Bakery Operations & Camp Life
How we operate: bakery and camp life
BAKERY OPERATIONS & CAMP LIFE
READ THIS IF...
...you've read the previous page and are still interested in camping with us this year. Make yourself another cuppa, or maybe it's time to pour yourself something a little stronger! This section covers the finer points of our bakery and camp operations, and expands upon some of our core philosophies. And at the foot of the page, there are instructions on next steps if you'd like to camp with us this year.
What we do. We bake Tuscan flatbread every morning from Tuesday through Sunday from 10-1pm (approx depending on what happened the night previously). For those new to our camp, this is when the family comes together: to bake, gift, eat breakfast, dance, play music, hang out, catch up, etc. You don’t have to be there every morning of course, but most of us simply want to be there for some time during the morning, most of the days that we are baking.
Pitching in. We are a full participation camp and need a minimum of 12 people working each day: working the oven, preparing the bread, making mint tea, serving the bread, serving the tea, clearing up glasses, washing up glasses, preparing dough for the following day, getting out there and encouraging people to come and enjoy our bread (spruiking/barking). You will be rostered on for two baking shifts during the week, however many choose to work on other days too. We won't stop you!
Baking. Last year we moved from our old charcoal burning oven to a commercial propane oven which has made our operations smoother, faster and without so many burns to our hardy bakers! It's hot work though, so we need you to be resilient and ready to sweat!
Serving. Once baked, we need to serve the bread. We cut up the flatbread into small pieces and our guests smother it will all kinds of wonderful jams and honeys and Vegemite. We serve delicious hot fresh mint tea (grown in our garden) and encourage people to stay a while…lounging on our daybeds, listening to the DJs and various entertainment we have lined up for the week. Serving hot dusty hungry burners is actually one of the most heart expanding, fulfilling experiences you’ll have during your time on the Playa.
Again, it takes a family to make sure we have a beautiful camp in which to live during the week. In addition to being rostered on for 2 bake shifts, you will also be rostered on for one camp angel shift to care for our camp. You'll work in a team (of approx 6) to prepare our meals, clean up around camp, pour our drinks, peel our grapes...etc...
Eating. We eat really really well at our camp. Every year we pre-prepare delicious meals and snacks. You should want for nothing! We provide breakfast, (light) lunch and dinner. Please avoid the temptation to bring too many of your own snacks etc…typically they go to waste. Trust that the Playa - and our camp - will provide. If you'd like to volunteer to cook a meal for us one night, let us know ahead of time. We'll organize the ingredients and you get to pull it together for us. Oh and Walt's paella(s) are NOT to be missed - they've become a highlight of our camp dinners and are usually served before the Burn on Saturday night.
Drinking. We have all the water, beer, wine, cocktails and flavored San Pellegrinos you can dream of. And it's not unheard of for camp mates to bring along their own drinks as well, particularly if you have a favorite cocktail or champagne you can't live without.
Bathing. We have a shower set up at the back of the camp (somewhat private). We have lots of Playa friendly soaps and shampoos…however, don’t linger too long, we have a limit to the amount of water we have to use for the week.
Dressing Room. Again this year we’ll have a double sized yurt which serves as our dressing area. It’s a place to hang special costumes that you might have or want to share; there are boxes of communal costumes that everyone is welcome to share; and there’s plenty of room in which to get your fabulous on. Please respect what is personal and what is communal gear. We have signs indicating this. Although it can get chaotic in there, so if you're not sure, please ask.
Bikes. You probably won't need to bring your own bike, we have a lot of them. But please check first. If you do bring one, be prepared to take it away. Our storage facilities are bursting at the seams.
MOOPing. MOOP: Matter Out Of Place. We take this very seriously. We ask that every camp member develop MOOP eyes, both around our camp as well as around the Playa. One of the 10 principles of the Burning Man is to Leave No Trace. Every sequin, every feather, every piece of cotton etc ... all must be picked up and taken with us. Carry around a MOOP bag to make this easier (around camp as well as on Playa). We have a pretty good track record as a camp, and as a result we continue to earn amazing placement (opposite Center Camp and ON THE GRID!), please please do your part to make sure this continues for us all.
Love, kindness and respect. As we've mentioned before, we’re really proud of the family we’ve created through this camp. We’ve been lucky enough to attract amazing people from all over the world to come and spend their burn with us. This year will be no exception. Our camp is full of love, kindness, support and sharing and we encourage you to continue with that tradition. However, let's not beat about the bush here. It's the Playa. And it can get tough sometimes. Our camp demands a lot of us. It's far from perfect. Things don't always go as planned. How we chose to manage these situations makes or breaks our experience in camp and on the Playa. All we ask of you is to please continue this tradition of respect and love for one another as you would a dear family member. Hopefully you'll even find that sometimes it’s actually a little hard to leave the camp…however we do recommend you force yourselves on occasion…there’s a lot happening out there!!
the end of the week
Striking Camp. We bake on Sunday, enjoy the rest of the day and then start striking camp first thing Monday morning and we need ALL HANDS ON DECK. It’s a mammoth task, and probably the hardest thing you'll have to do all week, both physically and psychologically.
Does that mean me? So we need to be VERY VERY CLEAR about our expectations here:
If you were not part of the set up crew, you are expected to be part of the strike crew and we expect you to stay until we are finished.
Sometimes we're not done until Tuesday morning. Yes it can create some hardship and difficulties. Yes you might miss out on that great party in Reno. But please consider that if you leave early you are placing undue hardship on those that do stay, often having to work through to midday Tuesday.
YOU WILL NOT BE INVITED BACK IF YOU LEAVE EARLY.
Plan to leave Tuesday morning...and enjoy the surprise if you leave Monday evening. It's radical self reliance right until the bitter end (and all facilities and comforts will have been packed away), so please brace yourself, and make your travel plans accordingly. If you've invited a friend to be a part of our camp, it is essential to make sure they are aligned with this expectation too.
It hurts! Yes, we know. One of the best weeks of your life is over, there's no more fun to look forward to (at least not for another 51 weeks), we're tired, partied out, it's hot, the shade structure is about to come down, you want me to write things down in an inventory..say whaat?..we forget to eat, drink etc. It feels like a thankless task. But it's not. It's really really important, because how we execute on this makes all the difference to next year's set up. Think of it as paying it forward.
Always growing. Every year we make mistakes, we learn from them and we grow. And we're sure this year will be no different. All feedback is gratefully and openly received...what we do that is working, what we do that isn't working, how we can be better, new systems we could implement.
YOU DID IT & NEXT STEPS!
Wow..you reached the end of all this information. Hopefully this is enough food for though to answer lingering questions, get you excited and prepare you for an utterly unforgettable week on the Playa. So, if you want to move to the next step of our campmate application process, click here: Welcome letter for prospective camp members.