Peter Doty’s “Christmas Camp”, Burning Man’s first theme camp, 1993. Photo by Gerry Gropp.
[Please note we've changed the nomenclature for these types of camps from "Plug & Play" to "Turnkey" to better reflect the way they function.]
Groups of people who set up a camp at Burning Man – or hire help to set up a camp – with the explicit intention of having things ready to go in advance of the arrival of others, are engaging in what we’ve termed “Turnkey camping” (see previous posts on this topic here and here).
In recent years, we’ve seen a rise in Turnkey camping services, and the Burning Man organization has decided to address the issue by providing guidelines for these camps and their organizers. We thought you’d like to see them.
We welcome your feedback on this topic in the comments section below. Read more »
WANTED: Participant Videos on Playa Preparation and Participation!
DEADLINE: JULY 15, 2011
Calling all filmmakers and benevolent Burners! We want YOUR video submissions to share as part of the 2nd Annual Burning Man Video Acculturation Series, designed to help new Burners prepare for their first playa experience!
The theme for 2011 is PREPARATION & PARTICIPATION! Read more »
I recently met a Reno local who is preparing for her first burn. “Do I really need to get an RV?” she asked me. “My friend told me you can’t do Burning Man without an RV. I just want to bring a tent.”
This hurts me on the inside. I haven’t been around that long — my first burn was 2003 — but I’ve spent many burns in a tent, and a couple of two-month work seasons besides. One of the things I hate to see is the rapidly increasing number of rental RVs on playa. They have their place, sure. If you’ve got small kids or a physical need for top-notch shelter, you might want to spend thousands renting an RV, plus hundreds in gas to drive it to Black Rock City and keep the A/C running. But that is a LOT of money (and a fair amount of pollution), and it’s not necessary to spend that much. You can be smarter about it, and I’m about to tell you how.
It is completely possible, and pretty easy, to build your own shelter and cooling system. You can have an airtight, windproof, shaded and cool place to sleep away the day, and you can build it yourself for a fraction of the cost of an RV rental.
THE INCREDIBLE HEXAYURT – $300
Holy wow! In 2007, Treehugger and Current TV hosted a contest for the best “eco-ideas” for Burning Man. The winner was a DIY shelter that costs under $300 to build, packs up flat into your truck, and can be reused year after year. Vinay Gupta’s Hexayurt is now being tested as disaster relief and refugee shelter. Why? Because it WORKS. This is far and away the best shelter idea I’ve heard of. Read more »
Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.
I’ll never forget the first time I was out by the Temple at midnight, scribbling something by the dull light of my headlamp, when the flashing red and blue lights of the default world streaked past, causing everyone around me to nearly jump out of their skin.
A gunmetal gray SUV skidded up to a scene maybe ten yards off into deep playa, where a bunch of EL-wired nightcrawlers stood stock-still. The doors opened and slammed, men in khaki uniforms stepped out brandishing bright flashlights, and they encircled those hapless hoodlums, while the red and blue lights swirled around us.
I didn’t know the reason for this disturbance; those midnight ravers may have fully deserved their run-in with the law. But I was unable to determine how I felt about the situation. Part of me felt intruded upon. Who did these Babylon cowboys think they were, zapping everybody with their lights like that?
But on the other hand, there was something profoundly hilarious about it. The action was beyond earshot, but I imagined this whole absurd scene playing out:
“Awright, son! Put yer hands on yer head! Toooo much fun! Burnin’ Man’s over fer you! Yer cut off!” Read more »
[This is the second in our series of three posts about Theme Camps for the Metropol Blog Series.]
Theme Camps are arguably the cultural lifeblood of Burning Man. 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.
Read more »
Welcome back! It was very strange not being there with you, and watching the event, vicariously and compulsively, on the streaming feed on the web over the course of a week. For me, Burning Man has been a learning experience from the beginning, and I have learned so much this year, only this time I’ve learned it by not being there.
It has been incredibly painful going through the motions here, maintaining a typical existence, going to work, doing what I normally do. Except it’s been anything but normal, because I wasn’t there, I was here. And I should not have been going to work. I should have been building a dome, contributing to life in our temporary city, hanging out with all of you.
So what did I learn by NOT going to Burning Man this year?
Read more »