Covid policy update: September 2022

AAR, LLC is revising the warehouse COVID policy. Our old policy used Austin’s now defunct staging system. The new policy will tie mask requirements and open and closing to the current CDC Community Level of Risk system. The new policy will be as follows:

  • CDC Level Low/Green – Warehouse is open for regularly scheduled events and mask use is not required. However, anyone who wishes to continue to mask is encouraged to do so.
  • CDC Level Medium/Yellow – Warehouse is open for regularly scheduled events, but masks are required for anyone entering the warehouse space itself. Masks are not required outside. 
  • CDC Level High/Red – Warehouse is closed except by arrangement with AAR, LLC.

You can check the community risk level for Travis County here: https://www.traviscountytx.gov/news/2020/1945-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-information.

September Announce: Wrapping Up 2022 and Gearing Up for 2023

Wrapping up!

By all ‘counts, Burning Flipside 2022 happened! Want to see more of the actual ‘counts? Check out the Public Information Report for all sorts of info from population to parking, from issues to art! 

Gearing up!

This year we return to a familiar schedule! We kick off the public participant portion with a purposeful party! (Just kidding – this is super serious!)

Fall Town Hall (hosted by our wonderful Combustion Chamber) kicks off the season! Come out to Lloyd the warehouse on Sept 24. 

We (you!!!) will select a theme for the 2023 event and chat about a number of other things relevant to the upcoming event year! 

As always, the event starts at 2:34 PM, with tailgating/setup starting at noon. 

The Town Hall agenda will be finalized, with details published to burningflipside.com before the event.

Get involved!

Speaking of gearing up, how do you want to get involved? One way is the Combustion Chamber

You don’t have to be a member (though there are upcoming opportunities to do so) to participate! The CC holds meetings every other Monday, and all are welcome. Some topics will be of more interest to the general Flipside public than others, but you are welcome to come see how the veggie chorizo gets made. Upcoming topics include:

  • Sep 19 — Town Hall planning; Extending the Reach of the CC 
  • Oct 03 — Town Hall Wrap-up
  • Oct 17 — Sound Policy
  • Nov 14 — Minors Policy
  • Dec 12 — What is a Theme Camp; Temples at Burning Flipside

That’s all for now, folks. Keep an eye out mid-month for the Flipside Flame (community info) and early next month for the next Flipside Announce for important event/org/updates.  

Love and flames,
Your content Content Team

Burning Flipside 2022: The Sacred and the Propane: Public Information Report

Burning Flipside 2022 ran from Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30. This was the 22nd edition of Burning Flipside, after skipping 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Our theme and our effigy this year carried over from 2020. The explanation of the theme, given in our 2020 Survival Guide (which was produced and mailed in mid-March 2020, right around lockdown), is as follows:

From the dusty corners of the liberal arts, Sacred and Propane is a French sociological theory-based pun on the “sacred-profane” dichotomy. By this theory, the rites and beliefs held sacred by communities are defined by their counterpoint to mundane drudgery, and the way the sacred is created and celebrated by communal action that transcends the individual.

How many of us have enjoyed spiritual experiences as a part of this community and the art and spaces we build and burn collectively? This thing we do at Flipside is special, in part, because it exists outside of the default world. And there is no way it works unless we all hold it sacred and do it together.

Math rules the universe. This year, may you be inspired to build monuments not only to the beautiful logic of sacred geometry, but also to the ephemeral, chaotic intuition of community, and the wild transcendence of fire.

Abbreviated Timeline

Although the USA loosened some pandemic precautions in the summer of 2021, many of Flipside’s normal milestones were completely omitted or delayed.

To minimize the potential for Covid-related surprises, the ticket-request window, which is normally three weeks in January, was delayed until mid-February, and ran for only two weeks. The pause between the end of the ticket-request window and the day when requests are processed was also shortened. This left a compressed timeframe for participants to register theme camps and art projects.

In addition to working within this compressed timeframe, Flipside’s organization, which had settled into a rhythm of planning milestones throughout the year before the pandemic, worked to recover its muscle memory for event planning after two years of disuse.

Tickets & Attendance

In 2022, approximately 2300 tickets were sold and 2103 were used, for a no-show rate of 8.7%. This is higher than the last several event-years, in which it averaged about 4%. There was some number of people who opted not to go at the last minute due to positive Covid tests.

Ticket demand at the time of our ticket-request window was slightly less than 2000 tickets. The low ticket demand meant that the organization was fairly loose with additional sales afterwards. If demand bounces back next year, tickets will likely be harder to obtain outside of the normal ticket-request process.

Incidents

Nature

Intense rain in the early hours of Wednesday morning right before Flipside raised concerns, but weather during the event itself was fairly mild, with afternoons getting into the mid 90s, overnight lows in the 60s, and tolerable humidity. Water was very low in the San Gabriel River. Strong winds on Sunday raised concerns about being able to burn the effigy, but there was a window during which winds were low enough for a responsible burn.

