As one of the few handsome first time camp leaders of Black Rock City this year I feel obligated to describe my experience in a format that others can mock or be inspired by. I have been a part of Black Rock City for several years in multiple teams, been a part of multiple teams at regionals and renegades as well.
In 2022 I did open camping with one of my best friends, Kyle, and during the dust storms and harsher days we hosted people in our small structures and had enough extra beers that we were able to share and a fire where wanderers can sit around. That year we stayed in 3:30 I, because I was 33 years old and the newspaper had a 33 on the front page.
A few weeks after the burn I had a vision that showed me the Santo Cabron idea and potential and started recruiting folks to join our potential camp, hosted a couple of parties in Manhattan and got some followers to believe in our mission.
We tried following the available resources out there as much as possible, signed up for BLAST, participated in the camp symposium, RIDE, HUBS, etc. Created a master spreadsheet, a google form for applications and started gathering interest from folks, our plan was to cap it at 20 people and we applied for 100 X 100 Feet lot in the 3 sector.
Our leadership philosophy was to create working groups, have a single point of truth (the spreadsheet) and go over check lists and recalling old experiences to ensure the least amount of work, require fewer meetings, encourage self-reliance and participation.
We spoke to a few neighboring camps, and thru the HUBS program we were also able to coordinate some logistics to pretend to save the environment, reduce costs and ease the logistics. Black Rock City community college was particularly helpful, and connected us with Jeff Temen from Gerlach to get our water. Our placers were awesome, and we encouraged our burgins to attend local events, watch videos and prepare themselves.
Getting the right people on board from the start and empowering them was super important, our core leads are builders, artists and experienced burners that were able to solve very complex issues easily by the nature of having done it before. Special shot out to camp NICHY and John, only a small set of their campers was attending this year and we connected to share our space and their infrastructure for the common good.
The rain delayed our entrance a couple of days into Burning Man, so we used that time in Reno to prepare extra, pack things, buy things, and have those last final details ready for all the campers.
Building went pretty uneventful, shade, kitchen, etc, the usual.
Burn week went pretty uneventful. We were located in the 3 sector, supported by the best placers and most awesome peeps in the city.
We modified our structures to make them waterproof, hosted some parties under the dome, shared some of our additional resources with other camps.
We waited about 4 hours in line with the truck, left the afternoon after the Man Burn. Packed the stuff in the storage, washed the truck at a cool spot in Reno ourselves and returned it.
The principles work, the guides work, the community works. There are many existing resources out there already to look at, and beautiful communities of camp leaders, chefs, builders and teams ready to support you.
Before the rain our campers were having a regular party time in the desert, afterwards it became a real family.
Create smaller camps, sillier camps, less work and more creativity, camps with 200 people and sound systems that run 4 hours a day are nice and all but the heart of our city are the weird bars and people staying up late in their frontage by the fire.
Will share a breakdown of the money collected and spent. We definitely went over budget, thankfully some campers apported extra to compensate.
Will anonymize or turn into a template and post here
Here’s some of the places and services we used.
- we got our truck from U-haul, call in person and try finding the right friendly person who knows you’re going to burning man and won’t charge you a huge fee, we shared it Mo’Better Burners, a camp run by a good friend
- we washed the 26 foot truck by hand for around $50 at one of those coin operated places with power washers, air dryers and vacuums
- we got water delivered on site by OSS provider Jeff Temen in Gerlach
- we had a big water tank for grey water, and we’d flag a porto truck and pay them cash for grey water removal
- bought groceries, food and snacks and de-moop them ahead of time in Reno
- international campers rented bikes in reno, some were picked up by camp or other campers in the way there
- nyc burners used the nyc container camp to get their things delivered on playa
If you’re read this you’re likely already involved, stand in front of a mirror and sing the theme song to summon a santo cabrón.