The new and improved (?) Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy – starring the Dance Music Zone – has been posted at ePlaya (thanks JV). Loud Art Cars can play music loud outside the Dance Music Zone – but only next to the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock sound camps. This year there are 6 art cars with Level 3 systems.
Burning Man has had a sound policy for a few years now. Those policies are being expanded and clarified in 2015. Mutant Vehicle builders, drivers, and interested people should take a few minutes to read through the Mutant Vehicle Sound Policy below…
Mutant Vehicle sound systems are classified into three levels.
- Level 1: Normal car stereo / average living room (under 90 dB at a distance of 30 feet from the speaker)
- Level 2: Dance club or theatre (90 dB and up at a distance of less than 100 feet)
- Level 3: Large dance club, arena, or stadium (100+ dB at a distance of 100+ feet)
(Note: All decibel levels refer to maximum potential dBA.)
The dB levels here are intended as guidelines. What is important is the impact your vehicle’s sound has on your surroundings.
Vehicles with Level 1 systems may play anywhere in Black Rock City, but must be mindful of your volume and surroundings, especially in quieter areas of the City or late at night.
Vehicles with Level 2 systems may only play at high volume on the open playa (not on or pointing right into the city streets) and must be mindful of where you are playing and turn it down when appropriate — e.g. around art pieces, burns, etc.
Vehicles with Level 3 systems may ONLY play at high volume by the Large Scale Sound Camps on the 2:00 and 10:00 sides of the City, with speakers pointing out to the deep playa.
If you get more than two warnings about your sound system, you may lose your Mutant Vehicle license and the right to drive your vehicle for the rest of the event.
DANCE MUSIC ZONE (DMZ): LEVL 3 SOUND MUTANT VEHICLE PARKING
This year we are establishing a deep playa zone where level three mutant vehicles can park for more than 3 hours. The zone will be 5,340 feet from The Man between the 10:30 and 11:15 clock positions with banks of toilets at each end. This distance out follows the arc of Kook Street. The length of the arc is 1,747 feet. Art placement will be modified to accommodate this zone.
The new experimental zone will allow for a longer stay, up to 12 hours as well as provide sanitary stations at this fixed site. The area is large enough for several level 3 sound vehicles to occupy the zone, where their speakers must be turned out and away from the city. The restriction no “encampments” still applies: no camping or setting up speakers or other type of structures on the ground. Of course leave no trace practices must continue.
In this effort we are reacting to the rise of edge cases with a spirit of giving permission whilst supporting all aspects of the community, rather than creating new restrictions.
We hope this experiment is successful in limiting the impact of deep playa gatherings on other members of the community including art installations, sound camps, the temple and other non-partying participants, and that it will additionally promote public safety and sanitation, while holding to our leave no trace principle.
[Update 7/21/15 2:37pm]
Thanks to Anonymous Burner for sharing this latest email to the Placement mailing list. BMOrg persist with the public shaming of Mayan Warrior, despite their apologies and the fact that they didn’t actually break any rules, since up until now this has been an unwritten request that BMOrg have tried to keep “on the downlow”.
3. Announcing DJ Lineups in BRC
Dear artists, organizers and leaders who make Black Rock City what it is,
We’re writing to you with a request. We want you to refrain from pre-announcing and promoting your on-playa DJ lineups, a practice that many sound camps already employ. If you absolutely must announce your lineups ahead of time, we ask that you wait until the week before the event. Here’s why:
As you may be aware, the beloved Mayan Warrior Mutant Vehicle crew recently announced their DJ lineup, much like it was the lineup for an Electronic Dance Music (EDM) festival all its own. (They have since taken the lineup down from their website, which we appreciate.) We want to share with you this comment a Burner posted in response to the announcement at Resident Advisor:
“Hey, I really love Burning Man, and I really love music at Burning Man, and as a long-time Burner, I love the artistry behind your car, the sound system, and as always, the people you bring on your car to play.
But releasing a lineup like this, over a month in advance, flies right in the face of the rules and is pretty disrespectful in general. We want to avoid turning Burning Man into an EDM festival, with people hunting for lineups and timeslots. Burning Man is not an EDM festival, or even a music festival. It’s something else, undefineable.”
Even to someone who loves EDM enough to comment on an EDM news site, the practice of posting on-playa DJ lineups causes an upsetting sensation that there’s un-Burning Man-like activity going on. We couldn’t agree more — in fact, for many years, we’ve discretely requested that camps keep their line-ups a surprise. So yes, we feel that sensation, and we bet some of you do, too.
These kinds of promotions create notoriety in a community that doesn’t necessarily share our principles, and specifically commodifies and commercializes artistic experiences. Promotion beyond Black Rock City gets especially uncomfortable when on-playa camps, Mutant Vehicles and events are connected to off-playa commercial enterprises.
Promoting lineups to a worldwide audience is not the same thing as listing an act or an event within the confines of Black Rock City, in resources like the online Playa Events Calendar or the printed WhatWhereWhen guide distributed to participants when they arrive. Those are for reaching people who are already going to be on the playa to let them know what’s going on. They are not intended to build a brand on the merits of an appearance at Burning Man. It’s simply unnecessary to promote beyond ticketed Burners for an experience you’re giving to Black Rock City.
Burning Man is an experiment in temporary community, not a traditional festival like the others. So when our participants post splashy DJ lineups, EDM sites and forums talk about us as though we are, spreading that message far and wide. It can also add to an already painful ticket scarcity issue — we don’t want to artificially drive up demand for tickets that aren’t available, and the attraction of big-name DJs can also drive up the price of after-market tickets.
Burning Man doesn’t have “headliners”. We pride ourselves on that. Burners don’t follow anyone else to Black Rock City, they go for themselves. Please understand, we don’t have anything against EDM, an art form whose vibrant community has made great contributions to Burning Man for many years. But we welcome members of the EDM community to come to Burning Man for a different experience than they’re used to: to fully participate in an experiment in a temporary community.
So, while we used to ask this on the downlow, we’ve seen enough instances in the last couple years that we feel the need to formally ask you not to announce your lineups. If you are dead-set on it, OK, but please wait until a week prior to the event before you do so. However, as surprise is great fun, and playa rumors help make things more exciting, we’d suggest that not announcing your lineup at all would be ideal. We’re asking you to listen to this request, think about it, and do what’s right for Burning Man culture. Thank you.
Thank you and stayed tuned!!