Strike 2 in EDM War: Opulent Temple Denied Placement for 2015 [Updates]


When news came out that Dancetronauts had been banned for at least a year for being Too Loud For Burning Man, we wondered if there might be more to the story. Was this part of a bigger pushback to exclude “Broners” from our culture, an attempt to differentiate Burning Man as “more than just another EDM festival on the circuit?”

Well, speculate amongst yourselves, Burners…meanwhile, the coincidences continue to mount. Now we hear that Playa stalwarts Opulent Temple have been denied placement. Why? For not being interactive enough.

This is a sound camp with at peak moments more than 10,000 people being entertained. By the world’s best DJ talent, for free.

From (emphasis ours):

2014 saw us go big once again. We produced and gifted our 11th incarnation of the camp, doing so for our 7th time anchoring a corner spot. We built a new (partially) crowd funded DJ booth we called Armagan, aka OPod 3.0. We also built new 3D screens for visual mapping known in OT slang as the snowflake screens, new I-beams and support structure to put the raised stage platforms together, and a custom made 3 shower stall on a trailer. We moved warehouses, did upgrades on our fire effects manifold, built a paneled LED light effect DJ booth for indoor events, threw 16 fundraisers, and we bought a swing set. We also founded a new 501c non-profit organization called Sacred Dance Foundation to formalize with the IRS what we always been in action, a non-profit community, gifting an experience in the hopes it will do a small part to plant seeds of goodness in troubled times.

So yes, we’ve been extremely busy, expended a high amount of financial and personal resources last year to make it all happen and ended up with a considerable amount of debt. It took us quite a few events just to come back from the deficit so we head into this year’s burn needing a different and less risky experience. Our core team has never had a year since starting or joining OT where we haven’t produced a large sound camp. It takes a massive coordinated group effort each year to raise enough funds to bring our production to the desert and I’m sure you know that we, like every other sound camp, do it all with only the support of our community, without any help from BMorg. We attempted to apply for a grant for our large-scale fabrication projects last year but were denied because sound camps and music are not considered art that the powers that be wish to support. While other art installation projects have access to almost $1 million in grant money, free tickets for crew and validation from BMorg, sound camps get no support even though we also contribute a highly interactive and memorable experience to tens of thousands of burners every night of the week at BM and beyond. It would be safe to say that sound camps play a big role in why many of the BRC population make the trek each year so the lack of support and respect from the organizers is disheartening… so much that they didn’t even assign us a placement for our camp this year.

So now the plan is to step back and have a different BM experience while still maintaining an OT presence and vibe in Black Rock City. There will still be a great OT camp that will be close to the many dance floors in the 10:00 and Esplanade vicinity, and we’ll still do a number of events, but they just won’t take place in our own sound camp and dancefloor. We’ve asked why we’re not getting placed and were told our camp is not ‘interactive’ enough since most of the events we’re doing are mobile. We’ll be announcing our events here in the coming weeks but definitely keep Wednesday night open for us with your creatively fabulous white attire for our annual Sacred Dance ‘White Party’, but this year on the open playa, stationed around the Flaming Lotus Girl’s Serpent Mother. We hope to enroll as many art cars as possible to link up and add to the epic party. Please contact us if your art car would like to join that sonic train and participate in the overall experience.

Thank you for the ongoing support to help us do what we do. Seems like the community based sound camps (in contrast to millionaire funded ones) are dwindling; many of the popular sound camps from years past will be absent this year: Roots Society, Osiris, Dancetronauts, Digital Apex. At this point we don’t really know year to year where the wind will blow us, but you can certainly bet whichever direction that is, we’ll be forging ahead with fire, beats, community and a mission, forever purposeful.

See you in the desert!

The only major sound camps we’ve heard that got placement are billionaire camp White Ocean and Disorient. Burners this year will also have to make do without:

Root Society



Digital Apex

If you’ve heard of any other sound camps that won’t be returning this year because they were denied placement or couldn’t get enough tickets, please let us know and I’ll update the list.

When the Founders first announced their retirement and transition to a non-profit, then followed it up with an Anti-Burner ticket lottery, we speculated as to their motivation. Was there some perverse element disgruntled at Burners, and actually trying to destroy Burning Man from within?

I’m not sure what the motivation is, maybe you guys have some ideas. The decisions they’re making at BMHQ in the Mission just seem to be getting worse and worse, the older the Founders get. A tragedy, really.

shark burning man sfbg

[Update 9/13/15 5:25pm PST]

Thanks to a source for sharing this. From OT’s recent email to camp members:

This year is a unique year by OT standards because for the first year since our inception in 2003, we are not building a large sound stage / camp-central dance floor.   After 12 straight years we decided this was finally the year to step back and have a different BM experience while still maintaining an OT presence and vibe in Black Rock City.

So, there will be a great OT camp…But please be clear, though there will be  many dance floors in our immediate vicinity, most of the time it won’t be our own.

The camp will have limited space this year for ~120 people, including no more than about 20 RV’s.  (for comparison, last year we had about 275 people by the end of the week).  So by our standards will be on the mellow / intimate scale.  The requested camp placement is 250 feet back from 10 & A (so essentially behind whatever sound camp is on 10 &A).  That puts us well behind the usual loudness that’s generally been part of the OT camping experience but still close to the Esplanade and the action.

So that’s all they were looking for – somewhere to put less than half of the previous year’s camp. That’s the placement that was denied them, for not being “interactive enough”. So do the camps behind the 10 o’clock sound camps all have to be interactive now?

They were going to have events every night which were all open to the public.

Party wise we will do 5 events (only one of which is a full on OT scale blow out.)

-Tuesday Sunset: OT Happy Hour – Meet and greet for all camp members and open to the public to invite friends, live DJ’s and drinks.
-Tuesday Night: OT partners with an Art Car tba for an OT vibe and DJ mobile party.
** – Wednesday Night: our biggest event of the week – our annual OT Sacred Dance ‘white party’ – open playa locale TBA.
-Thursday Night: OT hopes to partner with a placed sound camp to synergize vibe and talent with our crew and theirs.
-Friday Sunset: OT Happy Hour – Meet and greet for all camp members and open to the public to invite friends, live DJ’s and drinks.

Would it have been so hard to reward their loyalty with placement? If not where they requested, then anywhere?

Burners on social media are saying that MOOP is the “actual reason” Opulent Temple were denied placement. This allegation has now been completely debunked, see below.

In other veteran news, Dusty Rhino was denied placement on the Esplanade, for not being interactive enough.

Let’s hope this means there will be incredibly interactive camps along the Esplanade this year, and in the back streets behind the sound camps.

[Update 7/11/15 6:34pm]

Opulent Temple themselves, perhaps fearing further ire from the Borg, have moved to downplay the situation, and distance themselves from any speculation about motivation.

Hey folks, OT here. We know people love getting drama-tastic about Burning Man, but while we appreciate a lot for their support of music at BM, we feel this headline is a bit sensationalized. We don’t want to get pulled into some conversation about ‘war’ on EDM music, because frankly we don’t see it that way. Our scoop is in the web posting and we encourage people to read it on our site. Again in a nutshell – Unlike previous years, we don’t have our fixed stage. We never planned on having it for the reasons outlined in our post, which has nothing to do with placement. We are doing a number of OT events though, that will be at various spots around the playa, and because our camp itself did not have an interactive element, but is more of a base camp for our events around BRC, we weren’t placed. We’re still going to be there, it just makes things harder for us than we hoped it would be. We thought and wished partially based on legacy and previous contribution we’d get a reserved spot, but we didn’t. We’re not trying to call victim, it is what it is, we’re well versed in being disappointed in decisions from the org and we choose to be there with open eyes. It had nothing to do w MOOP either, for the record… There was zero mention of MOOP in their reasons for their decision. Thanks for everyone’s support and we look forward to seeing everyone out there, especially Wednesday night at the Serpent Mother. Peace.

