2006 BRC Plan - Theme Camps in the 'Suburbs'

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Gravity Mike
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2006 BRC Plan - Theme Camps in the 'Suburbs'

Postby Gravity Mike » Fri Nov 11, 2005 12:49 pm

OK, I pretty surprised I haven't seen a thread on this topic yet...

What about last year's city plan experiment with the 4:30 and 7:30 Theme camp 'spokes?' To folks talking bad about it pre-burn I said 'wait and give it a chance.' So what did everybody think?

I think it sucked, our camp was placed out at Fetish. We had 1/2 the traffic we did in '04 and our camp was twice as big. I saw much less of the Playa art cuz we were so far away - and so much of the art was just completed one day and destroyed the next. You really have to make it to the playa at least once/day if you really want to see the art (twice per day is really best, one day and one night). I really missed a lot of stuff.

I'll repeat what Sour Lemon said pre-burn: Why should the folks who put in the extra effort to produce a theme camp be 'banished' to the outskirts of the city?

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Postby serafaery » Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:26 am

2005 was my first year attending Burning Man, so I don't know what it was like before, and my point of view is going to be very different from long-term burners and big theme campers.

From the sound of this post, I would think the "spokes" design is beneficial and needed. It encourages people to travel around more and explore all of Burning Man, and not just the first or second inner circles.

We camped at 9:30 and Fetish, and I didn't experience the slightest bit of difficulty getting to the central playa several times a day. Being "in the sticks" felt a bit removed and isolated, but having more theme camps farther out made me feel a lot less isolated than I'm sure I would have felt if everything was in the inner two streets.

One of my least favorite things about Burning Man was the elitist feeling I got from all of the fancy theme camps close to the center. I felt unwelcome and unimportant to them - they were all doing their own exclusive thing with their friends and didn't seem to have any interest in being available for random people from outter areas. Having camps out farther was more fun for me. They felt much more welcoming and easier to participate in. I felt appreciated there, and it wasn't intimidating like the centralized theme camps were.

I think if campers are willing to suffer with less traffic and a couple minutes extra travel time to the Man, it's best for the huge number of people who aren't in the central areas if there isn't such a harsh division between "city" and "suburb".

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Go back to the way it was...

Postby mamagrrl » Thu Nov 17, 2005 10:59 am

Our camp even had 'normal' old-school placement: 4:40 on Catharsis. We rocked our little area - but, we noticed there was dramatically less-than-normal traffic even on C. Other themers weren't pulling traffic along the concentric streets (everyone was on radial!), so fewer folks passed by us.

Mind, with our bellydance classes, theme days and Astronomy at Noon sessions (amongst other workshops), we were a destination camp for some folks... but still, would have been nice to have more passers-by discover us.

About the friendliness thing, we were told that we were one of the friendliest camps on the playa and we were over on C. No attitude, lots of smiles and beverage, good (and bad) music, places to chill, to dance, to play a wierd-assed game of pool, etc, etc. Maybe we were friendly because we're such a new camp, or because we weren't always busy, or whatever. I personally think it's because campmates opened and closed the joint as they felt like it. It wasn't a 'job.' We were happy to be there, or we weren't there! (and somehow, it worked out that someone was almost ALWAYS there.)

Somehow, though, placement doesn't determine friendliness, does it? Or, are you saying the probably-otherwise-aloof-camp put by you in the outer-burbs was desperate for visitors, so they were potentially more welcoming to you?

Frankly, our campmates worked our collective ASSES off to make a positive contribution to folks going to Bman '05. We'd've been mighty pissed to have even fewer folks visit our camp and appreciate our hard work - and that's what would have happened were we out on F or G streets. (that said, we also aren't interested in being on Espl, either! Too MUCH traffic!)

Hey, THAT's an idea! Move Espl over onto C street and put Open Camping on what was Espl. That'd really pull folks away from the playa at night and further back into the 'burbs.

Ooooh, or the burns! Let's move the BURNS back into the burbs.
(wry grin)

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Postby Kinetic IV » Thu Nov 17, 2005 11:51 am

serafaery wrote:One of my least favorite things about Burning Man was the elitist feeling I got from all of the fancy theme camps close to the center. I felt unwelcome and unimportant to them - they were all doing their own exclusive thing with their friends and didn't seem to have any interest in being available for random people from outter areas. Having camps out farther was more fun for me. They felt much more welcoming and easier to participate in. I felt appreciated there, and it wasn't intimidating like the centralized theme camps were.


