- This year, we are all first-timers so please take a moment to read the first timer’s guide. Click on the topics below or download a printable copy.
Summerisle is inspired by the Ten Principles of Burning Man but is not affiliated with Burning Man Project or the Burning Man Regional Network.
What is a burn?
Burn culture is an ongoing, ever-evolving experiment in temporary society, in which we explore human expression, interaction, and evolution when guided by a new, chosen set of norms that place the value of our community and trust foremost.
Summerisle Burn is a four day camping event based on the culture and principles of Burning Man. Summerisle is a collaborative gathering of community organized and fueled by volunteers. It is an interactive experience that is everything you choose to make it.
As with all successful regional burns, Summerisle embraces the Ten Principles, and models itself on their guidance. Thus, for example, we incorporate the principles of Leave No Trace (there are no trash cans, so you’ll have to pick up after yourself and pack your trash out with you), Decommodification (no buying or selling of private goods, and many choose to obscure or creatively alter any visible brands on trucks, tents and clothing), and Radical Self Reliance (there are no vendors, so you’ll have to bring enough food, water, and whatever else you need to survive for four days.)
Summerisle Burn takes place at Fort Royale Farm, in Bedford, Pennsylvania. Cellular service with certain carriers on the way to the venue may occasionally drop through the mountains, but it’s excellent on site. Be prepared with directions before heading to Fort Royale.
You must have purchased a ticket and present a valid government identification at gate to attend Summerisle. Tickets are available at https://burnertickets.com/summerisle-burn-2019/ for $74.69 and will be available at the event gate for $100.00. All participants must sign a waiver of liability to enter. Minors must be accompanied by their legal guardian or have a signed waiver from their guardian, as well as a minor registration form with emergency contact information fill out by their parent or legal guardian.
Finally, Summerisle is an all-ages event. Children under 18 are not required to have an ID, however, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at gate. Any child or minor who arrives at gate without a registered guardian will be turned away unless prior arrangement has been made by contacting Tickets or Gate.
WRISTBANDS: Upon check-in, you will be given a wristband at gate. Wristbands will be colored and clearly identify participants based on age. RED: under 18, YELLOW: 18-21, GREEN: 21+. This wristband must be on your wrist at all times. If you lose your wristband, return immediately to the gate to rectify. Anyone without a wristband will be asked to show their ID as proof of purchase. If you have not purchased a ticket you will be escorted from the event. Gate jumping will not be tolerated. Minors will be tagged with information regarding their guardian(s) for reunification purposes as needed.
The ten principles
Just as our day to day lives are governed by both explicitly stated laws and implicitly adopted social norms, our burn is guided by what are known as the Ten Principles. They were not crafted as a dictate of how people should be, or act, but instead as a reflection of the community’s ethos and culture, our values and priorities. They are:
- Radical Inclusion: Anyone may be a part of Summerisle Burn. We welcome and respect the stranger.
- Gifting: Summerisle Burn is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange – it is not a barter.
- Decommodification: In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, out community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.
- Radical Self-Reliance: Summerisle Burn encourages the individual to discover, exercise, and rely on his, her, or their inner resources.
- Radical Self-Expression: RSE arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. Their unique expression is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.
- Communal Effort: Summerisle Burn values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.
- Civic Responsibility: Summerisle Burn values civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.
- Leave No Trace: Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.
- Participation: Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.
- Immediacy: Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.
Consent is the unspoken, ever-present Eleventh Principle. We expect all burners to seek, honor, and be actively mindful of the consent of others to one’s own actions, interpretations, and needs.
Cultural acclimation and code of conduct
HUGS! People at burns often hug hello rather than shaking hands. It’s ok to decline a hug if that’s not your thing (and please respect those who decline!), just be ready for lots of offers.
Trespassing: If you have not purchased a ticket you will be escorted from the event. Gate jumping or sneaking on the premises will not be tolerated. (We all benefit in our way from the private nature of the event, after all.)
Consent: Consent is the cornerstone of any healthy community. Getting consent is simple: ask first before engaging in physical touching of any kind, something requiring permission that will radically alter another person’s experience, sexual encounters, or recording someone’s voice or image.
Always respect the other person’s boundaries and response. Everyone has the right to consent or not consent to your actions in regards to their body, personal space, possessions, and artwork. Note that once you receive a refusal or denial of consent, continuing to pursue the inquired-about action would constitute harassment.
Remember, only you are in charge of your boundaries and experience, no one else can dictate what they are. Additionally, pleading, coercion, and emotional blackmail are unacceptable. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, ask for help, find a Ranger, or head to HQ. We are all here to look out for each other. If you see someone in distress or observe disturbing behavior, find a Ranger or someone with a radio.
Theft: Taking the property of others is strictly prohibited, and if sufficiently serious could result in the involvement of local law enforcement. Please respect the boundaries of ownership, and if uncertain about the nature of something’s ownership or status as a gift, ask.
Trash in Neighboring Communities: Our event is Leave-No-Trace, but that doesn’t mean you should be looking to unload as soon as you leave the property. Please be mindful and respectful of the fact that local communities around and near the venue cannot tolerate the enormous influx of trash that would result if every departing burner left their load at the first dumpster or gas station trash they came across. We urge all burners to be good neighbors to our new home. When in doubt, consider this: if every burner who attended Summerisle did with their trash what you are considering doing with yours, would the result be untenable?
