Avoid the Riff Raff and Fly In

Pilatus PC-12 at Burning Man. Image: Peter Ruprecht

Epic Experimental at Burning Man. Image: Peter Ruprecht

Playa Air Express have been serving Burning Man for more than a decade. A couple of years ago they flew my sister in, we were very happy with the experience and value for money. Now they have expanded their fleet and their routes. They are open for reservations now, book early as things will get crazy closer to Aug 30. Flights start at $475.

Here’s their latest newsletter.


from flypacificcoast.com:

PLAYA AIR EXPRESS 2015: Annual Burning Man Newsletter

Hello everyone and Happy 2015! We would like to take a special moment to thank all of our existing clients for flying with us after all these years to the annual homecoming on the Playa for Burning Man 2015, as well as welcome new clients who will fly with us.

During the past several months we have been developing more routes from desirable cities to fly directly into the Burning Man event, and we wanted to share the good news with you as you begin to make your travel plans. Along with the great news that JetBlue is expanding their services, and will now be offering daily, non-stop service from JFK to Reno, Playa Air Express has also expanded our services, aircraft fleet, and routes as well into Burning Man/Black Rock City (88NV).

Beechcraft King Air 200

Beechcraft King Air 200

We now offer a King Air 200 for non-stop service from the Los Angeles, Phoenix and Las Vegas areas!

  • Flights originating from the Los Angeles area direct to Burning Man, we will fly out of Hawthorne airport (Jack Northrop Field-KHHR) which is approximately 10 minutes from the LAX airport.
  • Flights originating from Las Vegas area direct to Burning Man we will fly out of the North Las Vegas airport (VGT) approximately 20 minutes from Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.
  • Flights originating from the Phoenix area direct to Burning Man we will fly out of Chandler, AZ, (Chandler Municipal Airport-KCHD) approximately 25 minutes from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International.
  • We will also have an additional aircraft positioned for our Bay Area routes direct to Burning Man which will be flying out of Hayward, CA. (Hayward Executive Airport-KHWD) approximately 30 minutes from the SFO and Oakland airports.


If you desire to travel to Burning Man originating from another regional city such as Seattle,Portland, Salt Lake City, San Jose, San Diego, or Denver please inquire with us when you submit your email to us. In addition, we can arrange jet charter services from many US locations and either connect you to a shuttle from Reno direct into Burning Man, or connect you to our other designated gateway cities to get you there as well. Helicopters are available as well.

We still offer our great air shuttle services from Reno direct to Burning Man with (2) five seat aircraft (depending on baggage) out of Atlantic Aviation which is a short 10 minutes from the Reno/Tahoe International airport.

Please email us for rates and scheduling information at burnershuttle@gmail.com.

We will begin taking reservations and answering questions for travel arrangements to the 2015 Burning Man event on Monday, April 13th, 2015. We look forward to continuing to serve all of your Burning Man flight needs, and we appreciate your business. Thank you.

Dionne Chinn

Playa Air Express | Pacific Coast Flight Solutions LLC.

Reno, NV. 89519





(775) 848-2030

If Radical Inclusion is more your thing, this guy will be waiting for you at the Gayte - naked and looking for hugs...

If Radical Inclusion is more your thing, this guy will be waiting for you at the Gate – naked and looking for hugs…

Private Concierge Service [Updates]

Once again, an idea originally introduced to this community as an amusing farce, has now become an established money-making service.

The Burning Man concierge is here.

From BurningmanVIP.net:

concierge girlsBurning Man Concierge Service is a product of The Key Group. We are an european company based in Geneva (Switzerland) and Luxembourg, specializing in Family Office and Private Concierge services.
From the begining, we always develop some new products in order to meet the specific needs and requests of our clients. Our dynamic team is used to treat the most eccentrics requests, while maintaining total privacy and also the safety of our clients.

Going further than just a supplier, we study the request with our customers to assist them in each project. Together We develop projects proposing some new ideas, extremely targeted to provide total satisfaction to our customers. Whether to make a personal dream, any urgent need, planning some holidays, or even to please your own clients in a Business to Business, our team will make every effort to surprise you.


Following the request of a group of clients, we decided to create this service of Burning Man Concierge Service to allow you to enjoy this wonderful experience in the best conditions of comfort you can expect. With a long experience in the major festivals around the world, our team will take care of everything for you, to let you live your Burn and keep a magical memories of this unique adventure !

bm weddingplanner

What sort of services are on offer, for those who like their Radical Self Reliance to be Immediate? Everything from holding your parasol to fetching you in a private plane and designing your own art car.

To enable our customers to make the most of their experience at Burning Man, we offer a concierge service that takes care of all the logistics of their stay, and which offers the best comfort you can hope for in a desert camp.

P.Diddy's girlfriend Cassie poses in front of the couple's Pilatus PC-12, a sweet ride to the Playa

P.Diddy’s girlfriend Cassie poses in front of the couple’s Pilatus PC-12, a sweet ride to the Playa

Example of proposed services :

– Arranging and booking of flights to Reno
– Welcome and support from the Reno airport
– Flight to Burning Man in a private plane
– Skydiving over the playa
– Survival pack 
– Establishment of a camp with electricity, water and satellite internet wifi connection
– Welcoming participants in some luxury RV, comfortable and air-conditioned (2 – 4 people per RV)
– Daily water supply for the RV
Private toilets for the camp
– Musical entertainment in the camp
– Organization of Camp central tent (decoration, sofas, beds)
– Supplies additional costumes and accessories for bike decorations
– Customized Art Car for all the group with BM authorized driver
– Cooks and fresh buffets for every meal
– Snacks 24/24
– Open bar 24/24 with fresh drinks and alcohol at discretion
Possibility of ordering goods and products from outside Black Rock City every day (+24h)
– Technician guard 24/24
Physical coach and 4 times per day sport training sessions at the camp and around the playa
– Massages on request provide by the physical coach
Photo reportage and editing a souvenir book
– Organize a goodbye party for 300 person (guest + friends) in the camp (DJ)

Extra VIP services :

– Study, design and creation of your own art cars
– Coordination of any artistic performance of your choice

[Update 8/10/14 1:44pm]

cue feather girl whiteTechnically, this is all perfectly fine for them to offer – just like Turnkey Plug-n-Play camping – as long as BMOrg gets their cut. The BLM takes 3%. Radical Inclusion, Radical Self Expression, dehydrated Sparkle Ponies and Leave No Trace butt up against Civic Responsibility and Radical Self Reliance and Decommodification and Gifting and Communist Ethics Communal Effort in one big, confusing, lucrative mess. Wash your own brains. The people giving you a ride on that public conveyance Art Car or displaying that giant fire breathing statue for your enjoyment might be there on one of these packages, so think before you hate. This is by no means the only private concierge service at Burning Man.

Commenter Nomad Traveler points out that this must be sanctioned by the BMOrg, like SK8 camp’s merchandise, since they are using the Burning Man logo.

http://burningmanvip.net must be a BOrg-sanctioned activity because:
a) it has the Burning Man logo;
b) it uses the “Burning Man” name in it’s title and domain;
c) it uses BM pix for commercial purposes;
d) they list a US contact: Los Angeles +1 323 375 0 735 usa@the-key.ch.

Otherwise, those add up to the sort of thing the BOrg has unleashed their lawyers on. Nope. I figure it is just another way the BOrg is cashing in.

[Update 8/11/14 9:22 am] Thought it was a troll? I told you, this is just one of several private concierge services I’m aware of at Burning Man. Some people objected to their music lineup because they took it from the BMOrg site. The true story is it was just satire, masquerading as fact, yet again: an April Fools Day post from Burning Man announcing the music lineup. A big farce. For just a glimpse of the real lineup, see our post on White Ocean and keep checking Rockstar Librarian for her guide.
fellowship-of-the-fool-09783It ain’t no troll people. This is the real deal: and for many wealthy clients, an indispensable service. Their personal assistant might not have Playa experience.
The Key Group have updated their web site to share their views on the negative comments this story has generated. Don’t hate, Burners! There isn’t some special device inside an RV or private plane that suddenly makes you “not” go to Burning Man. Radical inclusion means everyone is welcome, whatever their style – except haters. Haters should fuck off.
From the Key Group:

An article about our services has been posted on the website Burners.Me, causing negatives reviews from Burners.