[Update 7/11/15 7:00pm]

Thanks to MzFit for helping clear this up. Despite the haters’ claims (which we can put down to disinformation, or maybe familiar smear campaign tactics), OT was green for MOOP last year. They had a single red dot, which presumably was dealt with. It was a lot less than most camps, including most camps that only had one MOOP mark.

Screenshot 2015-07-13 18.57.08


[Update 7/14/15 9:03am PST]

This is from last year’s Piss Clear BRC Weekly. It reveals some of the Founders’ attitudes towards EDM and ravers:

sound camp lineup ban


White Ocean got placement. Dancetronauts and Opulent Temple got punishment. One is a billionaire camp (the founder owns 50 private jets), the other two are long time Burner camps who have put years into the event. Draw your own conclusions…welcome to Burning Man 2.0.

[Update 7/14/15 11:28am]

Someone suggested that 300 camps were denied placement this year, but officially it was 95. See the comments to this story for details.

From Opulent Temple:

For the record – 95 camps that asked were not placed (not 300). From our placement communication: “More camps requested Theme Camp placement than we have dedicated space for and as a result, we were unable to place 95 camps. Unfortunately your camp is one of these unplaced camps.”
Secondly, though yes – our in-camp interactivity was low (we know), it’s not like it was non-existent. Our interactive elements in the camp will be a large & plush public shade area open to anyone to come enjoy. (The same we always had on Esplanade for anyone to come chill) + 2 public sunset happy hours with guest DJ’s and drinks. + we’ll do 3-4 ‘mobile’ events and out about BRC, with Wednesday being the biggie. We’re doing more at our camp than some placed art car based camps that do nothing at their camp except park their art car when not in use.
Lastly, having some time to reflect, we say the reality of the placement thing is not that serious, it’s just been blown up because some have thought our normal big sound camp wasn’t placed, and we never intended to do the sound camp. It’s just the redundant, and consistent illustrative principle. We were, admittedly, hoping and assuming that our years of huge output of contribution was good for something in the consideration. Now we know it isn’t.


“Top Model-douche at the World’s Weirdest Fashion Cluster f*ck”

Benjamin Guest has written a post at the DJ List, reviewing Burning Man. Click here for the full original story, here are some of our favorite highlights:

Burning Man 2014: Skrillex, Snark and Senioritis.

30 September 2014 – Benjamin Guest – The DJ List

Article and Photos by Benjamin Guest
For the full album, head to our Facebook Page

This was my fourth year at Burning Man (2011-2014), so I guess in the American educational sense, that makes me a senior. Like seniors in any academic institution I feel like with the years since I first set foot on the Playa, that I’ve gained some perspective and maybe even a tiny bit of wisdom. So, what’s my advice?

Don’t go. Just don’t. Its hot, dusty, and played out. Everything you read about Burning Man jumping the shark is completely accurate. The Safari camps, the number of virgins who never bothered to read the survival guide, the severe spike in MOOP (Matter Out Of Place), it’s all true.

Or maybe I’m just mistaking my wisdom for another quality that Seniors the world over posses; jadedness. Am I jaded? Probably, even the shiniest of festivals has lost some of it’s glitter, but just because something has lost its overall shine doesn’t mean that there aren’t diamonds waiting to be uncovered.

Lots of people will tell you that every burn is different; my jaded response is: Really, you mean 70,000 people build a whole city and they don’t build it the same every time. Maybe they should take a hint from Coachella and just do the thing on repeat, that would be nice; it would certainly solve the ticket scarcity problem.

…Burns are always new and different and this burn for me was about acknowledging my jadedness and the fact that things that were amazing in the past lose their luster and so I searched out and found some great diamonds in the rough, and it’s those diamonds that will keep me coming back year after year.

So without too much fanfare, here’s a list of things you will hear about, my jaded opinion of them and maybe some things that will still be awesome next year.

…A person wiser than I said that you should schedule your burn around sleep, here’s what I have to add to that: Go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 3am. Here’s why: The two greatest times on the playa are sunrise and sunset. If you crash out after the sun goes down, set an alarm and wake up for sunset, [you’re] not missing either. From 9pm to 3pm it’s cold and you’ll sleep comfortably in your tent with a sleeping bag.

Also, Burning Man like anywhere else has it’s share of macho frat bros, they are not pros. They drink beer, and by 10pm they are drunk and annoying and they will continue to be drunk annoying until they crash out at 2am per their default world schedule. At Burning Man the party never stops, so when you wake up at 3am all the yahoos are gone and you are left with the pros, who you can continue to party with till the sun comes up and into the next day. You’ll be energized for the rest of the day, you can go hit up Pink Mammoth, go to workshops and won’t feel like a zombie having been up for a day and a half.

Bring or make a MOOP bag, while you’re at it bring one for a friend. I made one out of an old pair of jeans and tied it to my camelback. If you see stuff on the ground, pick it up and put it in the MOOP bag, doesn’t matter where you are. Pros will notice that you are doing your part. Instant burner cred.



 photo burningmantower_zps686c1d2d.jpg


There is was so much amazing art out there. Burning Man is first and for most an art festival and the art out there is way more interesting than any set from any DJ will ever be. I’d go into detail on every piece, but it would take too long. Google Burning Man Art and prepare to be amazed. Better photographers than I have taken thousands of pictures of all of it. Some notable other photographers that never fail to disappoint: Trey Ratcliff and Cliff Baise.

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In 2011, not that long ago, I remember coming across Robot Heart on a friday morning, and there was maybe 100 people there… Oh how the times have changed. Last year and this year Monday through Saturday morning, Robot Heart was a mad house. I stopped in several times throughout the week. Their sound system is super impressive. Less impressive is what a scene it has become. Forget about good house music, the Mobs of Furbros and Furbies all seem to be much more interested in vying for top model-douche at the worlds weirdest fashion cluster f*ck. The music was top notch, but suffice to say I never stayed very long. photo burningman2_zpsccc5cec6.jpg

That being said, Monday morning at the Bus was a completely different story. A common theme this year was people leaving the burn Sunday before the temple burned. Maybe they were trying to avoid Exodus, maybe they thought the party was over or maybe they were just so green they didn’t know that the temple did burn. By Sunday evening our block was kind of ghost town. Many of those early abandoners must have frequented Robot Heart, because when I woke up at 3am to go check it out the, the crowd was maybe a tenth of what it had been early in the week. The music and vibes were awesome and it reminded me of going to Robot Heart in at my first burn. True to form, the pros had stuck it out till the end.

For the record, I didn’t hear SKRILLEX play at Robot Heart, but I heard from reliable sources that It was actually a pretty good techno / tech house set.

Usually a shit show, can be fun if you catch the right act, I saw STANTON WARRIORS play at Opulent in 2012 and it was amazing, this year I had the not so good fortune of randomly stopping to Opulent Temple during Skrillex’s set, I could tell it was him by his little screechy voice, I didn’t stay long, but yes, I witnessed SKRILLEX at Burning Man, it was hardly memorable. I’m scared to know what his presence there this year will do to the ticket scarcity problem.CELTIC CHAOSceltic chaos indie
They built a full on Castle over on the 2:00 side. An impressive two story castle wall enclosed a bar and dance floor. More impressive was the massive fire poofer mounted over the DJ booth that startled everyone when it would go off. The amount of heat that it put off seemed to be carefully calibrated to almost singe hair and eyebrows of the dancers below. I wasn’t expecting much out of this camp but was pleasantly surprised by the type and quality of their music. The bartenders and others involved with the camp were incredibly friendly, definitely worth checking out.


