Campfire Talks

Campfire Talks is a monthly series hosted by Burning Man Project’s Camp Network Team comprised of volunteers from Black Rock City’s theme camp community. The series brings together theme camp organizers by the virtual campfire to feature their stories, share their knowledge, discuss timely topics, and to find new ways to connect.

Build and Strike pose frequent challenges for camps of all sizes. How can we make set-up and teardown easier for camp leadership and for campers? Learn how to motivate your campers to participate in Build and Strike while also getting them fired up about Leaving No Trace.

May 2023 — Panelists include: Bruce Rogow, Suntrakker: Lazlo, and then there is only love: CareBear, BWB: Roadhouse, Hex Collective

Season 3, Episode 6:
Sustainability is a BLAST

If you attended the Camp Symposium you may have heard about our Green Theme Camp Community, the Thrival Guide, and the BLAST (Burner Leadership Achieving Sustainable Theme Camps) camp rating system. In this Campfire Talk we speak with BLAST-rated camps from 2022, learn about the Green Theme Camp Community (GTCC), and discuss what a sustainability lead might look like in your camp.

April 2023 — Panelists include: Elise Lee, Ideate: Claire Wild, BWB: Lisa Hartmayer, Play Parenthood: David Braun, Anahasana Village: Lee Merschon, Square One

Season 3, Episode 5:
More With Less: Tips and Tricks to HUBs and Resource Sharing

The playa demands as much of us in resources as it does in time. Yet how much redundancy is there when we each bring more than what we need to survive in the dust? Is there a better way to share resources, costs, and labor across our community? This episode of Campfire Talks brings together cultural leaders who’ve walked the walk to share tactics and knowledge that will make building your theme camp, village, HUB, mutant vehicle, or art more sustainable, affordable, and doable.

February 2023 

Season 3, Episode 4:
Ask A Placer

Are you drowning in forms? Lost in the depths of the Placed Camp Questionnaire? Curious about the Placement process and how the Placement team works in Black Rock City? Fear not, Placers are here to help! Placement volunteers answer your questions, share resources, and maybe tell a joke or two.

February 2023 — Panelists include:
Hepkitten, Placer: KGB, Placer: Monday, Placer: Papa Bear, Placer: Whatsit, Placer: Bravo, Placer

Season 3, Episode 3:
Camp Leadership Systems — Main Talk + Village Breakout

If Burning Man is supposed to be fun, why does leading a theme camp so often run us into the ground? There has to be a better way. The January Campfire Talk brings you inspiration, ideas, and tactics to avoid leadership burnout from theme camp and village leaders who earned it (and learned it) the hard way. Our panelists represent new, small, medium and large camps/villages. Hear their tips and conversation with other Campfire Talk participants.

January 2023 — Panelists include:
Shameka Grover, Mo’ Better: Annie Dunlap, Religious as Fuck: Lisa Fox, Whiskey and Dust: George P. Stafford, Golden Gai Alley: Erica Freshley, AEZ: Clay, AEZ

Season 3, Episode 2:
Radical Inclusion in Camps — From Access to Embrace

The magic of Burning Man doesn’t just happen. It’s time to learn how to expand the inclusion we love. Hear from Burners of Color and Burners with disabilities on how Black Rock City is evolving to make it more welcoming, and how you and your camp can be a part of this transformation.

December 2022 — Panelists Include:
Damon Timm, Deaf Granny’s Kitchen; Carolyn Perlstein, Mobility Camp: Level, Placement Manager: Diares Townes, Mo’ Better: Emily Sawan, Mobility Camp

Season 3, Episode 1:
Lessons Learned 2022

Campfire Talks Season 3 ignites with, “Lessons Learned 2022.” We’ll discuss those burning moments that keep running through our minds. Join us for an evening of learning from others who have already done it, whether you got burned, or you have a spark to make next year even better.

November 2022 — Panelists include: Ron Taniwaki, Capt Ron: Papa Bear, Placement Team: Molly Stevens, Costco Soul Trading: Michael “Dustin” Fasman, Black Rock Tea Company: Juvoni Beckford, No Boundries

Season 2, Episode 6:
All About Camp Support

It’s time for another Campfire Talk! This month’s topic is All About Camp Support. It provides an overview of all the various programs the Camp Support volunteer team offers to support Black Rock City’s camps, including: the Help Desk, the Camp Advisory and Mentorship Program (CAMP), the Camp Symposium, the Online Resource Guide, Stories from the City, Burner Network, the Transportation and Storage Working Group, and these Campfire Talks. Come learn about how these resources can help you rock your Burn in 2022.

June 2022

Season 2, Episode 5:
Ask a Placer #2

Got burning questions for the Placement Team and what they’re looking for in the Placement Questionnaire? Wondering how Placers decide where to place your camp? Are you pulling out your Placement question-hair? Fear not, the March Campfire Talk will include a panel of Placers from throughout Black Rock City to answer your questions.

March 2022

Season 2, Episode 4:
Lessening Our Environmental Impact on the Playa

What does it mean to be ecologically regenerative, carbon negative, and waste management savvy? How will your camp reduce its carbon footprint in 2022? Discover and share ideas and innovations around environmental sustainability in the areas of water, gray water, power, waste, shelter, air, and recycling. Join us in a conversation about the BRC 2030 Sustainability Roadmap, the Green Theme Camp Community, and the opportunity for your camp to become greener in the dust. Panelists will include innovators from the Green Theme Camp Community and beyond.

February 2022 — Panelists include: innovators from the Green Theme Camp Community and beyond.

