are sharing less information. Maybe now that they’re down one Minister of Propaganda, there will be a reduction in the Orwellian double-speak. One can only hope…


Here is a summary of what was released in the report.



67,564 paid participants. In 2014 this was 65,992 and in 2013 it was 69,613. The definition of “paid participant” seems to have changed between 2013 and 2014. In 2015 there were 68,000 tickets officially sold, so 436 people managed to get a ticket but didn’t show. Or, something went wrong counting them – however, the report says Ticketing and Will Call went super-smoothly last year. The Box Office line was never longer than 30 minutes.

There were 1150 placed camps, out of 1300 applications. What was wrong with those 150 camps? We’ll probably never know, which is a pity – because if we could all learn together, we could reduce the amount of mutual time wasting between camps, volunteers on the placement team, and BMOrg’s holocracy of a hundred-plus full-time busy worker bees. Assuming that some of the camps get rejected for some of the same reasons, that is.


BMOrg granted $1.2 million cash to more than 100 art projects on the Playa. They also provided in-kind support in addition to this $1.2 million.
This works out to $17.76 per ticket , or about 4.5% of $390. Seems like an increase from previous years, and we should know in a year or so if it’s true – when the IRS returns for the Burning Man Project in 2015 are released.
The Artery handled 1139 service requests on playa from art projects, a 50% increase over the previous year.
There were 326 art pieces; 75 of them incorporated fire art. There were 210 self funded projects and 56 “walk in” projects. Presumably this means the remaining 60 were the ones BMOrg had any involvement in: 18.4% of the total.
In 2014, The Man was 105 feet tall, and took a long time to Burn. In 2015, it was reduced to 60 feet tall.
There were 33 regional midway projects, with participants from 16 countries.


The Burner express brought 3,884 people in, and took 3,334 out. 250 people camped in the Burner Express bus camp.
Screenshot 2016-02-19 11.04.38
No word yet on if there will be any price hikes on bus tickets, additional luggage fees, or bike fees for the 2016 Medici theme. But it looks like this service is bringing in close to a million bucks.
There is also a Gerlach-Empire shuttle bus, though usage was modest. Total shuttle bus ridership increased 45%, from 85 passengers in 2014, to 123 in 2015.
17,000 Burners flew in through Reno airport.
88NV, the Burning Man Airport, saw a 30% increase in traffic. 2,330 Burners arrived this way – at $40 per head landing fee, that’s about a hundred grand. At its peak, the airport was handling 210 landings per day.


Image: Phillipe Glade, burningman.org

This year there were 631 yellow bikes. Someone donated 180 huffy bikes to the total.

527 came back like they were supposed to. 56 had been painted and 28 had been decorated. The bikes are supposed to be free for all Black Rock City citizens, not just free bikes for you to grab and claim as your own for the whole Burning Man. 20 of the bikes were stolen outright.
There were a total of 1,625 abandoned bikes. This works out to 2.4% of the population – about the same ratio as the portapotties. For each portapotty you see, there is one Burner MOOPing their bike.
How many of these were stolen? How many were from Burners leaving in the Burner Express, planes, or car-pools, with no room for bikes and no spare $50 for the transporation fee?
Fortunately, 200 of the retrieved bikes will be recycled back into the Yellow Bike program for next year.


This year there were more than 700 rangers – a veritable army battalion.
BMOrg worked closer than ever before with the Feds, achieving “Unified Tier 1 inter agency integration”:

BRC has relationships with Federal, State and County agencies including Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Highway Patrol, NDOT, Washoe and Pershing County Sheriff’s offices, the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and Nevada State Health, amongst others.

BRC works year-round with these agencies to ensure legal compliance and public safety at the event. In 2015, BRC led joint training and table-top exercises to further align operational process and interagency communication.

Also in 2015 BRC updated the Unified Command to a Tier 1 management process, joining all the bodies (both event and agency) together, ensuring safer management in the event of unplanned incidents. This system was tested thoroughly during the repeated whiteout conditions of 2015, and proved to be highly effective for event operations emergency management.


You may have seen the news this week about Apple fighting the Federal government over unlocking an iPhone related to the San Bernardino alleged terrorist attack – even though they were happy to hand over details at least 70 previous times. It doesn’t sound like BMOrg are going down the route of Just Saying No to the government, preferring total co-operation and integration of systems, Burner profiles, and databases.