This was my 4th year and I've felt the attitude you described every year. Having some of the bigger camps further back seemed to diffuse some of the negative energy though...but on the other hand there were times that the Esplanade felt empty. I've put some thought into this and I like this year's layout the best. And I hope the powers that be keep it for 2006.
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Postby mamagrrl » Thu Nov 17, 2005 2:51 pm

On the subject of Espl, seeming empty sometimes... a placer said that the folks who make the decision on who gets placed where, simply trust that folks'll do what they say they will on their placement app.

That is, nobody actually checks to see that a placed camp actually does what they say they're going to. A camp seeking placement could say they're going to have a full-on school playground complete with crossing guards - and actually just throw out a little tykes teetertotter before running off to play in other camps. Nobody in placement knows.

The reasoning is that they haven't the manpower to look at all the camps once festival's started. So, placed camps who show up and simply camp are disappointing when citizens walk through the active-areas, expecting more. (like keyholes and Espl, especially.)

Themers are given extra time to set up, under the assumption that they have something that needs more time. Maybe instead of changing or re-changing maps, thought could be focused on the actual participation levels of placed themers.

(and yeah, Espl definitely seemed deader than usual this last year. Some nice-looking-frontage but didn't seem to have much actually going on in their space, besides looking at the frontage.)

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Postby theCryptofishist » Thu Nov 17, 2005 2:54 pm

Well, I would hope that once a bad actor, you wouldn't get esplanade frontage the next year. Of course, you could always change your name and contact person, but after a while, you'd run out of contact people who where competent enough to .... oh crap, web.... you could just claim to have a different name.

Well, I know there are problems, but I've never heard it said that Harley and company are complete idiots....
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Thu Nov 17, 2005 4:46 pm

I guess we were neighbors of mamagirl's seeing as Barbie Death Camp & Wine Bistro was on the corner of 4:00 and Catharsis. Because we are a very popular themecamp in a wonderful village (Wheeeee!Ville) whether by luck or design our placement is usually quite favorable. That notwithstanding, I liked 2004's and prior year's placement formula better. For those of us who wish to be seen and interact with our fellow Burners, having us in a definable area encompassing the entire length of Black Rock City makes navigation, visitation, and the ability to experience that much easier and better. And for those camps that wish to be out in the hinterlands (Pinky's for one comes to mind) they can do that without interference from the Borg or anybody else. I cannot answer to those camps along or near the Esplanade who were either standoffish or simply unwelcoming to their fellow denizens of Black Rock City. As that newbie mentioned, they did not feel "welcomed" in those camps. When I was a newbie--hell, it took me nearly three years to get over it--I was either afraid or intimidated on visiting unknown camps. But I think you will find that most of your fellow burners would welcome you whether or not they knew you. All of us were newbies once. But I digress. My vote: Go back to the old formula.

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Postby mamagrrl » Thu Nov 17, 2005 7:18 pm

Oh aye, we were in Iron Rose.
And wasn't it amusing having Hushville as neighbors? (chuckling)
We did all we could to point the sound/gennies away from them, and block with trailers/trucks - but to place any kind of music-camp next to Hushville... ouch. (and no, we weren't big sound...)
...heard y'all in Wheeeville moved your sound away from hush as much as possible too.

Good neighbors.
Amusing placement decision.
Sweet people, Hushville-ians, especially that Ohio fellow who's into ballooning. Still sorry I missed his bacon and sausage fryup.

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Postby Remark » Fri Nov 18, 2005 12:35 am

...mmm, Iron Rose. I'm pretty sure I wandered into your camp wearing a "minor's helmet" and left not feeling unwelcome at all....thanks

Want to feel welcome? approaching smaller camps works for me. Six 10' speakers makes it hard say "hey there, nice burn barrell. Cut it yourself?"

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Postby mamagrrl » Fri Nov 18, 2005 9:18 am

(laughing)
Ah! You were in on the Drunken Minor..err, Miner's gag then?

Save that Miners' hat! We'll be doing the Drunken Minor's Bar Crawl again next year. Gonna have to recruit more artcars, though. Few Dedicated Drunken Miners want to walk after a long day down in the mines!

