Burning Man 2016: 'Hooligans' stage 'revolution against rich parasites' at festival

'The revolution has begun,' one festival-goer says

Harriet Agerholm
Monday 05 September 2016 14:28
Many “Burners” have requested Burning Man regulate luxury camps
Many “Burners” have requested Burning Man regulate luxury camps

An influx of millionaire festival-goers at Nevada’s desert festival, Burning Man, have been targeted by “hooligans" amid complaints the mega-rich are corrupting the ethos of the annual event.

Organisers of Burning Man call the festival an “annual experiment in temporary community” that promotes “radical self-expression” and “radical self-reliance”.

But the festival’s increasing popularity among Silicon Valley elites has led to luxury campsites popping up in various spots in the sun-bleached landscape.

Dubbed “plug-n-play” camps, the new sites feature hired staff such as cooks, builders and security and have a reputation for being hostile to outsiders.

Police are investigating after vandals allegedly looted and trashed one such site, called the White Ocean camp.

The camp was set up by celebrity DJ Paul Oakenfold and Timur Sardarov, the son of oil magnate Rashid Sardarov. It a techno-music stage that stays open until the early hours.

A message on the camp’s Facebook page said electrical wires were cut, the site was flooded and trailer doors were glued shut during the raid.

“A band of hooligans raided our camp, stole from us, pulled and sliced all of our electrical lines leaving us with no refrigeration and wasting our food and glued our trailer doors shut, vandalized most of our camping infrastructure, dumped 200 gallons of potable water flooding our camp.

"This year has been quite the challenge for our camp. We have felt like we've been sabotaged from every angle, but last night's chain of events, while we were all out enjoying our beautiful home, was an absolute and definitive confirmation that some feel we are not deserving of Burning Man.

“We actually had someone from the [Burning Man] organization tell us that in paraphrase ‘it makes sense that you have been sabotaged as you are a closed camp and not welcoming.’”

Many “Burners” have requested the festival regulate the luxury camps, which they have made some effort to do.

While many festival-goers are tolerant of the new luxury sites, others say the raid is the beginning of a “revolution” against the the “parasite class”.

One “Burner”, Tony Wichowski, told The Telegraph "And so the revolution has begun. Taking Burning Man back from the parasite class, back from the electronic dance music tourists. Taking Burning Man back for the people. This wasn't much but it's a great start."

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