Camps and Placement

Burning Man is not a festival, it’s an event and a city in the desert. At most festivals you’ll find friends camping together in their cars and tents in what looks like a giant parking lot behind where the main festival activities take place. It’s very different at Burning Man!

The majority of people who go to Burning Man are part of planned, registered camps. The main event is everywhere; it’s where people like you contribute interactive, creative, incredible experiences to share with everyone. Camps are organized groups of people doing just that. Camps are the heart of community in Black Rock City.

What is a Theme Camp?

A Theme Camp is an interactive camp. Theme Camps are a gift and contribution to the city. Theme Camps are groups of Burning Man participants who come together to provide a service, entertainment, art, or other creative interactive experience for everyone at Burning Man. This interactivity can be truly anything! It’s also the home where camp members sleep, eat, and take care of their needs while living in the desert. Theme Camps began in 1995 and have become the way the majority of people camp and participate in Black Rock City. They are the interactive core of Burning Man. Theme Camps are home to groups of anywhere from six to 400 people. There are also Villages, which are groups of three or more interactive Theme Camps combined together.

What other types of camps are there?

There are several other types of camps. There are Art Support Camps that support registered art installations on the playa and Mutant Vehicle Camps that support registered mutant vehicles. There are also Burning Man Departments, and Work Support Camps.

There are also participants who are not part of a registered camp who live in Open Camping and Walk-In Camping.

How do I camp at Burning Man? How do I find a camp to join?

Glad you asked! We have a whole section of information about how to join a camp, where you can camp, and about camping options (such as RVs, yurts, tents, etc.) just for you.

What is Placement?

Placement is how camps receive a reserved camping spot at Burning Man. If your camp would like a reserved Black Rock City address, your camp will need to participate in the placement process. If your camp would like to arrive before the Gate opens to build or set up your camp in a reserved camping spot, you will need to participate in the placement process.

Placement is optional but not guaranteed; many camps do not want reserved camping. Camps must meet criteria for their camp category to be eligible for placement. They set up their camps in Open Camping or Walk-In Camping after the Gate opens. Learn more about these options here.

The Placement Team are volunteers who facilitate the placement process, work directly with every camp, and make the map of Black Rock City. We get to know your camps, plan the city and meet you in person to place your camp on the playa.

How can my camp get placed?

If you’d like to receive a reserved camping spot for your camp or village at Burning Man, you’ll need to learn the placement process and submit the Camp Placement Questionnaire before the deadline. The questionnaire deadline is the last Thursday of April at 12 pm noon Pacific Time. There’s a lot of important information! Read all about the placement process here.