DISCO KNIGHTS photo burningman3_zps41168edf.jpg

“Thank God for Disco Knights”. I spent the majority of my sunrises at Disco Knights and for good reason. They had an unbelievable lineup that never failed to disappoint. Their sound system delivers a hard punch that makes deep house and tech house sound amazing.

Anthony Mansfield is the force that runs Disco Knights and a hell of a DJ to boot. He and GUY GERBER played sexy, sexy music Wednesday morning into sunrise. I was enhanced by the vibes and the music and all I kept thinking was, “damn, Disco Knights is the classiest sound camp on the Playa.”

Disco Knights keeps that classy reputation being honest upstanding people, playing sexiest house music, and respecting LNT and other BM ethos: I loved their MOOP for drinks exchange program, also, for the amount of traffic they had it was encouraging to see that their entire front area was green on the MOOP map.


VBC was the next camp past Camp Question Mark on 2:00, I’ve know about this camp at 2:00 and K for several years and I’m pretty sure they get better every year. I try to make at least one pilgrimage there every year and try to bring along as many lovey raver virgins as I can. VBC is a punk rock camp, they have a skateboard ramp and three sided plywood house / bar, the insides of which is covered in vial sharpie graffiti. They have their own radio station that plays nothing but punk rock and other weird music, the DJ uses a dell desktop from 2004 to play tracks from the hardrive. It’s stark contrast to the rest of Burning Man makes it a welcome relief to the constant huggie hippies and the constant unce unce.

This years trip to VBC was no different. After an epic sunrise at Disco Knights we corralled a bunch of VBC virgins and said that we were going to show them something awesome and they better come now. We walked over, did shots of bottom shelf whiskey, and attempted to remember how to skateboard. 15 minutes into our excursion the DJ started into the “My Dick Power Hour” which was essentially a bunch of classic karaoke songs in which the singer had thoughtfully and skillfully replaced the lyrics with “my dick” at every opportunity. I forgot my camera, but sitting on the half pipe, laughing my ass off to “panio dick” with old and new friends is something I will never forget.

 photo burningman1_zpsf28010f8.jpg
The girl with the giant arrow pointing down that said “Awesome Spot.”
The giant “BORING” sign art car. I wish I had thought of that.
The crew who brought a fully stocked cooler of alcohol to the center of the dance floor at Pink Mammoth and started making drinks. You guys rock.
Bleachers art car. So much awesome.
The Petting Zoo Zebra striped dive bar of sorts over on 2:00ish side, I’ve managed to stop by at least once a burn for a beer. I don’t think they are going anywhere soon. 


If you should learned anything from my ramblings its that you need to seek out and make your own burn, avoid the crowds and the things that were hyped on social media for months in advance. Go against the flow, avoid the sheep, go seek out the hidden treasures. There is tons of super fun amazing and authentic things happening in the city.

Finally, live by my three rules of BM
1) Don’t Die: We love you and we want to see you again.
2) Don’t Suck: Certain caveats apply, but generally be awesome and conscious of your actions.
3) Don’t Let it Hit The Ground: Seriously, it’s one of the great things about Burning Man, if you see MOOP on the ground, pick it up, use that MOOP bag you brought.

 photo benguestburningman_zpscbc10f6b.jpg



Burner Benjamin’s original post is worth a read in its full glory.

Get Your Timeshare Slot In The Sultan

If this is a troll, it’s the most elaborate one I’ve ever seen. It’s either real, or an ironic “seeding of the market” like the AirBnB listings. They can put the brochures in the Souk and test the appetite and interest level, measure how many outraged reactions there are (if any)…all the while pretending it’s not really happening in the name of irony. Except this IS really happening. Playa hotels are really happening, commodification camps are really happening, so is Burning Man ephemeral real estate leasing really happening too? Or is it just a mirage? A big farce?


Experience™ Black Rock City like you never have before with a choice of accommodations and services ranging from opulent luxury for the refined individual to comfort and convenience for the seasoned adventurer.  

Occidental Oasis is the preeminent Experience™ ownership and Experience Club™ membership program in Black Rock City. Ownership of a deeded real estate interest provides Members with a lifetime of unsurpassed experiences via the most innovative and flexible club in the industry. Experience Club™ members choose when and where to travel, enjoying the comfort and convenience of residential-style resort accommodations in select, renowned festivals throughout the United States and world. Each Experience Club™ property provides a distinctive setting, while signature elements remain consistent, such as high-quality guest service, spacious residences and extensive on-property amenities. From exciting Black Rock City, Nevada and dynamic Forgotten City, Las Vegas, to the laid-back lifestyles of Saguaro Man, Arizona and Soul Fire, California, or the frozen landscape of Frost Burn, we take pride in offering our guests a superior Experience™ ownership program in the world’s most celebrated locations. For those aspiring to the good life, Occidental Oasis offers a passport to endless opportunities for radical self-expression.

Since its formation in 2010, Occidental Oasis has worked closely with the Burning Man Organization (BMORG) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to finally bring this exciting opportunity to Burning Man participants in 2014.  In a market where large, publicly held theme camps have recently begun to dominate the landscape, Occidental Oasis has carved out a niche deep in the playa. 

Our Black Rock City sales offices are located in the 6:00 Souk Tent Suite D2 at The Man.  We are open daily from 10am to 2pm.

Occidental Oasis is an inclusive resort property  located deep in the playa of Black Rock City, Nevada.  The resort caters to Burning Man participants that want a unique experience tailored to their individual desires.  Occidental Oasis provides participants with a choice of accommodations and services ranging from opulent luxury for the refined individual to comfort and convenience for the seasoned adventurer. 

The Oasis is located just beyond the temple and extends deep into the playa.  Our fleet of private art cars and bike pool allow guests to quickly get from the oasis to all the action in Black Rock City.


Enjoy Black Rock City from the luxury, beauty, and warmth of our private villas surrounded by miles of pristine playa and mountain views.  Indulge in all the luxuries of home and enjoy a haven of rejuvenation where friends can revitalize and enjoy unforgettable moments in paradise.  Renew your spirit and inner child with spa treatments and five-star hotel services.


Black Rock Acres is a private oasis offering its own unique experience within the Burning Man event.  Relax in your private accommodations, take a break in our dust free clubhouse with live HD coverage of the event, or express yourself in our exclusive theme camps and works of art.


Our basic accommodations in Black Rock Park provide an accessible entry point for those adventurers seeking a solid foundation to launch their daily excursions into Black Rock City.  Enjoy access to our private fleet of art cars as well as many other services that will make your burn an experience to remember.

 Whether you choose the luxury of Black Rock Estates, the comfort of Black Rock Acres, or the conveniences of Black Rock Park just remember that our home is your home in Black Rock City.


Occidental Oasis creates unique and unforgettable experiences for the discerning Burning Man participant.  Each participant works with one of our highly trained Experience Associates™ to develop an Experience Profile™ that determines their desires for self-expression and appraises their self-reliance needs.  After completing an Experience Profile™ a participant will work with an Experience Agent™ to tailor a package of services and amenities that will deliver an unforgettable Burning Man experience.  The Experience Agent™ will work with the participant to finalize the necessary documents and secure a reservation at Occidental Oasis


Sparkle Pony

  • 6 day standard accommodation in BRC
  • Non-refundable, non-transferable
  • 1 emergency extraction to Reno
  • IV hydration package
  • Discount medical and legal services
  • All inclusive meal and beverage plan
  • Bicycle plan

Shirt Cocker

  • 3 day basic accommodation in BRC
  • 120qt cooler
  • Bud Light, Coors Light, or Miller Lite
  • PBR / Tecate (additional charge)
  • Ice service


  • 10 days Black Rock Acres or Black Rock Park
  • Early entry and vehicle passes
  • Theme camp setup/teardown
  • Theme camp staffed by Occidental Oasis



  • 7 days Black Rock Estates
  • All inclusive (wardrobe, dining, entertainment)
  • VIP access
  • Personal art car with driver
  • Satellite Internet
  • Express entry/exodus
  • Chartered Flight RNO/SFO (additional charge)


  • Regional events package (US only)
  • Tent/RV services
  • Travel arrangements
  • VIP Access


  • International events package
  • Travel and luggage services
  • Medical and legal services


They were recruiting paid employees for their venture:

Join the Occidental Oasis Experience Team™

An in-house Occidental Oasis Experience Team™ member is responsible for presenting the Occidental Oasis Experience™ ownership products and services to our guests and owners to generate maximum net sales volume while maintaining a professional and ethical representation of the company.


As an Occidental Oasis representative, you would be responsible for presenting the Occidental Oasis Experience™ ownership products and programs to Owners, Exchangers, Owner Referrals, Courtesy Tours and our guests in order to generate maximum net sales volume while maintaining a professional and ethical representation of the company. You will take guests and owners on resort tours, present our products, and follow finance guidelines. You will also commit to the company’s operating policies, principles, sales and customer service philosophies.


Every Burning Man participant is a very important person at Occidental Oasis, and it’s our promise to potential owners that they will enjoy the best of everything with us. That’s why the Experience Team™ is responsible for converting each participant into club members by providing them with information about our club point packages. Team members also provide additional knowledge and details regarding our ownership programs in order to help generate optimal sales volume from every participant.


Your benefits will include a competitive starting salary and, depending upon eligibility, a vacation or Paid Time Off (PTO) benefit. You will instantly have access to our unique benefits such as the Team Member and Family Travel Program, which provides reduced rates at many of our properties for you and your family, plus discounts on products and services offered by Occidental Oasis and its partners. After 90 days you may enroll in the Occidental Oasis Health & Welfare benefit plans, depending on eligibility. Occidental Oasis also offers eligible team members a 401K Savings Plan, as well as Employee Assistance and Educational Assistance Programs. We look forward to reviewing with you the specific benefits you would receive as an Occidental Oasis Experience Team™. The above information is provided as a highlight of the major benefits offered to most full-time team members in the United States. All benefits listed may not be offered at all locations. This is not a summary plan description or official plan document.

Their Facebook page only has 43 likes.

It has reviews, which suggest the (ironic) experience being sold now will be available next year. If enough Burners were fooled and signed up, then perhaps it will:

  • Turner Rentz

    Survival camping in harsh environments really requires the best from me, and I’m proud to let Occidental Oasis become a member of my team. My friends who roll in, in nice, expensive RV’s and even those that use their own chef and only come out at night to avoid the harshness of the environment … should all seriously look into this experience(tm). I especially love the idea of having someone do all the bothersome design work of my own, unique art car that really helps express who I am! When it comes to self reliance, I rely on Occidental! What an AMAZING service!! FIVE STARS!!!
  • My Experience™ Agent Frank set me up with the perfect little EconoPod™ in Black Rock Park. As a bonus for signing the deal before the event he threw in a free Shirt Cocker and Sparkle Pony package. I went for the 30 year agreement which also gives me preferred scheduling for my vacation reservations. I can’t wait to take my first trip to the Oasis in 2015!
  • I’m so excited that time shares are finally coming to Black Rock City! This will be my 11th year, and frankly I’m ready for a little luxury. My 2015 Experience™ will be the best yet!

On August 15 2014 – before the Gentrification and Sherpagate scandals broke out – they posted:

Have you ever wanted to make a little piece of the Burning Man Experience™ your own? Now is your chance to own 1/70,000 of your home away from home. The Occidental Oasis is the preeminent vacation ownership and timeshare program in Black Rock City.

Stop by The Man and visit us in the 6:00 Souk tent. One of our Experience™ Agents will work with you to find the perfect property and activities package.

The Occidental Oasis sales office will be open Monday through Friday 11am – 3pm. If you are interested in becoming an Experience™ Agent we are holding a job fair on Monday August 25th from 12:30pm – 3pm.

Do not miss this opportunity to secure you own Burning Man Experience™ for years to come!

Visit Occidental Oasis online at

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Own your own piece of the Burning Man Experience™ at the Occidental Oasis. Whether you choose the luxury of Black Rock Estates, the comfort of Black Rock Acres, or the convenience of Black Rock Park, the Occidental Oasis Resort will provide when the playa does not. Units are selling fast. Stop our sales office at The Souk M-F 11-3 to speak with an Experience™ agent. Visit us online at

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Our units provide an accessible entry point for those adventurers seeking a solid foundation to launch their daily excursions into Black Rock City. Enjoy access to our private fleet of art cars as well as many other services that will make your burn an experience to remember.

Black Rock Acres is a private oasis offering its own unique experience within the Burning Man event. Relax in your private accommodations, take a break in our dust free clubhouse with live HD coverage of the event, or express yourself in our exclusive theme camps and works of art. — at Black Rock City

Black Rock Acres p3 Black Rock Acres p5 Black Rock Acres p2 Black Rock Acres p1 Black Rock Park p2 Black Rock Park p3 Black Rock Estates p2 Black Rock Estates 1 2014 black rock park burning man the siesta occidental oasis 2014 the herdsman black rock park occidental oasis occidental oasis econopod black rock park


Black Rock Estates

Black Rock Acres

Black Rock Park

Adherence to the Principles is done for you, as well as Principle # 11, Sherpa Reliance:

Communal Effort

Occidental Oasis employs many  creative and generous people that provide services and artwork to the greater community.   You can rest easy knowing that your membership in Occidental  Oasis is a valuable contribution to the greater experience of those in Black Rock City.

Public Art Installations

Unique Theme Camps

Volunteer Sponsorship

Civic Responsibility

Occidental Oasis provides trained  Experience Guides™ knowledgeable of
all local, state, and federal laws. 
Our guides will monitor your behavior in a non-intrusive manner providing
timely feedback and intervention with the community that will allow you fully
express yourself without consequence. 
Occidental Oasis also provides professional legal services on-site and
after the event.

Knowledgeable Experience Guides™

On-site Legal Support

Leave No Trace

Occidental Oasis provides full trash service as well as single stream
recycling allow you to consume what you need
when you need it without worrying about the bits you leave behind. 

Trash Service

Single Stream Recycling

Post Event Cleanup


Radical Inclusion


Everyone is welcome at the Occidental Oasis.  Stop by our sales office at The Souk to speak with one of our Experience™ Agents.




Occidental Oasis Gift Scouts™ will scour the playa in search of only the very best gifts for our guests.  When possible scouts will collect and return to the resort with the gifts that best match our guests’ requests.  Scouts will arrange transportation in our fleet of private art cars to experience those gifts which the scouts cannot hand deliver.  

Our resorts ofter gifting packages and professional gift coordinators that will help provide our clients with gifts for giving.  Gifting packages can also include gift distributions which can be schedule to provide maximum impact to the greater burning man community and relieve our clients of the burden of gifting.

