Theme camps are a huge and central part of what makes Black Rock City a participatory community. And, it can be argued, theme camp members are the most dedicated Burners of all. Often working throughout the year to build and fund their camps, theme camp members continue working through the event itself, serving hundreds and even thousands of participants with music, food and other gifts.
The result: an excellent experience, tens of thousands of happy Burners… and a whole lot of MOOP. Of the thousands who come to dance and play, how many leave tiny bits of themselves behind? How many glowsticks, cigarette butts and earrings fall unnoticed in the midst of an epic rave? Theme camps must then clean up after their guests, or risk being marked Red on the MOOP Map. Red comes with consequences, including a possible change in camp placement for the next year.
This year, the DPW Playa Restoration team performed a “MOOP Audit” of two major sound camps: Rites of Zion and Disorient, which occupied the 10:00 and 2:00 corners of the Esplanade respectively. Here’s what we found:
Both camps passed with flying colors, and both are marked Green on the MOOP Map. However, something interesting happened: The areas outside those two major camps were very messy. Not just there, but all along the 10:00 side of the open playa: MOOP galore. Though the theme campers did a good job of cleaning up their own areas, it would appear that they couldn’t tackle the mess left in the open playa. Technically, 100 feet into the open playa is still considered part of the camp — and in the case of Rites of Zion, their “Temple of BOOM” outpost was a SERIOUS mess and would easily have failed a BLM inspection. But who left that mess? Did YOU dance at a sound camp this year?
The Dirty Thirty
The issue of theme camps and MOOP is deeply complicated. That’s why, for the first time this year, DPW invited theme camps to join the Playa Restoration MOOP lines. D.A., Restoration manager, reached out to theme camps. He asked each to send a representative back to Black Rock City, if they could, to learn more about the Restoration process.
In future years, D.A. hopes that there’ll be 30 theme camp representatives — enough to form a new Line Sweeps team, which will MOOP its way through theme camp areas to solidify the connection between the experience and the leftover litter. That team will be called the “Dirty Thirty.” This year, our new experiment garnered five brave representatives: the “Fearless Five”.
Theme camps, here are your 2011 Dirty Thirty representatives:
I asked these wonderful people a few questions about who they are, what this experience means to them and what they’ve learned. Watch the interview here:
Voted Best Camp
Voted Best Camp, a punk rock camp in the back blocks of 2:00, sets an excellent example. For years, this camp has set up a bar and skate ramp, blasting punk music and entertaining all sorts of drunken antics. VBC also consistently scores well on the MOOP Map, and was the first camp to be all green in 2011.
Two Voted Best Camp members have joined DPW and marched on the MOOP lines. I asked Scumbag and Voted Best Dave about their MOOP strategy.
Voted Best Dave: “MOOP as you go. Every day I go out and spend about an hour or so just going around picking up every little bit, and I kind of encourage other people to do the same. When teardown comes around, everybody does their bit and then we emulate the DPW MOOP line.”
Scumbag: “A good thing to do if you have a bar and such is to get people to MOOP. Be like, ‘while you’re hanging out here all week, pick some shit up.’ … I think a good thing to realize is that if you get even a small group of hands, you can take a huge mess and actually clean it up really fast.”
What Do YOU Think?
Now that you know everything there is to know about theme camps and MOOP, please weigh in!
Know anybody at Rites of Zion, Temple of BOOM, Disorient, Booby Bar, The Artery, Voted Best Camp, or Pandora’s Lounge & Fix-It Shoppe? Invite them to join the discussion too.
Tune in tomorrow for Day 4 of the MOOP Map, full of drama, heat and biting flies. ‘Til then, this is The Hun signing off.