Placement Q&A

1. What is a Theme Camp?

Theme camps are groups who provide an interactive experience that helps build the texture of our temporary city. Through the provision of activities, venues, and other participatory efforts, Theme Camps form the foundation out of which our fair YOUtopian city comes to life.

To put it simply, a Theme Camp is a gift to the entire community.

Does your camp like to cook for others? Does your camp run a bar? You are a Theme Camp. Does your camp host a place to dance and party? You are absolutely a Theme Camp. Maybe your camp is a place where YOUtopians can relax and recharge. Yup – still a Theme Camp. Maybe you want to be the place we go to learn and play together. Awesome! You are a Theme Camp!

The idea for Theme Camps draws from the first two Principles of Burning Man: Radical Inclusion and Gifting. As a Theme Camp, you are giving a gift to the entire community without any expectation of a gift in return. We all have people we want to camp with, but just being a large camp is not the same as being a Theme Camp. That is a group camp. Group camps do not need to apply for placement.

What distinguishes between a group camp and a Theme Camp, you ask? Intent. If your goal is to have a good time with your particular clique, then you are most likely a group camp and not a Theme Camp. If, however, you want to be a Theme Camp then you need to know ahead of time what you are bringing to give. If you suspect you might be a Theme Camp then you probably are, but the best test is to ask yourself, “What are we giving the community?”

2. Do I need to apply for placement?

Registered art installations and Theme Camps get a specific spot allocated to them, in the right sound zone, and get included on the map on the website, in printed materials, and in the event guide given to all participants when they arrive at the event. This makes your camp or art easy to find, which is what you want. Although you don’t have to register for placement for your Theme Camp or art, it’s a really good idea to do so as there is no guarantee for space or location if you do not apply for placement.

Space fills up fast, particularly for larger areas, so if you are planning a large camp or want to set up an art piece, please apply for placement! Not only is it best for you, it also helps make the best event possible by allowing your contributions to be placed in coordination with the event as a whole.

All art that receives a grant will be placed by City Planning, unless you are coordinating with a theme camp.

If you apply for an art grant and do not receive one, we still encourage you to apply for placement!

Apply for placement HERE

3. When will I receive a response about my placement?

City Planning makes every effort to let you know that we have received your placement application the same week that we get it. Please remember that placement is not guaranteed. While we make every effort to include as many of the applying camps as possible, the growth of the event over the past several years means that we have limited space that we need to make the most of! Certain types of camps have limits on the number of camps that will be placed (specifically sound camps), and the more interactive camps and larger camps often know about their placement earlier than smaller camps, since placing them is (sometimes) a more difficult challenge. Be patient with us! We are working to make this the best city ever! However, please note that you will not find out about your specific placement until after the map is completed, which is near the start of the event.

4. Do I get to choose exactly where my Theme Camp or art will be placed? Is placement guaranteed?

In short, placement is not guaranteed. In long, City Planning will take into account desired placement as long as it does not interfere with the goals listed above. The City Planning team will work closely with you to determine your needs, as well as your ability and desire to host playshops and performances.

5. I want to have amplified music to entertain people. Will this affect my placement?

Yes! The different parts of the mountain have different sound policies so that we can be good neighbors to the locals who so graciously allow us to throw this event.

In order to be good guests we need everyone who wants to have amplified music to agree to the sound policy for the mountain and provide additional information so that we can place you in an area where the music will not be a bother to our neighbors. We also want to make sure that there is not competition between the various large sound camps and that the sound from the larger camps isn’t overwhelming the smaller camps who also want to share their music with attendees.

The more information you can give us about your plans for sound on the mountain the better we will be able to place you.

Read our Sound Policy

6. Will I receive tickets with my placement?

Everyone buys a ticket to attend, including the YOUtopia production team and volunteers. It’s an important ethos of our shared event, and also how we fund so much art! If you would like to request a Scholarship Ticket for yourself or have essential crew members make a request, please fill out a Scholarship Ticket Application.

