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.

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