The Playa Information tent had 130 volunteers, supporting 30 computer terminals.  There were 2,299 visitors to the V Spot, and 1,117 of them were connected with volunteer opportunities. 794 went to Burning Man teams, 155 to theme camps, 158 to art projects, and the rest were assigned MOOP duty.
The total number of Greeters was 850. 325 were pre-scheduled general Greeters, 50 or so were “walk-up” volunteers. 18 theme camps greeted as a group(425 people).
210 volunteered to be Lamplighters – 130 of them camping in the Lamp Lighter Village. They report that “the interdepartmental communication and cooperation is the best it has ever been”. There were 319 lamp spires and 917 lanterns total.
Tips from Arctica were donated to three worthy causes: Polar Bear International, the Gerlach Senior & Community Center and the Washoe County Family Planning Clinic. No information about who got what is available.


50 dump trucks working 24/7 serviced 1600 porta potties. That’s one WC for every 42 people, in case you were wondering (I was!) How does that stack up against Defaultia?
Screenshot 2016-02-19 10.54.53

Source: American Restroom Association

We’re about the same as a nightclub in Florida, and doing better than your average stadium.
At the company ranch in Gerlach, they stored 300 containers, 120 vehicles, and 30 semi trucks. The property operates entirely off the grid.
30 yard dumpsterThe recycling camp processed 5000 lbs of aluminum cans, 2 30-yard dumpsters’ worth. This was approximately 170,000 cans. Recycling them resulted in a $1500 donation to the local school.
The city burned through 20,020 gallons of propane. 17,673 gallons were used for flame effects in Mutant Vehicles, theme camps, and art projects. The other 2,347 gallons were used for infrastructure, utilities, and cooking.
According to the US Department of Energy, burning a gallon of propane produces 12 lbs of CO2 emissions. So that’s 212,076 lbs, or 106 tons of greenhouse gas generated – just for the art. And that’s not even counting all the non-propane burning, especially The Man and The Temple.
BMOrg did bring us exciting new news just over two months ago that they had listened to the community based on a petition last year to make Burning Man greener, and were starting a new chapter. This doesn’t merit a single word in the Afterburn, perhaps it is still “coming soon”. Maybe some of that $2 million a year vehicle pass windfall could be reallocated to habitat preservation or re-forestation projects.
Read more at burningman.org

Over at the Reno Gazette-Journal, staff Burning Man reporter Jenny Kane reports that the Medici VIP tickets sold out in less than a day.
The first 500 da Vinci tickets, a new tier of tickets that are three times the cost of the main tickets, were sold out as of Thursday morning, according to Burning Man spokeswoman Megan Miller. An additional 4,900 $990 pre-sale tickets, which were $800 last year, also were sold out by Thursday morning.
No comments on what happened to the other 100 of the $990 pre-sale tickets.  Jenny asks the question “will any of this windfall money go to art”? The claim is made that $1.5 million was handed out in art grants in 2015, compared to $800,000 in 2014 (actually, $911,955). Corporate PR supremo Megan Miller says:

“There’s definitely money from those revenue streams going to art grants,” she said, noting that Burning Man distributed $1.5 million in art grants last year, compared to $800,000 the year prior.

Part of the increase in net revenue may go toward another increase in art grant spending this year, although the organization has made no final grant decisions yet, Miller said.

Continue reading at Part 2 – Census Highlights

26 comments on “Burning Man 2015: By The Numbers Part 1

  1. Pingback: Burning Man – irlansyah1

  2. Pingback: Analysis: Burning Man Project 2015 Financials | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  3. THE PLAN:

    Step 1: Reform the free-form event into a non-profit, with condfidential obligations to and permanent control by founders. Have the event run by a for-profit subsidiary, BRC LLC, and IP owned by a separate founder-owned for-profit, Decommodification LLC. – DONE

    Step 2: Begin attendance commercialization with innocent/begrudging placement of Concierge/Commodification Camps. – DONE

    Step 3: Get burners to finally accept CCamp commercialization with minimal protest. – DONE

    Step 4: Begin event commercialization by commodifying burner participation into side show booths explicitly selected by Borg. – DONE

    Step 5: Expand art commercialization with the “DaVinci” sponsored-maker theme, while formalizing the sanctioned burner booths into the Piazza. – Planned for 2016

    Step 6: Expand sponsor presence by allowing them “earned” promotional (but not on-playa) recognition. Expand commercialization to more event-sponsored or sanctioned sales of water, food, bikes and other burner consumables. (Sell “sponsored” brand-name soft drinks for $9 each.) Formalize sponsor promotional revenues and event sales revenues to BRC LLC.

