Cultural Direction Setting & Decommodification

This vision has been created as a part of the Black Rock City Cultural Direction Setting project, and is a guidepost for where we want our culture in Black Rock City to be in the next five to 10 years. It addresses our current challenges, sets a course for the future, and suggests changes to placement and other approaches over time.

You can download a PDF version of the vision here. If you’re short on time and would like to read a quicker version of the vision, here’s the snapshot. We highly recommend reading the vision in its entirety.

Changes Enacted from Cultural Direction Setting

(updated January 2024)

Since 2019, we’ve made some significant changes to how we do placement in BRC to make the process more dynamic and transparent. We added more steps, including the Statement of Intent and Post-playa Report, in order to be more responsive and communicative throughout the year. We offer preview samples of each form so camp organizers can plan ahead, and also more robust and coherent webpages and FAQs. While we’re asking for more information, we are also aware of the lift it requires of you, and we will be working to streamline the process as much as possible in the coming years.

Each of these new elements has required incredible lifts by our existing teams and systems — both by camp organizers and also by our volunteer team to review and respond. Highlights to the work we’ve done so far include:

  • Better descriptions of Placement Criteria, including examples of what we’re looking for, tying them to the 10 Principles, and adding new criteria including “Uniqueness of Interactivity” and “Culture and Values”;
  • Offering more direct and robust feedback to camps, including a year-end Standings Snapshot and detailed MOOP reports; 
  • A Placement Office on playa to be more visible and accessible to the community during our time in Black Rock City;
  • Adding additional volunteer roles and opportunities across Placement and Camp Support teams, including more year-round engagement opportunities with those teams (like Campfire Talks);
  • Establishing PEERS (Placement’s Engagement and Exploration Research Squad) which allows for more feet on the ground to see and experience what theme camps are offering, and gives community members a chance to participate in visiting camps;
  • Providing clearer guidelines around Payticipation and how we are working to end convenience camping in BRC;
  • Access to directed tickets to new theme camps. 

Cultural Vision Snapshot

This is a very short version of the Cultural Vision for Residential Black Rock City. We’ve pulled out the foundational parts and we highly recommend reading the whole vision to understand everything envisioned for the next five to 10 years. 

This vision addresses many of the cultural challenges we’ve been facing in residential Black Rock City, and sets the cultural direction for the next five to 10 years. The scope of the vision is the city itself — where we live, the culture of camps, and how we, as individuals and camps, impact the city. 

We wrote the vision from the “we” perspective, and “we” doesn’t just mean the opinion of those who wrote it. What’s envisioned comes from our community’s input. It is everyone’s responsibility to make this vision a reality. “We” means all of us. 

We also wrote the vision in the present tense. Some of what’s written is not happening…yet. It’s what we want to be true. It’s where we’re headed. Read it with your future goggles on. 

Culture is our collective lived experience. It’s not something you are, but rather something you do. When we create, contribute, and participate in Black Rock City, it inspires others to do the same. When one approaches Black Rock City as a consumer or a spectator, it discourages others from contributing. The success of Burning Man culture and Black Rock City will always rest on our community’s embrace of our shared cultural values.

1. People Living the 10 Principles
As participants of Burning Man, our actions express the 10 Principles and the values of the culture. We have a rich cultural history that we strengthen and evolve as individual residents of Black Rock City. Each person’s actions collectively create the culture through which we experience our city. 

2. Camps Living the 10 Principles

As Black Rock City camps, our collective actions express and teach the 10 Principles and the values of the culture. The 10 Principles are embedded within and amplified by all camps. Theme camps allocate their collective focus, time, and resources primarily toward their public contributions rather than personal comfort and convenience. Conveniences are used in service of the camp’s contribution, which adds to the vibrancy of the city. We understand that commodifying resources (packaging, advertising, or marketing camp space, tickets, an experience, etc.) and allowing financial contributions to substitute for participation is not only in opposition to Burning Man’s values, but significantly damages the culture. When unclear edges are encountered, we ask for help rather than assume we know the “right” answer. 

3. Vibrant Neighborhoods
Black Rock City’s neighborhoods are vibrant. Theme camps contribute to the culture of our city and engage their fellow participants. The experiences we create are an offering to the Burning Man community, not just for our campmates or those who fit an exclusive criteria. Everyone works together to hold each other accountable in service of a healthy and inclusive Black Rock City.

4. Strengthening Our Neighborhoods

We are a community that values Communal Effort — without other city residents, one sits alone in the desert. In Black Rock City, all individuals, collectives, and camps are welcoming and cooperative, and they communicate respectfully with each other. Camps share resources, collaborate, reduce their environmental impact, and generate opportunities for intentional interaction. We aspire toward a city where camps know who their neighbors are in advance of the event.

5. Transparent Communication from Burning Man Project to Residents

The Burning Man organization’s criteria for a placed camp in Black Rock City are clear and embraced by camps. Camp input is solicited by the organization regarding policy changes that affect them. Camps have trust in the process and decisions and continue to be cultural stewards of Black Rock City. 

6. Space Use in Residential Black Rock City
Residential Black Rock City is a diverse and integrated environment — demographically, culturally, interactively. There is clarity around the allocation of and access to space. We respect and make space for differences in the way people prefer to live in Black Rock City. 

7. Citizenship Beyond the Trash Fence

Black Rock City citizenship goes beyond the trash fence. As Burners, we are creators, connectors, and cultural ambassadors that bring Burning Man values into the world. We share without evangelism. We share by doing; by example. These culturally aligned efforts are separate from any resources provided in Black Rock City. Burners choose to be good citizens out beyond the fence as a matter of integrity. However, these efforts should not be assumed to have an overt influence on receiving placement in Black Rock City.


Setting a cultural direction for residential Black Rock City requires collective action. Together, we can steer it towards a long-lasting and vibrant future that continues to inspire each of us and many others for decades to come. We invite you to bring this vision statement to your camp, team, collective, and any other citizens of Black Rock City you know and discuss how you can contribute to bringing this vision to life. Whether it’s your first time in Black Rock City, or you haven’t gotten the playa dust out of your fur coat from the past 20 years, it’s up to all of us.

What’s Next & How You Can Participate

Read the Burning Man Journal blog post about the release of the vision and how you can participate.

We invite you to continue reading for the full Cultural Vision for Residential Black Rock City.

The Black Rock City Cultural Direction Setting Visioning Group

The Black Rock City Cultural Direction Setting group co-authored this Cultural Vision for Residential Black Rock City.

