The operational side of Burning Flipside has an extensive volunteer organization, with ten Areas subdivided into Departments. Areas are led by Area Facilitators (AFs), and departments are led by Leads.
- Area: 360/24/7
- Area: Art
- Area: City Planning
- Area: Communications
- Area: Genesis
- Area: Safety
- Area: Site Prep
- Area: Site Sign-Off
- Area: Site-Ops
- Area: Volunteer Coordinator
Covers departments that serve Flipside and the Flipside community outside of the event season.
The Edjumication Lead educates newbies about the community’s principles. Edjumication disseminates information about Leave No Trace, community participation, gift economy, photography at the event, and other “rules of engagement” that are held common by Flipizens and other Burner communities. This Lead helps newbies achieve a more fulfilling Flipside experience, allowing them to integrate fluidly into the existing community.
The Equipment Librarian is responsible for maintaining an inventory of Catalyst Collective-owned tools and equipment. The Equipment Librarian is also responsible for facilitating documented lending and return of certain types of equipment. If this position is not filled, no equipment is lent outside of the fenced warehouse area.
The Warehouse Manages are responsible for overseeing the usage of the Wherehouse and its upkeep–this position is often called “Warehouse Advocate.”
Creative self-expression is central to what Burning Flipside is all about.
This Lead reaches out to the community of participants at large to foster the cultural value of art participation, encourages participants to sign up for an installation spot or register their pieces – then pass them to Art Installation Logistics so that they have ALL the support they need. This Lead should be present at Church Nights and any other Art Nights, and may help organize and communicate art workshops, flash mobs, and other forms of hyping of art.
This Lead serves as a central clearinghouse to facilitate the needs of artists’ installations (power, lighting, transportation, etc.) and facilitate or provide assistance with ride sharing, volunteers, shared rentals, and other possibilities.
The DMV Lead is responsible for clearing mutant vehicles for event travel (this includes determining what constitutes an art car). This Lead is responsible for organizing the enforcement of parking and driving policies (cars that aren’t registered with the DMV and cleared for during-event travel are not to be operated during the event, save loading and unloading). This Lead is ideally very organized and a good communicator.
The DaFT Lead is responsible for designing the effigy and leading the team that creates it. This position requires a strong commitment to the project, an ability to meet deadlines, ability to manage projects and budgets, and a positive attitude. It’s also a good idea to have some design and construction skills. There are many experienced people in the community who are available to help the DaFT Lead. This role will likely take 20-40 hours a week for most of the time from March through May. Construction of the effigy should ideally be finished by Friday of the event, but past years have had DaFT (and especially the lead) working until late Saturday.
The Disinformation Kiosk Lead has the general responsibility of providing a forum for the community to tell itself what is going on at the event.
Conceptualize, design, render, plan, and otherwise communicate the logos, graphics, constructs, and memes for department T-shirts, patches, swag, signs, newsletter(s), etc.
This person is responsible for designing, procuring, and implementing a fireworks show to accompany the burning of the Effigy. This lead or someone on the team will be a trained and licensed pyrotechnician. Lead will assist the Fire Safety and Burn Night Coordination teams in determining whether and when conditions are favorable for a fireworks show. They should also be available to provide input and advice to DaFT team members, if/where pyrotechnology is used in the effigy.
Every year we create a temporary city in the middle of nowhere. City Planning is the team of people who, with input from other participants, design it and help bring it into existence.
The Cartography Lead, also known as the Maps Lead, works with the Placement Lead, Theme Camp Liaison, and City Planning AF to create the map of the city of Pyropolis. They help create both safety and art maps for the entire city, as well as zone and flagging maps for smaller sections, updating the smaller map used in registration forms, and sometimes help create/update the online map. Spatial reasoning, creativity, and familiarization with some visual composition software (CAD, Adobe Illustrator, Sketchup, etc) are helpful to this role.
The City Planning Admin helps keep the City Planning team organized. They keep the City Planning calendar up to date, take and distribute notes from meetings, keep track of the Flame schedule and write pieces for it and the site blog about topics relevant to theme camps and camping conditions. They also help City Planning leads recruit volunteers, manage wikis, organize spreadsheets, and meet deadlines. Finally, the City Planning Admin prints all the maps used by volunteers onsite at the event.
Familiarity with Google Drive and spreadsheet management, as well as strong organizational skills and clear written communication, are necessary in this role. Skills with web design, CSS, HTML, Adobe products, database management (and many other things) are not necessary, but can often be utilized.
The City Signage Lead is responsible for coordinating the creation and installation/takedown of all interior city signs to be used at Flipside, including street names, one-way and stop designations, and other signage pertaining to the naming of or restrictions applying to specific areas. This is a separate role from Safety Signage, which coordinates and installs warning and notice signs in the entry area of the event. Creativity, organization, and the ability to coordinate help (both for making and installing/uninstalling) are all huge benefits in this role.