    Step 7: BMP sells BRC LLC to Disney or other entertainment company. Non-profit contributions continue to BMP, along with payments from BRC LLC to BMP (and the founders). Make political contributions as necessary to assure no legal problems.

    Step 8: Repeat Steps 5-7 for BMP-controlled regionals. Buy island or small country and repeat Steps 5-7.

    • Awesome comment, Nomad. A changed manner of your comment.

      THE PLAN:

      Step 1: Reform the free-form event into a non-profit, with condfidential obligations to, permanent salaries, and permanent control by founders. Have the event run by a for-profit subsidiary, BRC LLC, and trademarks, and IP, owned by a separate founder-owned for-profit, Decommodification LLC. – DONE

      Step 2: Begin attendance commercialization with innocent/begrudging placement of Concierge/Commodification Camps. – DONE

      Step 3: Get burners to finally accept CCamp commercialization with minimal protest. Gain cash, towards BRC LLC, in due of levies upon the outside site services desired by the Concierge Camps. – DONE

      Step 4: Begin event commercialization by commodifying burner participation into side show booths explicitly selected by Borg. – DONE

      Step 5: Expand art commercialization with the “DaVinci” sponsored-maker theme, of artists licking the arses of rich Patrons, for a tad of their cash, in a most trickle down manner. Pay solely less than half of the costs of the artists from the bloody $38 million of ticket sales, including of the Nevada Live Entertainment Tax levy. Require of the artists to sign a most horrible contract, of which, the contract is hidden, from burners, and from donors, in due of non disclosure contracts. Refuse to permit the artists to gain the credit of which they deserve in due of their art, the artists, and artist groups, are not permitted to brand themselves in due of their awesome art, all credit is to be gained by Burning Man(tm) brand of Decommodification LLC. Copyright of all images of the art of the artists is to be owned by Black Rock City LLC, and Decommodification LLC, not by the artists. The Burning Man Project, and, perchance, Decommodification LLC, is to gain cash in due of the images of the art sold on the Burning Man Marketplace, and, upon other places. Formalize the sanctioned burner booths into the Piazza. – IN PROCESS FOR 2016

      Step 6: Assimilate all Facebook groups, and web sites, discussing of Burning Man, purposed to halt free speech upon the decisions of the government of our Black Rock City. Utilize regional representatives, and others, within contract to the Burning Man Project, in the manner of brand managers for the Burning Man(tm) brand of Decommodification LLC, as hidden administers of all Facebook groups, and web sites, halting of any discussions of which the owners of Decommodification LLC might not desire. Might any Facebook groups, or web sites, resist assimilation, begin a competing Facebook group, or web site, utilizing the Burning Man(tm) name, of which, the owners of Decommodification LLC are of the ability to control in due of their Burning Man(tm) trademark is utilized. Boot any person whom desires free speech, and whom does not desire to be assimilated, from the Facebook groups. – NEAR TO DONE

      Step 7: Assimilate all regionals. Pen numerous rules, of which, the regionals must obey to throw a party utilizing the Burning Man(tm) brand trademark of Decommodification LLC. Require of the regionals to fill all positions, at random, in the place of building a community of Burners, and near to all tickets are to be sold in a random manner, in the place of building a community of Burners. Require of the elections of the boards of the regionals to utilize web voting, permitting any person not within their region to vote, purposed for the Borg to place their desired representatives upon the boards of the regionals. Assimlate the Facebook groups, and web sites, of the regionals in the manner priorly stated. Require of the regionals to pay tribute to the Borg, in the manner of art, piazza booths, or cash. – IN PROCESS FOR 2016

      Step 8: Gain land for a headquarters, paid for by their rich mates, in a Bohemian Grove manner. Retire to their cult headquarters, with their rich mates, entertained in due of all the monkeys dancing to gain their tickets to the burn.

  4. Kudos to the numerous awesome Burners whom put in over a quarter of a million person-hours to plan, build, and operate, Black Rock City for the 2015 burn, including GPE, BRC Rangers, DPW, artists, placers, BMIR, emergency services, will call, Artica, and numerous other awesome Burners. The 2015 burn was successful, it was an awesome event.

    In addendum, kudos to the Burners whom participated, the mutant vehicle owners and crews, the sound camps, other theme camps, fire spinners, and numerous others whom were not mentioned within the afterburn report.

