Burning Man based on anti-capitalistic values of self-reliance, self-expression, inclusion, gifting, and decommodification has now found its way into influencer culture. It is only inevitable as festivals are becoming the place to be and occur throughout the year. From Sundance to South By South West to Coachella they have become the go-to spots for influencers to partake in partying and content creation.
However, Burning Man differs from the rest. You’re living life off the grid on the Playa amongst dust, makeshift campsites, and limited resources. It is usually not thought of as a place for high-maintenance influencers; yet, this has all changed in recent years.
Influencers and celebrities head to Black Rock City, and in doing so, capture content for the gram. This is how influencer culture stands out on the Playa.
Being in 100-degree weather in Mad Max type-world lends itself to creative inspiration for outfits. If you look at the over million Instagram photos on the hashtag #BurningMan, you’ll see a multitude of different looks for Burners. For women, bikini’s (some with fur), headdresses, and colored eyelashes/feathers/hair extensions take center stage. The outfits are ever important to garner the most amount of likes and comments.
Within the Burning Man blog, they specifically request: “Stop tagging brands or trying to direct attention to commercial efforts. Burning Man should not be a backdrop for selling anything. In the spirit of Decommodification, you may not use Burning Man, Black Rock City, or any imagery from the event to promote a product, service, or brand.”
Burning Man ethos does not align with ad-sponsored content, even though influencers are using Black Rock City as their backdrops for their businesses. It’s hard to stop all influencers or business owners to stop posting content on their Instagram that promotes transactions, but influencers should be aware of the spirit of Burning Man and focus more on the organic experience.
Influencers are usually part of camps that include nicer accommodations that include AC, real toilets, and private chefs. These camps have a six-figure entrance fee and some have even been shut down for the way they treat the Playa and the burner experience.
The team at Burning Man wants the experience to not turn into the Fyre Festival. Influencers will always be part of large-scale events, but many need to be aware of the ethos of the experience and adhere to it.