The Flagging Lead is responsible for translating the theme camp placement map into actual, flagged boundaries onsite, and also flags the placement of art projects, paths, and portable toilets. Flagging generally occurs the weekend before the opening day of the event. The Flagging Lead uses a variety of tools to accurately lay out each theme camp’s boundary and often works closely with the Placement and Cartography Leads to ensure each camp is allocated its proper space and everything ends up in a good place onsite. The Flagging Lead also works with the InterZone Coordinator and the rest of City Planning prior to the event to resolve boundary issues caused by misplaced flags, absent flags, or improperly measured boundaries.
The Placement Lead is responsible for placing each theme camp, art installation, and event infrastructure, including paths and portable toilets. This lead works closely with the Theme Camp Liaison to use input from each theme camp, with the Art team in regards to art projects (including the effigy), and somewhat with a number of other areas regarding their infrastructure. The Placement Lead is responsible for interpreting the data provided by theme camps and artists, and along with context provided by other leads and AFs, translating that into a master physical plan for the event, that balances the needs and desires of the participants with the needs and desires of the event as a whole.
Spatial reasoning, strong organization, creativity, flexibility, excellent written communication and responsiveness, and discretion are necessary for this role. The Placement Lead works with all of the other City Planning leads, along with a number of leads and AFs from other areas and should be able to do so clearly and diplomatically. This role is time-intensive March-May, and requires a willingness to be on call for the first couple of days of the event.
The Theme Camp Liaison facilitates communication and cooperation between the Placement Lead and theme camps. They answer questions during registration, keep camp needs and desires present in City Planning, and manage the Theme Camp Lead email list and Facebook Group. Through the email list and FB, they keep theme camp leads informed about map dates, early arrival, general preparations, volunteer needs, and other relevant topics. This person might also help build villages, facilitate communication between camps, and generally helps things run smoother in the city of Pyropolis. Strong written communication and diplomacy are must-haves in this role.
Covers ticketing, technology, and public information.
The Content Lead serves in an editorial position for content posted to the burningflipside.com web site, for Flipside Flame publication, and for the Flipside Broadcast System videos. Content typically will be event- or community-oriented in nature, and frequently under the direction of Catalyst Collective. Strong spelling and grammar skills are a necessity.
The Media Liaison Lead is the resource and contact for any media source who wants to cover the event. The Media Liaison also organizes the policies by which the participants are allowed to take pictures and shoot videos of their experiences at the event. To be the Media Liaison, you should be a good people person, have an understanding of mass media, and have some knowledge of dealing with the media as a representative of the Flipside organization in case of emergencies.
“STicket” is a portmanteau of the words “sticker” and “ticket.” The STicket Lead accepts the ticket and sticker submissions, wrangles the selection committees, and orders the final product.
The Survival Guide Lead is responsible for editing, designing, and printing the Survival Guide.
The Ticket Distribution Lead is responsible for being in charge of everything pertaining to the distribution and sale of tickets to the event. This lead is not responsible for overseeing the design or printing process (that’s the STicket Design/Ordering lead). This lead is encouraged to recruit some assistants. To fill this position, you should be an organized person who can meet deadlines and doesn’t mind fielding lots and lots of questions.
The Website Administration Lead is responsible for the technical operations of the burningflipside.com web site. The Website Admin evaluates and recommends hosting services and technologies to be implemented for the organization’s web site. This Lead installs software, grants administrative access to appropriate individuals, helps maintain general availability and uptime on the site, and manages the various burningflipside.com email accounts and mailing lists.
The departments in Genesis are involved in welcoming participants to the event and getting them situated.
The Greeters Lead is responsible for coordinating all of the details of greeting the participants that arrive at Flipside, acutely increasing their excitement about the event, and educating them about Flipside’s core values. This position requires excitement and exceptional patience. You must be able to delegate and motivate. Experience as a Greeter is a must.
The InterZone Coordinator is responsible for supervising the placement of theme camps on-site at the event. This individual manages each of the Zone Greeter teams and provides direction when needed. The InterZone Coordinator resolves camp placement issues in lieu of the Placement Lead and/or the City Planning AF. This is an important position requiring the individual to be on call for the first 72 hours of the event. The InterZone Coordinator generally works long hours for the first three days of the event. The InterZone Coordinator maintains the Zone Placement Guides, oversees radio distribution to Zone Greeters, ensures Zone Greeters and City Planning personnel take breaks, get food & water, and are relieved in a timely manner. The InterZone Coordinator may be required to travel frequently between the Greeter Station and each of the Theme Camp Zones. This is a demanding volunteer position requiring the candidate to go through a formal interview process and subsequent training before being assigned a position.