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Postby robotland » Sun Nov 20, 2005 4:09 am

mamagrrl wrote:Oh aye, we were in Iron Rose.
And wasn't it amusing having Hushville as neighbors? (chuckling)
We did all we could to point the sound/gennies away from them, and block with trailers/trucks - but to place any kind of music-camp next to Hushville... ouch. (and no, we weren't big sound...)
...heard y'all in Wheeeville moved your sound away from hush as much as possible too.

Good neighbors.
Amusing placement decision.
Sweet people, Hushville-ians, especially that Ohio fellow who's into ballooning. Still sorry I missed his bacon and sausage fryup.


Yep, fine folks indeed. Ohio gave up his last couple of stamps so that I could send out a few postcards...Noisewise, I don't fault the placement people since who the hell are they SUPPOSED to put Hushville next to? With a few exceptions, mostly mobile Ooooontzmobiles, everyone's been very considerate. (It's almost TOO quiet....)
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Postby mamagrrl » Sun Nov 20, 2005 5:28 am

Yep, bored as toast, so I keep checking messages. Sorry everyone! (grins)

Placing Hush neighbors? If i were benevolent dictator of the universe, Hushville neighbors would be folks like Necklace camp, HeeBeeGeeBees, Snuggledome, etc. AEZ was an easy (and big) Hush neighbor, so keep them too. Art Car Camp might be good... there are lots of not-music/noise camps.

Hey Robotland: Enjoyed your dome/s, but was sorry to see the slide not working the day I stopped by. Something about crashing into neighbors, wasn't it? 'twas *your* dome, wasn't it?

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Postby robotland » Sun Nov 20, 2005 2:42 pm

Regretably, I had to close the Playa Luge by week's end due to a progressive deterioration of the luge chair....I was jokingly telling people to review the back of their tickets before taking a ride, but it was getting to the point where I was sure somebody'd get hurt. Thanks YET AGAIN to Dragonfly Jafe for swinging by with The Tongue to ferry the decommissioned luge and deck segments to the burn platform for ritual immolation!
It's my sincere hope to build and bring SOMETHING for folks to ride in '06...But I'm seriously considering Going Thoreau on my living arrangements and that might have been the last you'll see of the Snowman domes.
Howdy From Kalamazoo

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Postby Gravity Mike » Wed Nov 30, 2005 9:18 am

Well, Robotland, I'm sorry I missed your snowman domes (and luge, too, apparently). I looked for it for the parade of domes, but didn't see it for whatever reason. So, did the parade of domes happen, and how did it turn out?

As far as old plan vs. new, there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus, so I'm curious what the Borg has in mind.

Gravity

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Postby griffin » Fri Dec 09, 2005 11:41 am

My camp has always been placed around 7 and three streets from the esp. This year we were at 4:45 and Fetish. We had no traffic. I went outside one night, with a bottle of vodka, to try to get SOMEBODY into our camp. There was nobody out there to to entice. There was just no traffic on the street.

I think the camps placed directly on 4:30 (and whatever it was on the other side) probobly had good traffic, and drew people towards the outer city, but people didn't venture down the side streets to find camps like ours who have always been very popular in the past. We went from standing room only (playing BINGO) to haveing to bribe people with vodka on the street.

I think if the theme camp questionare that we fill out gave an option to be on a spoke, or to be in the old style of placement, the numbers would drasticly point towards the old way. I know we are always supposed to point towards new ideas, but this just didn't work for most of us. Maybe it did for some, but most of us got screwed.

My camp worked really, really hard to creat a great, fun, inviting invironment, and we just didn't have people on our street to share it with. Most of our street felt the same way.
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thoughts on placement

Postby haptotrope » Tue Dec 13, 2005 10:13 am

For me, first time burner, I liked the spreadoutness. it meant that no matter where you were there was stuff to look at... BIG stuff... not just a couple tents and a personal dome.

At night the esplanade was tough to navigate as it was.. and you mean to say it was MORE crowded?

As far as welcoming spaces, I think that the invention of 'private tents' and 'private spaces' is what felt wierd to me... I didn't know what was private and what wasn't... so I often didn't tread into the themecamp spaces... which i think would have little to do with placement of camps on the map.

Id love a 'greeter' at the entrace to camps, welcoming people in, annnouncing the offerings of a camp... but that maybe I'm shy that way.

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Postby digitalrhino » Tue Dec 13, 2005 7:11 pm

I was ok with it once we got there, we had a fair bit of foot traffic, BUT we were at the corner of 4:30 and Fetish. I could see it getting a bit trikier to get people farther off 4:30.

