2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Gravybrain » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:28 am

We are a small theme camp and mutant vehicle with about 10 "core" members that come early, build etc. Through some miracle we got 8 out of 10 ticket requests. 2 of those tickets were in the pre-sale and 6 via the main sale lottery. Our hearts go out to those large camps in so much need. It's really hard (in my opinion) to blame the org itself, I told 2 friends, you told 2 friends.... they came, they liked it, they told 2 friends.... the genie is out of the bottle and the event will change. The real question is how to balance it all so that it isn't just a bunch of people camping in the desert with no theme camps, MV's etc... I can imagine if were all only Birgins they would be walking around saying, I don't understand what the big deal is, there's just a bunch of people wandering around in the desert!
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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by AntiM » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:41 am

Who's bringing the Ten Commandments?

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Sham » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:46 am

I've got 3 commandments. The rest I don't really use!

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by ygmir » Thu Feb 02, 2012 7:47 am

AntiM wrote:Who's bringing the Ten Commandments?
Charlton Heston, of course!!

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Mitch » Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:39 am

Hi all, just contributing to the stats, which I find interesting.

The Black Rock Beacon did a little better than most, at least at first blush. We scored 11 tickets for 15 places (73%), among our core group. As we're both a camp and a newspaper, there are more people that work for us than stay with us, and we haven't heard from most of the 25 to 30 others who are associated with our project and that we expect to attend. About half of those people stay elsewhere, and so far, we're 0 for 3 on the ones I've heard from. I'll update this post when we get more numbers.

One reason I think we did better was that some of us purchased in the presale. In the regular sale alone, it was closer to 50%.

Like many camps, our staffing is tight, we have many jobs that only one or two people can fill. We spend thousands of dollars on our camp, the newspaper itself (it's going to cost $1000 just to get the presses to the Playa after a rental-van increase), and the dozens of pounds of bacon and other fun foodstuffs we cheerfully give away to all of our friends, which we make easily :wink: . On top of that, the overwhelming majority of us come from far away, Seattle, New York, London, the Middle East. So for some of us, the costs run into the several thousands of dollars.

We're coming this year, but then we'll have to think about it. If one or two of our bigger contributors drop out, we won't be able to afford the paper, and if we lose one or two key operations people, we won't be able to produce the paper. We give away the paper, naturally, so there isn't much we could offer on Kickstarter that wouldn't take more time that we don't have to produce, thus we're mostly self-funded. Most of us don't live much beyond paycheck-to-paycheck, and considering the rising cost of tickets, it's unlikely anybody will be able to pick up the slack.

I suspect many other camps are in the same situation. Lose more than one or two key people, and there's no camp.

Maybe Burning Man can go on without the kind of theme camps that spend most of the year and thousands of dollars on their contributions, I guess we'll see.

Meantime, here's our latest on the ticket situation: http://www.blackrockbeacon.org/article1-12.htm

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by ZaphodBurner » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:07 am

theCryptofishist wrote:Maybe you and your neighbors will improvise a theme camp on playa. Maybe you'll connect with different people and do a different theme camp. One of the things I love about the burn is that it brings us face to face with the fact that nothing is certain. "No expectations".

Basically, what I hear is: "Cope. Try a little harder. One of the things I love about the burn is that it's now even more difficult for you to build a theme camp and entertain everybody's ass for a week." I don't know if our root beer crew will go now. That means I don't know if we'll be serving hundreds of gallons of fucking free root beer, absinthe all week. I want so hard to agree with you, Crypto but I feel like it would just be making excuses.

Maybe there won't be as much big art, maybe there won't be as many art cars, maybe the favorite theme camps everybody looks forward to visiting won't be there. Maybe it'll be just a bunch of people wandering around on the playa. Maybe this year we won't give a fuck about receiving LNT recognition because the BMorg made their $13,000,000 or whatever and couldn't even think of an original "theme" after promising us since September that it would be "announced soon." Maybe this year instead of wasting all their time on the playa "improvising" they'll just sit on a beer cooler throw beads at sorority tits like it's Mardi Gras.

The curious thing is, NONE of my veteran burner campmates got tickets. Right now it looks 4 out of 5 of the virgins we know who applied got them. I hope they have a great time but the theme camp that talked three of them into going (which isn't my camp) may punt. It IS a fact that nothing is certain.

