Welcome to Tabula Rasa: An Afterburn Project


The focus of Tabula Rasa is the creation of an empty slate. We ask each participant to release their expectations, and focus their intentions on three of the ten principles gifted to the regional network by Larry Harvey:

  • Participation: “Our community is dedicated to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or the society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.”
  • Communal Effort: “Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.”
  • Radical Self-reliance: “Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise, and rely on his or her [or their] inner resources.”

In the spirit of Participation, there will be no spectators. Every participant will be expected to WORK in some capacity. Participants not already working with a department or art project will be given the choice to sign up as “Pirates” or “Ninjas” and assigned as needed as the event gets built, operates, and closes down. Every participant will be expected to do LNT (Leave No Trace) of their own space and join in the efforts of providing LNT for the property.

In the spirit of Communal Effort, participant ticket prices will cover the costs of basic infrastructure only. In order to maintain financial transparency and sustainability of this experiment, the event budget is designed to be “net zero” with no room for anything superfluous; only the basic necessities.

Continuing in the spirit of Communal Effort, large art and civic projects, infrastructure builds, site prep and site teardown will be the responsibility of the community. The land will be cleared to a reasonable expectation prior to the event. Any additional land clearing, trimming, mowing, or site improvements will be the responsibility of participants who will be given access to the property on work weekends prior to the event. From an organizational standpoint, participants are encouraged to contact the event’s Department of Public Works (DPW) if they’d like to get involved with these efforts.

In the spirit of Radical Self-Reliance, participants are responsible for themselves, which includes basic concerns such as adequate work attire (closed toe work boots are recommended), basic first aid necessities such as band aids and sunscreen, and basic insect treatments such as bug spray and itch relief especially for the fire ants on property. There will be no other warnings about this well-known issue that affects most outdoor land in this part of our state. This is not a beach or park. Please prepare accordingly.

While we may scale on-site medical services to the level provided in 2017 based on ticket sales, prepare for limited on-site medical services. Bring a first aid kit. Pace yourself. Know your limits. Bringing in the outside medical team we had last year costs more than the property rental and event insurance combined. If we can practice Radical Self-Reliance, that’s more money that can go back to art.

Just like at Burning Man, participants are directed to bring all water necessary for drinking, cooking, and bathing for the duration of their stay. If participants are interested in forming an “Ice Camp” for on-site ice distribution, please contact Burnt Oranges to discuss your plan.

The event will provide basic portable restrooms for participants, who are asked not to deface them in any way, to help keep them sanitary, and bring additional paper products as desired to their own level of expectation.

Each regional burn is an experiment in temporary community, and after a decade of iteration at AfterBurn, several things are evident:

  • Our community has changed dramatically with a complete change in the board of directors, event leads, and participation – most of which has occurred within the last 18-24 months.
  • Expectations created by previous iterations created a non-sustainable culture in the production of the event, staffing of the event, and the budget for the event.
  • Volunteer involvement (which we term participation) has dropped to an average of 25%, which is similar to most other regional burns.

Last year, Burnt Oranges brought AfterBurn: Restoration to a new property and in the spirit of the principle of gifting, provided anyone who wanted to participate the opportunity to attend as a gift.

Participants were not required to pay for attendance, but given the option to donate to the event. This yielded donations of nearly $9,000. The event was produced at a cost of nearly $70,000. This was never meant to happen again.

AfterBurn: Restoration issued nearly 600 tickets, and 463 of those were scanned. We registered 125 volunteers who assisted with the event; just under the average of 25% seen across the regional network. For these events to have a sustainable future, that must change.

For this year’s event, we are attempting something different: 100% participation.

To facilitate this goal, the Burnt Oranges board actually began the planning process prior to our participation at the Southeast Regional Network Roundtable in March.

Realizing that five board members can’t – and shouldn’t – be responsible for running the vast majority of a ~500 person participation-based event while also working to further the mission of an art-based nonprofit corporation, we started building the framework to hand over event operations to the community in a way we hoped would be easily documented for future participants.

We informed the community of the plan and solicited volunteers. Twenty (20) amazing people stepped up. We asked for members of the community to indicate their interest in leadership roles, a request that didn’t seem too far-fetched considering how relatively new the current board is. Another set of twenty (20) people stepped up. Some have realized they were in over their heads or life obligations got in the way, which whittled the group of leads down to roughly a dozen hard-working people. Board members took various departments under their wing for support and guidance, but allowed the team leads to work on developing their departments, budgets, and infrastructure (radios & carts) needs.

