Mushroom Patch Mutant Vehicle from Whiskey and Dust BRC 2017 – Photo © FBS

An Art Car, or Mutant Vehicle, is a vehicle that has been radically, stunningly, and safely modified and exhibits motorized locomotion. It may be built from scratch, or be a mutated form of a stock vehicle that shows little or no resemblance to its original design. Think “whimsical” and “surreal”!

A Mutant Vehicle is not a private mode of transportation but rather a vehicle that the community has the opportunity to visit and/or ride in during the event.

Please refer any disability vehicle request to the Operations and Logistics Sphere at ops@constellationburn.org.

What is NOT an Art Car/Mutant Vehicle?

  • A vehicle that has NOT been radically mutated is not an Art Car/Mutant Vehicle.
  • Street vehicles with minimal changes and temporary decorations are not Mutant Vehicles. For example, a vehicle that has crepe paper and some flowers attached to it is not considered mutated.
  • Low riders, classic cars, monster trucks, dune buggies and hot rods are not Mutant Vehicles. If you bring these types of vehicles, they must remain in a designated parking area like any other non-mutated vehicle.
  • A vehicle that has been stripped down to the frame and engine is not a mutant vehicle.

The DMV has the final say in these matters.

Do I need to register my Art Car/Mutant Vehicle?

YES!! All non official vehicles driven during the event must be officially approved and licensed by the Constellation DMV and Fire and Safety Team.

Please read the Mutant Vehicle registration process carefully:

First, read and understand all rules and regulations that will be required to operate your Mutant vehicle at Constellation and EMAIL OPS@CONSTELLATIONBURN.ORG with the requested information.

Second, once you have emailed us, the DMV and the Fire and Safety Team will review your submission form promptly and give you feedback and ask any questions if needed about your design.

Please email us the following information:

  • Describe the intent with which you are creating this vehicle, and what you wish to share with the community as a result of bringing your vehicle to Constellation.
  • Provide picture(s) of your Mutant Vehicle or, if your vehicle is not yet to the point where a picture will clearly show what you are bringing to Constellation, a sketch of your vehicle will suffice.
  • Describe the safety considerations you are implementing.
  • Information about any sound system you may have on the vehicle.

Third, agree to adhere to Constellation vehicle/driving protocols. Constellation has a few simple driving guidelines. If you violate these community guidelines, you’ll lose the privilege of driving your Mutant Vehicle at Constellation. In addition, you and your vehicle may also be removed from the event, and you can be fined by law enforcement. Furthermore, owners that cannot follow our simple rules run the risk of not being licensed in subsequent years.

At the event, for those who have pre-registered and received approval, you will receive your Mutant Vehicle license only after it meets all required environmental and safety conditions for the event. A photocopy of valid driver’s license will also be required for the inspection portion of licensing. You will be required to sign a Constellation Mutant Vehicle Agreement at the time of Licensing. Mutant vehicles that incorporate flame effects will also need to be inspected by the DMV. The Fire and Safety Team will inspect your vehicle’s Flame Effects (after the DMV has approved your vehicle) to ensure you’ve followed all the requirements for safely constructing and operating the Flame Effects. Failure to pass this inspection will result in you not being allowed to operate the Flame Effect on your vehicle. (Here’s a link to the Flame Effect Guidelines)

Inspections will be available between noon and 5pm on Thursday and Friday 9 am to 5 pm. If you expect to arrive later than that, please let us know by contacting ops@costellationburn.org.

We will give you a license plate as part of the inspection – please have a place on the back of your mutant vehicle that can be used to mount the license. It will need to be visible to people behind the vehicle – please make the Rangers’ jobs easier so they can verify that you’re okay to drive at the event.

Please note: Pre-Registration does not guarantee a Mutant Vehicle license, as this is a two-step process. Submitting this application means that, if granted a Mutant Vehicle license, you agree to abide by all of the driving rules and community guidelines in effect at Constellation. Please also see the waiver and release of liability that you signed when you purchased your ticket.

