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The Great Dust Off

Vancouver regional Decompression 2011

Dust Off Report

The Great Dust Off
Vancouver BC Canada
Saturday October 1st 2011
9pm – Sam

Check out the Dust Off Survival Guide

All Images by Luke Szczepanski


Large open area (10,000 sq ft) was used as the Dance/DJ area

This was Vancouver’s 2nd official Decompression event, my first time producing an event for GVIAS, and gosh was it fun! We doubled the number of attendees from last year, with about 800 people in attendance in a fabulous new location. Lakewood Studios, a film studio, and movie prop rental warehouse. The facility is about 35,000 sq ft, divided into three sections, the large open area (10,000 sq ft) was used as the Dance/DJ area, the upstairs mezzanine (5,000 sq ft) hosted the live music stage, and the largest area (20,000 sq ft), which we referred to as the multi theme area. The theme area is the main movie prop storage area, and is compromised of numerous small alcoves in 2 hallways. Each alcove was allocated to interested people to design and decorate as they wished, with full use of the entire facility’s inventory of movie props. Not all alcoves were used, but all but three were further transformed. This was a perfect place to allow people’s creative juices to flow, and the excitement was obvious!


We had plenty of space to fit more people inside, but to the wishes of the facility owner we kept the party to a restricted size. I personally felt we could have fit about 1200-1500 people in the venue with the outside yard used to it’s full potential. We used about half of the outdoor space, and covered it with large canopy tents (20×30′ 20×20′ and 5 10’x20’s) The event sold out on September 25th, at 6:30PM, a full week ahead of the event! (Tickets Link)


The entrance cost was $20 with only pre -sales available (as tickets had sold out). A total of $10,560 was collected from ticket sales. We also hosted a bar that served about 250L of Beer, 50L of Cider (needed
more!) and about 75L of Wine (both red and white) We also served non-alcoholic beverages, approximately 140L of bottled water, and about 130L of canned pop. The bar collected a total of $4,616. The total profit
from the event was $5,050.93. This event was sponsored by the local non-profit society, Greater Vancouver Interactive Arts Society (GVIAS), and all profit was handed over to the society upon completion of the
event. Full financial summary can be found here: Financial summary.

Live Music Stage was a huge success

Live Music Stage was a huge success

We had three music stages, 2 inside, and one outside. The outdoor stage was completely participant driven, and was awarded an art grant by the grants committee. The boys of the Whomp Bus kicked ass with their outdoor stage! (we love you WhompBus). Inside the venue we had a live music stage in the upper mezzanine area of the facility, with the DJ/Dance stage occupying the large open film studio room. The live music stage was run by an adhoc group of volunteers, some with stage managing experience, some with previous ties in the local burner community with live improv jazz music. The sound gear was mostly donated by Michael Gove, (Vancouver BM Regional Contact). Although there were a few technical difficulties for the first couple of hours, the stage managed to sort itself out, and sounded great, and was well attended. The Dance/DJ stage was produced by Micheal Heidro, a local underground music promoter.He arranged all transportation, installation, and operation of the sound and lighting for the duration of the event. DJ talent was arranged by DJ Tango (Link). The Dance/DJ stage was the most popular and well attended, with the peak of the crowd at approximately 1 AM filling the area so it was almost impassable.

The event hosted a fire show, which lasted for approximately 30 minutes in duration, starting at midnight. The show was very well attended, and no problems or safety issues were reported. There were 2 station

Disaster Area's "Burninator" Flaming Piano truck

Disaster Area’s “Burninator” Flaming Piano truck

ary fire sculptures that were built and manned by Chris Harrison. The Disaster Area “Burninator” truck was in attendance, and was open for people to interact with its flaming piano. All these activities were very popular.

There was a huge interest in volunteering for Dust Off, with the event’s early date, we had our core group in place by the beginning of August. The Bulk of the communication within this team was accomplished via text and email. It was a very good team that worked well, and communicated well with each other. We did three pre -event site visits, the first only for core volunteers, and a photographer. The second was open call out for general volunteers, and the response was good. With about 3 weeks prior to event, the door and bar shifts were almost all covered. The final site visit was to allocate space for anyone wanting to do any sort of installation in the mini theme areas; these spaces were granted on a first come first served basis. There were many more requests for space on the morning of the event, all requests were completely accommodated, but priority was given to those that pre -arranged.

Volunteers = Participants!

Volunteers = Participants!