    Kudos must be given to Gate, and to will call, whom, after the half day waits to enter BRC within 2014, changed their systems to be little wait at Gate, and at will call.

    • There were difficulties within the burn.

      The big difficulty was in regards of the horrible near to one day traffic wait upon the road into Empire, and Gerlach, the beginning Sunday of the burn. The afterburn report did not state the cause of the traffic halt, might it have been in due of numerous vehicles desiring to stop at the Empire store, and within Gerlach?

      The afterburn report mentions of difficulties in regards of the Borg utilizing the awesome BRC Rangers in the manner of sound police, in the Borg War on EDM, requiring of all mutant vehicles playing loud music to go to the DMZ, near to two miles from the First Camp of Larry, Marian, and Danger Ranger. In addendum, the afterburn report mentions of big mutant vehicles, and sound mutant vehicles, are not permitted within BRC at present, priorly it was awesome to view them upon the streets within the city.

      The Tier 1 Unified Command was the BLM, and the police, at their headquarters, desiring to be in control what was to occur within Black Rock City. Of which, within 2015, their Unified Command gained control of BRC operations in due of the rubbish weather emergency of dust storms. My belief is the BLM, and their police, should never have near to martial law over a city, the city government, and participants, should remain in control.

      Kudos to Hunter and the Census team for including the query of Prior Burning Man Experience. Number of Burns (including 2015), and for their labours in doing an accurate census. This query was not included within the 2014 Census, perchance in due of the sensitivity of the query. The Census states 35.8% were virgins, 33.1% had one, or two, prior burns, 11.1% had three, or four, prior burns, and 20% had more than four prior burns. In due of 67,564 paid participants, and near to 7,500 volunteers and contractors, this is of the meaning of near to 27,000 virgins, 25,000 people had one, or two, prior burns, and solely 23,000 people were of more than two prior burns, of which, solely 15,000 Burners were of more than four prior burns. It is most difficult to maintain a community in due of these numbers.

      The afterburn PR report did not state of the horrible manner of which some people treated the portapotties near to the end of the burn, placing much junk within them, and breaking doors.

      In the manner burnersxxx stated within this post, the afterburn PR report did not mention of many of the bikes mooped after the burn were stolen, from their owners. In addendum, the afterburn PR report does not include of the financial information of the burn.

    • In addendum, in regards of difficulties, the Borg is most sensitive in regards of playa art funding. They state $1.2 million, and $1.5 million, but, my belief is they are desiring credit in due of cash from other people, and in due of other groups. The costs of the awesome Temple of Promises were near to $300,000, but the Borg paid solely near to $75,000 to the awesome temple crew. The numbers for Embrace, within 2014, were most similar. Might the numbers of the Borg include art grants from the regionals, and the cash spent on the midway, by the regionals, and donations, by others, purposed for the art? In the manner burnersxxx stated, we might gain this knowledge in near to one year. In due of the 2016 theme of rich Patrons funding artists, in a most trickle down manner, the Borg might answer the query of what is the budget for art funding from 2016 ticket sales? in the place of funding the art from their near to $35 million of ticket sales, but they do not desire to do so.

      The Borg is hiding the 2016 artist contract, from the Burner artist community, and the artists must query themselves in regards of what is so wrong with a contract that the Borg hides the contract from the artists? My belief is it would be awesome might Ross Asselstine pen a guest post upon these matters, purposed to assist the artists gain a fair contract.

    • My belief is the biggest difficulty is in due of the Borg replaced the prior counter culture Burner community, changing Burning Man from a community whom threw the event in a bottoms up crowd sourced manner, to a festival controlled in a most top down manner. The 2015 Census is of

      Prior burns (number of people)
      0 35.8% (27,000)
      1 20.9% (16,000)
      2 12.2% (9,000)
      3-4 11.1% (8,000)
      5-7 10.7% (8,000)
      8-10 4.7% (3,500)
      11+ 4.6% (3,500)

      The Borg is curious in regards of the rationale of why we are most pissed in these regards. At the least, 25,000 tickets are within the directed sale of 2016, might the Borg have placed 25,000 tickets within the directed sale beginning within 2012, in the place of radical inclusion of numerous spectators attending an awesome festival, and the Borg taking many millions of dollars of cash towards their pockets in the place of paying the costs of others whom threw the event, it might be much different.

      • Another difficulty, stated within the 2015 Census, is in regards of Burning Man, at present, is a sausage fest, of 60% men, and solely of 40% women. An issue of much concern to women is festival bros, respect, and consent. Might penning the 11th principle of consent, or permission, assist in these regards?

