As part of our multi-pronged effort to reduce the number of vehicles traveling to and from Black Rock City (which is one of biggest challenges Burning Man faces, and a significant risk to the future of our event), we started requiring every vehicle driving into Black Rock City to have a Vehicle Pass (VP) in 2014. The intention of this program is to encourage carpooling.
This year, we reduced the total number of Vehicle Passes we’re making available from 35,000 to 27,000, based on the number of passes that were actually used in 2014 (e.g. 27,000 of them). And since Black Rock City will be the same size this year as last year, there should be plenty of VPs to go around — in fact, people were literally giving them away on Gate Road last year.
So why did VPs sell out before tickets did in the Individual Sale? We analyzed the buying habits and demand for VPs in each of our sales last year and then cross referenced that with actual use. From there we allocated specific amounts to each sale to ensure that every sale would have an appropriate number available and they wouldn’t just all be gobbled up in the earlier sales. As a result, fewer VPs were made available (12,000) in the Individual Sale than tickets (40,000) and some of you were able to purchase a ticket (or two) but not a VP. But the good news is that the ratio of purchases of VPs to tickets was actually really good today — 36,000 tickets were sold before the 12,000 VPs sold out.
If you didn’t get one, please know that you’ve still got options:
Vehicle Passes will be sold in the OMG Sale. In fact, there will be more VPs available than tickets. For those who have not purchased a VP from us yet, there will be an option to register to purchase just a VP — so if you didn’t get a VP in the Individual Sale, you’ll be able to register to purchase one in the OMG Sale.
A lot of folks bought a VP not knowing if they need it or not, and will be looking to offload theirs. Ask around, and keep an eye on the open market for them — they’ll be out there.
And if for some reason you can’t get one, there are alternatives to driving your own vehicle to Burning Man:
Burner Express shuttle buses run from San Francisco, Reno and possibly a third location that has not yet been determined.
The Individual Sale is coming up on Wednesday, for those who registered — you DID register right? Well, a lot of you certainly did. Around twice the number of tickets available, in fact. Yep, that’s right … the secret’s out about Burning Man, and the reality is that some of you aren’t going to be able to get a ticket in the Individual Sale.
The size of Black Rock City is relatively stable (peak population at this year’s event is expected to be very close to what it was in 2014) — so while demand for tickets is steadily increasing, the number of available tickets is not. However, if you don’t get a ticket in the Individual Sale, here’s why you shouldn’t despair:
Historically, many tickets exchange hands among Burners during the summer as people’s plans change. Be patient, get the word out there, stay connected to your Burner community, and one could very well make its way to you.
Some things to consider when purchasing tickets in the open market:
Don’t buy a ticket from someone you don’t know unless you’re certain they aren’t ripping you off (with this much demand, the predators will be out there).
If you purchase a ticket from a stranger, be absolutely sure it’s not a counterfeit before you buy it. (Stay tuned for a post about how to recognize a counterfeit.)
Buying a ticket above face value perpetuates the scalping system. Don’t be part of the problem. Use STEP, or buy from people you know and only pay face value plus fees.
And remember, making it to Black Rock City is not the only way to get your burn fix. There are many official Regional Burns throughout the year, including Nowhere in Spain, AfrikaBurn in South Africa, Israel’s Midburn, Flipside in Austin — there are over 60 Burns happening around the world. Heck, there’s even one in Korea! And these Burns, like the one in Black Rock City, are as amazing as you make ’em.
Best of luck in the sale, and we hope to see you on playa.
Hello! I’m Rebecca Throne, aka nimbus, and I manage Ticketing for Burning Man, including Box Office operations on the playa. 2014 was a tough year for the Box Office, and if you were one of the many people picking up tickets at Will Call you may have had the misfortune of experiencing that firsthand. For some context: the Black Rock City Box Office operates 24/7 for 11 days. In 2014, some participants on five of those days experienced excessive wait times of up to seven hours or more, which is unacceptable by any standard.
As has been our policy in previous years, all tickets sold through the OMG Sale, STEP, the Low Income Ticket program, and those sold to international participants were held for Will Call pick up at the Box Office. This is in addition to tickets bought in our other sales by those who choose Will Call pick up.
In 2014, the Box Office was faced with even more volume than ever. We were able to add some late-season ticket releases, which were all distributed via the Will Call-only channels of STEP and the OMG Sale in August.