After all of that, what you said about neighbors improvising theme camps is cool. I guess they won't be published or announced anywhere, though.
"The Red Baron is smart.. He never spends the whole night dancing and drinking root beer.. "-The WWI Flying Ace

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by The CO » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:08 am

Nickag wrote:I'm also very interested about how they expect large scale groups to get tickets and plan for BM when the ticket system is random. Seems bizarre.
"They" don't expect anything. Theme camps are there own thing. All the borg does is provide space. There is no guarantee of happiness, satisfaction or success.


M*A*S*H 4207th will be at the burn, because we have been for every year since 1999. If the entire camp can't make, life will go on.
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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by anile » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:18 am

In our camp of 28m exactly 7 got tickets.
And for those who think it's no big deal, I quote here form BMan's official website:
"Theme camps are the interactive core of Burning Man." Harley K. DuBois, Burning Man's Director of Community Services & Playa Safety Council

The ticket lottery has killed the theme camp.

To dismiss the theme camp is to dis the work that we put into creating space and art. It is a huge amount of work, planning, financial management, applying for placement, making the thing come to fruition. It's a daunting task, lovingly worked towards every year.

We have huge financial stakes involved. Not the least is a container purchased and stored in Gerlach. Now that only 7 members are currently guaranteed to come, our dues base will not be able to pay for another year of storage. That's just one problem. I'm not whining, I am simply stating the facts, as financial manager of my camp, that we will have to deal with this year.

I personally cannot rejoice in the fact that I have a ticket, while my most of my playa family sits at home devastated...

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by The CO » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:28 am

anile wrote:The ticket lottery has killed the theme camp.
Not mine.

See, now, this is another situation of calling that the sky is falling. Really, theme camps are dead? If you have a hotline to the future, could you tell me who is going to win the superbowl this sunday?

7+ months until the burn. You can pull it off.
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I don't care what the borg says: feather-wearers will NOT be served in Rosie's Bar.
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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by alt12 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:46 am

Zoo wrote:It's not about the percentage of camp members that have tickets, it's about the percentage of contributing camp members. In most any organized camp I've ever been in or known well, about 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
Hahaha, that is very generous! I would say its about 10% of the people doing 90% of the work!

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by remi » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:53 am

This lotto is going to separate the self reliant super cool camps, from the pansey sparkle pony wannabe camps. Only the strong will survive. Any wicked camps need help setting up, let me know with a PM and I'll offer my services to help ensure the community gets to experience what you have to offer.
Can you at least admit that nuclear explosions are awesome!?

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by vargaso » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:07 am

Out of 22 people in our camp, 7 got tickets, 3 of those people got 2, so we have 10 tickets total, which seems to align with what I've been hearing from other camps here on eplaya and elsewhere. We're not exactly a "Theme Camp," just more of a group of people who came up with a name for our camp, which of course is very common. Even with just 10 people, we could probably do the normal set up of shade structure, sound system, food, etc. It won't be as much fun, or rather, it will certainly be different. I should add, I wasn't one of the lottery winners.

Hearing from some of the larger theme camps here (DISTRIKT, Thunderdome), it's hard to see how camps like that will be able to operate at usual capacity. I'm not a big theme camp guy in that I don't visit many, but the sound camps, shit, those are my nights. DISTRIKT was right down the street from us and they just KILLED every afternoon, so much fun. It really does seem like the big camps will take a major hit this year, which will make the experience out on the playa quite different. The larger art installations will most likely not be as affected, at least the Honorarium ones as they get funding and tickets from BM, I believe.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by lemur » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:08 am

Zoo wrote:It's not about the percentage of camp members that have tickets, it's about the percentage of contributing camp members. In most any organized camp I've ever been in or known well, about 20% of the people do 80% of the work.
a truer thing has rarely been said on the 2012 ticket forum!!!


its true.. a small amount of people do the lions share of ass kicking.
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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by vargaso » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:10 am

The CO wrote:
anile wrote:The ticket lottery has killed the theme camp.
Not mine.

See, now, this is another situation of calling that the sky is falling. Really, theme camps are dead? If you have a hotline to the future, could you tell me who is going to win the superbowl this sunday?

