burningseed.com got a facelift!

By Maddy Snow

There's been a lot happening in Seed world of late, and perhaps you've been living under a rock, but it's more likely you've fitted out your Burner profile, applied for a large art grant, registered your theme camp, bought your Seed tickets, got your annual leave approved... oh, and checked out the new and improved Burning Seed website, yeah? Yeah! 

Well in case this little update escaped you, here's a breakdown of some of the changes we made:

  • You can now access all Burning Seed info on your smart phone or tablet. What that actually means is you can now access burningseed.com from the toilet.
  • Burners landing on the homepage can join the crew straight from the home page. (Did you know there's a bunch of crew roles waiting to be filled by awesome people like you?)
  • We have a fresh page of galleries, gradually being updated with the latest and greatest photos from our amazing crew of photographers.
  • There are little hints of Deep Space spread through the site (notice the colours? The way it sucks you into a black hole of Burner knowledge?).
  • We also made a bunch of changes to the site's back end, making it easier to update and less likely to do really annoying things that keep Andrew Lau up at night.

Haven't had a look yet? Well, you're on it right now. Have a poke around, by starting at our homepage.


We're pretty pleased to be giving our website a facelift, and none of this would have been possible without:


Gentle Fox. Over many phone calls, confused messages from comms members and bottles of wine, Fox spent months, often up until 3am leading the update to a Deeply Spaced website.



Andy Goodyear. Andy provided amazing support in the final weeks before launch, including making our 10 Principles page and gallery pages look super slick, just like his hair. 




Andrew Lau. Lau is fluent in nerd, and made a heap of improvements that only Gentle Fox could understand, but that are all incredibly important.




Jane, aka Lioness. Jane coordinated the foundation for us to work from, and provided the words for us to sculpt this site around. She wrote the beautifully eloquent page descriptions which have inspired other Burn sites around the world.



Next time you see any of these people, buy them a drink!!

Also, big love to SirAndy, our fearless Burning Seed Comms team leader, and Rohan for his equally geeky moral support. Enjoy!


Welcome to… The Watershed

The beautiful brains behind Splash Mansion are set to revolutionize the way Theme Camps manage their water on the Paddock... Trash Mansionite Professor Johnny Breakwell is not just a pretty face. That brilliant mind of his has been working overtime on ways to:

  1. make it wetter down there on the Paddock,
  2. help Theme Camps Leave No Trace AND
  3. give back to the local community in Matong and surrounds!

Making a Splash
In 2013 he created Splash Mansion: “It got me out from behind the bar at Trash”, says Johnny, “and for the cost of an hour or two each day it meant we got showers, kept cool and had some awesome fun.

“Splash grew bigger in 2014/15 and we ended up doing daily water runs - it made me think about how much water we were going through, not just our camp but others too,” he says.

Then at Seed in 2015 Johnny met Rowan Kos and these two legends got talking about water. Rowan suggested the idea of setting up a collective group of Theme Camps to better manage the supply of water to camps at Seed.

The Watershed
Skip to 2016 and welcome to the fruit of that conversation…. The Watershed.

This by burners, for burners, not for profit collective comprises a willing coalition on a mission to mutually obtain and distribute quality water to Theme Camps at the lowest possible price.

“This is a fantastic social enterprise,” says Johnny. “The Watershed is facilitating the purchase of a bulk amount of water for Theme Camps - something like 20,000 litres - from farmers local to the Burning Seed site at Matong.

“The farmers will donate their time and use their water licenses to sell us the water, and any profits they make after their costs are covered will go to support the local school in Ganmain.

“These little schools make a big difference in the community - any dollars we can raise make a big difference to these kids,” he says.

How it Works
Johnny says The Watershed is owned by Theme Camps that join the collective as members.

“The members are currently Splash, Sunset Island, Trash Mansion, Dirty Birds, Detox, Casbah and The Brink.

“These and potentially other Member Theme Camps will pay in advance for a water cube of 1000 litres - the cube will be delivered to them on site during set-up, and a water tanker will come by and fill it up. The empty cube will be picked up from the camp at the end of the event.

“The Watershed will bring a lot more drinking water into Theme Camps and also make a serious environmental impact on site - for instance by minimising waste packaging from water containers - no more taking empty cartons full of air home - and reducing the number of journeys needed for water runs during the event.