PLEASE NOTE: There are no guarantees for additional tickets and are pending until approval.

7. Will I receive car camping passes or in-camp car passes with my placement?

Due to the increasing size of the event, In Camp passes will be limited. A number of factors go into deciding how many in-camp car passes are distributed. These include size and total number of camps and art that register for placement, and where you end up getting placed. However, every camp and project that is placed will not automatically include a car pass. Consider alternate possibilities such as sharing storage/lock-up space with a neighboring camp, or creating a locking bar/box/cabinet for your storage needs. Car camping, like RV parking, is located ONLY in a specific designated area of the event. Cars that remain within theme camps are intended as storage, not as car camping (we understand that you may sleep in your storage vehicle, but being part of a theme camp is different from car camping). Remember that there is a difference between a car camping pass (which you must purchase) and an in-camp car pass (which you must purchase after approval and only on an as-possible basis). All in-camp car passes must be approved by City Planning prior to distribution. All other cars must be parked in the parking lot once unloaded.

8. What about RV's or Large Trailers? Can I keep one of those in my camp?

If you need a large trailer as a support vehicle for your theme camp, please submit an RV Placement Application to City Planning and we will do our best to accommodate you. However, we cannot guarantee space due to potential placement issues.

As for RV’s, we are only selling RV with HOOK UPS passes in the general sale and those passes are for AREA 1 ONLY. Each RV will be assigned a designated space by City Planning based on the dimensions of your RV (questions will appear when you purchase your RV with HOOK UP pass). Hook-ups provide both electricity and water (NO grey water hook-ups).

All other RV’s without hook ups must submit this application to City Planning if you wish to purchase a “Theme Camp RV” pass or “Placed RV” pass (not in Area 1) ($150).

Once approved by City Planning, a special ticket link will be sent from Ticketing & Will Call to purchase an RV pass. NO RV PASSES WILL BE SOLD AT THE GATE.

If you wish to have your RV at the event, but do not need hook ups, and are not part of a Theme Camp - you can still apply for a Placed RV pass with this same application. Applications will be reviewed on a first come first served basis until the number of available RV passes have been sold (approx. 50).

PLEASE NOTE: All decisions regarding approval or placement by City Planning are final.

You can apply for RV/Large trailer in RV Placement Application

9. What if I want to bring an Art Car?

YOUtopia wants your Art Cars!
Art cars must receive pre-event authorization from the DMV Department and undergo an on-site inspection to drive on-site during the event.

Click here Art Car Application 
Please also read the Art Car Q&A

10. Can I have fire or heat sources in my camp?

Open fire, fire pits, art with fire elements, “spinning” fire, etc. are NOT permitted in any camp without approval from Fire Safety based on location of camp and current conditions. Seriously, all fire performances are only allowed in several designated areas - don’t even joke about spinning in your camp.

Heating elements, including but not limited to propane heater, cooking equipment, etc., must be accompanied by a fire extinguisher or are not permitted.

Please review the Fire Safety guidelines and send any related questions to
Read our Fire & Heat Source Policy

11. Will I receive early arrival with my placement?

Depending on the nature and size of your camp or art you may be issued early arrival passes by your Theme Camp or Art Curation liaison which will allow you to arrive before the gates open on Thursday at 10am. NO ONE IS PERMITTED TO ARRIVE EARLY WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL AND EARLY ARRIVAL PASSES. Passes are not guaranteed.

12. Can I apply for an art grant with my placement?

Certainly! YOUtopia is built on the creative projects it helps fund through the distribution of art grants. Art Grant Applications for YOUtopia 2017 are opening soon!

13. Is Power available with my Placement?

Having access to the YOUtopia grid is not promised or guaranteed - many of you will have to rely on your own ingenuity. Please come prepared to not have access to the power grid, as placement can change up to and during the event as needed. It cannot be stated enough that we cannot guarantee power to anyone.


Please contact the City Planning team.