Burning Flipside 2019: Sisyphean Celebration: Public Information Report

This year marked the 21st edition of Burning Flipside. Our theme this year, Sisyphean Celebration, challenged us to improve our spelling and our knowledge of Greek mythology, and symbolized our annual cycle of creation and destruction, in which we leave behind nothing of substance, but find fulfillment in the journey.

Every participant’s experience is different, and in any given year, some people will have wonderful experiences and some will have terrible ones. But the general impression is that this was an especially enjoyable, low-key event.

Tickets & Attendance

In 2019, 2750 tickets were sold and 2649 were used, for a no-show rate of about 4%. For comparison, in 2018, 2710 tickets were sold, and 2627 used, for a no-show rate of about 3%, and in 2017, 3017 tickets were sold and 2870 were used, for a no-show rate of about 5%.

As was the case last year, there was no public second-round ticket sale, apart from a small number of set-aside tickets for critical volunteers.


The weather was relatively hot and humid (less so than last year), and dry apart from rain the Tuesday before the event started. Daytime highs were about 90°F with a heat index of about 105°F. Overnight lows were pleasant. About the best weather we could hope for. There were a couple of water-mocassin sightings and the usual assortment of scorpions and fire ants. A dead tree was felled on the property right before the event started. Laneport Dam upstream on the San Gabriel was releasing about 1850 cfm, resulting in a deep, fast flowing river. Although some participants waded in thigh-deep, everyone seemed to recognize that it was not safe for swimming.
There were three ambulance transports and one transport to hospital in a personally operated vehicle. Although some of the people presenting at the medical tent were suffering from the heat, in contrast to 2018, none of these transports were heat-related. There was no clear trend in medical problems serious enough to require transport this year.
There were no external sound complaints. The few internal sound complaints were handled quickly.
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.
There were no unplanned fire incidents. There were three unattended fires that were resolved with warnings.
No gatecrashers were detected. Some drivers passing by did stop, but were kept moving by the off-duty deputies the event hires.


In addition to this year’s effigy, there were three burnable-art pieces: “Big Top Mountain,” “Wee Burn,” and a memorial to a deceased ranger, Bobcat. There were 73 registered art pieces in total, making this a record year for art.

The effigy itself, “We’ll Meet Again,” represented a couple of firsts: it was the first time a Flipside effigy directly referenced the Man at Burning Man, and the first time it had an electromechanical kinetic feature–the Man’s legs. In keeping with this year’s theme, the effigy crew, known as the Design and Fabrication Team, toiled until the last minute to get the legs working. One must imagine DaFT as happy.

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 $3228 from these contributions.

Theme Camps & City Planning

There were 139 registered theme camps, plus an unknown number of informal camps in the Badlands. There were at least 200 RVs at this year’s event. Although the event population has been stable for some years, demand for space has been growing due to RVs.


In 2018, there was a problem with cars remaining inappropriately parked in camp. To discourage this, the organization was more aggressive about towing cars in 2019.


Safetyside, a weekend-long training workshop for Safety teams held about six weeks before the event, continues to play a key role in creating a cohesive safety organization, lowering walls between departments, teaching the principles of Incident Command System as well as department-specific training, and giving participants a chance to bond with each other. Attendance was roughly the same as for the past few years, and this year Safetyside welcomed a couple of representatives from the Burning Man organization. Blustery weather interfered with this year’s Safetyside to some extent, preventing a practice burn at which participants learn how to work a burn perimeter.

Work weekends & Site Prep

Work weekends faced weather challenges from the get-go. The February one was cold. The March one was cold AND wet. The April one was wet, cold, and windy (and coincided with Safetyside), and the May one was just wet–really wet.

That kept the turnout light, but thankfully, the land is in pretty good shape, and those who attended were dedicated. Work-weekend volunteers covered some low spots with roadbase, burned a lot of downed brush piles, and killed as many fire ants as possible.

There was some extra work during load-in due to late storms.


Load-in, the Saturday before Flipside when we ship all the event’s infrastructure out to the event site, was well-supported this year. We experimented with renting two trucks the night before to get the bulk of the Effigy loaded beforehand, and this was found to work well.


Exodus went extremely well this year with almost all participants off land by the 5pm deadline. There were two mechanical issues that required vehicles remain behind Monday night but were removed on Tuesday by participants who found other manners of transportation off property on Monday.


Clean up efforts were primarily accomplished Saturday post event. Overall most camps took LNT seriously and removed their MOOP. A few line volunteers did line sweeps and what little MOOP was left was removed. A detailed report on the few infractions noted is still being drawn up. With DaFT and other volunteers braving the hot sun the burn scar was cleaned and all ash and metal was handled. One item of note is that the Pyro lead noted on Tuesday that the upper effigy field was cleaned sometime Monday to his great surprise and delight.