This group is made up of leaders from camps, community members, Burning Man Project’s Board, Regional Contact leadership, Placement Team members, and Burning Man Project Staff. These individuals represent a cross-section of Black Rock City in terms of camp size and complexity, number of years as an established camp, and camp location. They are:

Bravo (Placement Team), Jennifer Warburg (Boom Boom Womb Camp), Jess Hobbs (Flux Foundation and Flaming Lotus Girls), Kari Gregg (Education and Philanthropic Engagement for Burning Man Project), Kimba Standridge (Facilitator & Man Pavilion Project Manager), Lauren Brand (Varsity Camp & Cirque Gitane), Level (Placement Team), Marisa Lenhardt (Death Guild Thunderdome), Mercedes Martinez (Burning Man Project Board Member and Ashram Galactica), Michael Mikel (Burning Man Cultural Founder), Ray Russ (Community Member), Scotto (Meta-Regional & PolyParadise Village), Shadow (Placement Team), Simone Torrey (Lead Facilitator, BeeCharge! Camp), Skywalker (Root Society Camp), Terry Schoop (Community Services Manager), Trippi Longstocking / Victoria Mitchell (Associate Director & Cultural Direction Setting Project Creator), Wally Bomgaars (Burning Man Staff and Community Member), and Zang (Suspended Animation Camp)

This group was supported by Marian Goodell (CEO and Cultural Founder of Burning Man Project), Larry Harvey (Cultural Founder of Burning Man Project), Harley K. Dubois (Cultural Founder of Burning Man Project), Charlie Dolman (Black Rock City Event Director), and Heather White (COO of Burning Man Project).

Appreciations & Acknowledgments

We are deeply appreciative of all the people who contributed to this vision and the process it took to get here.

First, to all those who participated in this process in the fall of 2018.

Thank you to the camps at the 2018 Burning Man event who welcomed the visioning group members into your spaces and told us what you really thought about and wanted for the culture of Black Rock City. Those experiences kicked off this whole project before it was even announced, and we appreciate your readiness to participate in something that was unknown.

Thank you to the 4,804 community members from 78 countries who responded to a very long survey about the culture of Black Rock City. The thought and heart you put into your responses blew everyone away. Thank you to all those who collectively wrote thousands of comments on the initial Journal post, the Facebook group, and ePlaya.

Thank you to the 67 camp leaders, artists, staff, and other community leaders who we interviewed. Going deeper with you allowed us to walk alongside you from so many angles and perspectives.

We are so inspired by how global this process has been. Thank you to those hosts who organized and all those who participated in the 19 community conversations that happened in Austin, Texas; Bishop, California; virtually in Brazil; Eugene, Oregon; Kimberly, Idaho; Marina Del Ray, California; New York, New York; Portland, Oregon; Queerborhood participants in San Francisco; Reno, Nevada; Sacramento, California; San Francisco, California; San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; Kyiv, Ukraine; and Vancouver, British Columbia.

Thank you to the Burning Man Project staff and leaders who have cheered Cultural Direction Setting on, participated in three staff-focused community conversations, and given so much input, so many ideas, and put so much of themselves and their work into this work.

The process continued into the spring at the March 2019 Theme Camp Symposium. Thank you to the 500 camp leaders who listened first to the rough draft version of this vision. Over 150 Symposium participants took the time to give direct feedback to the visioning group afterward. It was nerve wracking to share a work-in-progress and you all were both supportive and gave helpful criticism. It was so valuable to hear what you thought so we could integrate that into the final vision.

To those who participated in the April 2019 European Leadership Summit, thank you for giving such insightful feedback about the overall Cultural Direction Setting framework and the rough draft of the vision. It was truly amazing to see and understand the echoes of this work throughout the Global Network.

Next, to all those who supported this process.

This vision could not have happened without these individuals.

Thank you to Marian Goodell, Harley K. Dubois, Charlie Dolman, and Heather White. From the very beginning, you have contributed critical thoughts and ideas, expertly shepherded the process forward, and given so much of yourselves to this project. You’ve been thoughtful, fearless, strategic thought partners, stakeholders, and have showed up in such incredible ways throughout this process. And it’s not over yet! Thank you for enabling and supporting this journey we’re on together on behalf of the Burning Man community. Thank you for setting an example as “direction setters.”

Thank you to Larry Harvey, who participated in the first two meetings to get this project off the ground before his stroke. Thank you Larry for so much, particularly in this context for your support and the philosophical foundations you’ve contributed to Cultural Direction Setting. We hope you would be proud of this vision.

Thank you to the 2018 Placement Team for your deep thoughts and willingness to go here. This vision for the next five to 10 years is possible because of your individual and collective hard work getting us to where we are now. Facilitating, mapping, and placing residential Black Rock City is no small feat and we are so grateful for the work you do. Thank you Baulknaub, Beemah, Black Beauty, Bravo, Fibber, Happy, HepKitten, Hot Water, KGB, Kozmik Kat, Level, machine, Monday, Muppet, Papa Bear, Shadow, The Governess, and WhatsIt for your incredible input into this process and the vision itself.

Thank you to Burning Man Project’s Communications Team, especially Megan Miller, Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, Jon Mitchell, and Jane Lyons for your continuous support as we’ve communicated with our community. Your fantastic partnership on this project from the survey to the blog posts to the website we’re reading this on now has been essential.

Thank you to Natasha McPharland, Kelly Anders, Shannon Kelley, Autumn Winston, Tevna Jones, Sarah Harpold, and Marin Franz for your administrative magical cat-herding to get people in the room together and ensure everyone could participate at our best. Thank you to Kye Horton, Tevna Jones, Leigh Ann Van Cleave a.k.a Epiphany for taking awesome notes during our work weekends on this project so we could remember and build on all the things we talked about.

Thank you to Dana Devaul a.k.a DV8, Cameron Mitchell, and Aaron Shev of the Census Team for ensuring the survey was well-worded and data-scientist approved. Thank you for your efforts to tabulate the survey’s results against the 2018 Black Rock City Census so we could understand the level of accuracy of our survey (for those playing along — the Cultural Direction Setting survey was representative!).

Thank you to Tanner Boeger for the on-point graphics and to all the photographers of the Burning Man Gallery for your beautiful images to support this vision.

Thank you to Wally Bomgaars, Simone Torrey, Marian Goodell, Heather White, Jane Lyons, Megan Miller and especially Kari Gregg for finessing language, merging drafts upon drafts, questioning every sentence, finally finding the right words, and bringing your collective wordy crafts into this final form.

Finally, to the visioning group who shepherded and co-authored this vision.

Bravo, Jennifer Warburg, Jess Hobbs, Kari Gregg, Lauren Brand, Level, Marisa Lenhardt, Mercedes Martinez, Michael Mikel, Ray Russ, Scotto, Shadow, Skywalker, Terry Schoop, Wally Bomgaars, and Zang — you each put an unfathomable amount of heart, mind, and as Skywalker would say, soulfulness into this project. You had no idea exactly what you were signing up for and the number of unknowns was high. In meetings and work weekends alone you have volunteered over 100 hours each (let alone all the work you did independently) in reading thousands of surveys and comments and excavating the challenges facing our culture. Whilst listening to and holding so many voices in addition to your own, you articulated and envisioned a future. Thank you to our partners, families, campmates, and friends who supported you in doing this work. A project like this takes more than the literal time it takes. It took bandwidth, headspace, and responsibility juggling to make it all work. Thank you for saying yes and making this vision happen.

Thank you to Kimba Standridge, who alongside her job of project managing The Man into reality, spent her time co-facilitating this project into reality. Your skill in leading groups, handling logistics like such a boss, and enabling people to do their best work is so deeply appreciated. Having you on board has been a dream.

Thank you to Simone Torrey, who co-designed and leads the facilitation for this project. Your thoughtful presence, ability to create flow in moments of tension, and brilliant foresight have allowed for the birth of this vision. You built trust in such a deep way amongst everyone involved, you wove pieces of process that felt un-weavable, and you brought ideas to the table that were absolutely essential to the success of this project. Thank you for doing all this amidst such big life changes of getting married and having a baby; we appreciate Pat and Aiden for their support. Thank you for your perceptive brain, your grounded dedication, and your empathetic heart.

Thank you to all those who have and will participate in taking this Cultural Vision for Residential Black Rock City off the page and into your lives, and the life of our city and culture.

With deep appreciation,

Victoria Mitchell, a.k.a Trippi Longstocking
Associate Director, Burning Man Project

Cultural Direction Setting Creator & Visioning Group Co-Leader


The organization wants to profusely thank Victoria Mitchell (a.k.a. Trippi Longstocking). We take great pride in the Project with prototyping new ways to do things to keep the public engaged. Victoria brought to the Cultural Direction Setting process a tone and intention that wasn’t available anywhere in the organization. It was her vision and wisdom to take the approach we did to a problem that deserved a broad base of input with a broad representation in the narrowing of the language and the options as we reached the end of this first stage. Culture is important to Burning Man, and Victoria’s experience and deft hand at leadership continues to teach us so much. Thank you Victoria Mitchell for making the Cultural Direction Setting idea come to life with such effective results.

The Process: How we Got to the Vision

The Cultural Direction Setting framework was created by Victoria Mitchell, a.k.a Trippi Longstocking, and co-designed and supported by facilitator Simone Torrey. The Visioning Group has published many Burning Man Journal blog posts along the way to this vision. If you’re interested to understand the process, we recommend reading these posts.

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March 23, 2019 — Cultural Direction Setting Update at Theme Camp Symposium


For a summary and analysis of what we heard during the community engagement we did, we recommend reading our Burning Man Journal post titled Cultural Direction Setting: What We Heard. Below is an interesting, fun to read, seemingly endless supply of quotes from: 4,804 survey respondents from 78 countries, the 67 in-depth interviews with camp leaders, artists, organization leaders, and staff, the 19 community conversations hosted in local communities, and the thousands of online comments from the Burning Man Journal posts, online groups, and more.

These were the voices and comments that led to the vision. There were many opinions, many possible directions, and we hope you appreciate reading them as much as we did.

“In our community conversation, we had multiple camps with polar opposite views. What everyone could agree on is that the 10 Principles are what make this city function. They hold us accountable and enable us to grow as a community. They are the guidelines that create novel experiences. Burning Man is what it is, because of these novel experiences. It’s a place where everyone is allowed to be themselves, no matter how different we are from each other. This also means we need to participate in accepting our neighbors as they are. Diversity between camps is important. It keeps us breaking down invisible barriers and starting new conversation[s]. There is no right or wrong way to run a camp at Burning Man, as long as the greater community isn’t forgotten in the process.” -Community Conversation in Marina Del Ray, California

“It’s the old cliche…’Those who can, do. Those who can’t, criticize.’ Don’t sell us short, powerful ideas can yield great rewards. Burning Man brings the best and the brightest together to collaborate. That must not be underestimated, it must be nurtured and satiated. It’s easy to be discouraged, especially in today’s world. Ask yourself if you want to be part of the answer. If you’ve burned out by giving too much, thank you for your contribution. Partake in self care and decide when or if you want to jump back in. You don’t have to carry the world by yourself. We will take it from here and build on what you’ve done. If you believe something is impossible, stay out of the way of those who are doing it. ‘It’s too hard’…’We can’t’….’It’s not worth it’…aren’t helpful, they take the wind out of our sails. ‘It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.’” -Online Comment

“I believe being able to buy your way into a camp without contributing time and effort, has been going on for long enough to have eroded people’s expectations of what BRC is all about.” -Survey Respondent #2999

“Burning Man is a place to return to childlike wonder and awe. To be rewarded for being curious. What if I push this, open this, play with this, dance here? It’s freedom from shame and blame and guilt. It’s about acceptance and tolerance. It’s a place you get to explore things, people and experiences without feeling bad about exploring. Inside and out. And what I love most is that everyone is receptive to the love given them out there.” -Interviewee #22

“Clear, early direction. Transparency. Clear and open communication.” – Survey Respondent #3957

“Does Radical Inclusion mean that we’re going to include people who don’t contribute? ‘Radical Inclusion’ can’t mean that we accept anything.” -Community Conversation in Seattle, Washington

“Things get bigger and bigger. You know you’re competing with 1000+ other camps. There’s not that many slots. People feel like they have to make their thing bigger. Some of it’s great and sometimes it’s happening only for that sake and that’s not always for the better. Speaking as a tiny camper – it’s not that complicated. I worry that we might get squeezed out. We’d be losing something if camps like ours didn’t have a place at Burning Man.” – Interviewee #19

“As theme camping should be banned, their placement is irrelevant.” – Survey Respondent #3001

“Actually, [the current placement criteria for theme camps] lines up with my internal ideas, so I wouldn’t make any drastic changes to the requirements. I think there is just a lack of follow-up to determine if what was proposed actually happened and allowing that to affect future years.” -Survey Respondent #1714

“On the one hand, some of our most remarkable and responsible and most beloved campmates went to plug-n-play for the first time. They were worried very much about being able to survive in the desert, so for the first time they lived in all-inclusive. Now one would go to the ends of the earth with them, although without that first trip they would not be here….But if one trip leads to another and another, when everything is made and prepared for you, and a consumer atmosphere is created, it is wrong.” – Community Conversation in Kyiv, Ukraine

“[As a theme camp] we love being apart of what enables these [impactful] experiences. We are the cradle that helps facilitate these experiences.” – Interviewee #62

“The ‘bar’ has been set really, really low. When a card table with some beer on it and some prick with a megaphone out front heckling people qualifies for camp placement, you’re doing it wrong. When a camp that’s invested six figures in infrastructure to support a block of RVs has a “free hot dog” day, you’re doing it wrong. Placement should ask the question, is this a place visitors can participate and will remember experience?” – Survey Respondent #1684

“Rather than worrying about what you DON’T want (Plug and Play) activate policy to support what you DO want (women of color, activists, people working to challenge income inequity in the world at large).” -Interviewee #27

“Burning Man is and can be a Party. A spiritual experience, a modern Art Museum, a Rave. A family reunion. An engineers wet dream. And 69,994 other things. It is different things to different people and some of them conflict and yet it can be and is all of those disparate things at the same time.” – Online Comment

“The city is huge and we all like being able to go to the zones where we know there are placed theme camps, because we know that if we seek interaction, we are likely to find it there. On the other hand, there is so much fun in discovering new things – we wouldn’t be opposed to completely blowing up the clustering of placed camps and making it a big, confusing new discovery challenge, with the big caveat that esplanade is important to maintain 24-7 interactivity, and any big sound should be on the edge.” – Community Conversation in Kimberly, Idaho

“I really think of [consent] as the 0th [Principle]. It enables all the others, it’s a bedrock on which everything we do rests. It’s foundational in a way the rest aren’t. It shouldn’t have to be a principle at all – it should be one of those things in common with default, something that’s Just That Way everywhere.” – Online Comment

“I loved it when you knew who your neighbors were. Where there’s the opportunity for barn raising together. There’s an unconscious consequence for people to not know where they’re placed. We’re not allowed to do it together.” – Interviewee #22

“A theme camp should provide the basic outline for a camper to come, but anything beyond that should be the responsibility of the camper. The things that will create the experience for you – ticket, costumes…and a personal level of comfort – should be your own.” – Survey Respondent #3195

“I think [Outside Services] makes it easy. That said we have an international camp and many don’t have the capability to bring all of their water for 2 weeks or all of their food as they have limited space. But as a [Theme Camp Organizer] and someone who brings everything I need with me for 2 weeks, I still struggle with it. Often times, I think we should abandon the amenities and focus solely on the gift. I think it would be difficult for many however.” – Survey Respondent #617

“Work is work and is worth something. I think once on playa, it’s a contribution (could be financial, time, labor…etc) and should not be paid. But off playa people gotta work to eat!” – Survey Respondent #2944

“[I] stood outside [my] camp with some fried Spam to give away and was surprised about the number of people who just biked by…they wouldn’t engage with [me] at all, wouldn’t establish eye contact or talk to [me] at all…they just rode on by. It was more like the default world and less like Burning Man.” – Community Conversation in Reno, Nevada

“My biggest stressor is the black box that is the Placement process. There is a bunch of Placement criteria and we have been placed every year that we have applied. But honestly, it is an incredibly stressful process. I think this is mostly because it is all or nothing and we have no idea how close we are to nothing.” – Survey Respondent #4406

“I think camp leaders should choose to disclose what they spend the dues on; but I’m also against there being too many unnecessary rules for camps.” – Survey Respondent #2905

“Working together when you are Radically Self Reliant BUILDS COMMUNITY – circumventing the process is anti-communal.” – Community Conversation in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

“Burning Man is what you bring to it. If you bring anger then you get anger. These [plug & play] camps aren’t the problem. They need help to redirect resource[s]. A healthier point of view is to call them allies.” -Interviewee #52

“You have systematically over the last few years destroyed open camping (which is the best part of the city) and made a stagnant inner core.” – Survey Respondent #33

“I want to see more diversity, more opportunities for human engagement, more visual and social texture [in the city].” – Interviewee #63

“Those who contribute financially significantly to culture and humanitarian efforts obviously care a lot about Burning Man. Those who throw money at making their camps cool for themselves – not so much.” – Survey Respondent #2683

“Inclusion does not equal entitlement.” – Community Conversation in San Francisco, California

“If it’s more people just walking around observing rather than doing, I think that changes our experience. The level of participation, or anyway the intention to participate and do things, is one of the things that makes the event unique.” – Interviewee #51

“As someone who basically slaves in the camp kitchen 12 hours a day all week and rarely sets foot elsewhere on the playa, many camp members urged me to take “pay” for my efforts. I believe this breeds a host of non-participants who are only on the playa because it’s their job, and makes the members of that camp lazy. Part of the magic of Burning Man is that there’s a core group of participants that spend untold hours and untold personal sums year round, and on playa, because it’s a JOY for them to help create BRC and the experiences that unfold there. Yes, Burners would have a cushier, smoother Burning Man experience if the camp could hire cooks and maids and builders. But that reduces participation for everyone involved.” – Survey Respondent #891

“[What types of experiences provided by camps do you value most?] What really wins me over as a participant is the authenticity. That people really pushed themselves for that creation. You can see the work they put in. This is their craft. This is the soul.” – Interviewee #62

“There is a very established system for LNT, so should there be one for participation.” – Community Conversation in Portland, Oregon

“Neighborhoods could be more curated and placement of certain theme camps in close proximity to other camps that inform or enhance the neighboring camps would create a leveraging effect that could increase the overall success of a neighborhood and sector of the city.” – Survey Respondent #3846

“Does the org really think paid workers will take the place of the volunteer army that has made the event possible from the start? Because that’s where we’re going here. You can’t have both volunteers busting their a**es trying to shoestring projects together and people paying pros – why would the former keep contributing? And if the org kills the golden goose by turning off all those volunteers what credibility do they think they’ll have left? The jet set crowd will find something else to do, the volunteers won’t come back, and the Burning Man event will be dead.” – Online Comment

“It’s a potlatch culture, it’s based on what you give or destroy. I’ve loved the futility of doing something ephemeral, where the value is the thing you give.” – Interviewee #56

“I do not necessarily believe that all divisions [in Black Rock City] are necessarily bad or need addressing.” -Survey Respondent #2533

“Call this acculturation or maybe there is something grander occurring here, but with so many tickets being purchased worldwide, newbies are resorting to the internet of pictures to determine how to Burn. Without the stabilizing force of theme camps, Burning Man would become an Instagram echo chamber.” – Community Conversation in Eugene, Oregon

“I think [packages] are fine as long as the person participates when there. A lot of people (e.g. CEOs) just don’t have the time to handle the logistics of preparing and getting to BRC, but these are some of the people best situated to spread the values of BRC in the real world. The more exposure Burning Man’s values get to the rest of the world the better.” – Survey Respondent #1594

“Community is a participatory activity.” – Survey Respondent #1095

“I don’t think the answer is new rules. I don’t think this project is going to achieve its goals through a new ban on this that or the other. This is about culture, so this is about growing something, not restricting it.” – Online Comment

“Being interactive and talking to someone is more valuable than giving them a necklace or gift they probably don’t want.” – Interviewee #47

“If we can create a conversation at this very special place of intention and [then] people go out into their communities and say [something] was great, they’re reaching out to the world in their own form.” -Interviewee #23

“I don’t want money to define how a group camps. If a group of friends wants to go cheap and eat burritos and ramen all week, that’s up to them. If they have the money to eat lobster and caviar every night off of fine china, they ought to be able to go for that, too…I don’t want to create an environment where financial transactions are accepted as a substitute for active participation. I don’t want to see someone hired to cook meals or run a camp’s public offerings. I don’t want to see artists hired to create art or mutant vehicles, which are then used spruce up a camp for placement or to earn DMV approval for a buyer who wasn’t involved in their creation. Is there a lot of gray area in there? Sure. For me, I guess it all comes down to what the intentions and motivations are.” – Online Comment

“I think of placement as a privilege, not a right.” – Interviewee #36

“I am always curious as to why some people pay so much attention to how other people burn. Personally, it’s enough for me to manage my camp and myself.” – Online Comment

“I believe being neighborly is more important than a camp that is visually stimulating. How one treats people and others is more important than how a camp looks. I believe we all go to Burning Man to experience unconditional love and this starts from the very beginning, from person to person, lead to newbie, neighbor to neighbor. The relationships between people is more important than the look of a camp and interactivity is more important than the visual design. The relationship of the camp and the citizens of BRC are extremely important!” – Survey Respondent #1866

