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AFTERBURN REPORT 2001

Regional Contacts

Burning Man's Regional Contacts are one of the most exciting aspects of the future of our event. In 54 cities around the world -- in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia -- there are participants who have taken on the task of keeping the flame of Burning Man alive in their region. Many groups have begun staging events in emulation of Burning Man, such as Burning Flipside in Austin, Playa del Fuego on the East Coast and, most recently, Burning Beach in Santa Cruz. Our regional contacts help to draw these communities together.

The first regional contact appeared shortly after 1997's event, in Austin, Texas. The group that coalesced around this contact held their first "regional burn" in 1998. Shortly after that, regional contacts stepped forward in Canada, the North San Francisco Bay area, and Los Angeles. Since then, we've seen events spring in up in Ohio, New York City, Los Angeles, New Mexico, Utah and Florida (we've even heard of Burns conducted in Antarctica, Japan, and on a boat in the Baltic Sea).


When participants contact us and ask to be regional contacts, our first task is to qualify them. Via a telephone interview, we learn about their experience organizing people, readiness to answer emails, and their reason for interest in this role. Listening to their stories about how they became involved with the event gives us an idea of who they are and what motivates their enthusiasm. If they qualify to be a contact, the next step is to give them the tools they need to connect with their community, such as setting up email announcement or discussion lists. We encourage them to foster local gatherings, and provide them with Burning Man newsletters, stickers, videos, and other items to share.


This year, a number of regional contacts also helped coordinate local preparations for the Burning Man event. Our New York contacts, for example, helped secure a train container. Filled with camping equipment and theme camp supplies, it was shipped by rail from New York City to Gerlach, Nevada. Many regionals have also coordinated rideshares and organized pre-playa planning meetings. We also encourage our regional contacts to communicate with fellow participants about how the philosophy of Burning Man can become a part of everyone's daily life. The main goal of our Regional Contact program is to foster connectivity year-round.

On the playa, our regional contacts are invited to a cocktail party every year. Participants from several states attended this gathering in 2001, making it our most successful yet. You can find out more about regional efforts in your area by checking the regional email page.


Photo: Jonzo
The Regional's meet-n-greet playa cocktail party