Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

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Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by talito » Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:53 pm

Hello burners!

I'm a composer and pianist based in Oakland. This will be my 9th burn, and my first time finally realizing my dream of creating a piano lounge in BRC.
The piano lounge will be located at Decadent Oasis (7:30 / A), and will be open late nights, probably from 4am to sunrise. There will be some very special guest singers and beautiful cocktail waitresses as well. Imagine yourself singing "Here comes the sun" at sunrise along with many beautiful strangers (see image attached).

I'm still trying to figure out how to get the piano to/from BRC. Easiest option is to put it in a Uhaul trailer, and tow it up there. However, rental cars aren't allowed to tow so that rules out towing it there myself.
So I'm looking for someone who can either tow a trailer (I'll pay for the trailer), or who can fit a piano in their truck/trailer.

If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear from you!

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Re: Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by digital » Thu Jul 09, 2015 3:19 pm

This sounds like a really neat idea. But, ...

Maybe you should't bring a piano if you can't transport it to BRC. This isn't a sofa or bike -- it's a freaking piano. That's a huge ask to haul.

Also isn't that the kind of thing you have insured when moved? Not just for damage but in case someone gets hurt during transport.

Again it sounds like a great lounge but asking someone to bring your piano to BRC is a huge task. Hope you're providing fuel as well.

Good luck!

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Re: Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by Captain Goddammit » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:40 pm

I have to agree, planning a piano lounge, or any other camp or art, includes planning how you'll get it there!!
Renting a truck with a lift gate would be best but you'll probably have to take a long road trip to get your hands on one that isn't spoken for.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

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Re: Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by Dr. Pyro » Thu Jul 09, 2015 5:45 pm

And ideally the piano should be tuned once it gets there. You know, like the piano in the party area at Barbie Death Village. Even if you tune it prior to heading out to the playa, driving (in your case) over 300 miles will possibly cause it to be more than just modestly off-tune.

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Re: Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by inventory » Thu Jul 09, 2015 9:12 pm


Grand or upright?
Approximate weight?
Can you provide dollies that could take it up the load ramp of a box truck?
Can you deliver/pick up where said truck might be loading/unloading in the Bay Area? Do you have restrictions on when this might happen?
Can you provide loading assistance on either end?
Are you okay waiving damage on the road, assuming you see how it gets strapped down in the truck?
Do you have specific requirements for what day the piano leaves SF / arrives on playa / leaves playa / returns to SF? Specifically, not-before/not-after?
Are you offering gas money or any other sort of bartering / return favor?

All of these will help people know if they can volunteer.

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Re: Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by SageV » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:49 am

The first thing is to make sure you have a piano you aren't too attached to because the potential for damage is great. The second is that upright pianos seem a lot easier to deal with than grand pianos. My campmates just searched all year till they found an used upright piano, and you can even haul that on the back of a pickup truck. I also learned that people will sell used pianos cheap (e.g. San Franciso, old upright piano in 2007, $45). There's no need to insure it if it cost less than the insurance. I heard the biggest challenge was getting it up from the basement of the church. I don't know if you are going for classy, but our experience was that just having a piano on the playa makes people happy, they'll come and play on it themselves, or just sit around and listen, and it wasn't vital that a few keys were broken or were off key.

The other way I've seen it done is to put a Midi keyboard in a facade. It has the appearance of a piano, but it's just laminate over a frame. The advantage to that design was that it could be disassembled, hauled up in pieces, and it was light. It also appeared to support singer gymnastics better. I would have liked to talk to that guy a little more about how he made that.

There's a few options for moving it besides the pickup truck if it's an upright. You could have it commercially trucked out to Reno and then just hire a UHaul moving van one day and plan to burn the piano at the end of the Burn. You might also find a company who could take it right into the burn, you just have to buy them a special ticket for transporting in/out. Some tricks for commercial trucks are:

1) It's cheaper if you contract directly to the transport company without using an intermediary.
2) Independent OTR truckers sometimes have extra space on their loads they will hire out, there's internet sites to bid for them.
3) If they have to use the liftgate, there's usually an extra cost. If you are really nice to the ARTery crew, they might let you borrow their forklift.

There's also rail into there but the east coast burners used to tell me the lower cost was offset by how long they had to wait getting things off the train, making it better to truck things in.

The best way is to tap into the communities of Burners out there moving stuff out to Gerlach for their camps. Many burners with the bigger camps do it off season because its a lot easier to get the stuff there unimpeded and just take it from Gerlach to the burn than try to haul stuff in with stop and go traffic. I know at least three burners who got their commercial trucking license so they could rent 18-wheelers to go to the Burn. We used to rent one of the storage places in Gerlach and took the piano up and our camp stuff up in the off-season and just stored it there till the Burn. I know the BMORG sponsors those shipping containers now so I can't imagine that someone wouldn't have some extra space. Usually if you are tied into the Burner community, its pretty easy with a little money for gas to find the help you need (and willing virgins who want to be involved).

We planned to burn it, and we did it in grand style with some help from Johnny America and the DPW. I just advise if you do something similar that you have your piano player remind you how many black keys and white keys there are on a piano. Trying to MOOP all those keys kinda sucked.

Maybe if one of my old SF campmates will see this post and feel nostalgic and offer to take you up in his 18 wheeler. :)

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
-- Hunter S. Thompson

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Re: Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by Ronald_P » Fri Aug 07, 2015 4:49 am

If you have a vehicle pass, I have a pickup with a trailer hitch.
Plato seems wrong to me today.

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Re: Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by talito » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:21 am

Problem solved! The piano will be at my camp, Decadent Oasis, 7:30 / A.
Grand opening of the piano lounge Tuesday @ 3am!

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Re: Need HELP transporting PIANO from bay area

Post by Ano » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:44 pm

Classic ePlaya - someone has a cool idea, first few posts are telling said person how bad said idea is for a variety of somewhat related reasons, followed by a mysterious conclusion with not much information beyond "it worked out!"

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