What to Expect

If you are camping with BloodyMaryLand, we want to do everything to make your time on the playa enjoyable. In return, we expect that you’ll contribute to the camp in some way, and be a good camper.

Here’s what we would like you to do:

  • If you’re a Burning Man virgin, read up on the event. A good place to start is the first-timers page on the Burning Man website. That will give you some idea of what you’re getting into. The Survival Guide is required reading. It is amended each year, so we will get an updated version before we leave in 2008.
  • Whether new or returning, everyone should follow the principles of Burning Man. There are 10 in all, and the ones we emphasize at our camp are:
    • Participation — It takes a lot of planning to bring together our camp. We have members scattered all over the globe, and will be likely be coordinating an RV from each coast as well as people filtering in throughout the week. We have two main camp events, the bloody mary bar which will officially be open for business on two days, and the cowboy sunset on one evening. On top of that, we have to bring EVERYTHING — housing, water, food, clothing — to sustain ourselves for a week in a harsh desert environment. We’ll have duties assigned to various people and we’ll be counting on you to do your part. IN ADDITION to making the camp work, you are more than welcome to create your own side project to share with the Burning Man community. As one example, Sean provided stand-up comedy as he traversed the playa. But personal participation doesn’t mean you have to be witty or prep something before you get to Black Rock City. Participation could be as simple as holding someone’s tent as they try to stake it into the desert. You can give back in a million different ways.
    • Radical Self-Reliance — We’re not going to mother you. Make sure you have everything to survive in a desert with no running water and no electricity for a week. Also, we won’t be offended if you want to take off and explore on your own.
    • Leave No Trace — Don’t litter. Don’t pee on the playa. Use 1 ply toilet paper (see “If it wasn’t made from your body, don’t put it in the potty!“). Do some community service and pick up litter, even if it isn’t yours. Don’t bring things to the playa that will generate MOOP, no matter how sparkly and fabulous they are.
  • Contribute to camp costs. If someone is carting your stuff out to the desert, help pay for gas. If you don’t bring your own food and water, we’ll need some moulah to buy some for you on the way out.


What the hell is this MOOP thing you keep talking about?
MOOP stands for matter out of place. Every single tiny speck, sequin, thread, and pin has to be cleaned up off of the ground immediately and put into the trash before it blows away. Since the goal of Burning Man participants is to leave no trace, it’s best if you forgo costumes with feathers or anything else that might shed or fall off. Also, avoid glass containers. As a camp, we will canvass the area after we’ve packed up to make sure we’ve not left any debris.

So, I have to pick up after myself? Yes. And you can even count it towards community participation if you pick up other people’s MOOP. Think of it as good karma.

What’s the playa? Playa refers to the geology of the area in which we camp. Definition.

What CAN’T I bring? Plants and dogs and firearms. Tiki torches, lanterns and candles.

What CAN’T I do? Litter. Pee on the playa. Use regular toilet paper or throw tampons in the porta-potties. Burn anything that might create hazardous fumes. Burn things in areas other than approved burn pyres. Build a large public pool or shower. Be too loud in the ‘burbs where we camp (hard to do without amplifiers). Take movies without registering your camera. Drive a motorized vehicle that is not a registered Mutant Vehicle art car.

What do I need to bring? Read the Survival Guide.
The 2007 Survival Guide will be revised for 2008 and if you buy tickets in advance, you’ll get one in the mail.

Do I need a bike? Yes. Ok, you don’t NEED one, but you’ll feel left out if you don’t have one. You’ll want to decorate it so you can distinguish it from the other thousands of bikes, too.

Do I need to be lit up at night? YES YES YES YES. LEDs, and EL wire should be incorporated into your nighttime gear so you don’t get run over by the myriad of bikes and art cars. You can also use glow sticks, though they create unnecessary waste. You will want a headlamp for your bike. You should not use those magnetic blinky LED pins. They will fall off and become MOOP. Hotglue a pin to the back instead.

How harsh is the environment? Well, you are living in a flat, dusty, arid place that gets hot enough to make you want to take all your clothes off during the day, and that can get cold enough at night to make you want a winter jacket. You need goggles and a mask or handkerchief to keep out the dust in a dust storm. You’ll want sunblock and clothes that will protect you from burning, like you would if you were spending a whole day on a sunny beach. The dust storms won’t blow you away, but they will pick up anything that isn’t properly secured. They also can severely limit visibility. It CAN rain, but let’s hope it doesn’t because that can cause things to turn into a muddy mess. Also, the dust is alkaline, so many people use a vinegar/water wash to neutralize it and keep skin from getting irritated. See also “your body versus the elements” and “health and safety on the playa“.

What do you guys do as a group at Burning Man? The bloody mary bar, the cowboy sunset, the main burn, and generally the temple burn. Many, but not all, meals are cooked for the entire camp also.

Where does the name BloodyMaryLand come from? The original campers were from the east coast, mainly from Maryland. And they made bloody marys to share with the Burning Man community. Our bloody mary recipe is the best because of our secret Maryland ingredient.

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