A high-end, so-called "plug-and-play" Burning Man camp sponsored by some wealthy individuals and featuring a number of Instagram influencers won't be returning to the playa this year. The camp, called Humano the Tribe, was denied access to this year's Burn in part for being a bad neighbor, and for its "strain on resources," and the ban was part of a "cultural course correction" that organizers announced earlier this year.
As Business Insider notes, Humano the Tribe was selling spots for up to $100,000, and this included luxe accommodations, fancy port-a-johns, and chef-prepared "raw and organic" cuisine. Other Burners compared the camp to the Fyre Festival, both because of how it advertised, what it cost, and how incompetent it ended up looking — the camp's portable toilets reportedly leaked sewage into the desert, and one might have even caught fire.
In a blog post earlier this year, Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell discussed the various ways that she and the leadership team were attempting to change the way tickets were sold and crack down on "turnkey" experiences that do not give back to the larger community. In addition to Humano, she wrote, "There are a dozen other camps who’ve been sent warnings and are being given a chance to course correct."
Humano had been around for several years and had been the subject of numerous complaints, according to Goodell. They were not given placement at the festival as a camp, and she said, "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."
This of course means that some of its members may still return, and may still sponsor Instagram models to accompany them. And with those models come the brands they're beholden to, and the sponsored posts they'll take at Burning Man, which are explicitly prohibited under the "no commodification" clause of the event.
As one Redditor wrote last year, "[I] camped near these buttplugs this year and it was an absolute hot mess. For those who don't know, Humano is basically 15-20 rich/trust fund dudes, who sponsor 1-2 girls a piece in their camp (usually IG models)... meaning for every guy that camps with Humano, he has to pay all dues for two models."
Goodell stressed in her post that it was important that everyone do the work necessary to attend, which includes making one's own accommodations and doing something for the community. She also suggested that the culture of Burning Man had strayed way too far away from the "radical inclusion" of its past. She cited the story of a 70-year-old Burner, who said he was refused a ride on an art/mutant car by the people on it who said, "No, it’s too late for old people to be out, anyway," and "We’re only picking up hot girls right now."
So, will Burning Man be home to any fewer assholes and influencers this year? Will their be any fewer plug-and-play camps — like one described on Reddit that was home to "80 Chinese tourists" with a lot of money?
Do report back, Burners.