This One Time at Burning Man, by Justin Brown

“I acknowledge and fully understand that as a participant, I will be engaging in activities that involve risk of serious injury, including permanent disability and death, property loss and severe social and economic losses.”

My first year attending Burningman was 2001. I hadn’t heard a lot about the event at the time, other than it was a big art festival with fire. Being an avid survival camper most of my life it was easy for my then girlfriend to convince me to go. Art? I like art… Fire? I really like fire… I know how to camp in the desert, let’s go! So we set off with two of our friends, not knowing really what we had gotten into. (The whole trip was a whirlwind adventure, way too much to get into here.)

Fast forward to waiting in the gate line. As soon as we got through the gate, we stopped at the first spot we saw to make camp (around 7 & I) not knowing how much space the event covered or how incredible everything was. After setting up camp, we made friends with our neighbors, a nice group of British kids (also on their first year) who brought their entire living room including the telephone and London phone book. This kept us at camp all day, and at sunset we decided to go out and explore. As we got deeper into the city, the sensory overload began to set in.

With so many amazing things going on at once it was hard to process it all without feeling dazed and amped up on adrenaline at the same time. This feeling stayed with me all week, slowly building as the days went on.

One day around three or four, I was wandering through the playa at night when I saw in the distance what I call “The Flaming Tetherball.” This mechanical contraption has a tetherball, on fire, that automatically wraps itself around a pole, and then unwraps itself to do the whole sequence all over again. By this late in the week, I had been stumbling around with childlike wonderment, fascinated by everything I came across.

Not thinking, I made a bee-line to the swinging fireball, determined to figure out how it works. As it was dark, I couldn’t make out the mechanics of the contraption and how it winds itself around the pole. So I get really close to get a better look. Just as I start to make out the armature I hear a click. My approach was in time with the start of another wind up cycle and here comes a flaming tetherball towards me, right at head level. I remember thinking, “This is why they mentioned possible death” as the tetherball closed the distance to my face.

Thankfully I have decent amateur ninja skills to rely on and avoided, at the very least, burning my right eyebrow off. My acrobatics thoroughly impressed my friends and my girlfriend, who all thought I was going to catch myself on fire and require some sort of medical attention. I have seen that piece on the playa many of the other years I have attended, and I appreciate the lesson it taught me about not letting my excitement level outweigh my level of caution.

Leave No Trace Plan

All green in 2015 and 2017!

Lip Bomb is proud of our All-Green Moop Map Designation in 2015 and 2017! Let’s keep up the solid work!

Leave No Trace is one of the most important principles that we adhere to at Lip Bomb.

By planning ahead…

  • Practice the 5 R’s: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Restore, and Respect
  • Keep our camp clean before, during and after the event
  • Adopt all principles and practices of Leave No Trace at Burning Man
  • Do what is necessary to protect and restore the Black Rock Desert
  • Identify potential problems and issues that may arise
  • Create a strategy or plan for Leaving No Trace
  • Educate all camp members about minimizing our impact on the playa

This is our pledge to you, our friends we meet on our journey, our community but most importantly, to our environment. We understand that all of this is done in fun however we take the environment very seriously and we expect all those that join us to have that same devotion to making this experiment work, and set an example for others to follow.

All members are required to complete our LNT Agreement.

NEW FOR 2018!!!

It is a privilege to get placement each year and enjoy the beautiful landscape that is Black Rock City. Our camp and BMorg do not take this matter lightly. Therefore, additional efforts will be made for CLB to be Green in 2018!

1. Regardless of when you plan on departing the playa, a LNT team member must give your site a final scan for any environmental impact. You will also be given your share of camp waste to dispose of properly.

2. Proper disposal of waste: When leaving BRC, LipBombers are especially respectful of the neighboring communities. Take advantage of recycling and waste collection sites which are either free or charge a nominal fee which benefits the local community (and gets the trash out of your car quicker!). Otherwise, recyclables and trash should only be deposited in legally permitted locations.

3. In an effort to demonstrate responsibility and accountability, camp members are encouraged to have a planned disposal site before leaving camp. When all trash and recyclables have been successfully disposed of, campers should message the LNT Officer with confirmation of doing so.

4. The Kitchen, Bar, and other sectors of our camp will also have their own LNT plan. It is the responsibility of all officers, and members to abide by the plan when volunteering and using camp facilities.

A few things everyone can do before arriving on-site:
-Read the Survival Guide on BM’s webpage
-Stay on top of the FB page Burner Hacks. They are a great resource for answering any logistical questions you have about water, tents, RV tips, food, shade, securing your structures, etc.
-Understand what is off limits; glass bottles, glitter, sequins, feathered costumes or anything else that can cause micro-MOOP.
-All cars and RVs should have a means to catch anything leaking anywhere from their vehicles. RVs ALWAYS leak something, somewhere!
-Plan ahead. All cars and RVs must plan space in their vehicles to transport their garbage AND a share of camp waste.
-Know your equipment. Practice at home.
-Review the camps’ policy!

Volunteer shifts for LNT will open early August to include morning, afternoon and after hosted events. Teams will also be needed for the Build and Breakdown of debris removal and line sweeps. After breakdown, we will lend a hand for Community deMOOP efforts.

The 10 Principles of Burning Man (+1)

There are 10 official principles of Burning Man, but we like to believe them to be the 11 principles of daily life (not just at Burning Man). We cannot force anyone to abide by these principles, however we can make sure that if you choose to ignore them, we will ignore your request to be a part of our camp in the future. Below is our version of said principles.

1. Radical Inclusion

​We accept all who wish to be a part of this amazing experience no matter how bat sh*t crazy you are.

​2. Gifting

We are devoted to the act of gift giving. This does not mean bartering. The act of gift giving is unconditional and the lack of desire for anything in return.

3. Decommodification

I know it’s a hard one to pronounce but pay attention! This means, NO BRANDING, ADVERTISING AND TRYING TO SELL YOUR SH*T ON THE PLAYA! We are bombarded with 1000’s of commercials and advertising everyday so cover up your Nike logo’s or Coors t-shirts. Better yet… Don’t wear that sh*t.  ​​​

4. Radical Self-reliance

Black Rock City is one of the harshest places in the US (aside from Death Valley, but pretty close). Don’t show up with a fanny pack full of drugs and a bottle of water in the hopes someone is going to carry your dumb a$$ for 2 weeks. BRING EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED TO SURVIVE IN THE HARSHEST OF ENVIRONMENTS. ​

5. Radical Self-expression

This arises from the unique gifts of the individual, meaning you. No one other than you or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. The giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient. As a Tank Girl themed camp, we like to express ourselves as such; in the way we dress, interact, gift, and our camp events.

6. Communal Effort

Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

7. Civic Responsibility

We value civil society. We assume responsibility for public welfare and aim to communicate civic responsibilities to participants at our camp events. We must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

8. Leave No Trace

Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and whenever possible, make effort to leave such places in a better state than when we found them. We will do this by following the camp’s LNT plan.

9. Participation

Our community is committed in the ethics of radical participation. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve BEING through DOING. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.​

10. Immediacy

Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

11. Kindness

We are all on this small rock floating around in the vastness of space. Treat everyone with Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. Forge new friendships, strengthen old friendships and be kind to everyone. Whoever you come in contact with, we challenge you to give them a 20 second hug. Serotonin is one hell of a drug, and it’s natural.