Serving Food: Food service is an incredible gift to the community, but with great power comes great responsibility! If you or your camp plan on serving food, whether to one person or one hundred, please follow all reasonable food handling and health guidelines.
Food prep and serving individuals are expected to wash up, wear nitrile gloves, and all silverware and utensils used in prep or serving should receive a weak bleach bath prior to contact with the food (this includes cutting boards, pots/pants, and whatever the food is served on or from). Consider how best your food can be gifted to minimize both the chance of illness as well as related issues like mess, spills, difficulty in receiving your gift, and special needs (does the burner need their own plate? Spoon?)
Illegal Activity Prohibited: Summerisle, as an organization, respects all local, state and federal laws. Underage drinking is strictly forbidden. Underage participants will be identified by a uniquely colored wristband. The organization does not condone the sale, use, or promotion of illegal drugs. The same laws that apply on Main Street, USA also apply to public areas of our events. The same laws that apply at your house behind a closed door also apply to your zipped up tent. Everybody bears responsibility for their actions and the expectation is that we will all work together to ensure group safety. Participants found contributing to minors, problem drug users and dealers, or any illegal activities that are brought to organizers attention will be escorted out of the event.
Nudity: Nudity is permitted on site out of view of the parking lot and Bedford Valley Road. Keep in mind there will be children at the event, and have a bit of courtesy in what you do in very public spaces.
Firearms, Fireworks, and Hand-held Lasers are Prohibited: The end.
Gate hours and ticketing
2019 Gate Hours (2020 Gate times to be announced):
- Tuesday: Invite Only (theme camps and DPW/staff). If you don’t have an invite and think you deserve one e-mail email@example.com
- Wednesday: 8am to 12pm AND 4pm to Midnight (no entry, no exceptions, between noon and 4pm). Theme Camps Only.
- Thursday: ALL ACCESS, 9am to Midnight,
- Friday: ALL ACCESS, 9am to Midnight
- Saturday: 9am to 6pm (there will be NO admittance after 6pm)
- Sunday, June 23rd- EXODUS No admittance, just leaving.
We will be strictly adhering to the posted gate hours, with no exceptions (this is not in our hands, but is the result of negotiation with the land owner). So keep an eye on your GPS and give yourself wiggle room to be sure you arrive within the posted times.
Ticketing: All tickets are will-call; you will need a valid ID for anyone over the age of 15, to be presented at gate for entry. There is no physical ticket this year (the trees rejoice!)
Early Arrival: You will not be allowed into the event before Wednesday without strict written permission to do so. To request early entry please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Early entry will be offered to a very limited number of registered theme camp leads, registered artists, and volunteers necessary for event set-up.
After Hours Arrival: We understand that life can be unpredictable and the best laid plans for being radically prepared may go sideways. However, for the safety, security, and respect of participants already in the event you may not enter Summerisle until you have been registered and have a wristband. To allow for potential ingress/egress of emergency vehicles we ask that you do not block the main road at any time.
If you know in advance that there is a possibility that you will be arriving close to gate closing time on Thursday or Friday, please reach out to us at email@example.com as soon as possible with your expected time of arrival. Be aware that access to email may be unreliable once the event has begun and requests for entry after gate hours may not be honored.
For safety reasons, If you are allowed access after hours you will NOT be allowed to drive into the event to set up. You will, however, be allowed to carry overnight essentials in. If possible, make arrangements with someone who will already be in the event so that you won’t need to carry and set up a tent in the dark. You may return to your vehicle the next morning at gate opening to drive your vehicle into the event.
There will be NO late entries allowed once gate closes on Saturday. All late entries are at the discretion of the Gate Lead on call. Bribes, especially ones involving volunteering, may help your plea for late entry, however!
In and Out Policy: General re-entry is not allowed. In the spirit of radical self-reliance, please come prepared to stay inside the event and bring everything you need to survive. Emergency exit/re-entry will be carefully reviewed per circumstance. In the very few cases emergency re-entry is allowed, you must retain your wristband and ticket confirmation to re-enter the event. If you chose to leave the event without pre-approved re-entry your wristband will be removed.
Exodus: We all wish our time together didn’t have to end. But we need to get everyone packed up and heading home safely so that DPW and LNT can start doing what they do. We ask that you have your campsite packed up, cleaned up and all your last goodbyes and hugs completed by 1 p.m. Sunday. Please make sure that your campsite is thoroughly picked up, all your garbage, food waste and graywater leaves with you (and take it all the way home – do not dump at rest stops along the way!) Please keep it slow on the roads leaving for the safety of other departees.
The parking area for Summerisle will be clearly defined near the Gate. Unless you register your vehicle in advance as a car-based tent or camper, you are expected to park in the parking area. We encourage you to carpool if at all possible.
Weather permitting, vehicles will be allowed to drive to campsites to unload. There will be clearly marked paths to follow to the camping areas. Please respect the land and do not leave the marked paths for any reason unless told to do so by Parking, Gate, or a Ranger.
