Special Feature: Burning Man
Sep 5, 2011
Anonymous Gerlach resident | Gerlach, NV
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LPT spoke to a Gerlach resident whose home is on the main road that sees a lot of influx of traffic from the annual Burning Man festival. This resident had been living in Gerlach for 50 years and shared her views on the impact of Burning Man on condition of anonymity.
About Gerlach, Nevada
Gerlach is a small town along State Route 447, the road leading to Black Rock Desert that hosts Burning Man. With a population of only 499, this small town is a major thoroughfare for Burning Man attendees. During the Burning Man festival season, vendors from outside of Gerlach set up food stands, bicycle rental shops and sell festival trinkets along the main road.
LPT: What do you think about Burning Man?
Anonymous Gerlach resident: I would like to see it go away but I don’t see that happening because it’s all about money and too many people are making money off of this event. Though it’s destroying our dessert.
LPT: The people that are making the money off the event, do you think they are the local people? Are they the vendors selling things here along the road?
Anonymous Gerlach resident: No, they are…they’re people out of San Francisco, a lot of them. So no (not locals), they fill their pockets and laugh all the way to the bank.
They just put on the festival out there (Black Rock Desert). And a lot of them are left behind and buying up a lot of property here. It’s mostly retired people left here, now with USG closed down. So, I can see them as probably owning the better part of this community…down the road.
LPT: What are some positive impacts? Do you see any positive impacts at all?
Anonymous Gerlach resident: No. No.
Anonymous Gerlach resident: Find another place to do their festival…that’s how I feel. (laugh) We’re really…we’re really tired of it. I get a lot of garbage that blows into my yard and all of that because we live on Main St, I guess.
Maybe move it in Reno if they like it so well. Why don’t they put it down by the river – all of their artwork and all of that stuff? Why do they bring it out here and do what they do? And I see small children going out there. It’s all wrong when they take children out there to see what they see.
LPT: Have you been to the Burning Man?
Anonymous Gerlach resident: Yes, I have so I do know what it’s like. Yes.
LPT: When were you there?
Anonymous Gerlach resident: Last year.
LPT: For how long?
Anonymous Gerlach resident: Probably about an hour. But we went on a tour but yeah.. I just, I just think it’s all wrong. They’re worshipping that man out there. They’re…it’s not right.
LPT: In your opinion, did the local people have a say about Burning Man being here?
Anonymous Gerlach resident: No, because BLM (Bureau of Land Management) makes a lot of money off of that. It’s all about money. It’s not going to go away.
The Burning Man…they like to change our community to look like Virginia City. They have a lot of ideas but, you know, if they don’t like our community the way it is why don’t they leave and go someplace else? Where they, you know, where it suits them. Why come here and change all of our stuff?
LPT: What do you think about some of the Burning Man projects that benefit the local community such as Black Rock Solar that donated solar panels to the local schools?
Anonymous Gerlach resident: It’s for the school which is now 6 students and they’re closing it down. There’s only two classrooms because USG closed down. And, we understand that they’re going to take…I don’t know if that’s a school district or the Burning Man; probably the school district…they’re going to take some of those solar panels out of there and put it someplace else. But they (Burning Man) spread all the good things so that the newspapers pick that all up and show they bring good stuff to everyplace.