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Attendees of the annual Burning Man festival plan to converge near Cliven Bundy’s property in September for a 30-day “rules-free” gathering, a cheeky response to the rancher’s refusal to recognize federal authority in Nevada.
“For years, we paid permitting fees to hold Burning Man on the beautiful Playa in Northern Nevada,” reads the event’s Facebook page. “But now, Cliven Bundy has shown us a NEW WAY! ABSOLUTE FREEDOM! Bundy has declared the entire area surrounding Bundy Ranch as a TOTALLY RULES-FREE ZONE! ANYTHING GOES! WOO-HOO!!!”
The planned event, which has been termed “BundyFest,” promises 30 days of nonstop live music and is being organized by “progressive activist” and Burning Man regular Sean Shealy, according to the Raw Story.
“It’s about some cranky old dude and some cows in the middle of a barren desert,” Shealy said on the “BundyFest” Facebook page, referring to the standoff between Bundy and federal agents. “And the rule of law.”
Shealy, who is at odds with the 67-year-old rancher over his refusal to remove nearly 900 cattle from federal land in Gold Butte, Nev., plans to hold “BundyFest” just across from Bundy’s 150-acre property in Bunkerville.
“Swing down to Vegas for a few days for some [rest and relaxation], a few good buffets, and then HEAD ON UP TO BUNDYFEST!” the event’s Facebook page says. “All 50,000+ Burning Man participants are invited to attend — and as many more as can make the trip from anywhere in the world! 100,000? 250,000? THE SKY IS THE LIMIT AT BUNDYFEST! The desert surrounding Bundy’s ranch is LIMITLESS!”
Burning Man draws tens of thousands of people every year to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, and dedicates itself to the “spirit of community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance,” according to its website.
Shealy said “BundyFest” is scheduled to begin on Sept. 5, just days after the conclusion of Burning Man.
“Some people have asked me, where will we camp, where will we park?” Shealy said, according to Raw Story. “Anywhere, really. It’s f***ing anarchy.”
No permits will be required for “BundyFest,” nudity is encouraged and participants are expected to embrace the festival’s gay friendly atmosphere, according to the event’s Facebook page.
There will be no bathroom facilities, Shealy warned, but festivalgoers can always use the great outdoors.
“You’re free to let it all hang out right there, just like Bundy’s cattle, right there in the Virgin River, if you want to,” he said.
The “Bundyfest” Facebook page launched Monday, and had more than 2,500 “likes” as of Wednesday. Shealy did not immediately respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment.
The planned event could mark the first action of any sort taken against Bundy since federal agents released the rancher’s impounded cattle on April 12.
As for the federal retreat from Gold Butte, the struggle between Bundy and the U.S. government has been mostly a war or words, with Nevada’s Democratic Sen. Harry Reid routinely promising retribution for the rancher’s refusal to remove his cattle from public land.
“It’s obvious that you can’t just walk away from this. And we can speculate all we want to speculate to what’s going to happen next,” Reid told KSNV-TV Friday. “But I don’t think it’s going to be tomorrow that something is going to happen, but something will happen. We are a nation of laws, not of men and women.”
Reid has also referred to Bundy supporters, some of them armed militiamen from Utah, Montana, Wyoming and New Hampshire, as “domestic violent terrorist-wannabes.”
Elko County commissioner, rancher and Bundy friend Demar Dahl told TheBlaze he understands the rancher’s concerns, adding that a state-appointed task force is working to transfer control of the land through legal means.
But until that that happens, Dahl said, Bundy likely won’t back down.
“He’s got his mind made up that he’s not going to leave,” the Elko County commissioner told KXNT-TV Tuesday. “Cliven is the last man standing. He has taken the position that the state of Nevada owns the land, not the federal government.”
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