Melon Rouge 2019: post-playa survey results
Number of melons who completed the survey: 66 (69% of melons!)
Number of melons in 2019: 95
Part 1: The Basics
Were you prepared?
There is a lot of information that needs to be shared before Burning Man. Do you have any suggestions on better ways to distribute that information (i.e. the emails from the Melon listhost, FB, Slack, Snapchat, WhatsApp, a comprehensive/mandatory google doc that links out to separate docs, a quiz to gamify/incentivize reading and participation, etc.)?
1. Quiz to gamify/incentivize reading and participation
2. Encourage new melons or people recently off the waitlist to scroll through the Facebook group
3. Some FB group posts are more mandatory / higher priority than others -- these should be linked in a pinned post at the very top
4. Encourage people to share templates for packing lists (if they're comfortable doing so)
A comprehensive google doc that links to separate docs would be nice just to refer back to (so: in addition to whatever first wave communication is decided on). Emails get buried and it would be nice to have one location to double and triple-check information once it exists.
Beer Shortage email was key. I think an email that lists strongly recommended items would be great. Maybe have a point person who volunteers to answer packing logistics.
Comprehensive/mandatory google doc would be amazing!
E-Mail is fine but it should be more filtered to the real importance. Many e-mails felt like junk mail to me.
Do you have any additional pre-playa planning thoughts? Any additional information we should share ahead of time? Anything specifically for first timers? Suggestions on effective ways to share that information?
Email is good but lets make sure that the subject always has te same start so it can be filtered by that to make sure no email goes missing
Email is the best, most reliable, form of communication.
A check list for first timers with regular vocabulary would be nice. To imagine what the camp is was really tough and there were expressions I just did not really understand or could not follow if the information was of importance or not.
Emails along with a spreadsheet master Table of Contents. Columns to include Email subject, date sent, summary of contents, deliverables list, due date, and link out?
A few very helpful first timer suggestions were made (via the facebook group) shortly before the burn (bring good work gloves, cotton scarves help with dust mitigation etc.). I wish we had a place to gather all those suggestions so people could check back in on them or add and update as they see fit. A FB post tends to get lost in the fray and then we've got to try and remember to mention them all again next year. Perhaps an active discussion board would allow for categories and year round input?
Emails work for me!
I don't have any suggestions — there is indeed a lot of information, but after a couple years now I've adapted to the channels, and I've found that the information density & humor are well-calibrated (i.e. I don't feel like my time is being wasted).
I don't know that I'd change the format but giving people as much time as possible to respond would be helpful. For example (completely hypothetical), if the dinner leads know they need ingredient assignments by July 1, send an e-mail request two weeks ahead of time to give people a chance to read and respond. There are a lot of e-mails coming at you and lots of other "life" stuff going on, so a little more heads up and patience in the communication process would be appreciated.
An emphasis on the absolute inescapable heat in our camp.
As a first timer I felt very prepared with everything that was provided. Granted I was camping with a veteran which was a huge help. Also the build days were a great way to meet some other melons and helped make me feel more at home in camp. Would highly recomend for first timers.
Beer should be a camp supply (and reflected in dues), I don't think decentralizing beer planning is effective.
I feel like it was a good way to distribute information but I think using a Slack channel would also be helpful.
I'd be willing to collaborate on a first-timer guide since I just went through it (both as a Burner and a Melon).
I know what I’m about to say sounds insane - but - because my referral is not on facebook, some info didn’t reach them
Buddies for first-timers might be helpful. A few seemed like they weren't settling in as naturally and needed a friendly judge of inclusion to get them comfortable.
Life at Melon Camp
I like the emails, and I love their tone -- but maybe they could be a little shorter. Potentially having one central location where a summary of everything exists could be a good resource for checking that I didn't forget anything (maybe that exists somewhere, but I'm not sure where). I also love slack and we could have threads based on task areas with the overall directions as a pinned post.
Green vs pink vest duties weren't crystal clear. The bible should be available earlier so vests are more prepared, pre-playa.
We should have more vests per shift to accommodate large crowds of arrivals. And maybe a late night shift, since so many people showed up after 8p."
I like the idea of a centralized Google doc that links out to important information, like the emails and some info from the binder.
Despite participating more in the planning & other pre-playa processes than in the past, I don't have much to say here… for first-timers I would simply recommend leaning on your melon sponsor for questions — I gave my first-timer a lot of help with their preparations, was reminded how there's no substitute for interactive, personal attention. Maybe that amounts to a recommendation that newbies feel encouraged to lean on their melon mama/papa (though perhaps they already feel encouraged).
I prefer emailed pdf attachments for lengthy info so I can print and save then reread. It’s hard for me to keep track off all of the emails from various XVC members and be able to locate and find when needed. Google docs also works well. Also sometimes it seems the amount of information may be overwhelming to some. I feel that some people on my team for melon gifting as well as strike maybe didn’t even read the info. Maybe the main points can be bulleted and put first in a message/pdf and then explained in detail after so those not willing to read everything at least see the main points. For example; melon gifting captains need to: a) ...... b)..... c)...... Then more thoroughly explained below. Example could be: Be available designating jobs (maybe they have a cheat sheet list like best shifts). Also strike shift check in and check out as a main bullet (people left early on my team so they could do things they wanted and the leader didn’t realize and it was too awkward to be telling on peers. When approaching they said it seemed we’re almost done which was true but there was still another hour or so...
Emails are terrible. They are too long and boring. Referrers should be required/strongly encouraged to re-orient their buddies.
Good Q! For a Burning Man newbie in particular, it's hard to sift through the emails and understand what is even being referenced in them, and it's sometimes challenging to differentiate the fun/optional things from the mandatory things (except in cases where it was super clearly spelled out). Having now been to BM once, everything makes much more sense, and it seems much more feasible and also more fun/exciting to engage with all the things, mandatory and optional. It might be nice to have some messaging specifically for Burning Man newbies (not just Melon newbies, but people who have no idea what anything is), like a little Burning Man Newbie TLDR (BMNTLDR) at the start or end of important emails, or sent in response to each important email by someone else! (Actually there was sometimes a tldr, and that was helpful.) I think a recent newbie would be a good person to be responsible for that because we can remember what it feels like to be confused. :) Plus, that would be a nice way for even non-XVC people to contribute to the effort of the planning stages. Side-note - thank you all SO MUCH for the incredible amount of effort that went into shaping a remarkably special experience for everyone involved. I do feel personally like I could/should have participated more in the planning stages, and I would definitely do that next time. I remember feeling overwhelmed and lost and also vaguely anxious about the entire endeavor, so I think even a little bit of validation of those feelings in some early emails could be helpful for letting newbies know they really are welcome/encouraged/needed to be involved. Okay that was long! (tldr - validation and simplified info for BM first-timers could help encourage engagement.) Thank you all again.
I think email and Facebook are best, no need to add another platform that everyone doesn't use.
I think communicating all stuff earlier and on a more consistent content calendar vs a ton of stuff all in the last few weeks is best. A lot of it can be sent earlier in the year and then updated if necessary. Things like the bible can be made well ahead this year.
Yes, people will drop out or emergencies will happen, but most people who want to volunteer will stick with their commitments and come to the burn vs. dropping off."
I think having 1-2 main sources (this year being Facebook and email) is the way to go. It centralizes everything and makes it easier to find and organize.
I think Slack could be a good tool for camp communication to replace or supplement Facebook - we could have channels for specific projects, dinner teams, etc. (full disclosure: I use Slack at work so there isn't a learning curve for me). I do think important docs still make sense over email. Perhaps make it easier for people to find an indexed list of all the emails we've sent (via Google groups)?
I have no thoughts.
I think Slack would be a good organizational tool. I know that it might be a new thing for non-techies to get the hang of, but it's really good at breaking out topic specific discussions into their own threads and keeping group discussions and announcements organized.
I think sharing a version of the vest checklist to all Melons before they get to playa might be a good way to get people ready to roll on arrival?
I think the emails and burning melon website worked well. I do sometimes have trouble finding specific information I'm looking for in the melon website, so a search feature might be helpful.
I think some first timers don’t know what questions to ask. Even with the provided information. I talked to a bunch of virgins who seemed overwhelmed by the requirements in and out of camp. I think we just need to be better accountabili-buddies to our own referrals.
I thought emails were great. You all obviously put a lot of time and effort into them and they were very informative. Google docs are good too, but as someone who doesnt use facebook i dont think its the best way to disseminate important info, but I'm sure it's great for reminders and non essential convos
I think we are pretty good at giving all the information necessary (and then some)
I'm sure there are, but I can't think of it now!
"It seems similar things are posted each year for virgins. I still think the pdf is a good idea. It can be a checklist for new burners. It can also be a way to save, print, and write on documents.
No, keep as is!
Nope, great communication as it is
For pre playa planning the consistently seemed a bit off for dinner/kitchen/dishwashing. Our dinner captains emailed certain things about set up, dishes. Something else a bit different was in some other xvc emails, then there was a manual that said something else, then one of the head camp people said something a bit different again. This became very confusing for me."
Nope, I think flow of info is great as-is
Obviously it is a ton of critical information and any possible way of limiting the number of words helps. I know you all know it is overwhelming, but well, it is overwhelming. I felt that even though I read through everything, remembering it on playa for the first time was near impossible!
Maybe creating a basic virgin guide could help.
Slack > Email
Maybe I missed a post about it, but I never received information (not during vesting either) about our system for landfill, compost (etc.) and who's responsibility it is to remove full trashbags and replace w/ new ones. Similarly, it wasn't clear to me what the schedule was for the "burn barrel" i.e. when it was / wasn't appropriate to use it.
Slack channel for easy reference
Slack for all the emails. Keep the FB group too.
Melons do an excellent job of sharing pre-playa planning. Nothing to add here.
The emails were well organized and easy to read/follow. If there was a way to consolidate the different docs under one folder/link, that would be helpful.
The emails work fine for me (but I do realize not everyone reads them)
Not necessiarly. I also think that everybody coming to burning man should have enough initiative to proactively find the necessary information. There is enough of it out there
The emails work great for me! The Facebook page helps with the little things. I know some people have a hard time reading emails longer than 3 lines though so I think a quiz is the perfect way to ensure everyone is reading, understanding, and participating. A google doc with lots of different tabs for all the different areas of camp is always helpful (and the more info in different formats the better in my opinion) but not necessarily needed.
Open up the documentation for infrastructure pieces like the solar panels and the wind turbine. The decks like Tetris and Charts made were incredibly useful for first timers and there should be more.
The entire thing is one giant project that needs planning. Rather than the apps listed which are great for conversations/real-time but not projects/collaboration over weeks/months, I'd recommend an account on Trello/Monday/etc. That way you can also copy it over year-to-year and re-run the process.
People shared on facebook a first timers guide that was very helpful. I suppose something detailed about what kind of food to bring would be helpful. I probably was over-cautious, but I brought mostly food that wouldn't spoil because I didn't want to waste it, but having gone now, I think I could have brought more produce/groceries than I expected.