“Really? Shut down the airport? Money has nothing to do with the reason I fly to this burn. The lack of my available time because I have a child still in school and she is my #1 priority is the reason I fly into this burn. My husband drives 2,000 miles, sets up our camp and waits for my arrival. I have already done tons of prep work before he left town. I get our child settled in the first few days of school, then fly to the burn. Then I fly back home to take care of her while my husband drives back home. I think you shouldn’t just assume that money is the reason for flying.” – Online Comment

“You know, we all have impediments and obligations. It’s called life. If personal life is too complicated to get to Burning Man, you don’t go that year. I’ve skipped a few years for that reason. But there should be no allowances for that, other than some accessibility for those with physical disabilities. Going to Burning Man isn’t a right. The difficulty of getting there used to be part of the allure, and was a big reason why most of the people there were somewhat invested in the event. I’m not saying you’re not invested, it seems you clearly are. But there has to be a limit.” – Online Comment

“Emanating the culture is personal and there’s a question of scale. Is it just one person going and realizing that they can talk to the person standing next to them in line for the bathroom instead of staring at their phone or their feet all day? That’s absolutely issuing the culture of BRC into the real world – as is the camp that donates all of its RVs to transitional housing during wintertime.” – Interviewee #7

“I think interactivity is important, but forced interactivity takes away the spontaneity that is part of the magic of Burning Man.” – Survey Respondent #2920

“I’m in the ‘Make Burning Man Suck Again’ side of things.” – Online Comment

“I worry that there is a critical mass of people who earn off [Burning Man] become the critical mass and it collapses.” – Interviewee #39

“The most impactful way a theme camp can contribute to Black Rock City is magical community engagement that is outside the box, something just amazing or something which is just not typical in the default world. Our most valued experiences are ones that bring comfort, love, light and/or laughter to our camp (the only legal currency at burning man).” – Survey Respondent #2928

“Neighborhoods have value. Let’s find ways to switch/scramble the city while keeping neighborhoods intact. We leverage our neighbors to create collaborative playa offerings.” – Community Conversation in New York City, New York

“The Burning Man organization needs theme camps more than theme camps need the Burning Man organization.” – Interviewee #32

“I think the people who participate at the local level make for stronger burners and contribute more to the overall community and this keeps the culture strong.” – Survey Respondent #89

“[We] see the difference between the burn Sunday to Wednesday and Thursday to Sunday, where the weekend partygoers appear. We find that the creep vibe goes up during the burn weekend, and there is a need to be more vigilant about sexual harassment.” – Community Conversation in Kimberly, Idaho

“We make some people pay higher fees to subsidize people that can’t afford them. I like to keep those numbers hidden so nobody is embarrassed. I don’t mind showing people where the money goes but not all of the finances need to be transparent.” – Survey Respondent #2854

“I think that being good neighbors is INCREDIBLY important. If they do not respect other camps and get negative feedback, that should be a very important factor for their placement. It ruins everyone’s burn if your neighbor is hostile or deliberately ignores important complains (loud generator, encroaching on neighbors space, car parked in the wrong place, etc).” – Survey Respondent #3879

“As someone who bought a used RV for the playa (I don’t camp. Anywhere, ever) I want to impress that RV owners with any size rig are absolutely capable of been full, giving participants. (This was my 7th burn.) In fact, for someone like me who bakes cookies randomly, invites strangers to lunch and invites friends over to wash their hair or shower, it allows me to give more freely in the manner I choose. But there’s no doubt that RVs are taking over, and I think any burner who owns theirs should strongly consider making their rig an ArtV. We have already removed all decals from ours to begin the process of sanding and painting that will make our home at Home a part of the beauty of Burning Man. You don’t need to ban the RVs, you need to encourage participation and promote the acculturation of those who use them.” – Online Comment

“Don’t artificially limit yourselves in how you support your community. A humanitarian or regional support team that just wants to come in from far away and have a nice residential camp space reserved to jump-start their participation in the event, perhaps shouldn’t get prime Esplanade real estate, but perhaps should get a defined placement as synergistic reward for what they give back to the overall Burner community and movement.” – Survey Respondent #3686

“Burning Man’s culture has always been (and should be) much closer to effort than entitlement, but that’s starting to drift, pulled by the culture of the world.” – Interviewee #60

“Instead of making more rules, [we should] do more encouraging of the behavior that we want.” – Community Conversation in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

“I don’t do the theme camp for me. I didn’t do the art car for me. I don’t do what I do in the community for me. I don’t. I feel a tremendous sense of wanting to see a community and thrive.” – Interviewee #54

“If we open the doors to radical inclusion without planning or thinking this principle is linked to the others, then we also open the doors to the arrival of people who don’t share the other principles, only thinking about a radical inclusion without precedents.” – Community Conversation virtually in Brazil

“We over-index on interactivity. We want to express without having to struggle to make a case for the type of art we want to create. If you get placement, you have to provide value. It needs to be measurable. But for both camps and placement there are instances where things don’t fit neatly into a box.” – Interviewee #62

“What I love about the culture and the dust – it’s a great equalizer. No matter who we are. We’re all just dirty, dusty, nasty human beings. We all have to live in the dirt and put in our own spikes and stakes. That feels fair. To have other people do it – it feels like you’re beginning to replicate those qualities outside the city. I have no problem if you’re rich or poor. There’s something very essential and symbolic in that.” – Interviewee #21

“Burn culture is and remains a response to gaps in the dominant culture.” – Online Comment

“[How do you know if someone’s getting it?] The very first thing is they call and ask how they can help. I know people who call me all year and ask how they can help, how they can take things on. Those are the people I want to have close to me [in my theme camp].” – Interviewee #23

“It is getting better, but Burning Man is still VERY white! Encourage diversity in all its forms.” – Community Conversation in Reno, Nevada

“I believe campers should know where their money is going, but full transparency can be difficult. I ran a camp of 30 people, in my spare time, and I told them the camp fees (only $25 each) went toward renting the Uhaul, disposing of trash and purchasing replacement shade supplies. That transparency is right. But a camper asked for receipts and a breakdown and that pissed me off. I put in more money than the campers did and don’t have time for that nonsense.” – Survey Respondent #244

“Impactful means [the experience] leaves a mark, a memory, and maybe a transformation.” – Community Conversation in Bishop, California

“Burning Man is an opportunity to step away from a world where our housekeepers, lawn guys, handymen, computer guys, pool guys, personal assistants, etc. coddle us into beings dependent on our money for our survival. Burning Man lets a camper get a sore back carrying poles all day setting up a camp, or skin knuckles pulling wire, or learning how to set up a shower. This is good for us. If my only option to attend BM was to pay $10,000, I’d probably do it, but I would not gain half what I get washing dishes (as it’s the only time of the year I do that). One of my success factors by which I rate my Burning Man experience is how little I spend and how little I rely on others.” – Survey Respondent #2763

“New voices need to identify the issues and take them on. We are a risk taking community. We should lead.” -Interviewee #27