I guess I like the idea of it, maybe it just needs some refinement. I did like the neibhorhoodie feeling of it, even if our block party didn't happen.

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Postby Tiahaar » Tue Dec 13, 2005 9:47 pm

I liked the theme camps' infiltration of suburbia but also think that the idea was overused and the theme areas spread thin. How about tightening it up...having one major theme area from center camp towards the outer ring roads between 5:30 and 6:30 in addition to Esplanade (and of course the 2 and 10 o'clock soundcamps). Like others I also find myself mostly sticking to the radials when traveling from the outskirts to the Man and open playa. I've yet to travel all the ring roads for any one year though always try to get all the way around a few at least.
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Postby griffin » Tue Dec 20, 2005 3:20 pm

digitalrhino wrote:I was ok with it once we got there, we had a fair bit of foot traffic, BUT we were at the corner of 4:30 and Fetish. I could see it getting a bit trikier to get people farther off 4:30.

I guess I like the idea of it, maybe it just needs some refinement. I did like the neibhorhoodie feeling of it, even if our block party didn't happen.


Well, like I said, the camps that were right on 4:30 had it made. The rest of us, down the street were left stranded.

As for the 4:30 + Fetish block party, we did all we could. We dragged our bar out to the street, set up some lights, and served drinks until 10am the next morning. We tied to do what we could to liven up the street, and make the block party fun. Most of the camps around us were out being interactive as well. It was the most lively night of the whole week. The only problem was that it was all just neighbors. The whole block wanted more outsiders to come visit.

And as for feeling welcome in a camp (somebody elses post) that's the point of having clearly designated theme camp streets. We also put a sign out in front of our camp saying what we are doing and when. Next year our plan is to be more open air, so it will be very obvious to see that people are sitting around drinking, and playing Bingo. Our goal is to make it as inviting as possible. We will have bingo during the day, and a bar at night. Basically, if you see people there, you are welcome to come in. I know a lot of other camps aren't that clear, and I remember back to my first year, wanding in to camps, and wondering, "hmm, am I supposed to be here?" It's pretty awkward, but everybody does it, and people still do it in our camp, when we aren't open. But we don't mind. it's all part of burning man.
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Postby digitalrhino » Tue Dec 20, 2005 4:10 pm

[quote]As for the 4:30 + Fetish block party, we did all we could. We dragged our bar out to the street, set up some lights, and served drinks until 10am the next morning. We tied to do what we could to liven up the street, and make the block party fun. Most of the camps around us were out being interactive as well. It was the most lively night of the whole week. The only problem was that it was all just neighbors. The whole block wanted more outsiders to come visit.[/quote]

CRAP! It did happen? I'm saddened and ashamed that i managed to not spot a freakin Block Party. Ah well, next year.

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Postby JO3 » Fri Dec 23, 2005 3:04 am

I didn't care for the new plan. The esplenade seemed to lack the crazy-wild energy/synergy it had before, and that seemed (to me at least) to drain that spark away from the whole event. Now that may be because my campmate was ill for much of the week and kinda killed much of the buzz for me, or maybe this plan needs some more time to work itself out while everyone gets used to it. If it was up to me though, I'd go back to the old plan...

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Re: thoughts on placement

Postby HughMungus » Fri Dec 23, 2005 10:26 am

haptotrope wrote:As far as welcoming spaces, I think that the invention of 'private tents' and 'private spaces' is what felt wierd to me... I didn't know what was private and what wasn't... so I often didn't tread into the themecamp spaces... which i think would have little to do with placement of camps on the map.

Id love a 'greeter' at the entrace to camps, welcoming people in, annnouncing the offerings of a camp... but that maybe I'm shy that way.


Yeah, having done my first public camp this year I learned that if you want people in your camp you have to make it obvious that people are welcome to come into your camp (and if they're not during certain times that should be obvious, too). This can range from your suggestion of having a greeter (which I did a lot -- "Hey come here!") to something as simple as an "Open/Closed" sign or even a sign that says, "Hey come here!".