Unloading: Upon arrival, your vehicle will be tagged with your entry time. You will have 1 hour to unload and return your car to the parking area. Summerisle’s goal is to create a more intimate atmosphere without the clutter of cars blocking roadways and limiting camping space. Additionally, the landowner has asked we help the ecology of the place by keeping cars from parking in one place for too long, which can compress and harm the soil. Parking volunteers will follow up with participants to ensure paths and cars are clear.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to protect the land and our participants, it is possible that you may not be allowed to drive to your campsite. This could be at the specific request of the landowner, or due to unforeseen circumstances such as inclement weather. Please be prepared (radical self reliance!) to get your things to and from parking to your campsite under these circumstances. Bringing a collapsible cart or wagon may be a wise investment. One great recommendation to help ease transfer of your camp: pack everything in containers. Make sure all your gear is in some sort of container, whether tub, crate, box, bin, or other carryable and handled thing. Announcements will be made closer to the event regarding the status of driving on the land/to camp sites.
RV / Trailer / Car Camping: If your needs require that your RV, camper/trailer or car be at your campsite, you must register in order to obtain a parking pass by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are in a theme camp your vehicle will be counted in the theme camp registration, as that space will be allocated as part of the theme camp request. For everyone else, request approval will be based on need and available space, which may also be contingent on the weather. Registered vehicle campers are encouraged to decorate/disguise your vehicle to add to the artistry of the event.
Driving After Dark: There is NO driving after dark unless it is a medical emergency and/or you have authorization and escort from Gate/Ranger Lead. There will be dozens of pedestrians in your way and they will be very hard to see at night. To protect the safety of Summerisle participants, do not drive at night without an escort walking ahead of you.
Camping in a wooded environment
Camping in the woods is one of the most rewarding aspects of this special burn, but it comes with responsibility. We hope and expect that all burners on-site will respect the grounds at all times, and do no permanent harm or damage to any of the plants, trees, and other natural resources on the property.
There are a variety of insects and arachnids in the area, so plan to keep your tent sealed up and shake out any bedding if concerned. Specifically, ticks and Lyme are a real issue in Pennsylvania currently, and we strongly recommend campers do body checks once a day and wear protective layers or repellant (a tick must stay attached for 24 hours or so, to successfully transmit). Raccoons and other critters will stay away during the noisy hours, but please be mindful of where you store your trash and waste water. Snakes, including venomous ones like the copperhead, will be present in any healthy wooded environment in the area, so be on guard and watch your step. They won’t seek out interaction, and chances are high they will leave the area once the event is in full swing.
Whether you’re a little allergic to grass or extremely allergic to bee stings or bug bites, please take whatever precautions suit the level of severity. A daily once-over check for ticks is a good idea, too. Beware means be aware: there are plants such as stinging nettle and poison ivy/oak in the woods. Prepare to protect yourself if you are badly allergic, know how to identify any plants that could harm you, and avoid walking through the woods. Long pants and tall socks/boots are key!
The land is a near-equal display of grassy meadows and thick woodland, facilitating everything from small clearings of single camps to enormous ones with 30 or more. Hammock camping can be accomplished easily due to the thick strands of trees, and much of the treeline should buffet tents and other camping structures from wind in some areas (but not all! Be prepared with groundhog stakes, rebar, or playa staples!)
Finally, bring plenty of lighting (camping lanterns, flashlights, headlamps, battery or solar charged lights, LED votives, etc.) There is no electricity on site. Luckily, it’s the future and outdoor lighting technology is readily available that can easily last through the entire burn if conserved during the day. Illuminate yourself at night. There will be bicycles, people, and art moving around, and they may collide with you if they cannot see you.
What to pack
If it’s your first Burn, or you’re not a seasoned camper, it can be nerve-wracking to figure out what you should bring. Here’s a list of items that should help. We’ll start with the essentials, then tell you about some nice-to-have items. Summerisle is a Leave No Trace event, so all your trash will have to be carried out with you on the way out. It’s also a good idea to unpackage as much as possible before you come. Reduce trash early!
- Your I.D.
- Cash/card for firewood and ice which are both sold on site. DO NOT bring wood from outside the area.
- Something to sleep in like a tent. Check your tent BEFORE getting to the burn. Waterproof it and check for holes.
- A tarp for under your tent
- Tent stakes and a hammer or mallet
- Sleeping gear – mattress, sleeping bag, pillows & blankets
- Clothes, costumes, wigs, makeup. Be ready for chilly weather at night and/or rain. DO NOT bring feathers or boas – they shed & make a mess. NO GLITTER – its biodegradability is irrelevant, it wasn’t there before we arrived (MOOP!)
- Hygiene items – toothbrush and paste, deodorant, soap etc.
- Camp chair
- A headlamp to get around at night
- Batteries for everything (maybe rechargeables?)
- All medications & supplements
- A basic first aid kit
- Food and a way to heat or cook it
- Reusable dishes and utensils
- Drinks. You don’t need bottled water. The water at Summerisle is potable.
- Insect repellant
- Sunscreen & sunglasses
- A cup to carry with you. BURNER MUST.
