Weapons: Don’t Bring Them to the Playa

Nope.
Nope.

There was a time (20 years ago) when participants brought guns to Burning Man. That time has passed and growth of Black Rock City and concern for everyone’s safety led organizers to ban weapons from the event. That ban continues with the 2014 event and we are again asking participants to leave their weapons at home.

Each year Burning Man negotiates a Closure Order with the Bureau of Land Management that encompasses the event site and some of the surrounding playa. You can view the Closure Order area in the image below. The Closure Order is a public announcement that the Bureau of Land Management issues in collaboration with the Burning Man organization and includes temporary restrictions to protect public safety and resources on public lands.

Staff and participants are forbidden to possess, carry or hold weapons on their person, in their camp, vehicle or dwelling in any area included in the closure order.  Anyone found with a weapon will be immediately removed from the event site.

From the Closure Order:

Weapon means a firearm, compressed gas or spring powered pistol or rifle, bow and arrow, cross bow, blowgun, spear gun, hand-thrown spear, sling shot, irritant gas device, electric stunning or immobilization device, explosive device, any implement designed to expel a projectile, switch-blade knife, any blade which is greater than 10 inches in length from the tip of the blade to the edge of the hilt or finger guard nearest the blade (e.g., swords, dirks, daggers, machetes), or any other weapon the possession of which is prohibited by state law.

“Firearm” means any pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, or other device which is designed to, or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the ignition of a propellant.

Please do not threaten the future of the event – do not bring weapons to the Event Site for any reason!

You can read the entire closure order here.

For the record, pants cannons are still allowed.

2014_closure_order

Policy Reminder: Burning Man and Media

Rolling!
Rolling!

Storytellers have always been an important part of Burning Man culture and the creative documentation of our community is a form of radical self-expression. The images and videos that come out of Black Rock City help to keep us connected year-round as members of a global community and extend the impact of Burning Man far beyond the playa. While some might bemoan the presence of cameras at the event (you’re not alone!), our community has been thoroughly documented since its inception, and the ability for participants to share their experiences and perspectives is considered a right.

But the right to produce media comes with an important set of responsibilities.  Protecting participant privacy and freedom, and the culture of Burning Man as a whole, is key to the sustainability and vitality of the event. Every participant, whether they are documenting for personal or professional reasons, automatically agrees to the Terms and Conditions for media upon entry to the event. This includes many crucial provisions such as asking for consent, giving credit, and strictly non-commercial use of imagery. Everyone in Black Rock City accepts these terms as a condition of entry, and by entering the city you acknowledge that you have read the Terms and Conditions!

In addition to reading and understanding the terms and conditions, the back of your ticket, and the Burning Man Survival Guide, please keep the following guidelines in mind when it comes to the use of camera or audio recording equipment on playa: (more…)

Black Rock Arts Foundation Joins Burning Man Organization

raygun600 copy“Burning Man Arts” brings together Black Rock Arts Foundation and Black Rock City’s art department to streamline grant processes & better support the placement and enjoyment of art worldwide

San Francisco, July 26, 2014 — Burning Man today announced a reorganization of its arts programs to place more art in communities around the world, make more art available for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert, and create more opportunities for artists and donors.

Black Rock Arts Foundation, which is now a subsidiary of the non-profit Burning Man Project, is joining forces with Black Rock City’s art department to create one program called Burning Man Arts. The mission of Burning Man Arts is to change the paradigm of art from a commodified object to an interactive, participatory, shared experience of creative expression.

“This change breaks down the barriers. Art for the playa and art for the world will be one and the same,” said Burning Man’s founder Larry Harvey. “It makes it easier for artists to apply for grants and support, and it enables donors to contribute to the entire spectrum of expressive culture that is pouring out of Burning Man.”

So far in 2014, the Black Rock City art program has provided more than $1 million in grants and support to artists preparing works for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert during the last week of August.

Since its creation in 2001, Black Rock Arts Foundation has funded 149 projects worldwide, providing more than $2,500,000 in grants and support to artists. BRAF has awarded more than $430,000 through its Grants to Artists program and installed or otherwise supported 38 projects (with direct grants of $770,000) through its Civic Arts program. BRAF has also produced 82 memorable events and provided collaborative public art consulting services.

“Together, these two organizations will have an even bigger impact on donors, artists, and the communities that benefit from an active, engaged and supported arts community,” said Tomas McCabe, Executive Director of BRAF. “In addition to supporting artists on and off the playa, the new program is exploring an expanded range of offerings, including increased collaborations and partnerships with like-minded organizations and additional support services for artists.”

For donors, this development means that financial gifts to art projects for the Burning Man event in the Black Rock Desert can be tax deductible and opens up a wide range of new opportunities for supporters of the arts. All existing grants and support will continue uninterrupted. They will be completed within the framework of BRAF in collaboration with Burning Man Project.

