Burning Man International Regional Leadership Summit and What it Means to Northbay

Guest post by Nathan Elstein

  • intro
  • core
  • purpose of regional network/rc
  • whats going on at HQ
  • resources available to help local events
  • about the people at the convention/staff at BMHQ
  • we are the future of Burning Man

Hi, Northbay… I’m Nathan from Trinity County, just northeast of your fantastic region, and happy to be participating. Regyna asked me to give a little breakdown of the 2012 Burning Man International Regional Network Leadership Summit so here’s my take on what went on and how we can best take advantage!


Our project for the Circle of Regional Effigies has been accepted. This year there will be 35 CORE projects being displayed and burned on the playa. There are so many this year Burning Mam is going to make one large ring and two smaller rings of effigies, I imagine kinda like a mickey mouse head… In addition to the bad ass light house we are creating I have been given the go ahead to do a distance collaboration from Trinity County and I hope all of North Bay will participate. The collaboration will consist of at least one sea turtle and a nest of eggs. We will be designing the turtle and nest out here in Trinity but everyone can make an egg. I am hoping that anyone who wants to contribute to core, but can’t make it to the main project builds, will make an egg on their own to express themselves. This is a great opportunity to see some of your own art burned on the playa or if you aren’t going this year a piece of you will!!! We are getting a list of acceptable materials and egg dimensions and will send out the details before too long.

Regional Network/ Regional Contacts (RC) purpose

From the convention it is apparent that we are indeed everywhere and Burning Man is a lot bigger than just one event in the desert. A vast regional network has been organized to promote burning year round all over the world. This is where the Regional Contact comes into play. The role of the RC is to help bridge the gap between the Burning Man Org, You fantastic Burners, and the greater community. The RC is in a position to help coordinate you and all your burner friends to share our burner culture with your neighboring non-burners. Have you ever wanted to do a community art project but don’t know where to start, or want to help with a regional event but can’t seem to get connected? Well just drop your RC a line and get on the bandwagon. The RC also has a clerical aspect, which includes website maintenance, BMORG correspondence, and list-serve moderation. Our RCs really have quite a demanding volunteer position so give an RC a hug next time you run into one. Oh, and right now Kelly is sick so someone nearby should bring her some soup )”(

[editorial note: RLL is feeling much better today, thank you!]
Whats Going On at HQ

Well the Burning Man Organization has a new office in downtown SF on Market St. It’s a pretty awesome space with lots of good intentions. They have partnered with neighbors to integrate art and community in a less than shiny part of the city. Their master plan to have both local community inspired art and burning man art on the streets of San Francisco is well underway. In addition to all the art and fun The Burning Man Project has just received its non profit designation from the State of California and is close with their Federal filing.

Resources to Help Local Events

Have you ever thought it would be great to throw a Burning Man party, or wanted to get a permit to fire dance in public? Maybe you want to share Burning Man inspired art with the your local municipality but don’t know how to start? All these tools are available at Burning Man and through your RC. Anything that Burning Man does as an organization has been researched and documented so whenever an event takes place there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Fire safety plans, event planning guidelines, and virtually every other document you might have to give some city official to achieve a successful event is available. These people are pros and they want to help YOU! So now all we have to do is a little brainstorming to start virtually any creative experience here locally.

About People at the Conference and Burning Man Staff

When I went to the conference I thought maybe I’ll be attending some kind of elitist Burning Man event. Well that wasn’t the case. I met many people at the convention who didn’t have tickets to the main event this year! But you know what, that hasn’t stopped them from deciding to put all their energy into something more local and tangible. WE ARE EVERYWHERE doing all sorts of amazing things. The biggest Burning Man  Regional event in the world takes place in South Africa. I spoke with a guy who went to help setup and there was a cheetah in their camp before the event, imagine that! Europe is exploding with events and here in America burns are popping up all over the place (and selling out swiftly I might add). So check out the Regional Events page, do some travel and burn burn burn.

Burning Man Staff are rock stars. Despite the highly debated ticket problem this year the Burning Man staff are doing everything in their power to move forward. I got to meet the very small staff base that is responsible for coordinating the entire Burning Man event as well as all the regional events and art grants. So you think Burning Man should share some more of its money? The staff at HQ just hopes that you will apply for an art grant, grab up some cash and go. It was really wonderful to meet the people behind the event, realize how awesome they are, and see that they are just humans too trying to change the world.

We are the Future of Burning Man

Marian Goodell gave the keynote address and finished her speech by pointing at the crowd and exclaiming, ” you are the future of Burning Man.” Since Burning Man is mostly volunteer run anyone who has the ambition can help shape Burning Man; and Burning Man itself is being redefined. Marian made it clear that though we come together to celebrate in the desert, Burning Man is taking place in the heart, homes, and communities where ever burners tread. We come together under a shared ethos, the ten principles, to create community. This can happen anywhere and with radical inclusion it can happen to anyone. We are changing the world, this is not an event, but a global cultural movement.

Much love, Nathan

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