- Garbage bags – it’s carry in, carry out
- If you smoke, bring a portable ashtray (metal mint containers work great)
- Extra toilet paper
- Wet wipes
- Ziplock bags for used wet wipes (don’t flush them, even if they are “flushable” – never put them in a porta potty!)
- Waterproof socks and strap-on sandals for poor weather conditions
- A bathing suit in case it rains
- Lanterns and lights for around your camp – inexpensive battery operated string lights are great for around camp (and to keep others from stepping on your tent stakes!)
- Drums, fire poi, etc. for the Burn!
- Gifts and your talents to give
- Gallon ziplocks for the ice in your cooler
- Lighter(s) if you want to start a fire or help others do the same
- Roll of paper towels, or a box of rags
- Earplugs/eyemask for sleeping.
- Pedialyte works great for hangovers.
Leave no trace
Summerisle is a Leave No Trace event, and no trash cans will be provided. Each participant must remove all items they brought with them, including ALL trash they produce and gray water, when they leave the site. Make a plan for how you will handle your trash and recycling at your camp, bring trash bags, and clean up after yourself, and respect the land.
Costuming & Outfits: The visual aesthetic of the burn is unique every year, and we feel a deep gratitude and awe toward those who contribute meaningfully through their bizarre, beautiful and mind-boggling costuming and outfits. (Though, bear in mind nudity is as celebrated as any state of dress here! Be respectful and loving.)
That said, please be mindful that no amount of aesthetic or wow-appeal is worth creating a MOOP-mageddon. Major don’ts are as follows:
- Glitter. EVEN if it is biodegradable, glitter is a huge burner faux pas! Microplastics are an environmental disaster, please don’t contribute.
- Feathers that can come loose/detached in any way
- Fringe in a woodland environment guarantees it will unravel
- Beading of any kind WILL run/pop off
- Sequins, all it takes is one loose thread to start shedding them (and, again, woodland environment with sticks and twigs)
- Rhinestones. Even if glue-reinforced, it is always only a matter of time before they start poppin’ off.
MOOP: MOOP, or “matter out of place,” is the responsibility of every burner, and many veteran burners are known to carry ziplock or drawstring bags around with them to assist in maintaining a beautiful burn space. Smokers, bring a portable ashtray (altoid tins are great for this) and do not ash or drop your butts on the ground. After you have packed up camp, do a sweet of your area for anything, however small, that may have fallen or been trampled into the grass.
FIRE & FIREWOOD ASH: Fires must be contained in a raised pit or bowl off the ground. A fire extinguisher or vessel of water must be nearby. In accordance with LNT observance, doused ash must be removed from your site and brought to the venue compost dump. It is not permitted to merely add your ash to the central effigy fire pit. All untended fires will be extinguished by Rangers.
GRAY WATER: “Gray water” is in between drinking water and “black water,” which requires a septic waste system for disposal. Gray water ranges from ice-melt in coolers to shower water with soaps, cosmetics, and debris, to kitchen waste like dishwater, toothpaste, and saliva.
Gray water from ice melting in coolers is okay to dump on the ground. Water with chemicals, large food debris, human waste, etc. is not. The physical environment at Fort Royale Farm is more permissive than the desert playa of Burning Man, but we strive to treat Royale with extra care. Please prepare to pack gray water with food, chemicals, etc, out with you. Empty plastic milk jug and cat litter containers with screw on lids are good for this purpose.
Remember, the easiest grey water to dispose of is the greywater you don’t produce. Use waterless disinfectant lotion (available at drugstores) to sanitize your hands before you handle food. For dish or bath soap, go eco-friendly with Campsuds. For general cleaning, try Dr. Bronner’s. In your kitchen area, set up a low-volume water spray over a basin, for dishwashing and hand cleaning. A personal spray bottle is a good starting point. You’ll need remarkably little water to wash up with, given the short duration of the event compared to Burning Man. Save up your cooler’s ice-melt water to refill your solar shower bag. When you shower, first get wet and turn the water off; then soap up and scrub down, then turn the water back on to rinse off. Or shower with a friend, and trade off controlling and directing the water supply.
FOOD WASTE: Leave No Trace, contrary to popular belief, has nothing to do with whether or not something is organic or biodegradable. Rather, it focuses on leaving the environment as you found it. Which was probably without banana peels and firewood ash all over the place! If you brought it with you, pack it back out. This includes apple cores, banana peels, the shells from sunflower seeds and pistachios–all things that have been left behind in the past. The food and waste you leave behind can be disruptive to the natural ecosystem. Please be respectful and take it with you when you leave.
Regional burns expose us to all types of weather. Burning Man faces the unique challenge of camping in the desert — Summerisle Burn challenges us to be prepared for summer camping in Pennsylvania. What can you expect? Anything. That means sunny days and chilly nights, light rain, heavy rain, wind, hail, cold. One day you might be happy running free in a tank top. That night, you might be wrapped up in a sleeping bag with three layers of pajamas cuddling for warmth.
One thing most burners have in common: we’re proud of our ability to survive unpredictable weather, outdoors, without trips to the local store for last minute items — and we do so with style while having a great time. That’s the heart of radical self-reliance! Showing up prepared (and the process of getting prepared) teaches us how to take care of ourselves responsibly, so that we can make the most of our time burning together.
