How to Be a Good Citizen of Black Rock City
Batten Down Your Camp
The desert wind can whip up to speeds exceeding 75 MPH in an instant, picking up everything and hurtling it miles down the playa or smack into your neighbor — sleeping bags, chairs, card tables, ice chests, tents, you name it. Keep objects secure at all times. Weight the interior corners of your tent. Rebar makes excellent stakes, but all exposed ends must be capped or bent into a candy cane shape to prevent foot/leg injuries. Rebar tips (including removal) are found on the Burning Man website. Ropes or cables used to stabilize tents can be hazardous at night and should be flagged with a white or reflective material.
There is no recreational vehicle dumping station and you may not dump on the playa. BLM issues citations for dumping or leaking gray or black water. As a citizen of Black Rock City, you are responsible for preventing and remediating leaks. Catch leaks immediately with a five-gallon bucket. There is no location for scheduling RV servicing. If you see a truck designated “RV servicing”, you can flag them down. Many trucks are servicing infrastructure and not RVs so be sure look for the sign. RV servicing is available for a $50 fee for trailers up to 24′ long, and $60 for one gray and one black tank for RVs that are 25′-35′ long. Each additional or over-sized tank is $30. Cash only. You must have a contact person to meet the pump-truck at your RV. Keep a space clear for the truck to access your RV; pump hoses cannot reach beyond 30’. You may ask for a receipt. If you have a customer service complaint, record the time of day and the pumper-truck plate number. The only vendor authorized to provide cash sales of pumping services is United Site Services. Note: pumping services only include removal of gray and black water — not a potable water fill. Use only one-ply toilet paper. Finally, be considerate of your neighbors when running your generator.
Commerce & Concessions
The sale of products and services by participants is strictly prohibited. Sales of handmade and food items “in order to cover costs” are not allowed. There is NO participant vending. Bring what you need. Confront your own survival. This is not a consumer event.
Logos & Branding
Burning Man is a decommodified zone where branding is not welcome. Advertising? Hell no. Launching a product? Not in Black Rock City. Burning Man is not (and will never be) something to be used in promotion of your business, website, or product. Got a van from work with logos? Cover it up. Got a rental truck or RV? Alter the logos. Taking pictures of a product on playa to promote it online? That’s not even close to being okay. Neither is using Burning Man to promote your business before, during, or after, the event.
Dogs & Other Animals
Dogs are not permitted. If you show up with your dog, you will not be admitted to the event. This restriction is for the well-being and safety of participants and their four-legged friends. Burning Man is a loud, tumultuous, and scary place for any animal — do not bring them with you.
Don’t Steal Street Signs
Emergency Services rely on street signs to navigate our city when responding to emergencies and participants count on them to find their way around. All signs must remain in place through the Temple burn on Sunday night. Seriously folks, we need your help stopping the rampant theft of street signs early in the event. Recently signs are being stolen right when the Gate opens. If you see this happening, say something!
Children & Families
Burning Man is, and always has been, a family friendly event. Kids are an important part of our thriving culture in BRC and around the world. Children 12 and under need a free kids’ ticket, and children 13 and over require a regular event ticket. All families are encouraged to register with the Family Unification Network (FUN) at the Black Rock Ranger Headquarters located on the Esplanade. Parents are responsible for their children’s safety and well-being at all times.
Keep this in mind: there is no “they” in BRC. There is only “us.” When we see a job that needs to be done, we are inclined to roll up our sleeves and pitch in. Sadly, there are always a few people who just don’t “get it.” These folks believe the mystical “they” will appear to provide for their needs and clean up their mess. Help educate them. If you see someone acting irresponsibly, introduce yourself and speak up. Consider stepping up your participation by volunteering. Visit the V-Spot adjacent to Playa Info.
Cameras in BRC
Images allow participants to share their experiences and help Burning Man reach the world by showcasing what we do together as a community. However, using a camera at Burning Man comes with important responsibilities. As a condition of entry to BRC, participants agree not to interfere with personal experiences and to ask permission before photographing or recording others. Pictures from BRC may not be used for any commercial, promotional, editorial or otherwise non-personal reasons without first registering as professional media. Burning Man limits media permitted at the event to protect participant privacy and prevent our culture from inappropriate exploitation. All permitted professional media will be credentialed and their cameras tagged with a unique Media ID #. If someone is being disrespectful with a camera, record their Media # and bring it to Media Mecca (at 10 o’clock on the inner ring, across from Center Camp Café). If they do not have a Media Tag, find a Black Rock Ranger immediately. If you find a picture of you or your images from Burning Man being used without your permission, contact pressburningmanorg (pressburningmanorg) anytime during the year.
Protect Your Belongings
Secure your valuables when away from camp, especially on Burn night. Consider locking valuables in your car. Take pictures of your valuables, record serial numbers, and report them missing immediately if stolen; police can’t easily investigate otherwise. (Tip: Make two spare door keys — hide one and carry one.) Introduce yourself to neighbors and local Black Rock Rangers. Work together to keep your neighborhood secure.
Black Rock City can be an erotically charged environment, particularly for first timers. You can help prevent sexual harassment and assault while ensuring sex-positive free expression thrives. Know and express your boundaries. Ask about and respect the boundaries of others. Look out for each other, including anyone you encounter who might be in distress. If you see behavior that concerns you, contact a Black Rock Ranger.
Consent is the cornerstone of a healthy community. It’s simple: whether it’s a potential sexual encounter, physical touch of any kind, something requiring permission that will radically alter the experience of another person, or involving the recording of someone’s image or voice, you are responsible for getting verbal consent before engaging. It is neither ethical nor acceptable to proceed without that person’s awareness and clear consent. Period. As the Bureau of Erotic Discourse reminds us: “Silence is not consent.” Black Rock City citizens are encouraged to understand and help others understand the importance of consent. For more info, visit bureauoferoticdiscourse.org.
BRC is not immune to the potential dangers of drug and alcohol use and misuse. Burning Man and its partners in health and safety, including law enforcement, believe in the importance of harm reduction. Here are some things to remember:
- Always be actively hydrating. Bring your own water wherever you go and be sure to get enough electrolytes.
- Get enough sleep.
- Eat enough healthy, nourishing food.
- If you don’t know what’s in something, it’s best not to drink or eat it.
- Burning Man is better with friends; consider using a buddy system.
- There have been incidents of intentional dosing with intent to assault — sometimes referred to as “date rape” — at the event. Participants should be aware of this and exercise appropriate caution.
- If you feel like you have been dosed without your knowledge, seek help immediately.
- If you see someone who appears to be overly intoxicated, ask them if they need help.
- If you or someone around you needs emergency help, get help. Black Rock Rangers, medical personnel, and law enforcement officers are there to ensure your safety and are always willing to help.
If you or someone you’re with is feeling overwhelmed, there are lots of services in Black Rock City to support you. Volunteers from the Zendo Project and the Green Dot team of the Black Rock Rangers are trained to help people going through challenging emotional or psychological processes. Both groups offer safe spaces in BRC. Seek them out. And remember, Black Rock City is our community, and we all need to look out for each other.