Parking is responsible for working with the land owners, greeters and rangers to create the best possible parking environment. Considerations for the volume of vehicles, congestion and safety are all handled by the Parking Lead, with the assistance of their pool of volunteers and other entities. The Parking Lead must be patient, diligent, organized, and effective when dealing with conflict.
The departments in the Safety area are crucial to the sustainability of Burning Flipside as an event.
Echelon is the name of the Safety Support Department.
The Fire Safety Lead is responsible for coordinating, organizing, and leading the Pyropolis Fire and Rescue Department. This Lead should have a history of fire suppression duties, preferably with emergency management supervisory experience.
Guardians/Perimeter Lead: The Guardians Lead is responsible for securing the event boundary and coordinating with Rangers, Catalyst Collective, etc. in the event of gatecrashers. Are there participants accidentally meandering beyond the event boundary? We got your back and will gently point you back towards the “MAGIC SPARKLE UNICORN RAINBOWS” inside Flipside! Hooraaay!! Curious, unwaivered, or otherwise non-ticketed persons and/or BEARS trying to sneak into Flipside? The Guardians Lead maintains expertise on the event boundary and surrounding terrain; he/she also trains, recruits, supports, and transports our intrepid spooks to keep unticketed folks out and protect the sanctity of our beloved Pyropolis. Also, pandas.
Motto: “Nulli Expugnabilis Hosti”, taken from a military motto originating in Gibraltar.
This is the best-fed department at Flipside. Word.
Meteorology monitors weather conditions and keeps volunteer teams and participants updated.
- The PETs Lead is a Liability Lead responsible for recruiting and organizing the necessary volunteers and procuring supplies to address, 24 hours a day, any emergency medical situations that might occur over the course of Flipside.
- The PETs Lead should also possess an understanding of associated medical liability issues that may relate to volunteer providers and the event itself.
- The PETs Lead should possess good clinical evaluation skills in order to facilitate the transfer of an emergent patient to a higher level of medical care.
- They should have a working knowledge of the Flipside Incident Command System.
- They should be familiar with FEMA’s Incident Command System, the ICS 100.
The Ranger Lead is responsible for organizing Ranger operations for the Burning Flipside event season. This Lead should have previous history as a Pyropolis Ranger, preferably as a shift lead. Black Rock City Ranger experience is also a plus, but not required. Many, many people will interact with this lead. This Lead position should have a good knowledge of the Flipside organizational structure, be well organized, a reliable and understanding communicator, and capable of delegating tasks to avoid being overwhelmed with the details of the position. This position is a liability lead and will oftentimes be in high demand.
Sanctuary is geared toward supporting the burn community’s psychological well-being. We are staffed by volunteers who are coached in providing counseling to the Flipizens of Pyropolis. Our services are gifted to participants that are disoriented, grieving, and mentally or physically fatigued. We allow a place of temporary asylum, where burners can find their fun again, and then take on the city anew.
The Sanctuary Lead is charged with recruiting, training, scheduling, and coordinating. The chosen lead should have a background in counseling and possess excellent social assessment skills.
The Sound Lead establishes sound decibel level criteria that meet requirements to minimize sound impact on the neighboring community. This is a liability lead position and requires assembling and training “sound marshals” who monitor and enforce sound policies at the event. Excellent communication skills, organization, and a willingness to formulate and disseminate vital sound information to the Flipside community prior to the event are paramount to this position.
Organizes work weekends, overseas improvements to the site to make it suitable for the event, and researches potential event sites.
We’re always on the lookout for the perfect spot to host the next Flipside. Someplace with a creek or a river where they don’t mind all the noise and silliness that make up our event. The Land Search Lead is Flipside’s seeker of Utopia.
The Roads Lead works with leads in the City Planning department to ensure roads on site are maintained during work weekends. If new roads are needed, or existing roads need significant changes, the lead also coordinates that activity with the interested parties. The amount of road work varies by year, from having to carve out new roads throughout and entire city to no work at all.
The Waiver Wrangler is responsible for work weekend waivers, and various other waiver organization Catalyst Collective may need throughout the year.
The Work Weekend Communications Lead sends out information about work weekends (dates, things you need to know, etc.) and helps garner volunteer support for our outings to improve the land.
We can’t work the land with just our hands, yo. Well, we could, but after some trial and error, we discovered using tools aids the efficiency of this process. The Work Weekend Tools and Supplies Lead is charged with borrowing tools (as needed) to work on the event site, securing rentals (as needed), and checking out any warehouse tools for use over work weekends. Also, this lead is responsible for coordinating getting this tools to and from the site. You don’t have to be able to haul them there yourself, but knowing someone with a truck or two wouldn’t be a bad thing for this lead.