More and more camps offer paid services to improve the comfort of Burners. This is not new. You can also have your RV directly delivered on site, and arriving by plane to avoid the long wait to get to Black Rock City. Burning Man Sanitation offers against payment to purge your RV to take advantage of your private toilet and showers. It is a part of the most pay services you can found at Burning Man, and actually probably reserved for Burners with a higher budget…

Through this website we offer to the Burners who want to be able to enjoy there Burn with a greater comfort. We do not sell the experience, it is personal and unique to each Burner.

Also we make a point of honor to explain the principles and ideology of Burning Man to our clients, so that they are participants and not spectators. We also ask our clients to take part in a community project of their choice.

We are surprised by so many negative reactions on the services we offer, and which already exists at Burning Man for several years. Moreover, the first principle of Burning Man is not the Radical Inclusion? Defined as such on the official website of Burning Man: Anyone May Be apart of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Finally it might be good to remember, as it is also mentioned in the article that those « wealthier » Burners help support and fund many projects that benefit the entire community. So please Think Before you hate!

Burner and Concierge Antoine had this to say in our comments:
Dear Burners,
I understand very well that some of you may be surprised (or offended?) by the creation of such a service, but as the article notes does well, more and more camps offer luxury services for rich Burners. We must also not forget that many rich Burners support artists, art cars, and many other projects that contribute to the magic of BM and benefit the entire community …
In our case, and as you can see on our website, we ask our customers to support in the way they choose a project for the community. We try to stay as close as possible to the spirit of BM. Also we explain to our clients the principle of BM, and the fact that there, no matter who they are or how rich They Are, that they remain Burners first. They should stay simple and open to everyone.
I think everyone is free to live his burn in its own way, and I do not see why rich Burners would have to play the poor’s to come, especially when we know that their wealth allows them to benefit others burners of their projects and their financial support. It would be so hypocritical to force them to live a life that is not theirs…
Have you ever seen someone restrict you to jump on his art because, or come and enjoy the DJ at a party on the pretext that it was the one who financed? Are what we should then think interdict the RV’s at Burning Man, because maybe some Burners are not afford to hire one?
Also you all probably know that Burning Man keeps work to thousands of people, from the Rangers to the RV rental companies (which also deprive themselves to double or even triple the price), people who build art cars, pilots that allow some Burners to come directly by plane, … And personally I think the more important for people who work around Burning Man is to stay the spirit first…
I’m a Burner first, and I want to preserve the spirit of BM as much as you, to continue to have the possibility to live this fantastic experience. I can promise you that I do my best to make our customers live BM as Burners and not as tourists, despite the luxury in which they can live it…
I really appreciate all your posts, thank you all for sharing your opinion, whether positive or negative with respect to our services, and it reinforces my idea of ​​renewed attention to the towards the importance of the integration of our clients in the spirit of Burning Man.
 Seems perfectly reasonable to me. But then, I know a lot of rich people. And a lot of them are Burners.

Not so Vogue?

vogue 2012 bm

French Vogue, 2012

Earlier this year, the San Francisco Bay Guardian brought us a 5-page story about Burning Man, written by Burner Scribe. We covered the story in The Spark of Controversy . We also highlighted the apparent hypocrisy of the BMOrg profiting from a photo shoot featuring an art car while using legal threats to stop that same art car from even saying that they’re going to be at Burning Man on their Web site, and demanding that they take down photographs of the art car at Coachella – covered in The Fishy Smell of Corporate Excess.

Well, last night a pretty high-level BMOrg insider told me that the Guardian got it wrong. Way wrong. Here’s what the original story said:

When I asked Brown about whether he paid the LLC for access and the right to use footage they filmed on the playa — something I know it has demanded of other film and photo projects — Brown paused for almost a full minute before admitting he did.

