In a recent interview with Vice, Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell suggested that the festival may be moving out of the state of Nevada due to a recent tax that the state has attempted to place on the event.
The biggest danger facing Burning Man right now is that the State of Nevada has levied an entertainment tax,” Goodell said, adding that “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. We’re not able to absorb that. That’s the thing right now that makes us look longingly towards Utah or any other state that might not have levied that.”
The new tax could force many events to move out of the state, but for Burning Man, it will be more difficult because the event has been held in the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada since it moved from San Francisco’s Baker Beach in 1986.
The new tax will not be limited to just Burning Man, either. It will extend to other large festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival, which moved to Las Vegas after the event was forced out of the Los Angeles Coliseum by the city government a few years ago. Jennifer Forkish, a spokesperson for Insomniac (the company that hosts Electric Daisy Carnival), said that the tax could cause the event to operate at a loss if it were to stay in the state of Nevada.
The new tax is estimated to cost the organizers $2.8 million dollars, and raise the ticket price of the event by 9%.
Jim Graham, a spokesman for the festival, pointed out that Burning Man attendees already bring millions of dollars into the state’s economy and pay a significant amount of taxes purchasing gas, airplane tickets, food, and hotels while traveling to the event.
“Burning Man is a non-profit organization that spends more than $11m in Nevada, has vendor contracts with local businesses and is a strong supporter of arts around the state… Burning Man participants contribute more than $40m annually to the Nevada economy – they pay their fair share of sales and gas taxes, and they are tremendously supportive of local businesses.” Graham Said.
“We certainly understand the Nevada Legislature’s need to identify revenue sources, but we believe this change to the Live Entertainment Tax is misguided,”he added.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.
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