Post Operations

Saturday post event, approximately 40 hard-charging volunteers participated in loading four trucks with infrastructure to be returned to the warehouse where other volunteers helped unload. This was not a sufficient number of volunteers and seems to continue a downward trend in post event volunteerism that occurred since Floodside. None-the-less, while hot and tired, it did seem the volunteers were in good spirits and helped out excellently.


You’ve made it home, you’ve started putting away your gear (maybe), and you’re starting to readjust to default reality. But Flipside isn’t done yet! We still need to return to the land, pack up infrastructure, and remove the last traces of our presence.

Be on land 10:00 AM this Saturday, June 1, or show up at the Warehouse a few hours later to help unload. Keep that post-burn afterglow glowing by getting sweaty in the hot sun with your fellow Flipizens. Many hands make light work.


You may have noticed it’s been raining a lot. And if you’ve been a part of the Flipside community since, oh, 2015, you might have less-than-fond memories of the effects that rain can have on your experience at Flipside.

But we’ve learned a lot about dealing with rain, as individuals and as an organization.

Here are some steps the Flipside organization has already taken to be better prepared:

  • Laid reinforced pullouts at Gate and Greeters to improve traffic flow
  • Reinforced roads all around
  • Identified low spots where people shouldn’t camp
  • Identified good spots for RVs
  • Streamlined traffic flow
  • Organized a volunteer vehicle-recovery team

If it looks like we’ll be facing constant, heavy rain that will cause serious problems, here are some additional steps the organization will take:

  • Install and monitor water-level gauges at the river
  • Monitor traffic at Gate and post regular updates about wait times
  • Lay in extra road base to reinforce low spots on the roads
  • Take additional ad-hoc measures to facilitate traffic flow.
  • Make a go/no-go call for the event the Saturday before.

There are things you can do too, if it looks like rain will cause serious problem:

  • Bring rain boots
  • Bring tire chains or other traction aids
  • Double-check that your camping gear is watertight
  • Greeters may have special instructions when you arrive. Follow those instructions.
  • If we need to do anything special for Exodus, we’ll get word out on site. Follow those instructions too.
  • Avoid peak gate hours. There’s a graph of average gate traffic below.
  • Try not to arrive right when gate is closing, especially if there’s a long wait.
  • Bring a good sense of humor.

We can’t say that weather won’t ruin your Flipside. We can say that people have had amazing Flipside experiences even in the worst weather, so don’t let the rain stop you.

Gate Traffic

Ticket Update

Your fellow flipizens, processing your requests

We held ticket opening today. Our ticket lead, Ste. Michelle, has a quick update:

  • There will be no lottery.
  • All valid ticket requests are being honored.
  • We have a small number of requests with issues we need to clear up.
  • Your ticket status will be updated in about a week, after we resolve those outstanding issues.
  • The envelope art was (as usual) amazing.

See you at Flipside!

Art & Theme-Camp Registration Now Open

Bringing an art project, art car, or theme camp to Flipside this year? Register it!

All theme camps need to be registered in order to be placed. Providing complete and accurate information will help the City Planning team make sure everyone has enough room and is well situated in our fair city of Pyropolis.

Most art installations do not need to be registered (the exception is burnable art), but if you do register, your project can be placed on the map so everyone can find it.

Art cars need to be registered (read more about art cars here). This can be done in advance or on site, but who wants to fill out a bunch of forms on site? Do it ahead of time.

Finally, if you’re holding an event at Flipside, you can register your event so it gets on a schedule where people can find out about it.

Register here. You’ll need to be signed in.


Hello, lovely Flipiziens! It is I, Ste. Michelle, Patron Saint of Ticket Distribution!

I am your new Ticket Lead, and I promise to bring you a kinder and gentler Ticket process!!*

The 2019 Ticket Window is set in stone, making it difficult to see through it, and more like a date range than a window, but whatever. The date range is important because:

  • You have to register your ticket request on the website during this date-range, and
  • You have to mail in your completed ticket request during the same date-range.

It’s the second most important date range of the event (the most important date range ends on Memorial day, if you get my drift).

Things to remember:
– The date range is January 7-28, 2019.
– No personal checks
– Clear your cache
– Read the instructions
– No.personal.checks.
– No, seriously, read the instructions.

If you have difficulties, and you have actually read the instructions and cleared your cache, you can email the ticket lead from the contact page: www.burningflipside.com/contact I promise to respond. With actual answers. To questions you have actually asked. I’m fancy that way.

Bonus round things to know:
– Decorating your envelope is your first chance to gift your art to the burner community. It cheers up the ticket volunteers, and I’m not saying there’s a competition, but you might just win, and never know it.
– If you decorate your envelope to the extent that it may be difficult to get to us (gluing stuff to the outside, covering up the space for the address, not buying stamps), the USPS will sell you a stamped flat-rate envelope for under $7 that will protect your art and get it to us safely.
– If you muck it up, I might be able to help. But you should let me know ASAP.