7+ months until the burn. You can pull it off.
It really depends on the type of camp. If a camp is basically a "spot," as in not putting on a show, then yeah, most will make it. But a camp like Thunderdome or any of the big sounds camps, those absolutely depend on a certain number of core people to pay, plan, transport, set up, maintain and take down massive and quite technical infrastructure. I can't see how the ticket situation won't seriously affect those camps.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Lassen Forge » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:11 am

I am certain that on playa will be Apokiliptika, for we must remain stalwart to save playa from evil capitalist adversary.

Is principle of M.A.D. - Mutually Assured Dusting.

So never fear, loyal komrades to Empire of Apokiliptika, even if outpost is decimated by BmORG factions, at least one will to be there with Kantina Puptent to launch missiles, pour vodka shots, and perform detente functions...

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by shykat » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:20 am

vargasoIt really depends on the type of camp. If a camp is basically a "spot," as in not putting on a show, then yeah, most will make it. But a camp like Thunderdome or any of the big sounds camps, those absolutely depend on a certain number of core people to pay, plan, transport, set up, maintain and take down massive and quite technical infrastructure. I can't see how the ticket situation won't seriously affect those camps.

They now have to pull these resources from the ticket holders.
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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Pipey » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:24 am

These replies & the debate is fantastic. Helps a ton for me/our crew to read all of this and have a sense of empathy that everyone is facing a similar issue. It helps to be challenged to think differently.

One other point of note is art installations/artist tickets. BMOrg has not awarded art grants yet, nor artist tickets. So any artist who has submitted a grant proposal has also likely gone in for the lottery and let's say 30-50% of them won the lottery. These groups of people will receive guaranteed artist tickets for their entire group of essential contributors.

While I understand that theme camps (sound camps specifically) are not entitled to art grants (and therefore raise the entirety of their own budgets), I find it immensely unfair that we have no way to assure the minimum essential membership can get out there to build and create alongside the art installations. We are bringing in some cases, an equal or greater amount of infrastructure to the playa. Ironically, DISTRIKT is giving out it's very first art grant this year. That artist will also not be guaranteed a ticket since we have no way of guaranteeing it to them. We'd done this to support artists & enrich our efforts on playa & bring sound & art together at our home. Talk about radical self-reliance. I'm very excited that we took this step this year in grants. The reward of receiving tickets for just 38% of our core group of 13 (much less the 50 folks we need there to build/operate, most of whom have not received tickets) tarnishes that excitement a bit. But again...we will sally forth and find a way to make it happen.

My hope is that once awarded the artist tickets, all art groups will be HIGHLY encouraged to release their lottery/main sale tickets back into STEP (although at that point, it will be far too late to help the larger theme/sound camps.)

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Mitch » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:41 am

I don't know if our root beer crew will go now. That means I don't know if we'll be serving hundreds of gallons of fucking free root beer, absinthe all week. I want so hard to agree with you, Crypto but I feel like it would just be making excuses.




There's a camp with root beer AND absinthe?

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by vargaso » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:55 am

shykat wrote:
vargasoIt really depends on the type of camp. If a camp is basically a "spot," as in not putting on a show, then yeah, most will make it. But a camp like Thunderdome or any of the big sounds camps, those absolutely depend on a certain number of core people to pay, plan, transport, set up, maintain and take down massive and quite technical infrastructure. I can't see how the ticket situation won't seriously affect those camps.[/quote]


They now have to pull these resources from the ticket holders.[/quote]

Sure, I'm not saying it's impossible, just that some major re-thinking of strategy will be required. Even then, some roles (sound engineers, construction, and well-to-do campers who contribute the lion's share of funding) will be awfully hard to fill.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Ed Phunk » Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:59 am

Could it be that some of thiese camps just got TOO big? There's a point to discuss.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by vargaso » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:03 am

Ed Phunk wrote:Could it be that some of thiese camps just got TOO big? There's a point to discuss.
Who's to decide that? And anyway, no camp is too big if all the necessary roles are filled. Again, not saying these camps won't find a way, and I'm even mildly supportive of the lottery, all I'm saying is there is no way to deny that the ticket situation will/has already impacted large camps in a major way.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Ed Phunk » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:05 am