“But there are many other benefits - if Theme Camps know they’ll have water delivered on site they’ll have more cargo space for Theme Arts and it also gives them scope to gift more drinking water and nautical activities.

“Importantly - this is NOT about free water on the Paddock. The Watershed is only working with member Theme Camps, not individual participants. Everyone outside our Member Theme Camps will still be required to bring the necessary amount of water they need to survive for the week. This is just about providing

Making the Infrastructure Pozible
Johnny says that with stronger interest from other Theme Camps, funding is now needed to buy the water container infrastructure.

“Without some initial funding the Watershed may have to limit further memberships and have less impact than we might do in this first year.

The Watershed is running a pozible campaign right now to help cover some of these upfront costs for basic infrastructure.

“Each one of the 1000L water cubes we’ll use for distribution of the water to Theme Camps will cost about $80 to $100 and the Watershed crew will also need radios and cleaning products to sanitize the cubes,” says Johnny.

“We’re offering some sweet water-based perks for anyone who wants to donate from $1 to $10 or more - and every dollar counts to help us get this fantastic project off the ground," says Johnny.

Find out more about The Watershed or go visit the Possible campaign and donate!


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Find out more about The Watershed

Prof. Johnny Breakwell: it's vitally important to stay fully hydrated on the Paddock... (photo: Andy Flint)



Step Forward… Temple Guardians

by Sir Andy (with some words/help from the legendary Prof. Johnny Breakwell)

Do you have the quiet strength to be a Temple Guardian at Burning Seed?

Some might say the Temple is the soul of a Burn - a place for quiet reflection, a place to be a human, to find and lose your emotions, to connect with yourself and with others whether friends or enemies, strangers or estranged. I reckon it’s all these things and more. That’s just my 2 cents. 

The Burning Seed Temple’s cool and quiet significance on the Paddock is matched only by the heat and passion of the Effigy - in this year of Deep Space they are the Moon and Sun of our little forest Burniverse. 

Whether you agree with that or not, one thing on which we might collectively nod is that the Temple is a turning point - both literally (it Burns on the last night of Seed - sob!) and figuratively... that is, we all know there’s heaps of meaning attached to the Temple for us and for those around us, it just depends where you are on that spectrum.



Evolution of the Temple

Now, turning points are pretty much Standard Operating Procedure at Burning Seed - for individual participants and for the event itself. Every year we all learn something new, we evolve right? 2015 was no exception and one of the most significant turning points came with our understanding that we all gotta do more for the Burning Sed Temple to:

  1. communicate and educate about the Temple’s significance and meaning;
  2. protect the space and the people who attend it.

Quiet and Introspective

The emphasis and whole intent of the Seed Temple has always been quiet and introspective - as distinct from the focus of pretty much everything else at Seed which is tipped towards self expression.

However in 2015 there was a noticeable change in atmosphere around the Temple and the Temple Burn in particular, and some incidents (graffiti on the structure, noise during the Burn) leading to valuable community discussion between newer and veteran burners about what exactly the Temple means to us as a Seed community.

As Australians we’re no strangers to the concept of holding and sharing our silence for a moment with a community. It’s a rare Aussie who hasn't experienced at least one moment of moving silence during an Anzac service for example. We know about the power of context and ritual.

Temple Guardians - Step FORWARD!

Some of you veteran Burners out there will be aware of the Temple Guardians of Black Rock City at the Big Burn in Nevada - this crew has been in place since 2002 and they do an awesome job of watching over the structure, listening to and engaging with those who visit, and contributing broadly to helping everyone evolve their interaction with this sacred space.

So in the grand tradition of this mighty DO-OCRACY that we call Burning Seed we’re looking to YOU to create a new volunteer crew dedicated to holding the space of the Temple, protecting the structure and those who visit.

It’s intended that the Burning Seed Temple Guardians will work on shifts to support Temple visits, protect artefacts and the space and educate about its significance. They won’t be there to make or enforce rules; rather to watch quietly and act appropriately and skillfully when necessary to protect the safety and sacred space of the Temple and those in and around it.

At Black Rock City they talk in terms of “a philosophy that calls for using small pushes from a great distance. Sometimes your look, your soft words, or even just your presence is all that is required to hold the sacred space of the Temple. When we do interact with participants, we do so with love and respect. We carry the sacred space of the Temple into every interaction, using our connection with the grounded, serene space to guide and shape our interactions with participants.”