It would take a bit of adjustment for new folks but would keep things very organized once people got the hang of it. For those that don't want to log in, they can just interact via email per usual... but this way you'd have a master view of where everything is at."
People who shared some of their horror stories or the times they were so happy they brought that one thing helped me understand how much planning actually goes into surviving on the playa. Ensuring everyone knows and understands and is enthusiastic about the principles! I taught one person in camp what decommodication was about half way through the week 0.0
the melon emails are awesome
There is apparently a glut of interest - and thus attention - surrounding the moment of registration. If we had asked people to solve a three-hour Sudoku puzzle, they seemingly would've excused themselves from work, Thanksgiving dinner, or the middle of a feisty lovemaking session in order to register. So, registration might be a good place to demand more attention than we already do.
Remind referrers that the people they refer is their responsibility and it is their job to acculturate them.
You do a great job! The emails can feel slightly overwhelming for first-timers (in my and my referrals' experiences), but so worth it when you arrive and realize how well-prepared the Melons have made you! Also... radical self-reliance. There are so many guides out there for the Burn in general, and first timers specifically!
We've been using Slack at my job and it looks like a better alternative to some of the stuff we put on FB. Also a good one to use for project management is Monday.com where you can manage different phases of the project of a project (might not be free tho)
Whatever method is used, limit the avenues of communication as much as possible. Also, might be good to have a summary document living somewhere that records all of the important messages sent out for the year and allows people to review them.
Yep, I think that next year we should give something like a Slack workgroup a shot with different sections for different areas including one for important information. Keep the emails as is (I'm partial to them) but I'd rather use fb a lot less.
Any thoughts you'd like to share on camp's physical location, size, or layout? Any thoughts on camp infrastructure? What should we focus on expanding next year? Is there anything you don't like or could be improved?
Yes! More quizzes to ensure basic comprehension!
Awesome design - loved the mix of personal and public space
BEST. CAMP LOCATION. EVER!!!!!! Good lord I hope we get Tokyo sector again next year!!! Also I'm good with 100 melons.
Camp infrastructure was super impressive and I thought the layout was great! Loved the separate sections (dome, kelp forest, lounge) for different types of camp chilling experiences.
Camp location, size, and layout was GREAT this year. The public area separated by curtains was a great idea, and the area for camp members to spend time worked wonderfully. The same with the kitchen setup.
We had some dead space to the right of the aerial rig. Let's get a bonfire there sometime ;)
Dome was nice when it had air conditioning. Being across from party camp was very fun.
everything was good!
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.
Firstly, I'd like to say that this new location of the camp was really good! Close to other nice camps, and offered us a chance to be more seen in our watermelon giveaways throughout the afternoons. The disposition of the "lounge" was better this year. More functional ;)
I didn't miss the Montana dome, like at all.
Being neighbors with Soft Landing and ending my nights at the tea house was a highlight of my burn. Folks at Catworld (Sasha and Lion) were super nice too, they were lovely neighbors.
LOVED placement this year
Would love to see a central fire pit to hang by at night/before sunrise"
I didn’t like the lack of participation from some camp members. Some people were not into helping the group and it showed.
Camp neighbors were way too loud (Pink Mammoth) and I felt like I was going insane with the constant daytime noise. Melon Rouge 2 was really cool and the people were nice. Beautifully put together. The meditation camp on G and the tea room were both really lovely. Really nice to have a variety of active camps close by in a walkable neighborhood.
I heard the melondome usually has some sort of cooling to it. My main goal for next year is to enable an ability to bap in the oppressive heat.
I like the size and layout and location. It seemed to work well. It would be better to have less melons for me personally as the number of people seemed a bit overwhelming at times but I get that we keep growing and people keep coming back which is awesome. I think if the same location we need to have some type of lighted perimeter or just a perimeter in generals to tell visitors where to pull bikes (e.g. over the white perimeter line). I also think the melon dome should be closer to the front of the camp and maybe out bikes closer to the back or possibly behind Trudy so there’s less opportunity of confusion or possible stolen bikes from all the people circulating past for melon gifting and dancing at neighborhood camps. I think we should also expand the cooler system. Maybe a medium sized cooler for wine bags and plastic bottles? A cooler for people to put there non alcoholic drinks. Maybe one of these coolers could have its own larger space for ice. I think this could be relatively inexpensive and relieve some unnecessary drama for people putting items in the cooler where they aren’t suppose to be. Some people only drink wine, some no alcohol. Many people coming in cannot bring their own Coolers and I find it strange that only people’s beers are allowed to be kept cold in a camp cooler. There was also much gossip about this going on throughout camp which was kinda awkward where I felt in the middle at times.
Cat world :)
Could have done with less pink mammoth boom boom.
enjoyed pink mammoth.
FUCK YEA I WAS AT PINK MAMMOTH EVERY DAMN DAY!!! haha now you know who's filling out this surrrvveeeeyyyyyy
I didn't spend much time in our neighborhood. Pink Mammoth was sometimes a bit loud and clashed with whatever music people were playing in melon camp, but I think a lot of melons also had a great time dancing over there.
I enjoyed Pink Mammoth's day music. Badlands Bordello (Melon Rouge 2) was beautiful and put up with our fun sabotage.
Sunrise Mimosa played some awful music Monday morning, but turned it down every other morning, which was great.
I liked the curtain divider. I think it was incredibly helpful especially given our placement and events this year and I would like a more private, camp only space. Again, could just be me, but I think a space in camp that is meant to be quiet and safe and relaxing would be nice. Just shade and chairs but maybe an understanding that this little particular area is a meditation, peaceful, quiet space to enjoy melon company outside the chaos. sorry if this is a selfish idea focused solely around my own issues. i cant tell at this point. #burnerbrain
I enjoyed the neighbors
I liked all our neighbors! Pink Mammoth and Cat World were all fun and friendly. The tower on 8:30 + G was great to have near by and the Tea Room was incredible as was everyone who camped there.
I liked the layout and size. It seemed like the lounge space worked well and we had way closer to the right number of chairs.
I loved being next to ink mammoth. They had great music with an amazing sound system
I liked trying a new address, but preferred the old location (not much to be done for that this year of course and I'm glad we were placed!)
I loved being on this side of the city and thought we were in a great neighborhood and thought it was great for our camp to be in a mid-traffic area. I wouldn't change a thing.
Size, layout, and infrastructure were all good. With the increase in Melons it might be time to add another table and benches for dinner.
At some point I made a note about something in the "notes for 2020" page at the back of the binder, but I don't remember what.
I am guessing that some would prefer a quieter locale but I think we could distribute a day-sleeping map. Galactic [something] had an amazing dome for this but not many folks knew about it...
I loved the neighborhood, but I have nothing to compare it too, so take that with a grain of salt. I think if there is any way to offer more shelter or refugre from the heat with swamp coolers or something like that, that would be amazing.
I LOVED our neighbors!
I loved the new layout. The size was great. I'm not opposed to expanding.
Pink Mammoth's parties - while a little on the loud - brought some great traffic to our camp & its events. Also, the music was pretty awesome & it quieted down early enough in the night. I also think it helped liven up some of the day's in-between moments.
I really enjoyed the common area spaces. It felt large enough for everyone to be comfortable, but just close enough to encourage melons to engage with one another. The long tables were great.
Catworld was friendly & the Fur Ball was poppin. Some great cocktail spots within walking distance too.
Location was awesome. The corner spot was great for heckling/luring in people for fresh watermelon + melon activities.
I really enjoyed this district & would love to be back! For me, it was a welcomed change from Kidsville.
I might be in the minority here, but I found the near-constant pounding EDM from Pink Mammoth to be super grating. So loud.
I think our infrastructure is great and needs little improvement. I do think camp should purchase a few more hammocks so we can use both hammock stands, and a few more pieces of playatech never hurt nobody - particularly since they are a good way to make new Melons feel involved.
I mostly didn't spend time with the neighbors. That plug and play down the street would clog up the whole street sometimes for reasons that were unclear. That was definitely a hazard and also annoying. The tea people seemed great.
I think the camp was pretty well thought out and laid out well. The location was great in my opinion. Shade was good. I loved the hammocks for naps.
I spent a lot of time at the tea house. They were lovely. Our other neighbors were a good compliment to our camp's contribution.
I thought the placement was amazing this year. I really enjoyed being the dead end of F and being across from Pink mammoth. The size was good in my opinion, there seemed to be a two little cliques that formed that I didn't see/interact with much but besides that it didn't feel like 90 people. I was really impressed with camp infrastructure and the layout as well
I think our neighbors are great but I did not appreciate pink mammoth playing music at 4 AM as they were daytime sound camp.
Initially I was woried about the loudness but it turned out our nieghbors were great. I didnt get to all of neighbors but the ones I did talk to were cool.
I very much appreciated the water tank, hammocks, and any and all shade areas. What I really appreciated about other camps was carpets or some type of "flooring" to cut down on the dust invasion. At least in living areas and by tents would be helpful. Kitchen too. Really everywhere.
It was hard to hear our music because of pink mammoths
It was so fun to have Pink Mammoth just in front of us! They've got the party and we've got the freshness of the watermelons! Such a smooth combination! Also, the tea camp next to us was nice at the late-night party after-hours! So in terms of neighbors, this year was much richer!!
I would have liked to shower twice per week but to use only have of the amount if water in the bag instead.
I would suggest not having the trash visible from the main road.
How do you think the take down of camp went (strike on Saturday, Sunday and final load in on Monday)? Is there anything we could have done better? Is there anything that went wrong? Suggestions for improvements for next year?
Liked being near Pink Mammoth. The Tea House and Palenque Norte were also interesting/calming to visit. Really liked being close to Echo, which had a lot of fun camps to visit.
If the camp continues to grow, I would love to see more elaborate structures, but that seems to be the most difficult part to expand!
Infrastructure was extremely impressive and well-planned. Huge props!
Loved all the neighbors
Improve the truck manifest (what goes where) and add pictures to show how it should be organized
I am extremely excited to work on some improvements to the Kelp forest for next year and will be submitting a proposal :)
Loved camping across from Pink Mammoth. Though it did make hearing dinner announcements hard and discouraged our own daytime music.
Stagger the truck shifts and be specific about activities: first empty all the bins, then organize everything according to the photos, then break to help other crews... I only think you need 1-2 ppl to look over other crews' shoulder as they audit bins and then supervise loading according to pictures
Cat World was cute ;)
Kelp forest & dome were great, but need more shaded day sleep areas.
and I forget their name now, but the 24hr tea service next to us was clutch!"
As I only saw the Saturday strike I think that went quite well.
Layout was good. Our space seemed appropriate. Shade is a lot of work, and darker tarp-shade seems preferable to me than aluminet in terms of sun blockage and dustyness. There was significant user error with the shade setup this year (poor spacing, poor use of bungee balls, poor use of ratchet straps) that caused a lot of extra work before and during strike.
