Burning Man, the annual festival that takes place in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, has announced its desire to put a stop to those using its spectacular backdrop as an aid to further commercial and other personal interests.
Marian Goodell, CEO of the nonprofit Burning Man Project, published a statement declaring:
"Whether it’s commercial photo shoots, product placements, or Instagram posts thanking ‘friends’ for a useful item, attendees including fashion models and social media 'influencers’ are wearing and tagging brands in their playa photos. This means they are using Black Rock City to increase their popularity; to appeal to customers and sell more ‘stuff.’”
She goes on: “Failing to make clear what behavior is unacceptable has compounded the problem. I recently heard rumors of more than one product or business launch happening on playa in 2018. Seriously, people. This really isn’t Burning Man."
Known for its wild art installations and soundsystems attracting artists from Diplo to Carl Cox, Burning Man’s popularity has rocketed in recent years, despite the often extreme conditions of its environment. With the festival created by participants, it's become both a hotbed of creativity and wealth.
Founded in 1986 on a beach in San Francisco, Burning Man was founded on ten main principles: radical inclusion, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, gifting, decommodification, participation, immediacy and leave no trace. These are being threatened, however, in its current incarnation.
Goodell has pointed to ‘luxury camp’ packages as perverting Burning Man’s original spirit, stating: "Burning Man is not a festival. The invitation to participate is more than an invitation to have an amazing experience. It’s about CREATING that experience for yourself and those around you."
As a result, Burning Man has introduced a new ticketing system, increasing low income ticket allocations and adjusting high-priced ticket sales.
Read Goodell's full statement, including news of ticket changes,