Burning Man Hires Event Operations Director

I am excited to announce the hiring of Charlie Dolman, who very soon will assume the role of Event Operations Director for the annual Burning Man event in Black Rock City.

Charlie Dolman at Burning Man 2012

In this capacity, Charlie will oversee and direct event operations and logistics, and will play a major role in strategic planning to ensure the long-term success of the Burning Man event. Among other responsibilities, Charlie will oversee management of BRC event-specific departments, including Emergency Services Department, Department of Public Works, Community Services, Playa Safety Council, Art, and Café/Ice. He will also be a member of the Budget Committee, provide leadership to the Operations Team and serve on Burning Man’s Executive Committee.

A native of London, England, Charlie comes to us with 17 years of event-production experience, 12 of which he spent producing events of all sizes across Europe and the UK (and one in Zambia!). He co-founded and later served as Financial Director of The Secret Garden Party, an annual music and entertainment festival with 30,000 attendees. Charlie has extensive event-related experience in project management, logistics, safety, licensing, marketing, budgeting, crises management, and managing and developing teams. Most recently, he served as Projects Director for the MAMA Group.

Charlie first traveled to the playa in 2006 and has hasn’t missed a Burn since. He co-ran a camp on the Esplanade (The Flying Monkey Pub) his first year and has been instrumental in the leadership of several large-scale communal camps: The Untied Nations Embassy, the UnNatural History Museum, Burningdales, HMS XS, and in 2012, Terminal Y. Charlie is deeply committed to the 10 Principles and enthusiastic about this opportunity to facilitate their manifestation in Black Rock City and beyond.

We greatly look forward to working with Charlie, so please join us in welcoming him!

Pink Card Experiment

As you come through the gate at this year’s Burning Man event, along with the What Where When, Tip Sheet and map, you’ll get something new from the Greeters – a little pink postcard that’s part of an interactive, social-digital-anthropological experiment we’re about to embark upon.

There is space on the card for you to fill out your name, email, Twitter account, whether you’re male or female, and your zip code or country. That’s it.
You can drop it off at several locations around the playa.

Pretty easy, right?

But why? And what’s up? Simply put, there has never been much of a reason or motivation to attempt to identify who attended the event until now. We all know what a strong and dynamic community of artists, performers, makers, and Burners has grown up on the playa. Until now, the social connectivity that’s accompanied that growth has been completely organic. (more…)

More Burning Man 2012 Tickets Becoming Available

On June 12 we announced that the BLM awarded Black Rock City LLC a one-year permit to hold Burning Man on the Black Rock Desert in 2012. We’re happy to report that in response to growing interest in the event, we were able to work with the BLM to increase the maximum population of Black Rock City to 60,900 participants in 2012.

Shiny Happy People, 2006. Photo by Jared Mechaber

Counter to misleading media coverage of this announcement, this does not mean that there will be 10,000 additional tickets available. In preparing for this year’s event we were working with a peak population of 58,000. Through the pre-sale last December, the main sale in February, the low-income ticket program, and the Directed Ticket Distribution process, we have officially allocated 57,000 tickets.

And now that we have a permit that allows for a maximum population of 60,900, it leaves us with a little bit of breathing room and a welcome opportunity to get more tickets out into our community, while thwarting scalpers who hope to capitalize off of the popularity of our event (to the detriment of our participants). (more…)

BRC Gets Green Light from BLM: What Does This Mean for Tickets?

Black Rock City, 2010

Exciting news! Today the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), issued a decision record on our Environmental Assessment (EA), granted us a Special Recreation Permit for 2012, and announced a maximum population for the 2012 event of approximately 60,900 participants!

Check out our press release.

Read BLM’S letter announcing their decision.

Join us today in celebrating: we have a permit for this year’s event and approval to expand our population!  We know this will have many readers asking if this means there will be additional tickets for this year.

Now that we have our permit, we have an accurate number to work from when discussing the best approach in the coming weeks.

We had previously been working with a projected population of 58,000 and now we know that we can have a peak population of 60,900 in Black Rock City.

The Directed Ticket Distribution process is still underway.  For more information about how any additional tickets made available by the new population cap will be distributed to Burners looking for tickets, keep your eyes on the Jackrabbit Speaks Newsletter!

Copies of the Final EA, Finding of No Significant Impact, Decision Record, SRP Decision and related documents are available for viewing and upon request from the BLM Winnemucca District Office and online here.

Andie Grace to Leave Burning Man Organization

"Going off comm." (Photo by Arin Fishkin)

It is with heavy heart that I announce that Communications Manager and Regional Network Manager Andie Grace is leaving the Burning Man staff. She’ll remain with us through May as we work with the resulting change and transition.

Andie has collaborated with me, the Founders and the staff at Burning Man HQ for nearly 13 years. Her contribution to the fabric of our culture as we’ve grown is immeasurable and the role that she inhabited is impossible to replace.