Loved our location, but nothing specific to report camp-wise.
Best strike ever, as far as I could see!
Loved Soft Landing, didn't mind Pink Mammoth at all (except on Burn Night when they were blasting tunes with nobody around late at night), heard complaints about Sunrise Mimosa but never heard them myself, found Catworld weird but they seemed nice during Early Man.
Everything was super organized, and I always had a task to do. The strike leaders did an amazing job. Was very happy with Strike.
Felt like it was the best year yet. There is always room for improvements (tweak some of the way the Dusty Spoon/food got struck maybe?) but honestly I've never felt as at ease leaving.
Less leakier water
Loved the neighbors this year. The camp behind us were a little loud in the mornings but not a huge deal.
More reliable batteries so we could depend on solar/wind more
Loved them all. Camp Soft Landing was amazing, Enjoyed Pink Mammoth, Star Star Roadhouse and Cat world were all awesome. 10/10
Felt so much more efficient this year. Last time people were all wandering around looking for things to do but the assigned teams made it way more efficient. I do think it doesn’t need to be as long a shift, but I guess being able to give people the bonus of finishing early is good too.
Functioning swamp cooler for melon dome
Loved this neighborhood. Soft Landings was the best neighbor we could ever have, and Pink Heart was the best possible esplanade landmark when heading home! Pink Mammoth was a little overwhelming when otherwise battling a headache or wanting to set our own vibe, BUT I'd say they were a better neighbor than not: great foot traffic, sweet cooking jams, and easy access dance party were all nice perks.
Separate cooler for wine bags and milks
I did not understand why we closed every cooler on Sunday. After breaking down camp for 6 hours and then going to the Temple burn, many of us were extremely hungry. Not to mention I think we threw out pounds of deli meat and perfectly good salads - that was weird to watch?!? It seems like keeping a small cooler open or arranging some sort of bag meal for the remaining melons at the end of a very hard/long day might be a nice thing to do for the strike crew.
I liked the designation of public vs private camp
Lovely neighborhood and we shouldn't be complaining about the fact that it was louder than the last two years.
Ideally a bit away from constant sound camps, but if that's not possible, Pink Mammoth was really nice and chill. (Catworld was a bit more exhausting with their music)
My fear of being near pink mammoth was so far off. I loved them. They were so sweet to me every day and provided an easy, fun retreat. Brought a lot of moop to 8:30 but in all i had no issues. I enjoyed our neighborhood much more than anticipated.
I didn't do on-playa strike.
Easier carts made for composting runs
I feel that shade should be the absolute last thing to be brought down.
OMG, Pink Mammoth and the fucking sunrise mimosa camp were killing me with the volume and selection of boots and cats they were playing. Catworld wasn't quite as bad, but i think that's just b/c it was slightly further from my tent.
Lighting was really well done this year!
I had to leave early on Monday so helped out on Sunday too. I thought the Monday loading of the truck, specifically ChiCargo stuff, was a little ineffiecient in that we had to wait on some folks to get the cargo to the truck. Dont know what the solution to that is as you cant control other peoples packing especially those outside of camp but its the only hiccup I noticed in an otherwise pretty smooth strike.
Our neighbors were all nice. The bass of both pink mammoth and cat world constantly vibrated my head while trying to sleep so sleep basically didn’t exist for me at this burn. However it was nice having music often and I never sleep much st the burn anyway so it wasn’t a huge deal for me.
Liked all the amazing improvements so much (layout, kitchen, water tank etc.)! I only felt the front of Melon Rouge was not super inviting for benders to just walk in despite the fact that the hearts we so gorgeous!
Pink Mammoth and Catworld next to the camp were fun to visit. Location in general was nice.
i have nothing to compare it to but it seemed like it went smoothly
Liked the layout! Would like more internal camp-only space maybe further from the street and the public space. Seems we didn't have enough seating area for 95 people.
Pink Mammoth beats were a little maddening sometimes as a steady backbeat, but overall they were really good neighbors.
I haven't heard about sun/Mon strike, but I think our team was super efficient on Sat and I'm proud of the amount of work we accomplished so quickly.
Pink mammoth made melon gifting more fun.
Hoping we can make it a more positive experience that people look forward.
Location was awesome. Size seemed perfect (maybe even too much as we had extra room behind the tents). Really liked the curtain separators for public and private camp living room. The shower curtain was super flappy and annoying to wrangle. I really liked the long picnic tables for camp dinner, but there weren't enough tables + benches and it was hard to find a seat if you weren't toward the front of the line.
Pink Mammoth was constant noise, but I wasn't extremely bothered by it. It would've been nice to be able to play our own camp music more without it being drowned out. Loved the Miso Horny camp.. yum soup.
I liked the strike leader system. I had no problems Sunday but I did a couple all camp moop sweeps when dishes were being used in the dusty spoon and couldn’t be cleaned right away. A couple people who left before/during Sunday strike left their tent stakes and washers in the ground when they removed their tents. I probably collected 15 stakes. This isn’t strike related, really. But it surprised me.
Location was great. Around many camps with good activities.
Pink Mammoth was loud, and certainly soundtracked some attempted afternoon naps, but in the end I can't complain — I spent more time dancing there than trying to fall asleep across the street.
Location, size, and layout were all amazing this year. Loved that the lounge area was split in two with the curtain things, and loved the 2 kitchen system.
I think it went great!
The meditation camp next to us was awesome. Cool people and easy to pop over for a 30-min late-morning chill sesh.
I think it went well. My team finished all our tasks early. I wish there were more backup tasks that we could have picked up so that I felt more useful.
Loved location and layout this year, fostered a way better interaction in camp as well as with others. The only thing that would be great to have more of is additional lounging space like kelp forest or the melon dome.
Pink Mammoth was not an ideal neighbor given all the *unnts-unnts*. The tea house was an ideal neighbor.
I think it went well. Theres always going to be some lazier people and some more helpful people in every group but from what I witnessed it seemed like everyone showed up and helped.
Loved our location this year. Size still seems too big. Our infrastructure is brilliantly utilitarian but I wish we'd just burn the damn kelp forest and commit to a more unique and more comfy lounge.
Pink Mammoth were reasonable but we should do our best to not be directly across from them next year.
I thought it went great. Seemed like everything got done and there were many hands making light work.
Really enjoyed our neighborhood. I was worried about the noise but I didn't think it was bad at all. Being next to a daytime party camp (Pink Mammoth) fit well with our day time gifting strategy.
Loved the location. There were a lot of melons and I didn't get to meet everyone, 65 was the sweet spot. Camp didn't have enough infrastructure to properly tie down all of our shade structures, we made do with what we had. I wish there were tarps laid down in the kitchen, to reduce caked in moop.
I thought Saturday strike went really well! I was slow getting started on just a couple of hours of sleep :) But then busted my ass and it was actually really enjoyable - very well-organized and collaborative, cool to see how everything worked, and lots of detail-oriented systems, which I love.
Softlandings Full Circle tea house was amazing. Pink mammoths music was incredibly welcomed
I would like to see an ""Oh shit"" bag. When the kelp forest went flying, all the gear that was needed was super spread out and not easy to find."
i thought saturday went pretty smoothly. cara did a great job leading. it was nice to have a break and have lunch.
Sunrise mimosa was not my favorite...
More vertical shade/fabric for shelter from wind and a more cozy feel
I took down the kitchen on sat and everything went pretty smoothly
TEA CAMP FOR THE WIN. CATWORLD SUCKED - they played horrible music at horrible times of the day. It was extremely obnoxious.
Our placement this year one the Tokyo sector was amazing. I know is not up to us but still would love to camp there again. As for infrastructure I would suggest a better dishwashing system.
I wasn't very personally involved but it seemed efficient and well-organized.
Tea House was fucking awesome, and the boys were cute
I'd recommend separating the shade takedown, maybe 1/2 camp shade and 1/2 tent shade on Saturday, then the rest of the tent shade Sunday morning and wait to take down the final camp shade until later on Sunday.
Pink Mammoth went pretty late into the night but overall really chill music
slightly larger kelp forest would be good
Catworld music wasn't great and went into wee hours with nobody there to dance/listen
The additions to the lounge area (laser cut entrances, sign, drapes) really made our camp feel like more of a destination. Future build days could be dedicated to further glamming up the public space--ambiance is everything! I also heard people brainstorming ideas to expand and improve shading on the kelp forest.
Keep the Dusty Spoon open later on Sunday, maybe only keep the kettle, and 1 pot and let people know they can only boil water? People were hungry on Sunday night after the temple burn.
Tokyo Sector was awesome! Melon gifting was much more exciting than at the last camp location. This seems to be a very positive neighborhood, even the Facebook group is lovely. Soft Landing's tea house was especially fantastic. One minor complaint: Octopus Garden was blaring REALLY loud (terrible) music at most hours starting at dawn, and no one was there. It would be one thing if they actually threw a dawn dance party, but it's like they turned their speakers on full blast then left camp. Very strange and irritating.
More dedicated strikers on Monday, luckily we had a few people who stuck around and helped out when they weren't required to.
The location and layout were great. I liked that part of the city and being near Pink Mammoth. It was also very spacious...would suggest moving the tents slightly further away from the kitchen/truck next time.
It seemed to go extremely well!
Turned out to be nice to be near Pink Mammoth. Increased our melon gifting traffic and they weren't annoyingly loud.
It went great
The location this year was awesome. Like many of us I was worried about being situated so far on the 10 o'clock side, but between our prominent placement for melon gifting and the proximity of good dancing, in the end it worked out really well. Infrastructure improvements this year were a big step up: the dusty bucket/spoon dichotomy was a big win; the expanded shade/lounge area with public/private separation was much more capacious & versatile than in the past; I think the kelp forest really came into its own this year; and even the stripped-down melon dome, sans swamp cooler and interior decoration, was an effective cool spot with less work.
Would be nice to be placed a bit further away from heavy sound camps (e.g. Pink Mammoth). I liked being somewhat close to Pigs Nest (hammocks) and right near the tea house.
It went well and we got a lot done but as mentioned previously maybe some type of system because people on my shift snuck out early, which created awkwardness and some resentment. Also letting everyone take a lunch at the same time maybe. We talked about going in groups for 20-30 mins but we ended up all going at once basically but after everyone from camp ate first it seemed. There ended up not being cheese left or much left that I eat so after striking for hours I ate bread and dip. I kind of think people striking should be getting first pick. Also I know it sucks but maybe stoke could be even earlier. It was so hot. I always get sick and overheated during strike. Maybe 9am could work. People I know in larger camps begin at 8/9 am for strike. This year went way faster than normal for kitchen. I think if it’s as organized as this year was we could be done fast and before spending much time in the heat. We had most things done by our lunch around 12:30. The last hour or two we were taking many breaks and seeing what still needed done and also doing other things that weren’t kitchen tasks since we finished earlier than expected. I’d like to advocate for a 9-1:30/2 strike with a half hour lunch at noon letting people know if tasks are not completed on time we must continue to stay until tasks completed for Saturday strike list. I think this way things will most likely be done in time.
