When you think about the economic impact of the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, your first thoughts might turn to substantial increases in the sale of legal products like sunscreen, hats, bottled water and portable barbecues, not to mention a few products deemed illegal that just might make their way to the celebration.
Perhaps the hottest commodity for at least the more well heeled attendees, however, is RVs — thousands of them of all shapes and sizes. And Dublin’s area recreational vehicle rental companies are basically all sold out, the Contra Costa Times reported.
“It’s probably the busiest time of the year for us,” said Joe Laing, director of marketing for El Monte RV, which has a busy location in Dublin, Calif. “Basically, everything we have west of the Mississippi makes its way to Burning Man. We have almost a small army of drivers moving vehicles (to the West).”
Lane says the company will have rented between 750 and 900 RVs to Burning Man attendees. Those vehicles range from 22 to 35 feet long and sleep between five and eight people each. Depending upon how far out from the event people rented, and how far away from Northern California people were willing to go and pick up their RV, the costs range anywhere from $200 to $500 per day.
The 2013 edition of Burning Man runs from Monday (Aug. 26) through Sept. 2, with an art theme of “Cargo Cult.” Like most everything at the festival, themes are always open to interpretation, which is why Lane says they see all kinds of people come in to rent.
“It’s seemingly the most straight-laced people on the planet and then big extremes in both directions.”
In addition to the small army of drivers, there are also a large number of people who have to go through and clean the RVs post-Burning Man, and that usually means a treasure trove of strange and unusual items that get left behind.
“One day (last year) a full broadsword came back with the vehicle. I mean, what are we going to do with a full broadsword?” says Lane. The company tried to contact the renter to give the sword back, but got no response.