First Camp

In 2005, First Camp continued making progress toward excellence in all of its many functions: as a business management center for the event operations, a comfortable playa home for event organizers and their friends and family, a meeting place for various operational groups, and an interactive theme camp whose location in Black Rock City provides a constant stream of walk in traffic.

For the second year in a row, First Camp was known more widely by its vernacular name, Tutti-Fruity Camp. A sign identified the camp for the first time in 2005. This name was sarcastically given by a staff member in 2004 because of the visual effect of the night lighting, and it has stuck.


  • The External Relations Team (XRT) used First Camp as its center of operations. Many tours for visiting dignitaries were conducted throughout the day, all starting from the front entrance of First Camp. The XRT also began the organization of the ongoing Burning Man sponsored Katrina relief effort.
  • The friends and family portion of the camp constructed a ‘front porch’ to define a communal, shaded sitting area along the esplanade. Although mostly unplanned, this project was the social magnet for many visitors and one of the highlights for the year.
  • The flaming Zen Garden, interactive fire sculpture located in the very front of the camp became a point of interest for evening visitors. The installation was loaned by a Seattle-based fire artist. The old fire cauldron was another evening hot spot.
  • A beautiful art car, the Kitty Car, was based at First Camp, and its presence added to the overall flavor of art and interactivity.
  • Many meetings were held in the two meeting spaces. The ‘Sneaky Camp’ area functioned as intended and has become more refined. Some subtle and basic design changes were successfully implemented.
  • The pot luck camp dinner on Friday night was a well-attended success.


  • First Camp will continue to face a challenge in balancing its role as a private refuge and a public interactive art space suitable for its location on the Esplanade.
  • Questions will continue to be addressed about who among family and friends of First Camp residents may camp there and what they are willing to contribute.
  • Continuing design changes will be necessary as needs and responsibilities evolve over time.
  • Replacing the deck and stairs with a more substantial and prefabricated system will be necessary sometime in the next few years.

Submitted by Will Roger