(Please note: the details below are from 2019 and is for informational purposes only until 2020 info is finalized.)
We hope you join us by contributing your time, energy, and skills to help create an incredible event.
Together, let’s build an interactive, experiential, sustainable environment that encourages a culture of play, artistic creativity and freedom of expression.
Please take a look at the descriptions and links for each department below and sign up for a shift or three! We invite you to check back soon for more options.
- Gate volunteers make sure that every participant has a ticket, and every car has a parking pass, in order for either to enter the event. You’ll be checking IDs against a list of valid tickets and passes, and giving wrist bands to people on the list. While you will be talking to humans, that doesn’t mean you have to be part of the Sunshine Squad– people going through Gate, while friendly, are usually focused on getting into the burn, so goal-focused burners should feel comfortable signing up for this role. The ticket and pass lists may be kept on a computer, but if you’re uncomfortable with using it, there will likely be another volunteer who is willing to be in charge of the list.
- Gate volunteers meet for their shift near the front of the property, in the open space between Mama and Papa Zen’s house and the nearby barn. You’ll see it when you arrive at Constellation– you know the place where someone checked your ticket on the way in? That’s Gate.
- Depending on how many people are entering the burn while you’re there, there’s a good chance you’ll be on your feet for a lot of your shift, so wear comfortable shoes. Gate usually has pretty good tree cover, and will likely have a pavilion for extra rain and sun protection. That being said, bring sunscreen and/or other appropriate protective gear to take care of yourself while on your shift. You can wear whatever you like, but please keep in mind that nudity is not permitted while at Gate.
- There must be at least one person comfortable using a handheld radio to communicate with other departments while Gate is open. While this will likely be the shift lead, it does not have to be. Radio training can be provided; just let someone know you’re okay with using it but not sure how, and we’ll get someone to you who can show you how it works.
- Good to bring: comfy shoes, water, and protection from the sun (eg. sunscreen, umbrella, etc).
- Volunteering with Greeters involves welcoming incoming burners on their way into the event. You’ll provide a friendly face as well as valuable information for the newly arrived about where to park their car, how to find their campsite, the deets on volunteering, and the importance of the Ten Principles of Burning Man. While it does involve a significant amount of contact and engagement with other humans, volunteering with Greeters does not require being the peppiest person in Peppington! We’re looking for normal friendly people, not Stepford Burners.
- Greeters meet near the small stage, on the opposite side from Volunteer HQ. You should anticipate being on your feet (or your transportational equivalent) for most and possibly all of your shift. Greeters have access to nearby shade, but most of your time engaging new arrivals will be in the open air.
- Good to bring: comfy shoes, water, and protection from the sun (eg. sunscreen, umbrella, etc).
- First Aid is the initial point of contact for participants who need help with a medical issue. Volunteers dispense supplies, and alert on-call staff in the event of more serious issues.
- Burners in this role provide assistance appropriate to their background, training, and competency. You will not be expected to provide care you are not equipped to give. When you aren’t sure what to do, your job will be to bring the situation to the attention of trained staff and assist as directed from there.
- Volunteers with CPR training are preferred for this role, though they are not strictly required.
- Good to bring: something to do in case your shift is quiet, comfortable clothing.
- Other than burning art, Lamplighters are one of the oldest traditions in the burn community. Volunteers in this role hang lamps at night to help designate paths and light people’s way, and recover them in the morning so they can be refilled and put out again at night.
- This role involves carrying modest weight, in the form of lanterns, around the space established for the event. Some Lamplighter departments, but not all, provide robes to their volunteers to wear during their shifts. Morning shifts are more likely to involve a greater degree of sun exposure than evening ones. Both shifts involve a fair amount of walking, or whatever your normal form of conveyence is.
- Lamplighter shifts begin at the barn behind Volunteer HQ.
- Good to bring: comfortable shoes, sun protection for early shifts.
- Volunteering with Leave No Trace involves picking up MOOP (Matter Out Of Place), with a focus on high traffic public spaces within the burn. While all burners take responsibility for MOOP, they can’t catch everything.
- You’ll be provided with MOOP bags, a trash picker (a kind of long-armed arcade-claw, to keep you from having to bend over too much), and directed towards a space or route to clean up.
- You should expect to be on your feet (or other base mode of conveyance) and under the open sky during your shift, so plan accordingly.
- Shifts begin and end at Volunter HQ, at the small stage in the front field.
- Good to bring: comfortable shoes, sunscreen/big hat, positive attitude
- Parking volunteers direct vehicle traffic to ensure an orderly parking process for burners entering and exiting the event. You’ll help people park their cars so that they avoid parking anyone in (including themselves), and maximize the efficiency of all those cars leaving at the end of the event, regardless of the weather and the number of vehicles trying to go home.
- You’ll be on your feet and under the open sky. Getting dressed up can help your shift go by easier: for you, your fellow volunteers, and the people you’re helping. But it’s not manditory, and your department might (no guarantees!) have fun things for you to put on to support the vibe.
- Parking shifts meet at the Parking tent in the front field. Shift Leads should be comfortable with the strong possiblity of having to use a handheld radio as part of their shift.
- Good to bring: comfortable shoes, sunscreen/big hat and-or umbrella/raincoat, and water– parking can be surprisingly thirsty work.
- There is a required meeting for all volunteers with this department. Please come to Volunteer HQ at 7pm, on the day of your shift, to attend.
- When art gets burned, we set up a burn perimeter: a space around the art that is free of any observers. Volunteers with this department establish and maintain the burn perimeter, to keep the community safe while they enjoy the art. You’ll stand between the art and the crowd, making sure that people don’t cross the perimeter and get too close to the fire. In the extremely rare event that someone chooses to cross the perimeter and doesn’t willingly return outside of it, volunteers in this role work to stop them as quickly as possible and escort them away from the area.
- This role involves maintaining focus on the people around you for multiple hours alongside other volunteers. You should expect to stand throughout your shift. You won’t be close enough to the burn to be in danger, but exposed skin and synthetic fabrics may get warm enough to be very uncomfortable. You’ll probably want to make sure you’re wearing natural fibers that cover most of your body.
- There is a required orientation for first time Sanctuary volunteers. It will be held on Friday at 1pm, at the Sanctuary tent. This orientation is strongly encouraged for returning volunteers.
- Sanctuary volunteers welcome burners in need of a quiet, calm space away from the light, sound, and social stress of the larger burn environment. Sanctuary is a place set aside to allow burners to engage challenging emotions, thoughts, and experiences, whether that means processing through them, recovering from them, or both.
- Burners in this role provide peer-to-peer support that enables that work to happen. This can include (but is not limited to) helping participants to gain mental and emotional groundedness, helping to clarify confusing or complicated issues or problems, and helping to brainstorm approaches to challenging situations. Sanctuary volunteers act as helpers and assistants. They are not therapists or life coaches; sanctuary work is done with the understanding that the primary healer and leader is the person who owns the issue.
- People who find it uncomfortable to be around the distress of other people, or to sit with problems without “solving” them may find Sanctuary to be one of the most challenging volunteer departments. Emotional, cultural, and situational sensitivity are assets in Sanctuary volunteering, as are good listening skills. Staying calm in high energy situations, without the need to make the situation calm, is another valuable quality in this role. While you are not a medic or working First Aid, volunteers in this role make sure that participants are drinking water and physically comfortable so they can focus on the intangible issues that brought them to Sanctuary.
- Volunteering with Sanctuary involves working in the Sanctuary tent, so unlike a lot of other departments you don’t need to worry as much about exposure to sun or rain. You may wish to bring a blanket or other warm clothing during night shifts, since working with this department almost by definition involves long periods of sitting or relaxing. There is no dress requirement for this department. Keep in mind that you may be talking to people who are having a tough day, and consider leaving your more conceptually challenging burn costumes for another time.
- The Sanctuary tent is located behind the First Aid school bus in front field.
- Good to bring: comfortable clothes and blankets, coloring books or other calming, time-passing activities, water.
Volunteering with this department requires training, received remotely before the event. More information on pre-event training can be found on the Rangers sign-up page.
- Rangers are burners who volunteer as a non-confrontational community resource, to assist other participants in burning their best burn, and trying to help them solve their own problems. Rangers are not cops, not security, and not in charge. New folks who are excited to try to assist others, and be the calmest person in the space, are always welcome!
- All Rangers should download and read the 2019 Constellation Ranger Manual, as this is a key part of training: https://tinyurl.com/y6f2eojl . Even if you’ve read prior versions, please do download and read this one, as it contains some changes and updates.
- Everyone you see at the event helping Constellation happen– the people who check your ticket at Gate, the Rangers you see on walkabout, the Department Leads talking on radios and riding golf carts– is a volunteer. Volunteering is part of burning. It’s one of the ways that we become participants rather than consumers during the event. Most of those volunteers take one or two shifts throughout the burn to gift their time and effort to the community, as just one of the many ways that they help create the burn with the wider community. Volunteer Coordination exists to help burners find their place in making the burn happen.
- As a volunteer in this role, you’ll help burners looking to volunteer to find the departments and shifts that best meet their skillset, schedule, and goals for the burn. You’ll also assist with the ongoing task of identifying and fulfilling the changing volunteer needs of each department throughout the event, and distribute volunteering supplies, like badges, emergency sunscreen, and other items of necessity.
