Theme Camps are BRILLIANT! Let’s just agree to agree on that one. But have you spared a thought for the phenomenal work that goes into making these dreams (and nightmares) real for you at Seed? Fundraising is a massive part of it, and fundraising season is hot to trot as we get closer to the real business of Burning Seed.
Galah went behind the scenes with three of Seed’s Theme Camps — Swing Dog Circus, Kamp Kraken and the Dirty Birds — to find out what it really takes to create so much awesome and put the FUN in FUNdraising! Yeah! So corny right?!
Most Theme Camps start pretty small – groups of friends become groups of groups of friends and before anyone realises HOLD ON THIS IS MASSIVE, HOW DID IT GET THIS EFFING BIG?
For instance, the now 40-50 strong uber-collective Swing Dog Circus began around four years ago when two groups of couch-surfers found each other at Seed.
CK Vibes, one of the now 15 core SDC crew, says she and a few mates from Sydney found themselves camped next to Monkey and a few of his mates from Adelaide way back then.
“We just ended up hanging out during that whole week at Seed and realised that there was more we wanted to do together — Monkey and his electro swing shenanigans, and me and my mates from Sydney on the circus stuff. So we made a plan to come back the following year and Swing Dog Circus was born.”
While talent and chutzpah will get you so far, it takes more to make a Theme Camp hum — as much as we may not like to admit it, money does help when it comes to some of the barer essentials.
“Swing Dog Circus did a fundraiser on Pozible in 2013, but we didn’t go crazy — we kept our goal achievable, just $1000 and we made it, just for some of the basic kit we needed for camp infrastructure,” says CK. “We wanted to go a bit better in 2014 so upped the goal to $1500 that year and again we made that too.”
Timing is important: Dirty Birds’ Jeremy and Leanna say organising for Seed is a year-round gig, and fundraising plays a critical role in the planning.
“Mamma bird says always remember to start your burn prep early, cause nothing sucks like trying to build that whizzmatron thingy idea you had for the burn, in the last goddamn week!” says Jeremy.
“Having our Dirty Birds scattered from Newcastle to Wagga to Melbourne takes some organization. We have a kick ass crew that gets together regularly to make sure the planets align.”
Release the Kraken
“All theme camps do it differently,” says Phoebe from Kamp Kraken. “But everyone has to fundraise in the lead-up to Seed in order to build infrastructure and enable creative ideas to come into being.”
Like the Doggies and the Birds, Kraken has evolved over the years from a small group of mates who went to Rainbow, to a 60-person strong theme camp that attends several festivals annually.
“We are a collection of eccentrics, creatives, misfits & lost souls,” says Phoebe. “Like the Burner community at large, Kamp Kraken is full of smart, creative, generous-hearted people. So many people contribute their skills and energy to Kraken in the lead-up to Seed, which is good because there is a sh*tload to do!”
“Kamp Kraken has definitely grown a few more tentacles lately. As our dreams and creative ideas have expanded, so has our capacity to deliver on those dreams. I think we are getting a bit more efficient each year. We have crew meetings every couple of months, and we split into teams to get things done. We can’t wait to unleash this year’s host of ideas onto the paddock!”
All three Theme Camps have now graduated to the next level of FUNderaising, with all three KICKING ASS with some of the best party fundraisers seen anywhere on this planet or the next.
“It’s lots more work, of course,” says Swing Dog’s CK. “Party fundraisers take a lot more planning — getting a location, finding licenced security, working out the decor, setting up a ticketed event, sorting out payments and budgets, logistics of set-up and pack day, organising performers and DJs, food plus drinks etc.”
The trick is to stay focused on what makes your Camp special. “Let it grow organically, also think about why you’re doing it. It really is like organising a mini theme camp for the night,” CK says.
Dirty Birds agree. “Choose a theme or gift and stick to it. Focus your energy on making one or two gifts great. Give generously and let your freak flag fly high!”
And Phoebe of Kraken says “When you are starting out it makes sense to take one or two things and do them really well, rather than trying to do too many things half-arsedly. Also check the Seed and Theme Camp facebook pages to get a sense of what people are doing in the lead up to Seed – you’ll always find support. Burners love helping newbies!”
These party fundraisers are also seeing increasing cross-camp burner participation, with Dirty Birds slapshots showing up at Swing Dog’s party, the Orphanage showing up at Dirty Birds and Onur’s Bacon Emporium showing up everywhere! Middle Eastern Mafia and Kraken both have fundraisers coming up this month so get along and show your support!
SOME TOP TIPS FOR FUNDRAISING
- Have a good base structure and a do-ocracy — ideas need action
- Reliable crew is fundamental!
- Find your niche — do what you wanna, ride with it and watch it grow
- Never think you can’t do it — you can!
- Check when other theme camps in your city are fundraising before setting your date to avoid event clashes
- Get a stellar team of people together to put the event on! Many hands…