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Burning Man Festivities Kick Off With A Lawsuit

Burning Man Festival lawsuit

The Burning Man festival begins today in the Black Rock Desert and the arts-hedonistic festival is kicking off with a lawsuit filed by the event’s organizers.

The lawsuit stems from what Burning Man officials have deemed a “drastic increase in fees” to hold the event.

In a statement regarding the lawsuit, Larry Harvey of San Francisco-based Black Rock City LLC said of the new costs:

“For more than 20 years, the Burning Man community has proudly made northern Nevada its home, providing millions of dollars annually to the local economy. We love Nevada. Unfortunately, Pershing County is making it difficult to continue doing business here. We intend to resolve this matter through reasonable means and work collaboratively with Nevadans to keep our business in the state.”

Fighting back over Burning Man’s claims, lawyers for the county state:

“Without giving an overall context to the information provided, Black Rock City LLC attempts to portray motivations that simply did not and do not exist .… The residents of Pershing County should not be required to flip the bill for the business conducted by a ($20 million plus) business.”

The cost to host the festival on public land has risen to $1.5 million, a cost that is paid partially to the US government’s Bureau of Land Management. In 2011, Burning Man paid $175,000 to host the event, and this year Pershing County demanded $400,000.

The fees argue the county are required to pay for an increasing number of law enforcement officers as the event continues to gain mass appeal and grow beyond its humble roots.

The biggest consideration at this time is that the fee will increase to $600,000 in 2013 and then head higher in the years to come, reaching more than $1 million in the near future.

In a press released from the county last week, the picture painted of the event was far different than that told by event organizers:

“While Black Rock City, LLC wants to portray the event as a fairytale land in their public relations, they fail to mention serious crimes that have occurred in the past and are expected to occur in the future.”

Do you think the Burning Man lawsuit should fall in favor of event organizers or should they foot the bill for increasing county costs for law enforcement?

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Comments

27 Responses to “Burning Man Festivities Kick Off With A Lawsuit”

  1. Mät Linznick

    I think this is a biased article, and the question at the end is loaded. You ask whether A) event organizers should win the lawsuit, OR B) whether they should "foot the bill for increasing county costs for law enforcement". B is posed without any research, and based entirely on unfounded statements made by the county officials. The article also only contains quotations from one side of the argument. If the reporting here was honest and objective, due research would have been done to at least attempt to substantiate the claims made by officials, more quotations from event organizers would be published, and the question at the end would be reworded.

  2. Chris Pepper

    you think research wasn't done, they just made up the amounts? I sort of doubt that, but who knows. One thing is for sure, BM is mess now. used to be a nice event.

  3. Mät Linznick

    The "amounts" are not sourced at all. The "journalist" supplies no sources for those numbers. Additional information is quoted from county government press releases. Hardly unbiased source material. I will retract my generalized statement about the quotes, though, there is one from event organizers toward the beginning, though most of the meaty information is provided in the context of information from county officials. The question at the end takes the assertions from the county at face value and treats them as truth.

    I've never been to Burning Man, it's way too expensive and popular. I have been to a regional burn, PDF in Delaware, and it was a really great experience.

  4. Anonymous

    in the end its obviously a money making event, and bm seems to be making more money off of it. forget law enforcement! why doesn't bm invest in their own land to hold the event on. twenty years later? what a freaking good idea.

  5. Gary Brown

    This a non stop party of booze, drugs, bare ass nakedness..They should pay all the fees and the government (BLM) should not pay a dime.

  6. Kathy Dodson

    Sooo Gary, you've been to the event then? And if so, and your description of the experience is yours…YOU WERE WITH THE WRONG CAMP. In Fact, my experience was wonderful, kindness and thoughtfullness, not to mention astounding art/creativity/Beauty. too bad

  7. John Sayles

    great money make for founders, 50,000 x $300 =$15million and lot tickets sell for more than that. and someone says they are doing it for the ARTS. the art of making money.

  8. Cameron Johnson

    Law enforcement asking for more money. Surprise. Lawsuit to slow them down and avoid something like Gnarnia. Surprise. Good promoters; well done!

  9. Emily Fulton

    Hasn't the number of people attending the event greatly increased over the years? It wouldn't make sense to double the number of people yet keep have less law enforcement there. More people in attendance means a higher demand for these things.

  10. Dave Rupp

    This needs to be worked out between the two parties before anyone starts talking nonsense. It is not a public affair although the public is welcome. Black Rock is not a charitiabale organiztion. If theyt cannot come to a reasonable agreement then Burning Man should move.

