Theme Camp Meeting 2017

By February 16, 2017 Theme Camp

Theme Camp Info Meeting

12 Feb 2017 (Full report)
Original document on Blazing Swan Community Page

 Watch the full video of this meeting online here.


NOTE: The times in brackets next to each heading below is the approximate elapsed start time on the video. Some items have been ‘moved around’ for the sake of clarity. What follows is a rough summary. Please post any corrections, reinterpretations, etc.

  • Oly opened the meeting, noting that things were running a little behind schedule (as usual), and also that many of the Theme Camps were coming back this year ‘bigger and better’. 
  • (1:20) Grants. The cash grants to the Camps is a new thing this year. This year also for the first time Theme Camps will be asked to pay for their share of generator hire, and for the cost of transport if they choose to send their gear up to the Blaze on the Organizer’s trucks. Previously the Organizers met this cost themselves. The Camps, however, better understand and control the demand for these services, and giving them the burden of funding them (along with the funds as a grant) gives the Camps an incentive and opportunity to drive efficiencies and savings.
  • Oly said that the cash/credit that they intended to have flow back to the camps was dependent upon the allocated ‘discount Theme Camp’ tickets being sold. If you are a camp and haven’t received an allocation of discounted tickets contact Oly. These discounted tickets could (if you wished) be on-sold at a higher than face value if the ‘profit’ was ploughed back into funding the Theme Camp, but Theme Camps should be up front with purchaser’s about what they were doing. Making this work in the Quicket Ticketing system is not straightforward, however. Oly invited anyone trying to do this to contact him for guidance. Scalping (selling for personal profit) is not permitted.
70% of the Theme Camp grant will be advanced prior to the event. The remaining 30% is transferred after the event – dependent upon your Camp getting a clean bill of health in respect of MOOP and other regulatory requirements.
(3:40) Generators (Oly)
  • Shared Generators. It is the Organizers intention to place large (efficient) generators across the site. The generators would be ‘locked up’ and refueling would be done by the Organizers, probably once a day. The cost of each generator hire for the week (approx $1300-$2000) and fuel ($300-$600) will be borne by the Theme Camps this year. Although circumstances varied, each generator (60kva) would support about four Theme Camps. Once the Camps see where they are located they can start making plans for sharing generators. camps need to think about where/how they are going to run (and protect) the cables feeding each camp. Cabling to, and a distribution board for each camp is included in the cost of the generator hire. Cabling within the Camp is the Camp’s responsibility.
  • Private Generators. People can bring their own generators if they wish, which will be their own responsibility. If you bring fuel for your generator the fuel should be in an approved container, and then that container should be placed in another large open container that will not only keep ‘drips’ off the ground, but will contain all of the fuel should the primary container ‘fail’. It was suggested that those ‘half shell’ hard plastic paddling pools would be suitable as the ‘second’ container (as long as it is not cracked!).
  • The ‘Quiet Theme Camp’ area (next to TNUC Rock) has been equipped with reticulated 240v power. It is intended that this be a ‘generator free’ area in consequence. Theme Camps in the quiet area will be expected to contribute towards the cost of the generator that is feeding this reticulated power, but this cost should be ‘reasonable’ given that the power draws of these camps aren’t expected to be very great.
  • The Grants (or credits) that will be offered to Theme Camps are intended to offset to some extent these generator expenses.
(9:20) Transport. (Oly)
  • The Organizers are offering freight uplift and return from Kulin – for a fee.
  • Shipping containers can be moved for approx $1500 one-way (perhaps a little bit less…).
  • Boxes (approx 1m x 0.6m x 2m or 1.2 cubic metre) are available at the Swan’s Nest and can be moved up and back for approx $500.
  • IBC’s (1 cubic metre giant milk crate) are also available for $250 return.
  • Packing and unpacking is the the Theme Camp’s responsibility. There will be a telehandler at the site again this year to assist.
(13:00) Storage and Spaces at the Nest (Peter)
  • There are now 4 car bays (and tools) for hire for $240 per week
  • There will be container storage and racks for the IBCs which will allow year to year storage of Theme Camp gear. Charges yet to be determined.
  • They have one art studio and are building another.
  • Welding and wood working areas have been set up within the Nest.
  • If a tool isn’t already available at the Nest it might be able to be sourced from elsewhere. Advice/assistance and referrals will be available. In Oly’s words, “It’s a network…connecting people who can do stuff”.
  • People contributing to the running/maintenance of the Nest can expect a discount on any fees. Some kind of membership arrangement might be introduced in the future. It will always be a facility for Burners.
  • Rules for people working at the Nest, enclosed footware, no animals, no consumption alcohol, love our tools
  • Tool donations to the Nest would be very welcome.
  • Building material donations – contact Peter before bringing it in
  • Every usual and unusual requirement will be entertained, talk to us, we can do a deal.
(20:00) Compliance, Safety and Regulations (Richard Morup)
  • Intention is to get everything submitted, checked and authorised PRIOR to the Blaze, but there will be – in addition – a daily checklist for Theme Camps. Council and other regulatory agencies may visit at any time. If a building or Camp is not in compliance it will be shut down. If the event is not in compliance it may be shut down.
  • Theme Camps will be notified of Compliance requirements primarily through the Theme Camp Hub Facebook group. Issues are largely similar to last year. Things such as: Emergency lighting, for small camps a torch/torches Fire Extinguisher(s), sized to match size of camp. Residual Current Device (on ALL power sources) No (none at all) hand held or vehicle mounted lasers, no matter what size. Electrical items and cables (and RCD’s) must be tested/tagged. Multiple exits from enclosed spaces, and clear EXIT signage
  • Camps running fixed lasers must contact Richard, no matter what size.
  • Those intending to use flame projectors (art / camp / vehicle) must register with Richard.
  • Grey water. Disposal on site is not permitted, containerise it and take it away with you. We are open to ideas / suggestions for ways of handling grey water, the Committee is exploring some.
