Disgusted Burners slam wealthy ‘sparkle ponies’ who are taking luxury helicopter rides to Burning Man
Black Rock Helicopters ad for rides to Burning Man (Photo: Screen capture)

A helicopter company is advertising its fancy private helicopters to Burning Man campers -- and many fans of the annual festival aren't happy about it.


Each year, hippies and artists come together for a week of creative adventure, where everyone can let their freak flags fly free across the Nevada desert. People bring as little as a sleeping bag to as much as a live-in RV. They wander from camp to camp meeting new friends, participating in activities from sexual adventures to live performances and crafting art installations. The collective is set up on a bartering system and people bring as much gear as possible to both survive and create a crowd-pleasing camp. Nudity is encouraged and judgement outlawed.

Yet, the $10 million helicopter that can hold "eight people and 600 pounds of cargo" is getting a lot of backlash from BM supporters online. With three scantily clad women and one man with a painted on handlebar mustache the web video advertises an S76 helicopter soaring over the Black Rock Desert, claiming BM is a "spiritual journey." The group is shown landing and disembarking to frolic and dance with fire as the sun sets.

Santa Barbara Helicopters and its operator Coastal Helicopters became an official partner of Burner Express this year, according to SFGate. It costs about $11,000 to $12,000 to book a one-way flight from Reno to the Burning Man site.

The festival began as a self-reliance camping trip in the mid-1980s, but now is drawing criticisms of becoming too corporate and commercialized. Some are even pointing a finger at rich Silicon Valley douchebags invading their festival of "radical" inclusion, like a kid trying to be "cool" by wearing their 80-year-old grandma's members-only jacket.

"Use your million dollar Silicon Valley salary for something good like arriving at BM in a helicopter,"Laura González wrote on the ad on Facebook. "Travel with ignorant white women misappropriating Native American culture but who will totally f*ck you for the privilege of riding in that helicopter."

"I'm not saying it's for Sparkle Ponies, but it's for Sparkle Ponies," Ronald Edwards slammed. The term "sparkle pony" is one often used for perfectly coiffed, high maintenance attendees of BM, who are not equipped to handle camping in a desert for a week. Too often they become a burden on their campsite mates by mooching off of food, water and other necessities they didn't stock up on.

"Did I just see Melania Trump? Grozz," said Martin Speters.

Rebecca Spaan agreed that the helicopter contradicts the BM meaning. "I thought there was a point to burning man and it wasn't this," she wrote.

"Not how real burners do it," Daina Gaines-Ramah said.

Most called it "sad," as if mourning the dark turn of a dying friend. Others laughed at it, some hoping it was a joke and others simply calling it one

Burning Man is on this week and runs until Sept. 5.

Check out the video below: