At Reverbia, Harmony is About Camp Members, Not Just Music

With four stages dedicated to bands and even morning yoga set to the same, Reverbia Camp is the place to go for live music at Burning Man.

In 2016, Reverbia produced over 110 hours of live music, an awesome feat even without playa dust and a volunteer crew, which now numbers around 270.

About 35 per cent of the camp are live musicians, and it has also attracted many professional sound engineers, who help address the complexities of multiple, ongoing performances on the playa.

But these Burners don’t just make music together; they create a camp and community that is an interesting study of what works at Burning Man.

Reverbians are asked to take ownership of their infrastructure, production and community. A mandatory 10 hours of volunteer work for all camp members fuels the hive at Reverbia. No exceptions or special privileges.

Andrea Monteiro leads Dancing Before Noon Samba Workshop. Photo by Lung Lui

Reverbia also believes a camp that eats together makes more friends, so everyone gathers for gourmet, mostly organic meals each day. This means significant organization for one of the most influential and less seen camp figures, Chef Erik.

The dining area also acts as a hub at the centre of an open, planned layout that is like a friendly neighborhood. No interactive area is boxed in and this allows for blended interaction.

“So many people tell me they feel so grounded at Reverbia,” says camp founder, Doug Abrahams, who met his current life partner at Reverbia in 2012.

“When we talk to new people, we always warn them that if they come to this camp, they will make new lasting friends.”

People who love to camp with Reverbia don’t mind a few rules either. For instance, there is no amplified music in camp, people are requested to party responsibly and, yes, there are quiet hours in tenting areas.

Camp members are also requested to perform their duties sober as the entire camp is depending on each individual to truly show up.

According to Doug, these boundaries prioritize respect for others and allow people to focus on their upcoming shifts.

“Reverbia’s leadership lead by example, and are encouraged to be patient and tolerant. Some people get Burning Man right away, taking giant steps forward with community growth and sustainability, yet others may take only baby steps. With proper guidance, newbies can get it, and perhaps become our future leadership,” Doug says.

Afternoon Music at the Elegant Embassy. Photo by Rey Torres

A focus on sustainability has also allowed Reverbia to grow and support such a large crew. This includes repurposed camp materials, water conservation, solar power energy, recycling and composting. Much of the camp is stored near Black Rock City, which avoids the carbon footprint of re-locating each year.

The camp began its life as Camp I Am, but evolved into Reverbia when Camp I Am’s founder, Clif Cox, invited Doug to lead the camp in 2010. The camp had already been doing some live music, but Doug, a music agent and former camp counselor/director, accepted the role on the condition that the camp only offer live music.

Reverbia had two distinct advantages when starting as a camp. It evolved from a base that Camp I Am had already created — Reverbia continues to use some of those core structures today — and it also had the chance to experiment with what worked and what didn’t work.

Reverbia was also joined by Synergy, a group that was active in the Vancouver Burner community. This group brought organization and work skills to Reverbia, which assisted in camp growth and development.

Camp I Am founder Clif is also still very active at Reverbia camp. “Instead of dying or fading away, Camp I Am has evolved and become something new and different. Doug’s vision is creating a place at Burning Man for non-electronic music, which many people want,” he says.

Reverbia has consistently brought international, national and regional touring acts and will continue to do so with an amazing line-up for 2017.

Visit Reverbia at 3:45 & Esplanade or find them online. Daily activities will be posted on the bulletin board outside the camp’s primary Eternal Embassy structure.

Feature photo: California Honey Drops on Reverbia’s stage, 2015. Photo by Alexander

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