  • Each Theme Camp should have one person responsible for signing off all compliance documents, that person will be legally responsible for ensuring compliance, and for breaches of compliance. Details of compliance requirements (and checklists) will be published shortly on the Theme Camp Hub facebook page. Each camp will have to submit their checklist prior to the event, and there is a requirement to do a daily checklist during the event.
  • Tagging and Testing will be offered at the Nest again this year. Anyone with a ticket to do this please contact the Nest. As previously it will be on a drop-off and pick-up basis. Box and clearly label your gear.
  • Any manufactured structure (including art work) that the ‘public’ can walk inside of, or under, needs to be structurally ‘compliant’. Every such instance needs to be discussed/assessed by the Committee. Contact Richard. Structures that were ‘signed off’ last year are good again for this year (but best to still discuss these with Richard).
  • ‘Out of the box’ public-use structures such as tents should have details of any compliance certificates and manuals etc. These structures should be erected and secured to the ground in accordance with the manufacturers documented recommendation. Paperwork (printed from the ‘net) is very effective in persuading Council Inspectors that you know what you are doing.
  • Anchoring. The soil is either rock hard or liquid. There are several discussions on the facebook pages. Whatever you put in you must take out – this is agricultural land. If you can’t get a peg or picket out of the ground, mark it and call for assistance from the Committee. The Committee has the ‘hand of god’ which will drive star pickets – book it in advance (it’s much in demand). A long masonry drill bit is useful in creating a pilot hole for large pegs. Drilling into rocks, however, violates the ‘leave no trace’ philosophy. If you have a large structure and are unsure about how to secure it, talk to the Committee. Ground anchors (vehicles, IBC’s, sandbags) are all possibilities.
  • Firepits. If you build one using rocks, put the rocks back where you found them. Most of the camping area is under barley crops a few weeks after we leave the site. Rocks and pegs and stakes left in the ground are incompatible with the operation of the farm, and it is only through the farm owners generosity that we are there at all.
  • Moop. Don’t leave any behind. Have a plan. The 30% residual payment of your Theme Camp grant is dependent upon having a satisfactory MOOP rating at the end of the event.
  • Fuel storage in Theme Camps. Use approved containers, and put those containers in another container in order to prevent ground spills, and to contain the fuel if the primary container fails.
  • Minimise flammable materials in your camp. Ensure that enclosed areas have at least two exits. Be very careful of candles etc.
  • The larger the camp, the more members of public you expect to host at any one time, the more you will be scrutinised on all these regulatory/safety aspects.
(40:00) Theme Camp Hub Facebook page (John Kelly)
  • All Theme Camp notifications will be visible on the Theme Camp Hub page. The ‘other’ Theme Camp page has been shut down.
(43:00) Fires (Oly)
  • Campfires are possible within Theme Camps (but not under ANY circumstances in the private camping areas). Theme Camp campfires have to be registered and approved.
  • Fires have to be ‘contained’ (a wall of rock, a large tyre rim etc) and a cleared area of ground around it. There has to be a responsible person looking after any such fire at ALL times, and a fire extinguisher (and a shovel) nearby. Fires have to be registered with the fire crew – as detailed on the Blazing Swan website – look it up even if you aren’t planning a fire.
  • Wood will be brought in by the Committee. The same amount as last year.
(48:00) Volunteering (Oly, Stu)
  • We still need volunteers in Rangering, Greeting, and (especially) post event MOOP team. It’s appreciated (in all senses of the word) that 30% of participants have been spontaneously volunteering during the event. Registering formally as a volunteer, however, allows the organizers to manage their crews more effectively (and not panic so much about the apparent gaps in the ranks). The website has all the volunteering information and application.
  • Rangers must be over 18. First aid training and certification will be provided to Ranger volunteers. The Ranger meeting/taining will be on 18th/19th March.
  • Another call out for any paramedic or nursing qualified volunteers. Even a shift (or two) would be a great help. Contact the organisers of the medical facility at (Blazing Swan Medical Service)
  • A reminder that volunteering as a Ranger is a great way for first timers to get across and immerse themselves into the best of the Blaze.
(58:00) ART CARS (Jack)
  • Vehicles must be registered or else they are not going to be out there. The closing date for applying for registration is …. The organizers are also looking at licensing drivers of art cars. Vehicle movement (art cars and others) have been the cause of injury and death at other events. Art cars have to be registered, all other vehicles are under a ‘park and leave (parked)’ rule. People who have essential reasons to ‘come and go’ from the event (for instance for medical reasons) should contact the organizers to discuss their needs and arrangements. It was recognized that Theme Camps might have re-supply issues requiring trips out and back, and that could also be discussed.
  • There will be a ‘pass out’ system at the Gate, with a yet to be announced ‘fee’, to discourage non-essential movement. Not only is there the risk of injury and death, but as participants from previous years well know, the ground hovers somewhere between a dustbowl and a quagmire most times, and vehicle traffic only makes those two extremes worse.
  • (1:00:00) ICE The intention this year is to do (free) ice deliveries daily. This doesn’t mean that participants don’t need to bring their own ice (self reliance!). It’s a top-up service, there will not be enough for everyone. Ice won’t be bagged this year, but delivered ‘loose’ from a trailer that will tour the site each day. So it will be scooped/poured straight into your eski or container. The organizers weren’t sure whether the vehicle/trailer would play ‘greensleeves’, but it may come to pass given that participants might otherwise not be aware the service was passing by.
  • (1:02:00) THEME CAMPING & WILD CAMPING Noting that the Theme Camp area was now occupied nearly all of the ‘prime’ camping areas, and that this was a (in part) a deliberate strategy to incentivize participants to join Theme Camps, Oly was asked what was being done to bring this to the early attention of participants. Oly agreed that Theme Camping and participation was a core feature and strength of the Blazer events world wide.


