Volunteer Applications Are Now Closed.

If you'd still like to volunteer, walk-ups are welcome on-site.  


Volunteering is an important part of being a YOUtopian as well as a member of the San Diego Burning Man community and world at large. We invite each and every YOUtopian to view themselves as artist, volunteer, crew, and participant. Whether you’re building an art installation, helping a neighboring theme camp with their LNT, assisting participants upon arrival with Transportation, or running amok creating a smile on every fellow YOUtopian you encounter, you’re a pivotal piece in the puzzle. YOUtopia exists because of the hard work and dedication of our community of artists, performers, theme camp organizers, radically self-expressive participants, and, hopefully, you: the members of our talented volunteer team. Volunteering is a great way to meet people, get involved, get your hands dirty, and have serious amounts of fun. Whether it’s your first time, or you’re a seasoned and sautéed YOUtopian, we’ve got a spot for you to help make magic happen! No experience necessary – just a desire to learn and be an active part of your community!

What do YOU want to do for YOUR community? What can YOU bring to that blank canvas that we call YOUtopia? Let us know by filling out the form below.

And now to answer a few of your Questions:

Is there a deadline to submit my volunteer application?

The Volunteer Application deadline is Friday, September 8th at 11:59pm. This allows our Volunteer Coordinator time to sort, siphon, and perform complex mathematical algorithms to find the best fit for each volunteer. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible as some teams fill up before the deadline.

Do I get a free or discounted ticket for volunteering at YOUtopia?

Everyone, including the YOUtopia event team, buys a ticket to attend. No one gets paid; YOUtopia happens because of the hard work of volunteers year-round.

That being said, YOUtopia appreciates the time and efforts of dedicated volunteers like you who help to make our event possible. In recognition of that appreciation, YOUtopia offers a $45 discount ticket available to all volunteers in good standing from the prior year. To become a volunteer in good standing, YOUtopians contribute 16-20 hours of their time during the event, including at least one shift on Friday or Saturday (yep, you gotta work – at least once – while everyone else is playing).

If you’re a volunteering in good standing from 2016, you’ll receive a discount code for your ticket.

If you’re new to volunteering at YOUtopia and can’t afford a full-priced ticket, sign up to volunteer early and get to know your department. Or a bunch of departments. Support our community’s efforts pre-event, your department lead can recommend you for a scholarship ticket.

Can I come early and/or stay after the event ends?

Only participants with authorized early entry will be allowed onsite before gates open to the general public at 12pm on Thursday, October 19th. You will be told specifically by your YOUtopia Department Lead or Volunteer Coordinators if you are authorized for early entry.

Everyone except those on the teardown crew must be off-site by 1pm on Sunday, October 22nd.

Do I get to eat?

We practice Radical Self-Reliance which means each of us is responsible for bringing everything we need to survive for four days in the woods, including food. While we do have a commissary available to feed many of our crew and volunteers working long shifts, we are not always able to accommodate everyone’s unique dietary schedules, restrictions, and requirements. Please come prepared.


Glad you asked. Please see examples of teams described to the right. Or come to our Volunteer Fair to meet them in person and make a love connection.


Saturday, July 22nd
4pm til 9pm
CoLab, 6055 Fairmount Ave.
San Diego, CA 92120.

Performance Support

Coordinate activities like sunrise yoga, lessons on how to plant your very own unicorn, or an open dialogue about what it means to be a burner. Performance Support plays cupid, matchmaking Theme Camps with space to host and YOUtopians seeking a space to express their creativity.

Center Camp & Temple

Help manage the stage and activities at Center Camp or care for the sacred space at the Temple. This crew maintain the central areas where each and every YOUtopian can participate

Fire Safety

Keep us safe from lighting ourselves, others, and anything other than approved art and performance on fire.


Welcome participants with open arms into YOUtopia, making sure they know where they’re going, answer questions, and give (consensual) hugs.

Gate & Ticketing

Ensure participants have adulted properly and arrived with ticket and parking pass, and without dogs, cats, glass, or 5-gallon buckets of glitter. Also make people sign innumerable forms waiving rights to life, liberty, and personal hygiene.

Leave No Trace

The Leave No Trace (LNT) crew makes sure participants do just that, leaving a pristine location when the event is over. They help educate participants on minimizing ecological impact and “Pack It In, Pack It Out” principles.

City Planning

City Planning figures out where everything will fit, in the most ridiculously optimal way. They tetris in theme camps and art and portos and Waldo stations – and create the oh-so-sexy maps.


Media captures magic YOUtopian moments so we can relive them again and again through photography and videography.


Hardworking volunteers like food. If you join commissary, you will give people food, and then people will like you.

Please / Volunteer

Please supports the service of all other YOUtopia volunteer crews. Their mission is to ensure volunteers take care of themselves by delivering food, foot rubs, and fun. And pee breaks.

Road Warriors (Parking)

All hail the snuggle-bunnies who make sure all participants get where they’re going when they drive in to the event, and then GTFOffsite – as 99.99% of vehicles at YOUtopia are parked offsite once they’re unloaded. Road warriors help with parking, direct traffic, and towing your vehicle if you ignore instructions to move your car 37 times.

Transportation & Art Cars

Help facilitate shuttles and art cars to help cruise participants around YOUtopia in style. Volunteer drivers need to proof of a valid driver’s license and meet age requirements to operate event vehicles.

Wolf Pack (Setup & Teardown)

Abiding by their motto, “First To Come, Last To Pull Out,” the Wolf Pack are a die-hard crew. Building the event from the ground up, this crew sees to it that the infrastructure for our fair city is in place for the event, and torn down when it’s all over.


Waldo stations are safety outposts sprinkled around the city. Anyone in need of Rangers, Medical, Fire Safety, or Security can find a Waldo station and get assistance from a Waldo directly, or ask the Waldo to radio for additional help.


Rangers roam the city providing assistance to YOUtopians in need, be it conflict resolution and peer mediation, calling for medical or emergency services support, lending an ear or a helping hand, or giving directions to the nearest portos. Rangers walk the grounds in pairs equipped with radios, ready to offer help when needed. Rangers must have completed Black Rock City or Pacific Southwest Ranger training in order to volunteer on the YOUtopia Rangers team. Training opportunities will be available prior to the event. Contact rangers@sdyoutopia.com for more information. Rangers can also always be found at Safety HQ at the top of the hill in area 5.


Dispensary checks out (and back in!) event equipment or supplies you need to do your job. This team keeps meticulous records of who took what, where, and when and comes after you with a baseball bat if you don’t return that radio.

Coffee & Ice

If you’re a social butterfly who can handle the occasional rush of hippies in-need while maintaining your basic math skills and sense of humor, this is the team for you.


Please contact the Volunteer Coordinators.



Welcome to the YOUtopia 2017 Volunteer Application! Deadline for this application was Friday, September 8th at 11:59pm. You've missed the deadline, but you're cute, so walk-ups are accepted on-site. :)