Medical

There was one ambulance transport during the event. The relatively mild weather no doubt contributed to this low number. There was one known medical transport in a privately owned vehicle.

Sound

There were no external sound complaints. There was considerable internal debate caused by a sound cart.

Interpersonal

There were no ejections this year. As always, if you experienced or witnessed a problematic interaction, check out the Interpersonal Incident FAQ to see how the organization can respond.

Fire

There were two small unplanned fires that were quickly dealt with by the Pyropolis Fire Department.

Perimeter

There were two attempts at entry by unticketed people. These were both intercepted and turned away quickly.

Art

In addition to the effigy, there were three burnable-art pieces: the Temple de Alegria, the world’s-highest effigy burn by Blue Space Virgins/PastaX, and the Wee Burn, which for the first time was a miniature representation of the effigy itself.

There were a total of 57 placed art projects on the map, and 32 registered art cars.

Ignition Philter

Although ticket money is not used to fund art projects at Burning Flipside, there have been a number of independent art-granting bodies associated with Flipside over the years, with the current one being Ignition Philter. Participants have the option of sending a contribution to Ignition Philter along with their ticket request. This year, Ignition Philter raised $6277 from these contributions, and made grants to 14 projects at Flipside.

Theme Camps & City Planning

There were 111 registered theme camps on the map, plus an unknown number of informal camps in the Badlands. Due to the reduced population, the section of the property known as “the corral” was closed this year. There was still plenty of space.

Parking

Participants leaving their cars in the event space rather than in the parking lot continued to be a problem. To discourage this, the organization tagged many cars for towing, towed four, and booted one.

Work Weekends & Site Prep

In normal years, we schedule four work weekends. This year, we scheduled five, in case the land needed more work after a long absence. It turned out that the Omicron variant surge and weather forced us to cancel the first two work weekends, but the land was still in pretty good shape, so it was ready for the event in time. A lot of new folks participated in work weekends, and they were enthusiastic about seeing the land transform for the event.

Load-in

Load-in, the Saturday before Flipside when we ship all the event’s infrastructure out to the event site, had a good turnout this year.

As in 2019, we rented two trucks the day beforehand to move some of the effigy pieces to the land in advance. This helped load-in day go much more smoothly. Trucks were hard to come by on load-in day though, and some of the trucks we rented were smaller than usual—16’ rather than 26’.

Exodus

Exodus went remarkably smoothly this year, with everyone who should be off-site by the official close of the event actually being off-site.

Restoration & Load-out

The Saturday post event is when we return our infrastructure to storage and conduct a last round of Leave No Trace cleanup. This consists of a crew on the land to load trucks and perform line sweeps, and a crew at the warehouse to unload trucks. There was a great turnout at the warehouse, which was able to unload each truck quickly and then wait around for the next truck to arrive. The turnout at the event site was able to load the trucks efficiently. LNT operations may have been lightly staffed, but the land seems to have been left in good shape. Work on-site wrapped up by the early afternoon.

Other Events

Church Nights, Art Nights, and in-person Combustion Chamber meetings were cancelled for most of the year leading up to Flipside, resuming in early March when Austin reached “stage 2” according to Austin Public Health.

Fall Town Hall was cancelled, and Spring Town Hall, normally in early February, was delayed until late April.

As with Flipside, Safetyside was again an in-person event after a two-year hiatus during which it was held as a Zoom conference. Attendance was roughly 120 people, down somewhat from previous in-person events.

New Problems

Vendors and vendor pricing were a problem in 2022 in ways they had not been before. We frequently found that major vendors had raised their prices by 60% or more. Some vendors that had been reliable sources of equipment were unable to supply all our needs due to other customers monopolizing their resources. Rented equipment was more often in poor condition. In some cases, these price increases motivated us to find new vendors, or will motivate us to do so in the future.

Perhaps surprisingly, Flipside was relatively unaffected by the dramatic rise in lumber costs, simply because much of the wood for the effigy had been bought before the pandemic.

Event insurance is always problematic but was especially so in 2022, as some major event insurers will no longer consider issuing policies to Flipside or any burn event at any price. In the end we obtained a policy at a reasonable price, but this will be a concern for future events.

Just get back? Just get tested!

That.

Was.

Awesome!

We wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for coming out and to welcome you back to the default world where reality has hit most of us like a wet fish across the face. (Pro Tip: Salsa is your friend and pho ain’t bad either.)

This is a loving reminder that you were a part of a very big event with a lot of incredible people you haven’t been exposed to in a medical, and possibly even biblical way in a long while. As such, getting tested for COVID is likely a good idea so you don’t go bringing it home and/or spreading it around to your other loved ones.

