Posts in population

September 13th, 2013  |  Filed under News

Black Rock City 2013 Population

Black Rock City 2013 (photo credit: Reuters)

Black Rock City 2013 (photo credit: Reuters)

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Black Rock City, LLC (BRC) have stated that the 2013 Burning Man event peak population was 69,613. BLM will be reviewing the peak population number in association with the special recreation permit stipulations for the 2013 event.

Prior to reaching the peak population number during the event, BLM and BRC coordinated and implemented contingency plans, which included collaborative managing of the gate entrance, opening additional camping areas and streets within the city, deploying additional porta-potties, pumper trucks and medical vehicles. This coordination and the contingency actions were to further facilitate a safe and healthy event and city.

August 30th, 2013  |  Filed under News

Burning Man, BLM Tighten Management of BRC Entry

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

Burning Man and the Bureau of Land Management have begun tighter management of the entrance gate to the Burning Man event. Measures are being taken to ensure camping is occurring in designated areas and to manage overall population of the event.

The new entrance controls will likely result in increased wait times at the Main Gate, participants who are not part of existing camps will be directed to camp on the outer fringes of Black Rock City between 3 o’clock and 5 o’clock. Additional streets have been constructed (the streets of M & N, from 7:00 to 10:00) to assist in these efforts.

The changes were agreed to by Burning Man and BLM to protect the health and safety of participants.

January 28th, 2013  |  Filed under News

BRC Census: Were You Counted? Did You Count?

The Black Rock City Census team at work, dusty.

Hey, did you notice us while you drove up to the Black Rock City gate? We were the ones wearing white lab coats, asking you questions, and having tons of fun. One of us had a fox face, one of us had glowing green Medusa hair, and several of us had bunny ears and fishnet stockings. On some days, we were all coated in a thick layer of dust.

If you met us out there, then you already know what this year’s Census sampling team was up to. We recited our informed consent scripts, and let you know that your participation was completely voluntary and anonymous. We explained how our volunteer researchers would use a few tidbits of data about you to get a sense of who, exactly, comes to Burning Man. And then you took four or five minutes to answer eight questions on a paper form, and voila!, you had given your first gift to Burning Man. The gift of data.

The backbone of this sampling effort, naturally, was our extraordinary volunteers! We had five sampling teams that covered five sampling shifts, some of them pre-dawn (we got to watch the sun rise together!) and some of them in the full blast of midday dust. We welcomed you home, and most of you were happy to help us out. Thanks! Then our datatypistas set to work digitizing your survey responses, so we could analyze the data.

But why did we do this? This year we expanded our Census project to include data collection from a randomized sample, which was a first for us. Why you ask? Read more »

December 11th, 2012  |  Filed under News

Black Rock City 2012 Population Update

This guy does NOT work for us.

When the peak population for Black Rock City 2012 was announced at noon on Friday of the event, the preliminary tally was 52,385, which seemed a bit low. We suspected there were more people in Black Rock City at its peak (which was actually Friday at 6am this year, by the way). So after the event, we went back and conducted a full and comprehensive audit …

After doing some pretty significant accounting and recounting, we determined that the actual peak population at the 2012 event was in fact 56,149. (Now, that’s not everybody who went to Burning Man, it’s just the peak population … a lot of people came late and/or left early this year, having planned ahead to avoid high-traffic ingress and egress times — did you notice the shorter wait times?)

Due to some new processes that were put in place in 2012, the count released on playa was low.  For fifteen years we’ve had a great record of recording accurate population tallies, and we place a high premium on capturing and reporting this important data.  We keep count because a) it’s really important for us to know how many people are out there (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is production planning), and b) it’s required by our BLM permit requirement, as you’ve probably heard by now. Our population cap for 2012 was 60,900, and happily our peak population didn’t come close to bumping up against that total.

So there you are … we’re happy to be able to report the final population count for 2012 … and we’re glad we’ve worked out some kinks in our system to ensure proper reporting in the future.

 

July 10th, 2012  |  Filed under News, Participate!

Count Me! Count Me!