Gift Scouts

Gifting Coordinators

Gift Distribution Services

Custom Gift Packages



Occidental Oasis is a cashless facility.  Your initial investment along with your annual maintenance fee provides you unlimited access to all the resort has to offer.  All inclusive packages for meals, drinks, and entertainment are available and can be arranged when you reserve your stay.  Just contact your Experience Agent™ or the on duty Experience Concierge™ to make your selections.  

Al a carte and premium services chosen while at the event will be billed directly to your account.  Just sit back and relax knowing that it is all being taken care of for you.

Cashless Facility

Direct Billing

24 hour Experience Concierge™



Occidental Oasis makes your journey to the playa as easy as a first class flight to the Riviera. 

We provide around the clock access to beverages, meals, consumables, transportation, entertainment, and support services.  Our facilities include onsite medical care and emergency transportation on/off playa should you encounter pressing needs to come and go from the event.


24 Hour Dining

Private Showers

Art Car Fleet

Wardrobe Services

Onsite Medical Care

Emergency Transportation



Occidental Oasis provides professional self-expression consultants that will help you choose from a variety of packages that express your unique self.  Choose from an assortment of costume, makeup, and bike options.  OurSelf-Expression Packages™ have been rated as some of the best on the playa. 

Our professional photographers will be sure to catch your most expressive moments.  We have a range of photo packages to choose from that will allow you to impress your friends. 

Our consultants can also help you manage your online presence after the show to ensure your experience will be remembered by others for years to come.


Wardrobe Consultants

Makeup Artists

Professional Photographers

Self-Expression Packages

Memories Packages

Post-event Support



Occidental Oasis pampers our guests with VIP access to the big burns and events on playa.

Party with similar minded people in our exclusive theme camps, art cars, and outings. 

VIP Access to The Burn

Exclusive Theme Camps

Private Art Car Fleet

Special Events


Occidental Oasis has its fingers on the pulse of Burning Man.  We know exactly what is going on when and where and how well it matches your Experience Profile™. 

We provide a daily briefing and a schedule of suggested experiences that may be of interest. 

Simply contact the on-duty Experience Concierge™ to select the activities that interest you most and our fleet of private art cars will be dispatched to pick you up and shuttle you to the event. 

Each guest is provided with a high precision GPS transponder and communicator that will allow us to locate you, confirm your desires, and get you to the next event. 

Personalized Event Schedules

24 Hour pick-up/drop-off

Radio Dispatched Art Cars

GPS Tracking Services

Civic Responsibility

Occidental Oasis provides trained Experience Guides™knowledgeable of all local, state, and federal laws.  Our guides will monitor your behavior in a non-intrusive manner providing timely feedback and intervention with the community that will allow you fully express yourself without consequence.  Occidental Oasis also provides professional legal services on-site and after the event.

Knowledgable Experience Guides™

On-site Legal Support


Their web site hosts some glowing testimonials from satisfied Occidentists:

“We had an outstanding trip. Our Experience™ could not have been better. Frank was technically an exceptional Experience™ guide and we always felt safe. Prior to our visit he was very accessible which made us feel more comfortable. As the burn continued I think we got to know him personally and had some very meaningful evening discussions.”

— Dirk Hainey

“Frank was a very accommodating guide. I felt like everything happened very smoothly and with precision. I would highly recommend this Experience Team™ and a stay at the Roca Negro Villas. The private art cars were always very clean, overall a great experience. Would go again. ”

— Sandy LaPlage

“Jess, our self-expression consultant, was creative and delicious. She had obviously reviewed our Experience Profile™ and her costuming was great.

The villa itself met our expectations and was very clean and comfortable. We are already thinking about next year.”

— Seymour Glass


— A & P

“To have enjoyed this extraordinary experience any other way is unthinkable. My stay in The Sultan was truly opulent. The private access road make entrance and exodus a breeze. Occidental Oasis transformed my trip into the experience of a lifetime. ”

— Buckminster C.

“It is what I would call a solid 4.5 star experience. In other words, I give it a 9 out of 10.”

— Quentin


They started the week with an officially promoted on Playa event, a job fair recruiting PAID workers to sell the real estate.

Occidental Oasis Job Fair!

Date/Time(s): Monday, August 25th, 2014 12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.
Hosted by Camp: SizzleVille
Location: Occidental Oasis – Souk @ The Man Base


Get in on the ground floor as a first-round employee of Occidental Oasis Holdings, an exclusive timeshare resort offering 1/70,000 ownership in BRC! Opportunities at BRC, with future expansions across the US and at international burns too! Highest commissions in the industry! Short hours, you can even learn to work from home! Learn about the BRC Properties: Hex Village, Yurt Villas, and Black Rock Estates. These gated communities provide free Wi-Fi and HDTV broadcast of the burns, two-bike garages, and plumbing in the BRC-Municipal Utility District (MUD). Package levels available: Sparkle Pony, Shirt Cocker, Veteran, Wanderlust (at regional events), and Ambassador (at international events). Optional package add-ons include sky diving arrivals, helicopter exodus, personal art car, plus more! If sales isn’t your thing, become an Occidental Oasis concierge! OO Resorts’ concierge service has its fingers on the pulse of Burning Man. We know exactly what is going on when and where and how well it matches our guests’ personal profile. We will provide a daily briefing and a schedule of suggested experiences that may be of interest to our honored sales prospects.

The South Bay Burners give us a hint that it might be a prank. 


South Bay CORE/Occidental Oasis Job Fair

In classic cacophony style, we’d like to invite you to join us as the “staff” of the Occidental Oasis! Come for a job interview, and stay to help be a part of the most interactive Man Base in history! The South Bay’s Souk will be located in the south-east quadrant of the Man pavilion. For more information, visit

The South Bay’s Occidental Oasis will offer a 1/70,000th share in the playa, offering ownership of a part of the future of an expanded Black Rock City. Come in, relax, and sit through our time share presentation to hear about the opportunity to own a permanent location in 2015′s 360-degree BRC township. Get brochures for special activities and freebies, plus a CERTIFICATE OF OWNERSHIP!

Selling out the Playa. Could it get more commodified? I guess the answer is yes, unfortunately.

In light of Sherpagate, Signgate, and general gentrification, the irony now seems a lot less funny. What they’re promoting as a joke in the middle of the city, they’re pretty much doing at its fringes. Or maybe this is real, and yet another Safari Camp earning millions monetizing our spectacle.

BMOrg have now publicly established, via the New York Times and others, that people will pay $13,000-$25,000 per head for luxury Commodification Camps. What would they pay for ownership of Real Estate, and access to luxury villas with pools and private access roads? The number of units is not even close to 1% of the population, so plenty could afford it. This semi-professional looking sales effort is placed in the most prime real estate of all for marketing, in their marketplace, the bizarre bazaar in the middle of their event at the base of The Man, the main attraction of the whole shebang. Is Burning Man really putting these sales brochures there because this is a hilarious joke? Because some of their Directors are selling exactly this on K Street, is that the joke?

Or are they, with the help of their AirBnB luxury boutique hotel Commodification Camping Millionaire and Billionaire Directors, testing the market to see if this idea could really fly for next year? Preparing the pitch for the Home Shopping Network?

What are Burners supposed to respond with, when receiving a real estate pitch at Burning Man, being handed these brochures? Some would be fooled into going along with the prank and responding positively to the sales pitch, just like in classic Cacophony style they were fooled into selling their souls to Satan via Helco, in BMOrg’s 1996 affairs. Others might think it’s now fine to hand out brochures for whatever cause or company you want to promote at Burning Man, in the big mall they have at the middle of it.

A prank can be ironic if you’re not actually doing it, you’re just joking; but if you’re actually doing it then which bit of it is the irony again?

