Join the Lamplighting procession any evening - we need you!

Theme camps and villages are the interactive core of Burning Man. This is the place to announce and discuss camp and village plans for Burning Man 2018.
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Camp Name: Lamplighters!
Location: SD, CA

Join the Lamplighting procession any evening - we need you!

Post by BoyScoutGirl » Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:37 pm

Photo by John Curley via the Burning Man Blog

Every culture has its traditions. The Lamplighters are a group of volunteers whose solemn, parade-like procession marks the transition from day to night in Black Rock City. Wearing distinctive white robes with flames, we work to bring three gifts: illumination, navigation, and celebration. We have lit the city every night without fail for over 20 years now, making the procession the longest-running - and probably largest - participatory performance art on the playa.

Anyone can be a Lamplighter!
Each year it takes over 1,000 volunteers to help us light the city - we can't do it without you! All you need to do is show up any night or nights you would like to volunteer at 5pm (4pm on Burn night) to our workspace behind the Center Camp Cafe. There is no sign-up required.

"But what do I actually do as a Lamplighter?" you ask. Great question! There are three roles as the procession moves throughout the city in a beautiful, meaningful dance:


Carrying is not just for big, burly men. Plenty of women carry, plenty of older folks carry, and I've been told we've even had a few kids in the 12-14 age range carry as well. A fully-loaded lantern-carrying pole is about 40 pounds/18 kg (six lanterns per side) and it gets lighter as the lifters remove lanterns along the way. The flow of the procession revolves around the steady advance of the lines of carriers. I've carried twice on the longest route without much trouble. It's very zen: you walk slowly, focused entirely on your task.

Photo by quantumlars on flickr

If you volunteer for support, you play the attentive problem-solver. There is a small chance a carrier will be asked to replace a tired carrier. Otherwise, support is focused on keeping the lanterns lit with well-adjusted flames, on keeping the carriers comfortable (goggles on/off, giving water, pairing up with another support person to hold the ends of the carrying pole to give the carrier a quick shoulder-rotating break, etc.), and on helping the lifters keep track of where to take the next lantern from. Because the support role is less physically demanding, it's great for those who can walk with us but might have trouble with their back/neck/arms in other roles.


Lifters do the most walking as they move to pick up a lantern from a carrier, proceed forward out of the processional line to the lamppost, lift the lantern, and then come to the back of the line to get another lantern. While being a carrier is a time to look inside yourself, lifting is all about working in unison with your partner and the other lifters. Unfortunately, being short is a disadvantage for lifters.

That sounds like work.
It sounds like work because it is work. But it is beautiful work and, to many, it is very meaningful to be able to give back to the city in a purposeful way.

I love being a part of the procession to light the city and recommend it to every burner. We have robes for kids!

Have a theme camp and you would like to volunteer as a group? PM me and I can help you set that up.

There is no sign-up, just show up! I recommend coming a bit before 5pm (4pm on Saturday) at Center Camp - some years we had so many volunteers we were sad we had to turn down some walk-ins. There is a procession every night, Sunday to Sunday.

Easy ways to help.
If you arrive late or are otherwise not able to take part in the procession, here are ways you can help us serve our city:

1) If your vehicle is arriving in the city on Sunday right before sunset, remember to make way for your lamplighters. You really shouldn't be driving on Esplanade anyway - use back access to camp on A road.

1b) Saying this again: please make way for the procession.
- Taking photos from well in front is fine, so long as you yield as we approach.
- Do not attempt to stand in the middle of the road to have the files pass you by on either side - we will physically move you out of the way.
- Do not attempt to enter the procession from behind - that's where the lifters have to pass, often nearly running with 10-foot metal poles with spikes and fire and hot glass and fuel and metal on the end of said poles.

2) Feel free to shout out thanks. Our volunteers are working hard and they appreciate hearing love from their city.

3) Please don't park bikes in a huge pile around the base of lampposts. We have to navigate around those to get into position to hoist the lanterns.

4) Come by our two-storey, HUGE shady bar-lounge any time apart from lamplighting hours to say hello.

The Lamplighters host a different themed party every day, with themed music, costumes, speciality drinks, and shenanigans. The address is 5:45 and Rod's Road.

BRING YOUR OWN CUP! It is 100% okay if you don't drink alcohol - we happily serve sodas and juices as well.

MONDAY through FRIDAY parties are 3pm-5pm; On SATURDAY the party is moved up an hour for the burn.

When he lights his streetlamp, it is as if he brought one more star to life, or one flower.
When he puts out his lamp, he sends the flower, or the star, to sleep.
That is a beautiful occupation.

- Le Petit Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


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