Volunteer Teams

All teams listed here have volunteer activities at the event, with the exception of the San Francisco Office Squad, Web/Tech Team (SF), and Air Playa Info (Reno). Many of these teams have meetings and trainings during the year to prepare volunteers for the event, and you may need to be available by phone or in some cases, in person. Be sure you find out what the expectations are for your particular volunteer role.

Please note that unlike other mainstream festivals and events, first-year Burning Man volunteers do not automatically get a ticket to the event.

Browse the teams from the accordion list below, explore the various opportunities, and sign up to volunteer from your Burner Profile. And to help ensure you have a great Burning Man volunteer experience, read our Burning Man Volunteer’s Keys to Success.

If you’re at the event, and you (or your friends) get the sudden urge to volunteer on the spot, visit the V-Spot in Center Camp (located at Playa Info). They’ll hook you up with available volunteer opportunities.

Volunteer Opportunities


Air Playa Info (Reno Airport)
Established in 2008, Air Playa Info is an off-playa bureau of Playa Info. It is an information service provided at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport by Burning Man and the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority during the event to assist Burners arriving by airline. The Airport Authority estimates approximately 10,000-15,000 Burners come through the airport during the event. Air Playa Info Oracles greet Burners and answer questions. They provide directions to Black Rock City, local Reno-area resources, rideshare possibilities, and other resources to assist travelers in getting the details they need, so they can move onward toward their playa destination.

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Airport
Airport team operates the Customs gate at the BRC airport for about 10 hours a day, performing strip searches, belly button inspections, and checking “ze peppers” of arriving aviators and their trusting passengers. Some but not all of the jobs that need doing include: Box Officer, who awaits all incoming traffic and takes tickets; Interceptor, who meets the arriving aircraft and is the first playa person pilots and passengers see; and Border Control and Customs Agent, who makes sure only authorized people come and go across the event boundary and generally answers questions.

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Arctica (Ice Sales)
Located at 3 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and Center Camp, Arctica sells ice to the Burning Masses, with all proceeds going to benefit local Gerlach-area charities and community groups. The gift economy keeps on giving! Nearly 400 volunteers work three-hour Arctica shifts throughout the entire event.

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ARTery (Artist Services)
The ARTery, also known as the Burning Man Art Team, works year round, on and off playa, in support of Burning Man art. The ARTery’s on-playa headquarters are located in Center Camp and function as a check-in center for artists, a hub for information about Burning Man art, and a starting point for art tours. Temple Guardians, Eyes on Art, Man Watch, FAST, and Art Tours volunteers all sign up here. Off playa, the ARTery Team works tirelessly throughout the year, kicking into high gear from February until October, to make sure that artist applications are processed and art-i-facts are catalogued.

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Black Rock City Rangers
The Black Rock Rangers are a cross-section of the Burning Man community who volunteer some of their time in the role of non-confrontational community mediators. Responding to the ever-changing environment, Rangers address within our community situations that would otherwise require outside intervention. By encouraging and facilitating communication, the Rangers promote awareness of potential hazards, from sunstroke to tent fires. They are emphatically not the police or a paramilitary organization.

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Box Office
The Black Rock City Box Office is devoted to providing a welcoming and friendly first point of contact with Burning Man while striving to be as efficient and accurate in issuing participants their keys to the city. Box Office is responsible for all of the tickets held at Will Call as well as those left for participant’s friends who are arriving later during the week. For a lot of people, the Box Office is the first point of contact they have with Black Rock City, and for many it’s their first contact with Burning Man ever. The Box Office is open 24 hours a day during the event.

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Burning Man Information Radio
Burning Man Information Radio (94.5 FM) is your nexus for essential information on the playa. Check BMIR for late-breaking event announcements and a melange of music. In the event of an on-site emergency, tune into BMIR for rumor-free updates and advisories to surf the storm to a sane conclusion. BMIR’s daily programming reflects the pragmatic, philosophical, and participatory needs of the community.

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Center Camp Café
Center Camp Café is the town square of Black Rock City. It’s a 38,000 square-foot space that provides a coffee shop, art and performances, and a place to hang out, catch some shade, and meet people. From pre-playa décor planning and prop-making to on-site construction and coffee shop operation, the heart of the Center Camp Café is its volunteer community of nearly 500 people.

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Cleanup and Restoration
Starting the last day of the event and lasting roughly one month, DPW’s Playa Restoration Team works to return the Black Rock Desert to its pre-event condition. The work ranges from removing city structures to picking up large and small bits of escaped trash (onsite and around the desert) and eradicating burn scars (the residue of fired playa sediment and ashes).

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Dept. of Mutant Vehicles
The Black Rock City Department of Mutant Vehicles licenses motorized mobile works of creative expression otherwise known as Mutant Vehicles. DMV Hotties perform a variety of tasks on and off playa including online pre-registration processing and on-playa inspection, licensing and processing of Mutant Vehicles.

