Burning Man Goes Rogue As 20,000 Devotees Still Plan To Gather In The Black Rock Desert

A Life Wire – Staff – August 27, 2021

Peter Ruprecht

Burners will always be burners, and when they heard another year of Burning Man was canceled due to the pandemic, they took matters into their own hands by planning to continue the tradition in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The week-long celebration of creativity and radical self-expression is a traditional mix between an art festival and a visionary rave party. The yearly event is officially described as “awe-inspiring and joyful ways that lift the human spirit, address social problems, and inspire a sense of culture, community, and civic engagement.”

The renegade Burning Man could attract up to 20,000 people over Labor Day weekend as opposed to almost 80,000 at the official 2019 gathering. Last year also had a “Not Burning Man” with several thousand in attendance. Despite COVID, no medical services, and no waste collection services, the upcoming gathering could turn into a mini Woodstock. Those who wish to stay home can still experience Virtual Burning Man 2021.

Scott London

Organized by groups including Black Rock Plan B, Playa Poop Protocol, Unity 2021 Free Burn, RenegadeBurn, Renegade Man, and Rogue Burn, the devotees will be trekking to the desert against all odds, including historic heatwaves and thick smoke from the California wildfires.

There will be hundreds of camps offering outrageous, fun, and inspiring options, ranging from; alternative energy zones, burlesque Vikings, and naked segway lessons to sound and music healing and more. The famed art cars are anticipated to make a big showing this year to counter the lack of large art structures. There will be a planned 500 unofficial Burning Man camps on the Playa, and Burners are excited about the return to how Burning Man used to be in the early 90s.

Last year saw thousands attend the unofficial Burning Man gathering, and according to longtime burner and photographer Scott London, “There were theme camps, art installations and mutant vehicles, with gorgeous, creatively-costumed people everywhere. Yet it was all unplanned, self-organized, free.”

“Unlike Burning Man, there were no trash fences, no speed limits, no restrictions beyond those we set for ourselves,” he continued. “You could camp anywhere, kick up as much dust as you liked, go for a dip in the nearby hot springs, even make late-night beer runs to Gerlach. Gone were the turnkey camps, the celebrity artists, the mayors tours, the VIP lounges, the staffers with badges and walkie-talkies.”

The Bureau of Land Management has added new restrictions for anyone planning on attending this year, including; no structures are allowed to be built, no fires other than campfires, no burning structures (or a Man for that matter), and more.

“We’re not dissuading people from going,” says Marian Goodell, CEO of the nonprofit Burning Man. “But I don’t think you should try to go if you’re not an experienced Burner. And if you last went in 1996, when we respected the dangers of the desert, and communal effort was key, this is your year.”

According to longtime Burner and photographer Peter Ruprecht, “This year is going to be an interesting experiment on the playa. Since there will not be an official Burning Man, many people and camps have decided to go out still and organize themselves loosely into an unofficial burning man-based gathering.”

“The honest truth is I don’t know what to expect,” he adds. “I have heard numbers between 5,000 and 30,000 expected to venture out there braving the lack of official support and the smoke from the fires. I will be going with my wife Shannon Shiang and look forward to seeing the results of this decentralized gathering born in the spirit of the official burning man.”

Despite the new restrictions, The Bureau of Land Management cannot legally stop anyone from camping at the public land site. RVs will be the ultimate resource for the renegades providing in-demand shelter and restrooms.

Read entire article here

PS As of today (Sunday afternoon) there isn’t any noticeable traffic heading out to the Playa, however, there are many visible Burning Man Rangers & other workers here in our town of Gerlach.

Posted by Teri Perticone

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