Theme camps are one of the simplest and, at the same time, most difficult things to explain about Burning Man culture. The easy part is the who, what, where ,when, and how – the hard part is the why.
The Easy Part
The actual burn event is more than a festival. Just like it says on the BM official page, burns are events where a community of people from all different walks of life create a temporary city during the few short days they have together. It is an ongoing social experiment. Theme camps are the main event – interactive, creative ways for people to come together and gift incredible experiences. Organized before the event and registered with the organization, camps are an artistic expression of a smaller community within the whole community, the heart of Singe City.
The majority of people who attend Reclaimation come as part of a planned and registered camp. The possibilities are endless when deciding on a theme for a camp!
Camps can practice gifting like ‘Swinging Meats’ who serve up tasty food from a modified cast iron bathtub. General help camps are there for when things break such as ‘Fix Your Shit’. There are fun and playful camps like ‘Would you Rather’ and ‘Squish’ camp! Sound camps, such as ‘D.A.D’ camp, ‘Steve’s Haunted Whorehouse’, ‘A Bunch of House and Shit’, bring the music, lights, and dancing. Listen this year for ‘Hillbilly Kitty Explosion’ as they bring 9,000 of watts of BOOM and dozens of lasers for visual candy. Sometimes you want to hang out and chill and you can at ‘Last’ camp or ‘Bloody Mary’s’. Counter culture ‘Asshole camp’ exists solely to help keep the balance in order. Then there are theme camps with no distinguishable reason to exist – camps of whimsy as I like to call them – ‘Ain’t No Bitch’ camp, ‘Camp 2:49’ and ‘Handful of Sour Cream’ camp.
How, Where, and When…
If this is your first time at Reclaimation or you are not already coming with a theme camp, joining one will be a great way to meet people and participate. The Reclaimation website will be updated with a list of already-registered camps and their descriptions. Go through the list, read about what they are offering, and pick a few that you are interested in joining. Reach out to them and tell them why you want to be part of their camp, about your skills and interests, and what you bring as a contribution to their camp. Camps will be preparing for Reclaimation so go ahead and reach out.
Theme camps will be located throughout Singe City, some farther away from the main event than others. A map containing approximate locations will be available mid-April.
The Hard Part
Why…and I’ll do my best…
Why do we do anything at the burns?
Some people want to be helpful or educate the community, some want to find a way to bring groups of people together that would never organically mix in the “default” world, and some exist for the sole purpose of saying “Fuck it….lets try this weird idea and see how it pans out.” The best way to better understand them is to just come experience them or better yet look into joining one! Maybe the better question is…Why not?