Below are descriptions of the many many departments it takes to run Playa del Fuego. If you are interested in more information you can email the department directly. If you are interested in serving at a lead, coordinator, or committee level, you can always fill out our centralized volunteer interest form.
Skip to: 🎨 Art Grant Committee 📣 Communications 👷♀️ Department of Public Works 🥁 Drummers Conclave 💃 Fire Conclave 🔥 Fire Team 👩🚒 Burning Art & Response Team 🚧 Burn Line Perimeter 👋 Greeters 🧊 Ice Sales 🏮 Lamplighters 🩹 First Aid 🦯 MOOP/Leave No Trace 🦺 Parking 🙋♂️ Participation Station 📍 Placement/City Planning 📅 Planning Committee/Event Coordinators 🤠 Rangers 💕 Sanctuary 🚸 Signage 🔊 Sound 🎫 Ticketing ❓ What/Where/When?
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Art Grant Committee
The mission of the Art Grant Committee is to promote participatory and unique art at Playa del Fuego through funding. Art enables humans to grow and thrive and learn and love. The best art projects provoke thought, feelings, movement, participation by all who wish to join in. Art Grant Committee is dedicated to providing small grants to help defray participants’ cost of creating art for Playa Del Fuego.
Volunteers are always needed to administer and manage the grants. Working on the Arts Grants Committee is a great way to help bring art to the event by doing a little bit of desk work months before the event.
The Comms team collects key information about the event and shares that with the community, drafting the PdF newsletter known as the Burning Pony Express, and promotes deadlines for applications, submissions, ticket sales, &c. through the BPE, the PDF website, and social media. This team’s responsibilities include keeping the website updated, collaborating with the WWW team, the PC Meeting team, and any other team that involves printing or distributing event information to the community, and ensuring that information the Survival Guide and Safety Plan is accurate and approved by all involved team members.
DPW – Department of Public Works
The PDF Department of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for operations and the infrastructure which creates the event. The DPW are heroic, determined, hard-working, responsible, creative, interesting, dedicated, unusual individuals, working together toward a common and vital goal.
If you volunteer with DPW, you will work hard – but you’ll have fun, too. DPW builds the event and tears it down afterward. Without them, the event would not happen. The majority of volunteer time with DPW occurs at the beginning and the end of the event, for set-up and break-down.
Fire, drumming, and dance have been primal, fundamental elements of human experience, going back as long as people have been gathering intentionally to engage in celebration and ritual together. The Fire Drummers Conclave exists to bring together a body of drummers to provide a rhythmic backdrop for our community’s Fire Conclave, create atmosphere, and raise energy and crowd engagement during the effigy and temple/large art burns. Our intention is to create a sense of being a unified collective drumming organism, free of egos and rampant showing off, and we invite anyone with a drum and a desire to participate to join us regardless of age or experience level. If you’d like to participate, bring yourself, your drum, and something comfortable to sit on over to the Burn field and join in!
Fire Drummers Conclave Events:
Friday afternoon: (time and location TBD) FDC core drummers meeting & practice/drum circle.
Saturday: Those who wish to drum gather 45 minutes before the Effigy Burn is scheduled to begin to arrange into a semicircle 3 rows deep along the perimeter established by the Fire Safety team, Fire Drummers Conclave lead will discuss any special instructions and requests from Fire Conclave and the Effigy team and demonstrate the starting rhythm and stop signals.
Sunday: Fire Drummers Conclave gathers again to provide drumming for the large art/temple burn, same deal as the night before!
Before we burn the effigy, our Fire Conclave performs to the enchanting rhythms of the Fire Conclave Drummers. The entire event gathers to watch the Fire Conclave perform and excitement builds in the dark night. The Fire conclave features amazing performances with poi, hoops, fans, ropes, fire-spitting (not breathing), and more. Performers MUST ATTEND the Fire Conclave Meeting (TBD, check the WWW guide) before being able to join the conclave.
The Fire Team has 2 main components, the Burning Art & Response Team (BART) and Burn Line Perimeter Team (BLiP)
Burning Art & Response Team (BART)
BART is here to keep you safe, one burn at a time. The mission of the Burning Art & Response Team is to provide experienced support for artists both pre-event and on-site, and to ensure all fire use or installation is in safe operating order for being in operation around our burner family.
They are the first line of defense in any incident in which a fire would occur, and they help advise and assist artists who are burning approved art during the event.
Experienced Fire Artists and Firefighters are always desperately needed and we encourage anyone who is interested to reach out to join the team.
