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Duties for Members of the Black Rock French Quarter

      There are a number of essential duties that make our village possible. To be a member of our village, you must perform at least one of these duties, in addition to whatever responsibilities you have to your specific camp. You may notice that "bartending", "dancing", "singing", "performing", "coming up with great ideas", "massaging pretty girls", and other such duties do not appear on this list. That is because people fight for the opportunity to perform those duties. These duties are the thankless ones, that happen behind the scenes, and that make those more glorious "duties" possible...

  1. Administration: These are the folks who manage all the details. They assemble the plans and budgets, coordinate the labor, check the results, and handle the problems. The members of this team keep track of who is camping in the village, who has paid their dues, who met their responsibilities, and who has been reimbursed for purchases they were asked to make. They also figure out the best place to rent a trash truck, how to keep our trailer registrations updated, who to ship our equipment with, and what equipment they need. When this team has the right members, they can be proactive in documenting best practices to make life easier for everyone. You do not need any specific skills to help with administration, but you do need a strong sense of personal responsibility, and a fine attention to detail.

  2. Build: There are the folks who build everything before the gates open, and tear it all down after the Man burns. Pretty much everyone who can use a drill, hammer a stake, or carry something heavy is on this team. Most importantly, at the head of this team are professional builders who know the right way to do the work, to make sure that the buildings are level, that everything is secure in high winds, and that nobody is injured during construction or in occupying the buildings.

  3. Communication: These are the folks who post calls for participation to mailing lists and Facebook groups, and deal with the responses. To do this job you have to have very clear written communication, and be very attentive to responding quickly to emails. You also need to be very organized, to keep track of all the strangers you are communicating with, to be sure they get routed to the right person or place. Our communication team is essential to connecting with other camps, organizing events like Mardi Gras and the Jazz Funeral, and recruiting amazing new members for our camps.

  4. Packing: These are the folks who pack all of our equipment and material into the trailers and other vehicles that ship them to and from Burning Man. The challenge of this task is that it needs to happen quickly and reliably no matter what the circumstances. The trailers cannot be delayed one day or one hour leaving Joshua Tree for Black Rock City, or leaving Black Rock City to return to Joshua Tree, so this team absolutely must find a way to fit it all neatly, not lose or break anything, and be ready to do it again. Absolutely everyone needs to help with this task, but we always need folks who know how to pack and secure heavy equipment, piles of wood and steel, and other industrial items, to lead the effort. Your travel arrangements must be robust, to ensure that you don't suddenly have to change your entry or exit plans based on a flaky driver or traveling companion. The big packout happens on Sunday and Monday after the Burn, but there is always some critical packing to be done on Tuesday, right before the last of us leave the playa for home.

  5. Placement: These are the folks who help newly arrived members of the village to place their vehicles and tents. Confidence reading a map and measuring distances is handy. Placers also register incoming members, record who arrived, when, and in what vehicle, and connect tags to all tents and vehicles in the village. The tags are later reviewed by our Security teams to make sure everyone camping with us belongs there.

  6. Labor Support: These are the folks who provide food, hydration, and massages for the crews that are unpacking and assembling the village during the week before the festival, and the crews that are disassembling, packing, and cleaning up during the two days after the festival. No skills are required, although some basic cooking skills are handy. To perform this duty, you should arrive as early as possible during build week before the gates open, and to leave no earlier than Monday, or better yet Tuesday, after the event. Your travel arrangements must be robust, to ensure that you don't suddenly have to change your entry or exit plans based on a flaky driver or traveling companion.

  7. Leave No Trace: These are the folks who literally scour every inch of our village for tiny signs of human habitation, and remove it all. In the earlier days of Burning Man, every single member of every single camp would help with this work, walking arm in arm to pick up staples, cinnamon dust from the kitche, lost strands of hair, bits of lime from the bar, or anything else that is not part of the natural desert - these days, small teams do this essential function such that everyone else can have fun at Burning Man without dealing with the mess. We honor our leave no trace crew, and dues from village members who are not making sure we leave no trace pay for a night of fun in Reno for the leave no trace crew. If you have not done this duty at least once, you have not really participated in Burning Man. To do this duty, you must be sure you are leaving no earlier than Monday night after the Temple burns, and ideally on Tuesday afternoon. Your travel arrangements must be robust, to ensure that you don't suddenly have to change your exit plans based on a flaky driver or traveling companion.

  8. Safety: These are the folks who pay attention to what everyone is doing to ensure that egregious risks are not taken. Burning Man is inherently not a safe event, and everyone is responsible for their own health and happiness, but our safety team is responsible for noticing really bad ideas and pointing out how bad they are. Nobody should sleep with a candle in their tent. Nobody should release sky lanterns. Nobody should store fuel near fire or electrical equipment. Nobody should drive an unlit vehicle. Nobody should leave a gaping hole in a structure or vehicle that someone else can fall through.

  9. Security: These are the folks who check every tent and vehicle in the village once each day, to ensure that everything is properly tagged and accounted for. They also note any violations of leave no trace or other village policy, so we know which members should not be invited to camp with us in future years. The work is light, because each member of the security team only does a few hours of work during the Burn, but attention to detail is crucial. These are people who really care about what is going on in the village, and keep an eye out for it.

  10. Trash: These are the folks who pick up our rental truck in Fernley, drive it to the Burn, make sure all of the leftover trash in the village is loaded into it on Monday, drive it to the landfill on Tuesday, hire some locals to help them unload and clean the truck, and then deliver it in pristine condition back in Fernley. In the earlier days of Burning Man, every single member of every single camp would help with this work - these days, small teams do this essential function such that everyone else can have fun at Burning Man without dealing with the mess. We honor our trash handlers above all others, and dues from village members who are not handling the trash pay for a night of fun in Reno for the trash crew. If you have not done this duty at least once, you have not really participated in Burning Man. To do this duty, you must be sure you are leaving no earlier than Tuesday after the Temple burns. Your travel arrangements must be robust, to ensure that you don't suddenly have to change your exit plans based on a flaky driver or traveling companion.