Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Discuss and share theme camp plans, find a camp to join, or recruit new campmates here.

Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby dtia » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:55 pm

We have a group of 11 people, looking for advice of camp placement this year! Many of us are virgin burners and the rest are going for their second year having never been part of a theme camp before. We want to have a more active role and contribute more to the Burning Man community this year. We really want to create our own theme camp or join one but have little (none really) experience. Does it make the most sense to...

a. Find a theme camp which has that many open spots
b. Start own theme camp, none of us having experience with this before
c. Find a spot when we get there without theme camp

Your advice would be appreciated!
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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby Elliot » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:26 pm

:D
And your Theme is....?

I organized a Registered Theme Camp my second year. The paperwork was perfectly straight forward, and we got placed on a corner of 4:30 and C. But we had a Theme. We were all Kinetic Sculpture Racers and friends thereof, and we brought nine such pedal-vehicles and gave rides. On the side, being bicycle types, we repaired a couple hundred bicycles.

Of course, that's just my personal way of arranging the cart and the horse. :D
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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby delle » Sat Mar 31, 2012 5:36 pm

All you guys really need is a good brainstorming session to get it going. You'll soon have a table-full of ideas that you'll either get excited over or reject, depending on your levels of interest and perceived ability to carry it out.

From there, it'll all be born.

Unique and well suited to all of you.

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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 31, 2012 6:52 pm

As someone who has camped with two (or depending on how you count, three) camps I am sort of with Elliot on this. I think that it's possible that you could have been funneled into the Booby Bar--you might even have gotten your own theme night. Trying to get Apokalyptika going, I wonder if you might be too much of an unknown quality, because the theme there needs to have the people who camp there work it. And at the medic's camp I was sort of useless. The people there were hard-working medics who partied when they weren't working. It was a poor fit for someone more introverted and less skilled...

So, what do you want to do? Are you partiers? Builders? Curators? Performers? When you've answered that (and you don't have to all be the "same" "thing") you'll have a better idea of what you offer the city and theme camps. My gut says 11 unknown qualities is hard to absorb into a camp. I think you'd be better off coming up with something you like and going for it. This could be as silly as finding a giant stuffed hippo--pink, maybe--and becoming Giant Pink Hippo Camp... I think it's too late to get placement, so just show up, carve out some space on the backroads and put up your shade. You could run a bar in the afternoon with pink lemonade and vodka being your only available drink. You could probably find something pink and electrolyte to serve people who aren't drinking. And then after supper you "light" a few glow sticks and do some sort of worship the Pink Hippo ritual before going out and seeing the city at night. And you could probably hang out here on eplaya and lure other loose burners into your fold. Who knows, they might add a pink rhinoceros to the mix, or they might be able to make a pink hippo song to the tune of Kumbaya...
So yeah, brainstorm and see where you want to go, then go and figure out how that fits...
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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby 5280MeV » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:04 pm

I am kind of in the same boat, but for our first time at a regional burn. I am joining up with a working camp at BM to contribute, in the near future it is just too hard/expensive to build much of our own camp at BM due to logistics with shipping and flying.

We are building a 'theme camp' without much of a unified theme - just kind of having fun planning and building infrastructure. My friend is building a hexayurt, bar, and 15' high metal sculpture, and I am working on an electrical power system with computer controlled LED lighting for the camp and sculpture.

Hopefully, our 'theme' will find us as we grow, add new friends, and have fun failing and succeeding at various projects. We have monthly campfires where we brainstorm and talk about the status of our plans, and these are quickly becoming events that I very much look forward to. Brainstorming is the most fun part, or maybe it is building stuff???

I dunno if placement is all that important for a fledgling camp? There are a lot of great little funky places out in the suburbs.
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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby Elorrum » Sat Mar 31, 2012 10:34 pm

you can have a theme camp and not be placed. You are if you say you are. 11 people should be able to find a place to call their own. It's a big place.
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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby trilobyte » Sun Apr 01, 2012 1:20 am

As others have said, lots of available options for you guys. First, you don't need to register - you can just camp (either with or without a theme). Or you could join forces with an existing camp, there are many camps and villages out there whom I'm sure would be happy to have you - either participating in their projects or doing your own thing as a part of the whole. If you do plan on registering, you'll probably want to spend some time brainstorming about what your theme will be, what you'll bring to BRC, and then what your interactivity and acculturation will be (they ask about those two specifically on the questionnaire.

Starting your own camp from scratch with no previous experience is doable, though it's a lot of work (and can get expensive, depending on your camp's plans). Being a part of an existing camp gives you the opportunity to learn the process from others, as well as benefit from their experience (and infrastructure, depending on the camp and the plans). Whichever direction you guys decide to go, good luck!
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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby dtia » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:47 am

Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement, everyone. We're excited about the idea of building a theme from scratch but are a bit worried about the logistics involved. We'd ideally want to contribute to an existing camp this year so that we can learn the ins and outs of creating a camp.

Trilobyte recommend finding camps who are looking for members. How would you recommend identifying ones who are seeking members or are interested in having an extension, especially our size? I've looked at the camp list but there's no indication of member need.

A few of you mentioned just camping without a registered placement. Is it pretty much guaranteed that we'll find a spot for all of us? How far out would it be?
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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby trilobyte » Sun Apr 01, 2012 12:08 pm

Well, there's that whole Theme Camps Seeking Participants thread at the top of the theme camps board, but you could also look at the various threads on the board for camps that are posting about their camps and recruiting efforts. Even though it's only the beginning of April, there are a bunch of camps already putting it out there and hopefully you find something you're interested in. If not, keep checking back, more camps will be posting in the weeks ahead.
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Re: Looking for camp advice for a group of friends

Postby Savannah » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:09 pm

dtia wrote:Thanks so much for the advice and encouragement, everyone. We're excited about the idea of building a theme from scratch but are a bit worried about the logistics involved. We'd ideally want to contribute to an existing camp this year so that we can learn the ins and outs of creating a camp.

Trilobyte recommend finding camps who are looking for members. How would you recommend identifying ones who are seeking members or are interested in having an extension, especially our size? I've looked at the camp list but there's no indication of member need.

A few of you mentioned just camping without a registered placement. Is it pretty much guaranteed that we'll find a spot for all of us? How far out would it be?


You'll be able to find a spot for 11 people. If you're tempted, I'd say call yourself a camp, and be one. It can be about the fun & togetherness of it. It doesn't mean you have to register, & offer a transcendent experience to the city at large. You only need to register if you want placement. (And placement is given to those who do want to offer an experience or a treat). But it's not weird to have a name or even a theme just because you want one. In 2008, a friend & I decorated with ducks, carried duck calls, and called ourselves DuckStar, just for the heck of it. :)

There's a map of the city that should be both online and handed out at Greeter's (the stop right after Gate, when you come in). You'll be able to see where registered, placed theme camps are. If not placed, avoid these spots (usually the Esplanade, and streets A through C etc, the 3 and 9 o'clock plazas, etc). Theme areas are also marked with small wire flags; double flags usually means "Theme Camp" area, single flags usually mark the edge of the road. Safest to check your map and talk to your neighbors before you set up, though. :)

The city is laid out in such a way that some "Open Camping" spots are also close-in, so that there's a nice mix of theme camps and non.

Frankly I don't like to be too close to the inside streets, they're noisier and higher traffic. I also avoid 9:00-10:00 on the clock, and 2:00-3:00 (a lot of Sound Camps in these areas). I like being halfway out--E, F, G, or further (though being on D street last year was a positive experience). The further out you go the more spacious it is.
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