How can you up your Radical Self-Reliance quotient?Plan ahead and be prepared for dramatic changes. A good question to ask yourself: what kinds of things do you pack beyond the obvious “umbrellas, sweatshirts and raincoats”? How are you planning to prepare for wind? Do you have good stakes for your tent and shade structures? Do you have an extra tarp? How will you survive a cold night if temps drop into the 40s? (And once you’re acing these questions, I ask you to dream even bigger: how can I help others handle these situations? Can my camp provide covered space, firepits, burn barrels?)
RAIN: Summer burns in the northeast almost always run the risk of a little (or a lot!) of rain. Here is a non-exhaustive list of suggestions to get you well on your way to being waterproof:
- Good solid rain boots (and maybe a spare pair!)
- Waterproof boots with wax
- LOTS of warm socks! (An extra ziplocked pair in your car, even)
- Pack your clothing in a Rubbermaid container.
- Pack an extra outfit inside a Ziplock bag in case your tent floods
- Pack bedding in trash bags if it’s raining on arrival day, so it doesn’t get wet between car and tent.
- Waterproof your tent and clothing (the spray can stuff from Shoe Carnival is said to be good enough.)
- Prevent leaks!When you leave your tent, make sure nothing is touching the sides. Anything touching the tent sides creates a place for rain to gather and enter the tent rather than roll off. Pull it all toward the center!
- Put a ground sheet or tarp under your tent and ensure it doesn’t extend past the sides of the tent. If the tarp is sticking out around the sides, it will gather rainwater and pool under your tent. Better yet, put the ground tarp inside the tent under your bedding.
- Have lots of tarps and rope!
- Pack some warm cocoa, hot cider, miso soup. YUMMY during cool rainy camping adventures.
- For cold rain and damp nights, use a light weight sheet or blanket to cover air vent under rain fly and then tarp away!
- Extra tie downs and stakes for your tarps
- Wool, fleece, warming clothing, and a fire safety blanket (check that it is not the kind that moops bits of silver foil)
- Rain gear like a jacket with hood, over-pant rain pants, umbrellas, etc.
- Pack a dry outfit in a ziplock to leave in your car in case of foul weather, so you have something warm and clean to change into for your drive home (its a wonderful sanity and mental health check as well!)
WIND: Rain isn’t the only likelihood. You should also prepare your structures for wind. When high winds pick up, EZ Up shade tents that aren’t firmly staked down can go flying and become dangerous. Are you bringing a dome or other large shade structure? Make sure you secure your tent to the ground in a way that it will not come loose. Buy higher quality stakes than the simple metal ones that come with your tent (groundhog stakes, playa staples, and hooked rebar are all great options). Wind over time will cause your tent to move up and down and side to side, therefore your ground stakes need to be checked frequently to see if they are working.
Properly angle your stakes and guylines. If wind is up-rooting the pegs, use longer ones, and remember to hammer them in so that the point is closer to the tent than the head.
Keep in mind that anything lying around your camp that is not secured down, like garbage, plastic bottles, paper, art or anything else, will get blown during high wind. It is your responsibility to take back everything that you bring in, from the largest structure to the smallest bottle cap or cigarette butt. Keeping everything secured means you won’t have to spend time searching for it later. (See additional helpful tips here. )
COLD: Although Summerisle happens in the dead-center of summer, cold nights can still happen, particularly up in the mountains where we make our lovely home!
Make sure you pack the basics: long sleeve shirts, long pants, a hooded sweatshirt, parka jacket, warm socks, gloves or mittens, a beanie. Layer your clothing so you can add/subtract insulation as needed.
Undergarments of polypropylene are ideal for wicking away dampness, while over garments should be made of wool.
Air mattresses trap cold air underneath you. Layer a fleece or wool blanket on top of your air mattress to insulate your own body heat.
If you are hanging near a campfire, make sure that your outer layer of clothing is less likely to end up ruined if struck by an errant ember. Wool is one of the best, most fire-resistant natural materials and is great for this.
Hydrate, then hydrate some more: You may not feel thirsty in cold weather, but staying hydrated is just as important in cold weather as it is in summer. Drink water (warm or cold), hot tea, or hot chocolate—the latter also provides high-calorie fuel for your burn adventure.
Be ready for condensation: As you breathe in a warm tent on a cold night, condensation will form on your tent, even if it’s a four-season model. There’s not a lot you can do about condensation, but the next morning be sure to dry out your sleeping bag before using it again. To minimize condensation, you can vent your tent at night—it won’t hold in heat as well, but it will stay dryer.
The old wisdom of stripping down before you get into a sleeping bag doesn’t make sense. Put on everything you brought before you turn in for the night. And if the campfire is still going, heat some water, pour it into a heat-proof water bottle, and snuggle into your bag with it.
Hot Hands and Mylar Blankets are a quick lifesaver on a cold night. Open a pair of Hot Hands, shake them, and throw them in the bottom of your sleeping bag. Cover your bag with a mylar blanket. You’ll sleep like a baby all night long.
