The Commodification of Burning Man!

The Commodification of Burning Man!

NOTE: If you don’t know anything about Burning Man, you might want to scroll on past this Blog Post to the next one! This is all about the Burning Man principle of DECOMMODIFICATION and then an opinion about The Ticket Sales in 2019.
There are 10 Principles (actually 11 because Consent was added).

“In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.”


Burning Man has a “Gift Economy”, not a barter/trade, not transactional, no money is used except to buy ice and coffee. All promotion and branding is rejected and brand names are covered or altered in the spirit of the event…. except that doesn’t always happen.

Recently (February, 2019) the Burning Man Project Organization (aka the BMorg) issued a statement about a “course correction” to eliminate these gross violations of the no promotion/branding particularly on social media like this (mostly Instagram & Twitter).

So the question for you to think about, and respond to in the comments if you so choose, it this:

Q: How do you feel about the commodification of Burning Man by celebrities?
Last year I was truly disgusted when comedian Nick Kroll went on the Colbert talk show and showed pics and told stories! The picture of Diplo with the chicken is going viral, and he should already be banned for his past behavior. I blame Paris Hilton and the instasparkleponies and if they’re really serious about “course correction” they need to stop this shit. And how do you feel about Tool dropping their latest release from the art car Abraxus at the event?

BURNING MAN 2019: (and this is just an example for educational purposes)


“Is Paris Hilton selling shit on Instagram using BurningMan?” is exactly the question! Is she being paid to pose at Burning Man 2019? Is this a commercial endorsement using the burn and other peoples art to promote sunglasses, goggles, fashion, and her brand?

Paris Hilton’s Insta pics are (hashtag)burningman and there are 5 pics commodifying other peoples art promoting her brand and products without giving credit or compensating them.

NOTE: We added the white text to give credit to the artist!

WE LOVE DJ PARIS HILTON! (just not her commodification of Burning Man for money)


Ask how celebrity endorsements work and internet influencers are compensated. Paris Hilton is a genius at Business, Entertainment, Media and Promotion! Check out her many business ventures and her net worth. I don’t think that her business should include exploiting Burning Man for $$$$$.


Is actor/comedian/producer Nick Kroll going on a late night talk show to promote himself and his projects while using (hashtag)BurningMan considered commodification? He’s being paid to appear. It’s a pretty funny interview, but is this what the “cultural correction” needs to address?

This is a mainstream network show that he is being paid to appear on. Followed by a “plug” for his TV show that he is also paid for. The comedy bit is part of his act, he’s a standup, it’s art but he’s paid for it too. And Colbert feeds him the prompts. Laughing at the freaks is good television! I don’t know how BM protects its copyrights, trademarks, and enforces the “policies”, I’m just barking on my megaphone about Paris Hilton, the original Sparkle Pony (DJ) today And referencing the Nick Kroll clip as an example.

“Policy” regarding Commercial Promotion and Personal Use Media from BMorg:
Burners are welcomed to use photos, videos, and audio recordings obtained at the event for their personal use, which includes:
Sharing with your friends and personal social media networks.
Displaying on personal websites—as long as the websites do not sell any products or services, and do not pretend or appear to be an official Burning Man website.
Posting to your personal accounts on photo-sharing sites such as Flickr, Instagram, YouTube, and Tumblr—as long as the posts aren’t commercial in any manner and the accounts aren’t used for purposeful promotion. You may not directly monetize any media through paywalls or advertisements.

I’m not saying that celebrities shouldn’t be included. I’m saying they shouldn’t be allowed to commodify the experience to sell their shit. They shouldn’t pose for paid ads at The Burn. They shouldn’t go on network tv and show pictures and laugh at the freaks because it’s good television while they’re being paid to appear and plug the shit their selling.

Nearly 40 percent of Burning Man’s money, more than $15 million, was spent on salaries and other employee benefits, an increase of about $2 million from the year before, according to the 2017 tax documents. The top 10 salaries from 2017 are:

Marian Goodell, CEO: $261,000
Larry Harvey, President: $211,000
Theresa Duncan, Director of philanthropic engagement: $187,000
Harley K. Dubois, Director: $176,000
Ray Allen, General counsel: $174,000
Doug Robertson, Director of finance: $161,000
Heather White, managing director: $160,000
Kim Cook, Director of art and civic engagement: $156,000
Charlie Dolman, event operations director: $151,000
Crimson Rose, secretary: $145,000

Here is the salary breakdown, and there are other people receiving large payment too. And we are aware of the arguments about “volunteer labor” when so much money is generated. Is LNT a way to avoid the expense of trash removal? Is “self-reliance” a way to avoid providing services? Today my post was about Paris Hilton and her InstaPromotion, and celebrities making money from the decommodified community.

Ask the artist! Artist, Laura Kimpton, does she have consent to use your Art in her self promotion?