About Burning Man

Burning Man is a 501(c)3 public benefit corporation whose mission is to facilitate and extend the culture that has issued from the Burning Man event into the larger world. Black Rock City is the seminal manifestation of the 10 Principles-based culture known as Burning Man. The gathering, which last year included participants from all 50 states and 40 countries around the world, happens the last week of August in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. For more information, visit http://www.burningman.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s happening?

Black Rock City’s art department and Black Rock Arts Foundation are coming together to create one unified art program called ‘Burning Man Arts’. This will result in more art being placed in communities worldwide, more art available for the annual event in the Black Rock Desert, it will streamline operations, and create additional services for artists and opportunities for donors.

Isn’t that a merger?

No, it’s not technically a merger. Legally speaking, Black Rock Arts Foundation is becoming a subsidiary of Burning Man Project. Operationally, the two organizations are bringing their resources together to create one robust art program that will work on projects both on and off the playa.

What are the benefits of doing this?

This change will benefit artists and donors, and will ultimately lead to more art being created and enjoyed by more people around the globe. It breaks down the barrier between art on playa and art in the world, and instead creates one entity that will work in the interest of both. Artists will have more opportunities to receive funding and other forms of support, and donors will have a new range of options for supporting the arts.

What is the timeline for this to take place?

The legal transaction was completed on July 24, 2014. The transition and restructuring of the entities will occur over the coming months and into 2015.

What happens to the BRAF Board?

Many of the BRAF Board members have stepped down and we thank them for their dedication and service building a vibrant, successful arts organization over the past 13 years. A scaled down version of the BRAF Board will continue to exist. We are working with members of the board to engage them in new ways with Burning Man Project and Burning Man Arts.

How will decisions on grants be made?

Burning Man and BRAF grant programs will continue to award grants based on the same criteria as before. While we will create some additional efficiency by merging these programs and sharing tools and other resources, we don’t anticipate making immediate changes to our grant criteria or decision-making bodies.

How are current BRAF programs being affected?

We don’t expect the transition to have any major immediate effect on existing projects, grants or grant applications. They will be completed within the framework of BRAF in collaboration with Burning Man Project.

What new programs are being planned for?

None at this time, but there are some ideas being explored for the future.

How does this affect current BRAF staff?

Current BRAF staff will continue to administer former BRAF grant programs as employees of Burning Man Project.

What becomes of a donation I already made to BRAF?

Your previous donations to BRAF will still fund participatory and collaborative community art projects around the world, funded under the same criteria as the BRAF Grants to Artists and Civic Arts programs. If you’ve donated to a specific BRAF project or program, your funds will still support that project or program. If you made a “general” donation to BRAF, your funds will support future public art projects produced by Burning Man.

What if I want to make a donation to Burning Man Arts moving forward?

At this time you can still donate through the BRAF website, here: http://blackrockarts.org/participate/donate. In the very near future there will be a new way to donate to art programs through the Burning Man Project. While details are yet to be determined, donors will have the option of directing support specifically to arts.

What will happen to the BRAF website, newsletter and other communication channels?

We are working to fold in the content of the BRAF website into the new BurningMan.org which will be launched before the end of this year. We are looking at options for what to do with the newsletter and social media tools. We would like to have a unified voice for sharing information with artists, donors and the wider community about Burning Man Arts. Burning Man’s communication channels will be sharing information about the activities and opportunities of Burning Man Arts.

I’ve got a great idea for an art piece, community event, etc.! How can I get the Project’s support?

We are not developing new programs at this time. You can email info -at- burningmanproject.org here: info (at) burningmanproject.org if you have an idea you’d like to have considered in the future.

Ticket Update: Shipping, STEP Closing, OMG Sale, Scalpers

The Man burns in 37 days, and if you’re nervous about getting to see it happen, we hear ya! Here are some updates about tickets to help you get there.

14_theme_caravansaryAlready bought tickets and wondering where they are? Don’t panic. Tickets are going in the mail every day. We anticipate they’ll all be in the mail by the end of next week (August 1), making their way into your eager hands.

The Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) closes tomorrow at 12:00 pm PDT, which is Friday, July 25. If you have extra tickets slated for will call delivery, this is your last chance to submit them for resale to other Burners. If you still need tickets and are waiting in the STEP queue, offer links received before tomorrow at noon will be good for three more days (or 72 hours after they are sent).

Since the max population of Black Rock City will be 68,000 (same as last year), we’ve been able to free up some additional tickets for the community. In addition to the tickets sold back to participants, we’ve already put 1,500 tickets into STEP, and this week we’re adding 1,000 more. That means lots of people who have been in the queue for a long time will get tickets this week. Please note, however, the queue is quite long so signing up for STEP at this point is not advised.

