On Monday, Burning Man officials came to the hill to lobby for the right to include more “Burners.” Burning Man is a week-long art and music festival held in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, described as an “experiment in community, art, radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.” The festival – which has only one road to get in, no trash cans, and does not accept money as payment – started out as a small gathering, and has since gained momentum and sold out of 50,000 allotted tickets the past two years.
The Bureau of Land Management guidelines set for Burning Man include capacity control and other safety measures. After exceeding the 50,000 mark in 2011, Burning Man has been put on probation by the Bureau, and is in DC to appeal their status and lobby for an increase of 70,000 participents over the next five years. If the electronic music and arts festival exceeds its capacity this year, their permit can be cancelled or suspended.
In addition to the week long festival, Burning Man has gained four, 501C3 nonprofit statuses for various community projects, such as Black Rock Solar. Another 501C3 in conjunction with Burning Man is a series of day long events across the U.S. called Figment. The grassroots effort will bring interactive art festivals to communities using the ten principles espoused by Burning Man. In D.C., the Figment event will take place on September 29 from 10 AM to 7PM at the Yards Park two blocks from the Navy Yard Metro.
The issues raised by Burning Man during its descent upon Capitol Hill shows that even a self-described “radically inclusive,” “decommodifying,” communal outfit like like this one can find a point where it agrees with the Tea Party. Burning Man to BLM: Don’t entangle our dreads!