Season 2, Episode 3:
Cultural Direction Setting and the 2022 Event

Black Rock City in 2022 will look and feel different than what came before it, due in no small part to the efforts of those who took part in the Cultural Direction Setting (CDS) process. On January 18, we gather together stakeholders, camp leads, and Placement Team members to discuss what CDS initiatives are being taken to reinforce Decommodification, eliminate PAYticipation, and create a city by and for participants.

January 2022 — Panelists include: Trippi, Former Placement Manager: Papa Bear, Placement Team: Bravo, Placement Team: President, OSS Manager: Zang, Suspended Animation: Prince, Yummy RUMinations: Level, Placement Manager

Season 2, Episode 2:
Ask a Placer — What’s New for 2022?

What are Placers looking for from theme camps? How will DGS tickets be distributed? What keeps you in good standing as a camp? The December Campfire talk includes a panel of Placers from throughout the city who address these questions and more.

December 2021 — Panelists include: Hepkitten, KGB, Monday, Papa Bear, WhatsIt

Season 2, Episode 1
Going Home

We’re Back! Campfire Talk Season 2 kicks off with Going Home: Join us as we bring together doers, leaders, and makers from theme camps big and small, domestic and international, to discuss how to plan for a year in Black Rock City when so much is new. Bring fresh eyes, a bright spirit, and take part in a gathering and sharing of community knowledge.

November 2021 — Panelists include: Jason Chin, Pinhole Project: Krystal Ho, PlayAlchemist: Christopher Filkins, Swing City: Ariel Vegosen, Gender Bender: Zvika Krieger, Milk + Honey

Season 1, Episode 5:
Keeping the Spark Alive: How Communities Stay Safe and Connected in a Year Without BRC

Burning Man is not just Black Rock City, but in a year where we once more will not be building our metropolis in the dust, how can we stay connected to each other in a safe, caring, and conscientious fashion? Join us as we bring together medical volunteers, Burning Man Project regional coordinators, and theme camp leads to discuss how to gather safely, and what to gather around, in a year without BRC. Find inspiration in their stories of perseverance, comfort in their expertise, and community in their presence as we get together to chart a new path on our own – together. There will always be a burn somewhere in some way – as long as we can keep the spark alive.

June 2021 — Panelists include: Iris, Regional Network, Glenna, ESD volunteer; Henk, Camp Mystic; Stiles, Philli Camp; Josh, Inflation Station

Season 1, Episode 4:
“A Mom, a Dom and a Priest Walk into a Bar: Expanding Consent Beyond Sex”

Are you being a creep? How would you know? While freeing your mind it can be easy to assume that the dusty life is a free-for-all. April’s event is on subtle arenas of consent and for camps who want to up their competencies in welcoming the stranger. Join us and our speakers from the Orgy Dome, Burners Without Borders and Religous As Fuck explore the tension between radical self expression and our desire to create communities of safety and inclusion.

Are you being a creep? How would you know? While freeing your mind it can be easy to assume that the dusty life is a free-for-all. April’s event is on subtle arenas of consent and for camps who want to up their competencies in welcoming the stranger. Join us and our speakers from the Orgy Dome, Burners Without Borders and Religous As Fuck explore the tension between radical self expression and our desire to create communities of safety and inclusion.

April 2021 — Panelists include: Lefty, And Then There’s Only Love; Bianca, Solar Beatz Car; Brian, Religious as Fuck; Andrea, Protopia; and Stan, United Camps of Black Rock

Season 1, Episode 3:
Will You Be My Neighbor?: Creating Community Beyond Your Camp

Without the people, Black Rock City is merely a desert. So how do 70,000 people from wildly different communities originating in every far flung corner of the globe live and gather together in harmony? Join us and our speakers from Yummy RUMinations; JOBI: Coffee, Tea or Me?; FAFA Camp; YOUniversal, and from open camping, as they share their stories, learnings, and lessons on what it means to be a good neighbor both on and off the Playa.

March 2021 — Panelists include: Prince Barron, Yummy RUMInations; Farhard, Jahan, Nushin, Afshin, camp YOUniversal; WheatThin, JOBI. Coffe, Tea, or Me?; Pita, FAFA Camp; Alex Hudson and Sarge from open camping

Season 1, Episode 2:
Doing More with Less: Abundance Without Scarcity

In a year of many challenges, many of us may find ourselves asking, how do we achieve our big dreams with limited hands, time, or money; what is it going to look like to participate this year whether on playa or off; how do we adjust to the new reality? This month’s focus will be to highlight small camps who have worked with limited resources in the past to bring unique and interesting interactivity to their neighborhoods both on and off playa! Join us as we navigate this new terrain with speakers from Camp Blintzkrieg, VW Bus Camp, Gender Blender, Playapology, BRC3PO, as they share their experiences, achievements, and learning curves of doing more with less.

February 2021 — Panelists include: Laughing John, BRC3PO: Jeff, Camp Blintzkrieg: Ariel, Gender Blender: Dee Stracted, Playapology

Season 1, Episode 1:
Burn Baby Burn: Fire In Your Theme Camp Do’s, Dont’s and Dohs!

You can’t have Burning Man without the burn, but when it comes to flame effects and fire performance in theme camps, it’s not always clear how to create something magical, impressive, and safe. Join us and our speakers from Illumination Village, Lakes on the Playa, and the Fire Art & Safety Team as they share stories, tips, and tricks on making your camp a beautiful, safe, and flame-filled space.

January 2021 — Panelists include: Grumps & Rick – Lakes on the Playa Village, Xa – Illumination Village, Twister & Bacon – Fire Art & Safety Team