“We saw it as location fees. We’re making an investment, they’re making an investment,” he said, refusing to provide details of the agreement. “The arrangement we had with Burning Man is similar to the arrangements anyone else has had out there.”

Goodell said the LLC’s standard agreement calls for all filmmakers to either pay a set site fee or a percentage of the profits. “It’s standard in all of the agreements to pay a site fee,” Goodell said, noting that the LLC recently charged Vogue Magazine $150,000 to do a photo shoot during the event.

According to our source, that story is not accurate. In fact, Vogue offered them this much money, and BMOrg turned it down. Or perhaps, BMOrg named their price, and Vogue turned them down. Anyway, the exchange of $150,000 for a photo shoot for Vogue, apparently never happened.

The source did not want to go on record with this , but gave me permission to publish. Read into that what you will. If this is true, then it’s surprising that BMOrg didn’t try to set the record straight with an official statement.


The Pornj cone of Disorient – a beacon of high class debauchery

Vogue certainly seems to love Burning Man. They had a piece written by the lovely Disorient Burner Yvonne Force Villareal in 2009. There was a Burning Man photo shoot by David Mushegain in French Vogue in 2010. Burning Man was featured again in French Vogue in August 2012. There was also a Burning Man piece in British Vogue in 2010, and in Australian Vogue in 2011. A recent issue of Vogue has top designer Marc Jacobs naming Burning Man as his primary inspiration for his 2014 collection (fashion designer Manish Arora was also inspired by Burning Man for a collection he debuted at Paris Fashion Week in 2013).

Vogue has also just named Burning Man on it’s “New Social Calendar” of the places to be for the jet-set in 2014:

Burning Man, August 25-September 1
Once a hippy gathering in the desert, the Burning Man festival is now the number-one event to see and be seen at. Private jets fly in and out (with Google kingpins Larry Page and Sergey Brin sitting on two of them); Eugenie Niarchos, Bettina Santo Domingo and P Diddy frolic and play cricket in the sand; and everyone forms lifetime bonds.
Wear: As few clothes as possible.
Tip: Book a decent RV six months ahead of the festival.


google jet

Their 767 has hammocks and California King beds in each of their bedrooms. Seats up to 50.

There are almost no jets landing at the Black Rock City airport, out of 1000+ aircraft this year. I know of one Citation CJ2 that was brought in once, and there’s usually one or two Pilatus PC-12 turboprops. Larry and Sergei’s main plane is a converted ex_Qantas Boeing 767, called “a party airplane” by their CEO Eric Schmidt. They get discounted fuel from the Pentagon and NASA, and they have their own private landing strip close to their office, at Moffett Field (at least, until their own private terminal at San Jose airport is completed!)

Google's light attack jet - infrared detectors pick up Facebook grilled cheese sandwiches from miles away

Google’s light attack jet – infrared detectors pick up Facebook grilled cheese sandwiches from miles away

The 3 top Google executives own 8 private jets and two helicopters between them, they also have a 757, two Gulfstream V’s, and a fighter jet. I’m pretty sure they didn’t take any of this fleet to Burning Man this year. But hey, nobody reads Vogue for the articles, do they?

let me know if you see this landing at Burning Man

let me know if you see this bad boy landing at Burning Man. It would be quite the dust cloud

Personally I find Scribe to be a very credible journalist, and have difficulty believing that he could get something so important, so completely wrong. His book The Tribes of Burning Man is excellent. I know that he has recordings of the interviews he conducted for his story, and there is more that he did not yet publish.

Scribe this year wrote a piece from the Playa, saying that he was officially giving up his struggle to call for democratic leadership of Burning Man, or at least some form of representation of Burners in the decision making about our culture, as it relates to That Thing In The Desert.

this is the way it’s always going be, year after year, like a dusty Groundhog Day on acid. Only the numbers and faces of the citizens and the things we create for one another will change.

It’s perfect, right? No reason to change a thing. What God (or, rather, Larry Harvey) has created, let no burner presume to alter.

