Below is a glossary of burner & Playa del Fuego terms. Alphabetized for your reading pleasure!
The views and opinions expressed on this page are probably mostly true and correct, but definitely not entirely, and are provided as much for entertainment as education.
10 Principles – Burning Man’s version of the 10 Commandments, wherein you are permitted to covet your neighbor’s wife but not to litter or participate in cash activities like vending. And so very much more.
11th Principle – see Consent
Burn – slang for a Burning Man-inspired event like ours. Burns are not music festivals. A few differences being: at burns there are no spectators, programming is all participant-driven, burns follow The 10 Principles, and the pretty pretty people at burns aren’t dancing ankle-deep in a pile of beer bottles and cups. Usages include, “Have a nice burn,” & “Happy Burn!”
Burner Time – Due to many participants’ strict observance of Immediacy, things don’t always happen when everyone is expecting them to happen, even the person making them happen, so don’t worry about it. AKA: approximately, eventually, “It’ll happen when it happens.” Does not apply to volunteer shifts!
BOD – Board of Directors. A group of unpaid volunteers in search of a hot tub in which to sit and think. The Board of Director oversees FirePony Creative Society, the non-profit which also organizes Constellation. They also handle all the boring legal parts of the event like taxes, insurance, liability, and future vision.
Comp Tickets -There are no comp or free tickets at PDF. Not even for volunteers, artists, DJs, the Planning Committee, or the Board of Directors. There are, however, Reserve Tickets.
Consent – Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon activity. While consent is generally spoken about in terms of sexual activity, it should also be obtained before taking pictures of others, hugging, entering a camp’s private space, &c. The consent has to be ongoing throughout any encounter, and enthusiastic consent is best!
Constellation– the autumn burn produced by FPCS; formerly known as Fall PDF until it moved to a new location; usually held in October the weekend of Indigenous Peoples’ Day
Coordinator – A super-volunteer who doesn’t just work a shift, they run an entire department like DPW, PARKING, THEME CAMPS, or GATE.
Dark/Dark-thirty – An approximate time for the Pony Burn or other event, roughly corresponding to nightfall/civic dusk/astronomical twilight, but acknowledging the imprecision of Burner Time and how hard it is to predict when the cats will be herded
DJ Comps– Everyone keeps asking if we have this particular DJ, and we’ve never even heard one of their sets. If they want to come to PDF, they need to buy a ticket like everyone else.
DPW – Department of Public Works. The nice folks (plus Karnak) who set up and break down the event structures and handle logistics like where the shitters go. They are the first folks in and the last folks out, and would still be underappreciated if we spent the entire weekend thanking them!
A field somewhere in Delaware – where we used to have a spring and fall PDF, before it turned into a bog. RIP to all the shoes, lighters, and cars eaten by the mud.
FirePony Creative Society (FPCS) – a Maryland not-for-profit corporation recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 which produces the Burning Man Regionals Playa del Fuego and Constellation.
Gate – The Gate is the portal through which you enter the event. The gate turns valid IDs into official wristbands during specific hours posted elsewhere.
Greeters – The exuberant people yelling “Welcome Home” just past Gate. They also help orient people, educate about principles and consent, and may squeak a pig at you. 🐖
Karnak – do not accept pancakes from this man.
The Mayor – PdF is a temporary city, and our city has a Mayor! The Mayor is a Board member that has agreed to make themselves available for questions and discussions all burn long. The mayor wears a Mayor hat.
MOOP – matter out of place; anything that is not indigenous to the natural environment you are in, e.g. litter, cigarette butts, glitter, feathers shed from a costume,
Participation Station aka “Volunteer Central” – It has volunteer schedules and sign-ups, lost & found, an emergency radio, copies of the WWW Guide, and a few shady seats. A good place to go with a question.
PDF – Playa del Fuego (nothing to do with document formats unless we’re being punny)
The Planning Committee aka The PC – The Planning Committee makes the nuts and bolts choices that run the event. The Planning Committee is comprised of the coordinators and literally anyone and everyone who attends a Planning Meeting conference call. Please hold all “nonsense and shenanigans” for the alloted time at the end of the meeting.
The Playa – Slang for the area where a burn takes place, derived from the Spanish word for beach. Alternatively, the ground itself at the event.
The Pony – The Pony is the effigy that is burned on Saturday night at approximately Dark or Dark Thirty. The very first PdF was held on the beach on Assateague Island, where wild ponies roam (and steal food). To honor that history, the effigy burned on Saturday is always Pony-themed.
Quiet Time – the interval between midnight and 10 am when Thou Shalt Bump Thy Bass Softly, excluding Saturday morning at precisely 8 am when this song can and should be played, preferably directly outside the tent of people with a morning volunteer shift. See Official Sound Policy for actual rules.
Rangers – helpful mediators who rove about in khaki with radios. They are neither cops, your mom, nor required to wear utili-kilts (just generally inclined).
Registrar of jokes – due to the profusion of inside jokes that inherently exclude people, all jokes must be appropriately registered because Radical Inclusion
Reserve Tickets – Reserve tickets are tickets set aside with a participant’s name on it. The participant still needs to purchase that ticket during the reserve ticket sales round. These are used to ensure that people essential to the smooth operation of the event get a ticket. Everyone approved for a reserved ticket must still pay for it. Art Grant recipients also receive reserve tickets because art is central to our mission and artists are bound by contract to be present at the event.
Rotate Your Turtles– Don’t forget to rotate your turtles! Turtle rotation is necessary to maintain proper volunteer coverage… somehow. We’re not sure about the actual cause-and-effect at play here, but it’s definitely important.
Secret Rim Text – a verbal inclusion on the annual Swag Buttons given to volunteers at Participation Station. This text appears on the side of the pin, in the thin margin where the design wraps around the edge, and is frequently silly, snarky, or indicative of the best bad joke of the year.
The Temple – The temple is a structure built as an art piece that is meant to be a contemplative space. The temple is typically burned on Sunday night. Note: not all burns will have a temple.
Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ) – a concept first described by Hakim Bey in his manifesto of the same name, a TAZ is an impermanent gathering of people operating beyond the quotidian system of authority and expectation to create a different way of living.
VIP Hottub – one of the fictitious perks the BOD and other elite members of the community gain access to in recompense for their service.
Volunteer – hopefully, YOU, you lovely creature! Volunteers run this entire event, from planning & set-up to clean-up, “Welcome Home!” to GTFO Monday, posting snarky glossaries on the website to doing whatever legal and financial stuff the BOD worries about so the rest of us don’t have to. Volunteering is a great way to meet other participants. Studies show that volunteers are on average 63.7% more attractive, both romantically and platonically. If you’re not sure what you want to do, stop by the Participation Station to learn about all the ways you can make this event happen.
WWW – the What?Where?When? A guidebook of events and happenings at the event, as submitted by participants. You should print a copy before you arrive. Interesting fact: the written abbreviation is significantly longer when spoken than the words themselves.