With the change of ticketing partners in 2014, we had to get up to speed with learning a new system and training the Box Office team, some of which took place onsite.
The introduction of vehicle passes in 2014 meant we were handling twice as many physical things, so each transaction took a bit longer.
We were understaffed for the flow of tickets and people coming to the Box Office for tickets.
A tremendous amount of information-gathering, research, and strategizing has taken place since the event. In addition to collecting input from community discussions we’ve been monitoring online, we’ve also conducted our own in-depth debrief process, and hosted a cross-departmental forum to gather potential solutions. We’ve gotten a ton of valuable input, and we’ve incorporated much of it into our approach for 2015.
So what are we doing to fix it?
It’s important to understand that there is no single silver-bullet panacea that will fix the problem. Just as the long wait times were a byproduct of numerous systems buckling under increased stress, the approach to solve it will also need to be multi-pronged. Here are a few of the changes we’re working on:
For the first time, you’ll be able to choose to have your STEP and OMG Sale tickets shipped to you. This alone can reduce volume by thousands of orders, and has the potential for the largest impact in reducing overall traffic to the Box Office. We are also investigating alternative shipping options for international ticket buyers.
We are increasing staffing levels at the Box Office. With more people to assist participants, we’ll be able to process more requests in a shorter period of time.
We’re designing a better model for Box Office operations, including changes to our roles, reengineering our training process, and expanding the number of days the Box Office is open to take care of Early Arrivals and staff.
And finally, we’re redesigning our physical infrastructure (adding more windows and shade, implementing some ‘queue theory’ best practices, increasing informational signage, etc.) so it can better handle the load and make for a smoother experience for everyone (it wasn’t fun for us, either!).
While print-at-home tickets has been floated as a possible solution, there are a number of practical reasons we believe this is not the best fit for Burning Man, the most important being our commitment to preventing counterfeiting (there is no way to prevent print-at-home tickets from being photocopied). Other, more cultural reasons, include the fact that gifting physical tickets is a longstanding tradition in our community. We’re positive we can address the Box Office’s challenges without that solution right now, but we will continue to revisit the idea as necessary.
We are learning from our experience in 2014 and making changes in order to get it right in 2015. We’re using this as an opportunity to optimize our systems, and to ensure you have the best possible experience at the Box Office in the future. All told, we hope to cut the number of transactions at the Box Office down by nearly half.
How can you help?
There are a number of things you can do to help both before, and when you arrive, at the Box Office:
If at all possible, have your tickets shipped to you. Choose the delivery option that works best for your travel plans. Last year we expanded our offerings to include UPS 2nd day, which is especially helpful for those traveling long distances who leave home long before the event begins, and have opted for the security of Will Call in the past. This option gives more people the viable option of delivery instead of Will Call.
If you or anyone you know (like somebody in your vehicle, for instance) is expecting to pick up an order from the Box Office, encourage them to be prepared, with their order confirmation and valid legal ID handy. This will speed up processing times.
Join us! We’re greatly increasing our Box Office staff this year. We screen folks heavily for accountability and specialized skillset, and so we frequently rely on personal referrals. If you are looking for a new playa family and have great in-person customer service experience, are savvy using point-of-sale systems, are the epitome of grace under pressure, and/or are a front-of-house ninja, please get in touch with us at boxoffice here: boxoffice (at) burningman.com and fill in/update your volunteer questionnaire to indicate that you want to work with Box Office. (Keep in mind that because we make a significant investment in training people, we require our crew to work a minimum of four 6-hour shifts.)
I hope this helps give a better understanding of what created the situation we faced in 2014 and what we’re doing to address it. Please know that we are keenly aware of the problem, we agree that what happened in 2014 was unacceptable, and we are confident the changes we are implementing will significantly improve the Box Office experience for 2015.
I invite you to leave your thoughts in the comments below – we look forward to reading them and continuing the conversation.
Earlier today we published some important financial information on the Public Documents section of our website. As part of Burning Man’s transition to a nonprofit, we are sharing our 501(c)(3) financial and operational information as it becomes available. The 2013 Form 990 is the first step in this process.
Public benefit organizations file a Form 990 each year with the IRS. It is, essentially, the nonprofit’s tax return. The Form 990 has information about the organization’s mission, programs and finances. Burning Man’s 2013 Form 990 includes detailed information about the transition of Black Rock City, LLC from an independent entity to a subsidiary of the nonprofit, as well as financial, salary and programming information.