First, sow confusion. It plants a seed, mixing possibility with plausible deniability. Next, sprinkle chaos. Finally, when the seedling grows, start harvesting. Sell that annual crop for cash.

Burning Man timeshares...not coming soon, already here. 



Safari Camps Play Burner Bingo

Just when you think the stories about Commodification Camp Caravancicle couldn’t get any worse, we get this leak from the Facebook group Sherpa Liberation Front. It seems $13,000 can buy you a room in a canvas cube, but it can’t make you cool.

caravancicle interaction guide 1

caravancicle interaction guide 3caravancicle interaction guide 2

Caravancicle, The Lost Hotel

Caravancicle, The Lost Hotel


MOOP #fail

MOOP #fail

2014 lost hotel2014 lost hotel corridor

caravancicle tshirt

2014 lost hotel room2014 lost hotel bedroom 2014 lost hotel bathroom

is that a lock I see on the yellow bike to the left?

is that decoration on a yellow bike (L)?

A Sherpa’s Tale

sherpa porn

This story posted on Facebook is from a Burner who worked as a Sherpa this year at a multi-million dollar camp. We will keep the Burner’s identity anonymous unless they request otherwise. It is a fascinating, some might say shocking, inside look at the fancier side of Black Rock City.

“What!? You mean I’m a Sherpa!?”

A Tale from the K-hole at Burning Man 2014

By: Whatever

The hot Playa topic this year is all about Plug and Play camps and the controversy surrounding the loopholes they find to be able to run profitable business behind their private walls while on the Playa. As someone who appreciates a challenge  and a good story got share, I felt fortunate that I was able to be an employee working in one of these. Yes, I was a sherpa for a camp put in place by one of the members on the board of directors for Burning Man.

To avoid any possible issues surrounding my story , I’m going to go ahead and just use different names for everyone involved and the exact title of camps I am talking about. My intention is not to hurt any individual’s reputation. I will just share my experience of something that I personally believe is a true example of  how someone could actually do it wrong at Burning Man.

Burning man 2014 had a whole lot of talk buzzing around about all of these “turnkey” or “plug and play” type camps.

I noticed while walking down K that placers of the event seemed to have cleverly placed most plug and play camps on the outer ring of the city. This K hole (AKA Kandahar st) was lined with what I saw to be, a lot of over worked, money driven, employees and employers. Many of these types of camps are just boring closed off spaces that only allow the norms walking by to see nothing but endless lines of RV’s. Some of these camps, however, are a lot more creative and interactive with the BM festival itself. after all, an eye catching artistically designed camp would be a brilliant  way to rent out a luxurious full service suite for someone planning a vacation to the fabulous Black Rock City.

The product that these camps, like the one I worked in,  sell is an experience to last a life time. If you can afford the $17,000 vacation, you will be provided the best and most comfortable facade of the burning man festival Your purchase will make sure that you not be bothered by all those time consuming tasks like cooking, cleaning, building, and whatever else the lower class citizens do, in order to enjoy the best party EVER.  As our customer/client/guest  you will fly in to the city, be picked up by a hired driver in one of the shuttles we provide. Our guest will then  arrive to a beautifully decorated room filled with everything they need, including a real cow skin rug and lamp with a dimmer switch. The guests will be fed, watered, dressed, cleaned up after, driven around on art cars, and basically be waited on for all possible needs by a team of people that are hired to do so.

Of course, not all plug and play camps are in it for a monetary profit. they don’t all contain “guests” that are expecting to do no work.  I truly believe Some artist simply have expensive visions and need funds to bring them to life. They provide services for people that would like to  share in this vision. The clients paying for a room and experience are able to support the vision by contributing from their check books.  They benefit from receiving certain luxuries…some of which might make people question how “self reliant” that really is. They don’t need to spend the time and energy of getting there hands dirty in building them. These types of ” pay and players” are not “guests” but actual members of the city that generally share the same love of gifting that the city is based on. I feel that since the spirit of burning man is a hard one to ignore, these more vision driven, and not all the way, but still a little, profit driven camps are full of paying guests that help out anyways with what needs to be done in camp.  Call me a dreamer, but maybe they even  volunteer at canter camp or greeters while they are there. To an optimist, This scenario could be viewed as  more of an energy exchange instead of a business man looking for a profit.  It can work out as a perfect dynamic for some camps that have such massive concepts to create.

I have been a citizen of BRC for 7years. My first burn was in 2008 at the age of 18. I will be the first to admit that radical self reliance was not something I succeeded at while spending a couple hours preparing to party for a week.   I was not even close to having what I needed. I just had a bikini, a tent I borrowed from my boyfriend in chicago, a ticket and ride paid for by someone else, and of course,  my high expectations and strong sense of entitlement. I arrived already completely relying on others to make this happen for me. not very burning man is it?   I had to arrive to Burning Man  before I understood why I should give any attention to trying to live by some principles. I needed to see them in action with everyone else and  have countless veteran burners shove this gifting ideology down my throat for a couple days before I really understood that this was a mind blowingly beautiful way to live together as humans. only then my walls began to break down exposing the bright core that was hiding inside. the full blown awakening happened while i watched the walls of my tent break down from the inside of an RV.

All of my bags left wide open inside of the tent I borrowed from my boyfriend, whom I would soon leave for a Burning Man lover. The tent I put so much half assed effort building was being ripped out of ground. everything that I brought to the playa had been totally broken and transformed, including myself. That same night I watched the man burn and was so overwhelmed by how this dumb effigy could be such a perfect representation of myself. It completely broke down and changed in to nothing so that it could be rebuilt over the next year in to a newer version of itself. WOW. I just found my new home and I needed to share it and be part of it.

Since then, I have been involved in several different camps over the years.   They ranged from 10 to 200 people.   I have been part of teams in charge of preparing food for our camp, fund raising, building, bar tending, cleaning, greeting,decorating, serving coffee at center camp, spritzing strangers with water, standing behind the counter of the hug deli and  anything else I could do. The  tool that builds my happiness is the recognition that when  I when give away freely, anything that I love to receive I end up gaining much more than dancing at robot heart every night until sunrise. Getting my hands dirty ends up being a lot more fun than keeping them clean.

For 6 years I never ever attempted to, or even considered that I could receive payment for Any “work” I have done for BM.

Burning man is a gift economy after all… It would be crazy to want to change that.  right??

For the burn of 2014 I had been invited to work on a paid gig for a plug and play camp that I’ll refer to as  ” Popsicle camp”. I sent in a resume of my Burning Man experience, a photo of myself, signed contracts that I didn’t read, filled out tax forms, and wrote a brief description explaining my character and purpose.  I must say, it was fucking awesome to  write a resume about my  burning man experience.  BM is where I go to over indulge myself in having zero real world responsibilities. No plans or expectations just me doing what I love and choosing to be involved in any way i wanted.  my only reason to do anything was simply because i wanted to do it for the experience of doing it. there was no sort of expectation of a return. My efforts were merely gifts given to others for my own enjoyment.

About a month before the event I attended an interview to meet  my new temporary boss. (I will call him “Pete” for this story)

I entered to a room of a Beverly Hills hotel and was relieved to see Pete resembling  some sort of guru vibe in all white cotton clothing. He was sitting on the floor with is bare feet and showing off his colorfully painted toe nails. perfect! a burner like me! SOLD!