This is how we Leave No Trace.
This lead is responsible for the returning of the land to a state equal or better than when Burning Flipside personnel arrived. Generally this has been the organization of volunteers to remove any MOOP left behind and restore any burn scar or effigy remnants. Clean-up as a department, has more information.
The Earth Guardian Lead is responsible for Leave No Trace and Sustainability education and action. For more information, refer to the Earth Guadians department.
The Exodus Lead (formerly GTFO) is tasked with ensuring a safe and orderly exodus from Burning Flipside. Additionally they work with participants and other volunteers to ensure their area is clean and MOOP free prior to leaving.
In specific, in order to begin the restoration efforts necessary to return the land to a pristine state participants not involved must be off the property by the pre-determined time (Monday 5pm). Exodus is empowered ensure this happens!
Covers departments related to on-site event operations.
The Boundaries and Safety Signage Lead is responsible for evaluating the need for, creation of, and execution of a plan utilizing signs to promote safety during the event. This Lead also coordinates the following: placement of boundary tape around the event’s perimeter, placement of safety signs at Gate and Greeters, and placement of signs that alert participants of safety hazards such as high-density cactus areas, cliff edges, slippery surfaces and other potential hazards that could result in injury.
The key master. This lead is responsible for keeping track of who has and who is authorized to have golf carts, heavy equipment, etc. on site.
The Equipment Vendor Liaison is responsible for conducting business with vendors to secure all rentals (generators, light towers, heavy equipment, and anything that isn’t medical, ice or a toilet — those are different leads) for the event. This person should be at least six-and-a-half-dozen times more organized than my Trapper Keeper was when I was in school, and will need to maintain professional relationships with vendors.
The Fuel Lead is responsible for coordinating the fuel needed to power the Motor Pool, infrastructure generators, and other infrastructure fuel ordering needs.
The Ice Lead is responsible for all aspects of planning and executing ice sales at Flipside.
Power / Electrical
The Power/Electrical Lead is responsible for ensuring safe and reliable power for infrastructure. Infrastructure groups requiring power/electrical needs are the Effigy, PETS, Rangers, Fire Safety, Sanctuary, Ice, Greeters, Safety Lighting, Radio Communications, Parking, the Grove.
The Pre/Post Ops Lead is responsible for coordinating the volunteer labor pool who will assist with infrastructure setup for Flipside. Unlike the Shaven Apes, Pre/Post Ops deals specifically with helping set up the various pieces of infrastructure such as carports, the radio tower, etc. The Pre/Post Ops Lead should be well organized, a good communicator, have a decent knowledge of the organizational structure, and capable of recruiting a pool of volunteers willing to help out with heavy lifting and other backbreaking, sweaty work. Pre/Post Ops are not simply Flipside’s grunt workforce; all Leads should be recruiting their own help. Pre/Post Ops are the heroes who make everything much easier.
The Radio Communications Lead is responsible for organizing the radio system used to connect the various organizations at Flipside. This lead should have a decent knowledge of radio technology and the available systems at Flipside’s disposal; in addition the lead should be communicative and well-organized.
The Safety Lighting Lead works with a small team to set out safety lights at Flipside, and manage storage and charging of lights at the Warehouse. Is responsible for ensuring that any hazardous areas of Pyropolis are appropriately lit.
The Sanitation Lead is responsible for coordinating the contract with the Port-o-Pottie vendor regarding delivery, pickup, stocking and servicing of the port-o-potties at Flipside. The ideal lead for this position should be organized, friendly, and willing to put up with a little shit. Just kidding. Kinda.
Shaven Apes are a group that help the community through grunt labor. Helping to set up a tent, build a dome, get a car unstuck, etc. are the type of tasks that the Apes undertake. Apes are informal, in that a participant does not have a “right to Apes”, but they can certainly ask. Apes in general do NOT undertake the setting up of infrastructure. The ideal person for this position is organized, communicative, and has an understanding of the types of roles they imagine the Shaven Apes to perform.
The Transpo Lead is responsible for coordinating the loading and transportation of infrastructure items to and from the event site. Acquired trucks and manages drivers on Load in and Load out. Handle getting container and echelon trailer moved to site and back.The Transpo Lead should be organized and committed; the effigy doesn’t get built if it never shows up.
A human switchboard who connects people who want to volunteer with volunteer positions.
The Volunteer Assistance Squad (or “bum squad” as they’re affectionately known) are coordinators for helping the other volunteer teams. They have a cart for shuttling volunteers around when they need a ride, they can have refreshments for volunteers working out in the sun, and they can provide some onsite recruitment.
Supports the Volunteer Coordinator.