You’ve all heard stories of Burning Man over the years and as the NY Times said, if you’ve not been, you probably think of it as “a white-hot desert filled with 50,000 stoned, half-naked hippies doing sun salutations while techno music thumps through the air.” Right? Well, apparently for some that’s been changing drastically over the last few years. In a fascinating story in the Times, they say the tech giants have invaded and are making the festival into their own private retreats, with no expense spared, with “buy-ins” for hand-picked Silicon Valley attendees topping $25,000 pp. Tyler Hanson, who first went to Burning Man in ’95, decided a couple of years ago to try working as a paid “Sherpa” or assistant at one of these luxury camps. He described the experience like this:
“Lavish R.V.s are driven in and connected together to create a private forted area, ensuring that no outsiders can get in. The rich are flown in on private planes, then picked up at the Burning Man airport, driven to their camp and served like kings and queens for a week. Your food, your drugs, your costumes are all handled for you, so all you have to do is show up. In the camp where I was working, there were about 30 Sherpas for 12 attendees. The tech start-ups now go to Burning Man and eat drugs in search of the next greatest app. Burning Man is no longer a counterculture revolution. It’s now become a mirror of society.”
Hanson says he won’t be going back anytime soon. The money, the blockaded camps and the tech elite were too much for him. I’ve always joked that if I ever went, I’d like to glamp it up because who wants to be uncomfortable and gross, but this elitism is sounding just as gross as the port potties everyone has to endure. But I wish I could see some pictures just to see HOW luxe it is – so I can then shun the excess, and secretly like to be there at the same time.
(via The New York Times)