Venue details and expectations
Drinking Water: Potable water is on site located at a pump by the Main Stage. We strongly recommend that burners bring a refillable water cube, to cut down on the number of trips required. Theme camps in particular might find it prudent to bring a few pre-filled from the tap, and then rely upon the pump for any additional or over-expectation needs.
Showers: Time for that do-ocracy spirit, burners! There will not be any showers or swimmable watering holes on the playa at our new home. Reusable cloths, wet wipes, bronner’s, and deodorant may be your friends this time around!
If you are planning on purchasing/bringing a solar shower, please bear in mind that body-washing run-off cannot simply be drained onto the land. Start planning for how you are going to capture, collect, and pack that grey water back out of the burn. Evap ponds can be useful, but bear in mind Summerisle’s time of year is often rainy, and moist forest environments aren’t always ideal for evaporating away used water. Five gallon paint buckets from Loews/HD may be useful for this, since they can be purchased with heavy duty clamping lids to avoid getting dirty body water all over your vehicle (or your copilot!)
Port-o-Potties: Port-o-potties are provided. Please be respectful to your fellow participants and do your part to keep the potties clean and in working order. Do not put anything other than single-ply toilet paper in the potties. This means NO: two-ply toilet paper, cigarette butts, baby wipes, feminine hygiene items, condoms, food, beer cans, etc.
If you notice a problem with the potties or a participant abusing them, please report it to a Ranger or an LNT volunteer. If you bring extra toilet paper in case portos run out, be sure to bring/use single-ply only instead of the standard double-ply. Anything else could clog the honey trucks that remove the waste throughout the event.
If it doesn’t come from your body, it doesn’t belong in the potty.
Handwashing Stations: Alongside all Porto banks will be designated handwashing stations. Please do not use these stations for dishwashing. These are here for your liberal personal use, and are our best line of defense against the spread of illness during the burn.
These are not intended for camp use, however (in other words, don’t bring your whole 15 person chef team over to clean up before handling food – camps should have their own greywater plan and wash stations to avoid overwhelming those provided by the venue).
Our community considers volunteering a gift to the community and an incredible, hands-on opportunity for civic participation. This is one of the qualities that makes burns the unique experience that is so close to our hearts. It is also, bar none, the easiest, best, and most rewarding way to make new burner friends!
There are plenty of ways to get involved and put your particular skill set to good use, whether before, during or after the event. Are you new to burns? Volunteering is the best way to meet the community. Are you a seasoned burner, ready for more? You already get it – this is just camping in the forest without YOU.
Here is a list of the main volunteer categories! Volunteer signups can be done at tinyurl.com/summerislevolunteer:
Gate & Greeters: Gate volunteers and greeters are the first point of contact for almost every burner arriving on site, and can set the tone for the entire burn! They are detail-oriented, over-caffeinated hug-generating assembly lines of delight and wisdom. Greeters gift positive energy and warm greetings to every traveler at every hour of ingress, as well as explaining the land and theme camp layout to get burners started on the right foot (and in the right direction!)
Gate volunteers handle ticket processing, participant waivers, wristbands, and vehicle checks. Equally relevant, combined, Gate and Greeters will be the first contact for anyone entering the property who isn’t coming for the burn itself, including landowners, law/county officials, and gate crashers. You must be sober during your shift. You will be trained on procedures prior to your shift, but please arrive 10 minutes early.
Rangers: Rangers keep an eye out on safety, guide the lost, and help where they can. Anyone with decent people skills can become an excellent Ranger. Though on occasion called on to serve as peacemakers at the event, the best rangers are gentle facilitators – they are not a policing force. Rangering is a commitment to aid and facilitate the community at large. As such, rangers are observers and can often calm a rough situation with simply walking and talking with someone. They are not security guards or law enforcement – Rangers are gentle mediators for minor situations, and know when to call for help on major situations. Black Rock Ranger training or rangering experience desired but not required. Newcomers and Rangers from other burn events are very welcome! Note: You must be completely sober for your shift and are asked to show up 10 minutes beforehand in order to be apprised of any ongoing situations to watch. Attendance at Ranger Training is mandatory before your shift.
The time and meeting place of the ranger training meeting will be posted in the reProgramthis year.
Sanctuary: Everyone knows the feeling of needing a quiet, safe place to breathe, take a moment, and settle down for a bit. Burns can be 24/7 motion, and for many of us, that can get to be overwhelming at times (haven’t we all felt alone in a crowd, or like the only person we see not having a good time?). Sanctuary is where we can all take a deep breath and remember how to relax again. Sanctuary volunteers are kind, empathetic, nurturing people who can keep a cool head and navigate potentially emotional moments with an open heart and clear head. Green dot training a plus, but not a prerequisite.
First Aid: First Aid volunteers assist with cuts, burns, bites, ticks, headaches, etc. You will always have back up, and any questions or concerns should be clearly directed to your First Aid Shift Lead. First aid volunteers keep a stocked, organized, and de-MOOPed first aid area. Requirements are a positive attitude, a willingness to help, to be sober during your shift, and to properly follow First Aid Team and Mosaic Experiment radio protocols. You will be asked to show up 10 minutes early to any shift in order to be apprised of any ongoing/active situations.
