Black Rock French Quarter

4 WEEKENDS UNTIL EARLY ARRIVAL
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Black Rock French Quarter is a camp at Burning Man. The camp is composed of various projects, each of which is devoted to a particular immersive experience, such as mixing cocktails, performing live music, baking breads and pastries, doing massage and bodywork, making and storing wine, crafting custom soaps, homebrewing beers, roasting coffee, cooking gumbo, or practicing meditation. The projects share these creative experiences with visitors, in an effort to transform visitors from consumers of gifts into creators of gifts.

History

Our little French Quarter began with the Golden Cafe in 2003. In the 21 years since then, we have created some of the most storied projects in Burning Man history, including the Black Rock Bakery, Lonesome Gator Gumbo Cookery, Sunset Supper Club, Burning Man Valley Clown, Appropriated Dragon Dim Sum House, Blind Mistress Space Vehicle, Cafe de la Fin du Monde, Broken Angel Bathhouse, L'Homme Flambe Restaurant, Black Rock Vineyards, Domakase Sushi Bar, and recently The Table.

Joining

Joining the French Quarter starts when you create an account and follow this to do list. Applications are open from September (right after we return from the previous Burning Man) through the start of August (when we leave for the next Burning Man). We do not accept anyone unless they are willing to apply as individuals and participate as individuals. So if you represent a group who needs a space for their RV, every one of you will need to create an account and engage us if you want to join.

Requirements

We generally accept anyone who can follow instructions and participate with the rest of the team. So you can jump right in, without waiting for us to contact you! If we decide you are a creep or otherwise harshing our vibe, we'll let you know and send you on your way. But that is so rare, that you probably just need to introduce yourself and volunteer, to be welcomed with open arms. Your responsibilities to your community and to your self are core in determining whether the Black Rock French Quarter is the best fit for you.

Dues

Camp dues for the Black Rock French Quarter depend on how much you helped with planning, preparation, building, operating, tearing down, packing out, and cleaning up the camp in the previous year. Dues range from $0 for Fellows who have been working since last August to keep the camp going, up to $900 for Applicants joining last minute in August. If you want to pursue discounted dues this year, you have 4 weeks to step up, before we arrive on playa and start building!

Size

There are between 20 and 200 members of the Black Rock French Quarter at Burning Man in any given year. There will likely be around 40 of us on playa this year. Projects within the camp aim to be between 2 to 6 members. This keeps things intimate, and ensures that everyone feels personal responsibility for making some aspect of the camp successful. All camp members are part of multiple projects, just like most people have multiple interests and responsibilities in real life. For instance, a member who is a doctor in real life might head up our Baking project, but then also help with our Medical and Leave No Trace projects. Some projects eventually grow beyond 6 members, so we split them into smaller projects, that work together to create larger structures or experiences. This process of splitting as a part of growth ensures that no project ever becomes so big that the members feel anonymous.

Work

The Black Rock French Quarter is proudly a community effort, in every sense of the word. Every member is expected to participate in every aspect of the camp, without being forced to do so. We do not recruit members just to have enough bodies to staff the camp or enough money to fund it, and we do not accept groups without getting to know and accept every individual within that group. Everyone should expect to spend a few solid weeks before the event helping with preparation, a shift a day during the event helping run experiences and services within the camp, and an few solid days after the event helping to clean and wrap it all up. There are no task masters setting your daily schedule or forcing you to do this work, but we weed out everyone who is missing when the rest of us are working to make it all happen. You join our camp because you want to help make it all happen, and enjoy the company of other people with the same spirit.

Play

We like to spend time together even when we are not at Burning Man. Our members in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Seattle like to go for dim sum, or hot pot, or sushi sometimes. We take trips to Reno to check on our gear, and splash around in casino pools and waterfalls together. Our bar in North Hollywood hosts Mardi Gras and Burner events, and we gather there to perfect cocktail and infused liquor recipes. We camp and go to festivals together. Black Rock French Quarter is a year round community, and you will fit in best if that is what you want.

Burning Man

Burning Man is an annual event that has occurred in the Black Rock Desert since 1990, with origins on Baker Beach in 1986. Burning Man started as a jumble of anarcho libertarian surrealist counterculture, and over the past 34 years has been claimed by electronic musicians, spiritualists, technology entrepreneurs, environmentalists, installation artists, academics, progressives, and many other groups. There are as many different ways to experience Burning Man as there are ways to experience any other city of 70,000 people. You choose whether you are there to explore your true potential as a person, to perpetuate who you are in your everyday life, or to treat it like a music festival.

Burner Culture

For the first 20 years in the Black Rock Desert, the dominant culture of Burning Man was doocracy. In other words, groups and projects were governed by the idea that whoever is willing to do a thing is in charge of that thing. In sharp contrast to the world outside Burning Man, this meant that your voice and your social standing had little to do with your wealth or fame or appearance, and much more to do with your ability to plan and work and adapt to the harsh environment. This resulted in a huge influx of creative effort, by hundreds of thousands of people who previously had no idea that they could be artists and leaders and creators. It was this energy, before influencers and social media and party people, that changed the art and fashion and culture of the world. It was in this Burning Man, full of dreams and struggle and victory and defeat, that so many of us were transformed into the people we could be.

Black Rock City

What came of this era of doocracy, was "Black Rock City" ("BRC"), the notion that Burning Man was not so much a party as a metropolis. And inherent in this notion of BRC, was the idea that we were all citizens who make our lives there, rather than just tourists who are visiting. Our community, that began with the Golden Cafe and evolved into the Black Rock French Quarter, was born at the apex of Black Rock City. You can even see this spirit in our projects, each of which pretends to be a business in a city of imagination. For example, rather than being just a group of friends camping together, we are the "French Quarter" neighborhood, and rather than serving some cocktails and muffins, we founded the "Golden Cafe" and the "Black Rock Bakery".

Going Mainstream

Burning Man tickets sold out for the first time in 2011, and it was the video Oh, the Places You'll Go that marked the entry of Burning Man into the mainstream in 2012. From that point forward, the dominant culture of Burning Man slowly shifted from being focused on the creators of experiences, to being focused on the consumers of experiences. Burners, especially first timers, who used to look for projects they wanted to help create, started looking for the most famous or comfortable place they could park their RV. Crowdfunding, social media, packaged deals on food and shelter, and reliance on outside vendors all made Burning Man less about the journey of the individual, and more about the acquisition of consumers. If you are one of the people drawn to Burning Man by tales of personal metamorphosis, and find it to be a great party, but not really life changing, this is why. You need to find the right home.

Finding The Right Camp

If you want to "go to Burning Man", there many camps you can join. There are camps that provide meals and shade and power and require no effort. There are luxury camps that provide fully appointed RVs, concierge chefs, and attractive companions. If you are a group of pretty girls from a foreign land, there are camps that will provide you with tickets and bicycles and everything else. Black Rock French Quater is none of these camps. If you want to "become a citizen of Black Rock City", the way we used to 13 years ago, create an account and follow this to do list to get started!

We land on playa in just 4 weeks, so let us know NOW if you want to contribute...


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