Octomelon 2017: post-playa survey results


Number of Melons who completed the survey: 66
Number of Melons in 2017: 80

Basic Bidness section: Now before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's get an idea of what makes an Octomelon an Octomelon, eh?





If your plans changed on your way TO or FROM Burning Man, please explain:


I messaged a burner coming from Vegas and planned to ride with her from Reno to BRC. I bought a Megabus ticket SF to Reno but forfeited that because when I landed in SF my burner friends from Dubai happened to be on their way to BRC and picked me up!
I came on the bus but I left earlier than expected with XXX in her car.
I changed my return plans to drive back with the CaliTruck to San Diego.
Flat tire on the road to!
I missed my flight on the way in- I could have made it in 8 theoretically.
I had not planned ahead of time when or how I was getting home. The 9 hours of exodus was influenced by RV breaking down on the way to Reno.
Unexpected delays from BRC to San Francisco caused significant increase in travel time
To: Left later than expected due to driver not being fully prepared at previously agreed upon departure time. Not a big deal From BRC: I arrived with intention to hitchhike to Reno from the gate. However, in the first few days at camp it struck me that a slew of these new friends live in Reno and I consequently started asking around. Initially I was going to catch a ride with XXX, but on Sunday night they decided to leave then instead of our initially agreed upon departure time of early Monday morning. (I say this without a smidgeon of shade.) I asked around again and ended up catching a ride with XXX We left around 4 AM. ] RV broke down throughout our trip back, which meant it took around 6–8 hours to make it to the main highway to Reno. Once we got to that highway, it didn’t seem like it was going to run again so he called AAA. XXX was also with us, and since she lives in Reno she graciously called XXX to pick us up.
I made two trips in and out this year. I made the mistake of leaving after the temple burn and should have waited until the next morning.
Bought a pack of socks. I did not plan on buying this pack of socks. I am thankful I bought these socks.
Had to leave 1 day early due to work
I left later than expected and left earlier than expected




Were You Ready? Nobody can really be mentally prepared for That Thing In The Desert - but being logistically prepared is good self-reliance. How'd that go?





What were you the least prepared for?  

Heat
i say effective. there was always food and drink available
The heat
Not a good tent, leaky water backpack, no ride out of BRC until night before Exodus.
dust infiltration into tent
LEDs! There cannot be enough LEDs!! And a plan of what I want to do/see. I feel like I didn't see aaaanything. Well, I believe I was overwhelmed with a open mouth all the time.
Costumes!
How I wouldn't want to eat the kinds of food I brought
sunburn! but luckily there are SPF camps...
Calitruck communication with customers.
Costumes
The heat!
The heat. It was SO hot this year.
Extreme heat!
Going out during midday.
sofa king hot
unrelenting heat
The heat fatigue/inability to function during sun hours.
All the dust! My first year was not very dusty.
Being the dinner captain.
The heat, from a mental perspective.
The stress of traveling The nervousness of meeting new people
Night time potty runs - p.i.t.a
Not enough sunscreen! Needed more headlamps. It was freaking hot out there this year!
I did not have a heavy enough coat to wear because I did not have one on hand and it was difficult to find last minute. I looked at the weather and since it was not supposed to drop below 60 at night, I assumed I would be fine. Turns out, weather changes, so I had to borrow a jacket.
The heat! It made it hard to do anything during the day and I was sad.
The heat and exhaustion. I also was not prepared for the vibe of the camp.
The sheer harshness of the environment caught me off guard. I knew it would be tough going, but the heat, altitude, dust and lack of amenities all combined was a lot to cope with and I feel like that particular aspect wasn't quite as emphasized as it could have been. But that's also not your job to communicate as a camp, I feel. The BM organization and friends should be conveying that.
the awesome melon fashion everyone else brought -- others seriously stepped it up this year
THE HEAT. GOOD LORD, THE HEAT.
acclimation to heat, elevation, etc.
Handling the heat, though I did okay
Extremely high temps, contact lens issues
Outfits. Lighting my bike at night
How much love the Melons bring to the playa every year, gets me every time.
The dust storm upon arrival! Our goggles were totally packed. Lesson learned, have them handy in the car.
Rain
Had two technical issues where I relied on melons for help but largely speaking was prepared
Socks for hot hot dayssss
Dirt obviously.
lights
My playattire and playa lighting were both lacking this year.
I was least prepared for the exhausting heat. I don't know that I could have prepared better for this part of the trip. Maybe sleep outside and not shower for a week prior to coming? Haha.
Dust and costumes
My bike was broken. Someone at camp help me fix it
Costumes: I came in thinking that I was cool just wearing some of my regular clothes that I was okay having messed up, but I really wanted to have cool costumes once I saw what everyone else was doing. Rookie mistake!
First time - the physical discomfort. Dust, heat, cold. Thought I was ready, wasn't.

Was there anything you wish you had packed?

More pee bottles
Nope. I hate thinking.
Bike basket, better tent
Nothing
oh ya, LEDS
More Costumes! Probably another long sleeve layer or two. And tights, many more tights
Cup Noodles, more outfit options
sunscreen :) and more snax!
An antimatter warhead to blow up the sun and plunge the Earth into a blissfully eternal winter.
More funny Costumes
Cuticle oil.
A cooler
More flowy clothes
Swamp cooler for yurt
Closed-toed day boots! Guess I have to buy them first.
nope - nailed it.
mister
More lightweight clothing, lightweight wool socks, better cooler system. Maybe reuseable ice packs and swamp cooler for tent.
A better tent!
Dust mask, Dust goggles, more shorts, weirder outfits, more El wire, a camel back instead of a nalgene, and a much more substantial camera cover.
Those electrolyte water drops. I think they're called num.
Bandanas - I had shemaghs but they were heavy and hot :( A bigger tent - one where I can dress standing up and maybe have room for a bag (and a pee jug of sorts...see above) Better night time lights - lots of light fails
Bacon and grease for the bikes
More XTREME BLASTED goldfish
Jacket! More lights, more bike decor, more to share with others. Also, spicy snacks.
Ice pack :)
Better bins for organizing items outside my tent (vs. reusable shopping bags that got full of dust). Also a mister to make people happy.
Something to deal with my hair in a more manageable way. A tarp under our tent and for in front of it. Spray bottle.
Funkier clothes, ha.
I somehow decided to ditch a comfy pair of shoes at the last minute for some crazy reason
More pairs of shoes, shampoo (for the 1 shower I took), more items to gift, and a spray bottle with some fantastic smellin' peppermint. Shoutout to the melons who sprayed my repulsive body throughout the 100+ degree days.
eye drops
More things to handle extreme heat, a different sweater for nighttime, a few more cheap baby wipes, some sort of solution for a very dry/bloody nose, a hydration bladder and compatible backpack (instead of water bottles), more things I cannot recall
Spare contacts, eyedrops, etc More layers for the heat
More light beer!
More leggings (for style, not warmth)
Nope.
More dickies, a better headlamp, more beer
A tad more AA batteries.
Nope
More gummy snacks
More lights and zip ties
More socks
Spandex and more costumes
More Lights!!
A cape. A candle system for ambient lighting.
I wish I had packed a small portable fan for the tent. I wish I had a more durable tent that helped eleviate the sand a bit more. I also wish I had had more lights for the bike.
Least amount of clothes
Prepackaged Tuna Salad. Was given it by a friend. It's a great pescatarian option.
More awesome shorts
More tights. More tent furniture (table, airbed). More underwear. Some slip-on closed-toe footwear for camp & midnight bathroom runs.
More layers, fewer outfits, a better backpack for getting around playa. It was so hot, I wish I'd had more booty shorts. Am I contradicting myself? In my brain, this all makes sense.

What did you bring that you won't bring next year?

my onesies (I love them, but they are NOT porto friendly,and three years in a row now, I haven't used them) seaweed packets so many goddamn mixed nuts
Less clothes
I could bring less food and tent hardware.
too much tuna and survival food.
shirts with built in shelf bras
A battery pack. Who needs electronic devices anyway?!
As much food. 6000 batteries. Apprehension
Too many bars and too much jerky
not as many clothes, probably.
Half of my clothing items
Extra luggage for spending time in SF
Too much food.
As many cold weather items
Fewer granola bars
cooler
oranges
less food
Clothes that didn't get worn.
I brought way too many lights.
french press and coffee
The little trinkets that I never made and never gave out as gifts for the third year in a row.
Less clothes Less food
My tent (upgrade time)
So much food (so I claim...)
Leggings
A yurt....
Provided I camp with the Melons: gatorade.
Extra outfits
Too many clothes, too much food
I wouldn't bring as many utilities if we camped with a large camp again as we did not use them. Nor would I bring as the minimal cold stuff we brought and rather bring drinks instead as those were easier to keep cold and be communal with.
Real world shirts and jeans, who needs em.
rubber gloves for sleeping hand moisturizing that didn't fit.
Fewer baby wipes & outfits.
Inflatable couch
Too much food
Food that I don’t really love, too many Ziplocs, allergy meds, more things I cannot recall
Whiskey & Cliff Bars
Several bulky outfits that I didn't end up wearing or really even seeing a need for. Learned I want to keep outfits simple but effective
Even less foods.
Non-dickies shorts
We were pretty minimal. I'm having trouble thinking of something we brought unnecessarily.
So much cold weather attire... maybe
Too many coats and shoes.
Portable heater
Anything that I brought this year (in terms of clothing)
A large backpack
Fur hats.
My car. I would rather fly in and take the burner express if possible. Otherwise, the packing was efficient.
Tons of clothing
Quite so many freeze-dried camping meals. So many ""normal"" clothes. A just-in-case supply of tent stakes.
A second suitcase filled with outfits I never wore and entirely inadequate clothing. Basics only next year. I packed too much of everything, but it still didn't make me prepared.

