Comfortably Commodified

Trends-hunter has hunted out the latest trend for the ultra-rich: Commodification Camps at Burning Man. They have interviewed a personal “festival concierge” who gives us the low-down on the 10 or so “Super Luxury” Sherpa Safari camps that charged up to $25,000 per person.

(note: just because an image appears in Trends Hunter’s story, doesn’t mean Burners.Me is accusing that person/camp of being about Commodification. Readers, please understand blogging, it is a technology to discuss what people are saying at other sites on the Internet. When we quote someone, it’s them saying it, not us).


Burning Man 2014 the playground for young billionaires

For the past 5 years the most influential men of the Silicon Valley have elected Burning Man to be there new playground, investing millions of $ in extremely conformable camps, Art Cars and grandiose musical stages. Burning Man has become the must-attend event for the the young billionaires of the Fortune 500 companies…The pioneer of these luxury camps was the Robot heart camp which was setup by a hip New York based radio station, it has now become the place to be for sunrise after parties in the Burning Man desert, inviting great names such as Diplo, Skrillex, …

Once again this year Burning Man has shown it is a true representation of modern day society, with novelties in terms of outrageousness well illustrated by the White Ocean camp launched by the young russian billionaire Timur Sardarov and his friend Paul Oakenfold the well known New York DJ. The budget of the camp was far above $1 million with entry fees at $25,000 a head. About ten or so of these camps were grouped together at 10 o’clock at the extreme end of Black Rock City, and challenged each other with amazing DJ sets to the great pleasure of the rest of the Burners community. These self-financed camps by the participants have invested over the past years tens of millions of $ in the event. Burning Man has become a certain piece of the show-up for these young billionaires, [whose] means are unlimited.

When the sun sets on the playa we find the Art Cars of the biggest camps, some of them can even take aboard over a hundred passengers on three levels, cruising along, throwing flames, laser and light shows in an ongoing hubbub of raging decibels. With one objective in mind surpass your neighbour in size and creativity. These vehicles are straight out of Mad Max, Star Wars or even Disney…The arrival of these billionaires has created some unrest amongst the events traditionalists. As they setup their camps on very high comfort levels to satisfy their needs for services in a somewhat awkward setting. This is why we [find] ultra luxurious camping cars, countless sherpas, cooks, make up artists, masseuses, costume makers, mechanics, sound engineers, body painters and even luxury concierges to satisfy their needs and coordinate and guide these very wealthy burners. And obviously guarantee they enjoy the experience with maximum comfort.

[Trends-Hunter] were lucky to hook up with THE luxury concierge who is a specialist in this event and it’s Project Manager “AS”

What is a luxury concierge for an event such as Burning Man?

Our objective is to guarantee a high level of confort for our clients, that will allow them to enjoy the festival in ideal conditions.

One should not forget that the festival is set in a desert at an altitude of 2’000m that day temperature easily rise to 40°C and drop to 10°C at night. There is no running water, no electricity no cell-phone network, add to that the occasional mini sand storm, they are truly rough conditions, and it takes precise preparation to accommodate the confort required by our clients. This is precisely where our expertise in this event comes in to cater our services to our clients.

After a one to one briefing with each one of our clients we define their needs depending on the way they want to experience the Burn. It is truly a unique experience that every person likes to live in his or her personal way, we don’t want to interfere or influence the way they want to experience the Burning Man festival. We simply come in to set up the infrastructure they require. Once on-site our clients are like all other burners and are on their own. We happily assist them if needed but in no ways do we babysit them.

Whatever the level of confort you are in Burning Man remains a tough experience on an emotional and a physical level for every person that lives it.

How do you arrive at the BM?

Originally everyone arrived by the road that comes from Reno, but because of the sheer size of the festival the traffic can become a serious issue and the last 100km can take from 8 up to 16 hours to reach the festival.

For the past few years the festival has set up an airport and therefore we recommend our clients to arrive by the air, private plane or helicopter. By the way the sky view of Black Rock City when arriving is truly stunning.

What are the living conditions in the camps?

The ten or so comfort type camps you find at Burning Man offer many different services to make the lives of their members easier, but they all carefully select their members to avoid having “tourists” amongst them and to make sure they keep a good atmosphere.

Most of the camps are equipped with RV, more or less luxurious and some of them are very large with many people aboard…The camps also provide running water, electricity, and waste water treatment facilities to guarantee the renters a high level of comfort in their new “home”. The vast majority of the RVs on the festival site don’t having these services and thus are only used for lodging purposes…

These camps also provide cooks, with for some true gastronomical chefs. Having a warm meal at Bruning Man is a real plus to keep a high level of energy. The majority of the big camps have a bar which is obviously free for the camps members and their visitors. Again all this depends on the each camp, in most extreme cases we will find sushi chefs and sometimes…. Caviar!