*If you know me and the last few ticket leads, you should probably share your knowledge with other people who don’t know me at all. Muahahahahahah!

Love and Tickets,
Ste. Michelle,

STickets: Where The Art Starts!!

Hey-hoooo!!!! Do you hear it? It’s almost here. Just take a quick moment, quiet yourself and give a good listen. It’s still somewhat a distance away, but it’s getting closer and closer and louder and louder. What’s getting closer? Well…STickets contest of course!! It’s what gets you the only FREE TICKETS to Burning Flipside!! Soon the drum beat of art will be a-pounding at your door and what will it be asking for? Your awesome art to help create the best…event…EVAH!!!! STickets…it really is Where The Art Starts!!!!

Theme: Sisyphean Celebration!!
Put in for a chance to win two free tickets!!!! Two contests, two chances to win!! The ONLY way to get free tickets to Burning Flipside!!

For guidelines, please click on link. https://www.burningflipside.com/event/tickets/sticket-contest-submission-guidelines Keep in mind all designs must be original. No clip art, and no copy written material may be used. The designs can be created digitally or by hand. So break out your pen, marker, crayon or stylus and get the ideas flowing.

All submissions please sent to STickets@burningflipside.com. Soooo…time to start thinking about not just sugar plums and fairies this time of year. And that drumming sound in the distance is not the Little Drummer Boy. It’s the beating drum of all the hearts from the folks that you delight with your submitted art. And of course, one of those drumbeats will play a fabulous beat that includes your hearts joy of winning TWO FREE TICKETS!!”

Anyway…deadline will be a couple of days after Spring Town Hall. That’s not until mid-February! Lots of time, you gots this!!

Also, if you think you’d like to submit, however know that life will get in the way and would like gentle reminders that you are interested, just look for me at my booth at the Fall Town Hall, give me your e-mail and I’ll add you to a personal list that I’ll make sure to e-mail reminder pokes with consent. 😉

Nova-yesthat’smyrealname and
Your Flipside 2019 Sticker/Ticket Selection Team

Seeking Scribes for the Combustion Chamber

Seeking Scribing Flipizens!

Austin Artistic Reconstruction, (AAR) LLC and the Combustion Chamber (CC) seek scribes for the twice monthly CC meetings. More than one scribe allows for flexibility in scheduling meeting attendance.

This is a great position for a reliable person who wants to know what’s going on with Flipside. If you can type pretty fast, have a couple of free hours on Monday nights (twice a month), love your community and have your own laptop, then this gig is for you.

The CC discusses all sorts of things–ranging from very philosophical to procedural––but all are topics relevant and necessary to the continued growth of the Flipside community. It’s always thought-provoking and friendly, no matter what.

What’s even more necessary is that we have people we can trust to record the meetings so that others may live vicariously/stay tuned in.

Relatively new to the community and want to geek out on the details? Be a Scribe.
Been around a while and want to reconnect with the goings on? Be a Scribe.

Interested? Want to know more?

email cc@lists.burningflipside.com OR
come on up to a CC meeting and see us in person!

STickets: Where The Art Starts!!

Helloooo, Fantastical Flipizens!!!! Soooo…how’s your STickets art coming along? What’s that you say? NoooOOOooo art yet? Well, Halloween art, but not STickets. I get that. Every weekend this month I’ve been busy in my front yard making the best Halloween front yard EVER!! 😀 Ya’ll really need to come check it out!! :p

But…BUT…making this Halloween art…I bet that really got your art engine a-running now, yes? GOOD!!

WE HAVE A THEME!!!! Sisyphean Celebration!! YAAAAY!!!!

That means we have something to be submitting Ticket and Sticker art!! This means you are putting in for a chance to win two free tickets!!!! Two contests, two chances to win!! The ONLY way to get free tickets to Burning Flipside!!

Anyway…deadline will be a couple of days after Spring Town Hall. That’s not until mid-February! Lots of time, you gots this!!

Also, if you think you’d like to submit, however know that life will get in the way and would like gentle reminders that you are interested, just look for me at my booth at the Fall Town Hall, give me your e-mail and I’ll add you to a personal list that I’ll make sure to e-mail reminder pokes with consent. 😉

Basic guidelines. Keep in mind all designs must be original. No clip art, and no copy written material may be used. The designs can be created digitally or by hand. So break out your pen, marker, crayon or stylus and get the ideas flowing.

All submissions please sent to STickets@burningflipside.com. Soon we’ll get more details like sizes. For now, this is just our second little “Hey, hey you!! Yes you with the crazy awesome creation making genius pretty stuff!!…Let the creations flow…flooooowwww down the stream to my humble abode. A place that could get you TWO FREE TICKETS!!”

Nova-yesthat’smyrealname and
Your Flipside 2019 Sticker/Ticket Selection Team