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Playa Info

The new and improved Playa Info had a very successful year. Early in the year, we changed our name from Check Point Salon to Playa Information Services to make it clearer what we offered. The new format combined all of the information resources that Burning Man offered and put them under one roof. Services included:

  • Answers to general questions
  • Volunteer coordinators to help participants
  • Find volunteer opportunities
  • Locksmith services (a very popular service!)
  • Lost and Found
  • Camp placement and event information
  • Directory (both analog and our new computerized system)
  • Burning Bell messages for campmates and friends
  • Burning Man Information Radio
  • Daily scheduling for RV pumping
  • Bulletin boards (a Burning Man institution)
  • Dynamic find-a-camp board (layout of the city posted to allow on-the-fly mapping with pushpins to mark your theme camp location)

Note: The dynamic board is missing! If you have it or know where it is, please return it. We need it for our archives.

Play Info had a strong team. More than three hundred people indicated an interest in working at Playa Info. The pre-playa meetings were critical in establishing our identity, services to offer, informational materials, and of course, the wonderful decorations and signage. Our shade structure became a cool meeting place in the midst of some really hot days. People just liked to hang out and help!

We had some terrific volunteers, working on wonderful projects like our Red HOT Playa Inferno cocktail party, our artistic display of lost keys, and the new round pocket-size maps of the city.

Our meetings began in March and culminated with a decompression and review meeting/Barbecue in September. We discovered several areas that could use improvement and many places where better communication with other departments will make our job easier in 2002. Successes included:

  • Greater visibility included bigger signs and a large, easy-to-locate-from-a-distance blue "i" for "information"
  • Our 24/7 volunteer lockout team offered free service on the playa
  • Successful integration with the Playanet project including the Digital Directory, a kiosk in center camp, and housing Playanet equipment
  • Comfortable environment for people to hang out, or to wait for assistance from the Lock Out Team.
  • Flashy laminates with "Ask Me - I Can Help" to clearly identify Playa Info staff.
  • Small round Black Rock City maps that could be worn or easily carried in a pocket.
  • White Board listing of the Top-10 questions of the day (for self service).
  • "Lead Oracles" who assumed half-day responsibility for the management of Playa Info - keeping all of us sane and happy.
  • Public service announcements on Burning Man Information Radio.
  • The Red Hot Playa Inferno Party!

There were a couple of disappointments at take-down. First, we were understaffed and most of the work fell on a few tired shoulders. Secondly, we had very few bikes returned at the end of the event, confirming our belief that the bike thieves preying on us on the night of the burn are still out there. We highly encourage everyone reading this to check out our tips on bikes at Burning Man

Next year we plan to work on the following projects:

  • An even better Digital Directory to locate camps, friends, and events.
  • Complaint/suggestion box.
  • Have more information about events and art on the playa.
  • Evening hours of operation.
  • Roving Playa Info Ambassadors to help answer questions.
  • More furniture/chairs for our lounge and staff.
  • Bike racks.
  • Bigger container for storage after the event, or one just for Playa Info.
  • More booze for the party!