OK I’m so IN - what next?

If this sounds like you then please support the community vision for an awesome Temple Guardian crew at Burning Seed in 2016. We’re looking for a Temple Guardian Team Lead as part of the Civic Services crew. The Team Lead will be responsible for building and developing the crew ahead of the event, working with Civic Services and with the Crew Wranglers.

If you can spare a couple of hours a week pre-Seed and a few more hours a day on-site you’ll be working on key projects including recruitment, developing crew training and guidelines, and engagement with other teams including Rangers and the Fire Art Response Team (FART).

If you can’t take on the Team Lead role but you are keen on doing a shift or two on-site as a Temple Guardian that’s equally AMAZING! Register your interest at the Community Crew page, go visit and engage with the Temple Guardians’ Facebook Page, or check out this awesome video about the Temple Guardians at BRC for some inspiration.

For more on the history of the Temple check out the Evolution of the Burning Seed Temple.



by Lisa Rodrigues

If you’re an artist from the Riverina, Burning Seed’s ARTery department would love to hear from you!! We have $1000 in arts grants available to each of the East and West Riverina areas to show that little bit of extra love to locals attending this year’s Matong merrymaking. Last year a Riverina grant was awarded to Jason Richardson for the artwork Colour from Outer Space/Youtube. This fantastic installation urged us to “watch as nets capture ethereal spirits released during the transmogrification of sound into light” – YEAH!!

Participants delighted in Jason’s work which offered sound-activated visuals on a TV with percussion lying around to encourage them to trigger it. The idea was to represent inclusivity by having an installation that responded to people making music.

This year we’d love to see more local artists and art lovers get involved. You don’t have to have a long history displaying your work – Burning Seed offers the unique opportunity to help make art happen for people who love to create, but aren’t necessarily professional artists.

Need inspiration? Check out the Burning Seed ARTery Facebook page for images of the amazing work at last year’s event and our Art Guide for some tips and things to consider before making an installation for Burning Seed.

Applications for Riverina grants ARE NOW open and close on June 19th 2016 at 6pm.

Simply apply using the small grant application form, and let us know that you’re from the Riverina East or West area. You can review the questions we ask you here and check out our policies including more information on the kind of projects we do fund.

You must be attending the event to display your work and a ticket is NOT included in the art grant. For more information on tickets including details on how to get your Burner Profile please visit our Ticketing Page.


Color from Outer Space by Jason Richardson – get your hands on a grant to do something awesome!



Numbers Numbers Numbers

Do the math! Go figure! Help us navigate the numbers!


FLAME ON! Using fire on the paddock

 by Hot Wire

Things are hotting up around here! Can you feel the radiant heat? We sure can.

2015 saw the introduction of the Fire Art Response Team (FART) to facilitate smoother burning in and around the Paddock. This included a formalised application process for theme camps to host burn barrels (open fires in a barrel or brazier) as well as for artists wishing to incorporate fire into their art pieces using carbonaceous solids (A class fires), liquids like diesel or kerosene for fire twirling (B class fire), LPG gas (C class fires) as well as an interesting and extremely exciting oil/air hybrid fire cannon thingy (F class fire).

Any flammable mediums on the Paddock each need careful consideration when it comes to placing, controlling or fighting them and this is where FART steps in. Add to that the three major burns (Friday night art burn, Saturday night main Effigy and Sunday night’s Temple burn plus all the smaller fires) and we were busy little FART bees in 2015!

The heat is on! 2016 is shaping up to be the most flammable event yet!! So what’s the score with Fire Art in 2016?

First Principles

First, burning anything on site IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED without prior consent. This includes random camp-fires or burn barrels, potato cooking ovens, hexayurt saunas or groovy citronella torches at the entrance to your sweet sweet orgy dome.

Why? Matong State Forest falls under the umbrella of NSW forestry and as such Burning Seed needs to meet some very strict controls regarding fire. Add to that the fatal nature of Aussie bushfires and things get very interesting indeed.

Ultimately we all want to have fantastic and wild burns but keeping a weather eye on safety is mandatory. A citronella candle left untended next to a tent has the potential for mucho devastation.