Yes, names are hazy but I passed by most of them at some point.
Yes, Pink Mammoth. Super cool, fun. Except for when they played music late at night when nobody was there. Stay in your lane, daytime dancing camp! But we love you there. Full Circle tea house was also wonderful—especially the facilitators.
One thing I think we could do without is the shower — one shower in a week doesn't go that far, you still need A+ baby wipe game, you're dusty again in an hour… and it's just more work to build & strike. If you want to shower, go to a bath camp!
We (surprisingly) ended up with some dead space in the back, so I'd say next time we should stick with the same size plot but think about how to better utilize the space for interactivity. But it wasn't a ton of dead space so maybe it's better safe than sorry to leave room for cars & tents.
Would love to have more hammocks setup, since they are a hot commodity. Also wasn't sure how effective our shade structures were - might be worth trying slightly stronger ones?
MUCH SMOOTHER! Dividing and conquering with mid-level management was very effective.
XVC KILLED IT ON CAMP this year!!!! Infrastructure was well laid out to maximize Melon hang time, a welcoming public space, and our shade/water/food/cleanliness needs. Seriously so good.
Really went well, we should probably add the cooler cleanup to the Saturday strike instead of having it linger into Sunday.
Saturday strike. I'm not sure if is that some tasks took longer than others, but I kept noticing folks chilling (more than a break, super long lunch) when others will still putting their whole asses into it.
I think maybe others just didn't have the "let's get this done" attitude or "I'll help another group with their task now that mine is done" attitude.
Smoothest year yet.
Smoothly. Enjoyed it very much :)
Strike on Sat morning was straightforward, synergistic and fast! No complaints at this point!
Strike on Saturday went quite well. Stuff got done early.
Different strike masters will have different styles of rulership and that seems right & proper and should be baked into the strike plan, provided that all the assigned strike tasks are in fact completed.
Explicitly ask the strike leaders to explicitly remind the strikers *not* to address their little strike questions to Michelle and Drew. Melonhood at scale!
Strike seemed very efficient and relatively quick - everyone worked really hard and it wasn't nearly as long or hard as I'd anticipated. I do think that having the MOOP sweep right when most everyone has finished their strike responsibilities might be the way to go -- everyone had to be re-gathered quite a bit after they'd finished strike and many had dispersed.
Strike was fast and easy. Would suggest knowing ahead of time which items go in which bins and/or areas of Trudy to reduce wait times.
STRIKE WAS FUN AND EFFICIENT, who would have thought that?! Wow, thanks to the XVC for re-thinking the process.
Strike was phenomenally smooth, as usual! Shout out to xvc.
Re: shift length - It felt a bit less productive than usual. I suppose in part because we had more breaks & lunch took up some time as well. (Side note - DIY sandwiches could be an easy dinner idea?..)
I'd rather keep going & work hard to make shift happen in fewer hours to give a little more time for exploring playa on burn day/night.
Strike was super organized and smooth - thought it was a great addition to have pre-assigned people to task teams.
Strike went super smoothly and timely as far as I could tell on Sunday. HOWEVER. Being on the shade team meant that we were taking down what felt like a million extremely dusty aluminet squares, which resulted in extreme filth and exhaustion. I had to change my mask filter halfway through because I could taste the dust. I would recommend breaking the shade up into multiple teams so that one group doesn't end up with what felt like the toughest and longest continuous element of strike. I witnessed a lot of other people working really hard, but it felt disproportionately strenuous and awful mainly due to the dust element at the end of a very dusty year. My very biased 2 cents.
Sunday strike looked super effective compared to years past. The stress levels across camp were much better. It was sad that we burned all that food.
Sunday Strike ran very smoothly. I hope we continue to strive to have our heaviest bins loaded at the bottom of the UHaul (which makes it much easier to pack).
Would be great to have a bit more clarity on the loading requirements for NYCargo (e.g. clear package labeling to the recipient).
The Saturday shift was really smooth from my perspective.
There were people that were actively helping and people that really did not. I feel like it was very well organized but you can’t make people work they don’t wanna work.
Things seemed to go really smoothly!
We always break down the seating surprisingly early. it was good that we left the camp chairs out, but I'd vote to start taking down some tent shade before taking down living room seating and shade. Also, the shade team had a lot of exhausting, hot, sweaty, and dusty work on Sunday, and there were other tasks on our team's list in addition to shade.
We made good time and not overly hard.
Went great this year.
Who did you notice going above and beyond the minimum? (e.g. making camp extra fun, jumping in on shifts when they weren't required, etc.)*
*There was a question in the survey about the purpose of this question, so here it goes:
1. I think it's important to acknowledge people who go above and beyond and think this is one way to do so (THANK YOU)
2. The XVC isn't always around, so it's helpful to know when people step up
3. This could be a good source of future project leads since they've already shown that they show up, are invested and contribute to camp ;)
Amy, Cara, Stephen, Matty, MMcC. Pizza
Andrew, who's not a melon, participated in my strike
Cara is an awesome go-to source. Elli was great on strike & engaging with others during her events. Pizza Magic's events were tons of fun & great for camp bonding.
Cara/Tetris, Dan, Jenelle/Buttons, Ashley
Pink Vests & Green Vest Shifts
Cunt Dog, Dan, Sonia, Matty
Cuntdog was an MVP, Matty and Smokin' Joe went above and beyond as usual, MMcC and Michelle were fantastic as ever and seemed in better spirits this year than others, but almost a ton of folks seemed to be pulling their weight this year which was great to see.
Dan, Anthony, Drew/Michelle...
Drew, Button, Dan
Duke was an incredible Green Vest, and Mike S. did multiple melon gifting shifts for the pleasure of it/to support everyone else. Pizza Magic is always magic and spreads it everywhere she goes, and Analia and Cara were rockstars helping others to get shit done around camp.
every time I turned around Albert was helping someone with something :)
Honestly this is hard to answer. I felt many people went above and beyond. I don’t know specifics of all names and can’t remember everything. But always a shout out to drew and Michelle for being there to answer questions when no one else had the answer for me. Also most of the xvc especially Laura, Janelle and Elli for always trying to help and being kind and friendly while doing so. Smoking now and Matty always stepping in to help people and fix bikes. Also Jake for making sure manyb of us had breakfast in us most mornings.
I'm not sure! I know people did. Re rough estimate above - I meant including melon gifting, meal prep, and strike - not sure if those were all meant to be included in that total or just meant additional optional volunteering.
Jay Jay; Anna; Daniel and Vonni; Brandon; Sonya; Tetris; Button; Dan; Ashley; Pizza; Brandon; James; Michelle; Amy
Lilly took and extra gifting shift. Albert helped cut fruit not on his shift. Anthony helped with everyones bike daily. Steven lent a hand often.
Lisa, Dan, Joe, Tamsin, Rachel, everyone on the XVC of course, Matt (Duke), Matty
Manuel and cara
matt for sharing his tunes. also when we were taking down the kitchen structure at the end of saturday strike, there were a handful of people (not sure of all names) who jumped in to help and it was very appreciated.
Matty - lots of strike work. lots of bike work. lots of general labor and johnny-on-the-spotness. Cara’s presence in/around/during cooking shifts was noticed and appreciated- just having the check-ins with her during any kitchen process was helpful. Felt like having a guardian tetris on my shoulder. Amy (sorry, cunt dog) was always *right there* whenever a trudy issue arose. No one had to ask for or find her she just *poof* materialized any time i noticed someone had a trudy question. Honestly i do a lot of people watching and there’s probably 20 more scenarios if you have a month to read my bullshit
matty did a lot of moop sweep stuff; the xvc folks (though it didn't seem as bad this year as in the past)
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 orientation? Anything else we should know?
Michael B was always up for ice runs and trash runs. Abbi (I think) did compost twice. Nathan did compost once. Cara, Steven helped a lot when the Melon gift leads weren't there during our first day gifting.
All were helpful and friendly.
Tamsin, Tessa, Lily
Always easy to find. There were a few times when I would ask a question and would just get an "hmm I'm not sure" or "I don't know" and they wouldn't really put an effort to find the answer. and twice I got told to find the other vest color and ask them. I'd just make sure whoever is doing a vest shift is ready for it and knows their stuff or is willing to figure it out!
Tetris! Pizza! JJ did great! Julian and Tim were great first-time burners.
The usual suspects
Always had great experiences with the vest volunteers
This is a weird question - what is the purpose of this? It would be nice for some transparency here.
Arriving Saturday afternoon, with so few people around, made the vestees easy to find, and orientation easy to conduct.
Too many to list, plenty of melons were jumping in beyond their assigned responsibilities
As we arrived very late (car accident) nobody was there to orientate us. As I was with a group of experienced Melons it was alright. The next day we received out orientation but I expected more details.
Umer supported alot
XVC are amazing
Easier to find the pink. Still don't know the difference between both vests, at some point I've asked something to pink vest that should be to the green, but I was helped anyways.
Easy to find (we arrived on Sat). Helped us setup our tent and shade structures. Would have been nice to get a bit more information on waste management system (what's compostable vs. burnable, etc); who's responsible for taking out the trash / replacing bags; the burner express trashbag expectations (tying those bags to our garbage bins); handwashing station; grey water (what's eligible and what isn't); that spilling clean water on playa was something to be avoided and needs to be cleaned up; when we were vs. weren't allowed to use the burn barrel.
"Easy to find and helpful.
One thing that would be helpful is for people who are arriving late at night, especially earlier in the week, to find supplies to setup their camping infrastructure. A rubber mallet would also be useful so people can setup camp at night without severely disturbing neighbors."
Easy to find.
"Easy to find. Somewhat helpful.
A vest orientation would be helpful."
Easy to find... and helpful! I only got a partial orientation though.
Everything was great
I arrived before the majority of camp and so the veats were on the spot and easy to find. I got a great orientation. I saw vests around camp all week and they were always there when sothing was needed.
I think I didn't realize what the pink/green vests meant or what was going on with that until toward the end. We did get an initial orientation right when we first walked up, but I was pretty dazed and exhausted and carrying stuff, and didn't take in that much, so I'm not even sure if it was partial or full! I love the idea of the vests though.
I was able to find them when I needed them.
I wonder if both vests are required throughout the whole week but I certainly like that there is always one person approachable.
It seems helpful for sure but most best people are also still learning. It was easy enough to figure out most things with a vest person or by finding an xvc with more burn years under their belt who might know the answer if the vest person couldn’t help.
Tell us about your experience wearing a vest--what did you do? What else would you like to know to prepare you for a shift (pre-playa check-in, reading materials pre-burn, shadow a shift before yours, etc.)? Would you do it again? Suggestions for someone who might do it next year? What should be added to the binder?
laura oriented us when we arrived and she did a great job.