During the meeting Pete was passionately expelling how he had created this camp which had a greater underlying purpose and intention. He described himself as social activist who didn’t wear it on his sleeve. He inspires change by changing people’s perception through experiences.  He described his intention as a place that is a total work of art and lavish gift for everyone to enjoy. The camp would bring in some powerful and influential people to join. The experiences that our camp would provide them would be a way of encouraging their own personal transformation. The perspective of these important people would shift and they would be able to change things in our society. well, It is a good reason to have a plug and play camp isn’t it? If luxury promised is what will get these people to this place, then lets give them that. We will do the work in order to give the gift of perception inception in their minds.

The big spending and Idea having man with plan that put pete in charge will be called “JT” for the sake of this story.

JT is a CEO of a leading healthcare investment fund valued at $650 million. He is a 6x burning man lover  and a very discreetly added new member for the burning man board of directors.  Pete worked for JT the year before by throwing  a party for JT and his friends on the playa. That year I assume that it was another paying gig for pete.

Popsicle Camp would have 120 customers that will pay $17,000 each to be taken care of by 50 employees working for a wage that was capped.

The invitation/brochure to entice the paying customer to buy was amazing. I was in love! not because of the job, but because of the vision. I have never seen a burning man camp with so many promises focused on the most beautiful and positive intentions. there was a massive budget and structured execution plan that was so detailed and tight. These people knew what they were doing and had planned every little detail to achieve perfection. there was no stopping this ball from rolling.

Of course, As to be expected, with any burning man plan with such extreme expectations that required so many players,  these expectations were quickly turning themselves in to disasters the moment this production set foot in BRC. after all, this place is known to be one of the most humbling environments on the  planet and  is notorious for extreme unpredictable weather and citizens alike.

The building crew for the neighboring camp was in collaboration with our camp. 90% of our camp had been built and designed  by the neighboring camp. Lets call this camp “the Missing Motel” The Leader of this camp is a brilliant visionary that seemed to be very passionate about inspiring creativity with his own art. The Missing Motel rented our camp these extremely unique and beautifully constructed canvas “rectangles” that would be homes to myself and guests included. Missing Motel Build lovingly crafted every single detail of  popsicle camp. Everything from our private bathrooms, our rectangles,  and every piece of furniture in it,  the lay out of the camp itself and a majority of the beautiful details that made this camp an actual art instillation to be admired by everyone passing by.   Popsicle camp, from my perspective, had just invested money in property that would use to just rent out to cover the expenses and then make a profit as well. The money  popsicle camp paid to the motel  would go towards funding a large portion of the actual missing motel itself. which of course would be constructed out of the same rectangles and beautiful bathrooms. I was told by a member of the motel that the price my camp paid to rent 1 rectangle, would be used to pay the cost of producing and building 2 rectangles for the motel.

It was a Missing Motel containing over 100  of these rectangles stacked to 3 storys and that are made of canvas and wood. every person who stayed in these rectangles is staying in a literal empty canvas. A temporary home/art piece revolved around a desire to inspire anyone who enters.

The motel crew was expected to arrive the monday before the festival in order to begin building the popsicle camp and their own camp as well. Due to circumstances that were uncontrollable, the motel crew ended up missing the first 2 days so they started the entire thing already behind. the first unfulfilled expectation had begun sparking an immediate tension between the two camps.

On the Invitation and registration for popsicle camp they promised  to provide flushing porcelain toilettes that visitors of our art could learn about and experience as well. these were not just places to dump waste, but were actually considered to be art installations. the design of the sinks, toilet paper holders, and even  the stairs to walk up to them were all creative pieces that would inspire and a beautiful element to something that is usually unpleasant on the playa.

The tragic outcome of this promise turned in to criminally over worked staff members that were contractually obligated to spend countless hours with out any extra pay to be dealing with the shit of the customers giving us money. It continued to disappoint when there was actually never a real intention to share these with visitors. These were strictly for popsicle camp customers and employees ONLY. even The neighboring camp that created and built them were not allowed to use them. The gift for us to be able to share with visitors became a members only, selfishly enjoyed, porcelain toilette shit show of an art instillation. A clear demonstration of  some false advertisement I believed. The “efficient” showers and toilettes  of our 170 person village would use around 1000 gallons a day, or so I have been told.  They ended up breaking constantly. This meant that crew that was hired to teach about MOOP, run electricity, and do structural building, and tear down, were suddenly required to spend insanely long hours cleaning up shit.  When they could no do it, pete would be over at the missing motel demanding their services. This ended up happening the entirety that I was there. The staff was also told that absolutely none of the people from the missing motel were allowed in our bathrooms. Even the ones that built them. pete clearly struggled with the reality that everything was not going exactly as planned. His high expectations were crashing to the playa ground in front of him and showing what his real intentions were. He ended up having a fit at the artist and leader of the missing mote.l in the middle of the street one afternoon. The topics he screamed about were mainly focused on money. expressing that He paid this much so the motel owed him this much work and things regarding contracts and expectations . The artist patiently stood there, watching the breakdown of someone losing control. pete was so desperate to establish his dominance he went as far as unplugging the music to the missing motels camp. all the while the artist being disrespected and degraded stood there patiently and acted as a blank canvas for peter to express his emotions on.

Our camp had a couple of art cars that we rented from other artists. Our staff would be in charge of driving. They would directed to only allow members of the camp to ride on them. The DMV rules of the festival require that any art car driving is required to be for public enjoyment. We were told to go against those rules and be sure that we maintain our members VIP status.

Popsicle camp advertised to customers and to Placement that they would build a lounge out on the street in front our walls that would be cooled to 45º and contain a bar inside where hot and dusty passers by could enter to cool down and indulge. there were was said to be  be one of our guests/paying customers passing out our specialty eco friendly popsicles as gifts. Every paying customer in our camp would actually be “REQUIRED” to do this . The front of our camp was advertising that a second  iced tea/water lounge would be on the street and all of our customers would be there from 2-4pm every day passing out even more popsicles to people.

Neither of these structures had been built. There just happened to be more important priorities, which revolved around making sure that the paying customers never needed to use a porta potty.

I did, however, witness one very nice customer passing the Popsicles out in the front  one day. I’m not sure if that continued much after.

We had a massive dome built that would be open for the public to enjoy. There were specialty drinks, music, dancers, couches, coffee tables with Alex Grey paintings, snacks, and much more. This we did have, and it was BEAUTIFUL.  I only ended up bar tending one shift. I went in ready to rock it. I had invited the people of the missing motel to come and have a drink. During my shift we had many of our paying guests arrive from their air planes. They were welcomed by me with a warm hello and an offer to have a drink. While serving our guests, there were random visitors and the folks from the missing motel. I was told that only our members that had paid to camp there were allowed to have drinks. Considering that we had a visible full bar and a menu containing our specialty cocktails, you could imagine the embarrassment I felt when telling some people they can not have those advertised drinks, and telling others they can. Suddenly our public dome contained some VIP options. “Only those with the VIP wristbands can have a drink, can I offer you a peanut?”

With such a strong focus on making sure the customers had anything their hearts desired, the emotional and physical needs of all of the workers seemed to  never be considered.

There was of course an email from pete stating that

“Each of you on the Event Crew will be expected to work approximately ten (10) hours each day, divided into two (2) separate five (5) hour shifts. You will have a three (3) hour break between shifts. Ultimately each of you is expected to work as long as necessary to fully complete whatever needs to be done. As weather and other factors can quickly change plans on the Playa, please be mentally prepared to do whatever it takes.