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Dept. of Public Works
The Black Rock City Dept. of Public Works is the group that plans, surveys, builds, and takes down the basic infrastructure of our temporary community in the desert. Since the 1997 event the DPW, hand-in-hand with other departments, has instituted the City Plan, through which roads and basic infrastructure throughout the BRC are gridded and built.

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Earth Guardians
Earth Guardians are an outreach and communications group whose mission is to educate and inspire Burning Man participants to Leave No Trace (LNT) at the event. It crafts LNT-specific multimedia messages for the Burning Man community and shares its appreciation of the natural beauty of the Black Rock playa. It also advocates for a greener Burning Man event.

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Emergency Services
Black Rock City’s Emergency Services Department (ESD) provides Black Rock City with Fire Fighting, Rescue, Hazardous Materials, Emergency and Non-Emergency Medical evaluation and treatment, Mental Health services (including sexual assault response), 911 Dispatch, and provides the two-way radio communications infrastructure for all of Black Rock City.

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Empire-Gerlach Bus Service
This shuttle service travels between Black Rock City and the nearby towns of Gerlach and Empire. The Burning Shuttle leaves every 2 hours; between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, and between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. There is only one stop in Black Rock City to pick up and discharge passengers. The Bus Depot location is on the outer edge of the Center Camp Circle, on Ring Road at the 6 o’clock exit from Center Camp. Once the bus leaves Black Rock City, it will stop in Gerlach, then finish its route in Empire. The bus waits for a little while at the Empire Store before returning back through Gerlach, where it stops again. Tickets for the bus are available in center camp. It costs $10.00 to leave the city on the bus.

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Gate, Perimeter and Exodus
The “Gate” department is actually comprised of 3 teams – Gate, Perimeter & Exodus – each with separate but connected functions. Gate staff usher many thousands of people from the blacktop to the dust top, the surly bunch who searches cars and tears tickets. The Perimeter staff patrols the fence line looking for people trying to sneak in, and ensuring the safety of those that have accidentally stumbled out or that are just plain lost. Exodus team helps thousands of Burners get out of Black Rock City and on down the highway as safely and as fairly as possible. “Exiters” control traffic and resolve traffic issues in BRC, and “Flaggers” control and maximize the flow of traffic onto the highway and through the towns of Gerlach and Empire.

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Greeters
The Greeters are the face of the event and form a newcomer’s first impression of Black Rock City. Their mission is to orient and educate arriving citizens while spreading wit, whimsy and infectious enthusiasm to carloads of people. Greeters explain the “Don’t let it hit the ground!” principle, clarify the concept of Community, and answer all questions in offbeat yet helpful ways.

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Lamplighters
The Lamplighters have been a familiar sight in Black Rock City since 1993, a solemn group of white-robed individuals with poles slung over their shoulders, wending their way through the city to provide Black Rock City with illumination. They light and place kerosene lanterns atop the wooden spires that line the most heavily trafficked areas of town. The lanterns burn through the night.

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Media Mecca
Media Mecca is Black Rock City’s press room. At the Mecca, members of the media can find out what’s going on, recharge batteries and file stories. Media Mecca staff connect journalists with artists and participants from their region and provide tours of the major art installations. Staff do not baby reporters, coddle them, suggest story ideas, or drive them around on a golf cart.

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Playa Info
Playa Info is a central location for on-playa information located near Center Camp. It offers a camp directory, lost & found, and Oracles for answering both mundane and esoteric questions. Burning Man Information Radio broadcasts from here, and the Volunteer Resources Desk connects willing participants with volunteer opportunities around Black Rock City.

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Recycle Camp
Recycle Camp is the hard working group of folks who are as committed to reducing waste as they are to having a good time. Begun in 1998, Recycle Camp is the on-playa place to recycle aluminum cans, and all proceeds are donated to Gerlach schools!

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San Francisco Office Squad
BMHQ in San Francisco needs volunteer assistance with all kinds of regular and irregular office tasks. It’s pretty much like working in an office, except it’s a Burning Man office, and all the workers are working on Burning Man.
Technology Teams
The Burning Man Technology Teams build and maintain technology solutions for the Burning Man staff and extended community. Its offices in San Francisco and Gerlach, NV have growing networks with file, database, extranet and web servers and a thriving collection of highly skilled folks who contribute to our ongoing development, system administration and website projects. The teams are comprised mostly of rock star volunteers and everyone is committed to ongoing support year-round. The Engineering Team supports web applications including calendars, forums, surveys, questionnaires, and media galleries. The System Administration Team keeps the servers and networks up and running. The Web Team maintains and improves Burning Man’s website.
Temple Guardians
The Temple rises apart from Black Rock City, an oasis of calm out in the deep playa that stands resolute, able to bear what participants bring and to be what they need at the moment they call on it. Behind the Temple stands a group that has quietly watched over those structures each year since 2002. The main duty of the Temple Guardians is to protect the Temple and those who visit it. They abide with love for the Temple and everything that it represents. Temple Guardian shifts run 4 hours each, 24 hours a day.

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Theme Camps
Volunteering at Burning Man doesn’t stop with the volunteering for the Man. You can also sign up as a volunteer to help theme camps build and serve Black Rock City.

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