12985

Police Presence at Burning Seed 2017

There has been a lot of discussion around the increased police presence this year at Burning Seed, and we wanted to clarify the position of Burning Seed as well as the responsibilities of our community.

At Burning Seed, we encourage self-expression and provide participants a chance to escape from some of the constraints of the default world. Our event is an opportunity for our community to immerse themselves in art, performance, music, workshops and human connection. While our event is a chance to escape for many, we are still bound by and comply with all laws in Australia, including laws around the use of alcohol and illegal substances.

In the lead up to Burning Seed each year, we work closely with the police and have built a good relationship with them. The police have always attended Burning Seed and you’ll see them chatting to our community and watching the Effigy burn with us on the Saturday night. More importantly they are there to protect us and support the safety of our community while responding to any emergencies or situations that our community of volunteers cannot handle.

While the police have in the past set up breath testing both in and out of the event, the increased police presence this year and the searching of vehicles was a concern to many. We understand that a number of our community members were upset about their interactions with the police and our Sanctuary and PEER teams responded immediately by offering assistance to these individuals where required.

Hundreds of people donate their time every year to make Burning Seed an inclusive, exciting, welcoming, fun and safe event and we liaise with numerous outside agencies including medical professionals, security and the police. We would not be following the principle of Civic Responsibility if we did not put protections in place for our community, and this year the police continued to provide support for our event when we needed it.

On the subject of Civic Responsibility - all participants are expected to follow the Ten Principles of Burning Man. We had some reports of attendees booing police as well as police vehicles being vandalised on site - we do not endorse this type of behaviour and feel that it only serves to weaken our relationship with those tasked with keeping us safe. Burning Seed will be footing the bill for the damage caused to the police vehicles which could otherwise be used towards theme camp grants, art grants or infrastructure and we would encourage anyone with information about this to come forward. Please remember, our good relationships with local agencies (including law enforcement) has been key to the success of Burning Seed, and will continue to be a major factor in our success going forward.

Both during and after the event, we have been responding to enquiries from the media who are now asking questions about Burning Seed - most are intrigued as they had not heard of us up until now. You’ll most likely have seen some bad press because while we responded to the media, journalists will always write their own stories. It’s worth noting though that the incidents reported around drug confiscations were small (less than 1% of our community) and not reflective of Burning Seed as a whole.

You may have also read some of the discussions on the unofficial Facebook groups. Passionate discussion is what drives our community but this can also lead to speculation and misinformation such as our event location moving. While we have explored other locations in the past (mainly due to the flooding last year), there are no plans at this time to move Burning Seed from Matong State Forest. We have a strong relationship with the traditional landowners and local community and are involved in the local arts scene, helped plant thousands of trees through Red Earth Ecology and assisted NSW Forestry with weed control to name but a few of our contributions.

We can assure you that any changes to the way Burning Seed is run or to details of the event, including the location, will always be communicated via our official channels - the Burning Seed official Facebook page and the Burning Seed website. If it doesn’t originate from one of these channels, it’s not official.

Burning Seed this year was the best yet. Our community of participants and volunteer crews came together to help the event run smoothly and ensured it was a great success. We are blown away by the support, love and hard work from our community, artists, theme camps, crew and everyone that makes Burning Seed special.

Burn Bright

Police getting involved with the Burning Seed community. Photo by Haylin Waitere of Oasis Theme Camp

11344

Refunds update #6: 31 March 2017

Hey folks - we are so pleased to have some movement of funds at last! You've been so amazing! Thanks for sticking with us on this!!!

So... a significant, but by no means complete, amount of money has been returned to us from the insurance provider which means (and this is important to note) that by topping this amount up with our cash reserves, we can now begin the ticket refund process! (We promise we are not jumping the gun this time - it's really happening!)

So what's happening?

If you're in the majority of people who bought a ticket direct from the ticket provider (Quicket) you'll receive an email from Quicket in the next few days confirming the refund has been sent back to the account from which it came. As usual with electronic funds transfers, the refund will likely take 3-5 business days to land in your account, so please remain patient 🙂

'Unconventional' refunds

Approximately 5-10% of ticket holders will have circumstances that require manual processing i.e. you bought tickets from someone else (ticket transfer) or the bank account/credit card you purchased with has closed. We need to be rigorous in making sure we direct these manual refunds correctly so these will take a little longer and we will need you to work with us.

We are committed to clearing all refunds as quickly as possible and your patience is appreciated if you are in this group. We will contact anyone who we cannot refund directly.

Please see the ticket refund FAQ for full details and instructions on how we need to handle these refunds.

What are the “cash reserves”?

OK this is really important. Some of you may be asking "What? Reserve cash? Why didn't you pay us out of that before?"

Well, Burning Seed has been been working hard to put away a small amount of money each year to allow for pre-production costs that grow as the event grows, as well for unforeseeable circumstances like the proverbial “very rainy day”...

The cash we had in reserve alone wouldn't have been anywhere near enough for us to pay everyone back their refunds immediately. So we're using the portion of the insurance that has been returned to us together with what we have saved over the years to cover the cost of the refund. It's cleaned us out folks!

We're banking on the rest of the insurance monies coming in soon and of course we are banking on YOU wanting to come back to Seed in 2017!!

Using the savings was no small decision to make. We've thought long and hard about this. We considered staggering the refund process - that is, somehow prioritising refunds with what money we had received from the insurers.

But honestly this would have been an incredibly messy and potentially divisive approach. How would we choose who got refunded first? Too messy - that's why we've been pushing so hard for the insurance monies.

Everyone is a priority and we feel the right thing to do is what we've done - to wait until we had enough in the bank from the insurance to refund everyone's ticket.

But don't you need the reserves?

Well, yes of course we do. But with the portion of the insurance we've received and the reserves we have we're able (just) to cover the cost of all ticket refunds and we feel that's the priority right now.

It will mean that we cannot make any purchases until we have the rest of the insurance money in, and until we open ticket sales for 2017 (look out for this soon).

Another really important reason why we are using the reserve cash is to do with tax. Our tax year ends 31 March- like TODAY! Although we haven't received all the insurance money, there is a significant sum sitting in our account and if it stays there we could be liable for a pretty massive tax bill which would put us even further behind.

It's a no brainer. It's a much bigger risk for Seed to bear these tax costs and wait for the remainder of the insurance monies before we start the refunds than it is to deplete the cash reserve and get the payments to you underway. However, this is still a risk and it does leave us in a pretty precarious financial position.

How much has been returned and how much used from the reserve cash?

We'll break it all down for you in the regular annual financial statement which will be published in the next month or so once we've finalised the refunds and had time to do the work to complete the accounts.

More questions?

OK we know you have more questions - check out the ticket refund FAQ we have prepared which should hopefully answer most of them - if not then please email ticketing@burningseed.com and we'll do our best to help.

Once again folks - thank you so much for being such a cool crew. This kind of stuff can test any community in terms of their resolve, resilience and willingness to stick together and just wow did you pass with all the colours. We really love you for that.

Burn Bright!

11309

Refunds update #5: 10 March 2017

OK folks - so it does look like we may have jumped the gun a little with our last update at the end of January... Throughout this process of trying to get the refunds sorted, we've been mindful to be super careful about raising any expectations.... but we've also had to balance that with the need to let you know about any movement in the process.

Positive Signals

When we got positive and clear signals in January that the funds were indeed moving, and moving quickly, we just had to let you know. It's been 6 weeks now since we got that news and, if it wasn't already clear, we need to let you know now that there's been an unexpected delay. We're really, really sorry. This is a crazy complex issue and the TL:DR version is that there's a dispute within Lloyd’s of London, our insurer, as to the share of liability between two of their syndicate partners. We've been in touch with our broker almost daily and each time the message is that we're expecting this to be resolved soon.

Blue Chip Dispute

Now Lloyd’s of London is no bucket shop - it's a blue chip global insurer with a reputation they fiercely maintain. They're now addressing this partner dispute directly after our broker made an official complaint about the delay in payment. It is clear - and we can confidently say - that our broker, our underwriter and Lloyd’s of London all agree our claim is proper, documented and valid and needs to be paid. All these parties are confident full payment will happen - it just relies on when an agreement can be reached between these two syndicate partners at Lloyd’s of London.

Applying Pressure

Our underwriter is now putting pressure on the lead syndicate partner to pay us in full and then sort out the issue with the other syndicate partner. They say this is a highly unusual situation and that everyone all the way to Lloyd’s of London is doing what they can to resolve this dispute between the partners.

The Man, The Irony

It is kind of ironic that our little Burn is being pushed and pulled around the desks of City financiers on the other side of the world but there it is.  As mentioned, our broker is in touch with us almost daily on this and when we have any more concrete information to pass on we'll do that. For the time being, we're so, so grateful for your patience and understanding. We've never had to deal with an issue like this and while we're learning on the (volunteer) job, we're realising much of the solution lies outside of our control. We've done and we are doing all we can to get that cash back in your pocket.

Seed 2017 - a question for you

The delay with the refund is actually impacting Seed more deeply than we might have expected. We've been super conscious of getting the refund situation resolved and behind us before kicking off shenanigans for 2017, but we're getting to the point now where we have some critical dates we need to meet - so we have a question for you.... How do you feel about us pushing on with plans for Burning Seed 2017 in parallel with the refunds process? Does that feel OK?

Planning for Seed

We don't feel we can hold on for much longer - we have some key announcements and decisions to make around art, theme, tickets and new ideas on insurance (which will be tougher to get now) for 2017.

As a community we know we all want to start getting excited, getting involved and making plans for this year's event - as much as we can with this still hanging over us. One of the most urgent things we need to do is recruit, recruit, recruit for some lead positions on the core organising team. Whatever your skills, interests, experiences or preferences, we're looking for people to crew some of our team leadership positions including at Centre Camp, Comms, Kitchen, PEER, Rangers, Traffic and Mutant Vehicles! - if you're keen to get involved or find out more visit the website TODAY!

So let us know what you think. We'll keep posting updates on the refunds and we'll try and do that as regularly as makes sense.  Again, thank you folks for your incredible patience and understanding.

Burn Bright!

11250

SOME GOOD NEWS ON REFUNDS

Hey folks - some good news? Some GREAT news!! Our insurance refund is imminent! Huge, massive, colossal THANKS for your patience all the way through this difficult process!! 

Seriously - you've all been amazing - this was never going to be an easy thing for the (volunteer) crew to deal with but as a community you've been just incredible with your understanding and support.

Complex

As we've indicated in previous updates, the fact we had to cancel last year's event so close to the intended start date made submitting our claim quite complex and Christmas didn't help either - yeah thanks for nothing Santa...!

During the process, the insurance underwriters have had to review more than 1000 expenses across 80 separate categories, and they've been in constant contact with our finance and legal teams since the cancellation, back and forth to qualify, quantify and finalise the claim.

Finally!

We just got the news that we've ALL been waiting for - we have been informed that the underwriter has now finalised our claim, and we expect to have the funds in the Burning Seed bank account within  a couple of weeks to be able to start the refunds process.

Now, before we get too excited, this will still be a mammoth task and we want to get it 100% right first time - we've all waited this long so please, please, please maintain your patience and understanding for a couple more weeks.

What Happens Next?

OK so we wanted to let you know as soon as we knew - and now you know! We will be pushing out more information soon including a detailed outline of how the refund will come back to you together with a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document to help navigate any issues that might come up along the way.

What we can say now is that for the majority of people the process will be quick and painless - a direct refund to the card/account from which you paid. For others (for instance those relatively few who transferred tickets) it's a bit more tricky and it could take a little bit longer to finalise. We want to get it 100% right so please bear with us.

Once we've closed off the refund process we'll be able to finalise accounts for the year and get on with releasing the financial summary for 2016 (the year that never was) so we can start fresh for 2017  (the year that will be twice as good).

Questions?

OK, we're more than happy to answer questions now but we would ask that you hold fire until we get more information out to you. If you have a seriously burning question that cannot wait until we push out more comms in the next few weeks then please email: feedback@burningseed.com

Burn Bright!

11227

CRITICAL VACANCIES: SEED 2017

Hey gang - it may seem like early days, and we still have many loose ends to tie on last year's waterlogged non-event (rest assured we're still working crazy hard to finalise the insurance and get the refunds process underway) but the annual march to Seed goes on and we need NOW to recruit for some critical vacancies - you keen?

You all make Burning Seed what it is - Seed is 100% participant driven and our collective effort and expression creates that magical few days in the forest that we know will be twice as good in 2017 right!? But it doesn't happen overnight - dozens of volunteers dedicate thousands of hours year round on the infrastructure that supports Seed - everything from finance, to training, to comms, to ticketing to making sure participants have a decent place to poop.