So how do we as a community ensure we have an awesome burn sans emergency?

Work with FART and ARTery

Easy! Working closely with the Artery, Department of Mutant Vehicles and Theme Camp Teams, FART will send out information packs to those of you who want to make fire applications so that you can start wrapping your brains around the process of expression through fire.

All art projects must be registered with the Artery department and you can alsospecific info on fire art guidelines on the Seed website. The packs will include all info that you will need to make safe and happy burning.

The cut off time for fire applications is August 17th 2016 (note this is two weeks before general art registration closes). This will ensure that you have enough time to make sure your rig is kosher and give us time to evaluate and approve fire permits and add your project to the map/WWW. If it ain’t on the map/WWW guide and hasn’t gone through our on-site approval process, it will be shut down.

We need to make this clear from the outset: Do not assume that you can show up and burn without prior consent. Even if your permit to burn is granted, once on-site your rig (including extinguishing mediums) will be inspected before approval is given.

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 6.39.23 AM



Fire ArtArt: Deep Sea Angling by Stephanie Selig, Flame Effects Australia (left) and Ham’s Vile Heat by Brendan Jones, Sage Lian, Haig Jason & Flame Effects Class (right). Photo: Matt Walsh.

Photo: Ryan McRobb

Photo: Ryan McRobb

Leave No Trace

Did we mention you need to Leave No Trace? That includes all ash and MOOP your flames produce or attract during the course of the event. Yes even the major burns are required to tend their precious flames until there is no trace.

Cooking with Gas?

Gas cookers and BBQs are permitted provided they are up to Australian standard and you have taken all steps to ensure their safety (can be as simple as turning off your “swap and go” gas bottle when not in use… Seriously).

You may have seen that butane camping stove tops made prior to a certain date have been BANNED in Australia. Go check yours now.   Consider the worst case scenario as a definite possibility. Would you risk it? Is it worth it? No. No it isn’t.

Sounds a bit doom and gloomy right? Nah. It’s really simple and super fun!! Now that we have established some basic boundaries we can start talking soon about best practice. Stay tuned.  I’ll hold your beer. You GOT this!


Busted! Wanna join the Burning Seed fun police?


Make the Gate queue less boring (Photo: Onur Karaozbek)


If you thought the 2015 Disco Police were harsh, get ready for the Fun Police (photo: Luke Mason)

Burgin Support

The general gist of the scheme is that while Seed participants are queueing in cars, this mob will entertain, amuse and educate on how not to burn, how to burn, and generally welcome people.

With more new Burners or 'Burgins' coming to Seed each year, we need to make our community’s cultural expectations and norms better understood.

The long lines at Gate last year held literally captive audiences and as intermediaries between Gate and Greeters  the Fun Police can ease the pressure on both teams by delivering information (previously delivered by Greeters)  to those in line while also asking entrants questions to help prepare them for the operational elements of Gate and organizing cars into defined lanes to help the efficiency of the entry process.

For Exodus, this team may also be a presence at the Gate for collecting food/alcohol donations, saying goodbye etc. ( i.e. What are you going to bring next year?, Make sure to fill out the census, Rubbish/Recycling drop off points).

If you’re up for the task, check the Team Lead role description or contact the Crew Wranglers


TICKET RELEASE DATE: Deep Space – Burning Seed 2016

Photo: Onur Karaozbek

  • Tickets for Burning Seed 2016 GO LIVE on Friday 20 May at 7pm AEST
  • You need to have completed your Burner Profile to buy a ticket
  • Max 2 adult tickets per transaction
  • All ticket holders need a Burner Profile with a name that matches photo ID
  • Having a profile does not guarantee a ticket – there is a cap on tickets
  • No tiered pricing in 2016 – all adult tickets are $185 (incl. booking fee and GST) ($10 for kids <16)
  • No free or complimentary tickets – everyone buys a ticket

Humans, thank you, thank you, thank you for your patience! We’re pleased to announce the planets have now aligned and tickets for Burning Seed: Deep Space will go live on 20 May from 7pm AEST. Pull up your spacepants, get with the gravity of this situation and put this event on your horizon!!

Ticket and tiers

There are some important changes to ticketing in 2016:

  • You should already know (we’ve been nagging you) that to be eligible to buy a ticket, you need to complete a Burner Profile. If you haven’t done it yet, go complete your Profile!
  • ALL adult tickets are priced at $185 for your five day, 120 hour, out-of-this-world Deep Space experience at Red Earth City in 2016. Everyone pays, everyone pays the same.
  • We don’t expect tickets to sell out immediately – however, a limited number of tickets (around 10% of the total number of adult tickets available) will be reserved for purchase by core event crew and essential crew at returning Theme Camps to reduce any risk to the basic infrastructure of the event.
  • There’s a maximum of 2 adult tickets per transaction.
  • There’s no tiered pricing in 2016 and ticket release won’t be staggered over the year.

Why has the ticket price increased?

We’ve always asked that people buy the most expensive ticket they could afford and raising the ticket price is never an easy thing to do. We do our best to keep the ticket as affordable as possible, balancing income against cost while allowing for contingencies and making sure this remains a sustainable event. The price still compares well against other festivals and events with camping and of the same length (five days or less).
Tickets at Gate

There are a certain amount of fixed costs not directly linked to capacity which need to be covered – whether 1000 or 4000 participants attend.  In fact as we approach 4000 participants, we start to see additional regulatory costs, such as insurance, medical and security… and certain increased operational costs are expected this year including more grants and donations, and better toilets which are likely to cost around $70k in 2016.

In 2013 the average income from tickets (per participant) was $158 and the cost of the event was $148. We saw similar margins in 2014 & 2015 – between $10-$20 per participant. In 2016 we are budgeting average ticketing income of $160 per participant (after deducting for GST and fees) and event costs of $150 per participant, including a contingency reserve. These numbers are based on our best estimates, but there may be unexpected costs or emergencies we cannot budget for – such as the flooding of the site – so we need to build in the contingency.

What about Seed crew?

Burning Seed is a not-for-profit operation run by volunteers who don’t get paid a cent for hundreds of hours of work on site and throughout the year. There are no crew tickets or concessions. EVERYONE pays for a ticket.

Why no tiered pricing?

All tickets sold out in 2015 ahead of the event for the very first time. We expect the same to happen in 2016. In the early days of Seed when there were fewer participants, tiered pricing made more sense. There were plenty of tickets for anyone who wanted one. We expect to sell-out again this year and because of this expected scarcity of tickets a tiered pricing system no longer makes sense.

What about kids tickets?

Kids (<16) tickets are available for $10. Kids don’t need to complete a Profile – their tickets will be linked to the Profile of the responsible guardian attending with the child. Young people 16 and over need to purchase an adult ticket so they will need their own Burner Profile.

What Next?

From 7pm AEST on Friday 20 May you can purchase your ticket(s) at the same link where you completed your Burner Profile. Any issues or questions drop us a line at ticketing@burningseed.com. We’ll issue another reminder or two beforehand but make sure your heavenly body is orbiting that ticket page on 20 May!!



Hey kids, we reckon this ‘revolutionary’ document was worth the wait!  

It’s been a few months now since the Team Leads and crew for last year’s Burning Seed met in Sydney to de-construct and re-construct the 2015 event – examining what went well , what didn’t go so well and coming up with some classy ideas for how to make 2016 event an even better experience!

Before the Team Leads’ shindig in late November all the teams developed a detailed report on their activities pre/post event and on-site – this handy PDF summary document(3MB download) captures the highlights of those reports in an easy to digest format with some pretty pictures and some great facts and figures about our little forest gathering…

Big, big thanks to Mike Lannan for his incredible patience and work to design and layout this Afterburn Summary – also massive thanks to all the teams that contributed copy, facts, photos, ideas, revisions, all the things!! Thank you!!!

Ultimately, Burning Seed is all about what we ALL make it – we’d really love to hear your feedback – on the Afterburn report yeah but also on how we can work together to tackle some of the issued raised therein – do you have skills, ideas, time to give to Burning Seed in 2016 to help us focus on doing it right?

Any of those recommendations resonate with you so much you just can’t help but grab your phone/laptop and email jointhecrew@burningseed.com to offer your help to make them happen??

We’d love your feedback – if you have questions or ideas please drop us a line at comms@burningseed.com or visit the website for details if you want to contact specific teams direct.



RED EARTH ECOLOGY: A weekend with the Dirt Angels


By Havoc!

Every autumn for the last three years the team at Red Earth Ecology (REE) has gathered burners and locals of the Riverina together to push beyond the idea of just Leaving No Trace. We Gift back to the country that hosts Burning Seed, our annual celebration, with a planting of native trees, shrubs and grasses in the small town of Matong, close to Red Earth City.

How many people came this year to support local biodiversity? The answer is 42. We converged on North Matong Road over the ANZAC Day long weekend at a carefully selected private property, about 15 minutes from Red Earth City. Jo Roberts (Whisper), former Kids Camp team leader, has moved on from nurturing the children of the Burn to put her wisdom and energy into bush regeneration. REE is supported and partly sponsored by the Burning Seed LNT team.

Red Earth angels

You turn up to “plant trees” but the process happens at a pace where you work in small, informal gaggles, so you yarn as you go under the autumn sun. You get to really know people outside the glorious chaos of the Burn at this pace. The kids have an amazing time too, making dirt angels, riding bikes and lighting random fires while the grown ups mostly work at planting or preparing meals.

The land has been tilled in rows ready to plant before we arrive. We travel along these avenues in teams of 3 or 4 with a bucket of seedlings, some cardboard guards and what I affectionately call the nature bazooka (a red contraption that digs perfect little seedling-sized holes in the ground). The earth is pressed in around the base of the delicate plant, a cardboard guard on a bamboo stake is placed around it for protection and eventually the water truck ambles along, watering in each little baby.

Mornings start with yoga and evenings are spent under the full moon around the fire or turning in early to genuinely rest and recuperate. We listen to Elvis on slightly warped vinyl while eating the best local lamb cooked in a camp oven (but of course the vegans were catered for with the utmost diligence).

Expert local knowledge

The Red Earth Ecology planting is a warm and fuzzy thing in which to participate. There is something about burning that means you do things that teach you great lessons in ways you never expected, and you often get more than you bargain for. The knowledge of the planting weekend organizers and participants provide me with a great opportunity to learn about the local country, native birds and indigenous land management.

I am delighted when I overhear Monkey and Whisper discussing which plants needed to go where. There are 4000 seedlings on the trailer this year and four zones being planted out, my assumption is that we just whack them in wherever, like I do in my kitchen garden. Instead I discover that each bucket of plants is very carefully curated.

The Curated Bucket would make a fabulous theme camp right? In this case it means there are areas that look like scrubby paddock for years but they can turn into a canoe ride in the right (or wrong) conditions – like we saw last year at Red Earth City with a wetland where we expected to see a Minty Country Club. So these little seedlings going in have an expertly planned future. The right plant species in the wrong spot is as useless as pasties on a green ant, so watching community knowledge step forward and curate this seemingly random bucket of plants makes my heart sing.

Another major lesson comes when I ask Whisper about the focus of the plant choice. We are planting habitat corridors between the Matong and Ganmain State Forests, in areas that are like pit stops between vantage points in the landscape, and we are restoring habitat for lizards and birds in particular. The plants chosen are mostly seed bearing rather than nectar bearing, to redress a habitat imbalance in the region for seed-eating birds. The Thornbill is a particular favourite being encouraged back to the land.

I’m blown away by the fact that Australian indigenous (and therefore sustainable) agricultural management thrived for tens of thousands of years before European settlement and that there was a “food bowl” of grain bearing grasses that stretched from Perth to the Great Dividing Range; 10 times the size of what is now considered “arable land” with post-colonial food production methods.

Across geographical and language barriers our traditional land owners nurtured the survival of these food sources for animals and themselves alike. Red Earth Ecology has chosen several of species of this type to go back into the landscape.

Absent friends…

Respects are paid to absent friends. One whole avenue of plants is dedicated in loving memory of Natalie Etherton, beloved wife of Ray and mum to Fletcher, whom we lost this year. Burners being burners we giggle as ashes are sprinkled down the nature bazooka, knowing if a whole row failed it did for the right reasons.

An enormous thanks is owed to our gracious hosts Sonya and Dave, to our fearless leader Jo (Whisper) Roberts and the whole LNT team and participants. The Thornbill thanks you for supporting its habitat in particular and I am thrilled to report that Communal Effort is alive and well at Burning Seed!

Find out more about Red Earth Ecology on Facebook.