A note about 2019...

A note about 2019...

This previous year was an absolute banner year for Gravity. We hit some incredible milestones:

  • We grew in size to 85 Gravitrons from over 7 countries

  • Upped our sound system and stage setup game significantly

  • Hosted a couple of internationally-recognized artists on our stage

  • Achieved a 6-year goal of a shade sail fabric architecture

  • Bar became so popular that we ran out of drinks within a couple hours every day

  • Improved our on-playa organization with public boards and operations manuals

  • Upgraded storage and logistics with BMorg storage container that doesn’t have to be hauled to and from San Francisco every burn

  • And so much more…

In 2018. we rocked and offered an amazing experience for the playa at Gravity and really made a name for ourselves. People recognized us and came back with their friends. We always had a healthy amount of visitors enjoying our offerings.

However, based on the feedback we’ve gotten from members, leads, and even BM.org, there were a few areas in which we can improve: focusing on quality and checking some of our overreaching ambitions.

Basically, we tried to do a little too much, stretched the camp somewhat thin, and fell down a couple times. This isn’t a bad thing, since the only way to achieve greatness is to push beyond the boundaries and experiment whenever possible.

BM Placement informed us recently that Gravity has been put in Limited Standing and that our Direct Group Sales ticket allocation would be reduced this year.

Here’s the pertinent information from the email (complete version at the bottom w/ all criteria) --

We regret to inform you that your camp is in Limited Standing with the Burning Man Placement Team. Based on feedback from the Placement Team and the community at large, your camp did not achieve good standing.

As such, your camp will receive half of your camp’s otherwise allotted number of tickets for the Direct Group Sale (DGS) for Burning Man 2019. We know you worked very hard on your camp and recognize how difficult it is to receive this news.

Good standing is determined by seven criteria, which we gave details about in the 2018 Placement Newsletter #11 back in August.

Specifically, the Placement Team is concerned about:

Criteria #2 - The limited interactivity of your camp. If you have photos or videos to show you did the interactivity from your questionnaire, we'd appreciate seeing them.

Even though Placement did not tell us exactly why we were put in Limited Standing, we think it’s because we promised to host yoga, meditation, comedy shows, live painting on a more regular basis, and we only occasionally did. We also had to shut down our bar on Wednesday because we needed to have enough drinks for Thursday. There’s a chance people showed up to our camp ready for an event that was listed in the book, and it didn’t exist.

Lessons we can take out of this are:

  • Every Gravitron needs to feel like an owner/contributor of Gravity and its success or failure depends entirely on their involvement.

  • The camp needs to keep leadership and membership growth at a reasonable rate in order to provide the best experience to every Gravitron.

  • Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. If anything, under-promise and over-deliver.

  • Placement is holding camps more accountable, so we need to as well to ensure we are in good standing with BM in the future.

Everyone in the camp has heard us say that the only way Gravity can succeed is if every Gravitron is involved.

In 2019, Gravity is scaling back its ambitions of growth and world domination (still working on it tho ;))

Here are our goals and some updates for 2019 --

Establish and maintain a rational leadership ratio

Gravity has been a camp for 6 years, and in that time has had membership change in a fluid way. In retrospect we have found that a certain leadership ratio needs be maintained in order to provide the best possible experience for all members.

In past years where we feel the ratio worked well, it was around 1:5 - meaning 1 leadership role for every 5 members.

In 2018, we had a 1:9.5 ratio, which created too much work per lead role and made it harder for leads to connect personally with all members.

Maintain membership size and quality

Gravity is aiming to limit membership to around 40-50 members this year. This is to scale back on operations and to best deliver on the promises that we make to ourselves and playa participants.

To that end, former Gravity members are not going to be guaranteed a place in Gravity for 2019, as has been the case in the past. Each member will need to re-apply to become a Gravitron in 2019. This makes it even more important for you to step into a leadership role in order to guarantee your spot in Gravity.

In addition, Gravitrons will have only 1 official newbie invitation, that can be transferred to another member if you are not using it. Also we cannot guarantee that we will have enough spots for every invitee, as we want to stick to our membership goal.


We are very excited to have some Gravitrons who have been integral to the camp in past years becoming official leads in 2019, and some former leads coming back after taking a year off!

2019 Leads (so far)

Confirmed to be on the playa:

  • Jurawa Hallen

  • Kim Laporte Phaneuf

  • Oliver Colic

  • Amber Colic

  • Apollo Moreno

Definitely involved pre-playa, and hopefully joining us on the playa:

  • Vitaly Winter

  • Tyler Roberts

  • Stéphane Trudelle

If anyone wants to step up and help lead or take a more active role in something specific, please let us know. Growth and giving back is what it’s all about!

Former leads who will not be joining us this year (but we will be looking forward to having back in the future!):

  • Vitaliy Levit

  • Sarah Houston

  • Marie-Lou

  • Gaia Leblanc

  • Nico de Soto

Closing thoughts

It is up to each and every one of us to create the experience that we wish to have on the playa. We are a family and this year, we will be a smaller, tightly knit family co-creating an amazing experience for ourselves and the rest of the playa.

Let’s build a cosmically-delicious Gravity for 2019!

- Gravity Leadership