Do you have any additional pre-playa planning thoughts? Any additional information we should share ahead of time? Suggestions on effective ways to share that information?

things I've started listing relating to camp (vs personal planning): melon green dot team more shade (if we're gonna keep having such gargantuan tents) melon bocci ball drug testing kits (nothing worse than molly that turns out to be meth; I'll take the lead on this one!)
Need an indexed list of where to find important pieces of information. Too much important info gets buried in emails or facebook threads.
I would be very happy if we can start atleast 4 weeks in advance for the dinner teams and their preparation. Due to the time difference, it was not enough time to get all the team gel together and come up with solution. In the end, we managed to get it all sorted out for Pakistani dinner but it was a lot of work/re-planning required that could have been avoided, if we had more time.
I thought all of the information shared was super helpful and thorough.
It would be great to compile ""the melon packing list"" to send out to peeps instead of accumulating 40 FB posts about packing....
Neither me nor my partner felt we read that the dinners were out of pocket. Maybe we missed it, but I feel that the dues should include these dinners and they should be on a set budget as there were disparringing differents in the dinners. Maybe there could be a newbie specific email with a condensed run down of advice because there was a lot of info and opinions about how to do things.
Not really, you guys are SUPER organized, I think you did an incredible job on your website of explaining everything.
I think perhaps encouraging people to pack for a variety of weather possibilities. I think it's easy to anchor to the previous year and then not quite bring the right stuff. Even if you don't use it, but you were ready for it to be super hot/cold/windy, that doesn't mean you didn't need to bring that stuff.
nope
Wish i knew about $50 huffys at walmart. We are not a plug and play camp I get it but holy shit would I have saved money.
I had a lot of help from a good planner who has also been to the burn. Actually reading the survival guide and realizing I was on top of most of it helped me feel a lot better.
I thought the committee ideas were pretty solid, It is good for those of us who want to commit and give back to camp but would potentially struggle with the XVC.
I know many folks have their own Google spreadsheet with their packing list. An interesting idea might be a common place where people store their lists, so you could see a bunch of people's recommendations all at once. Just freewheeling here!
I think most people are I encounter are sufficiently prepared or even over prepared if they are new. The Melon packing list is great.
Hair! Get the hair done beforehand and bring oil to out in it. My hair got destroyed on day 1.
Still hear from many melons that there is way too many long emails sent out, which is a known factor that dissuades people from reading important ones - Id suggest tl;dr everything, link to long info on the website for more.
Pigeon
Anna and dean have a great packing list
Can't think of anything beyond the above… I really do feel like I had a good sense of what I was getting myself into in BRC and at camp between all the different communication vectors! For once, it pays to do all the reading :)
I thought that XVC communicated very clearly and effectively, honestly.

Life at Melon Camp! Ok, so you got to camp, how did it go?




Any thoughts you'd like to share on camp's physical location, size, or layout?

More Art / Interactive stuff to fill the open space...
I still think 80 is a little too big. Capping closer to 60 or 70 seems a bit more manageable.
love LOVE loved being in a quiet area and near kidsville!
We didn't fully utilize the open space, but it was nice to have :)
I felt that last year the camp vibe felt closer together because it was physically closer as well.
Oh jeez, oh jeez, it's complicated. We'll just talk in person, eh?
Loved the location. Nice and central.
Great spot! Would be great to be slightly closer to center camp for ease of getting around.
The camping/tent areas are perfect, and so is the kitchen but I felt that there was too much open space in front of the communal areas-- so maybe more integration of the cargo net and kelp forest and melon dome with the communal area?
If there are two trucks again next year, should we try to put them close together, connect shade between them, and create another shady space?
I am very happy with the size of the camp and the number of participants. Excellent job XVC! Thank you.
I enjoyed being in a quieter location. We could have spread out some with the gap betweenthe kelp forest and sitting area.
Ideally camp would be on C or D and probably a little smaller because we had under utilized space. Layout was great. I liked the add ons for melon party.
too much space / too much wide open space. did a legit concern that someone might drive into camp and hit someone/something.
kids camp is not preferable but otherwise great
It would have been nice to have other cool frontage neighbors. The street immediately surrounding us on G felt very empty and isolated.
At times, it felt like a lot of empty space, but overall I appreciated the open areas. The art was well placed, and everything made sense spatially.
Truly amazing
It was interesting to be so far back. No comment on it being good or bad, just interesting
I liked the location. Close to potties (bathroom convenience is apparently a running theme in my life), not super loud, close enough to everything.
I loved the quiet! It was really nice to Be placed in the city which
I loved the size of camp, however we could have done better with layout. This year, less frontage space and more camping/hangout space would have been nice. (we all saw the random cars driving through camp in the excess space). That being said, I think more fantastic art and ways to interact with the public would be a great goal for future years!
Physical size felt a little big for our layout, but I think it would actually be the right size if we had allocated more space for tents. They were packed in really tight and this resulted in some empty space at the front.
Fine.
There was a lot of space, so before we had enough time to get everything up certain vehicles thought we were a road and started trying to park or drive through.
It seemed like we had more space than needed, but there weren't really any problems with that. I don't think camp should get any bigger in terms of # of melons. Maybe slightly smaller? Overall about right.
Radical self-reliance and self-expression were big ones for me. I've always been a pretty ""out there"" person, but being in an environment that not only welcomes but encourages self-expression without judgement was refreshing and eye-opening. Why limit myself to one week's worth of being the best, most happy version of myself? Self-reliance...besides the weather, the harsh environment of BRC demands this principle. I found I'm much stronger, patient and thoughtful than I thought.
No Complaints
Boo kids camp. Yay close to ice and bus.
perhaps we could have done with a bit less frontage
Location was great (quiet, proximity to portos, proximity to center) Layout worked well Size was just right to encourage more installation art next year :-D
More bacon and communal snacks out - would be willing to pay more if we could beef up communal snacking throughout
Seemed overall fine to me. Maybe more space than necessary (a lot of open space out front), but might have been worse if it felt too cramped.
I think we probably should have set up closer to the road, but this is minor.
We had a really big location this year that maybe could have been better utilized at the front. It looked like we had a dead front lawn. Maybe moving the hangout area forward to give space to the sleeping would minimize noise for those sleeping.
Tent layout. Maybe see the size tents of people prior to arrival.
We were pretty tight tent wise - we probably could have spread out a little more fr a real estate perspective
Id prefer not to be by kidsville, then again, it was so nice and quiet! So, light feelings on that
Location was great! And so was the size. We had ample open spaces. Thankfully not too cramped up.
layout was good
I thought we were too spread out. With so much space it was tough to make our artistic efforts seem like one wholesome vision. We were separate units of expression with very little in common. Also wasn't a fan of having the hammocks smack dab in the middle of things. Want to nap? Head for the edge.
I loved the multiple ""rooms"". It helped create multiple little conversations instead of one big one.
It's not a complaint really, but the camp was bigger than the space needed. We had a lot of real estate that didn't get used. The location in the playa was great. I didn't have loud music nearby while I tried to sleep.
Convenient location, ample size
Seemed we had a bunch of unused space (some behind the trailer, some in front of camp) - but not sure how avoidable that was unless we had more shade
I thought our camp had a great location, in a relatively quiet yet still easily accessible part of the city. And it was quite spacious too! It was great to have all that space out in front, for the projects, and for some separation from the street. I don't have any thoughts about the layout; everything seemed to work pretty well.
Seemed quite big for the number of people we had and the physical presence we ultimately occupied. Bathrooms were close (but not too close), which was nice. Kidsville was pretty adorable, I guess.

Any thoughts on camp infrastructure? What should we focus on expanding next year? Is there anything you don't like?