Maybe a training/logistics document that vests must review before they get to camp? I really didn't want to bug XVCers, but there were some details about where materials were located, etc. that the vest - while kind and helpful - just didn't know.
"All good and clear, will do again!
Nothing jumping out here.
Add to the binder where to find replacement trash bags for burnables! Currently it says: find help :)"
Regarding arrival, we arrived too late for a vest. They were very helpful as needed throughout the week.
Cleaned up/organized, talked to people, asked if anyone needed help/support, answered questions, directed questions, pointed out resources, sat and talked with people, lifted spirits. Sure I'd do it again.
Seemed to work well.
"There's a missing scenario in the multiple choice answers above: "No: I arrived during the night when there was no shift"
Firt time doing it and I love it! Definitely siging up next year:)
Helpful but it didn't feel like it was comprehensive, like each vest person could wing it due to lack of process/documentation."
Great experience, very smooth
They did great!
I ended up filling in the one pink vest shift of the week that didn't have any one signed up. Nothing happened, it was fine. Main thing I think the binder could really use is a bit more explanation of some of the power stuff - we had a few points where people needed water and only a three or so people knew how to restart the generator). Definitely think giving the vest shift folk more info before they come out might be useful
They had arrived late due to the traffic accident, so was a bit hectic, but totally fine orientation.
They were great to watch work. I'd love to sign up for a shift next year.
Why did you choose not to sign up for a shift?
"They were lovely, delightful, soulful souls who contributed to the restoration of a hope for humanity that I hadn't realized I'd misplaced.
"I helped where I could and also got Melons to team up and get things done. I'd be happy to do it again.
After just one year with the Melons, I didn't feel like I knew enough about how camp works to help orient anyone else. (Feeling much more confident after year 2!)
TL;DR: my experience was positive."
Would have preferred a finalized checklist, binder docs weeks before the burn, more vests per shift, and late-night shifts for those attending later at night."
"They were mostly easy to find.
cuz I'm an idiot
I like how we printed out people's schedules for shifts and think we should print it bigger next year.
I like the idea of the vest system. But as a green vesting melon, I felt pretty unprepared to answer most of the questions that came my way. The binder was great, and if we had access to it ahead of time, that would have helped a bit. But the binder also didn't have all of the answers. The couple times I asked questions to vested people, they also seemed similarly confused/unprepared. I had to ask XVC folks things a few times, which I felt bad about.
Decided to spend my efforts elsewhere
Added other tips to the 'things to add next year page'"
Excited to increase my involvement next year! But more in the domain of projects than the vest. Maybe I just need one more year to feel vest ready!
Unfortunately the questions I asked they were not able to provide answers. I think we’re training should be offered to the people doing the shifts.
I missed the communication for signing up :/
I loved my vest shift! Partly because I felt like I knew what needed to get done around camp (for the first time, honestly!) and had lots of tasks in mind to delegate to people. This might not be possible for everyone so I wonder if XVC members could take a short minute at the beginning of vest shifts each morning and write out the tasks that should get done that day. Then the green vest can delegate them without necessarily having to know everything off the top of their head. Also the melon binder is a godsend, we should remind vests to check it first when they aren't sure how to answer a question.
We might consider expanding the scope of green vest duties to include proactively tending to camp (in addition to reacting to questions and issues as they come up). There's always shit that needs to get done, but sometimes without a clear responsible person. Part of green vest could be identifying things that need to get done, and delegating it to other people in camp.
I thought my time was better spent dinner captaining and gifting melons.
I wanted another year to get familiar. I didn't feel I had the knowledge just yet. I feel ready to sign up the next time I attend!
I wanted to but all of the shifts that didn’t clash with other things for me were already taken when I went to sign up.
"When I arrived, yes! I was part of a massive crew that was full of excitement and thorough information transfer.
Volunteering at Burning Man
I think it was a mistake to green-vest right upon arrival. I was still trying to get my bearings and wasn't in a position to be particularly helpful. My mistake; I would advise against anyone doing that in the future.
I was happy with my other camp contributions going into the Burn and knew there would be other projects for me to assist with.
I was disappointed with the lack of some of the vest knowledge on some basic infrastructure and safety requirements, which meant the training and transfer of knowledge was found lacking."
I was too afraid beeing able to answer all the questions
I think shadow shifts might be good
Meant to & forgot to finalize!
Wore it, loved it. When we got in we got the full show within minutes, so all good there.
I was taking the green vest when the storm was coming, so we ratcheted things down. After that no one needed much. It was wednesday evening, so most things were sorted by then.
My plate felt pretty full already as a dinner captain and also spearheading an art project. In retrospect I probably could have done a vest shift, but I was worried about overloading myself.
I wish I had picked a busier shift. Will try again next year. I did get one customer and it was fun to show her the ropes as she was camping for the first time with us.
The days I was on-playa were all signed up by the time I checked it.
It would be great to shadow a shift before vesting. I did my best but didn’t know everything but was able to answer most questions (aside when a Chi cargo tent was missing) I later realized I forgot some information but this was due to items not being set up yet. The shower and process of the shower needs to be explained when orienting. But it tends to not be set up until later so I failed to explain this during my orientations. Maybe we could set it up sooner to orient people with the process?
My green vest shift went really smoothly this year. The only thing I probably could've stood to do was quickly review the contents of the binder just to have a clear idea of what was in there and where, so I could refer to it quicker as needed.
My pink vest shift was a breeze. No one asked me anything and I got folks chilling to finish a camp project!
My vest shift was super chill. I read all the things and checked the binder while on playa to remember my jobs. I would do it again. I feel like my biggest contribution on shift was pulling a hair out if froni’s mouth because he couldn’t get it with gloves on while melon gifting. That should say a lot about the ease of my shift.
On my own green vest shift, since I didn't get oriented when I arrived, I didn't know the answers to some of the questions that were asked and had to find someone like Laura or Garth who did know. I think some kind of official "Shift change" transition period where critical info is passed on and/or a Vest Orientation handbook would be good. The binder had a lot of extremely detailed info in it, but wasn't good for simple things like - for electrical - "Is anyone allowed to plug in any wattage of device into the power strip?"
Reading materials pre-burn would be great.
Should have an orientation page with the MUST HAVE info or the top ten NEED TO KNOWS. I made a list. I’ll work on this next year. Or or or... have orientation captains who are required to know all the weird little detail stuff. Hard for vests to know all that info.
The binder was incomplete or out of order. People wanted to check when they had signed up for certain shifts (vesting, gifting, Melon talks, etc.), and that information wasn't found in the binder. I was thinking it would be nice to have a section (or a separate binder) that is entirely just time tables--vest shifts, dinner shifts, group photo info, public melon activities that we can post on the chalk board, etc. Anything scheduled--kind of like a Burning Man run of show.
The resources in the vest were great, but I still felt underprepared. I think maybe a running task list on a printed spreadsheet (with space to write in additional tasks) for the green vest would be helpful. I heard the idea of requiring the pink/green vests to shadow a veteran pink or green vest who knows what they are doing, and think that's a good idea. Also, some way to encourage people to volunteer for green vest tasks would be a good thing, because trying to wrangle people who just happen to be around does not seem like a great way to do it.
"There were some things like compost, dishwashing, ice runs, water, generator rules, etc. that didn't make it into the book that created a lot of questions that the vests couldn't answer.
I like the idea of sending the book out to vest volunteers prior to the burn so they can get a sense of what's to come and ask questions if things aren't clear."
How could we do better next year to satisfy your dietary restrictions?
As someone who enjoys (and often prefers) vegan/veg food, it would be good to have more clarity around when it was and wasn't permissible to enjoy non-meat dishes (i.e. I usually steered clear assuming that was meant for vegans/veg, but others suggested that it was okay to take some if it wasn't explicitly stated at dinner announcement).
"just a quick meta-answer before my direct answer: given days on end of protein bars, dried food, canned fish, and multi-vitamins as my base-level source of sustenance, i'm exceedingly grateful for fresh food each evening regardless of what i'm about to say. everything that follows is at the bottom of my list of playa priorities.
in the default world i am careful about meat sourcing: grass-fed only for beef, free range + pastured + cage-free for chicken and eggs, and everything either organic officially or organic in spirit (e.g. from a local farm that hasn't gone through the hoops to register as organic). i have no idea whether the animal products i ate met my usual requirements. perhaps they did, in which case the only change to make would be advertisement."
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)?
More of regular food so people don’t start taking the vegetarian or dairy free food since the regular food is running out.
The proportions of some of the meals were off, with the "clearly yummy and going to be eaten quickly" item in 1/4 the abundance of the "giant pot of gruel that is fine, but not exciting." Some of the vegetarian items went really quickly in some meals, but weren't a problem for most.
I enjoyed the experience. Things went smoothly. I had a stellar team to work with which made things easy.
It was seamless. It was plug and play for captains to run an entire process that guaranteed both quality and quantity.
This year my gluten intolerance was much more better taken care, which is awesome!!! Thank you so much!. I also have Lactose intolerance, and sometimes that information wasn't clear in the menu or labels of the plates. So for example, something could be vegetarian and lactose free, but I couldn't know for sure. Maybe including the label "Lactose Free" or "Dairy Free" might be helpful for other folks too!
It went well! I was a little stressed out with getting everything timed up, but I just need to chill out I guess.
Pre-playa communication and coordination is always difficult to get 100% right but it went about as well as can be expected.
"Tetris kept us uber informed and gave us all the necessary tools to be successful!
If I were a captain again I will create an online list that the dinner team has to physically check off when they've a) seen what is expected of them, b) seen what menu items are assigned or they chose, and c) obtained/have a fool proof plan to obtain said menu items.
My email to the team asking "have you purchased or have a plan to purchase your items?" Got a resounding "yes" from everyone, but some of them didn't actually see everything they needed to bring and only brought one item they said they knew about. We made it work, cuz we're awesome!"
The only surprise was that the generator for the rice cookers wasn't working. I had SO much fun being a captain and my team was awesome and when people were slacking off other team members would get them back on task without me having to say a thing.
How did you feel the Melon dinner experience went this year? What worked? What didn't work?
I love our dinners. I think we all do an amazing job in feeding people and bringing people together. I can't tell if this question is asking about more meals, or less, but I would be very sad if we ever go rid of dinner.
"Things went pretty smoothly. My team was amazing!
The only small conflict was that all the big bowls were being used for melon gifting when we were supposed to be starting food prep for our dinner. So we had to wait around a bit for the bowls to become available before we could start chopping and prepping the large quantities of food needed for dinner."
To me, ideal would be offering somewhere between 0 and 1 meals per day, e.g., dinner every other night. (and i did like having lunch on saturday too)
Kitchens: Dusty Spoon (small, personal kitchen) and Dusty Bucket (big kitchen) Infrastructure
The Dusty Spoon (small, personal kitchen) was new this year. What did you feel worked in the Dusty Spoon this year? What didn’t?
A few more pan selections would have been solid.
Didn't really use, but liked that communal items were easily accessible and out of the way from the primary kitchen.