In some very geeky camps often setup by members from Silicon Valley they setup very expensive Satellite internet networks which they generously share with there new neighbours.

There are also more personalised services. Some rich burners require Sherpas, masseuses, make up artists and hairdressers and even personal coaches. The services are truly endless some get their RVs regularly cleaned and the same for their clothes.

What is luxury in the desert?

Judging by the fact that there is no water or electricity, that temperatures range from 40-45°C at day and 10°C at night with sand storms, and that there are no stores closer than a 3 hour drive… an RV can already be considered a luxury…

Therefore the above mentioned services are to be classified in the category of “super” luxury.

And the costumes? Who was the most beautiful?

A good wardrobe for burning man has to be made up of at least three costumes for the day and the same for the night. For daytime something light is great but a pair of goggles and respiratory filter can come in handy due to the frequent sand storms that kick up the Dust (really thin sand haze).

At night time indian costumes and fur coats are very trendy. Many female burners wear very edgy lace, latex and leather costumes which is very fetish style. All means are permitted to highlight the often siliconed physique of the female clubbers with amazing bodies.

It is key though to have something that doesn’t look like a dress up costume, and very often the ensembles are made to measure and one should set aside between 1000-2000 $ for a nice costume.

If I would like to come, how should I proceed? what is the minimum budget?

First and foremost get your hands on a one of the very rare 70,000 tickets. this year they were sold out in less than 30 min. You really need to be lucky to be amongst the happy few. Otherwise you will have to rely on the secondary market and prices can easily quadruple.

The minimum budget to go to Burning Man from Europe is 3’000EUR but that is going it roots style. You will need to spend 5’000 EUR to share a small RV with 4 people and in a camp with basic confort level. This for me is the minimum level to enjoy the festival.

On the upside there are no limits, budgets can easily surpass 50’000 EUR per week.

If you want more info, you can check

– Read the full story at:

Einstein Goes to Burning Man

by Whatsblem the Pro
[With apologies to James ‘Kibo’ Parry]



We’ve written before about the increasingly cultish aspects of Burning Man. Recently, a good deal of controversy has begun flying in the Burning Man group on Facebook over “plug ‘n’ play” camping, a scheme in which a Burning Man attendee pays to have a nice RV with all the amenities waiting for him or her when they arrive on the playa, parked in a fully-equipped theme camp that may even have paid hirelings to attend to their needs.

*      *      *      *      *

Albert Einstein showed up for his very first visit to Black Rock City, all ready for his hard-earned week’s vacation from the mathematics factory where he rolled fat numbers for corporate fatcats all day. “Home,” Einstein intoned nostalgically to the empty air as the grinning Gate people snap-tightened their filthy latex gloves and pulled him out of his car by his famous hair.



Later, having found his camp, Einstein settled into his plug-n-play RV to do some real math, for fun, like he always did on vacation. Last year he had flown down to Puerto Vallarta to relax by the seaside, and ended up inventing nuclear math candy. The year before, he’d gone to Banff to ski, and came home with plans for a new kind of television that would allow viewers to sense what was on the screen as a powerful burning sensation on the skin, so they could watch TV with their eyes closed (for a few seconds). He poured himself a big ice-cold glass of Krug, slathered a bagel with caviar and whipped cream, and settled in to think about times tables and other math things.

Just as he was about to come up with a Unified Field Theory of Bacon, Einstein heard a pounding on his RV door. “COME OUT OF THERE AND BE SELF-RELIANT,” boomed a voice through the layers of laminated plasticized chipboard that made up the wall of the behemoth luxury vehicle. The shock drove the lovely, elegant equations right out of Einstein’s head. Just as the final wisp of his Unified Field Theory of Bacon leaked out his ears, the door of the RV burst inward and disappeared in a hazy cloud of plasticized splinters, and a phalanx of bullhorn-carrying, angry-looking young people with terrible sunburns and cups attached to their belt loops on carabiners came barging in like they owned the place.

“WE ARE THE SELF-RELIANCE POLICE,” said the one who was obviously in charge to Einstein. Through his bullhorn. From a quarter of an inch away. Eleven times. “DEATH TO PLUG ‘N’ PLAY HERETICS!” screamed another, filth-caked fist held high. She was wearing a sandwich board sign with the Ten Principles written on it, and nothing else. “WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR FUDGY THE WHALE BLEACHED?” inquired a third, proffering a large mixing bowl full of what was apparently ass bleach. A fourth, grinning nastily, brandished what looked like a branding iron in the shape of a Burning Man logo.

