9/17/2014

Burners embrace a change in policy at the Burning Man festival


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Celebrating the diversity and strength of "Burner" culture loyal fans of the Burning Man Festival took to social-media, in a very troubled time for the event, to reaffirm their commitment to the brand. "Burning Man changes, everything changes, even our principles change, but we still have an awesome party," said Denver native Prism Indigo on Facebook, referring to event organizers steadfastly continuing the annual festival in the wake of a Board member breaking one of the communities most sacred tenets. Co-Founder of the event Marian Goodell responded to the criticism saying "We felt that we needed to embrace the change that is all around us, instead of allowing ourselves to get mired in negativity, we turned it into something good" referencing the fact that RV accommodations will be available for purchase on the official Burning Man website in  early 2015. "People have been asking for transparency for a long time, and we're giving it to them, next year, you can order an RV accommodation or reserve space for a tent, or camp. We've looked at what other festivals do and we felt it was time for a change," Goodell added, noting the success of the model at the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. 

The response was immediate, with Burners around the globe breathing a sigh of relief:
Finally the drama is over. We needed this. Robot Heart #sunriseset here I come! (@CassiaDaisy) 
I really don't care what the owners do. I go to have fun and dance. #yolo #whiteparty #skrillex (@AvalonBlaze) 
Reading the Sherpa post was unsettling but I am glad something came out of it #RV #airconditioner #nodust #segway (@EchoMystic) 
It wasn't like people said. Glad i get to go #home with my friends in my favorite camp in peace next year! #caravancicle #love (@EmberFlow)
Event organizers hope the new more transparent policy will resolve the years long dispute over so-called "Plug-N-Play" camps. "With equal access, everyone wins" Goodell concluded, noting the outpouring of gratitude from burners on Facebook and Twitter. "I'm just glad I won't feel like an outcast at this factory for change anymore," said first time burner and startup entrepreneur Timothy King. "We fly out here and we can network, we make new business connections and let our hair down, we can feel the sand in our feet, it is great that they welcomed us," Timothy added, summing up the response from the growing Silicon Valley contingent that is likely to take Burning Man 2015 by storm now that they've earned their rightful place in the community.

Olga Santos reporting from San Francisco. Associated Press writers JT Baum and Garry Oliver in New York contributed to this report.