We’re also placing 2,000 additional tickets in the OMG Sale, for a total of 3,000.  Registration for the OMG sale begins on Thursday, July 31 at noon PDT and ends on Monday, August 4 at 12pm PDT. The OMG sale begins at noon 12pm on Wednesday, August 6. Registration details and other ticket info can be found at tickets.burningman.com.

And finally, ahhhh, the topic of scalpers. We’ve published a list of voided tickets. These tickets have been reported as stolen, lost in delivery, or as being sold for above face value, which violates the principles of our culture and the terms of purchase. These tickets and vehicle passes cannot be used for entry to Burning Man 2014. Check this list before you buy a ticket from a third party to protect yourself.

To learn about buying tickets more safely, please read the Fraud Prevention & Third Party Buyer Info section of our ticket support page. For more information you can also check out the ePlaya thread about scalpers and scammers.

Hope to see you in the dust, folks!

Black Rock City Fuel Program

Flaming Lotus Girls' MASSIVE propane tanks, 2009 (Photo by Caroline Miller)
Flaming Lotus Girls’ MASSIVE propane tanks, 2009 (Photo by Caroline Miller)

Tired of hauling gallons upon gallons of fuel to the Black Rock Desert? Concerned about keeping a large amount of fuel in your camp? Want to power your Theme Camp or Mutant Vehicle without having to worry about how? We have news for you! Black Rock City now offers a fueling program for Theme Camps and Mutant Vehicles at Burning Man!

In order to participate in the program please see the Fuel Program page on our website.

Chalk this one up to Communal Effort outweighing Radical Self-Reliance in Ye Olde Ten Principles … because y’know, there are just efficiencies to be had when we share resources. And sometimes that just. Makes. Sense.

RC / UAV at BRC – So You Want to Fly Your Drone at Burning Man

Dronetastic! (photo via Wired UK)
Dronetastic! (photo via Wired UK)

In response to the growing popularity of remote controlled aircraft, helicopters and multicopters (aka UAV or drones), Burning Man has formed a new team: Remote Control Black Rock City (RCBRC) under the Black Rock City Municipal Airport management, and updated its guidelines for registering, and the terms and conditions for flying RC aircraft in Black Rock City.

Like mutant vehicles, BRC regulates all RC aircraft and requires that they be operated responsibly, and are subject to restricted fly zones and other rules of operation. The goal is to streamline the registration process, have all RC pilots be familiar with flying in the city, and make it safer for all Burning Man participants.

The FAA requires all pilots of RC aircraft flying within 5 miles of an airport to notify that airport of their operations. Virtually all of Black Rock City is within 5 miles of 88NV, Black Rock City Municipal Airport, and completing the on-line registration and on-playa briefing with RCBRC meets this requirement.

Burning Man hosted a Drone Summit in 2013 to bring together RC pilots, who crowd-sourced the first set of community guidelines for flying in BRC. While the aircraft captured some great imagery of the event in 2013, we also encountered problems, including at least four instances where RC multicopters nearly hit participants.

You can read the new policy and register here, but these are the highlights:

  1. Registration on-line is limited to 200 pilots and closes August 15.
  2. RC pilots must receive an on-playa briefing, after which their RC aircraft and transmitters will be tagged and the pilots issued wristbands. Registration and briefings will be at 5 p.m. sharp, Monday through Saturday at the Artery in Center Camp.
  3. RC pilots are financially responsible for any harm or damage caused during the event.
  4. RC equipment can be confiscated for unsafe flying or violation of RCBRC, AMA, and FAA rules.
  5. Confiscated RC equipment will be held until the end of the event or when the participant departs Black Rock City.
  6. In addition to independent flying, registered RC pilots will have the opportunity to come together, share ideas, and fly from a protected RC Landing Zone. This will be set up at different art installations including near the Man. The changing locations will be posted at the Artery and announced on BMIR 94.5FM.

As in 2013, some guidelines remain the same, including:

  1. When possible, use a spotter to control onlookers.
  2. No First Person View (FPV) flying.
  3. Flying limited to a maximum altitude of 400 ft.
  4. Avoid flying over crowds. Maintain at least 25 ft. horizontal separation from people.
  5. Avoid flying near emergency, police and fire personnel.
  6. No flying near the Man beginning Friday night (during pyrotechnic set-up), and during the Temple burn.
  7. Flying is prohibited in Center Camp, along the Esplanade, near the airport, and near the BLM Incident Command area.

Support your love of RC flight and volunteer! You do not need to be a RC pilot to volunteer. To get involved, fill out a Burner Profile and Volunteer Questionnaire on the Burning Man website and specify airport for volunteer team.

For RCBRC scheduling issues, email milehigh here: milehigh (at) burningman.com.

For more information regarding duties, email firefly here: firefly (at) burningman.com.

