Over the years, the Burning Man Festival has become one of the most popular events and party destinations in the US and has drawn roughly tens of thousands of people in recent years. Unfortunately, this celebration of love and harmony is an enemy to the rigid bureaucracy and control freaks in the state. Last year, as TFTP reported, law enforcement attempted to turn the event into a police state function with drug tests, random vehicle searches, and checkpoints. Now, thanks to the Bureau of Land Management, the entire event is at risk of shutting down for good.
Over the years, the philosophy of the Burning Man celebration has been to "leave no trace," meaning leave the land just like it was before 70,000 people descend upon it. Over the last 30 years, this is exactly what has happened.
For the past 30 years, the Burning Man organization has worked collaboratively with the Bureau of Land Management and other agencies, the public, and event participants to be an exemplary steward of public lands, and to produce a safe and fun experience. We have strived to protect the cultural integrity of the Event while safely adapting to changing expectations and increasingly aggressive regulatory requirements. We are held to the highest standard of any permit on BLM managed lands and are proud of our environmental track record. Burning Man is now the largest Leave No Trace event in the world. Black Rock City has also become a significant economic engine, bringing $70 million into the Northern Nevada economy each year.
Despite this environmentalist ideology, the group has found themselves in the cross hairs of the state who is attempting to regulate the event out of existence.
According the organizers of Burning Man, the event is under the very real threat of being shut down forever.
While Burning Man Project remains committed to continuing our 30-year legacy of environmental stewardship and Leaving No Trace, many of the measures recommended by BLM are unreasonable, untenable, attempt to solve problems that don’t exist, and/or create new (and worse) problems. Altogether, these requirements would fundamentally change the operational integrity and cultural fabric of Black Rock City, and would spell the end of the event as we know it. This is not an exaggeration, and we need your help by April 29.
According to the new regulations, federal government agents would be required to oversee the festival and manage areas previously managed by qualified staff. This would ruin the festivities.
According to the organizers, "this would drastically affect our capacity to do our job hosting the event, and increase requirements for Burning Man’s special recreation permit."
Burning Man organizers are now asking for your help to fight back against the bureaucracy who wishes to shut them down. They are encouraging Burners, the general public, business owners, civic leaders, and in particular subject matter experts — to provide substantive comments to the BLM, challenging these proposed requirements on their merits.
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The group is asking that those qualified to appropriately comment on the matter, do so by following this link and going along with their recommendations.
As TFTP has previously reported, Burning Man has long been the target of government agencies despite not causing problems. The very idea of party-goers peacefully celebrating at an event for days on end is the antithesis of the establishment and the frequent attacks on the festivities highlights this.
Last year, we point out some sneaky tricks that officers were using to stop people. They were pulling them over for having dim tail lights, or any of obstruction of view in their windows, which is common when people are carrying camping gear. As soon as someone is pulled over, officers are ready nearby with drug dogs to justify a search on the vehicle. Some posters on social media said that police are profiling drivers and pulling over anyone who looks like they would be attending the festival.
This was confirmed by local newspaper ThisIsReno who reported that police in the region had orders from the federal government to target cars that are on their way to Burning Man and search them for drugs.
Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s Secretary Brenda Henry told Reno reporter Bob Conrad that these orders came straight from "the top." When Conrad asked, “You mean from President Trump?” Henry replied “Yes.”
“If you don’t have anything to hide, you’re good to go,” Henry said.
The Burning Man Festival has long been a target of the Feds, who are threatened by the counter-culture nature of the event and its attendees. Burners have even been labeled as terrorists by the feds, as it was revealed in a 2015 Freedom Of Information Act request that the FBI sent undercover agents to the festival under the pretense of gathering intelligence on terrorists.
The 16-page document released under duress by the FBI is still heavily censored — especially parts pertaining to high-tech police surveillance equipment used to “gather information.”
The fact that terrorism is used as an excuse for the surveillance is interesting, especially because the FBI notes in its report that the festival is a “cultural and artisan event, which promote[s] free expression by the participants.”
Apparently, art and free expression can now be equated with terrorism, environmental degradation, and general enemies of the state.