Renegade Burn Recap

Renegade Burn 2021. Following the cancellation of the Burning Man Event due to Covid 19 concerns for the second year in a row, an alternative event was held at the same time and nearly the same place in Nevada’s  Black Rock Desert.

The gathering was known to former Burners as Plan B, and to non-Burners as the Renegade Burn.  This was a spontaneous gathering of people determined to have a Burning Man-like experience without Burning Man controlling it. Primary motivations for attendance varied and overlapped. Some camps and projects were determined to assemble their members somewhere to carry out the premise of the event through their interactivity. Some imagined a simpler mode of radical self-expression freed from the yoke of oppression they experienced from Burning Man’s tedious and maddening vetting process.

Well over half of the attendees (recently estimated by BLM to be in the range of 17,000) were people who always wanted to go to Burning Man, but couldn’t get tickets, people who hadn’t been attending because tickets were too expensive, or those who didn’t want a full week commitment and only sought a Labor Day weekend experience, commuting mostly from the Reno area.

Pretend for a moment you’re the Burning Man Organization (the Borg). If a popup event works well, you lose business. If it fails, you create a stronger case for your existence. While they acted supportive, Borg set it up to benefit either way and their mentions of the non event during and after it was held illustrate their manipulation. They had an unofficial presence there so they could take credit for anything that worked and deny involvement for any failure. In particular, the Black Rock Rangers hosted a full camp at Renegade and did inject themselves into disputes seemingly to prove their superiority.

When the event was over, a lot of people said they enjoyed it and Burning Man was quick to take credit alluding over many posts on their website that it was their influence in training Burners that embedded any ethos that led to gifting, art and stewardship. Of course Borg failed to mention the times their Black Rock Rangers failed, the feuds, or that nobody would have been out there in the first place if Borg hadn’t created an obsessive party model hell-bent on fucking up that particular desert area.