Self-styled 'Burning Man Purists' Destroy VIP Camp

Anonymous vandals wreck luxury installation set up by son of Russian oil baron mid-festival.

Burning Man, August 2016.
Jim Urquhart, Reuters

Anonymous participants in the Burning Man Festival in Nevada destroyed a luxury campsite Sunday night, in what they said was a protest against the spirit of the festival. The vandals flooded the camp, called “White Ocean,” with some 800 liters of water, cut electric cables and caused major damage.

The festival, held at the Black Rock Desert, which drew 70,000 revelers, ended Tuesday.

Over the past few years, a number of wealthy festivalgoers have begun installing what are known as “plug and play” camps. “Burners,” as regulars to the festival are known, say that these camps, some of which employ their own chefs and security guards, go against the spirit of self-reliance meant to be a hallmark of the week-long, commerce-free festival.

White Ocean was set up by the British DJ Paul Oakenfold and Timur Sardarov, the son of a Russian oil baron.

“We came here to unite people through music and love,” the compound’s Facebook page stated. “We came here to inspire and we came here to live and let live. Please join us at our White Ocean stage and help us celebrate life through music. In so doing together we can make these foolish acts of hate as miniscule as a particle of dust on our beloved playa [the area where the festival takes place].”

However, one respondent to the Facebook post wrote: “And so the revolution has begun. Taking back Burning Man from the EDM tourists,” referring to Electronic Dance Music. “This wasn’t much, but it was a great start.”

Another burner said that the organizers of White Ocean had a team of security guards and when she approached the compound they shouted at her.