First Camp continued to function as the home for Burning Man Management staff, their family and friends. In 2008, the design objective was to provide more space and amenities for the management staff, with an emphasis toward preferred camp grouping and special meeting areas. We also continued to have a public interactive presence in the keyhole on the Center Camp circle.
The new design changes allowed the inner camping area to function better than ever. Staff had more options for where and with whom they camped. The larger meeting area included a cooking trailer with an enclosed dining hall, where several dinners designed to network Burning Man Outreach projects and supporters for Black Rock Solar, Black Rock Arts Foundation, Burners Without Borders and the Regional Network were held. These special events were highly successful, much needed, and are surely to be expanded in the future.
The more public areas of First Camp included the Bone Tree, formally known as “The Nebulous Entity?”, a historically significant sculpture that graced the public façade. This at once became a main feature for the tip of Center Camp, and attracted a constant stream of admirers. Nearby was the traditional mutant vehicle parking area. Other art objects included an Illuminot Tree from last year?s Man-Grove and a flaming Zen Garden (with a Flaming Rock).
First Camp again functioned very well as the event management center. The changes made for 2008, together with the improvements carried over from the last few years supported this important responsibility.
A significant change from 2007 was the new location of the Black Rock Arts Foundation (BRAF), which was moved from the front of First Camp to the area adjacent to it. BRAF shared its new space with Black Rock Solar, and the Regional Network. This was a very effective location for the outreach programs, providing them with their own interactive public space and private camping area.
The External Relations Team (XRT) tours were again organized to gather, embark and return to First Camp. Tours were given Monday through Saturday during the week of the event, to a good representation of important guests. Of particular significance was the highly entertaining Friday night tour with the Washington, DC and Nevada State BLM representatives.
The most challenging aspect of living and working in First Camp is how to provide the correct amount of public and private space for everyone?s differing needs. While it may not be possible to completely satisfy the varied requirements, we will continue to collaborate with the camp citizens to integrate their requests in the plan whenever possible.
The changes we made for 2008 were very successful. First Camp will continue to evolve as a theme camp with management, social, civic, private, interactive and artistic requirements. The challenge is to blend these functions correctly for everyone.
Submitted by Will Roger