Once tickets were awarded to participants in the Main Sale in 2012, it was clear that many Camps and Villages ended up with many key members with no tickets. Thus the Placement Team, including alumni members, was charged with choosing which camps would be given the opportunity to buy tickets to Burning Man. We had nearly 10,000 tickets to distribute as part of the Direct Distributed Ticket (DDT) program, but it was not enough to help every camp member. When all of the approved questionnaires were evaluated for 2012, the projected number of campers ranged anywhere from 34,000 to 43,000.

So not only did we have to choose which camps would get the opportunity to buy DDT tickets, but also how many. Our criteria were announced at our Placement Forum event (In 2012 we held our first Placement Forums on 2/15/12 and 3/24/12 to reach out to teach and exchange ideas about being a registered theme camp or village at Burning Man.). The approximate population of 2011 theme camps was calculated for each of our seven sectors and then each sector were given a proportional number of DDT’s to allocate. A formula was created to determine how many tickets could be assigned based on the size of a camp or village. Smaller camps (as few as five campers) would receive enough DDT’s for up to 80% of their camp, while the larger camps (as many as 400 campers) could be allocated enough DDT’s for as few as 27% of their camp. All camps were selected by 2/15/12 based on the following criteria:

1. 10 Principles– Your camp fully embraces the 10 Principles in their entirety at their core.

2. Past History– Your camp has to be in our database in past years. It might not be last year, the name may have changed (and you can prove your affiliation with the data in our database) but you can show that you have already been a part of this process of placement.

3. Demonstrated Community Benefit– Your camp has been interactive in a way that has been experienced as meaningful. Your camp provides support for our Burning Man infrastructure volunteers. Your camp provides services for our community. Basically your camp helps make the community and the magic!

4. LNT – You have demonstrated adherence to/good practices around/an interest in doing better in LNT, and are committed to our community perpetuating the message of pack it in-pack it out/Don’t let it hit the Ground/Leave No Trace and sustainability.

Last year it was asked “How hard can placement be?” This year we found out! The process of allocating DDT’s was an extraordinary time consuming event for our team of volunteers. Below is the breakdown of questionnaires reviewed in 2012, and for comparison, our 2011 breakdown is also noted.

2012 2011
21 27 Art Support camps
47 44 Burning Man Department camps
75 63 Camps within Villages
4 0 Mutant Vehicle Camps (new category in 2012)
23 10 Other Camps
658 701 Theme Camps
36 28 Villages
61 31 Camps that filled out a questionnaire but later cancelled it
53 106 Camps that filled out a questionnaire and were not chosen to be placed
978 1010 Total questionnaires received/reviewed


What is going to change in 2013? We may see a change for Burners who arrive early to build Black Rock City but who are not camping in a placed camp and/or have been tasked with “saving space” for the rest of their campmates. Our team will expand, so expect new faces. We are evaluating our communication timelines and procedures currently in place with respect to reaching out to Theme Camps and Villages.  Look for some changes in our questions in the Theme Camp Questionnaire.

Acknowledgements: As hard as the year was pre-event, the Placement team is happy to report one of the best years on playa. Much respect and gratitude is held for Theme Camps and Villages that were better organized and truly activated Black Rock City and brought the magic. Many thanks to our team and alumni members, theme camps and villages for the huge effort of working through the ticket kerfuffle and making it work!

Submitted by,
Susan Bernosky