  11. Angus Alexander MacLeod

    I live in the area year-round, but have never attended. Sure, many of them are definitely very freaky, but they have all paid big bucks just to attend and to get there and back home. One BIG thing this article leaves out is they they also spend many MILLION$ on the way at local businesses — ask any Wal-Mart within 100 miles or more. As far as freaks "expressing themselves" – don't you think their choosing a place that bleak and barren and that far from even a small village is pretty damn thoughtful for all the tight-assed squares like you? I can tell you as a long-time Nevadan that Burning Man is already just as welcome as gambling was 50 years ago… Get over it…

  12. Sandra Fisher

    In my opinion, Burning Man should be outlawed. They pay outrageously high fees to the government so they can break the law and have law inforcement turn their backs. How many of people have died or been seriouly injured by the crayziness that goes on out there over 20 years. People take their kids out there to wittness all kinds of hedonistic practices such as nudity, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sex, etc. And WE let them expose their children to who knows what! When I lived out there, I couldn't even take my daughter to the grocery store without worrying about what she would see come in the doors.
    Sure, all the local businesses love it. They make big bucks. It didn't stop Empire from becomming a ghost town. There isn't any bennifit from the Burning man except money. But who does it go to? Burning Man is nothing more than Sodom and Gamorrha revisited. We all know what happened to those two evil cities.

  13. Angus Alexander MacLeod

    I live in the area year-round, but have never attended. Sure, many of them are definitely very freaky, but they have all paid big bucks just to attend and to get there and back home. One BIG thing this article leaves out is they they also spend many MILLION$ on the way at local businesses — ask any Wal-Mart within 100 miles or more. As far as freaks "expressing themselves" – don't you think their choosing a place that bleak and barren and that far from even a small village is pretty damn thoughtful for all the tight-assed squares like you? I can tell you as a long-time Nevadan that Burning Man is already just as welcome as gambling was 50 years ago… Get over it…

  14. Kathy Dodson

    Sandra, Unless you have been there which, based on your description overtones, you really should spend your time and (negative) energy on things you actually know about. Judgement not appropriate or appreciated.

  15. Angus Alexander MacLeod

    I live in the area year-round, but have never attended. Sure, many of the"Burners" are definitely very freaky, but they have all paid big bucks just to attend and to get there and back home. One BIG thing this article leaves out is they they also spend many, many MILLION$ on the way at local businesses — ask any Wal-Mart within 100 miles or more. As far as freaks "expressing themselves" – don't you think their choosing a place that bleak and barren and that far from even a small village is pretty damn thoughtful for all the tight-assed squares like you?
    I can tell you as a long-time Nevadan that Burning Man is already just as welcome throughout all of Northern Nevada as gambling was when it first came here more than 50 years ago – and you can bet all the "holier-than-thous" were decrying Vegas in the same words you use for Burning Man – then and now… As just one example: My next-door neighbor, who has had a large-scale equipment-rental business that was heading for the toilet, makes enough to stay afloat for the entire year providing the water-supply trucks to the event.
    Get over it…

  16. Angus Alexander MacLeod

    I live in the area year-round, but have never attended. Sure, many of the"Burners" are definitely very freaky, but they have all paid big bucks just to attend and to get there and back home. One BIG thing this article leaves out is they they also spend many, many MILLION$ on the way at local businesses — ask any Wal-Mart within 100 miles or more. As far as freaks "expressing themselves" – don't you think their choosing a place that bleak and barren and that far from even a small village is pretty damn thoughtful for all the tight-assed squares like you?
    I can tell you as a long-time Nevadan that Burning Man is already just as welcome throughout all of Northern Nevada as gambling was when it first came here more than 50 years ago – and you can bet all the "holier-than-thous" were decrying Vegas in the same words you use for Burning Man – then and now… As just one example: My next-door neighbor, who has had a large-scale equipment-rental business that was heading for the toilet, makes enough to stay afloat for the entire year providing the water-supply trucks to the event.
    Get over it…

  17. Kathy Dodson

    Sandra, Unless you have been there which, based on your description overtones, you havent, you really should spend your time and (negative) energy on things you actually know about. Judgement not appropriate or appreciated.

  18. Kathy Dodson

    Sandra, Unless you have been there which, based on your description overtones, you havent, you really should spend your time and (negative) energy on things you actually know about. Judgement not appropriate or appreciated.

  19. Russell Schiwal

    Their motto is one of leaving no trace and of being self-reliant. They should pay for their own law enforcement, clean up, environmental impact statements, waste disposal, infrastructure emergency services, taxes and insurance, just like any other business, large festival or concert. They can obviously afford lawyers.

  20. Russell Schiwal

    Kathy, why is it that people who never want to be told what to do always tell people what they can't do?

  21. Lee Haley

    I cooked n waited on these freaks when i worked at black rock salloon n sandy says it the way it was, thats the only reason these people go out there is 4 drugs n sex n 2 worship a wooden statue.

  22. Sandra Fisher

    Hay, thanks Russel and Lee. I don't often speak up about things but I was affected negatively from it. I lived close enough to know that I and my God would be ashamed of me if I participated. Kathy, I hope you know the true God some day. I will pray for you.