New "Burning Man Tax" Could Kill Art and Music Events in Nevada

John Vibes
June 10, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) Carson City, NV — It was reported this week that the state of Nevada will be looting the organizers of the world-famous “Burning Man” festival for roughly $2.8 million in a new tax scheme. The new scheme will place a 9% tax on ticket sales for a number of large events.

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 organisation 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.

The organizers of Burning Man have not yet decided whether they will eat the cost of the tax or pass it onto the customers, who are already paying close to $400 per ticket.

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 tax] is extremely detrimental to our industry, one that generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for local and state governments. Even though EDC will not be impacted this year, this tax increase could force us to operate at a loss in the future,” Forkish said.

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. However, if this tax ends up forcing the organizers to sacrifice the quality of the production, they may eventually decide to move the festival again.


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John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.

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