A Form 990 can be overwhelming for those that have never read one before. So, we’ve created an FAQ (below) to help everyone understand the information included in the Form 990 and what it means about Burning Man’s programs and activities.
We’ve also added information to the FAQ that isn’t included in the Form 990 to give a more complete picture of Burning Man’s finances. There are questions that come up from time to time, for example, around Burning Man’s transition to a nonprofit, relationship to regional events, intellectual property, and the role of Decommodification, LLC. We are taking this opportunity to answer some of the those questions along with the release of the 2013 Form 990.
We’re looking forward to continuing this proactive effort to provide more information about our nonprofit activities. Stay tuned to the Jackrabbit Speaks and our new website, Burningman.org, for more information in the future. [If you have any questions that aren’t answered below, pop them in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer the ones we can.]
Burning Man gratefully acknowledges our many valued participants, volunteers and supporters who joined us in 2014 in celebrating and exploring the limitless creative possibilities of our community.
We’re a community-based organization, and everything we do is driven by community participation, communal effort and gifting. While ticket sales cover the cost of producing the event in Black Rock City, your generous donations support our year round work directly, as well as our organizational capacity to execute them.
Read on for a look back at a just a few of the highlights from our 2014 community-based programs and projects. We couldn’t have done it without your support!
New in 2014
From launching our new burningman.org website to creating a new Burning Man Arts Program that will inspire and fund art projects for years to come, 2014 was a year of accomplishments and growth for Burning Man.
Thanks to your support, in 2014 we were able to build our infrastructure so we can be responsive to the needs of our community as it continues to grow. Our new website is symbolic of this growth as we start our first full year since the merger of the Burning Man Art Department and the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF) to create Burning Man Arts.
Thanks to the merger we are now able to provide more grants to artists than ever before, bringing more art to Black Rock City and offer more opportunities for artists to create and exhibit work outside of Burning Man.
Global Art Grants – Artichoke
In 2014, in collaboration with the UK-based Artichoke Trust, Burning Man provided its first grant under the newly reorganized Burning Man Arts program to bring an ambitious community art project to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland. This David Best temple will turn the notion of bonfires and burning in Northern Ireland upside-down. Read more here.
In addition, Burning Man Arts has awarded a grant to support documentary filmmaker Laurent LeGall, who is working on a full-length film about David Best’s life and work. He will shoot the temple project in Northern Ireland for the film, which is expected to be released sometime in 2015.
Big Art for Small Towns – Desert Tortoise
As part of the Big Art for Small Towns initiative, we collaborated with the City of Fernley to create the “Desert Tortoise,” an impressive art piece composed of mosaic tiles prepared by 2,400 Fernley school children. “Desert Tortoise,” a reflection of Nevada’s wildlife, was selected as the third, and permanent, art installation for a new park being constructed on Main Street, across from City Hall and the courthouse in Fernley. The project unified the community around Burning Man art principles to create a civic project. The other two art installations, which are temporary, “The Bottlecap Gazebo” and “Rockspinner 6,” are interactive large-scale art pieces that will also be placed in the park for the next two years.
Burners Without Borders
Due to this community’s relentless participation and support, 2014 was an incredible year for Burners Without Borders.
BWB provided over $15K in grants to over 20 new projects that wouldn’t otherwise been possible, and long-term programs have blossomed in beautiful and unexpected ways. BWB’s Detroit Backpack project, now in its sixth year, experienced unprecedented growth thanks to a significant financial donation that enabled over 700 backpacks full of winter survival supplies to be distributed to Detroit’s homeless. BWB’s Motomoto fire spinning program, serving street youth in Kenya, has now expanded to encompass robust interventions that include teaching the life skills and job skills that will help them get off the dangerous streets of Nairobi.
The work that BWB began in 2013 continued to grow in 2014, most notably BWB’s Hurricane Sandy Relief program and the Jakmel Ekspresyon Screenprinting project in Haiti. In 2013, BWB gifted over $2.5 million in free demolition and house removal to low-income residents of Union Beach, NJ who lost their homes to Hurricane Sandy. This gift enabled these families to quickly take advantage of federal funds that were crucial in helping them get back on their feet. In 2014, fifteen of those residents received the first modular homes in the region, and more homes are on the way.
BWB will be inspiring more community projects and bringing innovation to disaster recovery in 2016. You are invited to participate. Join us!