Burn Line Perimeter Team (BLiP)
When there is a large-scale piece of art to burn (typically the Pony on Saturday evening and the Temple and any additional art burns on Sunday evening), you will need to have a perimeter established around the installation to protect participants from potential injury and hazards. That’s where BLiP comes in. We will establish and maintain the appropriate perimeter for the piece until the Fire Team/Fire Fighters give the all-clear for participants to circle the fallen piece. Volunteers are required to be sober for these shifts and should report to the burn site one hour prior to burn time to receive instructions. Having a large voice and not being afraid to use it is also extremely helpful. You will need to stand for the duration of the perimeter establishment and the extent of the burn, which can be well over two hours. You may “take a knee” during the actual burn so as not to block the view of those behind you, but must be ready at any time to move and stop any wandering participants that cross the established perimeter line.
Greeters are responsible for welcoming the community home and the education and acculturation of all participants. A great burn starts with Greeters! Greeters create a fun atmosphere and present information to all participants about the 10 Principles, consent guidelines, leave no trace, where the porta-potties are, and much more!
This department coordinates all aspects of the purchase and delivery of the ice before the burn as well as accepts the delivery and organizes the handing it out during the event.
Gather together in the evening to perform the ritual of lighting up our nights the same way they do at that thing in the desert; and then gather together in the morning to take down the lamps and prep for the next evening. Lamplighters bring light to the darkness so the rest may party all night long!
First Aid Volunteers
If you enjoy helping people and are CPR certified, the Playa del Fuego First Aid department needs you to volunteer! First Aid Volunteers (FAVs) function mostly as band-aid distributors, who happen to also be trained in the lively art of CPR. They are NOT your doctor, and they are NOT here to give you medical advice!
To be a FAV, you must possess a valid CPR certification, and participate in the provided training. First Aid Orientation is always Friday night of PDF at 6 pm at the First Aid Station and covers site-specific information and protocols. If you are unable to attend the scheduled orientation, please email the department lead prior to the event.
PLEASE SHOW UP TO YOUR SHIFTS ON TIME AND SOBER! THE SAFETY OF YOUR FELLOW PARTICIPANTS IS RELYING ON YOUR BEING PRESENT (and that’s a pun!)
Different First Aid Positions
Name of Position: First Aid Volunteer (FAV)
Requirements: Must have a valid CPR card, and then must have attended First Aid Orientation (offered Friday night of each burn at 6 pm at the First Aid Station).
Description of Job: Working a First Aid shift essentially means doing what you’d normally do at PDF while also being responsible. Half of your shift will be holding down the fort at the First Aid station and the other half will be roving the event. Participate! Relax a bit! Walk About! First Aid is about being visible and available if you are needed, whether that’s at the station, or while traveling around the event itself. FAVs must be sober on shift and dressed appropriately to talk to outside authorities at any time while on shift. FAVs must begin and end each 6-hour shift at the First Aid station to pass along and retrieve information from the next/previous shift and to pick up and retrieve their radio. FAVs get a high visibility vest to wear during their shift.
Name of Position: First Aid Volunteer Shift Lead
Requirements: Minimum credentials equivalent to or greater than Advanced EMT/Paramedic… this includes RN, NP, PA, MD, etc… if you think you qualify, please contact email@example.com
Description of Job: All the description of a FAV still applies here, except that when a FAV needs to consult with a more experienced participant they call you! A FAV Shift Lead is an experienced FAV who can get the help and/or guidance that is appropriate for the situation at hand. Added bonus, they get to wear a cool Shift Lead vest!
MOOP – Leave No Trace
Easy peasy, grab a glove and walk around and pick up MOOP. There is usually not much, so it ends up with a bunch of people going along PDF’s Public Areas from 10 am to Noon, setting a good example and reminding theme camps along the way to Leave No Trace in their areas, too. Throughout the event, volunteers can go to the Participation Station for cleaning supplies and then MOOP sweep of all public areas. On Monday pack out, volunteers work to Leave No Trace for the entire event.
Parking Volunteers are the badass mofos of the PdF volunteer world! They park cars and direct traffic. At night, break out your best blinkie and glow-wear and bring along your LED flow toys for fun.
Participation Station is Volunteer Central, a central hub of activity for the burn. Volunteers on shift at the Participation Station help recruit volunteers for empty shifts, help participants sign up for shifts, answer questions about the event, go on volunteer fluffing sprees, and occasionally called upon to step up to cover no-shows.