We are planning for each of you to get at least one full day off during the week. ”

“Each of you will be compensated $180 of shift pay for each day worked. If you do indeed get a day off during the week, you will not be paid for that day. If you get a half day off, your pay will also be divided in half. There will be no tracking of hours or overtime provided. Each of you is required to complete a W9 form as well as an employee agreement and a waiver of liability to participate as a contractor for this event. ”


So, since things did continue to go wrong, there were people working 15-20hr days leaving them all exhausted. I never was actually given a break or told that I could have one. But I am not the type to hurt myself while on my working vacation. I did take breaks on my own when i needed one, and no one ever was upset, or at least ever expressed it. I was sure to be there when I was needed as to not leave any one hanging.

The pre burn email stated that

“We will work together upon your arrival on Sunday afternoon, from 6pm to midnight, to introduce you to every single element of camp.”

No one ended up EVER receiving a schedule. By tuesday evening, Peter had finally told us what our jobs would actually be. After 3 solid days that everyone had worked well over 10hrs with zero breaks, everyone was exhausted. some had not even left the camp at all, and those that did were only able to do so briefly. Pete and the guy being paid to positively motivate everyone told us at this time that “Inside this camp we are not at Burning Man, We are at work” they then led us around the camp and showed us the duties that we were actually hired to do. It was a lot of bar stuff and food service. The details of how Pete wanted these things done were extremely detailed and had made something that could potentially be really fun in to a very easy job to fail. Why would someone want perfectly measured specialty cocktails at a bar in burning man? How could someone expect a full staff to actually want to work in a festival of self expression with no room to self express? My fire inside was growing with every neurotic detail. This camp was an actual pop up restaurant that even had the same staff of his real restaurant working there. He expected this place to run as close to an actual business as he possibly could. This was not our camp, it was his. I was not at home, I was in a live in JOB.. Just as the walls surrounding us could not have seemed any taller, pete ended the meeting with telling everyone that we were all required to work for the rest of the night knowing that everyone there had already worked a solid 12 hours. He was sure to remind us that our contract said that we agreed to do whatever needed to be done, and that having time off was not a guarantee.

The sad part was that so many of these workers allowed themselves to be treated this way was because peter was also their employer in the default world. The majority of them had never attended the festival before so they did not understand how much this went against everything everything this event is about.  They were, however, fully aware that If they did not meet their expectations at Burning Man, they would risk losing their jobs. Some of these people even had contracts about future business plans that were tied in to this company, so an entire career could be ruined if they walked away.

I had no tie with these people in the future and did what I needed to do for my own sanity, Take a break. I wandered next door to the missing motel. I stood on the third level and looked down at my camp, It was hideous. High walls made up of storage containers and gray yurts. There was a courtyard filled with uniformed bikes and seqways. there was no color to be seen. Behind the camp there was nothing but playa. no art, no camps, no people, just dust and a trash fence in the distance. We were as close as we could be to being outside of the festival. In front of me there was this beautiful chaotic city happening, In the core of stood a tall man with his feel planted solidly on the ground. No stage for him to stand on, simply a man. Behind him there stood a temple crafted with love and filed with a piece of every burners heart. Past that a wooden structure of two people loving one another that was scheduled to burn in a couple of days. there was a very limited time left for me to be part of this event. I spent an entire day not entering the city that I came to be part of. An entire day dedicated to people that built tall walls to separate US from THEM.  This  event is meant to brings people together  and it felt like it was invaded by a wall of money and power there to make sure we would be separate.

I headed back over to the camp after about an hour and walked in another meeting for everyone. This would be the third meeting we had that day. I explained to the positive attitude guy that I needed to take the night off. I would not allow my own needs to be put aside for the sake of making sure the bar was fully stocked the proper way. He was understanding and let me leave. I spent the night contemplating if my commitment to be part of the team was worth sacrificing my own principles. I was in front of the camp on a couch that was meant to be part of our tea serving lounge which was forgotten. I was chatting with a fellow camp mate who felt the way I did about the entire situation and we were approached by a man who wanted to do what burners do, and join our conversation and build a connection. We welcomed him in and filled him in. We were discussing the scenario we had found ourselves in. He informed us that he was actually one of the customers in our camp. He was genuinely sad to hear of how things had turned out. He explain that JT was a close friend and offered to talk to him to see they can help fix this. He offered to see we could be paid more for what we do as a way to make this ok. I was too tired to explain to him that he seemed to have missed the point. I don’t hate him for doing what he thought was the right thing. He wanted to help. I was just sad to see that he had missed the point. How many other people are missing out on the event because they keep trying to pay for it to happen for them?

The next morning the staff had a secret meeting in a yurt where no one else could see us. Every single person in there went around and told their feelings. Every person in this meeting was in tears.

Some girls were talking about how these paying “guests” would grab at them while they were working.

Others were upset because they had been there for over 10 days had still not been able to see what burning man is.

There were virgins that were not allowed to stay for the man burn because peters restaurant back home needed them there, while peter was out of town enjoying his Burning Man experience.

All of these employees were promised to be involved in the Burning Man experience and suddenly found themselves in the most inhospitable environment you could be in and working the same exact jobs they have in the default world. The difference is that their job on the playa is much more difficult to handle and with a capped earning limit paired with a contract allowing their boss to work them as long and as hard as he desires while they stare at a 10ft wall just hearing the noises of the outside world. So many hard working people were only experiencing Burning Man through catering to all of the customers that would be. My new friends had not been able to do anything for themselves and have worked non stop since they arrived. Everyone just kept trying to make it work and stick to it. Do their job and do it well. I was blown away by the dedication, and disgusted at the same time. I walked out of the meeting. I could not watch such amazing people miss out and then help out the person who caused this to happen. How could so many amazing people not see that if they all walked out together the people who need to have to control will be faced with humility and the customers who want to buy our time will have to be faced with the need to be self reliant…which would have been successful in following through with our original intention. I could not allow myself to enable this sort of behavior, and decided I would not be part of this.

The only employees that seemed to be enjoying their jobs fully were the girls that had been hired to have fun. These girls were not considered staff but were paid to be guests. They would be paid to take the men out for fun adventures on the playa and to pay them total attention while at the camp. Their titles were “Mistresses of Merriment”.  Our camp was rumored to have had a satellite camp. I am not sure where it would have been built but it would be a place that our VIP camp members could go if they would not want to be seen. I can have my own judgments on what this all would be intended for, but it is only a rumor as of right now.

I was in the back of the camp when pete came to me and demanded my attention. I was in the middle of speaking a member of the BMorg about what was going on. I walked over to speak with Pete and told him that I was sorry to not be meeting his expectation, but it was a direct result of him not following through with his. He then told me to immediately pack my things and that I was no longer allowed to drink the water or eat the food that I was promised would be provided. He did not hesitate to cut those things off from me, which if I was not prepared, would lead me to be left starving.

2014 caravancicle adI later found a sign posted outside of our camp that stated they were looking to hire a new person to help out. A sign advertising a paying job!!! AT BURNING MAN!!! I wonder how much money they had offered them and if anyone actually took the job.

I kept up with the workers of the camp after I had left. They told stories about guests never washing their own dishes and not cleaning any of their moop. The $900 bikes provided for them were all unlocked and left around the entire festival. They spoke about mr. positive energy guy turning in to a giant pervert that sexually harassed some of the girls working. There were many stories about the poor treatment from the guests and of emotional out bursts by pete. I also heard stories about how many of the guests did seem to have a small transformation, and how there were some fun times being had by everyone.

Was the camp a success? I don’t know. It all depend on who you spoke to I suppose. Maybe the folks who were paid the most would say yes. I know the people who visited the camp generally had some negative experiences. I personally would say that this camp is the GRAND PRIZE WINNER of the VERY FIRST EVER “YOU DID IT WRONG AT BURNING MAN!! YES! REALLY!!” award.

“BUT, what about Radical inclusion?”