Celebrities and tech execs, luxury campsites in tow, are flocking to Burning Man

“Bonnaroo. Coachella. Burning Man?” The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting.

“Burning Man began with a bonfire on Baker Beach in 1986 and has since ballooned into an entire lifestyle, industry and ecosystem. Today, an estimated 70,000 people will migrate to Black Rock Desert, Nev., to kick off the yearly event. And while it’s positioned as an experiment in anti-greed, counter-culture spirit, it has started to look like just another stop on the festival circuit for some celebrities.

“In recent years, Paris Hilton, Heidi Klum and even Diddy have been spotted at Burning Man, decked out in garish, camera-ready outfits. On the other end of the spectrum, Silicon Valley types, like Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page, have been decried for using the free-spirited event as a networking opportunity.

“‘What we’re seeing are many more of the Fortune 500 leadership, entrepreneurs and small startups bringing their whole team,’ Burning Man Project CEO Marian Goodell told the Chronicle in 2014, calling it ‘a bit like a corporate retreat.’

“The influx of celebrities and tech execs at Burning Man has, predictably, spurred a great deal of hand-wringing in the Burning Man community. Cash transactions are prohibited at Burning Man, but wealth manifests itself in the extravagant camps clustered on ‘Billionaires’ Row.’

“The entry fee for Burning Man is no cheap ticket for anyone, however. General admission will set you back $425, and early bird pre-sales range from $990 to $1,200. Four thousand tickets are set aside for “low income” Burners, who must provide ‘proof of your income and expenses.’ Applicants who are approved can buy their tickets for $190.

“Despite anxiety about the commodification of Burning Man, many longtime Burners say a few celebrities mixed in with the tens of thousands of revelers has no adverse effect on the celebration.

“‘People always say, ‘Don’t you miss those old days?’ Burner Richard Titus told the Chronicle. ‘And I’m like, ‘No! No way.’ Today it’s way more interesting and powerful than ever.'”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

One thought on “Celebrities and tech execs, luxury campsites in tow, are flocking to Burning Man”

  1. Like all counter-culture edifices, the burn has been co-opted by the big time capitalists. First it was bell bottom pants, beetle boots, and long (but perfectly coifed) hair, then the internet…… and now burning man. Where does it end?

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