Civic Art Program – The Bike Bridge
The Bike Bridge is both an art piece and a collaboration project with the youth of Oakland, artist Michael Christian, and with partner organization The Crucible. The twelve enrolled participants, all young women, began the project with classes in welding and art-bicycle creation, generously hosted by The Crucible. The program culminated in the collaborative creation of a large-scale sculpture made of reclaimed bicycle parts. Check out the documentary.
Global Network of Emerging Community Leaders
The Regional Network is the year-round embodiment of the Burning Man experience, supporting it as a global cultural movement. In 2014 more than 250 volunteer Regional Contacts in over 125 regions in 34 countries help local Burners connect with each other, while bringing Burning Man principles and culture into their local communities through community initiatives, collaborative projects, art, creative self-expression and communal effort.
Last year, new Regional Contacts started igniting activity in small, but growing communities like Finland and the United Arab Emirates. Regional groups across five continents collaborated to produce over 65 official events in the spirit of the Ten Principles including AfrikaBurn to the first Dutch Decompression. They brought their local flavor to the ring of interactive Caravansary Souk tents at the base of the Man. You can learn more about the Network and plug in at regionals.burningman.org.
Global Leadership Conference
In February 2014 the Burning Man Global Network hosted its first overseas conference – The European Leadership Summit – in Berlin. Participants addressed the global growth of our culture, the 10 Principles, interactive art and transformative experiences. Burning Man community organizers and thought leaders registered from 23 countries. Representatives from Austria, Holland, Spain, Belgium, England, Czech, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Russia, Sweden, Poland, Sweden, and Latvia, and the USA shared ideas, skills, and worked together towards a shared vision for the future. Burning Man staff and the local Burner community in Berlin provided a platform for these leaders to convene and collaborate.
European Leadership Summit
In April 2014 we hosted our 8th Annual Global Leadership Conference (GLC) in the Bay Area. Over 300 Burning Man community leaders from around the world gathered in San Francisco to connect, share ideas and develop collaborative projects.
Desert Art Preview
Additionally, for the past two years we’ve held our “Desert Art Preview” at San Francisco’s De Young Museum, a lecture series and art exhibition, which offers a sneak preview of some of the many notable art projects in progress for Burning Man 2014. This event is one of the many opportunities we offer urban communities to learn about new projects and how they can get involved and support up-and-coming, highly collaborative artists.
Please help us spread the word about the many ways Burning Man is changing the world for the better. We appreciate your participation in our community and we appreciate your help in extending our work beyond Black Rock City.
Again, all of us at Burning Man extend our deepest gratitude for the great work all of us did together in 2014, and we hope you will join our efforts in 2015. Please keep participating!
Starting today, you can donate to Burning Man with Bitcoin. This makes it easy for anyone in the world to support Burning Man’s year-round programs using cryptocurrency, which is private, secure and untethered to any national currency.
Because Burning Man is a recognized non-profit, donations are tax-deductible, and there are no transaction fees for donating in Bitcoin thanks to our payment processing partner, Coinbase.
Ticket sales — which do not yet support Bitcoin — cover the cost of producing the event in Black Rock City, but Burning Man needs the help of donors to fund its projects and initiatives during the rest of the year.
Burning Man’s Marian Goodell said “Donations will help provide more grants, training and support to creators of radically interactive art and events on and off the playa, fund civic programs, teach communities the power of collaboration, strengthen our infrastructure and make the Burning Man experience accessible year-round.”
Burning Man Project board member and Caravancicle founder Jim Tananbaum has addressed questions raised about his 2014 camp in Black Rock City.
The following was posted today on Caravancicle.com … we’re reposting it here for your convenience:
I am writing to respond to a number of posts regarding Caravancicle, a camp of which I was a member in 2014 – I also helped envision and fund the camp.
I first want to apologize broadly to anyone who felt disrespected by our camp or concerned about the implications of our camp’s operation to the long-term health of Burning Man.
I have been attending Burning Man every year since 2009. Burning Man is a singularly impactful event for me and, since first attending, I have become deeply moved by the 10 Principles, the potential for these principles to change the world, and the environment of the playa as an embodiment of the principles. This is the reason I joined the Burning Man Board of Directors. It is also the reason why I wanted to create a camp environment that would help enable my friends to share the transformative experience of Burning Man. In addition, we wanted to introduce a more sustainable, communal and aesthetically pleasing alternative to RVs to the playa. It was always our intention to provide an open environment, which welcomed everyone and was consistent with the spirit of Burning Man. It is clear based on blog posts and comments made online that not everyone experienced what we intended.