We're recruiting now urgently for some critical roles to ensure we get back to that Paddock in 2017 - please check out the role outlines below and consider joining one of our Seed Teams to help build and maintain the city and services we need!

There's more information on the website and there are team lead briefings happening soon including one this week in Melbourne on Thursday night if you want to talk to a face to find out more.

Rangers Leads

We are looking for veteran Rangers to step up and take on some extra responsibility to help lead the Rangers team this year. Have you been a Dirt Ranger for a few years but never taken the next step? Get in touch with us, we'd love to hear from you. We've got perks and a heap of support to help you on your way! We'll have a position description handy shortly, but in the meantime feel free to get in touch to express interest.

Finance officer

Are you a numbers nerd? The Finance Officer oversees the financial operations of the organisation and ensures timely and accurate financial reports and practices. You will have the support and mentorship of the existing Finance Officer to transition into the role smoothly. Check out the position description to see if this role is for you! We’re also looking for general numbers people/helpers so if you’ve got the skills let us know!

Ticketing co-lead

Want to contribute year round, then have no responsibility during the event so you can let your hair down? Then the Ticketing 2ic role might be for you! You will work closely with the current Ticketing lead to work through the Ticketing process. Check out the position description and if it works for you, register!

PEER 2IC

Psychological and Emotional Emergency Response (PEER) Rangers are a specialist arm of the Red Earth Ranger Team. PEERs aim to respond to and manage situations during the event that may require a specialised person with specialist skills and training. The PEER Rangers Lead is seeking a suitably qualified and experienced 2IC for this important team. Check out the role description on the website and register if you've got the skills and the will!

Leave No Trace 2IC

The Leave No Trace team returns the Paddock to its former glory and keeps a record of how well each theme camp upholds the LNT principle. They are passionate about educating our community on how we can leave no trace of our activities and festivities at Matong State Forest. In doing so the Leave No Trace team supports participants to practice self-reliance and civic responsibility.  We are looking for a Leave No Trace (LNT) 2iC to support the LNT lead in 2017. Position description will be up soon, holla if you think you’re right for the role!

Sanitation co-lead

The Sanitation Lead is seeking a Partner in Poo to help ensure our 80+ executive thrones around the Paddock are functional, full of water, clean and stocked with paper twice a day. Check out the role description on the website before assuming anything about this role - there are serious perks for Sanitation crew and you'll be the King/Queen of them all! 

 

Have you got the skills and drive to take on one of these roles? We need you! Fill out a registration form which can be found on the Burning Seed website here, and our Crew Wranglers will get in touch!

Not sure if a team lead role is right for you, but you’re interested to find out more? Come along to one of our Team Lead Information Sessions! We're running a Melbourne session on:

THURSDAY 19 JANUARY from 7-8pm at Brunswick Green, 313 Sydney Road, Brunswick, Victoria

and Sydney and Canberra sessions are being organized soon. Come along and meet current team leads to hear more about these critical roles.

See you there! Burn Bright x

 

 

Yes - it's the same graphic we use year after year after year... if you hate that, and you're a graphic designer, JOIN THE CREW!

11215

Some questions on refunds – Jan 7, 2017

Hey Burners, 

As promised, we've answered some of the questions brought to our attention in regards to your ticket refunds. We hope this helps address your concerns, and we hope that we can update you again soon with good news. 

 


Why do we still not have our ticket money refunded?

Some have expressed their feelings that the process has taken quite a while, however it’s moved as fast as we expected it to.

As the event was cancelled so close to its start date, submitting our claim became quite complex. Our underwriters have had to review over one thousand expenses across 80 categories individually, and they have had to remain in constant contact with our finance and legal teams since the event’s cancellation. As mentioned in our previous update, reviewing these expenses has now been completed and we are waiting on our underwriters to confirm the agreed amount.

 

Some people have also asked if Burning Seed can refund the tickets now while waiting for the claim to be settled.

This has never been an option for us. Approximately half our budget (and a large portion of ticket sales) had been spent by the time we cancelled, on expenses that needed to be secured well in advance. The safety net of funds that Burning Seed has built up over the last few years is also not enough to secure refunds for all ticket holders, hence why taking out cancellation insurance was the most appropriate option.

 

Why haven't we received more solid info and more constant updates?