Criteria for licensing a Mutant Vehicle

Level of Mutation
Mutate your vehicle to the point that it is not recognizable as a street vehicle. A radically mutated vehicle will not resemble or represent a car, truck, golf cart or any other readily identifiable street vehicle. Is the vehicle radically mutated or is the exterior a temporary decoration that required little or no actual mutation of the base vehicle?

Interactivity
Provide an interactive experience for participants of Constellation. Interactivity is defined as an opportunity for any Constellation Citizen to participate in some activity offered by your vehicle. The theme and/or size of the vehicle is what’s considered here. Do you entertain a crowd? Have plenty of room for riders? Provide a service to the community via your vehicle? Include an interactive element?

Safety
Depending on the size and style of your vehicle, some or all of the following may apply: The vehicle must be able to maintain a steady speed of five MPH (the speed limit at Constellation) or less. Brakes must be in good working order. The vehicle should have sturdy side railings and stair railings. There should be no sharp or protruding objects. A fire extinguisher is highly recommended. Keeping a first aid kit on board is just plain smart. The vehicle should also have a safe access area and procedures for loading and unloading passengers.

Lighting
Basic requirements must be met: The rear, front AND sides must be lit. All vehicle extremities must be lit. Any trailer hitch, other protuberance, or dangerous area of the vehicle must be lit. Anywhere someone would walk, step, or climb on your vehicle should be lit, especially stairs and ladders.

Sound
Sound on MVs is a big responsibility. Please know the Constellation Sound Policy, and be respectful of others around you.

If the convenience of personal transportation is your primary goal please rethink your intent! Constellation is walkable. The primary factor for bringing a vehicle should be sharing your imaginative creation with the rest of the community.

Mutant Vehicle Driving Protocols

  • Only vehicles licensed or allowed to drive at Constellation may be in operation on site.
    Abide by all applicable federal and West Virginia state laws.
  • Absolutely no driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • NO OPEN CONTAINERS within reach of driver.
  • You must avoid driving across or parking on the grass around the Esplanade except for designated art car areas. You will be provided with a map prior to the event which will show the roads you may drive on.
  • Drive at a speed of 5mph or less (less if in hazardous situations such as tight crowds)
  • Give the right of way to pedestrians, bicycles, and emergency services vehicles
  • Stop immediately upon being hailed by any Constellation Staff member, Constellation Ranger, or law enforcement officer
  • No driving on roads if Constellation staff, DPW, or Rangers or law enforcement closes them for inclement weather or for any other safety reason.
  • Your Mutant Vehicle must have a clear field of vision while in operation, including rear and side mirrors
  • Operator must have ground guides (walkers) if the vehicle is large, has a limited field of vision, or is dangerous to pedestrians
  • Have a safe access area for loading and unloading passengers. Loading and unloading of passengers may only take place when vehicle is fully stopped.
  • Obey sound policies
  • No fireworks or pyrotechnics. Fireworks are not permitted on art cars!
  • Vehicles must not mimic any type of emergency service or law enforcement vehicle.
  • Brakes must be in good working order and be able to stop vehicle while at top speed.
    Vehicle may not have sharp, protruding objects that might cause injury.
  • Exhaust pipes near riders or pedestrians must be shielded.
  • A fire extinguisher is highly recommended and required if vehicle has flame effects.
  • Owner/operator should strongly consider keeping a first aid kit on board.
  • When applicable, the vehicle should have sturdy side and stair railings.
  • Vehicle must have projected light in order to see in front of the vehicle, in dark places, and for night driving.
  • For vehicles driving at night, basic lighting requirements must be met. Rear, front, and sides must be lit. All vehicle extremities must be lit. Anywhere someone would walk, step, or climb on the vehicle must be illuminated (ie: stairs and ladders).

Violation of any of the above rules may ultimately result in loss of driving privileges at Constellation. Severe or repeat violations will result in removal from the event, and possible citation from law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, owners or drivers that cannot follow these rules run the risk of not being admitted into future events and/or not be granted a license again.