Bringin’ It to Bonnaroo: Stuff is Happening

Notable quotes from the morning meeting:

  • Carmen to Smoke Blower: “Do you have a shirt that is not nudist related sir?”
  • Marian to the group regarding the fruity moonshine in jars from the back of Cowboy Bill’s truck: “I had a church sip yesterday and got buzzed.”
  • Ray Posado to the group: “No one wins with shirt-cocking.”
  • Bumper sticker advice to shirt-cockers: “If shirt, then pants.”
  • How we should behave at Bonnaroo whilst on duty: “Wedding rules apply.
  • Regarding the schedule for today: “If we don’t move the shade structures at least two more times I’ll be really disappointed.”
Beautiful Meghan
Beautiful Meghan

It was a busy day at the Bring It! camp. We got up at dawn and went to breakfast, then met as a group at 7:30. I love the morning meetings when witty repartee is flying around like bullets ricocheting inside a metal building. We made it through with hardly a scratch and volunteered for work crews as the camp layout was finally finalized.

Playground hanging the Bring It! banner
Playground hanging the Bring It! banner
Meghan makin’ the Hugaroo Deli sign
Meghan makin’ the Hugaroo Deli sign

Our camp is situated so that the Tiki Hut is the first thing people encounter when they wander over. It will serve as our signpost check-in information greeter station. The hut will have a solar powered game, state of the art hi-fi music, a map you can pin according to what city you’re from, lasers at night, Bring It! stickers, and a 100-year old, 20-pound gong that Danielle brought all the way back from Burma/Myanmar. The tiki hut will also double as a clubhouse for Putt-Putt Playa and four holes of mini-golf, on generous loan from Andrew Stein at the Philadelphia Experiment.

The Hug Deli will have a whole menu of hugs for people to choose from, and the Hula-Hoop Station will feature about 75 hoops of all sizes that Bash and our crew made from drip irrigation line and multi-colored electrical tape. People can decorate them or just hoop around until their heart is content. Our goal at Bonnaroo is to engage people; our weapons of choice are hugs and hoops.

Blue anchorin' tents
Blue anchorin’ tents

We’ve also got a shady pledge tent and plastic bottle station for interacting with people and just talking about ways they can get involved with their community, the arts, environmental issues, and social or political movements that interest them. The pledge is written on a banner and says: “I will assert myself and apply my myriad talents toward the achievement of radical self-reliance, uncompromising self-expression, immediate participation, and unlimited inclusion. Whether I do this through building community, advancing the arts, aiding disaster relief, gifting alternative energy, greening the planet, or some other means, I will be a badass from now on.” So what do you think? Can YOU bring it?

Danielle at the Tiki Hut
Danielle at the Tiki Hut

The plastic bottle station is a big tent with open sides and one wall of top-to-bottom strings with empty disposable water bottles attached via partial slit in the side to emphasize the amount of plastic we toss out every day. In the U.S. it’s 60 million plastic water bottles a day. That’s 2.5 million every hour and doesn’t even include soft drink or sports drink containers. Bam! 694 more while you read that statistic. That’s 22 billion plastic bottles littered, land-filled, or incinerated in just one year in just one country. We’re encouraging people to break the bottled water habit and stick to reusing and refilling one plastic or metal bottle/canteen for the rest of their lives. (O.K. maybe not, but do you really need a new one every day?)

Ray Posado, Mike the Volunteer, and Josh workin' on shade
Ray Posado, Mike the Volunteer, and Josh workin’ on shade

Ray Posado is designing a solar shade structure that will have ten fans operating off genuine, unmodified sunshine, while Greg and Barbara are building a very large free-standing three-panel screen to show Burn on the Bayou and footage from Burning Man regional events. We also got the giant cactus ready to put up tomorrow.

Marian in the field. Literally.
Marian in the field. Literally.

Personnel update: Marian is moving around really well despite knee and ankle injuries sustained in her recent Thunderdome bout with John Law. Loki arrived on site as did Weld Boy, Austin and DTR. We also got to meet Rebecca, an MFA candidate friend of Danielle’s.

bonnaroo main stage
Bonnaroo main stage

I heard that the second largest stage in the world is here at Bonnaroo, so I walked in that direction to check it out. It was impressive, but I wasn’t blown away. Then I kept walking and saw another stage. Oh, o.k. That first one was a stage, but this one is THE stage. It’s humungous. There was a guy working on it and he looked like an ant. And I was only 50 feet away. On the topic of scale, one of the worker dudes in the vicinity told me that camping for the event extends for two miles. Now I’m even more stoked to be living in a bus behind our camp.

Straw bales, tires, tin, and mud
Straw bales, tires, tin, and mud

During my tour I came across a tire and straw bale structure getting covered in mud. It’s so beautiful. It’s being constructed entirely from recycled and local materials by a guy named Mello and his all-volunteer work crew. Mello went to Burning Man for the first time last year and helped with an exhibit at the Man base. He’s one of the first people I’ve talked to and he’s a burner. Nice.

This afternoon we heard the first sound check of the event while we were working at camp. It made me smile because it was massive and out of the blue, like a clap of thunder on a clear day. A sign of things to come.

– Marnee

About the author: Marnee Benson

Marnee Benson

Marnee is Burning Man Project’s Associate Director of Government Affairs. Her work focuses on permitting and relationships with the Nevada Legislature, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Pershing County, and multiple other Nevada agencies. She helps Burning Man navigate Nevada politics and federal issues affecting the Burning Man event. Marnee’s first trip to Black Rock City was 2001, and in 2007 she worked with the Department of Public Works and the Communications team, writing and photographing content for the Burning Blog “Building Black Rock City”. From 2009 to 2013, she served as the Deputy Director at Black Rock Solar. She loves the way Burning Man expands her world and flips ideas upside down.