Working with an insurance company on a claim like this is really tricky, and we’ve had to be extremely careful with what we say. It means that until we are given updates in writing from our underwriters, we can't give any specific information on the status of the claim and we certainly can’t speculate on the outcome. Legally, we can only provide the confirmed details we are provided, or it could jeopardise our claim and your refunds. We’re sorry we haven’t been able to provide more information, but we have to play by the rules and this is just the nature of this kind of work.

 

When can we expect to have an answer?

While we've heard from our underwriters that our prospects are positive, we're still unsure on when exactly we'll know the status of this claim. We can confirm we’ve requested they give us a specific timeframe for this to be finalised so that we can forward on that information to the community.

We want our money back in our pockets as much as you do, and this process has been given our fullest attention. We're sorry that we can't speed up this process anymore.

 

What if I transferred my ticket to someone?

We've put together some info to help those of you who purchased tickets via the Quicket transfer system. We'll release this as soon as we know that refunds are certain.

 

Burn Bright )*(

11188

An Update on Ticket Refunds – December 5, 2016

Thank you so much for being patient while our insurance company processes our claim. This process has involved reviewing many hundreds of transactions, and has taken many hours of work from our finance and legal teams to ensure we get it right.

We have received some promising news from the insurance assessor today, who has now completed the assessment of our claim and is recommending that it be accepted. We hope to have formal confirmation from the underwriters any day now and we will let you know the minute we hear back.

We know you’ll still have questions around your tickets and refunds, including what the process is for ticket holders who had their ticket transferred to them via Quicket. We will be able to answer those in the coming weeks as we begin to know what our next steps should be.

Thanks again for your patience and understanding. We’ll continue to update you via email, our blog and on Facebook in the following weeks when we know what’s next.

 

Burn Bright  )’(

Burning Seed

11178

Update: 17 October 2016

An update on refunds

It’s been a couple of weeks now since the unfortunate cancellation of Burning Seed and we wanted to give you an update on the refunds process. Our claim is progressing with the insurance company and as directed by them, we are now collating all of our financial reports and out of pocket expenses as evidence. The insurance company will then need to process the documentation before they finalise our claim - this will most likely take some time. While it would be wrong of us to estimate when this may be, please be assured that we are moving the process along as quickly as possible.

What if I bought my ticket via the ticket transfer process?

We’ve had a number of questions on this and we are finalising the process for ticket transfer refunds. We will give you further information on this once we are in the position to process the refunds.

Can I roll over my ticket cost to next year?

There have been a number of comments where people have asked if they can roll over their ticket cost to next year. Unfortunately this would be quite complicated to administer and it’s easier for us to refund everyone and start fresh for Burning Seed 2017.

Thank You

We wanted to once again thank you the community, for your continued support, understanding and positivity. We have been amazed at how you have pulled together over the last few weeks - some of you have attended side burns while others have organised local get togethers and meet-ups - whatever you have done, it’s great to see you all burn in your own way.

We will update you further as we have more information.

Burn Bright  )’(

Burning Seed

11168

A word on side burns…

It's truly remarkable what a can-do crew can actually do when tested by adversity.

We've been blown away by the display of radical can-do happening throughout the community that would have been getting very wet and miserable by now had the gates been able to open for Seed this year. 

We've been hearing about a number of 'sideburns', 'plan Bs' and 'overflow' events being organised in line with the Ten Principles of Burning Man by local crews and theme camps, small events but still incredibly tough to pull together in such a short time - it's a fantastic testament to the resilience, capability and imagination of this wonderful community.

The crew at Seed wants to thank everyone - local organisers, theme camps and participants - for creating and organising these splinter events - it means more than you know to see something so magical happening after the situation we faced less than two weeks ago.

We need to make it clear that while many of these splinter events - these Scatterings of Seed -  draw on the amazing skills and talents of many people involved in Seed, none of them are officially organised or endorsed by Burning Seed.

Maybe this was meant to happen - who knows - perhaps Deep Space was all about the universe telling us it was time for our community to go back to where it started, small gatherings, like the first Seed in Bellingen in 2010, where everyone has to play their integral part in making the event happen. 

One thing is for certain - for many splinter event organisers it will be more than a mini burn - it will be a baptism of fire - but for Seed it means a solid base of skills and leadership experience we might draw on in the future.

Whatever your plans for this weekend, we wish you well. Take care of yourselves and each other. 

Burn bright!

imag0812

The view at Matong this week 🙁