Center Camp Café Performance

Performance Spaces

There are three stages in the Center Camp Café: the Music Stage which primarily hosts music, the Center of the Center which hosts 360° performances, and the Spoken Word Stage which usually hosts spoken word performances.

Performance Musts

Your performance must be interactive, it must be all original work, and you must provide your own instruments.  We cannot hosts cover bands, cover songs, or samples. We want to celebrate YOUR music, YOUR words, YOUR art.

Performance Slots

We have wide variety of theme nights, open mic opportunities, and performance slots on our stages. Times/dates can be pre-arranged, or booked on playa.  If you own your music, or you use music that is out of copyright law, it doesn’t matter if you are a hip hop act, a metal band, or folk singer, we will do our best to find you a fantastic time to showcase your performance in the Cafe.

Performance Art/ Movement/ Dance

All audio and spoken-word used to accompany your act must be original/non-copyrighted work, and must be submitted before your performance slot can be confirmed. If you are looking for original music, or are interested in collaborating with a live musician pre-playa or on playa, let us know and we are happy to help connect you!

Spoken Word / Performance

Our Spoken Word Stage is 8’ x16’, hosts 2 mic inputs, and one DI Box. We host original work only, and a performance slot can be pre-arranged or arranged on playa. Please contact cafe-spoken@burningman.com to discuss the possibilities.

New Work

If you have an idea for a type of performance that we haven’t listed here, let us know! Please contact the Cafe Sound & Performance Team at cafe-music@burningman.org and let us know what you have in mind.

How to Submit

Please send an email to cafe-performance@burningman.org and include:

*A link to an mp3, or video so we can hear/see what you would like to do.

*Confirmation that you already have your ticket, and that your travel plans to Black Rock City are secured.

For Bookers

We do not award tickets, payment, or perks of any kind to performers. We are a community space and our stages host acts by and for the Burning Man community present in Black Rock City. As such, we are not able to work with bookers or agents. If your artist is already planning on attending Burning Man, and has confirmed their ticket, they are welcome to contact us directly by emailing cafe-music@burningman.org

Technical Info

Equipment Available on the Sound and Performance Stage

We are able to offer the following to support your performance on out cafe stages:.

  • A 16-channel mixer
  • 2 monitor mixes (one set of side fill’s on one mix, and two floor wedges monitor’s on one mix) available for the performers
  • Up to 7 vocal mics & boom stands available for singers, and 1 wireless mic
  • 3 instrument mics on tripod stands for micing amplifiers, etc.
  • 5 drum mics (3 clip-on mics for toms), and 2 overhead mics
  • 4 direct boxes/adapters
  • Plenty of XLR cables and some 1/4
  • 4 power strips for plugging amps & equipment into
  • A CD player, along with adapters to plug in your iPods or computers
  • We are unable to provide backline and/or instruments besides our Casio keyboard, a harmonica and *possibly* a kazoo.

Why Original Work?

This is a philosophical position as well as a technical one. Our stages are here to celebrate and amplify YOUR voice, YOUR words, YOUR art. A cover could be seen or heard anywhere, but new work is harder. We want to create that space, we want to support your artistic experimentation, and we want you to see and hear something new every time you come into the cafe. So, we are hard and fast about it – Zero use of commercially licensed CDs. Zero covers. Zero mashups or remixes of licensed music.

No Fire in the Cafe!

Our structure does not provide a safe space for performances that include fire.  Although we love watching things burn as much as the next citizen, we just can’t have it in the cafe.

CD’s / Mp3’s of Original music

Do you have mp3’s of your original performance you would like to be played at Center Camp?  We love to have music to play during our act changeovers!  If this is something you are interested in please email your downloadable music to cafe-music@burningman.org or bring a physical copy of your work to the sound booth facing the Sound and Performance Stage behind the couches in Center Camp Cafe during event week!

Wanna be a Techie Volunteer?

We’re always looking for phenomenal Stage Managers, Sound Technicians, and Gear Wranglers to help us run our 24/7 Performance Stage, so if you’d like to know more, please click on the links below.

Stage Manager

No experience required!

This role involves working closely with our crew’s Lead Stage Manager in order to make things run more smoothly for our performers, their equipment, and our audience participants, both on and around the stage. The only prep required is to a) bring a watch, b) be on time, and c) help everyone enjoy the process!

Tasks can include:

  • Coordinating Performer arrivals/departures – help them get their equipment into the hands of our Gear Wranglers, and quickly loaded on/off of the stage (instruments, amplifiers, etc)
  • Being a line of communication between the Performers, the Sound Techs, and the Gear Wranglers – each Performer will have different tech needs!
  • Keeping the stage on-schedule – this means getting the Performers on/off the stage on time & frequently helping with load-in/load-out
  • Scheduling walk-up performances to fill gaps in the schedule or to cover “no shows” – also can include doing a sweep around the Center Camp Cafe to seek out new Performers if the Stage is empty
  • Introducing acts – or, if you are mic shy, coordinating with a scheduled MC or the Sound Tech to introduce acts from the sound booth
  • Assisting with our Speaker Series programming, including being in charge of the mic during the audience Q&A session
  • Maintaining crowd control, particularly during large events (ex: Marching Band March Off) or groups performing in the Center of the Center
  • Answering general questions from participants who wander by (or directing them to Playa Info)
  • MOOPing around the Stage (in the audience section & backstage)
  • “Hurry up + wait”-ing – things bounce back & forth between utter chaos + periods of downtime, so come prepared with that mindset
  • Helping out with any other odd job that might come up & require your helpful assistance!