Fire & Conclave: Do you like fire?…Silly question!Do you play and perform with fire, or want to keep our burn safe while others do? If you have an interest in fire safety or want to learn to work with fire safely—then join our team!
Fire Team handles everything from making sure fire pits throughout our event are within established safety guidelines and monitored, and that our effigy burns properly and safely. If you are knowledgeable about fire art or safety or desire training and would like to help us make the event safe—please sign up!
Lastly, we are looking for guardians of the perimeter – this is a powerful sacrifice, as your back will face the burning effigy in order to keep eyes and attention on the crowd, to maintain their safe distance from the embers and to slowly, as approved, let the burners circle the effigy embers once safe to do so.
Participation Station: Manning the participation station is like sitting at the heart of the burn for a few hours! You will assist lost burners with maps, driving burners to find parking, and eager burners to find open/available volunteer opportunities that best match their interests and passions! You’re also in charge of having a basic sense of the burn layout so you can properly guide campers to the best spots for their tents, indicate how best to track down that wet chemise contest they’re searching for, and more! Whether you want to participate more or help others do the same, this is a great volunteer spot for a people person!
Parking: Parking volunteers help organize the parking lot, direct participants into their spots, and help maintain an efficient flow of vehicles and people. Parking knows the lay of the land to direct cars, trailers, and camps in the right direction. Volunteers make team leads (including Rangers) aware of any arrivals that require extra care in moving, trailer guidance, or any arrival situation that needs extra attention.
Artery & Art Placement: The artery team is in charge of reviewing and determining art grants in order to maximize the level of Amazing that will be turning up on site, as well as where to place approved projects throughout the grounds. You will also get to weigh in on effigy design and build applications. After Art Grants and Effigy have been chosen, some volunteers serve as liaisons to help funded artists navigate the grant process through completion. The Art Grants team holds artists accountable for our community standards for safety, financial transparency and our values more generally.
Sound Team: Sound Team is that friendly liaison that ensures sound camps are following Summerisle’s sound camp policy, allowing camps to radically express themselves while respecting others’ rights to do the same (and keeping neighbors of the property happy). Sound works with placement before the event to ensure smart camp placement. They also keep records of the sound camps, their lead contact information, and maintain dialog—both before and during the event—to make sure everyone has a good time. In the event a camp doesn’t cooperate, the team can shut down the equipment and involve rangers, if required. Why not volunteer to dance at your favorite sound camps while monitoring DB levels?
Leave No Trace:
Pre-burn: The LNT leads will do educational outreach and answer incoming questions about best practices preparing for the burn to ensure our community is prepared.
During the burn:LNT volunteers inform unknowing or inattentive participants of the LNT principle. These volunteers will also conduct MOOP (Matter Out Of Place) sweeps during the event to politely call out MOOPers, collect unattended MOOP, or gather folks to take care of their own MOOP as appropriate (one piece of trash? Perhaps pick it up yourself. An entire frontage that has been wind-blown with numerous fliers, cups, silverware, etc about to be carried further along the burn road? Perhaps ask for a camp lead and see if you can get a group involved!).
After-burn: LNT needs volunteers that can stay after Summerisle ends to conduct all final MOOP sweeps and ensure that our impact on Fort Royale Farm is minimal.
Theme camps and villages are the interactive core of Burning Man events. An ideal theme camp should create a visually or aurally stimulating presence and provide a communal space or other opportunity for interaction. Theme camps are meant to welcome the greater community into a communal space, so welcoming and inviting signs and appearance is important. Registered Theme Camps will have a reserved space for them based on their needs and requests.
Please complete the theme camp placement form to register: https://bit.ly/2CZ7VrT
To register your EVENTS, go here.
Every burner is an artist, even if they’ve never thought of themselves that way before. And it means art isn’t just an incidental part of a burn, but often integral to our fully realized experience and expression as burners.
Whether you build, draw, paint, perform, write, otherwise create, or even costume to the nines, you are a part of the art of the burn, and we want you to apply for an art grant. Want to build or create something insanely outrageous? Beautiful? Interactive? Weird, odd, and charming? DO IT!
Regional burns are an exciting place to try new ideas. You’ll find that burners are an artistically supportive, participatory group. Bring that idea out from the corner of your mind and MAKE IT REAL.
FUNDING: Did you know that MOST art at burns is gifted by participants? It’s true! Many build and create installations, games, and theme camps with funds from their own pocketbooks. Some people turn to crowdfunding sites or host fundraisers to raise money. You can too!
To foster an environment of weird, wild art (and we use the term broadly), Summerisle facilitates the creation and transport of art by funding it with art grants.
Fill out your art grant here: https://tinyurl.com/ybuyuhqe
Fire and flame effects
CAMPFIRES: Only registered theme camps are permitted to have campfires. There will also be a large fire pit area with unlimited firewood available for free campers. Fires must be contained in a raised pit or bowl off the ground. A fire extinguisher or vessel of water must be nearby. In accordance with LNT observance, doused ash will be delivered to the venue compost area when cooled. All untended fires will be extinguished by Rangers. A fire pit can be elevated either through the use of kiln bricks/cinderblocks, or by purchasing a pit that is already sufficiently elevated on legs. Consider this a gentle reminder that the land upon which we burn is on loving loan to us, and we hope to return it in the pristine condition it was granted to us!