Not sure where I stand on the layout issue. I think I like the old way. That let people (like us) who wanted SOME traffic but not to much traffic (or noise) to place themselves further out. I worry that putting public camps in the 'burbs is like putting a bar in a real suburb -- people who don't mind traffic and noise will be OK but those who want a less-trafficked/less-noisy space will move even further out (even if they have a public space).
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Theme Camps Closing Roads Off

Postby taxman56 » Fri Jan 20, 2006 5:43 pm

I hated that you ran into one or two camps that closed the road running through a gaint theme camp. One road just pettered out into personal living area full of tents guide lines and no way out

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Postby dusty_nipples » Sat Jan 21, 2006 3:57 pm

We were at 4:30 and Fetish and our placement had a very negative effect on our participation (although we loved our neighbors!). I understand why they want to draw theme camps and participants back into the city, but there are better ways to do it. The 3:00 and 9:00 plaza's had a lot of traffic because, while they were set back from the esplanade, they weren't pushed to the outer limits. I'd like to see the same type of plazas at 4:30 and 7:30, and all of the plazas should be 'themed'... for example 1) day camps 2) night camps 3) kids camps 4) red light district... there are lots of ways you can 'zone' them. BRC is big enough that we can have neighborhoods with a central type of focus. This isn't to say each area would be limited to only these types of camps, but it would help give a general feel to the neighborhood, and perhaps lessen the neighborly conflicts over day/night/quiet/loud. I felt really bad for all of the camps that put so much work into creating a participatory experience, as required in order to achieve theme camp placement, and ended up with no traffic due to poor city planning.

The real question: What's the most effective way to provide feedback to the BMorg planners? Do they plan on changing anything this year? Will they listen to input from the community?

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Postby AntiM » Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:01 pm

I hated that you ran into one or two camps that closed the road running through a gaint theme camp. One road just pettered out into personal living area full of tents guide lines and no way out


There's always been a few (usually four? five?) big central double blocks. The confusion enters when there's "interior" roads in the big camps, hushville and gigsville had them at approximately where the "real" road would have been have it existed. The road that quit on you was likely a camp street, not something on the map.

This is even more confusing once the signs have all been stolen; one car drove down what they thought was Delirium, only to drive in a circle around the hushville town round and exited on fetish, little further than where they started. We tried to flag they down before they turned, but they were very intent on leaving!
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Postby Isotopia » Sat Jan 21, 2006 5:51 pm

The real question: What's the most effective way to provide feedback to the BMorg planners? Do they plan on changing anything this year? Will they listen to input from the community?


I think there is. Not sure who exactly to send your ideas to but you might start with Andi Grace (actiongrl at burningman . com)

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Postby mamagrrl » Sun Jan 22, 2006 2:38 am

If you're going to email, might as well email

themecamps (at) burningman (dot) com
and
harley (at) burningman (dot) com

They do placement and probably have some sort of input into the layout.
If nothing else, Harley and Frog really DO want feedback on themecamp issues, your placement... and they even want to hear about themecamps who appear to theme for a secure spot, rather than interactivity. After all, they haven't the manpower to visit camps once they're placed.

So, speak up and let 'em know directly whatcha think.

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Postby Gravity Mike » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:34 pm

mamagrrl wrote:If you're going to email, might as well email

themecamps (at) burningman (dot) com
and
harley (at) burningman (dot) com

They do placement and probably have some sort of input into the layout.
If nothing else, Harley and Frog really DO want feedback on themecamp issues, your placement... and they even want to hear about themecamps who appear to theme for a secure spot, rather than interactivity. After all, they haven't the manpower to visit camps once they're placed.

So, speak up and let 'em know directly whatcha think.


That's excellent advice - and Dusty Nipples, 2 more keyholes is also an excellent suggestion!! They could even be centered a couple blocks in from Esplanade (?)

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Postby CLARKcon » Sun Jan 22, 2006 6:54 pm

I personally like the traditional Theme Camp placement. It's easy to navigate, not to mention using the super brightness of the Esplanade as a "reference point". When you get far out into open playa, and eventually wander back to camp, it's nice to see The Man or familiar beacons (like the Space Virgins Temple, or a large art installation) to know what block to shoot down. Point in Point: Don't fix it if it's not broken. Familiarity=Joy.
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Postby Tapestry » Tue Jan 24, 2006 7:05 am

Personally, I liked the theme camp placement last year. Spreading the camps out instead of clustering them all around the Esplanade put more people closer to where the action was. The camp I was in was way out off Gestalt, almost as far from the Man as you could get, and we still saw plenty of traffic.

Adding plazas at 4:30 and 7:30 is an interesting idea, and might be worth exploring.


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