For that, I would like to apologize. Despite our best intentions and efforts, some things did not turn out as planned.
Caravancicle is the third camp I have been involved with at Burning Man. My experience has been with larger camps requiring some workers to provide the infrastructure. Our camp was constructed by a long-term Burner with deep respect and care for the community, who was hired to manage the camp. He also led the build for the camp we did the year before. We have worked with people in the past to build out our camp who were hired by the camp organizers and then would enjoy the Burning Man experience when they were not working. Our campmates would staff the bar, greet people, give out gifts, etc. This year, our plan was to gift a neighboring camp infrastructure in exchange for their assistance in building ours. We were trying to build community through sharing resources.
To make a long and painful story short, our partners were not able to complete our build and our remaining staff was left having to build out toilets, showers and other infrastructure (without having planned to and therefore not having the proper resources to do so). During this crisis, many people in our camp rose to the occasion, but a few, like “SherpaGirl,” decided to leave and then wrote a disappointing account of her few hours in our camp. Another person in camp posted a sign asking for help without asking anyone else. We had some first time Burners in the camp, including the person who posted the sign. We also had many return Burners in the camp. I think most people attending Burning Man have had some unexpected situations; we did, and we tried to adjust to these in the moment.
The hero of this unfortunate situation was our camp’s manager who worked tirelessly for 2 days along with other camp members to help provide basic infrastructure for all of us. While the crisis was going on, all of us were greatly distracted and weren’t able to properly respond to the many people coming through our camp. Our supplies were also dwindling. Since the camp was so large, we used wristbands to help manage the food, water, and booze supply during non-public hours. It was really sad for me to read the accounts of people who visited our camp and were turned down for drinks during the day (including a number of my friends). Ughh…. If we had simply posted a sign providing details on camp gift times, it would have made a big difference.
Our camp breakdown was also compromised because the group responsible for providing the infrastructure was also responsible for part of the breakdown. In the end, our camp manager and some other members of the camp, plus breakdown staff, cleaned up our camp by Saturday after the event. We took a photo of our campsite before we left the playa and it was free of MOOP. We then learned that a camp next door was having significant issues with clean up and we sent trucks back to help them. It is unclear to me as to why we remain with some red marks on the MOOP map.
To specifically answer questions: I did not profit from Caravancicle (in fact I gifted money, as I do every year). Our bar was open to the public at night but not during the day. We should have posted a sign to make this clear. On Friday night, used up all of our booze to gift a huge party for anyone who visited our camp. We regularly gifted very yummy homemade popsicles and herbal tea but were not able to set up the gift stand in front of the camp as originally envisioned because of the build crisis we had. We regularly gifted drinks, water, and electrolytes at night.
Regarding questions on the 10 Principles of Burning Man
1. Radical Inclusion: Burning Man welcomes people from all walks of life. Referring to Caravancicle campers or members of any other camp as “the rich people” is creating a class system within Burning Man, which I don’t believe is beneficial to the community. Our camp welcomed people from all walks of life. Sometimes we had art cars that were filled up with our camp members and would not have been safe to include others. During other parts of the days, these art cars welcomed anyone to come on board until they were filled to safe capacity.
2. Gifting: Burning Man is devoted to acts of giving. Caravancicle gifted popsicles, tea, booze, water and electrolytes, but at the beginning of the week we did not serve non-camp members drinks during the day and failed to make it clear to non-camp members that we would be offering drinks during nighttime hours to everyone. We did gift a blow out Friday party with full bar and snacks. We could have greatly improved our communications on this matter.
3. Decommodification: Our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorship, transactions, or advertising. Caravancicle was in no way affiliated with any third party sponsorships. We hired a team to produce the camp (as many camps do), but Caravancicle did not participate in any advertising. The ‘promotional materials’ and website were sent to guests who were invited to join the camp. We did not actively promote the camp. No one in Caravancicle made money off of the camp.
4. Radical Self-reliance: Although many of the more physical aspects of self-reliance were lost on the Caravanciclers, camp members were encouraged to exercise and rely on their inner resources. Just as in other camps, many members spent extensive amounts of time reflecting and self-exploring out on the playa. They faced many of the same challenges every other Burner faces at the event.
5. Radical Self-expression: Caravancicle was an act of creative expression in and of itself. The camp had months and months of planning and effort put into it, including help from many of its members. While not all members of the camp participated in the creative aspect of building the camp, each brought their own unique personality, costumes and contributions to Burning Man.
6. Communal Effort: While I can’t argue that Caravancicle members had significantly less work to do as far as cooking and maintenance, all members were still responsible for chores around camp including, but not limited to, picking up trash and being responsible for washing their own dishes. We also created a beautiful space open to the public that fostered cooperation and collaboration.
7. Civic Responsibility: Caravancicle assumed responsibility for the conduct of our events. We refused alcohol to minors and to people who didn’t have cups in order to limit MOOP. On one specific instance there were so many bikes parked outside one of our parties that the Rangers had to come inside and let us know. We killed the music and shut down the party immediately, making sure the mess was cleared up right away.
8. Leaving No Trace: Our clean up was delayed because of our co-dependency on a partner camp. We were able to clean our site, with pictures taken that document a clean site on Saturday after the event. It is unclear to me why we received red marks on the MOOP map, but I think we were generally docked points because we were late in leaving. We also sent back help for a neighbor camp that was having difficulties cleaning up.
9. Participation: Members of Caravancicle participated and achieved through “doing”. I urge everyone to remember that for some of our campers, this was their first burn. Personally, I contributed substantially less my first year than I have in years since. This year, however, I allocated vast amounts of time, effort and money to create something beautiful to share with the community.
10. Immediacy: Most Burners agree that Immediacy is the touchstone of value in our culture. Just like every other participant in this community, I wish to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves. I did not get it perfectly right, but I did make my best effort to create something beautiful and creative, unique and innovative.
Regarding other questions that have been raised about me and my camp:
Plug and Play: While a lot of personal responsibility was deflected onto camp employees, I have worked tirelessly since the beginning of the year planning, organizing and executing a camp that brought beauty and value to the playa. Although some of our campers were “plug and play” participants per se, the act of judging them or excluding them goes against everything that Burning Man stands for regarding radical inclusion.
Profit: There have been suggestions that our camp was for profit. I can assure you our camp generated no money and was not, in any way, a money making venture. Additionally, the Burning Man organization was in no way involved with the planning or production of the camp – it was an entirely personal project. Our website was meant to be viewed by 60 or so people who were planning to participate in our camp and was password protected. The material which referred to artists was produced by our partner camp and not us as a way of describing what they envisioned. Our partner camp described this as fully endorsed by the artists they included. I am sorry that people outside of Caravancicle camp were able to gain access to our website and share our draft material without our authorization. I am also sorry about artists whose names they included without their authorization. Caravancicle was trying to create an environment which shared the beauty of our architecture and design with other creative forces on the playa.
Burning Man Project Board of Directors: I joined the board of directors because I’m passionate about the impact Burning Man culture can have on the world, and because I believe my professional experience and perspective is valuable to the new nonprofit at this early stage of its development. I believe Burning Man and what it has to offer the world is still very nascent and am thrilled to be working with other board members to steward its growth and development.
I believe there is a silver lining in the discussion our camp has engendered because it has caused a healthy dialog about the implications for Burning Man’s evolution. I am proud to be a Burner. I am proud that my fellow Burners felt passionate enough about the sanctity of Burning Man to push this discussion, and I look forward to taking new ideas and lessons learned into the future.
Our man Taz, who holds down the technological fort year-round in Gerlach, sent us word today that the great Lake Lahontan has returned! Luckily, he sent not only word, but pictures!
Wait, what’s Lake Lahontan, you may ask? Well, our beloved Black Rock Desert is actually a dry ancient lakebed – the lake that was once Lake Lahontan (take a look at the dark rings around the mountains surrounding the playa and you’ll see where the waterline was). And during wet years, water flows from up north and fills – very thinly, it’s cool and creepy – some or all of the playa basin.
Now, given the historical drought that the Western United States has been experiencing this year (historic as in the worst since Charlemagne was emperor of Europe – like not fooling around historic), this is fantastic news. It’s still a drop in the bucket, but it’s a drop nonetheless, and we’ll take it.
All it’s gonna take is a helluva lot more to give us higher hopes of having a smooth, solid playa surface for Burning Man 2015. Keep your fingers crossed. (Click to embiggen the images.)