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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

BLM in uncomfortable spotlight over Burning Man Festival demands

Nevada Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials found themselves in the public hot seat after a Reno newspaper broke a story regarding the agency's demands for the upcoming Burning Man festival. Apparently BLM brass feel that management of this year's week-long counterculture arts festival should provide BLM VIPs a more comfortable stay at the festival on the desert near Gerlach.

Victor Grigas on wikimedia.org
Each year, festival organizers have to meet BLM requirements and pay a fee to the agency. This year, organizers balked at some of the BLM requirements. Included in the agency's wish-list were some rather peculiar specifics. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, percs like these:

•Salsa, hot peppers, brown sugar and raisins or other dried fruit at every breakfast and lunch — in "appropriate" serving containers, not individually packaged

•Mandatory 24-hour access to Golden Grahams, Fruit Loops, Chobani Greek yogurt, chocolate milk, personal pizzas, Hot Pockets, burritos, M&Ms, Snickers, Paydays, Skittles, licorice, cookies and brownies

•Mandatory 24-hour access to a standalone freezer containing ice cream sandwiches, Drumsticks and Choco Tacos

•Flushing toilets to be cleaned daily by Burning Man staff

•Washers and dryers

•Showers with instant hot water

•Air-conditioning, couches and refrigerators.

Paying ticket-holders admitted to the event, who likely will number up in to the 70,000 range, won't likely have anything like this. Burning Man Festival grounds are on Nevada's dusty playa, where dust-blown conditions can make visibility near zero. Tents and RVs are the order of the day for festival goers. Organizers claim that the BLM demand list will add about $1 million to their price tag, and refused to submit to the demand.

DCMatt on flickr.com
After the Reno newspaper published its story, the BLM came under no small amount of public pressure to explain their "reasoning." BLM's director, Neil Komze, went on public record with his own take on the matter. "These reports painted a troubling portrait of government employees seeking VIP accommodations and outlandish provisions. Like you, I was surprised and upset by much of what I read." Komze promised a complete review of the demands, but did attempt to impress his readers with the concern that the agency has for public safety, pointing out that the festival has doubled in size in the last few years, and injuries – and last year, one death – to festival-goers are a major concern of the BLM. With these things in mind, Komze asserts it is necessary for the BLM to have a suitable on-site presence – but 24 hour Choco Tacos?

For festival goers, some of whom who have paid as much as $800 for a ticket to spend a week wading through desert dust, the vision of "VIPs" equipped with washers, dryers, and 24-hour snack foods may be a hard one to swallow.

3 comments:

  1. How bizarre. Do these BLM people know anything about the spirit of Burning Man?

    ReplyDelete
  2. No they do not. BLM stands for Big Lazy Mooches

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gov. agencies are quite out of hand these days!!!
    They have forgotten who pays thier wages!

    ReplyDelete