The “Gate” department is actually comprised of 3 teams — Gate, Perimeter and Exodus — each with separate but connected functions. When you sign up to work with our department you may volunteer with just one of those teams or all three. We are the first people to welcome participants into the city after they turn off the highway and drive onto the playa, and we are the last people to say goodbye as they return to the default world. We are one of the few Burning Man departments that operates 24 hours a day before, during, and after the event, and we work very closely with nearly every other department on playa.
Gate staff usher many thousands of people from the blacktop to the dust top, with a certain kind of je ne sais quoi that only this motley bunch can muster. Some mistakenly think that we are Greeters, some refer to us as security, and to most we are those surly guys and gals who search your cars and tear your tickets. The latter is correct, but we do oh so much more than that.
Our number one priority is to ensure that each and every inhabitant of Black Rock City gets in safely and with the proper credentials (read: ticket in hand). We search vehicles, looking for stowaways, potential MOOP-makers (Matter Out Of Place), firearms, fireworks and dogs, as well as ensuring all Mutant Vehicles entering the city are pre-registered with the DMV. We unite artists with art placement. We get the ice trucks, water trucks, and “poop pumpers” in to the city as rapidly as possible. All this while making sure that traffic on the highway doesn’t back up.
The Perimeter staff patrol the fence line looking for people trying to sneak in, and ensuring the safety of those that have accidentally stumbled out or that are just plain lost. We work with the Bureau of Land Management to monitor the closure area around the event site.
Exodus helps thousands of Burners get out of Black Rock City and on down the highway as safely and as fairly as possible. We do this with the help of “Exiters” who control traffic and resolve traffic issues in BRC, and “Flaggers” who control and maximize the flow of traffic onto the highway and through the towns of Gerlach and Empire. We are the last contact our citizens have with Black Rock City.
From Saturday night through Tuesday, we are the eyes and ears of Black Rock City. Exodus is responsible for monitoring traffic flow, reporting disabled vehicles, assisting drivers with issues, and generally being out there, in the dust, making sure the process is running smoothly. We maintain a close relationship with BMIR, updating them with real-time traffic info that they in turn pass on to BRC citizens. We take pride in completing the cycle, from arrival through Gate, to leaving with Exodus.
Volunteer with Gate, Perimeter & Exodus
The Gate staff is a dedicated and diverse group, and many of our core staff have worked for the department for years. We’re a tight bunch with a keen sense of camaraderie. The work is physically grueling, sometimes mentally taxing and usually thankless. Dust storms that halt action for others on the playa don’t faze us – we can’t let them. We have a job to do. The Gate is our Burning Man, and we love it.
We have many types of positions to suit people with different skills and interests. But there are a few traits and skills that will serve you well in our department:
- A willingness to work hard and be part of our team.
- Responsible, self-reliant, and able to roll with the punches.
- Patience, composure and a sense of humor in challenging situations.
- Good people skills and a desire to interact with everyone who enters or leaves Black Rock City.
- And of course a willingness to have fun while doing all of this!
We are looking for people to help us make a positive impact on everyone’s experience the minute they leave the blacktop of the default world and enter Black Rock City. We need volunteers 24 hours a day during the entire week of the event, and a few days after for Exodus. Most shifts are six hours, and the fact that we operate 24 hours a day means we can be sure to find a shift that suits you best.
Volunteers should have attended the event at least once before they work with Gate and Perimeter. New Burning Man participants can volunteer with Exodus. You must also be able to attend the meetings and training sessions. Training meetings usually happen in the June-July timeframe in the San Francisco Bay Area. If you are not local, we will also have on-playa training.
If you wish to join the Gate, Perimeter & Exodus crew, please indicate this on the Volunteer Questionnaire by checking the appropriate box. Our Volunteer Coordinator will email you with more information. Please note that by the beginning of August we are making our way to the playa to start setting up the Gate (which means we may not be checking email), so if you want to volunteer with us for the current year, please fill out the questionnaire as far in advance as possible.
For other questions or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org.