The senses of community and togetherness at Burning Man‘s installment in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert this year were tainted after several reports arose claiming that camps had been vandalized, sabotaged and stolen from. The Paul Oakenfold-founded White Ocean Camp said that someone had cut their electrical wires, glued their trailer doors shut and flooded their site with 200 gallons of potable water. Others, like Karla Shults of The Iron Monkeys, reported their own site completely vandalized and urinated upon.
“I have never directly experienced vandalism or destruction of art on playa to the degree I did this year. I have heard stories of such behavior and witnessed art being damaged due to carelessness or inebriation, but never this. . .To have this level of disregard, disrespect and maliciousness offered in return, admittedly by a small few, breaks my heart. . . It still upsets me. I have difficulty talking about this experience without tearing up. However, it’s important to talk about. Let’s start a conversation. Let’s stop this kind of behavior.”
After Shults published her full story on Burning Man’s journal website, a representative from the event finally responded.
“In the wake of the 2016 event, we need to call attention to some unfortunate incidents of vandalism. The goal is to bring to light the fact that this stuff happens in Black Rock City, to open a discussion about why it happens, and — hopefully — to end it.”
As next year’s installment draws closer, prospective attendees and returning veterans alike may be forced into taking extra precautions to make sure their areas are free from vandalism if no action is taken from Burning Man itself.