AfrikaBurn 2023: 24 to 30 April

Plug and Play Guidelines

Plug, Play & Profit Camps – Guidelines

AfrikaBurn is defined by people who participate in creating the event. You don’t attend AfrikaBurn – you and what you contribute make AfrikaBurn.

With that in mind, the following camp scenarios are not acceptable at AfrikaBurn:

  • Paid provider/s make the effort to ensure you are secure in comfort, which mitigates your need to participate and collaborate to survive in the harsh (but stimulating) conditions of the Tankwa.
  • Transport, tents, bikes, food, water, showers, costumes etc. are provided, not through personal relationships, collaboration and effort, but for a fee, paid to a provider.
  • A paid provider takes care of your day to day needs such as set up, cooking, cleaning, breakdown of the camp and MOOPing.
  • A profit is being made by individuals or companies by selling you an ‘all-included’ deal.
  • Someone or something (a company) is making a profit off other people’s gifts

How to not be a Plug & Play / concierge / turnkey camp

  • Camp organisers: Make it very clear, right from the start that everyone is expected pull their weight in the camp and/or associated project. This can start with a letter that makes it clear that all the participants in the camp are expected to participate in the work of camping and the work of the Theme Camp.
  • Campmates: Everyone has skills and talents – and everyone can contribute with camp duties like MOOPing, setting up tents, cooking and cleaning. If someone needs guidance and doesn’t seem to be sharing the load, teach them.
  • Financial transparency is queen of the desert camp and open books go a long way to building trust within the team and the community you are part of building. It is imperative that campmates can be shown financial info (and if required AfrikaBurn may request to see them too). The reality is some camps can cost a lot to create – so cost isn’t a measure of Plug Play and Profit either – but the appearance of profit is, definitively. If money is left over or if you aim to create a surplus to sustain your gift into the future, give to charity, or you built in a contingency that you will return to camp mates, communicate it to the team so all plans are above board and clear up front.
  • Camp organisers: share the detail of the cost of creating a camp, and be prepared to receive questions and input. The goal of organisers must be the collective experience, not profit.
  • Camp organisers: ensure that you have a collective experience, one that doesn’t exonerate individual responsibility in creating the AfrikaBurn experience.
  • Camp members: engage in discussions, hold people to account – don’t leave everything for the organiser to decide. Ask other camps about their costs, share ideas and hacks.

Questions to ask:

  • Is there a healthy balance of public vs. private space in your camp? Is the gift to the
    community bigger than to the campmates?
  • Are there any activities (logistical and other) that seem to commodify the experience?
  • Do you charge a camp fee?
  • Does the fee exceed the amount required to buy camp supplies?
  • Do you have paid labour in the camp?
  • Are you being paid for your labour for the camp?
  • Do you keep record of camp expenses and are those records open?
  • Are you hosting a camp to make a profit?
  • Is the relationship between camp members financial?
  • Do some camp members only contribute money to the camp?
  • Are you offering a gift to the broader community?

Grey areas:

  • Luxury doesn’t necessary equal Plug and Play. You can have a luxury camp with all the comforts in the world. But did you and your Collective set it up yourself? Hopefully you did. Efforts and expenses need to be shouldered as equitably as possible, and focus on external gifting to the wider community, rather than internal benefit.
  • Money: going to the burn and giving a gift to the community costs money. One of the mechanisms for raising money is camp fees. Camp fees must be a split cost for logistics.
  • Paying money does not absolve you from participation.
  • Soliciting camp mates: Growing your Collective does all sorts of wonderful things for collaboration and wider skills and resources available. If you’re calling for expansion of your crew, don’t use advertising jargon – you’re not selling a brand or product, you’re inviting people to join into a shared vision of a gift. AfrikaBurn hosts a Theme Camp Directory on the Tribe platform to facilitate participants and camps connecting, make use of it. Communication is vital for organising purposes and so it’s not the fact that they are advertising that should be questioned, it is what exactly is being communicated that is important.
  • Package deals are out there – but what’s exactly on offer? Tickets? Transport? Tents? The whole bang-shoot? From profiting to sharing some basics like infrastructure, costs of food, we understand that some people (eg: international visitors) won’t have everything to hand and don’t want to buy big things like tents for a week.

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