Not asking you to decide.. discuss. Theme/sound camps weren't always a major part of the event, at least of the scale you see now (Disorient, Distrikt, etc etc)

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by trilobyte » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:19 am

@hotfastyum - The server technology is almost there (even Ticketmaster and LiveNation have server issues and kickouts where people get bumped from the queue during on-sales of popular events), but that would not have changed the underlying problem of scarcity. I think that even when you back out the potential impact of panic-driven hoarding, there was more demand than there was supply. Even without technology issues, an unrestricted open sale in the world of a sellout event is problematic. It still would have sold completely out in the first day, with a significant number of people who were there from the start… not getting tickets. Scalperbots can't be stopped in an unrestricted open sale, we'd be in a situation where the event was fully sold out, thousands couldn't or didn't get through, camps still had less than they wanted or needed, and scalpers would be sitting on a significant supply (there are people offering tickets now, but it's a very small percentage).

@mshaman - right, but as you quoted my comment said some camps. You joined the site yesterday (welcome!), but during last summer's panic following the sellout there were a multitude of threads from theme camps and projects talking about the problem of essential campmates or long-time participants who were caught without a ticket (it had simply never occurred to them that the event could sell out, and they had made a habit of getting their tickets at the last minute). The main sale worked exactly as designed and expected - the reason for less than ideal results comes back to scarcity… not enough tickets to cover the demand.

@alt12 - You're absolutely correct, nobody can say for certain. Every year is different and has a number of variables that you can try to forecast, but the numbers aren't certain. Last year's event took things further into uncharted territory, with unprecedented initial demand (half the tickets in 48 hours) and a complete sellout in July. That led to a number of fairly large variables for this year. The event was potentially on the radar of professional scalpers (for the very first time), significant numbers of people planning to buy earlier or stock up on behalf of campmates and projects to name just two.

@twilight - I hope you're in the minority of theme camps as well (as far as having only gotten a low percentage of tickets needed and having serious doubts). The open sale will largely offer the same advantages/disadvantages as last year - those with the best internet connections and the time to camp in front of the computer will have an edge over those who don't. That, and of course that 40K of the initial demand has already been covered.

@Zoo - excellent point.

@tattogoddess - yes, your numbers are way off.

@Trishntek - that's a very good question regarding placement. There's a meeting coming up at BMHQ on the 15th of February for theme camp organizers to meet with placement. I've been in touch with the placement team and plan to be at that event, you can be sure that if that isn't addresses I'll be asking about it and relaying the information back here.

@bluerose51 - it certainly will be a wild ride, very well said.

@EspressoDude - excellent point. Hell, I'd even go so far as to say consider the idea of expanding your camp (within your infrastructure limits, no need to create additional stresses, financial burdens, or drama). Based on what I've seen (anecdotally), it looks like there will be a lot of fresh faces this year.

@Gravybrain - glad to hear you guys were fairly successful, and hopefully there are other camps out there in a similar situation. Personally, I think the evolutionary process may involve not just newbies forming up their own camps, but existing camps who grow and change to accommodate some of that newness.

@Mitch - glad to hear that you guys did so well, and I hope that financially the contributions keep coming. The beacon (and the bacon) are wonderful aspects of the event.

@ZaphodBurner - the theme camp entitlement thing doesn't sit well with me. Yeah, I run a theme camp - but neither me or any of my campmates is any better than any other participant (regardless of whether they give away root beer or not). I wouldn't say try harder as much as I'd say continue to try. Unlike an unrestricted open sale, where sold out is the end of the road… this isn't the case. Encourage people to use the ticket exchange (so people don't need to wait til June/July), and then mark your calendar for the open sale in March.

@anile - if the 21 members of your camp who did not get tickets in the main sale give up, then yes it has killed your theme camp. I wish you guys luck, and hope that a large enough number opt to continue trying and are successful that your camp is able to continue.

@remi - there will definitely be some separating going on, but I wouldn't necessarily use that divide. And I certainly wouldn't knock on any of the camps who are having a hard time right now or who are in the midst of a freakout over the current uncertainty. Many of those camps are some of the most awesome, creative, wonderful spaces that do incredible amounts of shit for each other and thousands of complete strangers. While I may not agree with theme camp entitlement, I can understand and respect where it's coming from.

