How do we get contributing burners tickets who aren’t placed

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Dr Dilemma
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How do we get contributing burners tickets who aren’t placed

Post by Dr Dilemma » Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:45 pm

So I’ve been following the plight of a couple of camps who, although they have been playa traditions for ages, choose for various reasons to not apply for theme camp placement. Some camps like to “fly under the radar” for some, ahem, fishy reason perhaps. Some like to do some sort of guerrilla art. Or maybe it’s just a few, couple or even single person that like to bring some cool thing to the playa that wouldn’t really count as a theme camp. Like this one guy that brings this cute radio controlled robot out and and runs it around and has fun with it. Or it could be a long time burner that may not be associated with a camp but has wisdom or gifts to bring or just wants to take a damn year off and just enjoy themselves. For these folks, the past few years it's been REALLY hard for them to get tickets since they aren’t part of the DGS tickets and may not have the time or money to throw around to get tickets by other means.

But also, some camps may just be more informal and don't care to go through the process of applying for theme camp status. My first couple of burns, I went with a “camp” but it was pretty informal, mainly just a group of friends. I remember someone walking by and asking “hey are you a theme camp” and we figured we should say yes cause maybe “the powers that be” would be upset with us if we weren’t (we were such newbs) so we just off the cuff said “why yes, um, we are People Against Not Drinking Alcohol … PANDA CAMP!!!” and we invited the person to come sit and drink with us. For most folks it was our second burn and we were starting to understand the concept of gifting and were getting our feet wet this year by bringing some extra beer to share and some blinky lights to decorate. Nothing elaborate, mind you. But that was back when you could run into Distractions on Haight or Sports Basement and pick up a ticket anytime you wanted. It was easy to pull a camp together and get your folks tickets. When my current camp, Paradise Motel, first formed in 2008, it was from a group of friends that went in 2007 together who wanted to do something interactive but weren’t sure we could really pull it all off so didn’t want to ask for placement, advertise in the book. etc.

I can’t imagine now trying to do something like that … get 5-10 friends together and do a camp together and see how it goes. It’s so hard to get tickets now that you’d be lucky to get 1/2 your group tickets. So I imagine it’s gotten really hard for “proto theme camps” to form. My general observation is that camps lately seem to fall into 2 categories: either you are a placed theme camp with lots of elaborate decorations, interactivity and events going on inside of theme camp space OR outside of that, camps which have zero interactivity and little to no decoration. These seem to either be small 2-5 people camps, because that’s all you can get tickets for, or the large RV fortresses of folks that could afford to get tickets by some other means. This bifurcation seems to have gotten more pronounced as perks like Directed Sales Tickets have become more and more valuable. Placement have had record amounts of camps apply for placement this year likely because more of the informal groups want to get in on the DGS action. And theme camp leaders feel like we really need to step up the interaction else we lose placement status and those tickets.

So yes, part of this is pining for the old days when you’d see more of the “proto camps” and generally every inch of the city would have something interesting to see or do outside of the designated theme camp areas and missing those hidden little quirky gems that seem rarer these days. But I do wonder, how could we make it easier for folks who, although not part of a established / placed theme camp, have some sort of contribution to make (or attempt to make) get tickets?

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Dr Dilemma
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Re: How do we get contributing burners tickets who aren’t pl

Post by Dr Dilemma » Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:21 pm

Or another thought ..

If you have a camp that wants to split into two camps, or take a year off or even burn your camp to the ground and start something brand new with a different mix of people? With DGS tickets being so valuable, there is at least a feeling that you don't want to break a camp apart for fear of losing these. Does this lead to seeing the same camps doing the same thing year after year? In a city where you are either a contributor: getting a DGS ticket, coming early with your EA, being part of a camp or project in the interesting part of the city OR a spectator camped out in the burbs ... not really able to grow into a camp so you feel like you have to join an established camp to get the "perks". So your proto camp never develops into something new that no one had thought of yet ...

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trilobyte
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Re: How do we get contributing burners tickets who aren’t pl

Post by trilobyte » Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:56 pm

The enemy, as always is scarcity. In such a climate, it's impossible to give everyone equal advantage (because otherwise it's not an advantage). It's a catch-22, if you don't give camps and art projects who have demonstrated their participatory contribution to Black Rock City, then you have the very real prospect that these camps may not be able to get their core setup crews covered. If you give those camps and projects too much of a leg up, it makes things that much more difficult for everyone else.

Increasing what's available to the public means reducing the number available to directed groups. And vice versa.

I think this year was roughly 2/3 public, 1/3 directed. I'm okay with that number.

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Re: How do we get contributing burners tickets who aren’t pl

Post by Ano » Sat Aug 08, 2015 2:37 am

If anything will actually kill the event, it won't be a horde of EDMers (because they can easily see more than just DJs if given the right chance), it won't be DMZs (because a special place for big cars to play for long periods of time isn't a bad thing), it won't be BLM (because I postulate there are more drunk or sober burners than tripper burners), but ticketing scarcity is a legitimately scary-ish thing that is actively doing damage to the event... and unfortunately there isn't much that can be done.

I personally know one camp who is made up of people who despise each other, however they come together and do their MV + some events in camp in order to stay on DGS, because they have been theme camping since 2009 or so, are recognizable, and get a sizable chunk of EA passes and DGS tickets. They basically can't give it up if they want to stay afloat. It's a nasty situation... but it's happening, in at least one camp. The camp in question avoids each other all week, sets up camp in a way that their doors face away from each other, and each "group" within the camp does an event on each day they stay open. Another guy I know strings together his long-since-dead (2012 was their final year) camp, fills it with virgins and whomever he can recruit, and goes balls out and tries his best.. basically to keep his access to the DGS. These two camps are certainly exceptions to the rule, however.

I just can't see some camps ever recovering from it, though. I'm honestly interested, for example, to see if Opulent Temple manages to ever come back in full capacity, seeing as they are losing access to the DGS since they aren't a theme camp this year. I don't see them successfully ticketing the majority of their crew, given how tough it is to get a ticket nowadays.

It's kind of just the new reality. You have to either strike gold in one of the ticketing cycles, or put yourself out there enough to be deemed worthy of DGS/Staff/Art tickets, or be rich and willing to pay scalper prices (Because as much as we want to deny it, the ebay front page can plainly show it happening now) or be connected to your community... and it isn't impossible to get ticekts, yet. My camp is purposefully unplaced, made up of 6 staff and then 11 non-staff. Most of those non-staff aren't incredibly active in their local community or anything special... and we've just finally managed to ticket the last two people, as of a few weeks ago. So, it can happen.

So far, three major instant sellout years (2011 it sold out in July), and the event hasn't imploded/died yet. I think we still have a few more years before we start to see real consequences, if there will be any. I feel (in my opinion) that the community and burners are still resourceful enough to ticket/VP themselves... and, in a way, I feel like it might cut down on "tourism" 'cause if you want to go, you need to really work at it, generally. The new thing will be rich tourists, rather than everyday tourists... I think. I'm just guessing at this point.

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