More bar times.
SHADE! playa tech (I'd be down to host a Reno build day in order to bring more of the wood bench business to playa)
just right
Everything was comfortable! Since the speaker overheated during the DJ set I'd like to focus on better sound setup next year. Also interested in helping to organize a MelonMobile!
More tables to eat at would be awesome. I liked the melon picture setup last year as it was easier to leave notes behind pictures.
Gonna get that siphon runnin' real smooth next year. And better electrical.
Better shower water management. I didn't get to take a shower because I waited until Thursday. Should be able to siphon shower water into gray water, or something to help with evaporation.
More art! More happy hours!
love it!
Maybe a way to capture who has done needed work to help in the communication of who is contributing and who isn't. For example, if there's a (preferably digital) to-do list for the stuff that needs to get done every year, and that's copied to a whiteboard on playa, then instead of just crossing off the list, we acknowledge the people who made it happen. Maybe more work than it's worth, but it's an idea.
Once again, XVC and all the US based melons make a tremendous effort to make our camp a success. I am deeply thankful to all the pre-burn meetings, infrastructure, planning, packing and transportation efforts you all put it.
More shade!
Hard shade
More lights on art. More lights in the bar. More lights on our camp sign. Maybe even a bigger camp sign or two signs if we are 200x200 next year. I'd love to double the kelp forest so it is twice as wide. I liked the carpet mat in front of the dome, that would have been good to have to put people's shoes. I think we should put something around our camp to designate a no-drive area. We had cars drive into camp multiple times and that is a hazard to art and stuff that is laying around. Also, maybe signs/something to designate the fire lane.
More watermelons for water melon ball cocktails! COnsideration of a multi-tiered compost drying rack with moisture collection at bottom.
moar art and interactivity
more art is always better
More hard shade please!
I loved all the art and the melon dome and appreciated everyone's hard work to build it!
I thought the idea to create a more public sitting space and a more private space for events was super helpful. I think we should pursue more pillows and ways of making the seating areas comfier. Also more curtains and rooms.
Honestly you guys are killing it. Maybe expand the compost table a bit because the food was slow to dry. I really liked working that station, I feel like it didn't get enough credit at how awesome it was!!
The infrastructure is awesome! I think now that I know what to expect I have a better idea of how to prepare
A few more squares of shade for the tent area would have been a plus but not a requirement.
We need better lighting/power - coming home from the playa and having the power off at camp was a huge bummer! It definitely kept melons from solcializing at camp and made it hard to cook late night meals for folks. With the size of our camp we need to have enough power to keep camp lit at night.
Perhaps more seating? Although, except for a few dinners, it was normally fine.
I think the shower should be a little better managed so that there is a more of a priority system. Maybe be clearer about the expectation of communal beer, as someone who doesn't really drink it there was repeated emphasis on this expectation. I do think the green and pink vests are a great idea however when long personal talks happen with someone in a green vests it detracts from their availability. I had to awkwardly stand by a convo until I just walked away because that person neithef acknowledged me nor any attempt to prioritize their green vest status.
I really think you guys do an incredible job. The hammocks are really popular, if it's possible to get more that'd be great, but seriously 4 is pretty damned generous as it is.
keep the kelp forest awesome!
SHADE! Even though it was an extremely hot year acc to seasoned melons, the sun seemed to peek its way through regardless of the shade. Maybe there is another material that better blocks out the sun without denying it entry to provide some natural light?
Kegs! It can be done https://www.google.com/search?q=cooler+with+coils+for+keg&oq=cooler+with+coils+for+keg&aqs=chrome..69i57j33.9422j0j4&client=ms-android-hms-tmobile-us&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8 No opening cooler means way less ice and always cold beer.
The car port was mostly used to hot box and that’s fine with me, but it seems like a lot of space for that. I support a repurposing of the car port, though I do not have any specific ideas. More hard shade would have been nice, and maybe misters too but I know it’s not as hot every year as it was this year. Tent arrangement was great. More art! ? ! Very grateful for the Melon dome! Toward the middle of the week I fell into a rhythm of more or less staying out just past sunrise, then sleeping in there (instead of my hot tent) for four to five hours before starting another day. It would be great if it’s at all possible to make it a bit cooler than it was.
SHADE! playa tech (I'd be down to host a Reno build day in order to bring more of the wood bench business to playa)
I think the trailers should be better utilized weather its incorporated with camp, or art. My idea is to place it closer to the kitchen. The inside of the trailers can keep the ice chest cooler. Also maybe fresh ice blocks in the drinking water? Every ice run has to pick up one block to place in the drinking water?
Shade was very key and appreciated, but for people camped at the end, got a lot of sun in the morning. Maybe some angled shade at the end to help with that.
More cloth towels for hand washing so we don't rely on paper towels for cleanliness Ice scooper to live in communal drink cooler
Hammocks are great maybe add a couple more of those.
Two showers? Tent layout.
Seating
I think shade structure could be done more efficiently, as a tip, carport seems underused for the amount of work it takes. Otherwise, it was faaaaantastic this year
Lights for the streets of camp
Probably more colourful lights, after all burningman and colourful lights complement each other.
thought it was awesome
Our trucks are wildly underutilized. Height, structure and shade?? Let's get on top, decorate the inside, park it on the perimeter with a watermelon slide and swing attached. Need to make better on playa use of those beasts! We neglected to cover the logo on either truck too which I think is an easy one to check off our list for next year.
I would love to see us have a better bar.
More shade (potentially add harder shade, too). Fewer projects that seem to go pretty unused (Car Port and cargo net seemed to rarely be occupied)
I like our general level of infrastructure: taking care of what needs to be taken care of in an efficient way, without getting too precious about it. Some more daytime rest space would be nice — another hammock or 2 or 3 could be useful, maybe a larger melondome, or more swamp cooling? There were a few times I wanted to get in there but it was full.
1. I thought, overall, camp infrastructure was stellar and was way more than I had ever expected for a camp in the middle of the desert. The kitchen was superb. 2. Since it sounded like we had enough water this year, I'd love to be able to take a shower more often (e.g. maybe not daily, but possibly) next year without seeming like a total snowflake. I just function better with a shower, and if we have the resources - maybe we can expand the shower infrastructure or improve it in some way (or, maybe just have more shower bags on the go through the week)? 3. I think we had just enough shade, but I did feel like a peak times it was hard to find a seat. Since I'll likely only be coming with a (single) suitcase next year, I won't be able to pack a chair. I think that seating (bonus points for comfortable seating) would be something we could do with more of. Hammocks, too - or, maybe just large comfortable platforms we can all just lay on together. So we don't feel so isolated in those deep hammocks.

What about nearby camps? Did you spend any time with our neighbors? Any of them super cool? Fun? Irritating? Loud?  We may pass this on in the Black Rock City placers post-burn survey.

I'm not very neighborly
I kinda loved being across from kidville; having kids on the rig was super fun! it also meant that the front side of camp was relatively quiet, aside from our own music; burning sky was a great neighbor for the same reason. Also liked our placement this year just far back enough, and relatively central, so getting to and from stuff was still easy
We had amazing neighbors this year! Bandits and Family Encounter Camp were the two I interacted with the most.
The girl who offered us ribs was dope, I wish I had belly room to eat them.
The camp on ""H"" right behind us had speakers facing our camp that were on at very late hours :'(
The library was nice and cute. Everyone was fine with me, only one bananaphone.
I did not spend much time with the neighbors. I liked the raccoon.
Kinda seemed low-key around us. Mostly felt ""whatever"" about our neighbors. Was nice and quiet.
A nearby tent had a great happy hour dance party with a cheese plate. That was fun.
I'd like to add a 10 principles section to orientation. OR, have a 10 principles centered art piece. We could even have them be posted around the melon dome..?
All cool, with a special shout out to Moonshine Space Dust.
neighbors generally better than the bros from 2016
i did not hang out with the neighbors much
The library down at 5:30 & G was absolutely lovely.
I never got a chance to visit the camp directly behind us, but the music they played in the daytime was astonishingly good.
Loved being near Kidsville. It had super positive, and safe vibes and the kids were adorable.
Loved the neighbor from the kids camp who shared the bike blender with us for the melon ball. He was a very sweet soul.
The middle eastern tea lounge behind us was awesome
I LOVED being by Kidsville! So cute to watch and interact with. The library was also really awesome. I don't think we had any obnoxious neighbors and the placement was pretty good!
The raccoon art car camp was really nice when I went to say hi to them. Also liked the Encounter camp that was next door. One morning someone was playing really loud music (like, still loud through earplugs) from 7AM - 10AM which was really annoying, but I didn't get out of my tent so I don't know who it was.
No they were fine.
That camp across from us with the giant rat had really nice people that kept yelling hi from the top of their truck. The rainbow Racoon art car got on my nerves slowly circling us, but that was probably just the drugs.
I didn't
Kidsville was mildly annoying but overall ok. I hung out with our neighbors with the geometric raccoon? fox? cat? briefly, and coincidentally met up again in deep playa. They were pretty friendly & welcoming!
neighbors were friendly, didn't make too much noise
Liked circus tent camp on way to port a potties
I really liked the teahouse behind our camp.
Met a few camps - Burning Sky, some of the kidstown folks. They were all chill. The squirrel/lizard/racoon car driving around the block every five minutes was pretty annoying.
I did not spend much time with camps nearby.
The friendly war between Kidsville and that Philly camp sounded super fun. Mayor of Kidsville was a riot. Skydivers were pretty cool and offering the flights to their neighbors first, it seemed like.
Kidsville
Comfort camp was really nice
nothing comes to mind
Camps were nice and also quiet. Was amazing to be able to get sleep sometimes while at camp.
Our neighbors were amazing. We did interact with them when we served our excess dinner :) they were friendly and welcoming.
nice being next to a library, and our camp didnt get attacked by the ankle biters next door, so that was good
My ideal camp location would have been a bit closer to the action. I didn't mind being next to the kids camp but we hardly interacted at all.
I didn't talk to the nearby camps.
Yes we did, our neighbors were sweet and quite warm
I don't have any complaints about nearby camps. It seemed like we had a great spot, overall!
Those Kidsville kids were cute.

Participation! At Burning Man everyone gets to be a garbage man! Did you participate at camp?







Melon Orientation Program (MOP): Pink Vests & Green Vests


Tell us about your experience wearing a vest--what did you do?  Would you do it again?  Suggestions for someone who might do it next year?  What should be added to the binder?

honestly, my shift was relatively slow, so I didn't do much. I think I kinda botched it, cause I forgot about the melon orientation note cards in the pocket! I think I got most of it off the top of my head though.
Really enjoyed it, happy to take some pressure off of MMcC. Would do it again.
I was very well prepared. Got a change to orient some melons. Had all the information/tools I needed
Better bins for organizing items outside my tent (vs. reusable shopping bags that got full of dust). Also a mister to make people happy.
Loved it! I helped people figure out how to get ice, make ice runs, budgeted the money, did MATHS!, told people where to find communal food, explained how and where to dump out gray water, or cooler water, where and how to wash dishes, where and how to wash hands. I would say that it would be a great idea to add on the sheet where there's the roster of Melons a column that states their dietary restrictions. I couldn't find that info in the binder.
It was overwhelming for me. Dust storm, a party in camp, and a dozen arrivals at once was a lot to handle. I should have asked for help.
It was a lot harder than I was expecting. I had a morning shift: 10-3 and I ended up putting the vest on as soon as I woke up, so I started before my shift started. 1. the vest was physically hot. After standing around for 4+ hours, I was physically uncomfortable. 2. It was a lot of work and a long time. I was very, very tired by the time 3pm rolled around. AND no one had signed up for the next green vest shift, so I ended up keeping the vest on for an additional hour. 3. The binder was clunky to hold and maneuver. I would recommend something that could fold all the way around, so it would only be 1/2 the size when opened. Consistently print the materials inside and re-label some of the dividers (they didn't always make sense). Maybe get a green binder? or put it in a bag that the green vest can carry around? Or maybe it lives in a specific spot and everyone knows where to find it? 4. Add more instructions to the emergency radio. I dealt with an emergency (outside of green vest hours) at 1am and wanted to contact the medical tent or rangers, but couldn't figure out how to do it. I didn't think the situation required calling 911. 5. Add a log/way to leave notes for the next green vester. It would be nice to know how problems were solved or if there were issues that didn't get resolved on a previous shift. 6. In the beginning of the week, I did a pretty good job of referring people and questions to the pink or green vests, but as the week went on and I was more emotionally tapped, I ended up answering a lot more questions myself instead of directing people to the green/pink vest on shift.
Add to binder: more instructions,/manuals
It worked but I had an easy shift. I really like the concept of sharing the managerial role so everyone has time to enjoy themselves.
We needed a better system to pass the vest and handle overnight ownership of the vest and money. There was nothing about kitchen/ice runs in the binder so it was hard to give guidelines to melons.
I mostly used the time to work on setting up camp. No new people arrived until the tail end of my shift. They were dealing with a situation (Coco's fake ticket) and didn't want to be oriented right away, so I hung back until they were in the right mood.
It turns out no one came when I was on duty, so that was super easy. Maybe just make sure we only have people when needed? Then we're free to divert resources elsewhere. Or, have an updated list of what else we could be doing while on duty? (maybe that existed and I forgot)
Pink Vest this year on wednesday was interesting as their were no new arrivals at camp. I ended up trying to share the load with Jake for the green vest duties and it was enjoyable to help people around camp with questions.
My shift was Thursday afternoon and by then all the melons were already home. I didn't get to orientate anyone that day.
Would have appreciated more prep or training on the basics before playa not when I got the vest and then quickly had to peruse the laminates - at times I felt a little scattered orienting. Shifts are quite long ESP w the weather we had - break up more. Had difficulty going back and forth btw helping people set up and orienting
Busy busy but it was good.
Could have used a bit more formal orientation from the person before me

Why did you choose not to sign up for a shift?

