The End of Burning Man as We Know It.

sad clowns at center camp burning man 2012

Burning Man 2012 gave me a massive headache. No, it wasn’t the heat, the dust, the cold nights or the lack of sleep after banging rebar for three days in a row. It was the loss of culture, that I briefly had a chance to experience in my first burn of 2010, and saw remnants of it in 2011. Yeah. Soon, it’ll be just another festival, not an event, not a community, more like one of those “each-man-for-himself-in-the-desert” weeks.

I’ve known of Burning Man for years, yet finally made it in 2010, when one of my best friends who moved to SF from Nasty LA called up and said, “we’re going to Burning Man”, OK, I replied, showed up, we built a camp, all of us except for one were newbies, and we’ve made it as individuals and as a group. We’re still best friends and we still camp together.

In 2011, the streets became wider, it was no longer possible to share anything with your neighbours. Too far, Larry! Can You Hear Me? Oh no! I was back in LA Land, each man to himself, losing your friends on the playa faster then I lose my keys. Nonetheless, Robot Heart was there to comfort me, as well as Pink Heart camp, and the art was great.

2012, that was another story. With absolute lack of support from BMORG, and a terrible location, despite our repeating begging emails to our “rep” at BMORG, we tried our best, and personally, I’ve invested sizeable chunka cash, took over a month off work, built House of Dust, and yes, we had a great time, but what we saw alarmed us, scared us, and what I was afraid of came true: No more culture. No more sharing. It’s just one big party with MOOP everywhere, wait, it’s no longer MOOP, it’s trash (they call it Rubbish in UK or garbage here in Canada). MOOP everywhere, people pissing on the playa in the daylight, beer bottles thrown everywhere.

Why is that? I was scratching my head looking for an answer. Here is one: where the hell is BMORG?? where is the education? the numbers of participants grow each year, but has BMORG done anything to counter that? to educate the masses? I haven’t seen a single clue that this is the case. But what I saw was “Burning Man tourists”, those who come on Thursday and left on Sunday, they came to consume, use, take, leave trash and give nothing. I saw tourists that asked us to use our camp, and contributed nothing, they took off in the middle of the night and did not help out, did not pay their camp fees, but used and consumed all they could.

I let one member of our camp go, she was so lazy, she decided that she “needs to work on the computer” while the few of us that made it early, huge time and effort coming from Canada and the US, worked our asses off building House of Dust to be the best camp we ever built (this is my third first camp), but at what cost. The cost of the culture.

Thursday at Center Camp made my headache into a full-blown migraine. People in store-bought costumes walked in and started flicking model poses. Yes, I know, freedom of expression and all that, but is that what we have come to? so what’s next? Mickey and Donald? Vodka Sponsorships? I know! Starbucks coffee. Wait, we have Starfuckers.

I’ll rant some more later. I need to take a trademarked drug for my headache now.