San Francisco, CA –Larry Harvey, the man (and shape-shifting vampire) who pioneered Burning Man, the famous counter culture music and arts festival founded in San Francisco in 1986, which later moved to the desert north of Reno, Nevada, announced that
2011 is its final year. Caught off guard, those in attendance, were stunned into silence before being able to alert the world of the impending disaster rivaled only by the revelation that there is no Santa Claus.
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When pressed for the reasons behind the abrupt end to the iconic festival it was Harvey’s turn to be silent. Clearly stifling tears, he finally mustered up the ability to provide some answers. “We never intended that Burning Man would run forever, but we had hoped to go out a bit differently than this. It just sort of all came together as things often do on the Playa,” he said. Harvey continued, “When we realized we’d actually sell out this year I had an inkling this was the end. When it was clear demand would outstrip supply and market forces came to bear I knew that there was a strong possibility people would abandon the ethos of the event and turn to profiteering by scalping tickets, offering tourist packages and other practices we’ve been opposed to since the beginning.”
Many of the Burning Man Organization members in attendance were teary eyed, including Chief Communications Officer Will Chase, who agreed it was a sad day indeed. “We didn’t want to do this, but it was like watching Ol’ Yeller get rabies. Hard as it was it was better to put him down than watch him go mad and become something ugly and devoid of love.”
Shockwaves are rippling throughout the Burning Man community as hundreds of businesses and artisans that participate in a cottage industry are scrambling in the wake of the realization that they’ll have to get real jobs in two months. Scores of camps and campers are sure to be inconsolable with regard to the fortunes worth of gear, infrastructure, art cars, and costuming that will be rendered useless. Organizers are also worried about what sort of behavior might be triggered during the event as a result of the announcement. Left over structures such as sign posts, art installations and other artifacts are earmarked for private auction with unsold pieces to be part of a permanent Burning Man museum set to open in San Francisco next spring. There is growing concern that Burners will pillage many of the items during the departure from Black Rock City referred to as Exodus.
A somber Harvey remarked, “From drive by shooting ranges to pants cannons we did things out here no one else will. It’s just hard after all the years of hearing the snickers that Burning Man has become too commercial, or that it jumped the shark, only to see it actually happen.” Choking back tears Harvey concluded, “We had a good run though, didn’t we?”
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