Trying to assess my ranger schedule, and then honestly just never got on it...
I had done a lot already and was a little burned out.
hadnt camped with the melons in a few years and wasnt sure what vesting did
Didn't do a great job educating myself on all the different ways I could help out.
I felt I had contributed a fair amount thus far, knew I would be contributing on-playa in other ways, and wasn't sure I wanted to commit to the time/shift. After seeing the MOPs in action, I'm totally onboard for next year.
I did other volunteer work
I was technically eligible, but had not been to BM for a while (and only once before), so was feeling a bit rusty!
Too many commitments otherwise. Generally i felt like i was contributing the right amount to camp
I think I was eligible but I did not feel qualified.
Over-committed
Didn't realize there were available shifts for pink vest until too late. Also didn't want to commit that much time ahead of being on-playa since I was there with a bunch of virgins I wanted to hang with.


Tell us about your experience with people who were wearing the vests (pink and green) --were they easy to find? Helpful? Anything that should be added to Pink vest orientation? Anything else we should know?

Easy to find and helpful. Nice to know who to bug.
yes and yes
Never had a problem finding a vested person. They all were very helpful
Easy to find and helpful!
Seemed good, I liked it. Some of the folks took an hour or so to get into the role and start figuring things out for themselves (rather than forwarding things to Drew) but they did get it down and I think everyone did well.
They were great! Very helpful. I really want to green vest next year and it would be awesome if the binder were available ahead of time (maybe on the Burning Melon website? With special Green Vest login for protected infos?!) in order to prepare because I avoid some not-so-nice comments from others who thought the Green Vesters didn't know what they were doing. I don't know exactly whom the comments were really about but as a first time Green Vest, I certainly did not have all the answers but I made sure to resolve any questions/issues/problems no matter what they were.
Knowledgable and helpful
My orientation upon arrival was disorganized. The individual who did the orientation seemed confused about what was on the sheets, the order the sheets went in, etc. This individual offered me water, and when I said I wanted water, I was told I had to wait until I got my camelback off the truck to get water. I ended up being extremely dehydrated, and I think this was unnecessary.
Not always easy to find. It was hot in the vest.
They were not always easy to find. But I think it was super helpful! Repeating something I said in the previous answer: ""In the beginning of the week, I did a pretty good job of referring people and questions to the pink or green vests, but as the week went on and I was more emotionally tapped, I ended up answering a lot more questions myself instead of directing people to the green/pink vest on shift."" Add all of the dinner information in the binder. Print shifts in the binder in bigger font. Include hole punch in binder. Add description of pink vest/green vest differences to pink vest orientation. Some people didn't understand the differences.
Vest-ers not always visible/present during their shift
They were locatable and helpful.
I like the idea of pink and green vest as buddies, but when we know we won't have people arriving (i.e. later in the week), the pink vest is overkill. People recognize that there aren't people arriving, and I think it impacts morale around helping out.
Generally good, though sometimes they asked me questions that I thought they should know!
They were easy to find, and helpful.
Jake was the most helpful human ever! He was amazing and so friendly!
I think my pink vest orienter got distracted and didn't actually orient me but I figured things out as I went along!
You guys did a great job...THANK YOU!
They were always easy to find and always helpful or willing to find someone who knew more about the particular question. I never really got an official pink vest orientation because I arrived on Saturday, but was still able to figure everything out as I go.
Yed
I really liked having the green vest as someone to direct questions to!
I didn't know what the difference between the vests was, but it didn't matter, it was great when I first got there knowing who to go to with questions, as well as throughout the week so I wasn't just bothering Drew and Michelle all the time.
seemed like they were great.
Very welcoming! For pink vest orientation, I would've appreciated a more thorough explanation of the organization system in the truck. It wasn't until the last 1-2 days when I found out about some items/tools available to us. General playa knowledge & tips on getting around, ""street"" layout, bike repairs nearby, etc. would also be helpful, esp for new melons.
I cannot believe how thirsty I was during my never ending orientation. Water was requested several times and not granted. It was so hot this year I should be able to go IMMEDIATELY to my camelbak and fill it and THEN do orientation if I need it. Filled and drained an entire camelbak immediately upon the end of my 45 minute orientation after lugging probably 70lbs of supplies. So thirsty. Never recovered from this dehydration day 1.
Super helpful, sometimes difficult to find.
Everyone was lovely! Easy to find and helpful when needed.
Between the green and pink vest binders we were able to solve most things before turning to the XVC.
Extremely helpful!
Helpful!
always helpful
There wasn't a mandatory orientation for the few and the lucky who got to sneak in early. Most of us stepped up and participated in an orientation but it should be known that EVERYONE needs to go through the paces so they are able to answer questions and help out the rest of the week.
Extremely helpful
Didn't really need them, but they seemed helpful.
I never had any problem getting the help I needed. The vests were helpful in keeping track of who to ask first!
Always helpful! I guess, honestly, I was a little intimidated about the whole everything. I'd have asked to help out more had I known upfront what was going to be done and when. A little schedule about building stuff, so I could have foreseen when I'd have wanted to help out at camp, would have been useful. Next year, I want to be more involved. Anyway, vests worked well.

Strike and Camp Breakdown



If you only showed up for part of your shift or didn't show up for your shift, what happened? Is there anything we could have done to help you work your strike shift?

< no free responses? >


How do you think the take down of camp went? Is there anything we could have done better? Is there anything that went wrong? Suggestions for improvements for next year?

Fairly well. I think the addition of Saturday strike was good for a lot of folks to get that out of the way. Sunday went slower but my feeling is the heat was a big factor there.
I think it could be really good to have 4 strike shifts instead of 2 Sat AM, Sat PM, Sun AM, Sun PM.
Start earlier in the day, too hot!
From past years, this year felt like strike was very smooth
Already been discussed but make it earlier so it's not the hottest part of the day.
Very well! Was easy to do my part, and then when the end came everything was just done.
Went pretty smoothly overall. It was hard to get people's attention to coordinate more efficient ways to do things (i.e. take down shade as a team vs just grabbing poles randomly).
under the given circumstances of the hottest sun of the week burning down on saturday.. WE DID A GREAT JOB! nothing wrong although some melons were rolling around oddly looking for shade
Great! Might be good to have a number of people that should be allocated to any given task
I realize better to have excess of labor than not enough, but so many people were wandering around trying to find tasks and everyone was like ""we're good!"" but it felt like you were letting people down if you just went and relaxed while others were working - so maybe 2 shorter shifts on the sat to spread the labor better
Excellent!!! Can I please be nominated permanent Sunday Kitchen Czarette? :D
Would it be possible to have a clear strike down plan already prepared in form of design work printed out and distributed at the strike, clearly defining what come down when and how? Just a bit more structure to the plan would be great.
It seemed to me that not everyone on my strike shift actually worked the entire 4 hours. It seemed certain people did one project, and when that project was done, they left camp and didn't offer to help those still working on projects (note: this was not everyone on my strike shift; two people in particular went above and beyond to take on as many projects during the 4 hours).
I never got a chance to visit the camp directly behind us, but the music they played in the daytime was astonishingly good.
late night take down on Sunday did not feel super participatory. Is 4 hours really enough, I probably worked 8 hours on Sunday and was not the first or last. Hopefully remaining take down worked alright.
Require that personal items, excluding water bottles, be out of common areas by Sunday strike time.
full time misting people
It seemed to go pretty well/smoothly/quick from my perspective.
Breakdown this year was 10x better than the last. The strike plans and strike shifts were super helpful. I believe we could've had everything done by Temple Burn if it hadn't been 110 million degrees and people weren't needing so many longer breaks.
Seating
It's hard to tell who is being lazy and not working, but I wouldn't say it's a big deal.
Recommend packing up the kitchen and just leaving the kitchen essentials before starting to cook up the leftovers.
I think signing up for projects beforehand might be helpful?
It's hard to tell who is being lazy and not working, but I wouldn't say it's a big deal.
I am not sure how it has been in previous years, but it seemed to go pretty smoothly. It was efficient to have at least half the camp tackling strike all at once. For me, I wasn't quite sure sometimes how to do the projects that needed to be done, but I was able to find a lot of tasks to work on, or simply ask someone how I could help.
Excellent
I haven't heard yet how the Sunday and Monday take-down went, so I can't speak to the overall outcome. Saturday's shift strike felt really positive and everyone was working together. We finished early and at times it was hard to find a helpful task to do, so maybe we could have shifted more work to Saturday (especially if Sunday / Monday was tough). We were supposed to take down the kitchen tent but Michelle ended up calling that off, not sure why.
I think this was ironically very well done. I say ironic because it was the take down. There was a clear list of what to get done and it went quickly because of how many people showed up.
Our 4 hour shift only took about 2 1/2 hours, I thought it went really well.
Way better than previous years I think.
Nope. This was perfectly organized!
Felt a lot of people quit at 2pm
Mostly ok - the logistics around striking the kitchen while people are trying to still cook were difficult. Suggest more structure around this - eg, kitchen will cease being used after last dinner or something
Take down was great, although for first timers felt like a fair amount of running around just trying to figure out where things were supposed to go. Also ended up jumping between tasks when one seemed to have enough help. Each task having a focused sub-leader that could direct that might be helpful, even if the questions/instructions get repetitive (e.g. shade structure take down reiterating specific locations of things, or which ones to take down or not, etc...). Due to the aforementioned jumping around, often no one doing a specific task had all the answers. Also, turn down the heat next time! That's just rude
It went well even though it was really difficult in the heat. I think it was our best tear down so far over the last three years. Having people cook all day and hand out food really helps keep the grunt work moving.
Packing Cali truck was a little haphazard with furniture and slats. More ratchet straps and #3 spring clips would have opened up more space
I think the Saturday shift was very efficient. Wouldn't make changes.
Take down at an earlier time. Was so hot I felt dizzy and overheated.
I thought it went great, it was great to have it in a few shifts where people could work together as a large team
Well supported this year
Loved strike this year, I just would prefer that if people were leaving early(before Saturday) that they helped take down camp in someway.
take down seemed to go smooth to me
I thought take down went much better than last year. Everyone felt obligated to participate and tried to help out. We ran into a bottleneck when we had more hands than leaders. We forgot to plan on an easy water distribution system once the San Diego truck was retired from water duty. Speaking of that San Diego truck... me thinks it was still empty Sunday morning. That bad boy should have been mostly packed on Saturday. Not sure what happened there.
Went great!
The takedown process was efficient. I was impressed.
Overall fine - the Melon Dome interior is a pretty laborious process that might need some refinement.
Saturday went smoothly, I thought. I was on both strike and dinner on Saturday, so I started my shift early and ended early so I could help with dinner. I thought it was super productive, actually. Working together was nice and uneventful.


