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Renegade Burning Man Going Forward Despite Cops, Covid & Smoke

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Despite the official Burning Man being cancelled again this year, the ‘Renegade’ or ‘Rogue’ or ‘Unofficial’ Burning Man is going forward this coming week starting Sunday 8/29/2021.  There are over 500 camps registered and there’s a rough playa map all laid out.  No tickets required.

Map of BM camps & informal camp registration, see it here: ‘Black Rock Desert’ 2021

There are some small caveats to consider before you say to yourself, “This is awesome! It’ll be like the old burns!  Less people, real diehards, no rules! A la Cacophony Society in the 90’s!”

First Burning Man Festival in Black Rock Desert 1996. Photo courtesy of P Segal.

Without providing the infrastructure, medical support and porto-potties…things could get real messy, real fast with an estimated 10k-20k + people attending. There will be no public portos on the playa this year because there are no permits for them, and although I imagine a lot of good burners will shit in buckets and RV’s and take their stink home with them…I image many will not.    So watch where you step come Thursday night, there may be land mines abound.

The other messy factor are the Nevada narcs, mainly, no one is sure how bad they will be or what they will enforce exactly.  Wadsworth and Fernley Sheriffs’ departments have released statements saying they will be enforcing ‘anti-nudity ordinances’ this year.  And since no one has paid the typical millions of dollars worth of permits for structure building and crowd gathering, sanitation, and law enforcement…it’s safe to say the cops will be out with their ticket pads.

On a normal year there are no less than 7 different law enforcement agencies in and around Burning Man.

And of course the elephant on the playa is the Delta variant, no regulation there.  It’s the reason the official festival was cancelled in April for the second year in a row.  If you have any friends going to the desert this year, I’d give them a couple weeks ‘quarantine’ before you hang out with them again.

Your dust mask will serve 3 purposes this year…You don’t just have to worry about playa dust, the smoke from the CA wildfires are currently covering the RENO desert with air quality deemed ‘very unhealthy to breath’ The Reno Air Quality Index is currently 207.  Oh! and there’s the coronavirus too.

The nearest hospitals to the Black Rock Desert, are about 100 miles away in Reno, and have seen a threefold increase in COVID cases this month.

With that said, maybe the cops won’t show up, maybe everyone will leave no trace, maybe their won’t be a pandemic outbreak on the playa, maybe Burning Man is way better without the big structures, sound camps, and roads, and lines, and bullshit.  Maybe this will be the best Burn since 99’…

Have a great burn, but stay safe out there!

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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