[Editor's Note: The AP has published a retraction and correction of its original story, which incorrectly stated the facts of the case.]
San Francisco, CA. – Black Rock City, LLC and Pershing County have reached a settlement of all issues of the lawsuit brought by BRC last year. Associated court documents were filed in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada last week. The parties are now waiting for the federal district to approve the settlement in a hearing scheduled for this coming Monday, November 18th.
“This is a very favorable outcome for all parties,” said Raymond Allen, Government Affairs Representative for BRC. “The terms address all of BRC’s and the County’s concerns.”
The settlement agreement spans ten years and is designed to cover all of Pershing County’s costs and impacts related to the Burning Man event, while also preserving participant freedoms protected by the First Amendment. The agreement is based on integration of operations of the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) law enforcement command.
The cost structure is based on a schedule that accounts for population changes and inflation. If the agreement had been in place for the 2013 event, the payment to Pershing County would have been $240,000. It is too soon in the planning cycle to know precisely what the cost will be for 2014, but BRC expects the cost to be in a similar range in future years.
2013 was the first year that BLM and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office integrated their command structures. “We are grateful to both BLM and the County for making integration happen this year. It led to a successful and safe event, and to a full resolution of the lawsuit between BRC and the County,” said Allen.
The settlement is great news for our participants and our community,” added Marian Goodell, BRC’s Director of Business and Communications. “The resolution of the suit bodes well for the sustainability of Burning Man. The settlement ensures our ability to operate our annual event in the Black Rock Desert in the future.”
The settlement agreement incorporates all of the terms of the county’s opt-out provisions made possible by the Nevada State Legislature earlier this year.
The lawsuit was originally filed in August 2012 after the County applied its festival ordinance to BRC and voided prior settlement agreements with BRC.
The Burning Man event has been held in the Black Rock Desert for more than 20 years and is a keystone contributor to the economy of northern Nevada. There are no vendors at the event; the only goods sold are coffee and ice, the proceeds of which go to local charities. The event accounts for more traffic to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport annually than any other, and participants spend at least $35 million in the area before, during and after the event.
About Burning Man:
For 23 years, the Black Rock Desert outside Reno, Nev., has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man arts event. Started on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, the event now attracts more than 60,000 participants annually, from every U.S. state and 22 countries. For more information, visit http://www.burningman.com. For media inquiries, please call 415-865-3800.