Burning Man has been a mainstay in Nevada since 1986 and has called Black Rock City its home since 1991. All that might change, however, thanks to a new entertainment tax levied by the state.
In a recent podcast with Positive Head, Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell shed some light on the issue.
“The biggest danger facing Burning Man right now is that the State of Nevada has levied an entertainment tax… We still believe that we don’t fit under a form of entertainment. Frankly, we’re not a Las Vegas show. We’re not a car race or a concert in a stadium… Burning Man is not a festival. A festival, for many people, now means stages and food vendors and having your comforts more taken care of. We’re definitely not interested in providing a typical festival atmosphere.”
Goodell claims that Nevada is imposing a 9 percent entertainment tax on Burning Man, threatening long-term sustainability and handicapping revenue. “We’re not able to absorb that,” she said. As a result, organizers are looking an out-of-state solution. “[We are looking] longingly towards Utah or any other state that might not have levied that.”
Another issue challenging the future of Burning Man on The Playa is the federally-run Bureau of Land Management’s decision to limit the size of the event to 68,000 people. “That’s not something we’re doing willingly,” Goodell said.
The Man may burn in less than three weeks, but whether this is the last time he burns in Black Rock City remains to be seen.