20,000 gather in Nevada desert create their own unofficial Burning Man

20,000 gather in Nevada desert create their own unofficial Burning Man
20,000 gather in Nevada desert create their own unofficial Burning Man

Another year of Burning Man has been cancelled due to the pandemic but for the die-hard festivalgoers with money to spend, they have decided to create their own unofficial event.

Officials at the Bureau of Land Management, which controls the desert where the festival usually takes place, estimate the non-ticketed event will attract up to 20,000 people over Labor Day weekend. The last official ticketed Burning Man, which took place in 2019, drew nearly 80,000 Burners to the desert. 

Thousands of festivalgoers have already begun to descend on Nevada's Black Rock Desert - dubbed 'the Playa' - including Michael Goetzman, 38, of Wisconsin, who flew first class to the event on a semi-private jet.

'It's amazing, it feels like the 90s,' Goetzman, who works in cyber security, said of the renegade event, where he's camped out at the Bureau Of Misinformation site with 'lots of highly intelligent successful friends from the Bay Area,' including 'notable celebrities and executives,' although he would not disclose who was on the star-studded campsite. 

He also said there were 'lots of six-figure FAANG workers' in attendance, who could afford luxuries such as Porta Potties and private performances during a year where the official Burning Man organization wasn't providing food, water, toilets and a weekend full of live music like they usually do. 

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Yet the unofficial Burning Man was free to attend. 'I know some that come out here and barely spend anything beyond gas,' Goetzman said, who added that he might spend upwards of $10,000 over the course of the weekend.

'Hard to calculate as I'm not quite done yet. Could be more,' he said. 

Another year of Burning Man has been cancelled due to the pandemic but for some Burners, this year's virtual rendition isn't cutting it. Thousands have decided to continue the tradition for a week-long unofficial Burning Man and have dubbed it 'Free Burn' and 'Renegade Burn'

Another year of Burning Man has been cancelled due to the pandemic but for some Burners, this year's virtual rendition isn't cutting it. Thousands have decided to continue the tradition for a week-long unofficial Burning Man and have dubbed it 'Free Burn' and 'Renegade Burn'

The statement from land management means that this year's foe-live event will look much different than past iterations of the festival, which are known for its incredible series of performances that showcase flaming structures and lasers alongside popular DJs

The statement from land management means that this year's foe-live event will look much different than past iterations of the festival, which are known for its incredible series of performances that showcase flaming structures and lasers alongside popular DJs

A video posted to Instagram shows festivalgoers dancing as DJ Guy Gerber performs

A video posted to Instagram shows festivalgoers dancing as DJ Guy Gerber performs

Thousands more Burners are expected to join the crowd over the course of the weekend

Diplo, who is no stranger to the festival, is rumored to be performing

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Thousands more Burners are expected to join the crowd over the course of the weekend with rumored performances from Diplo, who is no stranger to the festival

Goetzman, who makes upwards of $250,000 himself, said he and his friends enjoy 'this one time of year to disconnect' because of their stressful jobs. But he also said the festival is a great time to 'visit with friends I only see once a year, safely'. 

Burners are referring to the unofficial event as 'Free Burn' and 'Renegade Burn' and posted a livestream on Twitch titled 'Feeling FOMO? Pack your s*** and just go' has already documented nearly nine hours of live music, partying and a growing crowd.

The Playa is available to the public year-round with a 14-day limit on recreational and camping use. But the land management has already issued temporary restrictions effective August 18 to October 31, 2021, including bans on igniting fires other than campfires, the burning of structures, aircraft landings, possession of alcohol and use of lasers.

It also warned people that 'there are no medical and emergency resources close to the playa and multiple emergencies may result in extended response times'. 

The statement means that this year's foe-live event will look much different than past iterations of the festival, which are known for its incredible series of performances that showcase flaming structures and lasers alongside popular DJs. 

Burning Man also usually has an airstrip for luxe on-site arrivals. 

Officials at the Bureau of Land Management, which controls the desert where the festival usually takes place, estimate the non-ticketed event will attract up to 20,000 people over Labor Day Weekend

Officials at the Bureau of Land Management, which controls the desert where the festival usually takes place, estimate the non-ticketed event will attract up to 20,000 people over Labor Day Weekend

Nothing has stopped die-hard Burner fans and groups such as Black Rock Plan B, Playa Poop Protocol, Unity 2021 Free Burn, RenegadeBurn, Renegade Man, and Rogue Burn from trekking into the desert

Nothing has stopped die-hard Burner fans and groups such as Black Rock Plan B, Playa Poop Protocol, Unity 2021 Free Burn, RenegadeBurn, Renegade Man, and Rogue Burn from trekking into the desert

A livestream on Twitch titled 'Feeling FOMO? Pack your s*** and just go' has already documented nearly nine hours of live music, partying and a growing crowd

A livestream on Twitch titled 'Feeling FOMO? Pack your s*** and just go' has already documented nearly nine hours of live music, partying and a growing crowd 

Art cars are expected to make a showing this year in place of the Burning Man's infamous larger-than-life art structures, not to mention about 500 unofficial Burning Man camps on the Playa

Art cars are expected to make a showing this year in place of the Burning Man's infamous larger-than-life art structures, not to mention about 500 unofficial Burning Man camps on the Playa

The Playa is available to the public year-round with a 14-day limit on recreational and camping use. But the land management has already issued temporary restrictions effective August 18 to October 31, 2021

The Playa is available to the public year-round with a 14-day limit on recreational and camping use. But the land management has already issued temporary restrictions effective August 18 to October 31, 2021

Temporary restrictions include bans on igniting fires other than campfires, the burning of structures, aircraft landings, possession of alcohol and use of lasers

Temporary restrictions include bans on igniting fires other than campfires, the burning of structures, aircraft landings, possession of alcohol and use of lasers

However, the restrictions - including the threat of historic heat strokes and smoke from the California wildfires - are not stopping die-hard Burner fans and groups such as Black Rock Plan B, Playa Poop Protocol, Unity 2021 Free Burn, RenegadeBurn, Renegade Man, and Rogue Burn from trekking into the desert anyways.

At the Bureau Of Misinformation

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