@Bay Bridge Sue - that's great news. There has never been a greater need for Apokiliptika to help us meet our doom (my poor liver!).

@pipey - if it's not already on your radar, there's a theme camp organizer meeting planned for the 15th at BMHQ.

@Ed Phunk - it's a point to think about, but I don't know that too big is the way to describe it. I think that as camps grow to large size, they face additional and larger logistical considerations. Large size means larger scale and larger amounts of money and larger risk. We all have to adapt to the whole scarcity thing, this is new for everyone.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by RACESV » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:21 am

remi wrote:This lotto is going to separate the self reliant super cool camps, from the pansey sparkle pony wannabe camps. Only the strong will survive.

Word. Champagne Lounge got about 15% of our 30 requested tickets. We will still be there this year. Our camp was formed out of the implosion of one camp and in the face of nay sayers. The adversity is what makes me come back for more. The ticket situation is just one more challenge we will overcome. If anything, our camp will be leaner and (nice)er. Stay positive and act as if!

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by asaxon » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:49 am

trilobyte wrote:The reality that camps were faced with after the event sold out in July (and in any year where the event could potentially sell out) is that camp or project organizers have to wrangle with making sure campmates signing up for essential pieces of the puzzle will have a ticket. Last year some camps had real difficulty with that, because they were taken by surprise and there wasn't a lot of time to make necessary arrangements.
This years reality, of most camps having only 30-50% of tickets on hand in JAN is not even close to a some camps having problems in JULY! Not even close. Those who planned ahead COULD get their act together in Jan, at least for the primary camp members. This year is far apart in MAGNITUDE from anything camps had to deal with previously. It's time to acknowledge the present chaos, fear and different challenges and not try to bury our heads in the sands of "hope", "patience" and "hard work".

The people posting to this thread have had many years with BM and not just as participants. They are balanced and thoughtful and offering their seasoned perspective as a way to HELP. It's time to honor that and not try to pacify or mitigate their concerns.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by jgailor » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:04 pm

[quote="ZaphodBurner"]Basically, what I hear is: "Cope. Try a little harder. [/quote]

This is not possible. It went from a deterministic system where you get in line, you have a place, and if you got in line before other people you got a ticket to a completely non-deterministic one where the selection is random. You can't just try a little harder. You can wake up earlier, get a faster internet connection, buy all your camps tickets from a group bank account. No matter how much more effort you put into it, you have just as much of a chance as someone who showed up at the last minute.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Pipey » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:05 pm

Ed Phunk wrote:Not asking you to decide.. discuss. Theme/sound camps weren't always a major part of the event, at least of the scale you see now (Disorient, Distrikt, etc etc)
The same question should be posed to art installations, should it not? They were never the size of infrastructure or headcount as they are now. But yet, are guaranteed group entry. If size is a discussion, it should be posed across the entire event.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by hotfastyum » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:07 pm

Trilobyte - thanks for taking the time to so cooly and even-headedly reply to all of us. Your patience and rationalism is much appreciated.

Regarding your reply to my post, I wanted to ask your thoughts on one aspect of this issue - last year, the event sold out, but not til July correct? So, if I am not mistaken, the lottery was developed in a response of fear that if things remained as they had been in the past with fist-come first served sales, that ALL tickets would have been sold instantly? Do we all really think that would have happened?

Maybe I am a conspiracy theorist but I can't help but wonder how effective the lottery was at weeding out scalpers with pre-paid cards....since in my circles the ticket acceptance rate seems to be between 15-30%.

At any rate, it's really nice to read all the responses in here and participate in this discussion.

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Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Pipey » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:24 pm

[quote="trilobyte"]
@pipey - if it's not already on your radar, there's a theme camp organizer meeting planned for the 15th at BMHQ.

Found your posting just yesterday, Trilo. Thank you!! It's on my calendar.

And to everyone, a huge thank you for the input, challenge and most of all empathy. Sometimes that's all that's required to keep the faith and march forward.

Pipey
Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2012 10:34 am

Re: 2012 Theme Camps - will you make it this year?

Post by Pipey » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:37 pm

Interesting. Marian Goodell speaking on the ticket situation and long standing theme camps as well as overarching festival capacity.



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