No Cell Phones for Burning Man? Golden Toilets for the One Percent at Festival Supreme

Written by
Courtesy of eponamusic via Flickr (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Another year, another Burning Man. The festival for decades has been a time and place where thousands gather not to see the hottest headliners perform, but to revel in the heat of Black Rock Desert and engage in what their website describes as “an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.” But it seems that a festival that was once an oasis for those hoping to disconnect from modern conveniences may be slowly giving way to the demands of those that rely on them. This year, festival attendees are divided over the issue of whether or not cell phones have a function within the festival, the Los Angeles Times reports. Many participants believe that allowing cell phone use would betray the spirit of the event.

On the other hand, some gadget-addicted folk have actually opted to participate in adult summer camps, where such devices are forbidden.

Festivals, regardless of theme or performers, create temporary worlds, where daily life is put on pause. These worlds require serious planning when curating an experience for its attendees, both complex and trivial. For Burning Man, cell-phone use has triggered a philosophical debate. At Festival Supreme, however, to take place at the Santa Monica Pier in October, the issue is less philosophical and more sanatorial: how to avoid those stinky porta-potties.

Courtesy of jblackburn via Flickr

Last week, I attended a talk with Tenacious D at Cinefamily in Hollywood where the comedy-rock duo discussed their upcoming festival, a seven-hour showcase of musical comedy performances. Besides boosting many of the acts, that include Tim and Eric, Sarah Silverman, Fred Armisen, Demitri Martin, and Tenacious D of course, Jack Black noted that those lucky enough to have VIP tickets will have access to “golden toilets.”

No, even if you have VIP tickets, you probably won’t use this toilet. Courtesy of Paul-in-London via Flickr(The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Black offered scant details on the luxury lavatories but noted that while they will not actually be gold, they will be clean and have bathroom attendants on site.

For more on design and engineering at Burning Man, listen to this story by IPP reporter Susan Karlin

For more on Festival Supreme, visit their website.

For more on the architecture of festivals, read Christopher Hawthorne’s review of Coachella’s temporary structures.

For more on luxury toilets, listen to this DnA