We utilized 2 forms of volunteer solicitation, first everyone who purchased a ticket was mandated to volunteer in some way, and the second was a volunteer web page that contained much more detail about how an individual wanted to volunteer. Both of these methods worked well, and used in conjunction proved very effective, not just in gaining volunteer support, but also for the production team to gauge the enthusiasm of the volunteers.Part of the event budget also included a volunteer appreciation, that was about $600, with about $475 going to food (set up/tear down), and the remainder to Dust Off buttons. Both of these tokens of appreciation were very well received, and would be recommended again.


Soliloquy Communal Art

Soliloquy Communal Art

The Art Grants Committee of GVIAS had allocated $1000 to creative projects at Dust Off, after spending lots, and lots of time promoting the fund availability, the Art Grants Committee decided to fund 9 projects in total: a large scale Lite Brite, a live ice sculpture, a body painting station, a gingerbread Man cookie decorating station, a flaming tulip, Burnier Than Thou stickers, the Mount Erupto hot tub, the Sound Frond and the Whomp Bus! I would have liked to see more interest in the GVIAS art grants, but either the general population of BM related people in Vancouver need more awareness and education about what and who the Greater Vancouver Interactive arts Society (GVIAS) is, or they are all self-reliant! More promotion, and burner education is needed, GVIAS!

See the list of projects and details here: Dust Off Funded Art Grants

• We need a 2nd bar, the one bar we had, was overwhelmed by 600 people. and could have used another keg tap, and more cider. If attendance grows next year, then bar capacity
will also have to be increased with more kegerators. Potential locations for the second bar so far – outside, upstairs, or in the mini theme area.
• Attendance, there was enough demand to sell 800-900 tickets for this event, (we were limited to 600) with expected growth of about 25-30% for next year, we would be at close
to, or exceeding maximum capacity of the venue. This is contingent on, if the venue owner allows us to fill the space. It’s my opinion the venue will not hold Vancouver’s
Soliloquy Communal Art Decompression for very long past a 2nd year.
• Better volunteering for Rangers. There was a very late assembly of the Rangers for Dust Off, and this translated into only about 4 rangers for the duration of the event. Luckily no major incidents occurred!



• Drink Ticket sales needed better signage, the station used was a good spot right close to the door, but people didn’t know it was there. Better signage, or move it to combine with the main bar for next year.
• Porta potties, we needed more! I used a small company because the price was good, but when I requested to get more than the 3 I pre -arranged for, they weren’t sure they could deliver. This turned to, we can’t deliver by event day. We needed at least 6 porta potties, for 600 people. (The facility has 2 restrooms.) For next year, with expected growth of 25-30% I would recommend getting 8-10 potties, and positioning them in 2 separate areas outside.
• Electricity, we utilized the cam lock service panel at the rear of the venue for our electricity needs, this worked very well however, we should have positioned the main distro right at the panel instead of up by the Dance/DJ stage. This would have allowed us to run more electricity to outside area, more effectively,and also saved on the excessive cost of renting the cam lock cabling. With next year’s expected growth I feel the electrical requirement for the outdoor area will be much greater. Having the main distribution panel closer to the outside space would be better, than up by the dance/DJ stage.
• Stage re -allocation, it has been proposed to move the live music stage to the large indoor film studio room, and use the upstairs as a chill down tempo electronic stage, then setting up a large outdoor stage for the dance stage. I like this idea, and there is a scaffolding company next door, so constructing a stage from scaff is an option, this could potentially give us access to a large amount of materials to work with to construct some sort of outdoor stage. But
rain and warmth is a BIG consideration.
• THE BIGGEST RECOMMENDATION! Ticket Waiver needs to be printed on the ticket. The separate waiver for attendees to sign was a huge burden to the door staff, and also to the speed of the entrance gate.
We cannot have a separate waiver form for a 600 person one night event. Considering expected growth for next year, the situation will be unmanageable. This is being looked at by the GVIAS Events Committee; I will pursue this until it has been accomplished, because without it, a Dust Off will not be possible next year.

James Deane
Producer – Dust Off 2011

Sincerely Yours… the Producer!
• GVIAS – Greater Vancouver Interactive Arts Society http://gvias.org/
• Burning Man Vancouver Forums: http://burningvan.org
• Burn in the Forest: http://burnintheforest.com/
• Burning Man Regional Network: http://regionals.burningman.com/
Burning Man Vancouver/GVIAS group: www.facebook.com/groups/BurningVan/
Dust Off event page bursting with feedback: www.facebook.com/events/262216500472359
• Luke S :http://www.flickr.com/photos/lukemeup/sets/72157627733381075/
• More links provided at: www.facebook.com/groups/BurningVan/doc/10150320428512759/
(please send additions to vancouver at bumingman.com)

• Soliloquy Studio
• SvnerG
• Bajjam
• Whompbus
• DrugzNDreamz