The Burning Man Journal was the first to report that the organization behind the infamously hedonistic Burning Man music festival, an event that normally takes place for 10 days every August-September in the Nevada desert, have bought a huge ranch nearby. They plan to use the land to establish a year-round Burning Man commune, and the decision is more than a little controversial.
“As a year-round site, Fly Ranch has the potential to expand Burning Man Project’s activities and existing programs, as well as amplify Burning Man’s cultural impact into the wider world beyond Black Rock City,” Burning man organizers explain in the Journal.
“Fly Ranch opens the door to new possibilities, new cultural experiments, and art and innovation projects on a scale never before envisioned.”
The exact specifics of what will go down at the 24/7/365 Burning man location are still unclear, according to reps.
“We’re a long way from defining exactly what will happen at Fly Ranch. But it’s not too early to begin dreaming of the potential,” they note.
In other words, the organizers themselves think is is a great idea that they say will enable “the next step in the grand experiment that is Burning Man” to be taken.
But no matter what the permanent Burning Man iteration is used for, reports The Guardian, it is extremely controversial among Burning Man’s regular attendees, who believe it goes against the spirit the debaucherous Burning Man is supposed to stand for.
The publication explains that the makeshift city regularly set up for the week and a half-long music festival is literally burned at the conclusion of the event, giving pyromaniacs their annual fix and, more importantly, making a primal statement about impermanence and spontaneity.
All that is going to be lost now, many Burning Man regulars argue, because the Burning man city is going to be kept standing even after the festival-goers depart.
“It’s a symbol of the non-permanence of art, of the ritual,” writes Carly Shields of BTRread in an article on the burning of the surroundings at the end of Burning Man.
Other sources, on the other hand, think a permanent Burning Man is a great idea, citing the reasoning that it will greatly reduce pollution and wastefulness just for its own sake.
“Permanent infrastructure for Burners is a great idea,” writes Burning Man blog Burners.me.
“Destruction and pollution is so 1980’s. Leave It Better trumps Leave No Trace. A Center for Philosophy, to spread the culture around the world? I could see that happening.”
From a purely marketing perspective, says Gizmodo, the new site is greatly needed. Black Rock City, the site where the Burning Man festival is normally held, is getting to be too small to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of attendees. Some regulars have even been foregoing the festival completely in recent years in lieu of setting up their own Burning Man “diasporas” elsewhere.
The new plot of land, called Fly Ranch, is at least several times as big, and it will assure festival-goers will have a good amount of space in which to spread out. The land is also very geographically diverse and includes wetlands, hot springs, and even a geyser in addition the the barren Nevada desert that made up the entirety of Burning Man’s old site.
Fly Ranch will officially open as a permanent commune in 2017, and the Burning Man festival coming up in a few months will take place at the usual Black Rock City, organizers have said. In fact, they leave a cryptic note on the site’s blog warning visitors to stay out at all costs for the time being.
“Note:Do not try to visit Fly Ranch during Burning Man 2016. Seriously.“
Sounds like they mean business.
Would you rather attend a Burning Man festival at Black Rock City or Fly Ranch? Would you ever consider living in the Burning Man commune? Make yourself heard in the comments section below!
[Photo by David McNew/Newsmakers]