This didn’t work as well as we’d hoped.

Realizing that we were once again back in the role of producing the event with limited support and now limited time, we decided to streamline the event and take it back to its roots and break it down in an effort to build it back up.

Burnt Oranges’ board of directors enacted an event operations committee in July that included all departmental leads, co-leads, the BOD, and any invited advisors. The structure of the event will be as follows:

  • Event Operations: There are five board members who will be running this event, with one BODOD (board of director on duty) at any given time. There are no event leads. BODOD can be reached on the radio at any time with the callsign AFTERBURN.
  • Event Departments: Some departments such as Sanctuary have been handed back to the community. Most departments have seen some level of restructuring to facilitate more do-ocracy and less Burnt Oranges responsibility. Each department has a board member acting as their facilitator. Ultimate responsibility for each department falls upon the lead / co-leads of that department as they have participated in the do-ocracy of the event by deciding to gift their time and energy in a leadership role. If you’d like to participate in the communal effort of the event by joining a department, you are encouraged to do so.
  • Event Participation: Participants who aren’t on a department roster will be given the opportunity to join two different teams – pirates and ninjas – who will be assigned to various tasks, roles, and departments as necessary. One shift you might be doing LNT of the property, on a different shift you might find yourself stocking wood piles or building an art project. It’s like roulette, but you win every time. We will be emailing everyone who purchases a ticket regarding shift sign-ups. Participants will be required to sign up for THREE (3) hours. Each shift will have a shift lead, or if you’re already on a team a department lead who will sign you in and out. Pirate and Ninja leads will be available at any time via the Participation Station at the main operations compound. Want some extra credit? Find a lead and get involved.
  • Event Art: We will be announcing the updated art grant program soon, but it will be run with an effort towards being smarter about expenses. Every dollar spent will be accounted for and published for the event’s participants to see. If requesting Burnt Oranges grants or Burnt Oranges facilitated community fundraising, each department, project, or funding program will be expected to provide detailed accounting of their financial needs and submit to the Treasurer of Burnt Oranges, Inc.. No unapproved expenses will be reimbursed. We would prefer to foster an art culture where people build art because they want to build art, not because they expect reimbursement for making art. This helps us to avoid issues that have come up in the past, specifically ownership concerns and grants being issued then art not appearing. Additional details will be provided by the end of this week.

We understand that this is different for those of you who may have been attending for years. Based on the size and experience of the community who has offered to help, we feel this is a necessary change to make this and future events more manageable. It may feel like taking a step backwards, but we believe we need to step back in order to take the right step forward as the previous structure was completely unsustainable. If you think we are severely misguided in our plan, please take a moment to recognize that this event plan has been signed off on by our Burning Man Regional Contact and has been granted Official Event Status by the BMORG Regional Network.


Tickets are $90 for adults, $45 for ages 3-17, and free for those under 3.


For Mandarin donors, 2017 volunteers, and registered art projects and theme camps, you will be receiving an email with your ticket purchase codes. You do not need to worry about rushing to purchase your tickets as your tickets are reserved, just make sure to purchase them more than 24 hours prior to the event as ticket sales will close automatically at that point.

General on-sale will be October 5, 2018 at noon. There will be 500 tickets available. Each order may include four (4) adult tickets and an unlimited number of tickets for those 17 and under.

Ticket sales are handled through Brown Paper Tickets. If you need to transfer a ticket, change the name to match your ID that you’ll be presenting upon entry, or discuss billing concerns, that is handled through their customer service department at 1-800-838-3006 or support@brownpapertickets.com.

If your ticket concern is regarding purchase codes for the reserved groups listed above, please contact Burnt Oranges.

If you need reduced price tickets, please contact Burnt Oranges.

Event Details

Gates open at 8AM Friday, November 9, 2018.

The event officially ends at midnight Sunday, November 11. Anyone staying beyond noon on Monday, November 12 will be expected to be actively assisting in event tear down and LNT.

For those eligible for Worker Access Passes, entry will be available Thursday, November 8, 2018. You will be contacted regarding eligibility or you may email the board to explain your need for a Worker Access Pass.

The event will be in the same location as last year:

25 Sand Lake Road
Bartow, FL 33830

If you have event announcements you would like shared via this website, our Facebook Page, and email newsletter, please submit it to Burnt Oranges.

We look forward to burning with you!

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