The brouhaha continues on social media about the gathering of an alleged 1,000+ people at Ocean Beach for a rave-y, Burning Man-inspired outdoor dance party. One Burning Man camp responsible for DJing from their burner bus that night has taken some responsibility, but they say that SFPD officers and park rangers didn't tell them to cut the music until 1 a.m.
The camp called BAAAHS (Big-Ass Amazingly Awesome Homosexual Sheep), which is known on and off the playa for throwing parties around their sheep-clad, speaker-laden party bus, is at least partly responsible for inducing the festivities on Saturday. While they did not invite all the people who showed up, they were one of multiple groups holding Burning Man-affiliated gatherings at Ocean and Baker beaches — the latter being where the event was born in 1986.
A rep for BAAAHS tells 48 Hills that the camp took as many precautions as they could, proactively passing out masks to at least 100 people and getting on the mic to tell people to distance themselves. They also say that National Park rangers and SFPD officers came by multiple times to check in with volunteers who were keeping an eye on the crowd, and they weren't told to shut off the music — despite the crowd's growing size — until 1 a.m.
The founder of the camp, named Xian, followed up with 48 Hills after they'd released a series of prepared statements and said, "I take responsibility. We should have stopped the party. Although we were far from the only party at the beach and we were taking active measures to mitigate risks, it was stupid and I apologize."
As Broke-Ass Stuart reports today, another contingent responsible for bringing people to the beach on Saturday was a group on decorated, LED-lit bicycles that responded to a Facebook event that got promoted by SF Funcheap. It was called "Golden Gate Park Burner Bike Takeover: Masks Required."
A person named Sean F. told the Examiner that the story of the large party was overblown, and that there were "maybe 100" people gathered around fire pits and that was it. However various video and social media evidence suggests otherwise. Images from BAAAHS' own Twitch feed of the party shows a non-distanced crowd of considerable size, and that was only directly in front of the DJ booth/bus.
A Twitter user who goes by Loren Punishments posted a video of fire dancers at Ocean Beach, and she insisted that she was in a 20-person group that was entirely responsible and all recently tested COVID-negative. She observed that there were "several thousand" people there.
Mini Burning Man party at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach yesterday (everyone in my group of 20ish have tested negative for covid in the last week... can’t speak for the other several thousand people there) pic.twitter.com/TNadQFLsWU— Loren Punishments (@PunishmentsOnly) September 6, 2020
It's obvious that everyone is eager to socialize outdoors and feel a little bit of normalcy again any chance they get. And while these burners and their friends maybe shouldn't have kept things going if a public health hazard was taking shape, it's just one example of likely tens of thousands around the country this past weekend where people tried to let their hair down and have a good time — and at least the SF crowd was somewhat masked?
Mayor Breed excoriated the people at the gatherings on Twitter on Sunday, calling them "reckless and selfish." And BAAAHS says it plans to halt all pop-up events — they had been doing others on the Great Highway in previous weeks — while they "reevaluate safety precautions and measures to increase distancing for any future outdoor gathering."
Let's all just hope that there isn't a September/October COVID spike like we saw in July. The news doesn't need to get any worse right now.