- Most jobs with Volunteer Coordination happen at Volunteer HQ, the smaller of the two stages on the burn field, with a permanent roof. Because of this, bringing protection from the sun or rain is less of an issue when compared to many other departments. Volunteering here often involves a lot of standing or sitting, but you can also be out and about in the burn if that’s more your style.
- Most volunteer tasks involve at least a little bit of engagement with people, either giving out info to curious burners or encouraging people to sign up for needed shifts. While absolutely not a requirement, if you enjoy helping people find their “space”, Volunteer Coordination may be the department for you.
- Shifts with Volunteer Coordination start at Volunteer HQ, on the small stage in the front (aka burn) field.
- Good to bring: protection from sun/rain if you’d like to be a “roving recruiter”, your rad self.
- Constellation loves volunteers so much that we made a whole department about it. Volunteer Appreciation distributes drinks, snacks,and other miscellaneous items to volunteers on shift, while also preparing meals in the NoVA (Neighborhood of Volunteer Appreciation) kitchen.
- During your shift you may be involved with prep, cooking, and/or cleanup on the kitchen side, or bringing treats to volunteers on their “home turf” at Parking, Gate, First Aid, or anywhere else that volunteers are getting things done. Volunteer Appreciation is a great fit for people who communicate gratitude and kindness through acts of service and gift-giving. Kitchen skills are welcome, but they’re not necessary. We’re all about burners who want to let other people know that their contributions and investment in the community we create are sincerely valued and appreciated.
- Volunteers with this role should anticipate being on their feet, either helping in the staff kitchen or traveling around the burn with snacks, beverages, and other useful items to give to other on-duty volunteers. Because if the likelihood of being within our kitchen for at least part of your shift, shoes are required for this job. Minimal clothing is a requirement for being in the kitchen. Being covered up in a more general way, in case of grease spatter or contact with hot food/water, is highly encouraged. Long sleeves or outsized, flowing clothing is a kitchen fire hazard, so please leave those items at your camp.
- Volunteers should report to the Neighborhood of Volunteer Appreciation, located behind the large stage in the front field, to start their shifts.
- Good to bring: comfortable shoes, clothing that doesn’t lay too far away from your body as you move.
- Guardians monitor the entrance to the burn to ensure that burners aren’t entering the event during off-Gate hours. Guardians calmly and firmly let people know that as much as we wish we could let them come in, we can’t. While we hate being serious about this rule, we are really serious about it.
- Being comfortable with saying “no” repeatedly, without escalating an interaction, is a useful skill in this role. Leads will be on-call if you need assistance with someone during your shift.
- Guardians meet for their shift near the front of the property, in the open space between Mama and Papa Zen’s house and the nearby barn. Their shifts are in the same location as Gate.
- Most Guardian shifts are at night, and you might want to bring a warm jacket or other appropriate clothing. If you’re doing a day shift, the area usually has pretty good tree cover, and will likely have a pavilion for extra rain and sun protection. That being said, bring sunscreen and/or other appropriate protective gear to take care of yourself while on your shift. You’ll be able to sit for most of your shift, so don’t worry if standing for a period of time is an issue.
- At least one volunteer will need to monitor the radio and communicate over it when necessary. Informal training in radio use and protocol can be provided onsite; the only requirement is that at least one person during your shift be comfortable with using it.
- Good to bring: warm clothing or sun protection, depending on your shift. Something fun to do that still lets you be aware of your surroundings. Water is always a good call as well.
- Volunteers in this role help make sure that the on-site fireworks rigging, which prepares the fireworks that get set off during the nighttime art burns, are done in a safe and secure environment. You’ll notify other burners of the rigging area so that the fireworks can be set up undisturbed.
- Burners who enter the rigging area tend to do so accidentally, so this is a fairly low-intensity role compared with its impact on the safety of the burn. Despite the word “security” in the title, you don’t have to be tough or a jerk. You’re just making sure people know where they shouldn’t be while fireworks are being worked on.
- Like many other volunteer roles at Constellation, you’ll be exposed to the elements during your shift. You’ll probably be stationary for most of it, but depending on the needs of your department lead, you may be dissuaded from sitting while you’re volunteering.
- Fireworks rigging will be done in the front field. You can report straight there, or come to nearby Volunteer HQ if you need pointed in the right direction.
- Good to bring: water, sun/weather protection, a chair (with the understanding that you may not be able to use it).
If you have questions about any of the above teams, or are curious whether a particular team or position is a good fit for you, please contact the Sphere Leads. Contact info for event leads can be found here.
If you’re not sure who to email, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll direct you to the right team.
At this time, we are not tracking Constellation 2019 volunteer hours for purposes of reserve tickets. Current recipients of reserve tickets include event producers, sphere leads, department leads, art grant recipients, and members of the board.