Many are surprised to learn that Burning Man is a year-round operation. A number of departments are responsible for the year-round administration of the Burning Man Project, facilitating its operations both on and off-playa. These departments include Ticketing, Box Office, Safety Committee, Legal, and Office Administration, which work out of several locations, including the San Francisco Headquarters, the Gerlach Office, and (on playa) First Camp.
The Administration of Burning Man is the collection of different departments and managers, facilitating a smooth flow of information and communications year-round, on and off-playa. The primary hub of activity is the San Francisco Office. A second home to many Burning Man year-round staff, the office is where day-to-day operations occur, as well as staff meetings, trainings and some burner community events like the artist and technology mixer that was held in order to spark ideas for the Green Man theme.
In the middle of the summer, our Gerlach office becomes a parallel base of operations, eventually hosting all office and Senior Staff members as necessary. Towards the end of every summer, operations are moved from San Francisco to Black Rock City in preparation for the Burning Man event. Once onsite, First Camp becomes the temporary headquarters for administrative operations. Located at 6:00 and Center Camp on the Esplanade, First Camp is the home and office for some of the board and senior staff members. It also serves as the welcoming center for the politicians and other friends of Burning Man in Nevada, who take tours of Black Rock City, conducted by the External Relations Team (xRT).
The Safety Committee consists of representatives from the Board, Senior Staff, Emergency Services, Black Rock Rangers and Department of Public Works. The goal is to ensure that work activities achieve safe levels of operation. The committee is happy to report that there were few issues that needed review in 2007.
This year the Legal Team saw an increase in activity, but not without good outcomes. The John Law lawsuit initially generated a splash in the Burner community. The case settled later in the year without going to trial. Also in 2007 Burning Man won its appeal against the Bureau of Land Management for ‘double-charging’ for law enforcement costs in 2006. Although a criminal matter, and not part of Burning Man’s official legal affairs, probably the most infamous legal issue for 2007 was the arson of the Man. The Burning Man Project is cooperating with the authorities on this case. The perpetrator remains in custody at the time of this writing (late 2007) for a second attempt at arson—this time in San Francisco. Last but not least, is a group of Burner lawyers, who rose to the occasion to defend burners whom they believe were illegally issued citations by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the 2007 Burning Man event. Lawyers for Burners, as they are now called, have so far won some cases in court, got others dismissed by the prosecutor and have plea-bargained others in the best interests of the clients. The Project is looking into what appear to be abuses of justice by the BLM, and is looking at options to curb overly aggressive law enforcement in the future.
The Accounting Department handles all of the organization’s financial matters, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and insurance. Since most revenue comes from ticket sales, the department also oversees the Box Office and Tickets. The Box Office is open twenty-four hours a day for the Burning Man event, so that participants from all over the world can get their passport to Black Rock City on their annual trip home