That’s an idea that most burners seem to embrace, despite the beloved pastime of veteran burners to kvetch and celebrate some storied golden age, whether it be 1986, 1996, or 2006. We all just appreciate the chance to build a city for ourselves each year and the leaders of Burning Man for giving us that opportunity, again and again.

And I’m now joining those who accept Burning Man as it is, hereby officially dropping my struggles against Larry, Maid Marian, and the rest of Black Rock City LLC board to create some form of representative or democratic leadership for the Burning Man and its culture.

me on bomb_0It’s been a lonely and frustrating crusade anyway, so I’m happy to be done with it (as I’m sure they are). I’ve been regularly covering Burning Man for my newspaper, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, since 2004. My reportage formed the basis of my book, The Tribes of Burning Man, which came out in 2011 just as the LLC board was being torn apart by internal divisions that they resolved by deciding to turn control of Burning Man over to a new nonprofit they were creating, The Burning Man Project.

“Why not act to change the world, a world that you won’t be in? And that’s what we want to do,” Larry told a roomful of grateful burners when he announced the plan in April 2011. “We want to get out of running Burning Man. We want to move on.”

The prospects of that change in leadership seemed exciting, and I imagined a council of veteran burners representing our community’s constituent communities – artists, DPW, sound camps, volunteers, art car makers, regional leaders, maybe the biggest villages – gathering around a table to plan the future of Burning Man. It might get messy, but things worth doing usually are.  

First, I took issue with Larry’s announced plans to create secret payouts for the six board members, but nobody except Chicken John seemed to care about that. The predominant view seemed to be that they had done us all a great service and they deserved whatever it was they wanted to pay themselves.

Fine, so then I publicly questioned the hand-picked nonprofit board, which seemed chosen for their fundraising ability more than the communities they represented. Again, no resonance, so I accepted it and moved on. Maybe money was what was important in the early stages, and new leadership would come later.

And I was totally willing to just let it go and move on, until earlier this year when I watched the new documentary, “Spark: A Burning Man Story,” which concludes with the claim “the organization is transitioning into a nonprofit to ‘gift’ the event back to the community.”

So I decided to plug back into covering Burning Man to check on the status of this gift with just a year to go until Larry had said that control of the event would be transferred to the new nonprofit. But rather than relaxing their grip on the event and entrusting it to the community, I learned that they consider their leadership “more important than ever,” as Marian put it.

Not only are The Burning Man Project board members still not representative of the overall community, but they have no authority over the event, which Larry wants to continue as is “without being unduly interfered with by the nonprofit organization.”

Sure, the LLC and its various fiefdoms can unilaterally change its contracts with artists, its policy on what kinds and how many art cars to license, its ticket pricing structure, and size of the city (the max population this year jumped to 68,000 from 60,000 last year), all without any input from the community. It can cut lucrative side deals with corporations and propagandists. But we can’t have the new nonprofit board making these sorts of decisions, that would be unthinkable. 

also heard last night: General Wesley Clark did NOT arrive at Burning Man on this Black Hawk. So which bad boy was rolling with this? A Blackhawk is some serious shiznit. Last seen in the direction of Disorient

also heard last night: General Wesley Clark did NOT arrive at Burning Man on this Black Hawk. So which bad boy was rolling with this? A Blackhawk is some serious shiznit. Last seen in the direction of Disorient

“The nonprofit is going well, and then we have to work out the terms of the relationship between the event and the nonprofit. We want the event to be protected from undue meddling and we want it to be a good fit,” Larry told me.

And when I wrote about these issues in the Guardian, where they were read by tens of thousands of people, few people seemed to care. Two articles I wrote on these issues this year got two online comments each, comparing to the 259 comments and vigorous public discussion that ensued after I wrote “Burning Man ticket fiasco creates uncertain future” in February of last year.

The lesson: as long as we can get to Black Rock City, we don’t really care who’s calling the shots. After all, it’s really all of us who create the city each year for our own enjoyment, and that’s what matters, not the six people who control the $23 million we all spent on tickets this year.

(from http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2013/08/23/how-i-learned-stop-worrying-and-just-trust-larry)

I think we’ll let Madonna have the last word on this one…