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Burning Man aims to increase capacity to 100,000, locals express concerns

Organisers are eyeing major expansion plans...

Burning Man's organisers have announced that they are aiming to expand the festival to 80,000 attendees for the 2019 festival.

Currently, the festival's attendance is capped at 68,000, with around 80,000 in attendance when you count workers, vendors and volunteers.

The festival's organisers have begun discussions with Nevada Bureau of Land Management to look into the raising the cap, which they hope will be raised to 100,000 in the coming years.

Last week, officials from both sides met with locals to discuss the proposed expansion, specifically from Gerlach, Reno and Lovelock, the three communities most affected by the festival.

"I'm just concerned because, when I moved here 45 years ago, (the Black Rock Desert) was just the most remote, least visited area. That area was so full of solitude, it was a wilderness with a small 'w'," said Karen Boeger, a concerned conservationist from Reno who spoke with BLM officials at a public comment hearing this week.

If the festival was given the go-ahead to expand by the Nevada Bureau of Land Management, organisers have said they would need to close off even more land ahead of the event, they would want twice as many art pieces, mutant vehicles and a doubling of the themed camps at the expanded festival site.

All of which have raised concerns with locals who recognise that the event brings in $50 million into the state each year, but they feel almost none of money actually trickles down to the local communities, who understandably aren't too enamoured by the expansion plans in there current form.

The festival's organisers have asked local communities to take part in discussions ahead of the decision which is expected next year.