OK guys, calm down. There is no conspiracy against dance music at Burning Man. Recently, the Burner community has been set ablaze with rumors that organizers were taking measures to stamp out EDM at the festival, which runs from August 30 to September 7. Speculation ran rampant that dance music and DJ-centric theme cars would be banished to a designated zone on the Playa, and that a popular camp called the Dancetronauts would not be allowed to return. In many people's minds, this obviously meant that Burning Man had chosen to ban dance music completely.
Transparency and community involvement have always been something at the core of Burning Man. So on Monday, the festival's head honchos took to the official Burning Man blog to set things straight:
There is no grand conspiracy to ban, marginalize or sideline EDM at Burning Man. EDM is an art form, its community has made valuable contributions for many years to the rich cultural fabric of Burning Man, and we like it that way.
Burning Man HQ also clarified that the new area for music-blasting vehicles—dubbed the "Deep-Playa Music Zone"—actually gives people more options to keep partying late into the night. In previous years, sound vehicles were asked to be mindful of their volume, and massive soundsystems had to cease at 2 AM. That policy still stands, but the DMZ will provide a space for large, loud gatherings to continue past that curfew without bothering quieter areas of the city. It will also allow them to address environmental, sanitation (read: poop) and public safety concerns. As they stated: "The DMZ is not some kind of quarantine for loud dance music. It's a new place to have loud dance parties that are both more fun and safer.
As for the Dancetronauts, organizers refuted the claim that the theme camp was banned Burning Man. Rather, their failure to address sound complaints about their Mutant Vehicle last year resulted in their license not getting approved. Organizers also referenced the rumor that they have shunned the Opulent Temple, one of Burning Man's most iconic theme camps, which has played host to everyone from Carl Cox to Bassnectar over the years. According to a statement from Opulent Temple themselves, the camp has chosen on their own accord not to bring parties into their sound camp this year.
Finally, organizers stated that their appeal to Mutant Vehicle and Theme Camp organizers not to announce and promote DJ lineups stems from an adherence to Burning Man's democratic ethos—not because they have anything against EDM. "Burning Man doesn't have 'headliners.' We pride ourselves on that," the post says. "Burners don't follow anyone else to Black Rock City, they go for themselves."