The country, our state, and all nearby counties are seeing an increase in community spread and so it should come as no surprise that a very small number of our volunteers have already tested positive for that nasty bug upon their return.

Here’s what we suggest:

  1. Testing is sexy. Do it right meow even if you feel ok. A home test is fine. Why not know for sure?

  2. Test again in 2-5 days as that bugger likes to sometimes take a minute to show its face. Then, if you start to experience any weird symptoms, test again. As a reminder, we have Load Out for the land coming up, so if you’re volunteering it’s a super good idea to test before you go.

  3. Need a test? Here are community resources to get some free stuff.

Free testing resources:
https://www.austintexas.gov/covid-testinfo

Get some free home tests here:
https://www.covid.gov/tests

That’s it! Painless, right? Look, we’re not your mom or anything, but we want to be sure you’re safe and happy and we get to see your face again come next Flipside. A quick swab up your nose and 15 minutes or so of questioning your life choices seem like a fair trade for that, right? Right. More to come soon

Big love,

AAR, AFs, Leads, Volunteers, and everyone who helps make it go!

Weather Warnings and Camping Cautions

Greetings Flipside-bound Burners,

It’s nearly time! We hope you’re as excited as we are.

As you may know, the weather has been…interesting and we have a couple of words of caution for you all as the land is wet and getting a bit wetter in the next couple of days.

Monday – Wednesday:

  • If it’s actively raining, many of the roads to and on land quickly become dangerous. Do not attempt to cross flooded roads. Turn around.
  • Pay attention to weather reports and emergency broadcasts before heading out. Isolated severe weather is forecasted through Wednesday night.
  • The land will be slow to dry out. Be cautious if pulling off the road.
  • Be prepared. Theme camp RVs might be relegated to RV parking due to ground conditions.

Thursday – Monday:

  • GOOD NEWS! Right now the weather looks amazing starting Thursday!
  • Wouldn’t hurt to shoot to arrive later in the day to allow for more drying.
  • Remember your ID, and valid proof of vaccination so you can get in
  • details at: https://www.burningflipside.com/2022-covid-policy
  • Please be patient with your fellow burners. Soggy land makes for slow unloading.
  • Bring your booties and other wet stuff gear. The land will dry slowly.
  • Be prepared. Theme camp RVs could be relegated to RV parking due to ground conditions.
  • Keep an eye on weather forecasts in case something changes. This is Texas, after all.

Basically, just everyone stay the hell safe. There is no rush to get to Flipside. It’ll be there when you get there and hugs will be waiting.

Keep those bums dry,

Flipside Action Weather Team

Ticket Requests Open / Make art happen!

Flipside Ticket Request is open right meow!

Rejoice, for the prophecy has come true! On the 14th of February in this year of our lord 2022, the ticket request window opened itself to the masses for all your requesting needs.

The point is if you want to come to Burning Flipside 2022 you need to create your request and get everything postmarked by February 28th for a shot at tickets.

Did you forget how it works? We got you, fam. The A, B, C’s of it all can be found at: www.burningflipside.com/event/tickets

Give a little, for art’s sake.

While registering for your tickets you’ll see a checkable little box. That little box will be by some words. Those words will be “Ignition Philter” and, well, this will be your chance to be awesome.

Click that box to add a few shekels to your ticket request and help add a whole helluva lot of awesomeness to the burn for everyone else. Ignition Philter provides grants to people who make art so they can drag that art out to the middle of a pecan grove for all of our entertainment and the only thing separating you from being part of that is a tiny box.

Show that box who’s boss. You got this.

That’s all for now. Get those requests requested and stay tuned for more info on this bat-channel.

We’re gonna do the thing!

The Burning Flipside 2022 team

Burning Flipside 2022

Hello Flipizens!

It feels like we’re finally digging out of the mess of the past year and a half, and Austin Artistic Reconstruction is optimistic that we’ll be able to have Burning Flipside in 2022. There are some things we do know and some things we don’t know at this point. This is to update the community on where we’re at.

  • Flipside will be held at the same time and place, Memorial Day weekend at Apache Passtures.
  • The theme will be what was intended for 2020: The Sacred and the Propane.
  • The effigy will also be the same: Stairway to Heaven.
  • The ticket window will be slightly later in the year, and will be shorter: probably one week in February.
  • Population cap is currently not decided. As always, volunteering levels will decide overall population.
  • There will be some Covid-19 precautions at Burning Flipside 2022. Their exact nature, and how they will be implemented in our ticket system and at Gate, is not yet decided.

We realize that Covid-19 could still throw us a curveball, so be prepared for this to change.

Flipside hasn’t been the first thing on anyone’s mind in a while, but it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll bring in terms of volunteering, art, and theme camps. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on the pecan playa.