Theme Camps are arguably the cultural lifeblood of [BM]. Participants gather their friends to camp together, establishing a common theme on which to base the interaction they hope to engender with the citizens of Black Rock City. As free form and wide-ranging as they can be, from the sublime to the ridiculous, Theme Camps create an ambience, a visual presence, and in some way provide a communal space or provide interactivity. As such, they are very much the cultural engine of Black Rock City.
So we went to the source and did some interviews with a (wildly broad) representative sampling of camp organizers, including Bad Idea Theater (an entertainment camp), Kidsville (for families and children), Mal-Mart Mega Store (a parody camp), Root Society (a dance camp), Suspended Animation (a BDSM bondage camp), and for this post we have added the Golden Cafe, an exotic bar. We asked them a whole bunch of questions, and we’ll present more in future posts.
In these interviews the theme camps responded to questions about how they encourage participation and contribution and whether they create consensus out of conflict within their camps. To read more about each camp click on the link that is the name of their camp. Here are the results of the interviews:
How do you manage participation and contribution within your camp?
Bad Idea Theater: The camp is run as a co-op, with each member being a co-owner of the project. Each member funds the project with dues and is responsible for working shifts in the public area as well as responsibilities in the private camp area; there are no exceptions to this rule. Contribution and participation are required by each member as a requirement of being a camp member. As a co-op, every member agrees in advance to work schedules and all camp plans. The vast majority of camp members are veteran Burners who are very familiar with what it takes to run a full time theme camp on the Playa.