Review the complete RC aircraft, drone and UAV policy.

Update on STEP for Burning Man 2014

Ticket cuddle puddle!
Ticket cuddle puddle!

Here’s a quick update on the state of the STEP … the Secure Ticket Exchange Program.

Good news! The system is working! Over 2,500 tickets have been sold back through STEP, snapped up by eager Burners yearning for the playa.

Right around now lots of folks start deciding – for real – if they are or are not going to the playa this year. This means we expect a lot of tickets to change hands in the next few weeks. If you have an unneeded ticket to sell, get it into STEP (through your Burner Profile) before Friday, July 25 at 12pm (noon) PDT … that’s the deadline for submissions.

If you’re still looking for a ticket, we encourage you to exhaust all of your options. The best way, we’ve found, is to beat the bushes and shake the trees in your Burner community. Friday, July 25 is the last day ticket offer links will be sent out through STEP. Links are good for 72 hours from the time they are sent.

Keep at it, don’t lose faith, and we hope to see you on the playa!

More info on our ticket page  and in our help desk. Still have a question? Email ticketsupport here: ticketsupport (at) burningman.com.

Scaling Infrastructure: Lessons Learned in a Pizza Oven

If you’ve created art or built a theme camp at Burning Man, you know that it’s all about trial, error, complex planning and a fair amount of flying by the seat of your pants. In 2006, my camp, Random Pizza Experience (RPE), was placed on the Esplanade for the first time. For two years, we’d been cooking homemade pizzas in camp and making random deliveries across the playa.

Temple Portrait, 2013. Photo by Mark Hammon.
Temple Portrait, 2013. Photo by Mark Hammon.

We were unprepared for the impact of thousands of Burners flowing through our camp on the Esplanade. We were asked questions small and large all day. Why do you make the dough from scratch? Is this pizza the right size? May I give you a kiss? Why aren’t you open?

What did we know? Enough to get into trouble and not enough to avert small disasters. We simply were not prepared for the crush of Burners that came with Esplanade placement. I’m embarrassed to say that at one time, the Nevada Health Department featured our camp in a presentation on what not to do! But, we were thrilled to see people making music, art and performance together while they were waiting in line for pizza. We tried to focus on our strengths, like connecting people, and not our weaknesses (according to the Health Department).

Scalability is an issue for nearly every aspect of Burning Man. In 1990, the first year in the desert, roughly 90 people showed up. This year we’ll have 70,000. And Burners have taken what they’ve learned in the desert into the world in awe-inspiring ways. We now have more than 220 Regional representatives worldwide, with more than 40 official Burning Man affiliated events on six continents. From artists to civic activists, the world is changing every day because of Burning Man.

Man at SF Decompression, 2011. Photo by Waldemar Horwat.
Man at SF Decompression, 2011. Photo by Waldemar Horwat.

Burning Man Project is facing scaling challenges of its own. Staff and volunteers are working days, nights and weekends to serve a growing community that is active around the world every day and every hour.

Burning Man Project is fundraising to build out an infrastructure to support the worldwide culture of Burning Man. Some Burners are addressing social and environmental problems (Burners Without Borders and Black Rock Solar) while others are bringing civic art to the public (Black Rock Arts Foundation) and some are inventing things that none of us have imagined.

I started volunteering for Burning Man Project in 2012 at BMHQ in San Francisco. Today, I’m in a leadership position helping create infrastructure to support the year-round culture.  We’re creating systems and processes for building and tracking our events, programs and activities in the world. We’re also exploring collaborations with like-minded organizations like [freespace] and Maker Faire –  groups that are teaching us what they’ve learned along the way.

Spire of Fire in Downtown Reno, 2011. Photo by Bill Kositzky.
Spire of Fire in Downtown Reno, 2011. Photo by Bill Kositzky.

We’re a public benefit corporation because our purpose and mission is to support the Burning Man culture out in the world. Income from Burning Man tickets supports the event in the desert but that income isn’t sufficient to support the infrastructure needed for a global movement founded on Burning Man’s Ten Principles. Burning Man staff and volunteers are running fast to keep up with  the growth of this culture year-round and we don’t yet have the resources we need to sustain this level of growth.

Just as the questions of Random Pizza Experience helped us understand our strengths and challenges, we welcome your questions about the future of Burning Man in the world.  Please keep them coming. Each one helps us learn more.

Making pizza dough from scratch takes a little longer but I’m convinced that it tastes better.  And making better pizza is actually scalable – just teach more friends how to do it.

Please join me and Carmen Mauk, Executive Director of Burners Without Borders, for “From the Playa to the Planet,” a conversation about social change at Everywhere (6:15 and Esplanade), on Monday, August 25th, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm.  This is an opportunity for crowd-sourcing solutions to social change challenges and we’d love to see you there!