Placement / City Planning
This department is responsible for creating and sharing a map of each event, and then marking the grounds off accordingly before each event starts, so people know where to go when they get to PDF! In the months and weeks prior to each event, we oversee the placement application processes for Theme Camps and Art pieces on the PDF website and work with other Dept. Coords, BOD, and Landlord’s guidance to place Theme Camps, Art, Dept HQ’s, roads, open camping areas, burn fields, potties, and other key spaces. We combine all the information and requests into a map of the event, which we publish and distribute to applicants and organizers, along with key information. Directly before each event, we come onsite early and mark off the grounds using flagging tape and signs. We answer placement-related questions and field any last-minute layout changes.
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Planning Committee Event Coordinator(s)
This team of super volunteers herds all the cats by coordinating departments, liaising with the Board, running the Planning Committee calls, and being the center point for Event Production at a high level. The Coordinators manage the event, the Secretary manages the PC calls and agendas, and the Treasurer wrangles the department budgets.
Contact us: email@example.com
What are Rangers?
Rangers are members of the Mid-Atlantic burner community who volunteer some of their time in the role of non-confrontational community mediators. They are empowered by the community and the FPCS board to address safety concerns, mediate disputes, and help resolve conflicts when they cannot be resolved by the persons involved. Rangers are also often the first elements of the event organization on-scene in the event of an emergency, and carry radios to connect them with other volunteer departments and resources. Rangers encourage self-reliance, individual accountability, and shared responsibility, using non-confrontational communication whenever possible to encourage cooperation and help create a safe environment.
Rangers are not cops, nor enforcers, nor your mother. Rangers are part of how the community makes sure the Burn is a safe space in which to radically express ourselves and exercise our principles.
What are the ranger roles one can volunteer for?
Dirt Rangers are the Rangers on the ground. Dirt Rangers are the eyes and ears of the city, patrolling the event in pairs, and connected by radio to other Rangers and Ranger HQ. They’re caretakers and mediators, sources of reliable information, making themselves available to participants who need help, and keeping an eye out for situations that deserve attention. Dirt Rangers at PDF work 4-hour shifts. You can Ranger at PDF if you meet any of the following criteria:
- you are a current Black Rock Ranger in good standing
- you Rangered at Constellation Burn or PDF within the last year
- you attended FirepPony Ranger training immediately prior to or during this event
Khaki is the call sign for the Ranger Shift Lead. Khaki briefs Dirt Rangers at the beginning of their shift, pairs up Dirt Rangers and assigns them to patrol areas, receives and logs radio reports, provides support to Rangers in the field, coordinates incident responses, and debriefs at shift’s end. Khaki is the Dirt Rangers’ go-to resource for whatever they need. Khakis at PDF work 8-hour shifts. Khaki shifts are reserved for more experienced Rangers. If you’re interested in signing up for a Khaki shift but have never Khaki’d before, contact the Ranger Leads.
Every Ranger is required to attend an onsite briefing/orientation prior to their first shift. A schedule of Ranger training sessions (before and during the event) and onsite orientations will be published as soon as they are confirmed.
Sanctuary is a safe space where people can hang out and take a break from the rest of the party. This is a neutral, no-judgment zone. We primarily work towards providing positive vibes and redirecting negative energy for those experiencing mental or spiritual distress, in addition to being a good listening ear, providing energy alignment, sage blessings, hot tea, and bad dad jokes. We graciously welcome volunteers who want to give back to the community on a spiritual level that is separate from Rangers and First-aid.
The signage department takes requests from other departments for needed signs at the burn. Some examples from burns past include: directional arrows, signs describing the principles, signs for each department. The signage department also takes inventory of what signs we have already made and might need to replace after a burn.
Sound Patrol volunteers are responsible for making sure the levels of noise created at Playa del Fuego do not adversely affect the event’s relationship with the surrounding community. This is accomplished by monitoring overall sound levels throughout the event and limiting the number of loud camps, events, and installations during overnight hours. Great volunteers for this are folks who like to stay up late looking for the best places to dance, or you just like wandering around the event in the wee hours, the Sound Patrol can use you! Patrol solo, or with friends. You will be given (and shown how to use) a Decibel Meter, Two-Way Radio, and cheat sheet with everything you need to know on your journeys!
Ticketing / Gate
As a ticketing volunteer, you will be responsible for checking people into the event, giving participants wristbands, and ensuring that the waiver is signed. In addition, volunteers will check wristbands and Re-Entry passes for cars going in and out of the event.
WWW (What Where When)
WWW is responsible for all aspects of creating, printing, and transporting the What Where When guides. This department takes event submissions from the website and turns them into the What Where When, the guide to participant events.