preparation sectional graphic



Sixteen new streets have been added to the city plan this year! They are short, radial streets at the :15 and :45 clock positions, running mid-city between Graduation and Liminal. These new streets serve to break up the longer city outer blocks and ease pedestrian access. The distance from the inner-most road, Esplanade, to the Man has increased from 2120 feet last year to 2400 feet this year. The block between Esplanade and Anniversary is 400 feet deep and single blocks are 200 feet deep.


Participants are once again invited to occupy and develop the three plazas located at 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00 and Kindergarten. We are holding most of the camping space around these plazas available for unregistered camps to develop and maintain as an experiment in spontaneous urban planning and collaboration.


If you want to broaden your participation in the event, there are ample opportunities. Visit the V-Spot near Playa Info in Center Camp to volunteer. Ours is a society of activists. When we see a job that needs to be done, we are inclined to roll up our sleeves and pitch in. Keep this in mind: there is no “they” in BRC. There is only “us.” Burning Man is a 100% participant funded and staffed event. Sadly, there are always a few people who just don’t “get it.” These folks believe that the mystical “they” will appear to provide for their needs and clean up their mess. Help us instruct them. If you see someone acting irresponsibly, introduce yourself and speak up. Also, don’t be a “participation snob”. Just because someone isn’t costumed or visibly participating doesn’t mean they aren’t contributing.


If you witness anyone vandalizing artwork, please ask them to stop. Inform a Black Rock Ranger if necessary.

NO Early Arrivals

Our event begins on Monday, August 29th, 2011 at 12:01 a.m. Do not come to the event site before our Gate opens. We are not ready to receive participants until we have finished building the city and have our full public safety and sanitation infrastructure in place. Early arrival passes will be issued at our discretion to a limited number of artists and theme camp construction crews. Early entry pass holders must also have an admission ticket. Do not arrive early without both a ticket and pass.

Plan your driving time to the playa so that you do not arrive too early. DO NOT wait on the side of the road anywhere along HWY 447 or 34 or in the town of Gerlach. This poses a serious safety hazard, adds needless stress on neighboring communities, and places our event at risk.

After Dark Arrivals

If you arrive in our city at night and do not know where to camp, we recommend you stay at the Greeter Station until morning. You are not likely to find your friends by cruising in the dark after your long journey and you are likely to inadvertently camp in a reserved space, and/or create a hazard for others. You can get information and find your way more safely by the light of day.

Finding Yourself and Your Friends

Use the Playa Info computers to register yourself and your camp location and find your friends. You can exchange messages via the online Directory network, but there is no Internet access. Also use this service to find and post event schedules, ride shares, and other services and information. The big BRC map shows public theme camp locations. Bulletin Boards are always available for artful posting of events, messages, and general information.

Walk-In Camping

A marked area immediately behind the southeast side of Black Rock City will be reserved for Walk-In Camping. You will need to leave your vehicle and carry your belongings to your chosen spot. No vehicles or RVs will be allowed in the Walk-In Camping area. The sheer difficulty of this exercise will keep the area sparsely populated and your efforts will be rewarded with a solitude unavailable in other parts of the city.

In-and-Out Policy AND Shuttle AVAILABILITY

Movement of cars or airplanes poses a safety hazard, and protection of the environment is of paramount importance to Burning Man. Therefore, casual traffic in and out of Black Rock City is strongly discouraged. Participants who leave and return by personal means will be required to pay $20 per person. For those anxious to drive into “town,” the strongly encouraged alternative is our community shuttle that travels between Black Rock City and the towns of Gerlach and Empire.

The $10 tickets and the schedule for the bus shuttle will be available at the shuttle ticket booth located near 6:00 and Divorce. You must be sober, dressed appropriately for town, and carrying your event ticket stub and wearing the wristband issued to you when you purchase a bus ticket. Shuttles run every two hours from 10:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Noise Control

Sound travels on the playa and not everyone will want to sleep when you do. The only reliable way to get a quiet, uninterrupted night’s sleep is to bring earplugs. If you use an amplified audio system at your camp the volume must be held to reasonable levels. Speakers must be elevated off the playa surface and backed by a truck, RV or anything large and solid enough to prevent the sound from traveling backwards. The maximum power amplification is 300 watts, 90 decibels at 20 feet. If a problem with sound levels continues after sufficient requests and warnings, the source of power for such device or system will be disabled.

Art cars with sound systems are subject to the same standards, and must cut their sound when approaching art installations and performances.

The hum of generators can become annoying over a long period of time. Please keep your neighbors in mind. We recommend generators that are sound insulated. DO NOT dig a trench to sound-insulate your generator. Rather, enclose it in a wooden box. Visit the Generators article on the website for more detailed information: Generators at Burning Man for more detailed information.

