By Andrea Romano
Updated: February 20, 2019

 

Burning Man, a massive desert utopia for hippies, techno ravers, and everything in between, is changing things up this year – which means bad news for luxury-seeking Burners.

According to a post on the Burning Man website, Marian Goodell, CEO of the non-profit Burning Man Project, announced that it will be doing some “cultural course correcting,” by disinviting some high-profile, wealthy camps from the week-long event.

Photoshot/Getty Images

This comes after years of complaints from other Burners who feel that wealthy, elite participants are not in line with the event’s “roots.”

In particular, Goodell called out social media influencers, models, and other wealthy Burners turning the event into an opportunity to sell products or push brands.

“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’,” Goodell explained.

She continued to point out that Burning Man, also known as Black Rock City, is not a festival, but rather an anti-consumer social experiment. And with this, Goodell announced that certain luxury camps that offer “all inclusive” packages and perks, which generally commodify the experience, are disinvited.

Even though Goodell claims that these changes have no connection with the famously disastrous Fyre Festival, according to The New York Times, these camps often operate like the Fyre organizers. And, after two popular documentaries outlining all the problems with Fyre Festival have been recently released, it’s understandable for other events to want to distance themselves.

One camp in particular, Camp Humano, was disinvited due to being a “strain on resources” and receiving numerous complaints from other camps. According to Mashable, Camp Humano was selling a two-bedroom unit with a bathroom and air conditioning last year for $100,000.

Goodell mentioned that “a dozen” other camps have also been sent warnings, though are still allowed to return to the event.

All these changes are, according to Goodell, to keep Burning Man on its mission, which is to “preserve and protect the community ethos that sets Burning Man apart from mass-produced events.”

In addition, Goodell also announced that the event is changing its ticket pricing system.

The changes include a 10 percent increase in number of tickets allocated to Directed Group Sales to encourage “meaningful participation,” postponing pre-sale tickets until after the Directed Group sale, increasing low-income tickets by 18 percent, only allowing one high-price ticket level with a limit of two per person, decreasing the amount of high price tickets by 30 percent, and eliminating the “limited sale” of $1,200 tickets.

Related: What It Was Like to Go to Burning Man With My Parents

Goodell pointed out some helpful tips for participants to support the new changes, including avoiding package deals for the event as well as reporting any you see to event organizers, not buying tickets from unknown and non-trusted sources and not paying more than face-value.

“Burning Man is about connecting with yourself and with others. It’s a place and a culture that encourages direct and immediate experience. You get to create your own reality, and to do and make things you wouldn’t be able to accomplish alone,” Goodell wrote.

The lengthy post on the Burning Man website drew a mixed bag of comments, though many Burners applauded the new changes, according to NY Daily News.

Goodell’s full statement can be read on the Burning Man journal website.

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