The Decision - From the Chairman of the Midburn committee
The times and situations in which we live require us all to constantly demonstrate flexibility and adaptation to a new reality, whether we want to or not. It's been roughly a year and a half during which we have all been crying out and longing for stability, security, to have an understanding of what is going to happen tomorrow morning, in a month and in a year.
In recent years, I have several times written significant messages to the community and asked you to take a breather. This time too, I ask you to take a deep breath and I will breathe with you, because this is not going to be easy or simple. We are one community, working together for one purpose - Volunteers, employees, participants and even ourselves, the committee members, as well.
Midburn is no ordinary event - We all know it. Certainty has never been our way. In fact, we consistently worked hard and up to the very last moment until finally getting the license and opening the gates to the city, ensuring that Midburn would happen. Nothing has ever been taken for granted.
This year when uncertainty touches us on a daily basis, as with Midburn itself, everything is even more exaggerated.
When we began, the corona guidelines that were in place allowed us to create an event at any size and for as many people that we could support. It allowed us to dream about the event we wanted - not too big, and not too small, just right. Later, restrictions were placed on the size of the crowd, and there was also talk of a general lockdown over the holidays. At this point in time, we chose to postpone the event until after the holidays, in order to allow the fourth wave to pass. All this while hoping and wishing that the guidelines will change, and perhaps even allow us for more maneuvering room. Throughout this entire period, we have continuously been in touch with the relevant authorities in order to try to find out ways that will allow us to have the event that we dreamed of, in the way that we wanted it to be.
And what now?
We have space, as of this moment, this year, for this event (do you remember that only a moment ago this was the main obstacle?). We have a reasonable date (yes, it would have been better to have it over the holidays, but in terms of this specific area - it's now or heaven knows when, so if it is not done now, that means cancellation of the event), great weather (there’s no season like autumn - you can wear a bikini during the day, and at night wear a fabulous fur coat). We also have creative and talented enthusiastic people who want to participate. We have art installations and camps who want to bring their gift to the city. There is a strong longing and craving for the dust, for new friends, for hallucinatory trips, for strange drinks, for exciting experiences, for glowing sunsets, we have all these and more…
Currently the two main obstacles we have for holding the event are as follows: If we hold an event of about 7000 people, as of this moment, it will not get approved. If we hold an event of 5,000 people, then we will be left with a hole in the budget and with a considerable number of participants who have an allocation but are unable to exercise it.
We think and believe that this is the first opportunity that our community has had, in a long time, to hold the Midburn event. There are difficulties and problems, changes and frustrations and there will be plenty of these to come. However, these are always there. What is not always there, is the opportunity to properly hold the Midburn event as we dream of it - Six days in the desert with art, camps, a huge Playa, freedom, and creation. A celebration in itself of life and of the endless possibilities which life can offer.
There was a tumultuous committee meeting yesterday, which lasted four whole hours of uninterruptible Zoom. We tried and tested and examined everything, but in the end we all came to a unanimous decision - In order to allow the event to take place safely, without creating a dangerous hole in the budget, it is necessary to ask each participant to add some money, in order to cover the difference between the (limited) budget and the money that will be collected from the participants.
In terms of budget - We are going to take a number of steps to reduce and adapt it to the new reality - We will turn to suppliers for discounts and assistance, reducing as much as possible in the conditions of the volunteers and the requirements of the production. This time, in this new situation, we will have to give up things we were used to seeing in Midburn. On the other hand, because we are optimistic - We keep the possibility of doing an event of about 7000 people (as mentioned earlier, we continue to work on it) in our minds and goals - We will not reduce the size of the city and in addition, some of the infrastructure will not be adapted to the smaller number of participants.
We have examined the option to shorten the event by a day and in our opinion the degree of savings - about 200,000 NIS - doesn't justify the loss of an entire day. We therefore advise each camp and each installation or participant to act similarly and to repeatedly examine the budget in order to understand where it is possible to save costs.
Let's do a "shoemaker's account" for a moment. The big event was supposed to have about 6800 people. Now we are 5000 people, missing 930 NIS from 1800 people - 1,674,000 NIS. If we divide this amount by the new number of participants, we will reach a surcharge of about 334 NIS per participant. But we have said earlier that we are reducing the budget a lot, right? And so we reached a surcharge of 140 NIS per person, 70 NIS for a ground card / low income. Children and youth should not add anything.
If we do manage to hold an event for about 7000 participants, the surcharge will be refunded to the participants (minus a credit clearing fee).
In the event that the event is canceled, no matter when or for what reason, the surcharge will be refunded to the participants (minus a credit clearing fee).
If a participant does not wish to add money they can return the ticket and receive a refund of the cost of the ticket, or leave the money as a credit in the association for the next event. The amount of the donation remains as a donation.
