Burning Man plug-n-play camp vandalized

The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the Wednesday night vandalism of a Burning Man camp during one of the group’s parties.

The White Ocean camp hosts famous techno-music DJs each night at the weeklong festival in the Black Rock Desert. On Thursday, a post on the group's Facebook page said that the camp had been vandalized during or after their largest event, the “white party.” The white party attracts thousands of ravers in white clothing from Wednesday night to dawn Thursday'.

“A very unfortunate and saddening event happened last night at White Ocean, something we thought would never be possible in OUR Burning Man utopia,” the camp Facebook post said. “A band of hooligans raided our camp, stole from us, pulled and sliced all of our electrical lines leaving us with no refrigeration and wasting our food and glued our trailer doors shut, vandalized most of our camping infrastructure, dumped 200 gallons of potable water flooding our camp.”

Camp leaders declined to comment on the event but looked to social media for anyone who might have any information about the incident. The post said law enforcement had been called to take a report.

"This year has been quite the challenge for our camp," the post read. "We have felt like we've been sabotaged from every angle, but last night's chain of events, while we were all out enjoying our beautiful home, was an absolute and definitive confirmation that some feel we are not deserving of Burning Man.

“We actually had someone from the (Burning Man) organization tell us that in paraphrase ‘it makes sense that you have been sabotaged as you are a closed camp and not welcoming.’”

The camp, a temporary home for Burners from London, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, is considered a plug-n-play camp. Hired help assists the camp in the concert productions and the corral of RVs that surround a catered cafeteria and lounge space. Outside of the camp, White Ocean provides a stage beneath a row of archways.

Burning Man has made an effort to regulate plug-n-play camps on the playa at the request of many Burners, who believe the camps run counter to the principal of "radical self-reliance."

White Ocean insisted in its public statement that the camp gives back to hundreds of Burners every year.

“We provide one of the most state of the art stages on the playa and feed hundreds of non-White Ocean Burners a day. Does this qualify as a non-welcoming camp with no contribution to Burning Man?” the post said. “Nonetheless, with open hearts and immense love for what we bring to Burning Man, we will absolutely not let this pathetic violation stop what we came here to do.”

At the camp on Friday, many of the camp members were unaware of the event, though some said that they were experiencing bike theft and a lack of hot water. They were uncertain whether either was related to the recent events.

Despite ongoing controversy about plug-n-plays in the Burning Man culture, most Burners seemed to be sympathetic to the camp.

“I didn’t get any kind of holier-than-thou vibe,” said Denise Johnson, of Portland, Ore. “The shows I went to were chill and accepting. I don’t think vandalism is acceptable no matter what they did.”

The camp, which is located at 2:00 and Guild, a street intersection in Black Rock City, is at the edge of the city because the concerts usually creep into the morning hours from the night before. White Ocean still had a lineup of DJs listed at its site on Friday.

“This is evil. This should not happen at Burning Man,” said Elena Serdiouk, of San Francisco. “This is supposed to be about love, happiness, sharing, giving and appreciating. It is unbelievable that there are angry people here.”

Pershing County Sheriff’s Office and Burning Man officials could not be reached Friday for comment on the incident.


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