We were overjoyed to discover her art from The Playa in the heart of commercial Las Vegas at the Venetian=Palazzo Hotel and Casino on The Strip!
We watched so many people pose for pictures and interact with the “LOVE” piece in a very short time. And we love love love all of her stuff, particularly “XOXO”.

artist Laura Kimpton 1
At the Venetian-Palazzo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada!

NOTE: Funding artists to make art is not commodification until that art is used to make money for the artist from a commercial venture. Burning Man Project is funding non-commercial art as far as I know.

And what about JoshWillTravel?
Are we commodifying the Burning Man experience here?


No, we are not exploiting the event for commercial gain, therefore, we are within the BMorg guidelines, and we are not using Burning Man for any commercial intent!

NOTE: Our participation in the event this year, because of the ticket situation (and not having them), was Camp Envy and gifting art/sharing pics (screenshot caps as it was happening) with the webcast community via Slack chat, and the group Facebook and Twitter streams. No personal gain was intended and no personal hashtags were used until the event was over. We’ll be sharing the pics again here on the Blog soon, and on our other social media pages within the guidelines and without any commodification or commercial intent.

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 21.45.39

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Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Periscope | Experience Ashland Oregon 

Return to Homepage | The JoshWillTravel Adventure Channel on YouTube



Posted this on the Burning Man page, but thought I would share it here too, in regards to TiCKETS AND THE CONSTANT FUCKUP WITH TICKET SALES: If they were serious about protecting the integrity of the ticket process and actual DECOMMODIFICATION they would use an in-house mail order system like the Grateful Dead used. No outside ticket vendors. Easy to spot multiple ticket requests from the same address. Handwritten requests only! And using a postal money order only for purchase removes big banking and internet fees from the transaction. Also the “service fees” could be reduced and valuable BM jobs could be created. (ps I worked for World ___ USA ’94 as Customer Service Supervisor for International Ticketing – 9 US Venues sold over a year in advance and insured tickets direct shipped a few weeks before the games) And the Mail Order process involves real participation, not just watching the arrows spin.

Burning Man 2019: HOW MANY PEOPLE GOT SCAMMED THIS BURN? There were so many stories pre-burn! Did you get a ticket? Did you get scammed? Was it your fault for trusting “the system”? How did you find your ticket? How did you get scammed?


My story: I just needed one ticket and maybe a VP. Tried the Main Sale and got f*cked by LYTE. Left spinning for 3 hours. Tried STEP at Main Sale price and later found out there was no way that was going to happen unless I went for FOMO price. Then struck out in the OMG and was left out in the cold like so many people…. How do you plan or prep if you don’t have a ticket and don’t know if you’ll get one? Plenty of SCALPERS online, jacked up prices on the PayTicket sites, and too many people trying to find a ticket with a sad story…. Noticed a lot of Burgins got tickets, and a lot of return Burners were left begging. People were adding tickets to jacked up RV rentals and offering them along with camp placement for a fee. Thinking most people paid over $1500 a ticket if they didn’t get scammed…. ultimately, there wasn’t a ticket and I didn’t beg hard enough. Also, didn’t want to pay over OMG prices for obvious reasons and finally gave up, rather than risk a “scalped” ticket.
You should learn about GDTS (Grateful Dead Ticket Sales) back in the day. The New Year’s run, benefit shows and small venues always sold out by mail order and fans paid face value.
You’re not doing 70000, because you have 25000 DGS, volunteer and Low Income tickets. ~45000 tickets Main Sale with the on-sale date and access only available to verified Burner profiles. Tickets assigned a Personal ID number attached to the profile, protects user identity, tickets could still be sold at face value to other Burner profiles, gifted, donated before the mailing date, but the hard ticket would be shipped by insured service to the Burner profile’s address. Having postal money orders would reduce credit card fraud and make the penalties Federal instead of petty. Postal money orders are protected. Shipped tickets protected by insurance with a dedicated service line for problems. Would also reduce the lines at Willcall if tickets were delivered. If you got a ticket in the Main Sale you wouldn’t be eligible for Low Income.
I also suggest a $10000 VIP level ticket for instasparkleponies and plug and play camp burners to subsidize the low income program.
Use these LINKS to FOLLOW and LIKE us on other social media!
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Periscope | Experience Ashland Oregon 

Return to Homepage | The JoshWillTravel Adventure Channel on YouTube
UPDATED October 16, 2019:
The 2020 Burning Man Theme: THE MULTIVERSE!

“The 2020 Burning Man event theme explores the quantum kaleidoscope of possibility, the infinite realities of the multiverse, and our own superpositioning as actors and observers in the cosmic Cacophony of resonant strings. It’s an invitation to ponder the real, the surreal and the pataphysical, and a chance to encounter our alternate selves who may have followed, or are following, or will follow different decision-paths to divergent Black Rock City realities. Welcome to the Multiverse!


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