UP IN SMOKE
Burning Man Bans $100K Campers After Exploding Toilets
A class war at the weeklong art event has its most notorious rich kids running.
Burning Man has banned a $100,000-a-ticket camp group, after other Burning Man attendees complained the camp was so obnoxious even the toilets exploded.
A weeklong culture event in the middle of a Nevada desert, Burning Man asks participants to camp out, make art, and leave the place spotless after the week is up. But a growing number of Instagram influencer types are changing the character of the event, walling themselves off inside luxury campsites, Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell said in a Saturday blog post. Now the worst offender, a glam affair called “Humano the Tribe,” is banned from the next festival.
Burning Man is an egalitarian experience—at least in theory. The event preaches “radical inclusion” and money is prohibited. But some attendees have found a way to pay upfront for luxury, through membership to high-end campsites.
Residence in Humano the Tribe’s campsite (a map on their website shows the camp encircled by RVs) cost a minimum of $25,000, in addition to a $2,000 “tribal fee,” Mashable reported. That package included an air-conditioned luxury tent with a minibar, similar to what the infamous Fyre Festival initially promised. “Tribe” members could pay up to $100,000 for a two-bed, two-bath accommodation. (Burning Man’s standard tickets cost $425.)
Brochures for Humano showed brunchers eating shakshuka and waffles with scoops of ice-cream, part of the camp’s “carefully curated” “food program” “focused in raw and organic foods.” Models dot the group’s advertising.
But where Humano promised high-end housing and beautiful people, fellow Burners reported exploding port-a-potties and trust fund jerks. After last year’s Burning Man, Redditors in the r/BurningMan subreddit asked for nominees for the year’s “Biggest Douche Award”
“Humano,” one Burner replied. “They were our neighbors. Fuck them. Someone from their camp literally took a shit on our camp one night. They had their entrance hidden so we constantly had sparkle ponies walking through our camp asking us how to get in. They leaked grey water all over the playa. They didn't have enough space for all their vehicles so they parked a giant RV in the fire lane. Everything about them was terrible.” (“Sparkle ponies” is a derogatory term for the models, celebrities, and Instagram types who come to Burning Man for the photo-opp.)
Humano was so bad it inspired its own Reddit thread full of grievances.
“I camped near them one year,” another Redditor wrote. “They were awful neighbors. I know folks in my camp submitted feedback about them, and I know we weren’t the only folks in the neighborhood to submit feedback about them. They were a legitimate drain on our neighborhood to the point of ruining multiple blocks of Burning Man.”
“They left 3 of their full size tractor trailers on our site,” another said, echoing a common allegation about the expensive camp stealing space from neighbors. Other frequent complaints included claims that Humano regularly flew in fresh fish for sushi and left trash behind them, in a Burning Man faux-pas.
Then there were the port-a-potties.
“Did you see their personal port-a-potties go up in flames the first Sunday night?” one Redditor wrote. “That was a sight to see for sure....”
Another confirmed the account. “I spoke with someone at ESD fire, he said the portos ‘Burned all the way down to the shit line.’ Imagine having to clean up that mess.”
The mass outcry worked. The literal shit-storm that was Humano is not invited back to the 2019 festival.
“After negative reports from participants and nearly every Black Rock City operations team, we told Camp Humano that they are not invited back in 2019 as a placed camp. Humano was a strain on resources, had a poor ‘leave no trace’ record for three years, had a very poor 2018 environmental compliance record,” Goodell wrote in her Saturday memo. “This camp has been given clear next steps to get in good standing, but must make and demonstrate major changes in order to receive future placement.”