And now for an overdue check in on what’s up with Opulent Temple…
2014 saw us go big once again. We produced and gifted our 11th incarnation of the camp, doing so for our 7th time anchoring a corner spot. We built a new (partially) crowd funded DJ booth we called Armagan, aka OPod 3.0. We also built new 3D screens for visual mapping known in OT slang as the snowflake screens, new I-beams and support structure to put the raised stage platforms together, and a custom made 3 shower stall on a trailer. We moved warehouses, did upgrades on our fire effects manifold, built a paneled LED light effect DJ booth for indoor events, threw 16 fundraisers, and we bought a swing set. We also founded a new 501c non-profit organization called Sacred Dance Foundation to formalize with the IRS what we always been in action, a non-profit community, gifting an experience in the hopes it will do a small part to plant seeds of goodness in troubled times.
So yes, we’ve been extremely busy, expended a high amount of financial and personal resources last year to make it all happen and ended up with a considerable amount of debt. It took us quite a few events just to come back from that deficit so we head into this year’s burn needing a different and less risky experience. So, because of all that output last year, plus the fact our core team has never had a year since starting or joining OT where we haven’t produced a large sound camp, we decided this year to take a little easier. Unlike previous years, we don’t have our fixed stage this year. We never planned on having it for the reasons outlined above. It takes a massive coordinated group effort each year to raise enough funds to bring our production to the desert and I’m sure you know that we, like every other sound camp, do it all with only the support of our community, without any help from BMorg. We attempted to apply for a grant for our large-scale fabrication projects last year but were denied because sound camps and music are not considered art that the powers that be wish to support. While other art installation projects have access to almost $1 million in grant money, free tickets for crew and validation from BMorg, sound camps get no support even though we also contribute a highly interactive and memorable experience to tens of thousands of burners every night of the week at BM and beyond. It would be safe to say that sound camps play a big role in why many of the BRC population make the trek each year so the lack of tangible support from the organizers is disheartening. On that note, we also didn’t get placement for our camp this year. Our placement request was for our ‘base camp’ for most of our events, 3 mobile and 2 public happy hours at the camp with OT residents and guests playing on a smaller sound system in our shade area. We wanted this base camp for our mobile events to have a reserved spot so we had pre-event time to set up and access some early arrival tickets. We were told our camp is not ‘interactive’ enough since most of the events we’re doing are mobile. As a side note – we don’t want any part of the drama around this as we’ve already seen some postings circling around on the internet. We’re still going to be at BM, it just makes things harder for us than we hoped it would be. We had hoped that based on legacy and previous contribution we’d get placement, but we didn’t. We’re not trying to play the victim, it is what it is; we’re already well versed in being disappointed by decisions from BMorg and we choose to be there with open eyes. And for the record, their decision had nothing to do with MOOP.
So now the plan is to step back and have a different BM experience while still maintaining an OT presence and vibe in Black Rock City. There will still be a great OT camp that will be close to the many dance floors in the 10:00 and Esplanade vicinity, and as said – we’ll still do a number of events, but they just won’t take place in our own sound camp and dance floor. We’ll be announcing our events here in the coming weeks but definitely keep Wednesday night open for us with your creatively fabulous white attire for our annual Sacred Dance ‘White Party’, this year on the open playa, starting in the vicinity of inner playa, 4:00. Look for the crowd in white! We hope to enroll as many art cars as possible to link up and add to the epic party. Please contact us if your art car would like to join that sonic train and participate in the overall experience.
Thank you for the ongoing support to help us do what we do. Seems like the community based sound camps (in contrast to millionaire funded ones) are dwindling; many of the popular sound camps from years past will be absent this year: Roots Society, Osiris, Dancetronauts, Digital Apex. At this point we don’t really know year to year where the wind will blow us, but you can certainly bet whichever direction that is, we’ll be forging ahead with fire, beats, community and a mission, forever purposeful.
See you in the desert!