All volunteer shifts are 4 hours long, starting at midnight and running around-the-clock through event week. As our Performance Stage is open 24/7, we have shifts to fit every personality, from early bird to night owl. There are typically 6-10 acts per shift, that range from acoustic singer/songwriters to metal bands, and from puppet-themed sing-a-longs to Marching Band March Offs…the magic of our open stage is that we see a little bit of everything the participants have to offer!

If you are interested in volunteering with Cafe Sound, please fill out our 2018 Cafe Sound & Performance Volunteer Questionnaire, then email Mulder (mulder@burningman.org).

Sound Technician

Some experience required!

This role involves working closely with our crew’s Lead Sound Tech in order to run the board & provide our Performers with the best sound experience possible. Our Lead is there to serve as your backup – they will help if you have any questions about our setup or experience any technical difficulties beyond your control, but otherwise, you’ll be pulling the reins.

This role requires:

  • Being reasonably comfortable with setting levels & mixing acts from up to twelve inputs, and understanding what mixing monitors from FOH is
  • Having a familiarity with small-scale mixers and a few outboard devices
  • Being willing to work within Cafe guidelines when establishing overall sound levels (i.e. high-SPL freaks will get frustrated, fast!)
  • Vacuuming both of the sound boards after each shift, and MOOPing around the booth
  • Being willing to help out with the board at the Spoken Word Stage, or jumping backstage to help set up a band if we’re low on Gear Wranglers
  • “Hurry up + wait”-ing – things bounce back & forth between utter chaos + periods of downtime, so come prepared with that mindset
  • Answering questions from participants who wander by (or directing them to the Stage Manager or Playa Info)
  • Most importantly, showing up on time! The show can’t go on without you!

We currently have a digital setup (Behringer x32) that runs from a set of iPads and a desktop in our booth; we also still have our analog system on standby, ready to tap in at a moment’s notice, should the situation call for it. If you are new to this board, or to a digital board in general, let us know & we will work with you to get you up to speed.

All volunteer shifts are 4 hours long, starting at midnight and running around-the-clock through event week. As our Performance Stage is open 24/7, we have shifts to fit every personality, from early bird to night owl. There are typically 6-10 acts per shift, that range from acoustic singer/songwriters to metal bands, and from puppet-themed sing-a-longs to Marching Band March Offs…the magic of our open stage is that we see a little bit of everything the participants have to offer!

If you are interested in volunteering with Cafe Sound, please fill out our 2018 Cafe Sound & Performance Volunteer Questionnaire, then email Mulder (mulder@burningman.org).

Gear Wrangler

(aka Stage Tech / Stage Hand / Jack of All Trades) – some experience required!

This role involves working closely with our crew’s Lead Gear Wrangler in order to keep the flow of our backstage area running smoothly – a combination of dust, heat, and general playa shenanigans coupled with the high-traffic area can lead to instant confusion, so we need your help to keep everything flowing!

This role includes:

  • Working closely with the on-duty Sound Technicians to set up microphones on the stage, lay cables, test mics and instruments, monitors (check…one, two…one, two!), etc.
  • Coordinating Performer arrivals/departures with the on-duty Stage Managers – getting equipment information, quickly loading equipment onto the stage (instruments, amplifiers, etc), and quickly taking it back off after a performance
  • Helping to manage and organize the sound container for easy accessibility, so that quickly finding cables, equipment, etc. is possible (because, you know, the whole smooth running of the stage is dependent on you! No pressure, of course)
  • (If you have board experience) Being willing to jump into the sound booth to help out if we desperately need a Sound Tech
  • “Hurry up + wait”-ing – things bounce back & forth between utter chaos + periods of downtime, so come prepared with that mindset
  • MOOPing around the Stage (in the audience section & backstage)

All volunteer shifts are 4 hours long, starting at midnight and running around-the-clock through event week. As our Performance Stage is open 24/7, we have shifts to fit every personality, from early bird to night owl. There are typically 6-10 acts per shift, that range from acoustic singer/songwriters to metal bands, and from puppet-themed sing-a-longs to Marching Band March Offs…the magic of our open stage is that we see a little bit of everything the participants have to offer!

If you are interested in volunteering with Cafe Sound, please fill out our 2018 Cafe Sound & Performance Volunteer Questionnaire, then email Mulder (mulder@burningman.org).

Who do I talk to about getting on this wild ride?

Spoken Word Stage and Performances

cafe-spoken@burningman.org

Speaker Series Presentations

speakerseries@burningman.org

Music Performances

cafe-music@burningman.org

Volunteering off stage:

cafe-sound@burningman.org

All other questions

cafe-performance@burningman.org

 One more thing – Links that might be useful

If you’re looking for other venues on the playa or interested in networking with other performers planning for the burn, try these: