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A Complete Guide to Burning Flipside



What is Burning Flipside?

Burning Flipside is the largest and oldest regional burn in Texas, beginning in June 1998 as simply Burning Man Texas. In 1999 the event was renamed Burning Flipside, and moved to Memorial Day (which is the traditional beginning of summer, the flipside of Labor Day). While the first event had 30 people, Burning Flipside now sees around 3,000 attendees.


It takes place on the 100 acre property of Apache Pastures in Milam TX, with more than enough space for camping, partying, splashing in the river, workshops, art installations, sound baths, marching bands, and roaming art cars.


Everything at Flipside is created and organized by The Catalyst Collective, a legal entity comprised of volunteers who organize and host the event, as well as participants themselves who contribute through personal contributions of art, entertainment, hospitality, and volunteerism. It is an experiment in stepping away from capitalism and creating a gift economy, where goods and services are gifted without expecting anything in return.


The temporary community of Pyropolis is built and run completely by volunteers, in a celebration of participation, mutual respect, and radical self expression. Everyone is welcome to join Flipside, disconnect from the default world, and reconnect with themselves and others as humans. Like Burning Man, regional burns often follow principles to help draw out the best in attendees. The principles of Flipside are self expression, accountability, and cooperation, which help to make the burn a place of acceptance and inclusivity.







Before the Burn

Burning Flipside makes it easy to find all of the needed resources and contacts you need, but like any burn there can be many logistics to juggle depending on how you plan to spend your time and what you will be bringing.


Some activities, such as art installations, fire activities, and drones, need to be registered ahead of time. This is to ensure they meet the guidelines set by Burning Flipside and the surrounding community.


There is also a unique ticket system, requiring you to register online, receive a Ticket Request Form, print it out, and mail it in with a money order. While this is how it has always been done, it can be stressful for procrastinators like me who can't seem to fit everything on their to-do list into their day. Make sure you plan ahead of time to ensure you send in your Ticket Request Form on time. On the bright side, many Flipizens take it as a fun opportunity to create some art by decorating the envelope.




Once you receive confirmation of your ticket, consider printing it out and bringing it with you! Service is very spotty at Apache Pastures, and it might be difficult to pull up your confirmation email.





Camping

Before heading to the burn, make sure to read the Survival Guide. Along with knowing what to pack, it will help you be aware of the procedures and policies surrounding children, service animals, sound systems, and RVs.


Like any burn, Flipside requires radical self reliance. You will need to bring food, water, shelter, shade, lighting, along with other necessities like clothing and toiletries. Make sure to check the weather before leaving so you can ensure that you pack everything you need for the sun, humidity, rain, or other summer weather conditions. Unless you plan on car camping, be prepared to unpack your vehicle and return it to the parking lot within two hours.


If at all possible, know who you'll be camping with, and coordinate on large or noisy items such as shade structures, grills and generators. Flipside is cozy, meaning everyone is camping squished in next to one another, so less is more. If camping in the Badlands, its a good idea to drive in with your friends to ensure that you get to camp beside one another.




Environment and Weather

Flipside takes place at the beginning of summer, when temperatures begin to get punishing. On cloudy days, we were blessed with 70 or 80 degree weather, but more often it was in the 90s and pushing past 100. This was made worse by the humidity in the air. It's important to plan out a shade system for your camp, air conditioning or camp fans, and remember to stay hydrated.


Unless you have an RV or camper with a refrigerator, it is also important to bring cash and a wagon to buy and transport ice, which is the only thing for sale at Flipside.


While Apache Pastures is full of beautiful pecan trees, there will also be mosquitoes, fire ants, snakes, and poison ivy. It is important to learn how to camp with critters and stay safe around them, as well as bring a poison ivy scrub in case you accidentally step in poison ivy.


Being able to hop in for a swim in the San Gabriel River was one of my favorite parts of the burn, and a great way to cool down during the day. It's helpful to bring a swimsuit or other attire that you're willing to get wet- if you plan to wear anything at all! This was the first burn that I felt comfortable going without clothes completely, and mainly did so when swimming in the river. It's important to check your body for leeches after your swim, especially when hanging around the areas with slower moving water.


Flash flooding is possible, so be ready to deal with flooding if it rains, including watching the weather before you arrive, building your shelter off of the ground if it will be rainy, and potentially leaving early in the case of bad weather.





Volunteering

Regional burns are a great way to get involved with other burners. The Austin and Central Texas regional community is very active, with a year round warehouse and unofficial camping events. Flipside participants also volunteer in different aspects of the Burning Man organization, including theme camps, art projects, and individual volunteer work.


One of the easiest and most impactful ways to participate in a burn (other than attending!) is to volunteer. Contributing your time and skills to different aspects of the burn helps it run more smoothly, and can also be fun!


When I attended Flipside I volunteered for Guardians and Parking, both very rewarding experiences. You can sign up to volunteer on your flipside profile, or check in during the burn to see if there are any spots available.



Leave No Trace

There are no trash cans or other services. Anything you bring in, you are responsible for taking it out. This means planning ahead for how to deal with both wet waste (gray water, chemicals, gasoline, detergents, etc) and dry waste (packaging, zip ties, and other trash). Plan time to clean not only your campsite, but to help clean communal areas such as the effigy field, roads, river banks, and trails.


Some ways to reduce your waste:

  • Start with less trash: buy food in bulk and remove excess packaging from gear or other items before you go.

  • Coordinate with your camp members. One person may have a larger capacity to haul waste.

  • Grid walk your campsite before leaving, and pick up MOOP when you see it throughout the burn. This includes organic items such as banana peels and eggs shells.

  • Consider volunteering for Load Out, Earth Guardians, and other LNT departments to spend the weekend after Flipside helping return the land to its pristine state and bringing event infrastructure home.


Flipside is an amazing regional burn, and we want to make sure that it continues to happen! If everyone dedicates to leaving no trace, it is not only healthier for the beautiful land but helps to ensure that we are invited back.



Learn more about the Austin/ Central Texas Burner Community here.

Learn more about Flipside on the official website or Facebook page.














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Hi, I'm Koi!

I'm an environmental project manager who decided to make a change from office life to to outdoor projects and small business ownership.

My goal is to help promote forward movement in outdoor spaces and live events towards full accessibility and diversity by giving everyone the inspiration and tools to create their own adventure.

I love self expression, hiking, music festivals, and Burning Man, and want to show that celebrating diversity in the outdoors makes it better for everyone.

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