1. A theme camp is a Do-ocracy. There is no real Leader... Kind of... Somebody needs to make certain its safe, cohesive, and gets there, but there shouldn't be a real leader. You If you have a vision for the camp, sell it to everyone so they will want to build it. You can't tell people what to do at burning man!
2. Start small, and grow slowly. Grow only as the size of your group of dedicated workers grows.
3. Camp Puchases should be usable for multiple years. Our Front of House shade structure moved to back of house to cover tents our second year when we got a dome for the front of house for example
4. Easy to set up, Easy to tear down, Packs small and light is the name of the game here. Be done building BEFORE THE GATES OPEN.
5. Have fun. If you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong!
6. Talk to the people that have run camps before for advice. You'll need it! (Thanks Dennis and Erin!)
7. Make certain that you have a camp genius that can build things. You probably haven't even thought of the things that a camp has to have to function. (Power generation and distribution, Grey water disposal, refrigeration, camp kitchen, lighting are examples)
8. Join another camp before you do it (I wish I had). Go a year before and ask the people that are running camps (Not Big Camps like Basscamp or Nexus) but established smaller camps about things. Take pictures of cool ideas and things that work well to jog your memory 6 months later (Shade structures, Bike Racks..). Take very detailed pictures so you can tell the sizes of structural things, numbers of Bolts, etc... You'll wish you did 6 months later when you try to build it.
9. Build it, set it up, and test it before you leave for the desert. That teaches your campmates how to build it. Pack the truck/trailer a few days before you plan on leaving. You'll remember things you forgot in those few days. Have a detailed packing list.
Feel free to drop me a line if I can help you
2010-9&A, 2011-2:30&Esplinade, 2012 - 9&A