“Every camp should exhibit attributes than makes them unique and distinguishes them from other camps receiving placement. Also, a camp with 1 poor year should not be punished as harshly if they have exhibited and above-average record for several years previously.” – Survey Respondent #1500

“Overcome story of conflict – us vs. them. Tell a new story. A lovers’ story.” – Interviewee #52

“Decommodification is really difficult in our world. Burning Man is struggling with this in the same way our society is struggling with it. I really see that in order for humans to survive we need to figure out another way. When you take money away, the creatives and the artists rise to the top and are celebrated. I wonder if the natural human condition is to share and place the creatives on a higher plane. This has been distorted by money.” – Interviewee #10

“Valorizing off-playa contributions as a critical element will strengthen the Instagram-ification of the event. That should be avoided at all costs.” – Survey Respondent #295

“If financial contribution receives priority then it’s game over for the creative poor.” – Survey Respondent #2453

“Hot models, providing cool bikes to your campers, and having roped off ‘parties’ for beautiful people to take pictures of themselves aren’t art.” – Survey Respondent #1708

“Burning Man is about the community. It’s about what the community likes. If I quit going, it’ll be because I’ll have lost the sense of community.” – Interviewee #24

“If you can’t run your camp yourself, than it’s too big.” – Survey Respondent #3170

“We can talk about what the org can do but it is a doocracy, I think it starts in camps. Take responsibility as a camp lead in being good neighbors, leaving no trace. It doesn’t matter what events you are doing, but are you part of our street, are you around and contributing to the neighborhood and part of the city. I just care that a camp is there. I want to walk down a street and feel what’s going on. Camps need to realize where their own tension point is.” – Interviewee #39

“Placement should not be for sale.” – Survey Respondent #4488

“The real solution to too much work/too few contributors is fostering mentorship and letting newer people have control.” – Survey Respondent #789

“Walk-in camping is so special because it attracts that type of person to be in tune with the community. We want to go around and meet people, our neighbors, invite people for dinner. We want to get to know people.” – Interviewee #59

“Don’t hate the rich. If they are good ‘Burners’ why would they be treated any differently?” – Survey Respondent #1562

“There are ’theme camps’ and then there are participatory camps. There’s a difference between a camp that hits some real struggles, and other camps who didn’t intend to participate in the first place.” – Interviewee #55

“I don’t think there is one culture. It’s dynamic and constantly changing, and there are many cultures. At its best, the 10 Principles are at work and people observe them. At its worst, people are doing the opposite: entitlement, taking rather than giving, observing rather than participating, leaving a heavy footprint.” -Interviewee #57

“[Burning Man Project should provide] clear communication as to rules and reg[ulations], a clear understandable guide to timely application, how the Directed Group (ticket) Sales works…and what NOT to do. A downloadable all-inclusive guide would be way handy. And much appreciated.” – Survey Respondent #2138

“I believe the organizers and people who work on our camp year round should have their tickets for entry comped by camp dues fees. It could be based on numbers of hours worked.” – Survey Respondent #681

“My camp is socially connected off playa and we’ve done things that contributed to the community, but not necessarily related to us having a Burning Man camp. But I don’t think this should be criteria for placement. It’s asking a LOT of theme camps. People have a lot of obligations. It’s not really doable for a lot of people. But you can integrate that ethos into a lot of other things you do.” – Interviewee #63

“Camps that circle the wagons as a design should be issued a warning, and if repeated, should not be granted placement. That’s not Burning man. Also, no hired ‘security’…call the Rangers. If you feel you need residential security to restrict strangers from entering your camp, maybe you should try a different event.” -Survey Respondent #4773

“I think when a group gets to big to effectively engage with each other on a truly personal level it’s too big and unwieldy. In my experience, which is actually a dedicated village of about 120, we have room to absorb some other burners who might be their own little camp that didn’t get placed.” – Survey Respondent #4481

“[Our theme camp] probably do 2 weekend and 4-6 one night events. We are in the [local] community. We also have this thing of IMBY in my backyard – where we have an open to the public event in the city. Burning Man is the crown jewel of what we do but we try to engage the community.” – Interviewee #36

“Overall cultural direction of Burning Man is a debate will never be closed. It’s something you literally have to cover every year. The cultural direction is around what people are creating.” – Interviewee #20

“You cannot buy magic. You can easily poison it with the gross entitlement that can be associated with a cash ‘transaction.’” – Survey Respondent #1762

“Sometimes the ‘problems’ we’re trying to address are themselves solutions to other, even worse problems. It’s worth taking a minute to look into what deeper problems may underlie these imperfect solutions that are doing their best to solve even more serious issues – and remain open to the idea that they may have valid and justifiable purposes before jumping to ‘solutions’ that just end up making things worse again.” – Online Comment

“A lot of theme camps nowadays seem to consist of bars, a sound system, and a clever decor/color scheme. I’m not sure what is cause and what is effect here. Is it just because burners like booze, music, and being clever? Or is it because placement rewards those kinds of interaction and camps feel they need to do them? Is it because we have 40% newbies every year and they just go with what they enjoyed the year before? I’m not saying those are bad things in themselves, but I’ve seen a growing uniformity to theme camp experiences, and would like to discuss ways to encourage greater diversity.” – Online Comment

“The current configuration is stale. I feel many camps on the Esplanade have become like Walmart; big and lifeless.” – Survey Respondent #3927

“For group dynamics, it’s harder to wrangle big camps. Encouraging more bigger camps pulls you in a different direction. There’s more anonymity, don’t feel as connected to responsibility because you can be more anonymous in a big group, [so there’s] more onus on the camp leader.” – Interviewee #5

“You get what you sweat for.” – Survey Respondent #827

“[We want to encourage] spaces that allow all sorts of people to explore things about themselves that they may not been given the opportunity to in their daily lives. We want the interactivity to be way more layered than simply serving drinks.” – Community Conversation of Queerborhood Camps in San Francisco, California

“Live on your front lawn. The more you isolate yourself from that, the more you miss what Burning Man is. It’s a loss for you and possible loss for everyone else.” – Interviewee #19

“For me community is a collection of individuals with significant social engagement and connection who are united by some common purpose.” – Interviewee #63

“[There were divisions between groups] around landgrabbing…We had people ask or force themselves behind our camp, or into the back of our (very small) camp because there was nowhere else to go. While other theme or placed camps, or early arrivers, had HUGE land footprints they didn’t need.” -Survey Respondent #2014

“Give to the givers, not the takers.” – Interviewee #48

“I most value UNEXPECTED DELIGHT. I try to go to workshops but the ones I want are always too crowded. I like camps with interactivity that can be enjoyed at any time (or almost any time). Personally, tho[ugh], the experiences that really stick with me are the ones that spring up, unexpectedly.” – Survey Respondent #1295

“Serving food for artists or fixing broken art cars or supporting a big project like the temple deserve placement, and these camps may not have the capacity to also serve the general public.” –

“People do need their private spaces.” – Community Conversation in Portland, Oregon