Any other suggestions/solutions relating to in-camp project sign ups, strike requirement, etc.?

the cold brew was great. Better spray bottles for the dishwashing
More white board updating for each day's projects
More lasers!
Perhaps assign tasks in advance, so that the work is spread out among all people who are part of that strike shift. This way, when people finish one project, they know what is next on their list and will stick around to do more striking, rather than just taking down a few shade structures and then leaving.
Print an extra big list of in-camp project sign ups sheet. Maybe paste it next to the melon photo board so people can see what they signed up for on their own. Print or post list of scheduled events by melon board so people know when things are happening around camp. A few people didn't participate fully in strike. I heard there were a few people who were giving people not on the Saturday strike shift a hard time for not working on Saturday. It might be a good idea to remind people that you only need to sign up for 1 shift and to not give people a hard time if they are not on shift. Maybe everyone gets a silly headband or arm band that they wear on their shift to identify who is working?
The Kitchen was constantly being used and cleaned but could have been more efficient in # pots used. It seemed more people than needed opted for kitchen duty, in the shade than breakdown in the sun.
Dinner teams should meet the night before to discuss their plan of attack. Teams that did this were super chill and organized on their day, including for ice runs. Teams that didn't had lots of uncertainty and undue anxiety. That uncertainty/need for direction bled over to green/pink vests and XVC who were around.
I liked that it was kind of up to us whether or not we were going to volunteer to do things around camp (besides dinner shift and strike shift). I personally wanted to volunteer and do as much as I could in the first few days and here and there throughout the week. I know that the XVC and veteran members of camp will notice which Melons are actually participating in making camp a better place and which ones are just here for the perks.
maybe a smaller white board where melons can note which events they plan to check out so we can meet up? this way, melon meet-ups can happen regardless of whether or not you're physically there to ride out with the group. for example, ""butt buffer tent @ 10 am"" or ""mayan warrior @ sunrise""
I don’t think I fully understood the breadth of activities available to assist with before about the middle of the week, but now that I know I would love to sign up for more next year. (Also: first year, so yes obviously I did not know)
Add an option to strike shift question above for 'i worked more than i was signed up for', etc
Don't think so!
Start wrap earlier since it was so hot
I think now that I know what needs to happen at camp, it will be easier to get involved. It seemed like we had a lot of infrastructure in the trailers that wasn't being used. If any of that stuff was cool (like another jungle gym, etc.), it could have been nice to have it up and built. Maybe before we get to camp next year, we can see a brief inventory of what we have. That way, if someone wanted to build something that could be nice to have at camp but wasn't absolutely necessary, they'd know ahead of time and could plan to assemble it when they arrived to playa early in the week. It would be a shame for year's old Melon project to go to waste - also, this was just a feeling I got, I'm not sure if this is actually true).



Participatory Budgeting Process




How do you think the process went? Do you have any thoughts on submitting proposals, voting on proposals and being awarded money? Do you have any suggestions for improving on the process, timing, etc.?

Worked great, I think! Ample time was given for melons to participate, which was important.
I was very happy with the process overall, I think it got non XVC melons excited about projects they may have otherwise known nothing about
Loved everything about the this addition. The process was smooth
As a new Melon who didn't know if I could attend BM at all due to my job I only got a cursory overview, but it seemed to work well.
Seemed to go well. Got the things I applied for. I'm excited about the system and looking forward to it being used more.
I don't think I ever saw the end results of the process sent out...
Great idea. We should continue and also encourage fellow melons to bring their ideas out.
Could have been done earlier. I wish more people would have submitted proposals. We intended to have a 2nd round of funding, but we ran out of time.
I liked the results. How much to beef up our speakers? I wanna feel the melon song rattling my bones!
pretty good
Seemed fair on all fronts.
I was a unorganized and did not participate.
I thought it went so well! I was super excited to be able to vote to allocate money for art projects.
I don't have an opinion because this was my first burn.
It wasn't really clear to me how the funds were distributed and what were the outcomes, but that's probably my fault for not reading the emails enough.
I don't have opinions about how the resources should go -- I trust y'all to do what you think is important
Good; melon happy hour was dope
What exactly did the bar budget go to? Honest question could not figure out where that money went. I saw no change from last year and I know money was alotted.
I don't have a good sense of what the fruits of this project were.
Would be good to maybe initiate this with more time for folks to think thoughtfully abt this
Great!
I did not pay much attention to the process, since, as a virgin Burner, I had no context for any of the decisions. I will pay more attention next year!
I'm excited to think of an idea for next year.


Volunteering at Burning Man


Suppertime! Group dinners: the Melon's own delicious radical ritual.



Camp Dinners


Were you a dinner captain this year?


If Yes:



How did the experience being a dinner captain go? Any surprises you weren't prepared for? Do you have any suggestions for improvements on any part of the process (pre-playa planning or on-playa organizing)?

I would like to have a bit more clearly defined structure to the dinner plan. I would like XVC to inform the captains of the locations and mode of travel of each dinner team member. This way the captains would know which member can bring perishable and non-perishable items. Moreover, can't we keep once defined format of the indgredients list with both Metric and Imperial system measurements with excel formulas for conversion? I had to finally do it to ensure that we have right quantities.
I didn't realize I was a dinner captain til pretty late in the game. If was paying closer attention I could probably have coordinated the menu and ingredients better.
People who do not respond to emails from dinner captain should be penalized. People who do not bring items they said they would bring should be penalized. Being on XVC is not a pass to get out of responsibilities.
Happy to say, all went smoothly
Everything went great.

If No:




--





How did you feel the Melon dinner experience went this year? What worked? What didn't work?

Mostly good. I heard through other melons that some captains (not mine) were either too dictatorial (not giving a chance for the team to work things out before assigning tasks or shopping items), or not really paying attention to dietary stuff.
The food was great everyday
Food was sooo good OMG. Interested to know if/how much was wasted since I don't have a clue.
Easy to do, just did my prep and I was done. Good for a non-chef like myself.
My captain was a bit of a micromanager but it worked out so I can't really complain.
can not compare but I loved the food every single night!
Great! Dinners were delicious.
I feel like the kinds of foods weren't always well thought out for the setting. Eating beans every day was super unappealing - I would rather have eaten simpler meals that were a bit easier to digest given all the partying. Mac and cheese night was the highlight.
LOVED it! Our dinner captain bought most of the food items because our dinner team could not bring most of the food items (then we paid him, after the burn), so he took a backseat when it came to the actual dinner prep and I stepped in as dinner captain (unofficially) and it was super awesome. We even had a dance party while cooking dinner!
In general, I felt like things went pretty well. Some dinners were too big, while others was too small (ours was good). Some ingredients vanished quickly, while others were bigger than they needed to be. It might be good to have dinner captains capture details about quantities after meals to improve this over time. For the "cleaning machine" group, one worker cleaned while the cooking team was working, and didn't help afterwards. This is totally fine in general, but really should've been communicated in advance to the other cleaners. It wasn't and we thought the other person just didn't show up for their shift until someone told us later.
I loved my team. Everyone participated. Every single Melon was extremely helpful and courteous. I think the reason of our team success was clearly defined role & responsibilities at the start of the day. Therefore, every melon knew what is their contribution to the team dinner. This way they could plan their "dinner" day accordingly and show up on time for their part. LOVED IT!
Once again, some members of my dinner team were great and helped the entire time. Others, not so much. One individual in particular showed up, completed one quick task, and then left camp on his bike, not to be seen until dinner was served. The cleaning crew also did not complete the job, and certain things were left completely uncleaned.
Yes you should. And maybe work on building them within the ethos of the camp, especially inclusion and immediacy. I made a concerted effort with mooping before I got there, but felt rather lectured by some people in the camp when this prep was done very seriously.
Friday dinner planned with lots produce and meat with a lot of traveling persons was not the best plan. Chicken was dropped for the best. The produce did make it, thank spaghetti monster.
some teams appeared to work much harder and not utilize division of labor to their advantage
It was great, except for the one time I showed up about 15 minutes late and all the food was gone. Oops.
Obviously the Pakistani dinner was the highlight (no offense everyone else!) but I was really impressed with the quality and efficiency of dinner every night.
I thought everything worked well. There were a few dinners this year where we ran out of some options, but overall the quantities and qualities were both top notch.
A bit unorganized for sign ups because we had two lists. However the dinner crew made the confusion worth it. Umer is the sweetest human ever and I adore him. Cleaning up dinner after that night was so much fun. I loved hearing their stories and it was beautiful to hear about the boy's wedding in key west. They were so happy to share their culture and I was very happy to learn. When we invited other people from outside the camp to eat ive never seen more excited guys, I smile when I think of the happiness they shared in that moment :)
It's hard to cook with that many people when the captain doesn't lead with a clear direction and some of the team members force their opinions on the group
It was great - I was well fed and liked that we all took a turn feeding the group.
Yummy per usual
It's hard to cook with that many people when the captain doesn't lead with a clear direction and some of the team members force their opinions on the group
I loved camp dinners. I actually got to try a lot of new foods that I would never had made for myself and it was awesome! My team was amazing, and I really had fun with them. I also think it worked really well to have dinner teams do the ice run for the day.
We lacked instructions at to prepare dinner. Print the recipes and teams with assigned responsability
I felt my captain was all over the place. There was not good day of communication or spirit. Also rather than eating food our if a box mix I think with better organization we can make something fresh and tasty. We ended up taking a lot onto the playa and it wasn't really help up with the leadership we had.
I was really impressed with how all of this went. Highly organized, everyone ate their fill, it was all delicious, and it was so cheap!
pretty good
No complaints! The prep area was a bit small, but the cook area was adequate & the layout of actual dinner works perfectly.
I'd like a bigger pot on camp and frankly we should go vegetarian totally in interest of efficiency.
I think it went fantastically. My dinner captain was great and very organized! For the dinner I cooked, our amounts of food were just a little off.
Process mostly alright. Suggest more planning around what dishes get assigned to which night, with an aim to keep the things most sensitive to temperature stability prepared closer to the beginning of camp (eg the raw beef on the last day needing to survive a week in the desert)
I loved it. The best times!
Everything was great. I was so happy and thankful to have that extra bit of support while at my first burn.
The quantity of food as a whole was good. The quantity of vegetables wasn't lacking especially when considering the amount of cooking done on the last day.
I think it was largely a success! Sometimes folks miscalibrated on how to cater to dietary restrictions (e.g., more vegan than might be needed), but of course you would not want to under-do it either.
All the meals were great. Wouldn't change anything.
Often ran out of what I wanted to eat but an over abundance of other dishes that were part of the meal
Some captains were not supportive of their team / sometimes food ran out quickly even though I arrived around sunset
great food, great people, and it was fun as hell. organization was a perfect balance of order and chaos
My breakfast-for-dinner crew did pretty well this year. We had too many protein choices built in and not enough veg. Breakfast tips: Cherry tomatoes travel and keep well and don't need to be sliced so you keep all the goodness intact. Sliced and sauteed mushrooms/peppers were a hit. Nobody wants oatmeal. Grits actually went pretty well and they are easy one to use up the rest of the week.
We were a bit rushed during our shift. I thought we should have had a group meeting prior to the shift and made sure everyone was on the same page. I witnessed another team going over the menu and what needed to be done and I felt like we should have done the same.
Great vegetarian options
The meals were a real highlight. People warned me that I would be craving fresh food after a few days on-playa, but we had delicious fresh food every day at sunset!
They were AMAZING. I'm still impressed with how each one went. Delicious, way to go with the flavor. Usually, cooking for a big group means bland - but, not here. Loved it. Way to go. Recipes were solid. I think maybe we could keep most meals for next year, but I wonder if a vote would interest Melons and we could keep the top 75% of the recipes from this year and ditch the bottom 25%. Loved my team, was super chill. Also, loved having just the right amount of leftovers. It was very comforting to know there was always some food left in the coolers, since I'm a late-night eater. I think that kept me calm, honestly. I hope we don't try to make smaller meals next year. I know that sounds wasteful, but there is a serious comfort to knowing you won't go hungry when you're in the middle of the desert.

