PROPOSAL: Transparent and community-driven sound camp allocation

AP Alexander Paulski Public Seen by 95

Dear community,

I hereby propose to revisit how sound kiezes are allocated. This should apply new and clear rules for sound kiezes beginning next year. These rules shall put sound kiez regulations more in line with our principles.  They should acknowledge that no competition shall arise between prospect sound camps (which is, due to limited space, regulation and number of participants, the hardest part). Please feel free to add comments, remarks and ideas and do not forget to vote.


Bringing dreams to life is a big driving force for burners. The chance to contribute in a meaning full way empowers people to grow and share their skills. All in all this leads to manifold and wonderful experiences. 

For some this contribution is an art piece, for others it is a deep and meaningful talk and for yet others their way to express themselves is music. 

Music is an integral part of our culture. It creates a playground and drives emotions. Yet, when it comes to sound camps at Kiezburn opportunities are not limitless. The fact that we do have a lot of restrictions because of the neighbors limits the space where we can have sound in all its forms and variations. This makes it even more important to choose sound kieze wisely and aim for as much diversity as possible. In the last couple of years, though, we have experienced that a lot of the music being played is very similar to each other. 

This year we have the special situation that only three or four sound stages are possible at all. If this is still the case next year, this also means that the community should have the power to decide upon the kiezes being allocated to guarantee everyone finds something to enjoy.

Moreover, for musicians it can be very hard to find a place to host them (either because the do not know the kiezes or because they do not fit into their concept). It is fair to say that each kiez should and must have its own vision and musical concept, but this again shows how important versatility is.

However, there were no clear deadlines and/or defined requirements to register a sound kiez this year. This means that obv. sound stages were allocated due to „first come, first served“ and/or relationship to the ORG. With this being said, it was nearly impossible for some camps to make their dream come true (as all spots were taken before they could apply). Only three weeks after the ticket sale all sound spots were already taken and allocated without any further notice. As, for now, the process is unfair and intransparent, I propose a) to apply a new and fair system (like the dreams platform) to decide which camps get a spot (esp. in years where we have a lot of limitations about what is possible) and b) to implement a general system for musicians to get in touch with camps and apply to play (as Underworld did this year). Furthermore, in the future (also starting 2022), there should be dedicated places for mobile sound systems and pop-up parties.



Just as with tokens for dreams, Kiezburners should have the chance to vote for two or three camps based on their concept. Hence, sound camps should apply before the general ticket sale. Camps should then be presented on a platform and get a very early notice to be able to plan accordingly (as sound camps take a lot of effort)


I suggest to implement an all-in-one application system for all musicians (and collaborators, such as body workers, workshop facilitators in need for a PA or looking for musicians etc.) starting 2022. Similar to „Zum brennenden Bären“ the system should offer the chance to upload music anonymously. Applicants can have a look in the camp descriptions and send their applications to all camps suitable (e.g. because of genre). Camps can then get in touch with the musicians. Out of fairness, we could also think about a, for instance, 30%-rate of DJs that camps must commit to invite via the application system.  At the same time musicians should not play more often then two times during the course of the event to give others the chance to play.


Let’s discuss this topic further. How do you think sound kiez allocation was handled this year? Could you imagine a system where sound kiezes or at least new sound kiezes could be „voted“ into Kiezburn? Which data should camps provide in order for Kiezburners to get a clear picture of the camp and its plans? How could voting work? Hie can we guarantee musicians from „alternative genres“ get their chance to play, as well (e.g. via sound kieze offering X hours to use their stage and PA during „no peak time hours“) What could be the advantages and disadvantages of a general application system for musicians and how could we make it work?

I am very curious about your thoughts. 


Cairn (Clément) Mon 5 Jul 2021 11:13AM

Hi Alex, thanks for bringing up this topic!

As Site Planning Lead this year, I will be discussing here mainly the sound camps situation for this year's Kiez Burn, as I do not have strong opinions as to how it should be done next year. Very happy however to see this getting a community wide discussion and decision making process!

For reference to this message:
The Sound Protocols of this year
Site Plan of 2019
Current Site Plan for 2021

First of all, I want to apologize for what has been, at best, unclear communication as to how the sound camp locations have been decided and allocated this year.
I also want to apologize for the delay in giving (at least on my side), a proper reply to your questions. It is and has been a very complex year in terms of the decision making and communication, but this should have been handled better.

To give you a bit of background regarding how things have been decided this year.
Until a couple of weeks ago, we only had the Sound Guidelines given to us by Freiland, on which the sound team has worked to try and find the best balance between Freiland's wishes, legal requirements, and the wishes of the community.
When seeing the site on the 19th/20th of June, we saw the reality of the situation on site:
- A third of the Geläande on the East side is not ours to use anymore, reducing drastically the space available to us to fit almost 1000 people and roughly 25 camps.
- On the North West side, where Kinderkiez used to be in the previous years, the area had been largely cleared of vegetation, allowing for more camps and campers to use it. However, this was supposed to be a sound zone, with the speakers aimed South West.

With this in mind, it became immediately clear that we would not be able to fit a sound stage there, as this would mean blasting sound through multiple camps, in what had now to be the main "village" with 5 to 8 camps there.
That meant that we had only 3 zones to use, as they appear in the Sound Protocols linked above.
At this stage, Musotopia, Zerzura, Underworld and The Saloon had all made themselves involved in the discussion surrounding the Sound protocols, and had all registered their camps, making themselves known as wanting to bring a PA and creating a dancefloor for the burn.
The equation was taken and looked at under all different angles, and there was only one conclusive solution: Only these 4 camps registered at this point in time could be allowed to bring a loud sound system to the burn. There was simply no space for more, and no other camp was known at this point as wanting to bring a sound camp.

This is something that however, was poorly communicated at best.
I agree entirely with you that the decision making process should be clearer for next year, and I very much like the idea of having a system that gives voice and choice to the community to decide what sound camps, stages or dance floors they want to see at the burn.

I am truly sorry that this means that the dreams of SRSLY UNSERIOUS cannot be brought to life as your camp envisioned it for this year.
I would like to discuss with you what is possible and what can be done so that all the energy you've put forth can be transformed into something great for your camp members and the Kiez Burn community this year.

Thank you again for transforming what could have simply been frustration into creative energy for the improvement of the community! ❤️


Quentin Mon 5 Jul 2021 11:20AM

Thanks Alex for sharing all those thoughts and inspiration.

A- Personally, loving the idea of finding a way to have a more community driven decision when it comes to soundcamp spot allocation, or for any other art related projects. A voting system would be a cool option and could be great to implement for next year.

But in my opinion, the real long term solution would be to finally organize the event in a land that is much less restrictive in terms of sound. No restriction = No spot allocation problem

B- I support here a fully decentralized approach. With every camp deciding of their program the way they want.

Concerning this year spot allocation, I don't think it's really correct to say that it was nearly impossible for some camps to make their dream come true and that all spots were taken before they could apply.
No spots were taken before the Kiez registration was open.
Only 3 zones can host music this year at Freiland.
The first camps who registered and showed interest in doing a sound camp have requested a spot to the the Placement team and got it, following the process for Kiez registration as any other camps would do.
As far as I know, it has been first come first serve, which might not be the best solution possible, but which is one that gives the same chance to everyone to make their dream come true.


CJ Yetman Mon 5 Jul 2021 12:15PM

Thanks @alexanderpaulski for putting some time and effort into thinking about solutions and putting them here for discussion.

I'm not sure it's realistic that we can eliminate "competition" between sound camps because demand is greater than supply. Indeed your solutions provide alternate ways of deciding which sound camps/musicians get the chance to play, but they don't eliminate the competition.