“Wow! Firstly, f*** you…and your f***ing SF bubble. As someone who starting to go to TTITD…with next to no local community and over time built a camp with others spread across the world. There would be no f***ing way we would have gotten placement the first year we asked for it if this was apart of the criteria. We’re burners, but we might not be your definition of a burner. I mean that in the sense that our understanding of what a burner is shaped by the local culture. Most of us don’t do regionals and those that do are spread so far apart that its rare for enough to do a mini camp at one. How would that be judged? What if we did stuff that spread a version of the culture that you don’t agree with?” – Survey Respondent #1652

“We see two ways to be impactful. Provide an experience to a ton of people or deeply impact just a few people. Impact is what you take home with you. Does it transmit belonging or a feeling of community? Will you remember it? Impact is someone really making an effort, bequeathing something of the unique gifts of their individuality to the playa.” – Community Conversation in Berlin, Germany

“Burning Man is people coming together to build something bigger than themselves. That reflects an adoption of the ten principles. That is a reflection of the tension between individuality and collectivism. Living and creating what the culture is at all times.” – Interviewee #5

“Let’s not come from scarcity – let’s come from abundance & inclusion.” – Survey Respondent #2833

“People love [Burning Man] so much and are adverse to change. We also tend to use fear of money in general and think that people with money are not in it for the right reason….People out in the world are experiencing a revolution of sorts where we are talking more about income inequality and I love we are talking more about it…When they come to BRC they hope to build a new way to get away from oppression and injustice, and if they see any sign…there is a fear that there will be a decline like in our home towns. If there are just a few camps that are a threat to how we do things it is exaggerated and the outcry is louder…But if we talk about saving our culture we should not exclude rich people.” – Interviewee #38

“I personally very often enjoy non-interactive art that is just beautiful, so if a camp creates beauty, they should be recognized for that without being pressured into scheduling some sort of workshops or whatnot just to tick the interactivity check box. Interactivity is great, but should not be mandatory.” – Survey Respondent #95

“I think it’s important that a camp has earned that spot, and is doing something that is worthy of being placed.” – Interviewee #54

“Burning Man is not a vacation. It’s a place where you are tried and tested. There’s not another place on the planet that has tested me like this.” – Interviewee #6

“[The decision to pay individuals] is a camp decision and if the camp has the funds to pay the person. This is not a Burning Man decision.” – Survey Respondent #1361

“I think there’s a level of services needed, especially if the experience is for a global audience rather than a local audience. Seeing all that the infrastructure, helping with pack down, with storage facilities – it’s a lot of hard work. You can’t drive it straight home. You have to lock it up for 12 months. Slowly everything shifts from your mind. If we had more time or lived more locally, it might be a different story.” – Interviewee #20

“The real meaning of [Burning Man] is to be a mixing pot of ideas that advance the potential of life to survive and thrive and overcome entropy.” – Interviewee #36

“People are ALWAYS going to be upset. We have to look at the long game. If you know that you’re following a logical philosophic pathway, it’s worth going for. We shouldn’t be afraid.” – Interviewee #61

“We feel a serious need to stick to principles. Increase education. Set expectations. Scaling the culture and event is not worth watering down principles. If scaling or changes come about, they better not jeopardize the integrity of the principles.” – Community Conversation in New York City, New York

“I get asked once a year by a large scale sound camp why they don’t get funding like art projects do. I understand [why they ask] because the costs to bring their productions are huge. But I also feel that a tiny camp bringing their most awesome thing is just as valid.” – Interviewee #4

“Money doesn’t excuse you from participation, the pain of building and contributing is part of Burning Man. But some question if [it’s] feasible for the huge projects and camps to exist with volunteers alone. It’s a lot of work to bring something and people need to be paid for their time. [There’s a] question [of] whether it’s ok to get paid for the work you do leading up to the burn to prepare and fabricate elements – but work done on playa should be volunteer not paid.” – Community Conversation in San Francisco, California

“Life is not black and white…just gray. We can be both positive and negative at the same time. Givers need takers. We could not have a hippie only city, but it is nice having everyone there. Diversity and radical inclusion!” – Online Comment

“In many cases, camps are essential in terms of creating and developing local burner communities, or international burner communities, as camps create stronger ties than ‘regular Burning Man occasional meetings,’ which are more likely to convert to real friendship and/or post-event organizational units.” -Community Conversation in Kyiv, Ukraine

“[I would add theme camp criteria for] sincerity — Burning Man […] is an experience you have to navigate with no reservations, unless you are legitimately contributing to something awesome / excellent / creative / fun / funny — thus, the requirement for sincerity.” – Survey Respondent #3430

“[Why do you use outside services?] Convenience and carbon footprint – why haul water from LA when it can be delivered from a local source.” – Survey Respondent #3341

“Partnership. [We] would love to see a stronger partnership between Burning Man organizers and the community as a whole. One of the greatest frustrations is that when you want an answer from them they take their damn sweet time but when they want something as a deadline from you it they give really aggressive deadlines and quick turnaround.” – Community Conversation in San Jose, California

“Radical Self Reliance is not a commodity to buy or sell. The logistics and effort of attending Burning Man is a leveling and unifying experience for attendees old and new.” – Survey Respondent #4803

“[We’re noticing more] divisions between camp members and non-members. We’re tired of hearing ‘it’s camp members only tonight.’” – Community Conversation in San Francisco, California

“Some things are just optics but let us scratch the itch that we are being treated unfairly. The issue is the ‘have not’ feeling. Even if you don’t need the resource you see some other camp getting.” – Interviewee #7

“A good reason to begin a theme camp: because I’ve experienced the playa, want to give back. I’m a creator and I like to build things. Bad reason[s]: I want to have bacon, but I don’t want to have to cook it. If you are trying to take the edge off the experience. That’s a bad reason.” – Interviewee #58

“Camps should be encouraged toward out-of-the-box activities, multiculturalism, deconstruction of stereotypes and taboos, acculturation of new members and collective activities.” – Community Conversation virtually in Brazil

“Equitable treatment [by Placement between two different camps] is not the same as equal treatment. Equal means treating them the same, and equitable means considering the context they inhabit. In this case, I would seek to provide more assistance to those who are hoping to do more with less, because ultimately I think that helps level the playing field a bit, and providing more diversity which speaks directly to our values of inclusion.” – Survey Respondent #2770

“If one camp has more resources, they should have more interactivity.” – Survey Respondent #1404

“The increased percentage of the BRC population who does not struggle as much for survival on the playa definitely reduces the degree of community.” – Online Comment

“Some of the camps put on a fake facade in front and have a bunch of people in the back who just camp there. They’re not really plug and play, but also not really a camp that’s offering something. Only 10 people are involved with interactivity.” – Interviewee #37

“Important that people build community beyond their own tribes. So there’s less us and them, it’s all us. So that you aren’t afraid of the people behind the walls. If they didn’t have a wall you’d meet them. Maybe you don’t find that you didn’t like them, but at least you’d have this experience of openness. You wouldn’t judge based on no information.” – Interviewee #5