(1:07:00) NEWSLETTERS & THE WTF GUIDE (Shelby, John and others)

  • Everyone is encouraged to subscribe to the newsletter. This can be achieved via the Blazing Swan website, and a link will be put up on the Theme Camp face book page as well. Contributions to the newsletter can be made to comms @ Contributions should include a photo. There is an intention to put out a newsletter specifically for Theme Camps as well. Submissions to the WTF (Where’s the Fun) guide close at the end of February. Send details of all events and activities to comms @
  • Saturday is Swan Effigy Burn, and fireworks. Sunday is Temple Burn. The Effigy and Temple burns might have to be brought forward, delayed or occur on the same day depending on fire and weather conditions. The fireworks will have to happen on Saturday, or not happen at all. The regulations regarding the fireworks don’t give the organizers any leeway to change the date. Offers of ‘respectful’ music at the Temple Burn were discussed. It was noted as well, however, that silence during the Temple Burn was one of the most powerful aspects of the experience. It was acknowledged that the character of the Effigy Burn and the Temple burn were very different to each other, and there was a commitment to maintaining the contemplative and solemn character of the Temple – not just at the Burn, but throughout the event.
  • The general concept of Theme Camps in a wide semi-circle facing North, centred on the Swan Effigy located just below Cave Rock (as it was in 2016) was confirmed. The ‘wild camping’ that in 2016 occupied the western side of this semi-circle has been replaced with Theme Camps, and the wild camping is now on and alongside the Racetrack. The final location of all Camps has not been (absolutely) determined, but it was apparent that we were fairly close to finalising the Map.
Once again, great credit to Peter Nicol for capturing the meeting on video, and to the organizers (for everything) and to everyone who was there on the day – and to everyone who couldn’t be there but who are also working to make the event a success. If any errors or omissions have slipped into – or out of – this report please PM John Mack who, ‘profoundly regrets the inconvenience.’ Cheers!

Theme Camp Info