Kitchen Infrastructure




Did you feel communal food (cooler and dry goods) and communal drinks were effectively managed? Why or why not?

More or less. There was always a bit of overflow and disorganization, but I feel like that was effectively mitigated by a few annoyed Type A melons who just organized cause it needed it.
MORE BEER! and paper towels for 2018
Yes
Yes, all clearly labeled and covered in the orientation.
We could have occasionally used more beer!
Yes. Nothing seemed rotten or water-logged, from what I could tell, mostly because people were handling the water draining from each cooler everyday so that was great.
Mostly seemed good. This kinda thing is never perfect, but it went as well as could be expected.
There were times of a beer shortage. But mostly, I think everything worked out well.
We need a better ice system. It was too hot this year to start coolers with food and only ice blocks. Towards the end of the week we realized if we started a cooler with 3 blocks and 4 bags of ice to initially cool it down and then added food that the cooler and the food stayed colder. We need a better way to drain water from the coolers. Can we reuse the water in a more effective way? We need a through check of the cooler -- some of them were leaking water and made muddy messes in the kitchen. Placement of coolers - they took up a lot of space in the kitchen and seemed to move every day. Can we find a better place for them to be that is in the shade?
Best I've seen so far. Cooler elimination led to less communal crap by end of week.
i say effective. there was always food and drink available
I did not realize there was a communal cooler for sharing food until halfway through the week.
I think they were- it was clear what was up for grabs and what wasn't. It was super hot this year, but nothing seemed to have spoiled.
Coolers could've been managed/organized a little better, needed some more ice and organization from the start, not just throughout the week. Also perhaps better cooler infrastructure- maybe different shelving for better ice distribution and food distribution. We could've use more beer and more communal drinks and a separate cooler for drinking ice.
I actually didn't realize their was a communal cooler for food but I loved how people would share or cook each other food in the mornings.
It all seemed fine to me.
Needed more beer! Camp should give a beer run option - so many folks take the burner express and brining beer is very hard, an we find a way for melons to ship cards on our shipping system?!?!
I did not really go into the communal food cooler because I had plenty of my own food to eat and like to be as self-reliant as possible.
They were
As in past years, I always forgot to check for leftovers as something to eat. Maybe more signage about that? Also some way to ensure that there are always beers in the drink cooler.
I felt the food coolers were well organized and people were on top of that. But the drinks were routinely exacerbated about when expectation to share should be one of positivity.
At one point the communal cooler was 80 degrees. I think we should have two communal coolers, or maybe make the first night's dinner cooler the second communal cooler ASAP, and go over etiquette (don't keep the cooler open looking through food). I was really worried about people getting food poisoning.
the communal beer situation probably needs some better guidance. I know some ppl tried to label things to save, and I don't think that worked well. There often wasn't cold beer. Not sure what to do, but I bet we can come up with something
We should all be more aware of the ice in communal drink/food coolers & adjust as needed.
People instantly taking all beer before it was cold not cool.
For the most part, yes. There was one moment early in the week in which it was discovered that the coolers were way too hot, but a campmate quickly fixed it and I didn’t hear of anything else.
Yes i guess - i didn't engage too much with the communal food, moreso with the drinks. I guess i didn't really realize there was any management of that happening?
The Kitchen is a shining beacon on the dusty playa that i call home.
Seemed fine to me, although some people didn't actually realize they were communal (or were overly polite and still felt the need to ask).
Yes.
Once ice got sorted, yes
Communal food was maybe sometimes a little hard to find among leftover dinner ingredients that were not cooked in the first place. Maybe room for better organizing there?
Yes, everything was labeled clearly and orientation made it clear.
Seemed overly full and hard to find things in the communal cooler. Also food was going bad in the cooler and it seemed people forgot about their items in there.
I still get intimidated knowing if I can or can't eat something in the communal coolers - maybe just me
Yes!!!!
Yes, no complaints
Yes, however, I overheard several people explain that communal drinks were often low. Perhaps in the future we could ration out communal drinks throughout the week to alleviate drinks being drunk up too fast.
Communal food was quite helpful during late hours :)
The cooler situation was a little confusing. It was constantly in flux (which can't be helped to some extent), but it seemed like we may have been a little short on capacity, and definitely had leakage & temperature issues. I know we had a communal cooler, but there were times when I could've used more clarity as to what I could just go in and eat at will — maybe a ""leftovers/eat me now"" cooler?
Whoever brought the Pellegrino was a saint, and I'll be bringing some for the team next year. Food was managed properly, no issue there. I do think we needed more ice, though. It always seemed like such a precious commodity. It might have just been the weather, but I could never get enough. Can we increase the ice budget next year? Two coolers for communal drinks?

What did you feel worked in the kitchen this year? What didn't?  

the biggest snag was that dinner teams were assembled WAY too late this year. Captaining and doing early man was a real challenge, which would definitely not have been doable w/o my co-captain. That said, co-captaining presented its own challenges; namely communicating w/ someone on a tight schedule over several time zones. Everything else about the dusty bucket seemed to work really really well. The organization in that kitchen is a type A's wet dream. Portions and subsequent leftovers seemed a LOT better than last year as well!
Everything worked
I was not sure on rules around cooking your own food and sometimes felt I got in the way. Stove operation lessons would have been helpful.
Mostly felt good about everything.
The burner was a little scary :) I burnt my hair as there was too much gas coming out. Oppsss!
Pakistan
Solid design tested and true.
It was great having non-XVC help with the dinner/kitchen leadership.
everything appeared to work to me
Having the communal cold brew + electrolyte drink available all the time was KEY! Thank you!
It was super helpful having a few people voluntarily use leftovers for breakfast the next day. Perhaps encouraging more of this!
I really liked how you had photos of where to place things. That was very helpful during clean up.
Everything was straightforward/no issues.
I worked on unloading a lot of the kitchen boxes, and a lot of the kitchen utensils did not really have a home. Maybe time to revise the painted ""maps"" where utensils hang? Also, most things came out of the boxes kind of dirty, so there is probably a way to avoid that.
The excess cooler water was unexpected. We should think of a good use for that. The sharpened knives were GREAT! Also the coffee system was A-plus.
I feel it was all well organized and I could find thing easily. The cleaning stations could be a bit better managed.
It wasn't clear to me who to ask about how the kitchen worked without bothering people. I probably should've asked one of the vests, but they seemed busy with more on hands stuff.
I think b/c of heat ice was trickier than normal this year
Small prep area, but we worked around it. Other than that, all gravy!
teamwork was strong, ran smooth
I feel like a simplification of the kitchen and meals would free time for all.
Pre-cut frozen veggies seem like a solid playa solution, but in practice they dwindled down to a tiny percentage of what was listed on the bag and grew limp after sitting in our cold but not frozen coolers. They’re so convenient that I don’t necessarily think folks should stop bringing them, just perhaps buy more than we think we need.
I think this is all covered in responses to other questions
Read above^^^^^
Everything seemed pretty dandy.
When dinner captains didn't announce a scarcity of an item, it would run out before the line had its first serving.
We were a little short on paper towels.
Kitchen was great and very well organized.
the only thing was we ran out of paper towel
Didn't feel like we had a lot of waste
There was adequate counter/cooking space, that was really nice
We need more small bowls. Instead of cooking a cohesive dish we prepared a bunch of separate ingredients. Although it isn't the tastiest approach it does make sure not a single person's stomach is offended or left out. All well and good but we end up with a lot of individual ingredients we need to keep separate. More small metal bowls!
The kitchen was sufficient overall.
The kitchen overall worked pretty well, but the dishwashing/clean-up situation needed some work. I don't have much experience doing so many dishes in limited water/waste circumstance, so I can't recommend specific improvements, but it took forever to properly clean up the dinner that I was a part of, and there was a lot of ""winging-it"" with the dishwashing workflow. Running out of paper towels so early certainly didn't help… we were quite profligate with those for the first few days!
Space was sufficient, as were the number of burners. Thought it was well-organized.