Those that had the good fortune to work with Andie know of her open heart, empathetic nature and attention to the needs of those around her. Anyone who’s read her writing for the Jack Rabbit Speaks, blog, comments on the ePlaya or 3Playa and other forums know of the care she has put into firmly sharing the organization’s perspective but with a gentleness only she could deliver.

We warmly wish her well in her future endeavors.

Thank you Andie!!

Marian
and
The Burning Man Founders: Larry, Harley, Crimson, Will, & Michael

Ticket Update: Rebuilding Black Rock City 2012

Marian Goodell is a Founding Board Member of Black Rock City LLC, and Burning Man’s Director of Business and Communications.

PARAGRAPH UPDATES (2) below: 2/15/12: 9:15 PM PST

THE CHALLENGE WE FACE: DEMAND OUTSTRIPS SUPPLY

We promised we would get back to you by February 15th with our plans to resolve the ticket situation for Burning Man 2012. We all know there aren’t enough tickets for everyone who wants to participate in Black Rock City. However, it’s clear that the current situation has created holes in our social fabric. Many of the core volunteers, major interactive camps, art car projects, performance groups, and funded and unfunded art projects do not have enough tickets to bring their works to the playa. Here’s how we will remedy these challenges as fairly as we believe possible:

  1. Burning Man organizers and staff will issue tickets to major theme camps and art projects using a process outlined below.
  2. We will launch the STEP program on February 29th. Only those who registered and did not receive confirmation of tickets will be given access to STEP.
  3. Low Income ticket applications will be accepted beginning February 29th.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: the hard truth is that there are a lot of you who want to come to Black Rock City to celebrate your participation in the Burning Man culture this year, but not everyone will be able to attend. That sentence is about as painful to write as it is for you to read. We dearly wish we could just welcome everyone who feels drawn to Black Rock City. But, as we have explained in Andie Grace’s blog post: “Radical Inclusion, Meet the Other Nine,” it’s not possible to simply increase the number of tickets available for Burning Man 2012.

And unfortunately, the random draw of the Main Sale left inordinately large numbers of our core contributors — art teams, theme camp creators, mutant vehicle builders, performers, and Burning Man volunteers — without tickets. In fact, the ratio was so unexpectedly large it has punched significant holes in Black Rock City’s artistic, civic and functional infrastructure, putting the integrity of the event itself at risk. If we let market forces play out as they could with the remaining available tickets, it’s likely that Black Rock City would be functionally untenable for many of the collaborations that comprise our desert event. (more…)

Burning Man Addresses 2012 Ticket Situation

Marian Goodell is a Founding Board Member of Black Rock City LLC, and Burning Man’s Director of Business and Communications.

[UPDATE: The last paragraph of this post was updated on February 6, 2012.]

Participants, friends, Burners, community:

The Burning Man organization recognizes that the ticket registration and random drawing process has caused many participants frustration and concern over whether they can attend the event this year.

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

A team of Burning Man staff and organizers, who have been working on the ticketing process since August 2011, met Thursday to review what happened and what can be done moving forward.

The organization is looking at short term fixes and long term solutions to improve the ticketing process to make it work as well as possible for as many people as possible.

Following phone conversations with major theme camp and art group organizers, we determined that only 20%-25% of the key people needed to bring those projects to the playa had received notifications for tickets. A number of people also told us they’d used multiple credit cards and asked friends to register for them as a way to increase their chances of getting tickets. Those who received more tickets than they need said they are considering how to redistribute them.

We believe we need two weeks to let the dust settle to see how much redistribution happens. Even with that redistribution we know that key people and projects may not get confirmations in time to move forward with their plans. We are looking at options to keep that from happening.

Burning Man’s most important priority is to make sure the community stays intact in the face of the current challenges. Combining what we learned from the phone conversations and what we’ve heard from the Burner community, we’ve come up with some ideas to address the short term issues. We will continue to gather information and listen to your feedback as we work towards announcing our plans within two weeks.

In the meantime we urge our community not to buy from scalpers or from large resale sites. We will have the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) activated on February 22. This is the most secure and hassle free way to enter the re-sale system. Please use it.

Those registrants who received rejection letters should keep an eye on your email as information about STEP and any other options will be made to you first.

Not everyone who wants a ticket this year will get one, that is clear — the demand clearly exceeds supply. But we are going to do everything we can in the coming days to ensure that we preserve and respect the community that supports and creates this event both in the short term and long term.

We will be reaching out to you and working with you to make that happen. We recognize that we have work to do to repair the faith in the organization. We are very sorry for the frustration, anxiety and deep disappointment this year’s ticketing experience has caused for so many citizens of Black Rock City.

Sincerely,

All of us here at the Burning Man Organization