Centre Camp Café

Center Camp at night. Black Rock City, 2011. Photo by lemur2.

Center Camp at night. Black Rock City, 2011. Photo by lemur2.

Centre Camp Café. noun:
One of the three sanctioned places on playa that you can spend money, Centre Camp serves café style drinks 24 hours a day for the entire length of the burn. Even while the man is burning there’s a few dedicated volunteers pushing coffee, chai latte, and lemonade.
Whether or not you agree with Centre Camp Café being a legitimate exception to the no commerce rule, you’ll find it does fill it’s role as gathering place for the community with a certain style, and it’s a lovely place to sit and watch the crazy and the beautiful go by.

Tips for your coffee run.
Don’t jump the line. It’s so rude, and you throw away the chance to make friends with the people around you.
Make friends with the people around you. You are at Burning Man for F sake, smile and say, “Hello, how’s your burn?”
Bring your own cup.
Tip your server.

~Shenanigans


CENTER CAMP, –PROPER NOUN, All communities need a central gathering place. In historic times, a town green provided a place to meet, share and graze the livestock. Black Rock City is no different (especially if you include people in animal costumes). You will find Center Camp where the two great arms of the curved temporary city meet, facing into the heart of Burning Man where an open expanse ofplaya surrounds the effigy.

Center Camp is a massive shade structure — the official website claims it is “largest temporary freestanding tensile shade structure in the world” — topped with flags that add visibility in the high desert winds. It is one place in the city where you can guarantee finding someone else awake at any time of day or night.

A performance inside Center Camp. Black Rock City, 2007. Photo by Elaine.

A performance inside Center Camp. Black Rock City, 2007. Photo by Elaine.

Center Camp is a favorite place to get out of the heat & enjoy entertainment of all kinds. It has formal spaces for music, spoken word & other art but often plays host to spontaneous performances by creativeparticipants seeking a ready audience. It is a refreshing place to stay out of the sun, and its lights and promise of relaxed human company are a beacon at night.

The lexicographer often wonders whether Center Camp exists partly as a set of training wheels for ardent consumerists, terrified at the prospect of an entire week without anywhere to spend money on a morning latte.

For more entries in A BURNER LEXICON, visit http://kitoconnell.com/lexicon/

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