Lost & Found

It bears repeating: mark all of your posesessions with your name, phone number or email address, and camp location. Take a picture of your contact info and leave the image on your camera. Items found in Black Rock City are not “playa gifts” to keep nor to give. At Burning Man, turn in found items to Playa Info so that they might be returned to their owners. After the event, whether you have lost or found something, there are two steps you can take to facilitate “happy reunions”:

  1. Send descriptions to lostandfound (at) burningman (dot) com . Complete make, model, and color descriptions will have the most success. Act quickly. Our official lost and found efforts end when ticket sales begin in mid-January for our next Burning Man.
  2. To leave no trace, our community often takes possession of items left behind. Post partial descriptions to our ePlaya bulletin board: select "year-round connections" then go to "Lost and found".

After Burning Man we will post to and scan the ePlaya for descriptions of Playa Info's found items to attempt "happy reunions". But act quickly. Our official lost and found efforts end when ticket sales begin in mid-January for our next Burning Man. See if anyone can fill in the blanks.

Burning Etiquette

The burning of public structures (such as lampposts or bulletin boards) is prohibited. Likewise, the burning of other people’s artwork is forbidden. Individual artists have the sole right to burn their own creation, subject to burn guidelines. Do NOT burn other people’s property! If you witness such vandalism, please inform a Black Rock Ranger. You may burn your art on provided Public Burn Pyres located at the front of our city, at the end of every third latitudinal street. Don’t forget to collect and remove your own ashes. See Protecting the Environment for more information.

Telephone Service

Cell phones do not work in the Black Rock Desert. Limited cell phone service and public telephones are available in the town of Gerlach, 12 miles away. Bring a calling card and take the BRC Shuttle to town.

RC Hobbyists

If you are planning to bring any sort of radio controlled model, vehicle, or art installation to BRC this year, please contact rchobbyist (at) burningman (dot) com with the radio frequency and channel number under which you will be operating. Radio channel conflicts must be avoided to prevent loss of control of an RC project. An out of control model/vehicle/art piece can cause serious damage to people or property, so it is important that RC’ers help us organize regarding radio use. If you have an RC art piece, please inform the Art Team, art (at) burningman (dot) com, or contact a team member at the Artery in Center Camp.

Freedom & the Media

The media are a part of our experience on playa. Freedom of the press dictates that we cannot exclude them, nor would we want to—they are our opportunity to affect the world by illustrating what we do together as a community. Today, everyone contributes to reporting and documenting, given current technology and habits; this remains as valid a form of expression as any art. Burning Man does limit the number of professional/media video present at the event. Those approved to film are pledged not to interfere with your experience. Should you feel that someone toting a camera is creating a nuisance, contact a Black Rock Ranger or Media Mecca.

Commercial use of all imagery taken at Burning Man is forbidden without express permission. All professional photographers with intent to receive compensation for a Burning Man image (including editorial or gallery use) must check in at Media Mecca. Pre-event or post-event photographers should register at:, contact the hotline at 415-TO-FLAME, or write:press (at) burningman (dot) com for permission.

ALL users of motion-capturing video and film cameras must complete a registration, whether they are to be used for personal or professional purposes. (Still cameras strictly for personal use don’t require registration.) Filming or photography for public distribution requires permission.

Professional media will receive a specific camera tag, indicating that they’ve registered with Media Mecca and have been informed of our community expectations for filming. However, you have ultimate responsibility for your image and should ask photographers or videographers how your image will be used. Should you encounter a problem, approach and ask for their tag number, and report it to a Media Mecca volunteer or a Black Rock Ranger. Those filming or videotaping for personal use must sign a Personal Use Agreement, which indicates the footage will not be professionally distributed. This protects the privacy rights of participants. This Agreement can be obtained at the Gate, or obtained and turned in at the Greeters Station, Playa Info, and Black Rock Ranger Outposts in the Civic Plazas.

NEW FOR 2011: Personal Use videocameras will NOT receive a camera tag, but still must fill out a Personal Use Agreement prior to use. Only professional media cameras will carry tags in 2011. All participants are encouraged to visit Media Mecca to ask questions or learn more about this process.

Civic Plazas

Two Civic Plazas are located on either side of the city at 3 and 9 o’clock. These Plazas are mini civic centers designed to serve the same community functions as Center Camp. They are public gathering spaces, inviting art, performance, installations, and community interaction. In 2007 we added ice sales to the 3 and 9 o’clock Plazas. The theme camps encircling the Plazas are encouraged to participate creatively in making the Plazas inviting. Nearby, participants will find Emergency Service Stations and Black Rock Ranger Outposts.

Hot Springs

Our numbers have grown and, with that, the potential for strain on the surrounding environment has increased. During Burning Man, BLM stipulations forbid participants from using the local hot springs. A special environmental team of Earth Guardians working with the BLM will be assigned to patrol and protect these fragile resources. Email earthguardians (at) burningman (dot) com for more information. Hot Springs: Stay out! Stay alive! Keep Burning Man compliant with its permit!