Lastly, all firepits must be attended at all times by at least one member of whatever camp is sponsoring the pit. All unattended campfires will be extinguished, and leaving a fire unattended is grounds for removal from the event. This includes all unattended open flames (candles, tiki torches, lanterns, etc).
FIREWOOD: No firewood may be brought in from outside the local area due to the introduction of destructive invasive species that may live in the wood. Limited firewood will also be available at no charge onsite.
FIRE SPINNING: Individuals spinning fire and using other such fire flow toys are strongly encouraged to obtain personal liability insurance to cover any potential injuries. Fire spinning is allowed anywhere on site as long as you have a designated safety and are at least 25 feet away from any tent. Please spin off before lighting up, using a spin off can or baggies appropriate for your prop.
All fire spinners must have a safety. This safety must be trained as a safety. We ask that you do not merely find a sober person and give them a towel. There can be two (2) fire spinners for every one (1) safety. Please use Duvetyne, not wet towels. It is also requested that all camps that wish to have fire spinners have a fire extinguisher on hand. The only type of fire extinguisher you can ever use on a person is a water fire extinguisher. All other fire extinguishers are to be used on material items only!
Lastly, we ask that you be wearing fire safe apparel to spin fire and to safety. This means cotton, wool, leather, silk or being nude. NEVER spin fire wearing faux fur or polyesters/spun plastic fabrics, as it will melt to your skin and cause significant burning.
FIRE CONCLAVE: Fire Conclave is the gathering of fire spinners and artists that perform before the burning of the effigy. Fire Conclave is open to everyone who wishes to volunteer. Conclave will meet before the effigy burns to coordinate on order, safety, and to perform safety checks on all props. Please bring fuel and remember to leave no trace at the fuel depot. Since designated safeties will be stationed during the performance, training for fire spinning safeties will be given before conclave.
The time and meeting place of the fire conclave pre-burn meeting will be posted in the reProgram this year.
First aid on site
Our First Aid team will be on hand to assist with problems or injuries. First Aid will be clearly marked on the placement map. Fort Royale Farm is located in a rural area, so local emergency medical services have a longer response time than more populated areas might. In the event you need to be evacuated, or wish to seek care, contact First Aid. We can assist with getting you to medical care and with getting you back into the event.
If you have a medical condition, consider alerting your camp mates as to what it is, what to expect, and what to do. Please feel free to stop by First Aid to say hello and we can put you on our radar!
Be self-reliant and bring your inhalers, allergy meds, and the medications which you only take once in awhile. If you have an EpiPen, bring it! Bring a basic first-aid kit so you don’t have to hoof it to First Aid for minor things. If you are hypoglycemic, carry snacks or juice. Bring sports drinks to replace your electrolytes – water isn’t enough! Bring an extra pair of glasses, batteries for machines, and good shoes as most places aren’t good to walk barefoot. Be prepared for poison ivy, bees, ticks, and chiggers. Stay out of the woods surrounding Fort Royale event space, because there are likely to be roots, dangerous drop offs, and other unexpected landscaping.
Sound and sound camps
Sound Policy: The placement of sound camps at Fort Royale is carefully chosen (considering topography, forested perimeter, landscape) to maintain a pleasant experience for the sound camps, surrounding campers, other theme camps, and most notably: neighbors surrounding the event venue. Nightly sound limits are an effort to minimize sound complaints and maintain the sustainability of the event and community relationships. Please do your part to burn responsibly.
Maximum volume all day at 100ft distance from source is 90 dB until 12:00 midnight. Turndown to 70 dB at midnight. Try to aim your speakers in a north-northwest-west orientation away from Rt. 220. Be respectful with regards to late-night decibels. This volume rule will be tightly monitored and enforced by landowner.
Who does the Sound Policy pertain to?: Sound policies are for ANY participant, art installation, or theme camp employing any amplified sound system (1 to 10000W) or loud musical instruments. Theme camps are encouraged to include information regarding any sound equipment with their theme camp registration.
Generators: Generators can be significant sources of noise. All generators must have a sound baffle to reduce sound emissions.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT LEAVE AMPLIFIED SOUND UNATTENDED.In order to maintain a pleasant atmosphere for ALL participants and our surrounding community, the Sound Team reserves the right to turn down or mute any unattended sound installation that violates the published sound policy. Repeat violations of unattended sound may result in sound disablement (and a long chat with event organizers!)
How will amplified sound policy be regulated on-site?Our friendly Rangers will monitor sound systems, using an app-based decibel meter. We recommend you use a decibel meter app to be sure your sound installation complies with the sound policies. Remember that these are helpful volunteers, tasked with keeping our event sustainable, and we ask that you please work with them. Violations will be logged against your sound permit, and repeated violations or non-compliance with turn down requests made by Rangers will be grounds for sound shut-off for that camp for the duration of the event. Repeated failures to comply with sound policy will be grounds for removal from the event.
Thank you for making it all the way through our First Timer’s Guide! If you have any questions, comments, or additions, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.