        • the imbalace magnifies that old general expectation to get laid at bman, increases concerns about safety for women. I don’t think any changes will be made by those in charge.

  5. Some information that used to be provided, is now hidden. Here are some of the key details missing: medical services visits, nature of injuries, arrests and citations, number of vehicles, number of aircraft at the airport, entry and exodus times, and other information.

    Much information is of the ability to be gained by solely a request to the BLM, by Jenny Kane, or by others, whom desire to report upon these matters. Within the Burning Man 2015 Special Recreation Permit Stipulations, this information is of the ability to be gained by solely a request, the BLM website states it is not necessary to do a Freedom of Information request to the government, the BLM is to provide information prior of the need of a Freedom of Information request. It is easy peasy of the BLM to provide this information, of a simple copy of the information sent to to the BLM in due of these permit stipulations. (emphasis added)

    37. BRC shall provide BLM with an itemized detailed gross revenue report for all ticket sales, which will be itemized by category according to the BRC “2015 Ticket Structure.” This includes, but is not limited to each of the below identified categories:

    MISCELLANEOUS SALE (any other ticket sales/entrance fees/reentry fees or other forms of generated revenue for entry into the event)

    4. During the period of site occupancy (August 10, 2015 through September 21, 2015), BRC shall provide the BLM with the BRC population numbers within the event site each day, according to an agreed-upon reporting standard with the BLM. for historical purposes and press inquiries, BLM shall also provide the BLM with the recorded maximum population for the entire event (otherwise known as peak population). The BLM may request population data at any time during the event, and BRC shall provide that data immediately. Within 60 days after the event, BRC shall provide the BLM with detailed information regarding the number of staff and participants at the event site for the period of site occupancy (August 10, 2015 through September 25, 2015). This information shall include daily counts for both the non-event and event period. Starting May 7, 2015, and continuing on the fifth business day of every subsequent month thereafter, BRC will provide BLM with a 2015 paid participant documentation report. This report will include but not be limited to the total number of tickets sold to paid participants, wither at pre-sale, group sale, individual sale, OMG sale, low income same and miscellaneous sales. In addition, starting on August 24, 2015, BRC will provide a separate population documentation report for the total number of government personnel, emergency service providers, vendors, and contractors (e.g., service providers, staff, infrastructure contractors, art contractors, maintenance and operations personnel). The BLM may request additional paid participant data at any time prior to, during, and after the 2015 event.

    33. BRC’s medical contractor shall report daily to the BLM, and the Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health, providing a numerical breakdown of patient categories and transports, including a breakdown of reasons for transport, and no later than 60 days after the event shall provide to the BLM a written final statistical report of such medical cases.

    36. The BLM shall collect a commercial use fee from BRC for the use of public lands for the event. The fee, as set by regulation 43 C.F.R. & 2930, will be equal to 3% of the adjusted gross income derived from the use authorized under the SRP. … Determination of gross income will be based on all payments received by BRC and its employees or agents for goods or services provided in connection with commercial activities authorized by the SRP. This includes, but is not limited to, ticket sales, coffee and ice sales, fees associated with outside services and private donations received by BRC for management of the event on public lands.

    13. Commercial use … The BLM has a list of commercial use vendors, the person whom signed the BLM Special Recreation Permit, and the 3% commercial use fee paid towards the BLM, by the numerous commercial use vendors. The revenues gained by each of the commercial use vendors is of the ability to be calculated in due of the 3% commercial use fee.

    • In addendum, the Burning Man Project 2015 Consolidated Financial Statement is available to be viewed, at their headquarters, by any reporter whom desires to report upon these matters, including of the art grants to the playa artists. Near to the end of January of 2015, Jenny Kane requested the financials of 2014, but Megan Miller stated the financials were within an audit, thus, she was not of the ability to provide the financials. Within the PR release of the 2014 990 form, within November of 2015, the BMOrg stated the financials of the 501(c)3 public benefit corporation Burning Man Project are of the ability to be viewed by the public. My belief is of the financials of 2015 have priorly been audited within January, and the beginnings of February, and thusly are of the ability to be viewed and obtained.

  6. What is happening with the car pass money? Is this pure profit? Should we expect an RV pass, like other festivals, soon?

    • The top BORG eschelon will do 3 things with the car pass money: 1) roll around in it laughing, 2) light the bills on fire and use them to light cigars, 3) use it in their fireplaces on chilly nights

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