Einstein was tongue-tied as they seized him, bound his wrists to his ankles (not with his tongue, thank god), and carried him outside to watch the group rummage through his stuff and set his RV on fire. As the flames rose and roared into the sky, they danced around the burning recreational vehicle, chanting “HO-LY, HO-LY, HO-LY FIRE! UNBELIEVER’S FUNERAL PYRE! HO-LY, HO-LY, HO-LY FIRE!”

“YOU SEE,” explained their leader to Einstein through his bullhorn as he wolfed down the great scientist’s entire week’s supply of bacon, “YOU HAVE TO BE SELF-RELIANT OUT HERE, OR YOU’RE NOT BEING A BURNER. WE CAN’T HAVE THAT; BURNING MAN IS A PLACE TO DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, SO IF YOU COME OUT HERE THINKING YOU CAN JUST DO SOMETHING ELSE INSTEAD, WE HAVE TO CORRECT YOU.” At that point, his bullhorn became too clogged with bacon to continue functioning, so he put it down and began putting the delicious strips of cured pork directly into his mouth instead.

When the fire had burned down to embers and they had consumed all his food and water and booze, the invaders stripped Einstein naked, shaved off all his hair, pointed him toward the open desert, and slapped him smartly on his ass (which now sported a cute, pink, clean-looking Fudgy the Whale, and a painfully fresh brand on one cheek). Einstein yelped and trotted out onto the vast, flat, talcum-covered expanse. “I guess I’d better get busy digging a well, or growing some food, or something,” thought the freshly-shaven genius glumly.

Just then, a massive, solid-gold, diamond-encrusted recreational vehicle to end all recreational vehicles pulled up right in front of him. The door swung open with a BANG! and a tall, spectrally-pale man in a really nice Stetson hat stepped down onto the playa, crushing an entire family of fairy shrimp with one stylish Tony Lama cowboy boot. He looked like the product of an unspeakable menage-a-deux between Marshall Applewhite and Boo Berry, the General Mills cereal ghost.

“Hi, Einstein!” said the man around his enormous Havana cigar. “I’m Larry Harvey! Welcome to Burning Man! Glad to see you’re being so self-reliant.”

An unspeakable menage-a-deux

An unspeakable menage-a-deux

Harvey snapped his fingers, and a large spider-like creature wearing a double-breasted suit and power tie on its ungainly arachnoid body scuttled out of the RV behind him, a folded piece of paper clenched in its terrifying mandibles. A smile seemed to cross the thing’s. . . face? as it thrust the paper rudely at Einstein, who grasped it gingerly between two fingers as though it might also bite. As the malevolent-looking horror retreated once more into the air-conditioned shade of the RV, Einstein clumsily unfolded the document in his hands while trying not to actually touch it.

A subpoena?

“Sorry about the lawsuit, Einstein, but we just can’t have people going around infringing on our intellectual property like that,” frowned the soft-spoken cult leader as he disapprovingly eyed the fresh brand on Einstein’s ass. “Oh, by the way,” added Harvey, his eyebrows raised in sudden afterthought, “have you done any good math lately? If you’ll read the back of your ticket, you’ll see that we actually own that, too. Don’t forget to register any Unified Field Theories of Bacon you happen to run across with the Math Mecca people!” And with that, Harvey gave a jaunty wave and vanished into thin air. The diamond-encrusted solid-gold RV chuffed disdainfully as its air brakes were released, and rolled off into the shimmering superheated distance.

Einstein stared dumbly at the subpoena, then at the brand of the Man on his ass, then at the subpoena again. He couldn’t do any relaxing vacation math without Larry Harvey and his friends taking ownership of it away from him, and his ass already belonged to them! Burning Man was ruined!

Or was it?

On the verge of tears over his sad plight, Einstein almost failed to notice the discarded bullhorn at his feet. Wonderingly, he picked it up, held it to his lips, and pushed the TALK button. His words came booming out of the bell, amplified into a stentorian command voice that sounded like it would brook no insolence from anyone: “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG.” Einstein lowered the bullhorn from his mouth and gazed at it, deep in thought, then looked up toward the horizon, where he could see a group of people erecting a giant wooden statue of Josef Stalin sporting an enormous hard-on. He looked again at the bullhorn in his hands, and again at the statue-erectors, and a grim, purposeful grimace stretched his ancient face across his skull. He knew what he must do. Burning Man was saved!