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Juplaya '22
by Mathew Gilbuena

Published on May 21, 2022

A view of the Backstage Camp from the Temple
A view of the Backstage Camp from the Temple

Backstage Camp, Everywhen's primary homestead, brings clusters of porto potties and art to the Black Rock Desert during its annual 4th of July pilgrimage. The camp, founded by folks who have worked on the Temple at Burning Man, believes in the responsible creation of sacred and intentional spaces . These gifts are brought every year to the non-event colloquially called Juplaya.

The Everywhen Project, encouraged by the past few Backstage get-togethers, sought to expand the gift to the playa by providing bathrooms and art at a much larger scale. We applied for a permit, and our submitted operating plan to the federal agency read:

Describe how the activity enhances the opportunity for visitors to enjoy public lands and their recreational experience

The EWP founders and operating teams have participated in Juplaya as a group since 2016. It is our observation that Juplaya attracts approximately 2500 vacationers to the Black Rock Desert in the two week window before and after Independence Day. The EWP seeks to encourage new attendees to the Black Rock Desert Playa experience by providing basic services for ticket-holders, as well as inviting existing Juplaya campers to see the art exhibits and interact with the art and creative community. Our goal is to provide basic services for the annual campout as well as create a more structured, safe event with centralized administration and coordination of art installations.

With all things a go for planning an event without a fence or gate, the Project ramped up the team, still in hibernation from the Electric Universe Event, and began promotions.

And an interesting thing began to happen: we, for the first time ever, had to declare who we were. We fund art. So? What else? While exploring this question with others, some idealized goals appeared:

  1. Nurture a guild of dreamers to imagine and build sustainable and reusable intentional spaces

  2. Create fertile conditions for greatly exaggerated, fantastic and delightful experiences.

  3. Be smart in the use of material, technologies and practices

As with any story, there are twists and turns. And, for us, there it was: our application to extend the Juplaya experience hit a snag. The federal agency asked us to implement a perimeter and build a gate. We were no longer able to gift an experience; we became fenced off.

Federal Agency imposed fencing and a gate
Federal Agency imposed fencing and a gate

We stayed the course as we checked in with our fellow Juplaya campers. They weren't happy that we have a fence. We weren't happy that we had a fence. We had ins and outs, but the reach of the gift has been removed.

Hanging out with the Community

During the build for the Unity Square Temple project at UnSCruz, our team, finally together in one space, reflected on our very own allegory of the cave moment. After two years of covid, people had an abundance of festivals and events to attend. What made ours different? I explored the question “who are we?” with Raspa, a self-described mentor and leader of the Burning Man regional network.

We sat with him for nearly five hours. I held a parasol, he, a top hat. Brewhaha, a coffee cafe at the UnSCruz Burning Man Regional, gifted coffee, tea, and the lounge space. Raspa spoke to the Everywhen team about the different ways art expresses itself around the world, and imparted some thoughts and guidance for what we should consider as we develop Everywhen. Perhaps, he suggested, we should focus on funding art. Don't worry about trying to manage an event at Juplaya. Develop who you are and grow.

The Unity Square Temple Crew sitting with Raspa at UnSCruz '22
The Unity Square Temple Crew sitting with Raspa at UnSCruz '22

Permit Change

At the project, the week of May 16th proved to be interesting. The federal agency informed us that a change in processing our permit had been made; four to five more months were needed. This was a major shift. Everywhen Project withdrew its application the next day, citing the onerous medical expenses relative to the size of the event. Ticket holders will be emailed a survey with the option to:

  1. Attend the Allegory of the Cave event at the Mojave Desert this October 2022

  2. Donate some or all of the ticket amount to the Everywhen Project 501c3 Non-Profit

  3. Receive a coupon for future ticket purchase

  4. Reimbursement

Constellation City at Juplaya 2022

The Backstage Camp will be back at Juplaya as they have been in years past, most likely at the same location, about 4 miles NE of the 12 mile entrance. As before, they'll bring a Temple and other art projects. Check out the porto-potty decoration art project by Camp Chaos, one that is sure to bring a smile!

Other camps and art projects from Constellation City are planning to be at the Black Rock Desert during the 4th of July, practicing dispersed camping and leaving no trace. Since we will not have a permit from the BLM, we are no longer able to organize an event on the playa. However, a member of the Juplaya community has created a Facebook group as a platform for self-organizing, similar to what was done for Plan B in 2021. You are invited to check it out and join if interested at

Questions? Contact the Everywhen Project at

Seplaya Village, 2020. Backstage Camp in center. "The Shitty" was an affectionate nickname, named after the sheer number of porto potties brought in by Backstage and other friendly camps.

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