Is Burning Man Recession-Proof?

Burning Man 2010

Some interesting Burning Man statistics from Lisa Schmeiser’s blog on SFGate:

I was looking at the fantastic infographic “This is Burning Man,” which charts all sorts of data related to the shindig on the playa. Fun facts: tickets to Burning Man cost $200 in 2000, and 25,400 people showed up. Last year, tickets ran between $210-360, and 43,435 people attended.

(For those wondering about the disparity in ticket prices, Burning Man operates several tiers of ticket prices, each with a set of limitation and/or ways to purchase them. $200 tickets are below-cost tickets; the higher-tier tickets underwrite some of these costs.)

What is heartening about these stats: bottom-tier ticket prices have stayed level over nine years despite an estimated 24.6% rise in inflation during that time. Attendance increased by 71%. This has helped the festival keep pace with rising costs, which went from $5.2 million in 2001 to $12.3 million last year.

2009 was the year “staycation” thudded into the mainstream press as a euphemism for “too broke to travel,” AND the year that Burning Man attendance dipped 12% from its 2008 high. This year is the year that tourism bureaus have embraced the portmanteau word. And while San Francisco loves to travel — we’re #2 in the country with average expenditures of $3460 — might this year be the year that Burning Man gets hit by a sustained spirit of frugality?

Not bloody likely. One of the prevailing sentiments behind Burning Man has been to make or build everything yourself, salvage and repurpose materials and get creative without spending a mint. Hit the Burning Man community discussion board and you’ll find threads on doing Burning Man on a budget and Burning Man Essentials on a $300-400 budget. Surf through the rest of the board and plenty of people talk about how they swing a four-figure trip to the playa every year. For attendees who are already practicing several thrifty habits — reusing resources, budgeting ahead — the biggest impact the recession might have is an inability to get time off work for the festival…

[continues at SFGate]

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  • Earbudcontender

    screw burning man get together with the people close to you, without going to the middle of inhospitable land and pretending to be magickal. I can be magickal right here. 360 to go to the middle of a desert, a place the earth does not want me at. I rather stay at a nurturing part of the earth. People have one temporary autonomous zone and get addicted and try to do the same thing over and over. Doing the same effing thing in different costumes is not creative. Consistency is for everyday life a gathering like this needs to be chaotic and happen at different places to experience different vibes.

    • Gemmarama

      yeah that's the thing that makes me uncomfortable at festivals, that sense folk have of “wooo, we're cutting loose!”, cos they obviously don't have much of an opportunity to do so in their day-to-day lives… if you think about it too much it's a bit sad.

      but fuck it, i wanna go to burning man sooooo bad… dunno if i'd be able to get there from scotland for less than a grand all in though :-(

      • Earbudcontender

        meh not interested in burning any man

  • Boobs

    yeah, i am sure that all the trustafrains and bobos are really feeling the effects of the recession….the rich are still rich and they are still breeding a new generation of over privelegded wannabe artists, musicians etc… that have never had the joyful experience of working a real job and struggling for their art….

    • Hypnos1

      I personally know several very poor very artistic people who like to go to Burningman. Personally, its not my thing anymore. But seriously, who the hell are you? Do you run a census at burningman? Do you have special job history information about burningman attendees? Or are you just a bitter loser like our friend Your Mom?

      • Boobs

        wait, sorry did you see the ticket prices? really, a poor artists can afford to blow that kind of money on a festival? arts , music etc… is becoming so that only those with money and connections can indulge in. yeah you can work a day job and try it, but those that are more priveldged definetely have a big advantage over the rest of us… thats not bitterness, thats reality

  • Your Mom

    Buncha trustafarian hipster douchebags at Burningman.

    • Boobs

      amen, kill em' all

    • Hypnos1

      You say this because you:
      A) Have been there and run into a bunch of the people you describe.
      B) Make hasty assumptions about things you know very little about based on stereotypes.
      C) Are just a sad troll seeking attention, any attention even if its negative.

  • perniciousknid

    How about Burning Wall Street instead?

  • Boobs

    wait, sorry did you see the ticket prices? really, a poor artists can afford to blow that kind of money on a festival? arts , music etc… is becoming so that only those with money and connections can indulge in. yeah you can work a day job and try it, but those that are more priveldged definetely have a big advantage over the rest of us… thats not bitterness, thats reality

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