In the coming days we will issue a request for payment of the surcharge to those who already have a ticket, the barcode of the surcharge payment will actually be your entrance ticket. The previous barcode will be canceled and you will not be able to enter the city with it.
The procedure for ticket transferring and cancellation has not changed and is still relevant should you decide to take a step back this year.
What happens if in another two weeks the Corona Cabinet decides to tighten the restrictions? So right now, and that's part of the reason we believe there is going to be an event, we do not think there will be a tightening of guidelines. In the case that the guidelines would be tightened before getting to the ground (8.10) which will not allow the event to take place, the cost of the ticket and the surcharge will be refunded to the participants (minus the donation and the credit clearing fee). If the guidelines would be tightened after we get to the ground, the surcharge will be refunded - and regarding the cost of the ticket (minus the donation) we will examine which costs can be saved and kept for the next event.
Now for the second dilemma - How to divide the allocations given out already to a smaller number of participants. Kabira, the CEO of Midburn, sent a query to the camp and department leaders about their needs and how many tickets were actually redeemed. Once that information is received, the allocations will be redistributed proportionately and in quite a similar manner as the previous distribution. However internationals, low-income, 2020 credits, children and youth will not receive tickets beyond what has already been redeemed.
We will soon announce when the sale for this phase will take place.
The OMG sale will take place if and when any tickets are left. As of this moment the sale destined for 2.10 is canceled.
Now, let’s talk about principles for a moment:
"Immediacy" - An immediate experience is in many ways the most important element in our culture. We strive to overcome the barriers that stand between us and the connection to our inner selves, to involvement in society, and to connecting with the natural world beyond the domination of human beings. "Wow, it's like we invited it to the here and now." In this context I want to talk about all the voices that sought to cancel, who said that it is difficult, that it is expensive and that too many things do not work out. We have all heard you, we have identified with the pain and the difficulty, we are familiar with it. We are all in the same boat - Campers and camps and art. Yet, we have chosen to run forward with those who want, who believe, who build, create and count the minutes until the opening of the city. Sometimes because we are so invested in the immediate experience, it is hard for us to grasp the thought that maybe this time, for this crazy ride on the roller coaster, we should sit on the sidelines, rest a bit, breathe air and get back to doing it when we are full. When we are again connected to our inner self.
"Participation" - Our community is committed to the moral value of radical participation. We believe that change, whether for the individual or for society as a whole, can only occur through deep personal involvement. We realize the being through doing. Everyone is welcome to work. Everyone is welcome to play. We make the world a reality through heart-opening actions". At the end of the day, this is probably what I, as chairman of the association, and every committee member who serves with me on this thing called Midburn should strive for, produce and encourage platforms for participation. Because really, only in this way (in our opinion) we do get the best this wonderful place has to offer. Our goal in the committee and management is not to engage in a budget, the price of a ticket, or to be a profitable body. All of these are actions that support our main activity - Which is to take care of a situation where we can hold large, inspiring events that opens people's minds and hearts and enriches them both on the personal and social level.
"Civic responsibility" - We recognize the value of civil society. Community members who organize events must take responsibility for public safety and care to communicate to participants their civic responsibility. The organizers are also responsible for holding the events in accordance with local and state laws. Yes, I'm a little tired of discussions about the Corona virus, like the rest of us… There is no meaning at all to my personal opinion, to Kabira’s personal option or to each and every one of us. There are laws and guidelines in the State of Israel and we are obligated to comply with the laws of the state, according to the principle of civic responsibility. Yes, when you read the text that accompanies this principle, it might shock some free radicals in our hearts - The understanding that Midburn is probably a more conformist event than we would like to think. Life is hard. And Larry Harvey must have been brushing his teeth before going to bed (I hope). When the city gates open it will operate under the applicable guidelines for that day. As long as these do not change from the guidelines known today it means that these are the guidelines
"Community Effort" - Our community appreciates creative collaborations and joint effort. We strive to create, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, artwork and communication that support this type of interaction. All the changes around us lately, both in Midburn and outside, call and invite us to re-examine what we can do. Maybe join forces with new friends, maybe change direction completely. Sometimes it's hard at first and requires us to step out of our comfort zone, but you know… If you go out, you reach wonderful places.
"Leave No Trace" - Our community respects the environment. We are committed not to leave a trace of our activity wherever we are gathering. We clean up after ourselves and strive to leave places in better condition than we found them. Here I want to talk specifically about emotional traces. This update is going to provoke a lot of echoes and discussions, frustrations and anger. I ask everyone right now, let's keep our discussions civilized and let's all remember that people stand before us with opinions different from our own, but no less important. That they too have feelings and sensitivities and completely different worldviews. Despite these differences, we all stand united with one goal and one heart to reach one place - Midburn. Therefore, please leave the posts and hearts of the participants in the discussions with words of taste and wisdom, with empathy and inclusion, with creativity and intelligence.
Thanks to everyone and happy holidays
Chairman of the Midburn Committee