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There are two stages in the Center Camp Café: a big one mostly for music and a smaller one mostly for spoken word. We present large variety shows with powerful sound some evenings, for which different teams set up schedules. Those schedules are generally filled already.

During other times we provide community stages. These guidelines speak to submissions for the community stages, and there are still some times open, usually for 45-minute sets.

We're looking for acts that people wouldn't expect to find elsewhere on the playa. We do not schedule dance DJs or dance music. Anything a DJ might usually play is well represented in dozens of other places at Burning Man.

The Café comprises a broad area, but we'd like to keep the feeling of an intimate space as much as possible.

All material must be original work

This is a philosophical position that relates to Radical Self-Reliance. Zero use of commercially licensed CDs. Zero covers. (Improvisations based on standards and performances of classical repertoire are not covers.)

Sound levels may seem low

There are three groupings of sound levels:

  • Showtime hours  (7 PM to 1 AM)
         Sound at room-filling levels.

  • Quieter hours  (1 AM to 7 AM)
         Levels will be low.

  • Daytime hours  (7 AM to 7 PM)
         Levels will be kept moderate. We need to respect the space of the
         many other people besides performers who are also using the Café.

If your act needs to be amplified full volume in order to sound right, the Café during daytime or quieter hours is probably not an effective venue for you.

What works best

Organic, instrumental performances involving unique instruments or genres. Anything that fits this narrow definition is very likely to be scheduled.

For example,

  • unique acoustic instruments-  singing bowls, didgeridoo, jaw harp...
  • classical chamber music, a cappella jazz groups...
  • world music-  ethnic stylings, acts performing local or native music...

Singer / Songwriters

We are welcoming singer/songwriters this year, especially those who offer to play in the wee hours of the morning. We need cheerful, lively material that can be effective when performed quietly. Some of the folks in the Café before dawn are likely to be lonely, restless, or maybe feeling a little under the weather. A gift of upbeat, calm music at that time would benefit the general community. There will also be a few morning and afternoon slots open.

Rock bands and acts similar to rock bands

There are a couple of slots for rock bands. The stage provides XLR tie-ins to a modest house system and 110 AC. Sometimes we have more equipment on hand, but that's all we can promise. Performers need to bring with them everything else they need. Remember that the playa is a brutal environment for gear.

Laptop / Electronic

Max/MSP, textural, interactive, etc...  anything imaginative.

CD tracks of recorded original music

Deadline August 1st. Synthesizer music, noise, musique concrète, classical, weird... anything except electronic dance music, which flourishes many other places on the playa. People are welcome to submit whole CDs, but we will be using single tracks from them, possibly as material in a playa-style competition for non-dance DJs. That is, it's a competition, but no one designates a winner, and there are no prizes.


Deadline August 1st. The stage will probably not have any projector, but if you can bring your own equipment, visuals to accompany CD tracks would be awesome.

Performance art / Aerial acts

Performance acts are very welcome. Any audio used must be original work.

Spoken word / Performance

The spoken word guidelines are simple. If you'd like to do anything that would play well on a 4' x 4' platform raised 8", please contact Poboy. There will be a small mono amp and one mic.

Support Crew-  Tech

We need volunteers for stage management, sound, and performer liaison. Stage managers help people set up their mics and interact with the sound crew. Liaisons deal more with keeping the schedule on track. The shifts are 4 hours, for as many or as few shifts as you want.

Support Crew-  Costumes

We need some imagination and polish to spark up visual presentations in a raw space. Can you do that? Would you like to be on call to help interested performers spread their wings?

What's missing?

If you have an idea for using the performance space that we haven't listed here, please contact Blue Fire and talk about what you have in mind.

If you're interested in doing this...

Please send us a link to an mp3, or some other example, so we can hear/see what you would like to do. If you do not have a website for uploading links, please use a file transfer service, so we can download from the link. If you need to find a transfer service, doing a Web search on "free file transfer" will give you numerous options. You could also mail us a CD or DVD.

Lots of participants would like to play in the Café. It will be necessary to leave some performers out, even some very good ones. Please don't take it personally. We have a limited amount of time and a mission to support the spirit of the Café. We are doing our best to put together a varied and dynamic schedule.

Burning Man is a huge little world. If you would like a stage to perform on, it might serve the community well to put together a performance space that showcases your talents. The playa is a build-your-own-reality kind of place.

What, Where, When on the Playa

If you want to be listed in the Playa Calendar, here's the info for how to do it:

Performers who have not signed up before the print deadline each year will not appear in the printed edition of What, Where, When, but they will still be able to list themselves on the website.

Contact emails

Links that might be useful

If you're looking for other venues on the playa or interested in networking with other performers planning for the burn, try these: