Report for Placement 2019
Melon Rouge at 8:29 & F
The Melon aerial rig against a classic playa sunset. The Melon Rouge Aerial rig and burn barrel against a perfect playa sunset.

Hello Placement and other curious participants! Use the table of contents at right to jump a specific section. 
Click any photos to see larger versions!

SUMMARY

In 2019 the Melons:

  • Engaged with 2,000+ participants via six listed events and a dozen unlisted events.
  • Interacted with our neighbors through gifts ranging from watermelons to pranks to parties and more.   
  • Transported 10,300 lbs. of gear for 81 participants, fundraising $1,200 for regional non-profits, in our ChiCargo shipping program.
  • Volunteered for more than 211 shift hours outside of camp across Arctica (Ice), BRCPO, Center Camp Cafe, Fire/Burn Perimeter, Gate, Perimeter, Exodus, Lamplighters, Placement’s Camp Survey Squad, Rangers, and Temple Guardians
  • Greened Our Burn with 54% of us riding the Burner Express Bus (52/95 people), not to mention powering our camp with solar and wind!
  • Submitted 6 original DEIS letters in support of Burning Man:
    • Letters 1798, 1913, 1975 and 3 more anonymous
    • Generated 8+ BLM responses

CAMP FRONTAGE, LAYOUT, AND INTERACTIVE ART

Melon Rouge as seen from above.
Melon Rouge from above.

In 2019 Melon Rouge was placed at 8:29 & F with 200' of frontage on F only. You can see us in the above aerial photo - we're all that highly organized
aluminet and no RVs (ok, we had one RV in camp but it is just outside the photo). We split our frontage into two sections:

On the Man-side of our frontage featured our hand cut/painted/wired Melon Rouge sign, whose lights were visible all the way down F, and the entryway to our public Melon Lounge, made more visually appealing and inviting to passersby thanks to our two Moulin Rouge-inspired laser-cut heart portals. At night the sign was brightly lit with marquee-style light bulbs and the heart portals had blinking red lights. Like so:
Melon Rouge signage at night

Inside, the Melon Lounge had plenty of seating for guests on homemade furniture, including a melon-painted playatech living room set, below. Flowing hand-sewn curtain panels created a separation between the “public” lounge and more “private” camp space.
Melon living room set
Meanwhile, the mountain-side of our frontage was left unshaded and included: an aerial rig with hoop, below, which attracted passersby day and night looking to take a spin on the hoop; our shaded “kelp forest” lounge space, right, where weary Burners could (and did!) rest their heads; an inviting melon-shaped dome for escaping the sun; our
Daft Melon pyramid; our four-seat teeter-totter table for those looking for some balance; our public burn barrel featuring our Burning Melon design; a “jumbo booze pong” set; and lots of bike parking on melon-painted playatech racks. Check out a panorama of the area over here!
The Aerial Rig in Action


Separating our camp frontage from our sleeping area was our open-concept kitchen for camp meals, The Dusty Bucket, below; our smaller kitchen for individual campers, the Dusty Spoon; and the 48-foot trailer we use to transport our camp infrastructure from Chicago (not to mention support our highly successful
ChiCargo shipping program), carefully decommodified with a hand-painted sign!
Melon Rouge In the Morning

INTERACTIVE EVENTS!

Melon Rouge wasn't all beautiful infrastructure and art pieces though. Our patch of Melons also hosted and ran a number of events inside and outside of camp, listed and unlisted! Below are a sampling of our favorites.

It's Watermelon Time!
Melon Gifting Group
Pulpo and me
The Melons' signature event in which we gift cool, sweet, slices of watermelon to the hot and dusty denizens of Black Rock City every day of the week from 1-5pm. Nearly all of our campers worked shifts gifting with some slicing melons (in careful accordance with Nevada health regulations), some handing them out, and some collecting the rinds. Mindful of our MOOP, we collected all the rinds and composted them daily with the help of Camp Ideate. This year we: composted 10 gallons of watermelon rinds a day and gifted a total of 95 melons over 20 hours, serving approximately 1,500 citizens of Black Rock City, including local celebrities like El Pulpo Mechanico!



The Melon Ball
In addition to our regular daily Melon gifting, we served up juicy melon cocktails, blended with our custom blender bike, to about ~250 ballers at our 3rd annual Friday afternoon!

Daft Melon @ The Trash Fence
For those who just couldn’t be bothered to hit the trash fence this year, we hosted a DJ set by our very own Daft Melon on Tuesday Night. It was such a success, with more than 60 burners dancing just after sunset, they came back and played one more time on Wednesday night. And when our mysterious masked Melons weren’t using their pyramid, quite a few other folks also jacked in to our speaker. 

Oasis Oasis
Oasis Oasis
Our party planning campers went through a full cooler of ice-cold drinks on Tuesday afternoon serving Burners from all over at the Oasis Oasis - a spontaneous pop-up slice of something in the middle of the playa at about 8:25 - featuring a custom watermelon shade structure, swaying palm trees, a comfy inflatable watermelon lounger, an impromptu interactive bad erotica reading performance, and, of course, an Oasis-only soundtrack. It was Wonderwall!

Oasis Oasis Oasis
Oasis Oasis OasisIn an attempt to be inclusive - since not everyone loves the song stylings of the Gallagher brothers - we also offered up the Oasis Oasis Oasis, an itty-bitty pop-up party for those who needed a break from all the Oasis playing at the Oasis Oasis, featuring exclusively non-Oasis tunes from its tiny speaker.

Deep Playa Toilet Disco
In one of our
absolute highlights of 2019 the Melons hosted a surprise late-night porto-party at the compost portos in deep playa. Decorating the portos with lights, mylar, and other shiny things we set up a bar and served up strong drinks to even stronger disco tunes (you can sort of make out the set up in the photo above - we were having too much fun to document!). Many a dancer from the nearby sound cars came to us to  pee, but they stayed to party. By the time our speaker ran out we’d gone through all of our cocktails and served hundreds!

Intro to Aerial Hoop
Our camp aerial rig was in use from the moment we set it up during Early Man. Day in and day out, people would come in from off the street, or from across the street at Pink Mammoth, to show off their skills with a hoop. Still, to make sure our rig was inclusive even to those without training, our resident Melon Crusher, who teaches aerial skills in the Default World, hosted a two-hour introduction class for seven no-longer novices!

Adorn Your Melons! Pastie-Making Workshop
Sometimes you just want to cover your nipples with some thing special. And for those times, what better than a custom pastie? To that end, eight lucky burners came to our pasty making workshop!

Melon Lounge Events 
Melon Air

bad erotica
Our camp events didn’t stop there! Each day during our Melon Gifting sessions we also hosted events in our Melon Lounge including:

    • Melon Spa
      • 24 participants looking for a splash of refreshment from the dust came by our Melon Spa to enjoy melon manicures, melon face masks, and other relaxing spa treatments.
    • Bad Erotica Story Hour
      • More than a dozen curious humans, right, enjoyed dynamic readings of some hand-selected short-but-entirely-unforgettable erotic fiction. When was the last time you pondered the sex lives of gay dinosaurs in alien space zoos?
    • Now Boarding: Melon Air Flight #1
      • ~15 passengers boarded our inaugural Melon flight, seen above, a magical trip to Melonland hosted by two real-life flight stewards, complete with a safety briefing and Q&A session.
    • Expand Your Melon Speaker Series
      • 15 people attended our afternoon series of four talks led by some of our distinguished campers, covering topics from Cybersecurity to Nuclear Energy.

    NEIGHBOR INTERACTIONS

    ChiCargo
    MelonRouge2
    Behind our daily watermelon gifting, the Melon's single biggest interaction with other Burners comes in the Chicago-area shipping program we facilitate with the extra space in our camp trailer. This year the program shipped 10,300 pounds of gear for 81 participants - including a number of art projects - and raised $1,200 for regional non-profits! And look how organized we were! To learn more about how ChiCargo helps midwestern burners, check out our Facebook page

    What else? This year we worked neighbors near and far. On the far side, thanks to Camp Ideate we were able to compost more than 100 gallons of organic food waste;  Dead Battery Society helped us recycle used camp batteries; and Station 9 ESD Camp let us share space in their fridge truck to assure our food was stored at a good temperature. On the near side, our watermelons kept dancers across the street from us at Pink Mammoth hydrated all week, and when our neighbors and the Badlands Bordello tried to host we a "Moulin Rouge" night we made sure they knew who was there first by modifying their sign to read Melon Rouge 2 (right). 

    SUMMARY OF MELON ROUGE CAMP SURVEY RESULTS

    Honestly, we thought the Burn really was better in 2019, but you don't have to take our word for it! Each year we do a post-Burn survey of our campers to see who they are and what they thought. This year 66 out of 94 Melons completed the survey. Check out the results right here.

    HOW WE'D LIKE TO IMPROVE IN 2020

    1. Better crowd management for our Melon Ball party - while our bike parking and layout worked well for our regular melon gifting and Melon Lounge events, the large crowd which gathered for our Melon Ball party on Friday was bigger and more unruly, and sometimes spilled into the street. For next year we would plan on more space for bikes and the line for the bar, so this doesn’t happen.

    2. The dream of every camp on playa: better distribution of our workload amongst campers. Every year we get a little better at this, but there is always room for improvement. Next year we hope to get more campers involved with more projects earlier!

    3. Creating a stronger sense of community, with more camp-collaborative art and new ways to integrate our Burn off-Playa, by hosting regional in-person Melon meet-ups and build days year-round.