What did you expect to find in the kitchen that wasn't there?

grounds for hot coffee (until mid-week when someone put some in the communal food)
Nothing!
ice cream
paper towels
had what i needed
The kitchen had everything imaginable.
More pans/pots
A naked chef
More serving bowls
I found everything I needed.
goldfish
Kitchen still awesome
Paper towel after about midweek
nothing
found everything that I needed.
More towels for drying and cleaning. Brillo pads for scrubbing pans.
More snacks
More deep pans to cook dinners

What was the best thing you ate on the playa this year?

Pakistani feast
Caitlin's Grilled cheese
Korean BBQ
Breakfast dinner? Or tacos. Or melons.
Most of our dinners
Melons
Thai food!
Mac and cheese, and when someone made me bacon
Mexican food!
playa
All the meals were fantastic at our camp
lots of avocados
Breakfast for Dinner!
2am acid-chef tofu scramble
Thai Curry (sunday night)
The Friday dinner because of the fond memories
Bean dip
fluffernutter sandwich
Cotton candy!
Taco bowl night was amazing
Pizza
A bite of steak cooked over the fire at the Temple of Gravity
A smoothie at another camp.
That Pakistani meal.
many of the dinners
Hot dogs at another camp. This saved me. Also, the breakfast for dinner was bomb.com, as was Mexican night.
beef bulgolgi, pizza
Smoked steak at klub kasbah
bibimbap?
watermelon
Pancakes
Poutine at midnight
Peanut Butter and Fluff Sandwhich handed to me sunday am at the Man's ashes.
Cabbage from Mac and cheese night
What was the last night again? Whatever that was!
Gumbo or Taco Bowls
I liked everything!
food was so good
Bacon
Friday dinner was THE BOMB!
Dusty vagina.
dumplings for sure!
Pakistanian food
Can't pinpoint one meal — really enjoyed most of them!
Tacos were great.

Any other suggestions/solutions relating to food, coffee, kitchen, dinners, dishwashing station, pantry, coolers, bar, etc.? Dinner ideas or recipes for next year?

I think we just wanna emphasize how to properly refill dish water on orientation (I know I covered this, but may have failed during one go-through). There were a couple times that way too much water was used either in the bleach or soap bucket.
Ran out of paper towels early but if we were able to manage throughout the week I guess we just created less waste!
Better spray bottles!
More simple rice/pasta based meals, less meat and way less beans!
Maybe an easier way to make hot coffee? I usually go to Center Camp but it would be cool (haha!) to have hot coffee on camp. It's okay either way though. The Cold Brew ROCKS!!!
Everyone was lovely! Easy to find and helpful when needed.
Dear XVC Can we get some funds to upgrade our cooking pots and pans? Due to the low quality of the pots, it takes ages to cook. It would be great to have atleast two big cooking pots non-stick and of good quality. We used them so often.
more signage in kitchen about cooking for public events! We got a visit from the health department and everyone needed to put on gloves. And we needed 3 buckets for the dish washing station (instead of 2). We ran out of paper towels. We need paper towels for the handwashing station for public events, but maybe we can use towels when we don't have events. Also, we need an additional paper towel holder for the dinner team dish washing station. The trash can by the dinner dish washing station worked well -- but needed trash bags. We still need to fix the trash system. Melon drying system kinda worked. Maybe it could be closer to the kitchen? Or turned into an art project? It needs to be monitored bc people put too much stuff on top and then things failed to dry out (this is probably from the melon ball). buy bleach test strips. we only used less than 1 of the gray water disposal buckets
Since we had space in the grey water and the dishes are burnable now, we might get new/more spray bottles - remember those insecticide continuous spray bottles? Those were nice! Only 1 sprayed the rest squirted a single stream.
Take $10-15 from every alcohol drinking Melon to buy Coors Light and Tecate for the communal cooler. Bring it in on the trailer. This is in addition to any event booze.
keep making delicious food
maybe one more spray bottle?
maybe a few more drying rags. We had so many bowls and I was worried they wouldn't dry
A camp, stovetop espresso maker would be cool. Maybe plan for another few bags of ice, during the morning ice runs, to put in drinks.
Would love a second hand washing station!
More veggies! For most of the dinners that had vegetable components, we ran out before the end of the line got to have any. I would just ramp up the amounts of each. One thing that bothered me was that ground beef was scheduled to be served on Saturday night! Having arrived 6 (I think?) days before it was going to be served, it seemed like a recipe for food borne illness. I think taco night on Saturday is fine, but just use a less likely contaminant (chicken, steak). I heard that the ground beef was already thawing out too much by Monday, and if that had leaked at all, the whole cooler would have been contaminated. For the dinner I was a part of, we were told to bring either grits or oatmeal. We decided on grits because apparently oats didn't go over well in the past. I only brought half of the recommended amount on the excel sheet, and we had most of that left over. Pancakes were not too difficult and went over way better. Might be best to nix the oats/grits altogether.
No Mac & cheese. Can we have regular pasta?
I think in general there never seemed to be enough veggies. Maybe that needs to be a big priority as meat eaters eat them too. I also think a BBQ night would be a lot of fun.
I'm seriously wondering if better etiquette is to bring no communal food next year and eat everyone else's . There was so much extra and not enough ice for it.
Suggest not providing any paper goods, so wasteful. Make everyone bring their own mess kit. Similarly, no paper towels at handwash.
Sushi!
Mmmmm, thank you so much for cold brew The dishwashing station(s) started to feel pretty gross after a few days.
I got nothin!
Ice scooper for communal cooler Teriyaki night Make your own kebab night
More bacon and communal snacks out - would be willing to pay more if we could beef up communal snacking throughout
I'm going to look a little closer at the breakfast for dinner plan and reflect on that at a later date.
Dishwashing station/workflow needs some enhancement, to work better for more people, but I can't be specific because I don't have that much experience with doing dishes under those circumstances!
I was surprised there weren't more people craving hot coffee. I love a big cup of joe in the morning, and I think I'll bring some next year to share. I think the build-your-own dinners were the most successful (e.g. tacos) - everyone gets what they want.


The Ten Principles: Burning Man runs around Ten Principles, how well do you think Octomelon lived by them?


To what extent did Octomelon adhere to the 10 principles?



Did you learn anything about any of the Ten Principles this year or something about yourself because of the Ten Principles?

I had some really great conversations about the contradictory nature of the 10 principles that really forced me to think harder about them. That said, radical self-reliance will probably always be my favorite.
I learned more about immediacy and have been applying it in the default world.
Learned to be a participant and not an expectator
I realized Decommodification is simpler to practice than one might think, and Octomelon set a great example. Gifting melons was also a simple thing that anyone could participate in.
as a virgin there was so much to learn, everything basically. i'm a slow student therefore, and i only realize now back home, I need to come back to explore myself more and enforce the principles more
There's a ton of awesome people in the world if you put your mind to talking to them. Do that more. Make a moment or create a place for people to be the best them.
I felt more integrated with the 10 principles and overall with the ""fabric"" of Burning Man because I really studied and thought about how I could exercise those principles more while I'm there and in the default world. For the most part the 10 principles really align with my own personal values on how to best ""be"" and live in the world so this year I really felt like the experience has been much more elaborate and special for me, especially being on this journey to identity and cultivate my own values.
No, I learned nothing. I might know less now.
I learned I need to strike a balance between community and immediacy.
This year I focused on exploring more immediacy and more radical self-expression. Both went very well.
Radical inclusion is different for all.
I really enjoyed take down. It was fun and I felt it was very organized. My favorite part was taking out the trash. Actually, the burner express is very strict about what can be recycled so I had to dig through the trash (weirdly that was fun). But the man suggested taking an actual photograph of what can be recycled vs. just the names or drawn photos. What I found is many people were recycling things that could typically be recycled (coconut water bottles, plastic items with a bit of food on it, etc) but the bus wouldn't allow. When I asked the man, he said Reno doesn't have the same recycling capabilities as SF so while some things can be recycled in SF, they cannot be in Reno.
Sure but that's for me to know.
I learned that immediacy is really hard for me. I'm always in the past or the future, running from one place to the next, being in the moment was a big one for me.
immediacy was very present for me this year, a thing I struggled with and was a point of growth. I also got more in touch with radical self-expression, also a point of growth.
Radical self-reliance and self-expression were big ones for me. I've always been a pretty ""out there"" person, but being in an environment that not only welcomes but encourages self-expression without judgement was refreshing and eye-opening. Why limit myself to one week's worth of being the best, most happy version of myself? Self-reliance...besides the weather, the harsh environment of BRC demands this principle. I found I'm much stronger, patient and thoughtful than I thought.
that scarcity breeds appreaciation
I think I wasn’t quite as inclusive as I generally aspire to be; once I had made lovely friends within camp I didn’t reach out to other Melons as often. Other than that, oh I could go on forever
So much
Immediacy has taught me overcome my barriers with being shy and reserved. I let my inner Canadian out and wasn't Sorry aboot it Eh.
Still processing that.
Self reliance was on my mind more than usual, and so yes, it has got me thinking.
Yes :)
I'm dont practice immediacy nearly as much as I think i do in default world
I learn how to be a more contributing member of a camp
I need more practice with gifting, communal effort & participation. And self-expression, perhaps. Really enjoyed pushing my boundaries in all these ways.
It was amazing to see so many Melons doing their thing in peace. I didn't expect LNT to be so firm, but I am glad it was and I will take that with me wherever I go now.

Do you have any thoughts on The Ten Principles? Can we communicate them to fresh Melons and other Burners better? Should we?

I'd like to add a 10 principles section to orientation. OR, have a 10 principles centered art piece. We could even have them be posted around the melon dome..?
A list of the principles on melon tips couldn't hurt. In some ways the principle of radical self reliance conflicts with Melon Camp taking on the responsibility of communicating the principles. I feel we are at a good place overall.
May have fun reminders on the white board
I think it's a good way to ground our experiences.
mmmh i believe it is learning by experiencing. surely, a virgin needs to get familiar before-hand. but it matters how you live the principle on playa and what others tell you. I would certainly encourage talking about it on playa
I really liked the write up on the burning melon site. Thought it was great.
I think Decommodification might be a really hard one and we should try hard to emphasize this (getting rid of logos on clothes, tents, etc) as well as the principle of Immediacy (put. away. the damn. phones.)
Nope. I hate thinking.
Do talk to strangers. Don't try to see everything.
Y'all did great.
Yes! I think even the most veteran Burner needs constant reminders of the principles. Big bold signs? Art projects about them? Painted tables and chairs that are inscribed with principles and examples on them?
Yes you should. And maybe work on building them within the ethos of the camp, especially inclusion and immediacy. I made a concerted effort with mooping before I got there, but felt rather lectured by some people in the camp when this prep was done very seriously.
I feel like they're pretty well articulated. Maybe a sign or something in camp? I know it's hokey, but it might tie the melons into the larger community ethos in a more constant and overt way.
I think it's super important, mostly b/c I view them as what keeps burning many how it is. No strong ideas for if we need or what to do re better communication.
While the camp itself is all about these principles & definitely embraces melons of all shapes & sizes, I thought we could better embrace the principle of radical inclusion. Often times, it felt like there were many cliques within the camp that weren't openly inviting. Everyone individually was awesome and friendly, but I think the excitement of being with fellow melons can sometimes exclude those who are new and/or introverted. Let's open up the circle & initiate more conversation with people we don't normally hang with. This was most noticeable during the melon ball. Now don't get me wrong - it was bangin'. But why invite our neighbors far & wide to a party if we're not going to party WITH them but instead hang in groups among ourselves? I saw most melons chilling with other melons rather than putting themselves out there. I'd like to see us open our tentacles to more beautiful burners next year.
It's worth reviewing at least once
Yes, probably, probably. I have to think about it a lot more before articulating that, let's get to the spring and reconvene this question.
Participation. Just being open to anything and anyone.
Might not hurt (especially for newbies) to have some kind of talk about them at camp.
I wouldn't say I felt like these were explicitly communicated anywhere in camp, but instead more implicitly, which I personally prefer.
Yes maybe ideas to participate in each of them. Seemed unclear to soon new and veteran melons.
I think our camp does an amazing job at the principles! well done
Love them. Don't think people should make people feel unwelcomed by policing their adherence to them in a negative rather than suggestive/constructive way though, which is a problem, not often, but still too often - it's not a necessary or productive thing to do
Going over the ten principles during orientation would have been great.
I really believe in the Ten Principles, and it bothered me every time I saw someone not taking one of them seriously. Why bother with Burning Man if you're not there for what Burning Man is about? Is there some way to push the Principles more, without being too pushy? I don't know :\
""We're fucking serious about LNT.""


Next Year Was Always Better: Let's wrap this up, mmkay?


What advice would you give to a new Melon?

Come with ideas, and a willingness to try and maybe fail.
Say yes as much as you can. Say no when you want to. Burning man is more than just a party. Explore that more.
Make new friends, but go explore!
have fun, earn your burn
take the time to figure out what you want to try, then work to try to do that.
no matter what you thought. it is different.
Say yes to more stuff, even if it doesn't seem like your jam. It might be your jam, and other-dimensional you would be jelly you didn't say yes to the jam.
Participate! Don't worry about gifting your first year.
""My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want your heart! I want to eat his children! Praise be to Allah!"" - MikeTyson
Please read the emails which are sent out. Someone is writing them for your own benefit and not his/her own! :)
Be involved. Be inclusive - don't be cliquey. Be present for your entire dinner shift and strike shift. Try to make new friends with other Melons.
Read the emails. Do your part and be active.
DO as much as you can!
The grass is greenest where you water it.
embrace the dust
Don't be afraid to be weird. Weird is good. We need more weird. But the good kind of weird.
Spend time hanging around camp and getting to know people!
You can never have too much melon clothing.
Come with an open heart and mind and don't set expectations.
Be present, be open and don't try to fit in...just be you.
Don't be afraid to ask for help!
Get to know your campmates! The Melons are so diverse, it is like a mini Burning Man inside Burning Man, in the comfort of your own living space. Wild and crazy adventures with strangers are amazing and necessary, but did it really happen if you don't get to come home and share your story with your closest Melons and tent neighbors??
Always be prepared
Bring work gloves. If you bring a cooler, it will need love every day.
I think this depends on who they are, where they are coming from and what they want to get out of it. Obsessing over the prep hurt my experience so I'd want to put them at ease about that. I'd also tell them not to expect to really make friends. That the self journies people are on seems to inhibit some connections. I really struggled a lot and was on a low income experience so I'd also warn them about the money they invest.
It's a lot of a lot, be ready for it to be physically, emotionally and intellectually challenging. Don't be afraid to ask for help, but don't expect to get that help either. You're in a community but on your own. It's weird, just go with it.
If you're not sure what to do, just ask another melon. We're one of the most welcoming groups I've seen -- so jump in and reach out. We'll give you lots of FBL
Those survival guides? READ THEM, and buy those extra head lamps. Anticipate needing your dust mask, goggles & sun protection 24/7. Read the event guide more & say ""yes"" to every opportunity that comes your way. Bring less booze - it's the playa's #1 gift.
Remember it is a balance of struggle and pleasure
remain as radically open as possible, talk to new people often, live without expectations
Bring sturdy boots.
You are going to want to come back.
Don't be scared! It'll all be fine.
Let go.
Respond to emails in the buildup Do the reading and ask questions Don't expect anyone to babysit you...at any point When in doubt, practice self care
Nothing too insightful! Really be open-minded, not just try to be open-minded. Challenge yourself.
Read the melon tips. Be part of the community not a tourist.
Bring pedialyte packets. One warm coat and layers. Shoes and a tent that have no value to you. Less toiletries since you won't be showering much, more wet wipes!
Write a letter to yourself right after the Burn that you read (or not) as you prep for the next
Pack less food haha.
Earn yer bern
Just go, wander around and be open, it will be wonderful
If you aren't used to being in the sun for ten hours a day, the best thing you can do is to plan on being covered every single minute. Bring cotton or silk scarves, hoods, capes anything that is loose, comfortable and provides some shade.
Stay hydrated and try to save your energy during the day by lounging around camp. Most people go out at night so being lazy during the day and taking a nap certainly helps.
You can't be prepared enough. Just let the time take its course. You are in amazing hands.
Must have bike, sun hat, take advantage of communal showers
Do the reading!
Bring less than you think you need. Be prepared to be uncomfortable (physically, anyway). A 3-person tent is a lie. You can't have too much lighting. You'd better be a nice person, because you're going to be surrounded by nice people. Don't overthink any of it. Camp is a safe space - spend as much time there as you'd like. Volunteer!




Any thoughts or suggestions you'd like to share to improve camp in 2018?

I'll say again: Green Dot.
DJ setup, Melon car, educate fresh melons (including myself!) on the org structure
I was wondering if spacing the tent streets so that the tent entrances are perpendicular to the trajectory of the sun will make it easier to keep tents open for circulation without excessive sunlight.
One event that involves consensual back rubs. No events that involve non-consensual back flips.
I would prefer a camp that is around 60-70 max, personally, I think 80 is just still too big but I think with the exception of 2-3 people, the entire was FRIGGIN AWESOME!!! Best. Meloncamp. EVERRR!
During the camp, there was a discussion happening that Burning man is still quite expensive and not for everyone to be able to make it. I think, every year, we should sponsor-a-melon who is truly deserving and without our support, due to life circumstances would have never made it to the burningman. This process should be open to all the melons who have camped with us once and they give genuine financial reasons what has changed in their circumstances and the XVC should be able to evaluate and finally vote on one of them to join our camp. We are a big family and I would be happy to send extra money (i.e 50 USD) to support this initiative.
So many thoughts, so little time. ;)
No, I'd rather keep them to myself and tell you in early August 2018.
Regional Burning Melon events throughout the year (not just build days in prep). Seeing melons post-burn has been super helpful for my decompression, and for building stronger community and relationships off-playa.
I don't know how you guys do it. Literally heros.
more fruit based love
Always, more art.
Open registrations earlier
I think I've expressed them. Everything the camp was so focused on its creation and building it was a distraction. Especially hard for people there for many nights. Maybe more communal things and more attention to getting people together.
I really think you guys run an incredible camp. One thing to note is that it's a clique heavy atmosphere. Not since high school have I felt like I was welcome, but not necessarily included. I talked to a number of other virgins and this was a pretty common feeling. Night time was particularly hard, when it isn't as easy to go around by yourself. I don't think it's your responsibility to fix this, but it's worth knowing that it's a thing. I wonder if there's a more open way to share evening plans? Rather than seeing word of mouth trickle around that may or may not make it to your ears, some way to write down on a central whiteboard or announce hey a few of us are doing this thing, anyone can come. Because it's also awkward saying every time what youre doing and not having anyone care. Might make it easier for people with one friend that wants to branch out a little. I don't know, it's just weird for adults to feel excluded in an inclusive environment.
Dinner teams work great because they forced collaboration between campers and helped break the ice. more forced collaboration between random members of camp will help break ice and foster friendships
Less/same level of services. More art!
More Canadians!!
It was pretty lovely and everything felt as it should be (or I don't have the experience to know what might be better, yet).
I like it the way it is now but maybe we could work on doing more events with one another or internally for the camp. The house party was great example and doing more activities together could create more cohesion with the different mini groups in the camp.
Larger tent area. Move kitchen and communal areas a bit further away from the tent area.
No feathers or sequence allowed for any melon
melon disco ball
Art. Let's plan a big project and work towards it.
Maybe do an art car. The raccoon in the camp next door was incredible. I had a bike stolen as well so keeping the bikes closer to camp instead of by the road would alleviate the risk of theft.
While I think camp has a lot of cool stuff it has collected over the 8 years it has existed, I'm not convinced that 100% of it needs to be built every single year. The cargo net seemed to be empty nearly all the time. I think I saw people in the Car Port one time (mostly for shade). Perhaps the lack of Car Port use was due to placement? Given more time was spent putting some infrastructure up than it was used, seems like there are some projects that could be reconsidered in the future to avoid wasting time.
Thank you for doing what you do. I can't wait to contribute more to camp next year. Love you all - this was really special for me.