Don’t be surprised if a group of lab coat-clad scientists descends upon your vehicle as you approach the Greeters station this year. You might just be one of the lucky ones selected by the Census Samplers! These eager burning nerds are keen to include you in a scientific probability sample of Black Rock City’s population. They’re gathering data to get a more accurate picture of who is attending Burning Man this year. Aren’t you curious to know?

Last year 42% of the people who participated in the Black Rock City Census considered themselves artists, and an additional 35% considered themselves artists sometimes (read prior stats from the Census). Do these numbers seem high to you? Low? We don’t know if the people who voluntarily filled out the Census were truly representative of the citizens of BRC. Read more »

August 10th, 2011  |  Filed under Preparation, The Ten Principles

A Wyrd Year

Photo: Chance

I think we can all sense it. It’s going to be a weird year.

 

Remember the day tickets went on sale? That was crazy. Servers went down in flames, people got bumped out of line, chaos ensued. That was in January. It’s August now. You know what else happens in August?

Yeah.

Tickets sold out for the first time. That’s wild. The streets of Black Rock City go all the way out to freaking L. They added :15 streets and :45 streets. We’re gonna need another airport, y’all.

Who got all these tickets, and who didn’t? Is it going to be more new folks? Mostly veterans? Or just the usual mix? We don’t really know how it’ll break down, but it sure is tempting to wonder. A weird year. Lots of uncertainty.

I’m not saying it doesn’t feel this way every year. Burning Man is always weird. But we don’t always use the proper reverence when we use the word “weird.” It has been diluted over time, and that’s a shame, because it’s a word Burners really need.

Wyrd used to be heavier, more profound. It used to be the exclusive purview of witches and warlocks; good folk were supposed to avoid it.

I’m not even doing it justice. Think about time way back before the universe was created. “Tohu va’vohu,” the Bible calls it: formless and void. That’s wyrd.

It’s going to be a wyrd year.

Tohu va’vohu. Formless and void. Like a prehistoric, dried-up lakebed, the flattest place in the world.

Photo: Chance

And, for good measure, it’s the middle of the night. Just the barest sliver of moon is cradled in the craggy mountains. Stars all over the place. Dead silence. Dust, rocks, nothing else.

Wyrd, man.

Now, start adding people one car at a time. Cars and people, some tents, some rickety lean-tos, stacking up like crooked little teeth, like defective Legos. Getting bigger now, getting closer together. More fires, more lanterns, more LEDs.

Photo: mkgraph

Now start hearing. Start at the lowest, thumping frequencies, lower than your heartbeat. Feel it in your feet. Feel it in your gut. Add in the mid-range now, some melody, some harmony, and now start turning up the gain.

We’re here. Welcome home.

Photo: ADLERPRODUCTIONS.COM

The playa is just a wyrd place. Anything that happens there feels more weighty and portentous, even if it would feel mundane in the default world. Think about trudging to the port-a-potties in the morning, the kinds of macabre, burlesque, perverted little scenes you pass right by in the light of a new day like it’s just your neighbor mowing the lawn. Or sitting in traffic on Exodus day, crawling along that Mosaic commute and thinking about the godforsaken mountains of laundry you have to do.

Burning Man is our annual encounter with the Very Most Weird. Even not getting to go at all is profound.

Photo: mkgraph

This year will be very weird, indeed, in the sense of “weird” that means “novel, peculiar, unprecedented.” The very theme commands it: We’re undergoing a transformation. Division, exclusion, scarcity, these are new and un-Burner-like words, and we have been using them weightily for the first time to describe our culture.

It’s been said on these very pages that Burner culture might need to be dispersed across the land to accommodate this new reality. That would be weird. But it would be really wyrd to think about thousands of Burners across thousands of miles sending up hundreds of remote burns into the same sky on the same night. Good? Bad? Something to think about.

We’ve also seen more sinister reactions to this weird year. People selling tickets at offensive prices, people incensed that celebrity DJs weren’t getting special treatment in the ticket shortage, people believing obviously satirical blog posts and freaking out…

Weird.

But we have our principles. We have to be self-reliant in our response to these wyrd circumstances. We’ve managed our weirdness for 25 years. We can do it again.

See you in a couple weeks, I hope.

And after that, we can start thinking about an even wyrder year:

2012.