Rental Trucks & Corporate Logos

Corporate advertising is not allowed at Burning Man. Participants with rental trucks and RVs are enthusiastically encouraged to cover or decorate prominent logos. The display or distribution of corporate banners, corporate logos, giveaway items, samples, and other promotional paraphernalia is strictly prohibited.


You are welcome to bring a recreational vehicle. Be aware there is no dumping station and you will not be allowed to dump on the playa. The BLM issues citations for the dumping of grey or black water. There is no location for scheduling RV servicing appointments. If you see a truck designated ‘RV Servicing’, you can flag them down. RV servicing will be available for a $50 fee for trailers up to 24’ long, and $60 for one grey and one black tank for RVs that are 25’-35’ long. Each additional or oversized tank is $30. Our potty vendor only accepts cash so plan ahead. You must have a contact person to meet the pump-truck at your RV. Keep a space clear for the truck to access your RV, pump hoses cannot reach beyond 30’. Pumping services only include removal of grey and black water. NOTE: servicing does NOT include a water fill. Use only one-ply toilet paper. Finally, be considerate of your neighbors when running your generator. For additional information, read RV Survival Tips.

Our Neighbors

As you arrive within sight of the Black Rock Desert, you will pass through the communities of Empire and Gerlach. Empire boasts a grocery store. It is your last chance to purchase provisions! Hours for the store are extended during Burning Man, but it’s not typical to find it open after 10:00 p.m. Gerlach amenities include a gas station, a car repair and towing service, one restaurant (Bruno’s), and Burning Man’s roadside office. The gas station closes at 9:00 p.m., as does Bruno’s restaurant. Please remember that these twin towns are NOT extensions of Black Rock City.

DO NOT replenish your water supply from a local spigot. Water is precious in the desert. This water belongs to local residents.

DO NOT deposit any form of garbage here or by the roadside.

DO NOT speed through these towns.

DO avoid blocking driveways if you park your car.

The citizens of Gerlach and Empire welcome us, but bad behavior on your part can undermine this relationship. Behave as you would in any small community. Life moves at a slower pace in Black Rock country. Local merchants are unaccustomed to crowds of customers. Be courteous and patient, dress appropriately and do not impart a party atmosphere. We are guests here. Be courteous and friendly to all local residents.

Paiute Tribal Land & Pyramid Lake

On your way to Burning Man you will pass through the Paiute tribal land. Every year we affect the Paiute tribe’s resources, whether it’s a car accident, camping, roadside littering, or a swim in Pyramid Lake. Please be respectful. There are limited services for the 76 miles between Wadsworth & Empire. This means no reliable access to gas and no water.

With some guidance from Burning Man, Paiute leadership has encouraged their citizens to organize and offer services to our participants along the way, such as a car wash, sales of food and other goods. Please do support the Native American community in Wadsworth and Nixon, and consider a visit to the Pyramid Lake Museum and Visitor’s Center located at 709 State Street in Nixon to learn more about the area and the Paiute tribe.

PERMITS ARE REQUIRED while on tribal land in and around Pyramid Lake.
Pulling off the road to swim, hike, take a break from driving and/or overnight camping requires a permit. Do not EVER pull off the road into the soft sand on the east side of Pyramid Lake. You WILL get stuck. Day use permits are only $6, and one day camping permits are $9. Please do your part and purchase a permit before using the Paiute land. The I-80 Smoke Shop in Wadsworth is the most convenient location for northbound Burners to purchase a permit. You can purchase permits in other Nevada towns including Reno, Sparks, Fernley, Nixon, and Sutcliffe. Please read Travel Info in the Preparation section of the Burning Man website for locations locations. For more information about the Paiute tribe and their land, please visit


Portable toilets will be provided, and will be emptied regularly. Use these facilities only for their intended purpose - not for dumping garbage or your personal potty bags. Putting anything but human waste and one-ply toilet paper (2-ply is a BIG no-no) into the portable toilets makes pumping nearly impossible and threatens the survival of the Burning Man event. This includes tampons, trash, and handy wipes. Read it again: NO TAMPONS, TRASH OR HANDY WIPES in the portable toilets. THIS MEANS YOU!! Put the lid down when you're done - it helps keep odors under control. Do not dump grey water or bags from your personal "potty" in the portables rented for participant use: doing so will fill them up much faster than normal and result in nasty toilets for all. For tips on dealing conscientiously with your grey water, see grey water disposal in the Preparation section.

Our toilet vendor works very hard to keep us all happy. Clean toilets are mandatory from a public health standpoint. Follow the guidelines above and you'll find the toilets cleaned frequently and efficiently.

Please do not defecate on the playa; it is an illegal act and unpleasant mess for everyone, especially for those who restore the playa after the event.

Finally, if there is a truck servicing a bank of potties make sure you aren't interfering with their job by using one of the potties, or just wait until they are finished. Our vendors work really hard so we can all enjoy Burning Man!

about this photo