One convention immune to the financial crisis: Burning Man
Despite the worst economy in decades, tons of people are still heading to la playa, but we're not talking about the beach. By most accounts, the annual Burning Man get together, which started Monday in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, is showing no sign of feeling the economy's pinch. By the time the event ends on September 7, more than 48,000 "burners" -- on par with last year -- are expected to have spent some time in this dry lake bed, joining drumming circles, applying body paint, sampling mind-altering substances, and committing other acts of "radical self-expression."
The conferences business may be down nearly 30 percent (through May) in Las Vegas, America's convention capital, some 400 miles south. But Brian Kulpin, a spokesman for the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, the closest airport to the event, says burner traffic seems in keeping with last year. He expects up to 14,000 of them to fly into the airport in the next two days. "Our airport is packed with burners," he says. "Absolutely packed."