Didn't use it much but it was pretty tight. Very easily crowded.
Didn't use it.
Everything worked well!
I didn't cook any personal meals because I didn't have any cookable personal food with me in a personal stash. Someone gave me some of his bacon one morning and it was awesome. When on cleaning crew/cleaning generally at random times, I wasn't always sure what utensils/pots/pans went where (i.e. bucket vs spoon), and others didn't seem to know. But everything seems to have worked well.
I didn't really use it except to wash personal dishes a couple times. Didn't know what was available for communal use ahead of time for meal planning.
I liked it; it just seemed like a bin of utensils was missing. Not as organized as last year. The spoon seemed to help though
What did you feel did not work in the Dusty Bucket (big kitchen) this year? What didn’t?
I liked it!!!! People can be slobs but i think it definitely helped
Everything worked for me.
I liked that personal stuff was happening outside the main kitchen tent.
I felt like the Dusty Bucket never got all the way set up. By the time Sunday dinner shift started most everything was still in boxes. Instead of taking time to set it up ourselves we just used what we needed and put it back where we found it. I didn't really mind. It got used for dinner (and dinner only) and then put right back in the boxes.
I struggled to find bowls for a muesli, so maybe if we could add 2-3 communal reusable bowls (I think there were 1-2) to the dusty spoon or leave the one-time use plates and bowls in the kitchen at all times. If my bag allows I will perhaps just bring my own next year #selfreliance :)
I think it was a nice option .
I missed a better cooler for small personal items (e.g. vegan milk). This year the cooler wasn't closed most of the time, and the quality of the cooler wasn't good, so the milk wasn't kept a lower temperature for most of the days.
I think it was good to have especially for people who wanted to snack or eat durring dinner prep / clean up or durring melon gifting.
I think it worked well. I would say that I usually found everything I needed, but I often had to ask multiple people to do so. Maybe there is a more evident or intuitive way to organize it?
I mostly just sliced melons in there. could use a little more surface area.
I think the dinner teams did a good job at keeping the Dusty Bucket clean after meals, it helped a lot when it came time to cut melons.
I thought it was great in general. But kitchen bins weren't all properly labeled.
I thought it all worked besides the hiccups with the generator. The night I was captain my cooler was so full of personal food that people had put in that we couldn't fit all of our dinners food in the cooler. Took a while to figure out whose food it was and to re-organize, but wasn't a huge deal.
I was not sure what I could and could not use. It was not so obvious if the material/food belonged to anybody or not.
Any other suggestions/solutions relating to food, coffee, kitchen, dinners, dishwashing station, pantry, coolers, bar, etc.? Dinner ideas or recipes for next year?
I was really pleased with the Dusty Spoon. It brought a lot of conceptual clarity to the kitchen operation. Only issue I ran into was a couple times someone was using both burners for a griddle and I wanted to boil water. I waited; it worked out.
I thought this was very effective
I was on the Saturday dinner crew so didn't get to use the kitchen when it was 100% set up. I did appreciate that there was plenty of space and cutting boards for everyone to prep simultaneously, and plenty of large serving bowls & serving utensils. Kitchen tent did get very hot but there's not much we can do about that.
More electrolyte beverage mix
It was awesome for EarlyMan. I didn't really cook any of my own food after that - subsisted on Clif bars mostly. The small dishwashing station got a little gross.
Put a cleaning team on the beer cooler 1-2x during the week
More tables or stagger meal-time
It was fantastic - great addition to camp!
It was great. But finding some things (gloves, specifically) could be a challenge. Spending a Chicago build day and recreating the classic photo peg board I think might pay huge dividends.
Switch to some/all all-veg meals (e.g. indian is delicious, cheap and scalable): the refrigeration truck is a big upgrade for pre-prep safety, but since it's reliably over 90* outside there's no way we can keep it food safe during prep and before we serve it (the bigger issue)... the windows are just too small at that temperature.
It was great having the communal dry foods out of the way!
It was great!!!
It was hard to find basic things like plates and gloves when needed.
It was nice to have a mostly self-contained kitchen for personal stuff. For some things, it was hard to find or know where the home of the item was.
Kitchen bins could have been better labeled.
A shift assigned to keeping the dish washing areas ready to use. It was like having bad roommates who half ass the dishes in the sink and walk away. I witnessed a lot of people cleaning up after strangers.
It was too small. If it’s to be used for everyone outside of dinner and all communal snacks I think it needs to have a bit more storage for the communal snacks and more space in general so people aren’t al smashed together trying to get food. Otherwise I thought it was a great idea and worked well :)
Kitchen was organized perfectly! Cheers to Tetris!
Might need more XL pots and pans if group continues to grow. I think we used all of them during our dinner shift.
Breakfast for dinner. For the love of god, why wasn't this a dinner this year?! *cries*
Loved having the Dusty Spoon available!
Coffee and gatoride were amazing. I want to point out one thing about communal vs. personal food - people coming/going on the Burner Bus (especially from SF) have zero wiggle room about bringing more than two bags. We had our tents/sleeping stuff/lights/necessities/dry foods as amounting to 2 bags, so we each had one suitcase for personal items, and no possibility of a cooler as an added item, or space for beer. That's no one's responsibility but mine, and if I want more things I should drive, but in an effort to have more people take the bus (better for environment, traffic in/out, etc.) - I will just say that I would be MORE than happy to pay a bunch more $ toward camp as a function of taking the burner bus but not being able to bring beer/alcohol/things like eggs or bacon for breakfast (plus a place to put those), especially if there could be some way to share in the latter! It would feel really fair to me to pay for more things given that I couldn't bring as much and could only cart out one bag of trash. That's why I noted earlier I think I should have paid higher dues!
The Ten Principles
No complaints about the Dusty Bucket. Had a great time cooking dinner with my crew.
No compliants about either. I thought it was well organized.
Needed more surface area
No issues with the Dusty Bucket. It was pretty well-appointed.
Nice to have separate area for snacks and personal cooking - nice to not be underfoot of the dinner and melon gifting teams. Also: having the two different dish washing stations seemed to work really smoothly!
"Other than the rice cooker on Tuesday night? :)"
Same as Dusty Bucket
On Sunday I was unable to use the Dusty Spoon because someone was cooking leftovers for everyone. All. Afternoon. That's all well and good but I gotta fucking eat. If we aren't going to be able to use a heat source all day, we need to know ahead of time.
See above about storage and bleach/water
People definitely became lazy with washing dishes and MOOP control. The water was rarely changed for washing dishes and got pretty nasty a few times so I would make that a bigger announcement that everyone should be watching for that and refilling/cleaning when needed.
"DIY sandwiches! (Cara does a mass charcuterie board!??)
Separate space needed for melon gifting.
Really wish that stove were stronger, made boiling water a chore.
Italian night w/ spaghetti & meatballs, pasta, caprese salad, etc..?
Some folks stored personal items in the camp coolers, which ended up causing food safety issues and the cooler had to be cleaned out :/
Beef jerky & trail mix pot luck?"
Some stuff either wasn't put back or did not exist in the dusty bucket. I think knives and scissors did not have a clear home.
"Separation of duties was great and super clear. It was actually annoying the 1 time someone didn't use it for personal cooking on the cusp of dinner.
Everything is awesome!!
The utensil rack never fully got going, back to that single point of failure. Are there different kitchen wear gloves that we can use? The current ones for melon gifting were easily compromised.
The utensil rack outline idiot proofed the entire experience."
Exploring on a weekday sunset is great; could we make certain nights no-dinner so we can take advantage of the cooler temps and beautiful views?
The communal personal area was nice but there was a tendency for people to leave their dishes in the tubs for someone else to clean or in the bleach tub indefinitely.
Go vegetarian. Recreate the photo peg board. Also I think that one night of the week camp should have dinner outside of camp. Specifically, if we are anywhere near where we were this year, I think we should go out to the end of the world and have dinner while watching the sunset...
Things seemed to go really smoothly this year.
Things were pretty good in the dusty bucket.
"The communal snacks were easy to find. The wall hanging utensil map was really helpful.
Happy we had coffee 24/7. Milk cooler should have been available starting Saturday. Beer cooler should hold wine or there should be a communal wine cooler.
This went well but I couldn’t find things. Maybe reorganizing of bins and storage and a new peg board system (we couldn’t find it for a while so were operating without for days). We also need maybe more tables or times set for preparing melons for the melon station. A melon for precutting melons for gifting?
But it was really hard to know what was stored in each of the bins (or where to put stuff). Maybe it's overkill, but maybe we can take photos of the bins w/ a guide right before they get packed -- just so there's a clear reference that people can study up on or lookup while at camp in case they get confused.
I feel like the communal snack shelves could have been in the Dusty Bucket to free up more prep space in the Dusty Spoon. Also we need a designated area for melon cutting that won't get in the way of dinner prep.
Too many bins that should have been in the Dusty Spoon.
It also wasn't clear what ratio of bleach to water to use when refilling the sprays/buckets."
"I liked all dinners they were amazing this year! Just more food for most of them. Dishwashing station needs clarification on sprayers and how much bleach to add (e.g. follow the formula or only use a small splash of bleach? We were corrected for following the formula given in manual so that was confusing) where to take water from for each sprayer. Dinner cooler or water source?
Was hard to find something. They weren't always in the bins that had their label on them.
This was a great new addition! Loved it.
What did work was the burners aimed in a communal way. I enjoyed vine cook and talking to other vines.
Worked great that it was primarily the space of the dinner team. Didn't have to worry about crashing into non-dinner team folks.
Melon gifting: can we shorten this? 4 hours is a long time to give out melons. People caught on and were in line waiting before 1pm then we were busy the entire shift basically straight through. Can we precut cubes and stick a toothpick in for people to take? What if the melon is super ripe and mushy? Can we make melon juice ahead of time and add a block of ice? Ladel or out into pitchers and just serve mini Dixie cups of cold pulpy melon juice instead? Or bring a few blenders and just blend down?"
Was difficult to find pots and utensils as I think things got mixed up with main kitchen. My main thing I wanted to do for personal cooking was boil water which was very inefficient in the dusty spoon - since I think that was the case for a lot of people maybe trying to have a more efficient solution for boiling water would be helpful.
"Worked: pulling dishwashing out of the kitchen tent
Didn't work: melon gifting took up a lot of space, maybe it should be prepped someplace else? dishwashing = people were inconsistent and directions weren't clear, put shade over dishwashing so melon gifters don't have to get burnt"
I liked the addition of the milk cooler. If it's still economical to buy ice for it, it would be great to keep a cooler for milk (just not THAT cooler, it served it's purpose and worked for a last min addition, but we can do better)
Do you have any thoughts on The Ten Principles? Can we communicate them to fresh Melons and other Burners better? Should we?
We should move all water/coffee dispensers and kitchen bins into the dusty spoon, so nobody needed to actually go in the Dusty Bucket
Worked out really well for small meals and boiling water.