“…There should be something in place for tiny camps that have fought for the same plot of land every year without placement. We give and contribute every year, acting as a sort of town square for our block. Though we have nothing in the guide book, we are counted on for more spontaneous type interactions with the people that roll thru our camp. We have games. We often cook huge amassings of amazing food to give to everyone, and people count on us to be there at any given time to show them an amazing time. We always make sure we have a few people at the very front of the line when the gates open so we can bust in there and secure our plot of land like an old timey landgrab.” – Survey Respondent #2093

“Love that people bring opulent camps, but if the cost is shifting us from being a participate-created city, to a class-based system of employees and sponsors, I’d rather have crappy camps: lower production value and higher participation.” – Interviewee #46

“Merit is the word, folks. Figure out a way to make placement a meritocracy and you’ve won.” – Survey Respondent #4308

“This is not a meritocracy.” – Survey Respondent #3413

“I think we can lead. I think we can ask, ‘If your camp were to be radically engaged civically throughout the year, what kind of projects would you be interested in doing?’ And get people thinking about how they could engage in that way. Which is a ‘come with us’ versus ‘tell us what you did in the world to affect your placement,’ which is an othering thing. Burning Man inspires curiosity and creativity. If we want to emanate that out into the world we need to ask questions in a way that motivates self-driven solutions.” – Interviewee #7

“This is not a transaction! If you’re doing something so extravagant that you need to pay someone for their year round time, than maybe it’s too big, and you’re probably exploiting someone’s labor for your own enjoyment.” – Survey Respondent #1384

“In your first year, the principle of most important is participation. You just have to do.” – Interviewee #5

“I think there’s a responsibility to being part of this community. We say no spectators and I don’t think people meditate on that. We’re part of this community that’s now oversold. We’re supposed to bring that into the world. We need to have a clear idea of what our intention is – if we’re not doing that, then we shouldn’t be there.” – Interviewee #23

“Camps are ‘institutions’ that help to transfer Burning Man values and principles by preserving them and passing from experienced burners to new ones.” – Community Conversation in Kyiv, Ukraine

“We need to watch out for villifying people who do not have time to contribute in time at the event, money is also a big contributor. Wealth does not mean lack of participation. The line is where something is expected back. The motivation of why you give is the differing factor.” – Interviewee #65

“[What happen if the Cultural Direction Setting project fails?] I think Burning Man will become unmoored, or it will be harder for it to remain anchored.” – Interviewee #60

“I had a friend who wanted placement because he wants to come in early and be in the book. I said, ‘Dude, you’re doing this all wrong. The reason to do a theme camp is that you have this idea that adds to the culture and effervesces in the culture of the city…It’s important to say No, it’s important to make people jump over the bar.” – Interviewee #57

“F**k! This survey is longer than I expected guys.” – Survey Respondent #3780

“Black Rock City is a most wonderful place. The theme camps that desire to be located within the Queerborhood are doing so to reinforce a sense of safety and security for those in our community that feel marginalized…Queer people are naturally counter to the dominant way of thinking. Even at Burning Man, queer people represent a unique perspective, particularly in regards to gender and sexuality. When queer camps are in close proximity to each other, it creates a level of comfort and safety for both the residents and visitors that allows creativity and diversity to flourish. Queer culture needs a certain critical mass to exist, which is why we find clustering queer camps so important. When spread out it dilutes our culture to the point where it does not exist.” – Community Conversation of Queerborhood Camps in San Francisco, California

“[Theme camps are impactful when they] demonstrate the power of community – the power of a group effort to produce something that is above and beyond what any individual could do (e.g. build interactive art/provide experiences) or the power of an aggregated camp effort to do provide something a smaller camp can’t (e.g. provide composting – not necessarily feasible for small camps to do individually). [It’s impactful to] provide a sense of how much work it is to do so many of the things camps do. It’s not just handing out a grilled cheese, a lot of work and organizational effort to bring things to play.” – Community Conversation in San Francisco, California

“Civic Responsibility is the glue that makes me feel connected to everybody if we don’t know them. It’s the glue that connects us to a unified vision of being a citizen in a city and that we are all responsible for its greatness and growth – whatever direction it goes.” – Interviewee #22

“If Burning Man adopted some idealistic, lofty purpose, it would become a giant new-age workshop, and everything that makes it beautiful, wondrous, and inspiring would disappear. I would stop attending, and certainly wouldn’t spend time building and improving my art car (which is very inclusive and beautiful, if I do say so myself). I don’t want someone telling me that my art has to fit into some sort of do-good context.” -Online Comment

“We see [threats to Burning Man] when camps come in and builds walls and puts up barriers, when people stop creating with their hands and spend all their time just buying things to bring to the playa rather than just making it.” – Interviewee #57

“I would like to add [a criteria for placement] that camps must have a plan to help any virgin burners that they bring understand the culture that they are becoming a part of.” – Survey Respondent #3157

“[People need their] own personal drive to be a part of culture – participation and volunteering are entirely different things.” – Community Conversation in Eugene, Oregon

“For us, we planned for Burning Man all year. It is our one pilgrimage. Just because we do not participate in additional events does not mean we aren’t 100% involved in the spirit and principles of Burning Man year round.” – Survey Respondent #3644

“Everyone who goes to Burning Man is both the producer and the audience.” -Interviewee #55

“It doesn’t bother me to have a truck driver come onto playa and drop something off. It DOES bother me to have laborers come in and set up camp. It doesn’t bother me to see RVs brought in. When they make a wall, it does.” – Interviewee #24

“Burning Man is not a f***ing cruise. It’s not supposed to be an all-inclusive package. It’s supposed to take effort to go. I have friends who come internationally every year and manage to haul their own gear just fine.” -Survey Respondent #169

“Returning camps get preferential treatment, but they’re not challenged to do something different. We’re humans…we like patterns. It’s safe – our biology is set up that way. Can we change stuff? Sure. It’s about mentoring, it’s about bringing people in. It’s about giving and forcing ourselves into an elevated experience that’s uncomfortable and transformational.” – Interviewee #22

“[What problems have you seen that you’re concerned about?] Leave No Trace violations and not caring about it. Exclusivity, non-welcoming vibes. People who know they are doing it wrong, have been warned, schooled, and don’t seem to care. Classism – people contributing more time than money get treated differently.” – Interviewee #6

“You’re not influencing the influencers.” – Online Comment

“[Pain Point:] It Used to Be Better. This is the classic problem of veterans, older citizens, etc harkening back to “how things used to be” and viewing that time though a golden lens. We cannot make the future into the past. I think this is something where we can recognize the perspective, point it out, and move on.” – Online Comment

“Dues are okay as a requirement for being a member of a camp, but the focus should be on a shared pool of money as a budget for the camp and then everyone contributes to tasks as well to build the camp and provide an experience to the larger community.”

“You don’t have to feel that you always have to do something. Camps that are available where you can just sit on a couch and they will refill your water.” – Interviewee #39

“[Why they said yes that it’s acceptable for camps to pay individuals] Same reason it’s acceptable for DPW [or some staff] to get paid – they give up a dysfunctionally large period of wage making time/potential.” – Survey Respondent #1681

“Mix it up. Hey. This is your baby. Why the hell ask us anyway? You’re getting soft.” -Survey Respondent #694