BURNILEAKS: 2018 Bureau of Land Management Cost Recovery

Thanks to our source for obtaining this paperwork. Once again, the details of ticket sales are completely redacted. Why is this considered a State Secret?

BLM are expecting their 2018 costs to increase by half a million. BMorg want to know why.

Both the 2017 and 2018 events were oversold by several thousand tickets.

Charts and Tables


Pershing County generates 7,300 cubic yards of waste in a year. Burning Man generates more than that every day.

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BMorg Outraged at $10m Bill for $42m New Revenues

The government wants to build a 10-mile fence to keep the Burners in a pentagon-shaped concentration camp.

The Burning Man Project wants to increase the capacity of Black Rock City to 100,000 people.

Locals object because of the trash and damage to roads and property (see Leave No Trace Has Become “Hide the Evidence”).

The BLM and local cops want more resources to handle a large population.

BMorg says the BLM’s demands would cost $10 million, and lead to “substantial” increases in ticket prices – which are already more than substantial for an event where the punters have to bring all the entertainment and facilities themselves.

The 10-year Permit for the event is at stake. This is needed for the largest event on Federal land to continue.

SFGate has a great article on it here

Among the contested changes suggested by BLM in the draft report, according to the Burning Man website, were:

— Federal oversight over certain parts of Burning Man‘s operations

10 miles of either plastic or cement barriers around the perimeter fence

Dumpsters within the city and along Gate Road for the 80,000 participants

— BLM-approved private security funded by Burning Man who would be screening for weapons and drugs for anyone entering Black Rock City.

One suggestion, labelled as “brazen” in the Burning Man staff statement, was that the group would pay for the maintenance of County Road 34, which takes participants to the entrance…

Further complicating matters is the fact that organizers are seeking a 10-year permit with BLM to continue to hold the event at Black Rock Desert, which has been “home” to Burners for 27 years. The environmental impact statement was done in part to look at the potential outcome if the event grows to hold up to 100,000 people, versus its current attendee numbers of 70,000, or not holding the event at all.

The field manager for the Bureau of Land Management’s Black Rock Field Office said its suggestions are “attempts at trying to solve problems” in comments to the Gazette-Journal, emphasizing that the report is not yet finalized

Source: SFGate

You can also read all about it in the Reno Gazette-Journal.

BMorg’s response is, predictably, to raise ticket prices. No matter that they are able to sell another 30,000 more tickets. At current VIP Price of $1400, that is an extra $42,000,000 revenue per year – plus handling fees, vehicle passes, and all that jazz.

Initial cost estimates for BLM’s recommended stipulations are nearly $10 million per year and would raise ticket prices substantially. Importantly, BLM would benefit financially from these increased expenses through their existing requirements to take a percentage of a permit holder’s gross revenue.

They couldn’t just keep ticket prices the same, and bank the extra $32 mil?

All the public documents are available from the Bureau of Land Management.

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Holmes Partied at Burning Man While Theranos Burned

Image: Daily Mail

Vanity Fair has a big story on Elizabeth Holmes, the Silicon Valley “world’s youngest female billionaire” wunderkind who turned out to be a fraud. It’s by the excellent Nick Bilton, who wrote about Burning Man and the tech elite in the New York Times in 2014 (and quoted us)

Before the company’s collapse, Holmes gave speeches at universities detailing…when she started Theranos in 2003, she had resolved to never, ever give up on the company, no matter what…“the minute you have a backup plan, you’ve admitted you’re not going to succeed.”…she would stay with Theranos even if it failed, determined to see her life’s work through to the end.

Holmes had always done things her way—she hewed herself to a diet of disconcerting green juices, wore a Jobsian turtleneck, and as I recently reported, walked around the office with a dog whom she repeatedly told people was a wolf, and whom she doted on even when he shat all over the company boardroom. Indeed, Holmes spent Theranos’s final days not in mourning, but at the biggest party on earth. As Taylor locked the door at the company’s lab in Newark, California, Holmes was roughly 375 miles away, dressing in white fur, with pink bug-eyed sunglasses, prancing around the playa at Burning Man with her boyfriend.

I learned this detail, along with plenty of others, after the publication of my recent article [which] struck a nerve with former Theranos employees, many of whom say they hate Holmes like a cartoon villain. One former Theranos employee reached out to me to recount how small and petty her lies could be…Holmes’s comment about being able to quote Jane Austen in a New Yorker profile was nonsense. In public, Holmes often attempted to appear well-read and scholarly, in a dreary New England sort of way, despite her single year of college. She touted the titles of works of philosophy that she had absorbed. According to this former employee, however, it was all fiction. Colleagues who questioned her about the canon found that Holmes’s intellect was mostly superficial. For this person, it was a harbinger of what was to come. “How is it that you can remember every word of Jane Austen but you say ‘I don’t remember’ 600 times during a deposition,” the employee asked me rhetorically, referring to Holmes’s now infamous pattern of response during a series of depositions with 12 attorneys from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Read the full story by Nick Bilton at Vanity Fair

https://www.wired.com/story/elizabeth-holmes-downfall-has-been-explained-deeplyby-men/

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6756663/Elizabeth-Holmes-engaged-hotel-heir-Billy-Evans-works-driverless-car-start-up.html

BMorg Finally Wakes Up To Culture Disaster: Is It Too Late?

Image: Business Insider, 2015

Ticket prices have gone up to $1400.

To distract us from that, there’s a huge blog post by Burning Man’s CEO Marian Goodell Cultural Course Correcting saying that after listening to several thousand people’s responses to a survey, they’ve learned that some Burners have concerns that Principles like “Radical Self Reliance” seem to be getting left by the wayside as the event catapults to celebrity superstardom.

As CEO of the nonprofit Burning Man Project, I do a lot of listening. People enthusiastically share their Burning Man experiences, ideas, and concerns with me. Lately, participants have been talking about some alarming changes in the culture of Burning Man in Black Rock City, and their speculation as to who and what is causing them…

After Black Rock City 2018, our Communications Team compiled examples of commodification and exploitation of Black Rock City and Burning Man culture. The report is 55 pages long. We’ve been observing some troubling trends for a few years, but this report stunned me.  

We have been sounding the culture alarm here for 7 years now, and so have many other Burners. Finally that message has filtered its way through the self-absorbed BMorg holocracy to the people at the top.

The solution? Keep VIP tickets, but increase their price even further, to $1400. Reduce the number of low-income tickets. Only offer 23,000 tickets (less than 1 in 3) to the general public, while beefing up the Directed Group Sale World’s Biggest Guest List to more than half the total tickets.

Here’s the 2019 ticket distribution.

Even with the price increase and all taxes and fees, it doesn’t get up to last year’s event revenue. Seems to be millions of dollars of stuff that’s not ice or coffee being sold out there, either that or thousands more tickets.

Note that every number is “approximately” and they have now admitted they oversell the festival by perhaps 7,000 tickets a year. So how “approximate” the limitation of 4000 VIP tickets is may never be known: seriously, the government is redacting that information in response to FOIA requests. How many VIP tickets Burning Man sells is a state secret…ponder that.

The camp “Humano” was named and shamed as having too much money and too many women who were both good looking and bored looking at the same time. Tickets to their hotel rooms were going for up to $100,000, and allegedly came with entertainment.

They had the classic “fortress camp” layout, that would have stood out like a sore thumb at Burning Man 1998.

Read the full story at Mashable

A lengthy Reddit thread devoted to Humano features various camp neighbors accusing them of “ruining multiple blocks” with MOOP and leaving trailers in areas zoned for other camps. There are also allegations that Humano’s packages were priced to include the companionship of multiple female models

Mashable was also shown unmet requests for refunds from Humano attendees who paid upwards of $130,000 for a stay in a luxury RV and didn’t get what they bargained for. 

And all this may be just the tip of the iceberg of bad camps. “There are a dozen other camps that have been sent warnings,” Goodell wrote. 


[Source: Mashable]

Burning Man Board members Jim Tananbaum and Chip Conley have previously attracted scrutiny and criticism for their opulent, exclusive, multi-million dollar luxury camps.

See this inside look at a Fancy Camp from 2015.

The #HumanoTheTribe Instagram hashtag sure has some purdy ladies. Maybe banning them is not such a smart idea. If these Instagram models are using Burning Man to promote a product, it’s hard to tell what that is because they’re not wearing very much of anything. I can’t see any brand names. I say comp them all VIP tickets. These pictures explain why Burning Man tickets are worth $1400 more than Marian’s blog post did.

Washoe Shoedown as Pershing Tensions Reach Breaking Point

The Pershing County Sheriff’s report for Burning Man 2018 paints a bleak picture. The cops can’t provide the coverage they need to because the event goes for months, not 7 days like the deal they cut in 2013.

The “liaison” person assigned by Burning Man has had to have the same legal process explained to them for 4 years in a row. The Sheriff understandably feels like they are talking to a brick wall, and are no longer going to engage with this person. Not a great sign.

Humboldt Medical, who got unceremoniously shoved out the door a couple of years ago, are now back as the vendor of choice for Burning Man’s medical needs.

Now we have the issue of Burning Man moving being re-assigned to Washoe County (where the city of Reno/Sparks is), which was just tabled at a County Commissioner’s meeting. Washoe are suggesting re-defining the boundary between Washoe and Pershing Counties so that Burning Man falls under Washoe’s jurisdiction. Effectively annexing part of Pershing County, NV for the benefit of a California corporation.

This would seem to make sense since the city of Reno have been enthusiastic about the cultural and economic benefits brought by Burners, whereas Pershing County’s nearest town of Lovelock are culturally against Burning Man and derive no benefit from the event, only costs.

Looks like there was another death this year, and plane crashes both this year and last year. Like so much of the Burning Man real news, this gets hushed up. Thanks to our source for all the information they have shared.


Pershing County Sheriff’s Office 2018 Post-Mission Synopsis

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Some highlights:










Burning Man used to take the ice sales from Arctica (and the tips given there) and use that to support local charities in Gerlach, Lovelock and the surrounding area. This has sadly been on the decline, as “BMorg the tax free entity” has risen to the fore.

Charity:

Here’s the breakdown for 2017:

Pershing County

For 2017, Burning Man Project made donations to Pershing County organizations totaling $13,500. These organizations and groups include: Pershing County Senior Center, Eagle Scholarship, Pershing County Community Center, Pershing County High School Athletic Department, Pershing General Hospital & Nursing Care, Lovelock Animal Shelter, Lovelock Frontier Days, Lovelock Lions Club, Friends of the Library, Marzen House Museum, Kids, Horses & Rodeos, Lovelock Food Bank, Lovelock Boy Scouts Association, Lovelock Little League Association, Pershing County Arts Council, Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, Lovelock Volunteer Fire Department and Project Graduation.

Since 2003, Burning Man has donated $468,350 to Pershing County organizations and charities.

I will be back sometime soon to bring you the 2017 Financial Analysis, based on the release of BMorg’s 2017 IRS Form 990