Instructions by the dish washing station on steps and when to empty/replace would be helpful. A few people verbally referenced Nevada kitchen laws, so having common guidelines/basic practices printed would also be useful.
Worked perfectly! Loved the idea of not confusing big meals with personal ones!
"Worked: separating personal cooking from camp cooking
Arriving in the burner express with just a backpack having the bicycle waiting and all food being provided does not really fulfill the idea of self reliance on an individual level
It could be communicated/encouraged more for folks to use the communal cooler for their leftovers and communal food. Lots of people I talked to were unclear on how that system worked.
Didn't work: dishwashing, there wasn't enough space to prep food bc metal cubes took up too much space"
As a first time burnerner it was honestly a little overwhelming to think about the 10 principles. I think it would have been helpful as a fresh melon to just have a little refresher on the 10 principles and maybe point out some examples the melons are doing to reflect on and emulate while there.
"It wasn't always clear to me when coffee was or wasn't available (or what the hours were).
It was also sometimes hard to tell which drinks in the cooler were communal vs. when I might be taking a drink that someone had personally chilled and was looking forward to.
Communicating more throughout the months before the burn, so new melons understand and aren't overwhelmed
Every Burner, and Melons probably more than most, end up entangled in a dense web of acculturation forces. The old saw about college, that "you learn more in the dorms than in the classrooms", applies here too: I learned more about being a Burner from OG Melons burning right than from anything I read, or hoops I was told to jump through. Coming into the Melons, seriousness regarding the Principles was evident in all of the camp communications, and primed me to observe how the veterans were burning through the right lens. I think we do a good job here — it seems like everyone tends to connect goals & activities to relevant principles.
Sunset on the playa is beautiful, and I didn't get to really experience it until the day of the Temple burn. Maybe we can sub out a dinner for a lunch one day midweek so that we can enjoy one of the delightful evening sunsets out on the playa (or the many competing alternative events during that time)."
It would’ve been nice to see more people assisting with kitchen duties and maintenance duties. My experience was that people signed up for Teams to help facilitate things and then never did anything on playa.
Next Year Was Always Better
Just make sure everyone knows how to recycle and that everyone is expected to replace the trash/recycling/burn bags when they are full and to pour out grey water from the hand washing stations before the bucket is overflowing.
I don't have thoughts on this except: the principle of radical self-reliance can be confusing in combination with the idea of collaborative participation and the impressive and wonderful inter-reliance that clearly actually is a huge part of BM. None of it could occur with only yourself, and ultimately (I think) no one wants others to rely only on themselves if they are in distress or need while there. It wasn't ultimately my sense of the culture there at all. As a first-timer, that was the only thing that seemed confusing/intimidating at first, and sure - it would be so lovely to have an explanation of that to say - we are also all relying on each other, but if anyone loafs, we're all hurting for it!
Any other thoughts or suggestions you'd like to share to improve camp next year?
Loved the new recipes this year. Though the curry will always be my favorite. I may not have spent enough time analyzing the system to form any solid ideas. It all ‘seemed’ to work well in my eyes.
- Add an events survey to track participation, investment and sentiment for each thing we did
More communal snacks, but I suppose thats on me next year!
- Keep the theme the same year-to-year so we can keep building on our brand equity :)
"I feel this year's placement - the music, the traffic, the neighbors, the unexpected "oh shit, what are we going to do???" pre-placement, etc. - pushed the melons to look inward & participate at a greater level.
- Enhancements to the kelp forest! It was the place to be during the day this year, and therefore often full. With improved strategic shading it could reach max utilization.
For a camp of 85+, I do feel we can do more. Small moves (like extending the hours of activities like pastie making) could be great. The daily watermelon gifting was awesome & we should definitely repeat!
- Strengthening of melon gifting operation! So much fun to have a real public presence. People really loved it. Especially with the cold water spray bottle enhancement :)
Need to work on our process for gifting melon. Cutting, cleaning, composting the whole shebang.
PIZZA MAGIC'S DISCO PORTO PARTY WAS THE BEST THING ON PLAYA. Please repeat forever.
- I think the on-playa camp meeting took place too early and at an inconvenient time. I wish that was something that happened later in the week when more people could participate
Nothing to add… I was really pleased with the whole operation this year.
I could also get behind allocating some $$ to keep our watermelon bar open a few more days, like Wed-Fri. We could pair it with a smaller camp activity for people to enjoy while drankin (like pastie making??)"
Ran out of Gatorade. New paper plates were too flimsy for wetter dinners, I had to double up. Lots of glass was left at the bar and had to be taken home by the Monday strike crew. Some people put their personal food in the communal coolers = not cool. Separate milk cooler by the coffee seemed to work. Someone added a separate wine cooler by the drink cooler, seemed to work. No big blocks of ice in the communal canned drink cooler, they are too heavy and make it hard to get to cans. Maybe part of orientation is dropping beer by the communal drink cooler, so we are stocked, we ran out a few times.
- I think camp needs to be radically restructured. I noticed way too much burn out of XVC members on playa and before the burn. This is not a sustainable way to run camp. We AS A CAMP need to have a conversation before we begin planning for 2020. It is not ok to have people break down in tears because of the amount of work they are doing for a 95 person camp. We are all smart and talented adults we can and must change the way we operate. No one should be yelled at on playa. That is NOT OK. I strongly suggest having OFF-PLAYA regional conversations that are open to EVERYONE this fall. Melons have brains, hearts and will-power, we can and must do better. This was our best year, but it took too much from a lot of great melons. We cannot have a few people in control of what/how things happen for a camp of 95 - it silos information, it creates a hierarchy and it stifles participation. I am not trying to minimize the work the XVC does, but having watched the burn-out and frankly been yelled at by XVC members on playa I don't think its a sustainable structure that maximizes ALL melon potential. How many people have quit the XVC, why have they quit? These are important questions. Let's have a larger camp dialogue - let's engage people early - let's encourage participation much earlier.
"I felt too guilty putting "too much" for anything because how can camp participate TOO much or give TOO much.
What advice would you give to a new Melon
I feel that if we do the same amount of gifting (of melons/events/etc) the responsibility should fall on more Melons. I spent a lot of time at camp this year and a lot had to do with the amount of events/gifting camp did that I was happy to participate in/lead/attend, but not all Melons felt or acted that way. Everyone burns differently."
Sad I missed Greek night! Burgers would be nice option and easily made for different dietary needs.
1. Wait to get an orientation until you are settled, have peed, had water, etc. :) Then you will be ready to learn about where you are.
I love how our dinners bring us together. What else could increase a sense of community? If I were to think of one way we could improve, I wonder about other events we could hold to bring us together.
Simple idea to improve cleanliness of dishwashing: have a place to keep the sponge when it's not in use so it's not floating in gross rinse water all day.
2. Bring food. You might be really hungry.
The dishwashing stations were a mess this year. There were some really questionable decisions made by the users of those stations with someone putting pure bleach in the bleach sprayer, multiple people washing filthy dishes in the buckets (there was a lot of red sauce), and some other stuff. The flow of bin to bin and the recommended use of which sprayer at which moment has never quite made sense to me to be honest.
3. If you have an air mattress, bring a rechargeable pump. (Or a car pump if you are driving.)
I understand why the Burning Man org wants Radical Self Reliance to be a principle: they have 70,000 people turning up and they need them to be prepared to take care of themselves. However, I question what kind of community (or lack thereof) it breeds. I don’t like the way I saw Burners use RSR as an excuse to not help people out, or an excuse to adopt some survival-of-the-fittest mentality and steal or do other shady shit if they need something. I think this idea of “I had to figure it out myself so fuck off and do it yourself” is what makes Burner message boards sometimes intolerably troll laden. The people that say “Fuck your burn” and mean it. Is that really what we want our catchphrase to be?? And in reality, how many of us actually burn on self-reliance? When it’s windy and your friend is fighting with their tent, you help. When a drunk chick on deep playa chugs half your friend’s water bottle, you share water. We burn together. Ultimately, I’ve made peace with this is my head by acknowledging that Burning Man org needed a manifesto of 10 Principles to guide its adherents, and like any manifesto, there will be those that read it hardline, Orthodox, and those that take a more progressive reading. Surprise surprise, I’m a progressive. I will read this as “Be absolutely prepared for yourself, but reach out as needed.”
4. Try to come for enough time that you have one full day with no volunteer shifts or other scheduled things so you can really explore and see where your bike takes you.
- Idea: create participation pods - kitchen, infrastructure, strike, events, dinners (those are just ideas) and if you are a returning melon you MUST participate in a pod. Instead of one expert in one area we will have 12. It's time to spread the knowledge before the burn. People are willing to participate (just look at what happened when we didn't get placed) - they just have to be told how. Just an initial thought.....
The ice water was BOMB this year. Liked everything else.
5. Bring melon-y clothing.
The pantry pacing was weird this year. Everyone started unloading their gifts on Thursday and Friday instead of throughout the week, leading to notes that reminded me of passive-aggressive roommates I've had. Tarps on the kitchen floor would be great for cleaning purposes.
6. For real, honestly, definitely - do NOT have a work day the day after you get back. Everyone says it, and it's true.
"A few times times I heard that some melons were upset about other melons not contributing as much as they do. I'm myself one of the melons who thinks I'm doing way less than so many great melons because I'm not creative/artsy, not applying for a role in the XVC, don't live in the states etc.
7. Sleep sometimes, otherwise you'll start to feel like crap.
We did run out of electrolyte drink late in the week. And one of the couple of times I randomly filled the water cooler there wasnt an extra ice.
THANK YOU for getting this far down the page AND for contributing to the survey so we can continue to iterate and make the melons better each year! 🍉❤️🍉
8. Drink water/electrolytes constantly, including in the car/bus on your way and right after arrival.
Yeah, the dishwashing station felt particularly grimmey this year. Hoping we can improve that one a bit for the next burn.
My suggestion is to think about benefits a better contributing melon could be offered compared to a less contributing melon. E.g. I would be willing to pay I don't know 50-100 bucks more camp dues if I don't participate in a build day or have an XVC role assigned. Or they can ship things for free on Trudy, always be first in line at dinner, get a back rub from me. Maybe there are other non-financial benefits. Maybe it needs the XVC to ensure everymelon signs up for enough volunteering hours if this is really seen as an issue.
9. Bring lots and lots of wipes.
10. If you've never been to BM before, get ready for it to include some lows as well as highs, and to be tough to adjust to physically and mentally. It's okay if things seem more terrible than amazing at any point! It's worth it ultimately.
"I was a first time Melon, and I didn't get too much out of all the 10 principles (some of them seem opaque and/or redundant). But open to having my mind changed on that.
Be on top of dues the date and moment it opens up. We are hitting full occupancy faster than the Main Sale.
My point is just that I think camp works out so well and everyone does as much as they can and there will always be more and less contributing melons but I wish nomelon would have to feel unequally treated. Also I don't think this is a real issue but I felt a tension."
Given the limited attention span we have for emails/quizzes, I'd almost suggest devoting more time to making sure new Melons understand how to successfully make camp run (volunteering/expectations) -- our camp does such a good job adhering to the principles, that I think it's a more effective/pragmatic way to internalize them."
Be open and know that it is not all sunshine and rainbows. Self care is important and looks different for everyone. Think about what makes you feel better at home and see how you can replicate a little bit of that on the playa.
Adapt melon gifting. Captains need more responsibility and to be informed of what to do. Precut melons before shift. Make a shorter gifting one slot 1-3:30. Smaller melon pieces with small serving sticks. Small or medium Dixie cups to serve melon juice (we got a write up for using ladle and possible germs of this to pour into personal cups). Juice can be in pitcher and poured into cups to fill a tray or two as needed. They can also be burned in the burn barrel. One person is on duty for bikes and wears a shirt if vest that states bikes behind _____ line and is solely responsible for stating where bikes go as people arrive. They also receive a megaphone to use. Also maybe back up the gifting table so people naturally come further in and out of the street.
Be part of this wonderful community and act proactively building it!
I was glad nobody was a decommodificstion nazi
Be super prepared for the dust potentially getting into the nose and sinuses, potential nosebleeds and trouble breathing, etc. Also be mentally/emotionally prepared for the constant 24/7 sound and music. I love music but it was sometimes unnerving to not be able to get any peace/quiet from the sound and it was just somewhat unexpected.
i'd be in favor of including them as one of the forms people have to click through for camp registration.
I'm afraid that our growing camp is actually becoming a plug-n-play bc we use several outside services. I don't have a solution or proposal to this regard because I know there are a lot of Melons who likely wouldn't be able to come to the burn unless they had a camp like ours that had the services we provides, from shade to water to gray water to garbage disposal.
Any way to break up tasks, group them, and present them to smaller groups with sub-group leads might help spread around the responsibility and help to make what needs to be done more clear to less experienced meloners.
Bring a decent sized tent and an air mattress. Everything will get crazy dusty. Spend some time on your own. Stay hydrated.
I'm not sure. I think we do it pretty well. I am sure we can do better, but I don't have any ideas.
Bring enough packaged food that you *could* survive even if you missed half the dinners and nobody gifted you anything.
Maybe attach them and their meanings to an email pdf or google doc. I think many forget to reread them
As a new melon, it was a little difficult meeting so many people. Maybe having intros or getting-to-know fellow melon activities at the beginning of the week would make it easier (at least for those who want to participate).
Do your best not to be overwheled with the amount of things going on. And maybe more specific to introverts like myself but there are a lot of cool people in the melons so dont be shy about joining the fun. The melons are good at radical inclusion.
Maybe I was a little too radically inclusive when I told an art car they could park in our camp? oops. I thought they were talking about parking a bike there.
Bring Ryan Reynolds to camp
Expect the unexpected
Camp is getting bigger and bigger, and the unfortunate reality is that we need to have some stringent rules about who we invite and don't invite back, since there are so many people who are enthusiastic, willing, and able to awesome Melons. The reason I bring this up is that there were some people who just simply didn't have the right attitude in camp, and unfortunately as returning melons, it's just inexcusable.
Follow a packing checklist. Read PDFs about camp and take a small quiz after each section?
Perhaps have them as part of orientation, everyone has to chose one to describe to the group, mention how the camp adheres to or promotes them. Perhaps something along those lines.
Give back. Dream big. Do It Yourself.
"Honestly, you guys at the XVC do such a good job with the preparation--telling people how much work is required, giving people the resources to do their best--I have nothing to add.
Quiz em all!!
Figure out how we can go above 80 and still get to know each other within our own camp (village?)
This is less a comment on camp on playa and more on the Facebook page, but I see a lot of links to buying items or requests for where to buy things. I think melons could work to foster a culture of making rather than throwaway purchases, which contributes to both decommodification and radical self-expression.
Goddam dinners were good, don't change a thing about those.
Just want to say BRAVO and THANK YOU to all the people (I'm looking at YOU, dear reader) who made this year happen!"
I don't think we are ready yet for a village, but I do think we can and should consider restructuring how our camp leadership works. A whole lot of the stress of the XVC comes from us pretending we are something (a democracy) which we aren't. We aren't quite the benevolent dictatorship we were, we're much more of a constitutional monarchy than anything else. We should embrace that. The XVC should be dramatically expanded to be more a House of Lords, meeting regionally once or twice a year and taking the Melon temperature, and be expected to participate more. Camp leadership though should honestly be a smaller group focusing on doing what they do, and delegating when necessary. Trust me, I will be elaborating on this.
Inform them about the use of shower / bathrooms. How the food concept is working.
"With such a veteran group, veteran to virgin ratio and the placement scare, the Melons stepped up on principles we typically struggle with.
"Just go with it.
With how dialed in some parts of camp infrastructure is, the typical struggles/growth with radical self reliance were not as pronounced this year.
And say yes! To everything & everyone."
It;s very important to discuss the Ten Principles, however, it's all subject to interpretation. I'm not sure the Melons have a strong handle on how to bridge the self-reliance gap without becoming "plug and play"
Meet people! Get involved! We're all super friendly.
Meloning is a lot of work.
I love the melons! Thank you for another great year!!!
"Yes to communicating them to fresh Melons better, plus including our take on what they mean to us as Melons and how we live them into the world.
Pace yourself! Get some sleep!
I the only thought I had (other than it was an awesome experience camping at Melon Rouge) is accountablity for those who dont fulfill thier camp duties. I understand that everyone is not going to contribute at equal levels especially with varying times spent on playa, but there should be some level of consequence for skipping or showing up late to a camp shift and not making an effort to make it up or swap shifts with someone else. I know this was discosed at the vision meeting at camp and there is not a consensus on how this would happen but it is a little fruatrating to see some people slack off while others arw putting in a solid effort.
I was happy to hear that we stepped up our communal effort and gifting this year, I think that was wonderful! I would like to see us take that a few steps further... keep building on melon gifting and the porta disco!
Read all melon emails and the site! Ask questions! Participate! ENSURE YOU KNOW YOU ARE BRINGING EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED. When you get into camp, start saying hi and helping out. We're all here to participate and experience this crazy thing together, and by being here, you're part of the fam.
The Melon Ball should be upgraded or scrapped."
Read everything before you arrive. Embrace the serendipity once you hit playa. Fuck tetrapaks (and also fruit stickers).
I think camp was really organized this year. Thank you for all that you guys do to make camp feel like Home!!
Read everything, work with your melon sponsor, trust the process…
I think it's actually getting too hierarchical, too organized, too structured-- at least for me. It's getting peak melon.
"Read the binders when you have downtime in camp.
I was very happy with the space, organization, and size. Given how our community has grown, I don't think we should get any smaller.
Because the Melons provide a really smooth entry into the Burn, and anyone in a shocking new environment isn't pre-disposed to "recognize and do" tasks outside of their comfort zone, it's important to pay attention for opportunities to help when you see it."
I wish there was a good sound system with some dj gear so incould deejay in and for the camp
I would really love to see the swamp cooler or something like it bring back A/C to the dome. Somewhere to sleep in the day is such a gift.
Read up on all the information provided. Ask a lot of questions. Make sure you bring the resources you need for your own survival.
I'd love to see less emphasis on bringing in virgins and more emphasis on bigger better art and events. It seems like the historical growth of the melon patch and high competition for limited slots means that the melon patch will only get more crowded and more competitive with each passing year, and if the same proportion of virgins keep coming, then there needs to be an exit strategy for veterans. Or maybe a veteran sister camp with a bigger emphasis on art? Idk. Shared amenities are really nice, but not totally necessary for veterans either.
read, research, participate
Really spend some time thinking about the 10 principles.
Research weather ahead of time. Use a lot of different formats for research, including YouTube videos and chat forums for packing lists and do's/don'ts.
Self mother fucking care above all.
In terms of meals I think it needs to be very clear that people who are not vegetarian should not eat the vegetarian options. Also I think we should be a little clear on the time expectations for camp involvement .
Talk with as many campmates, you're not alone!
The melons are the best camp.
It felt as if Drew and Michelle made a concerted effort to step back this year. I think people stepped up to fill those shoes and things went smoothly because of it. I hope they were able to enjoy themselves without fretting too much over what they could have been doing.
To bring something personal to share with camp. I had one really hard day, and the best bright spot was sharing a snack i brought with people, and seeing how happy it made them and how thankful they were. You can't always have happiness, but you can always give happiness.
"It sounds like this year's XVC took on a TON of work this year and many won't be returning given the toll it took. Maybe there's no other alternative... but this seems really unsustainable. It would be great to think of compromises where we can delegate to (eager/willing) non-XVC melons as much as possible.
Try to go out with some melons for at least one adventure
Try to simulate your experience / anticipate and get as many questions answered as you can upfront. Ask for other melons packing lists -- have them review yours to see what's excessive/missing. Ask them what they did wrong or wish they brought/did more of their first year. Try to get clarity on appropriate guidelines for composting/waste. Don't be afraid to ask for help in the beginning, because the earlier you learn, the more time you can spend helping/teaching others. It's okay to venture off and do your own thing while you're there. Try to meet and get to know as many Melons as you can - try to make everyone feel welcome, especially if they're arriving later in the week and don't know anyone yet.
And if that's not enough to motivate, maybe they can take a couple hours off their strike shift or something.
More clarity on 1am and 4am meetup spots each night."
"It's a shame that our additional events weren't listed in the book. I understand the reasons. I don't think we need to do anything LESS but it's my hope, as I'm sure it is yours, that we get placed right away and get our activities in the book.
Volunteer more at camp and outside of camp!
MAYBE we shorten the time we hand out melons though ;)"
Walk around during the day. Stop by the DMV on Saturday or Sunday to see all the art cars lined up.
More project leads to distribute work more among veteran melons.
You gotta put yourself out there. We are a friendly bunch but if you show up mid-burn and you're expecting everyone to welcome you with open arms, remind yourself that most of us haven't slept in several days and are probably coming down (or going back up?) on something. The burn is for you, and we've been waiting for you. So welcome home, but also: fuck your burn.
not now, beckys tired, am I already sleeping? is any of this real?
Nothing rather than thanking effusively again to all the amazing work done by the XVC and every Melon, for this experience to be a reality!!! You rock!!!!
Small art car??? A boy can dream.
your primary job is not to die in the desert. Everything after that is a contribution.
Smaller XVC with more of a project management bend and a deeper reliance on subcommittees that take on more ownership of their specific projects (i.e. kitchen, bikes, art, events, etc.). This would allow for greater ownership coming into the Burn.
Tell people like me to stop writing so much in these surveys! :)
This year felt incredible in camp, so I think we just need to keep the momentum going into next year. Thanks XVC!!!
Very proud of how we scaled out operations for a larger camp size this year. But I think we're stretched beyond a limit where cultural cohesion is weakened. I'd like to find a way to keep camp a little smaller.