Preliminary event report

Ticketing and participation

  • 3193 tickets sold: the most ever, and very close to our hard limit of 3211. Why didn’t we sell all of them? Typically we hold back a few for last-minute volunteers in key departments, and sometimes they go unused–because the person got a ticket by other means, or couldn’t come to Flipside, etc.
  • 2852 past gate: second-most ever.
  • 10.6% no-show rate. That’s not as low as 2014, but lower than 2012 or 2013.

Theme camps

More theme camps than ever were registered: 155.


More art projects than ever were registered: 74. Arc Attack debuted the world’s largest singing Tesla coils despite incredibly difficult conditions.

38 art cars were registered, although due to the mud, they were not able to circulate as freely as we’d like. Art cars were limited to the river road and corn-field road during those times that they could circulate at all.

There were questions during the event as to whether we would burn the Effigy. The conditions under which we would not burn it are generally high winds or a burn ban, neither of which prevailed on Sunday night. Wet conditions are not an obstacle.


Reports from the various departments are still coming in. We do know that Real Life kicked a few leads in the ass right before the event, which caused some scrambling, but our community is full of rockstars, and those positions did get filled.

As always, volunteering–particularly in the Safety departments–remains one of the key factors limiting event size.

Challenges, issues, community concerns

The line at Gate on Thursday

Sixteen truckloads of road base were laid on the roads at the event site immediately prior to the event. However, muddy conditions made it unwise for anyone to pull off the road, so everyone was as slow as the slowest vehicle. Effectively we were limited to one lane of traffic everywhere. We heard varying reports of how long the wait time was, but as of about 10:00 PM Thursday, wait time was about 2.5 hours (this is based on measurements of pulse time and a line count: pulse = 7 minutes, cars per pulse = 10, cars in line = 220). Everyone who was in line at midnight was processed, with the last people being processed at about 1:30 AM. Gate, Greeters, and Parking all went above and beyond.

To reduce the bottleneck at the Greeters station, Greeters moved out onto the road before Gate and “pre-greeted” people in their cars. Zone Czars (formerly Zone Greeters) was shut down by 10:00 PM, so Greeters on the road had maps and were helping people find their camps. Someone remained at the Greeters station with a map to give people a second chance to look at the map.

Gate pulsed people through and worked admirably fast. The new ticket system revealed a few quirks, but on balance was a huge improvement.

On Friday, some additional road base was laid at Gate to create a small pull-out area.

Pre-event tree collapses

A large pecan estimated to be 200 years old uprooted itself and fell the Friday before the event. This wound up being cut up and piled in the Plaza del Fuego area in the middle of the pecan grove. Another pecan nearby was identified as possibly unhealthy and cracked as soon as one of the landowner’s sons took a chainsaw to it on the Tuesday immediately pre-event.


Three service animals were admitted with AAR’s permission. Kate Ludlow found a stray mother dog with four puppies on CR428, all were delivered to the Austin Animal Center. All have been adopted as of this writing. A stray yellow dog arrived on site on Saturday. It went home with a participant. A stray black dog arrived on site on Sunday. [not sure of status].


There were four known gatecrasher incidents, each involving multiple people.


One serious injury. No ambulance rolls.


Reports from Safety volunteers and our Weather lead are still coming in. The following is preliminary. It’s safe to say that Flipside had a case of the Mondays.

We knew beforehand that Monday was certain to receive rainfall, and many Flipizens prudently prepared to leave early—many people left immediately after the Effigy burn, and many more left early on Monday. The result is that, of the 2852 people who participated in Flipside, only about 130 were left to experience the weather events on Monday.

On Monday afternoon around 4:00 PM, we experienced straight-line winds that pegged our weather station’s meter at 50 mph; the rainfall measurement was unreliable, but there was a lot of it. We escalated ICS shortly thereafter with Geo as Command.

About an hour after the storm abated, the San Gabriel river started rising about 1″ per minute. The upstream gauge at the town of Laneport reached 16′ (normal is about 5′), and the river’s flow measured at Laneport was roughly 4000 cfs (normally does not exceed 100 cfs). These are unusually readings, and coupled with the fact that the ground was already saturated, the influx of water had nowhere to go but up. This led to flooding at the event site starting around 6:00 PM, with the waters cresting around 2:00 AM. By 7:30 PM, the event site was divided into three temporary islands, which we referred to as Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie divisions. These had about 90, 30, and 20 people on them, respectively.

At 1:00 AM, a water rescue was requested for people in Bravo. At about 2:00 AM, a game warden from Texas Parks and Wildlife arrived and evacuated 6 people from Bravo, including 3 who had minor medical issues. There have been reports of 40 people being evacuated, but these are incorrect. After these six were evacuated to an area of the property accessible by road, which we called Delta division, the evac was called off due to receding water levels.

By morning, the waters had receded almost completely, the islands were reconnected, and we were able to leave.