I'm also a bit hesitant to support another "voting" platform in what is meant to be a "Consensual Doocracy", where decisions are usually made by people who get involved and take on responsibility for areas and strive to get consent from all the people involved. The only other place that is currently done in Kiez Burn is the Dreams platform, which in my opinion is somewhat of a disaster each year causing loads of angst and arguments. I'm not saying I'm fully against your proposal A, just some food for thought.


Paul aka Khromo Mon 5 Jul 2021 1:38PM

How about rotating them? You could have five or six camps but only three playing on any given night on a one-night-on one-night-off basis? Or prioritising camps that hadn't played the year before?

The fear id have is that the same three or four get popular and voted back every year, and the burn gets stale and repetitive.

That or bite the bullet and move to a bigger location.


Bee Mon 5 Jul 2021 1:56PM

Thanks for bringing this up for discussion. Funnily I have heard from some of the community that there is already 'too much priority' given to music and dance floors at the event - it's interesting to hear also that from the other side that there are some folk who are missing out on a chance too.

As much as I support folk being able to bring what they want to Kiez Burn and sharing with the community - which includes more dance floors or mobile parties - I think one of the main things that stops this being as free to do are the restrictions we have for sound at the Freiland space. As Quentin mentioned, I also suggest an easier solution for this which isn't formally listed is the need to find a new area to host the event (key: no nearby villages or local folks who would be rushing to make noise complaints). This is something I am willing to be raising as a priority post-event.

I also like your suggestion B for the decentralised approach, which is similar to how the workshops are organising themselves this year. Do you see this system as being organised and overseen by the Sound Realizer? Or does this fall under the responsibilities of the Workshops Realizer?


Randy Pence Mon 5 Jul 2021 2:06PM

I'm not sure rotating will help, as there are fixed positions as to where loudness can be acceptable for the event.

Having been to all 3 Kiez Burns, there is definitely an established community. I don't want to call it cliquey, but there are established players and musical aesthetics. There might be some disappointment asking the established community what they might want to listen to, because I suspect they will largely vote for the same things which have already been presented.

The only long-term solution I can see is a different and bigger venue. There are the pros and cons of regional burns growing too fast or whatever, but considering that KB is really a Berlin Burn at heart, and really a beautiful thing as so many participants can easily meet each other outside of the burn, and that Berlin is a large and diverse city of so many freaks, let Kiez Burn expand! The neighbors of Freiland are stifling. The site is beautiful but dedicated to another gathering and with a terrain which ultimately limits expression.


Kaliope Mon 5 Jul 2021 5:15PM

Dear Alex, thank you very much for raising your voice and your justified criticism! I also see the point that better communication and coordination would be helpful in the future. Many weeks before, we involved the community via this thread on Talk to come up with a sound concept that we can present to the Freiland team and jointly agree on. We didn't know at this point that the usable location would be very different this year than it was in 2019.... The sound camps then applied for a spot at registration like all the other camps and went through the regular location process. You are right that the first come first serve principle may be somewhat unfair to the other "potential" sound camps.

So what about a deadline for registration for sound camps next time, so that everyone can coordinate better with each other? (I'm not really a friend of setting up another spoiled platform...)

Maybe this is also due to the little time we can invest this year in planning and the big uncertainty – a lot of communication doesn't work as well in virtual as in direct "real" conversations and often we are happy if things run somehow and someone actively takes charge of them.

Really interesting to see that some people think there are too few art projects and the many sound camps should be supported less, and then there are those who think we have too little music! I hope you can fulfill your dream a little quieter this year or a lot louder in 2022. There is also still the possibility to apply for music slots on other stages or to support the planning and setup.

(As a side note... It is terribly difficult to find a location that fits our needs and is still available. Maybe you want to take it upon yourself to put your energy into this quest? I remember that we wanted to grow only slowly and organically, but there may be potential upwards in the next few years!)


walto Tue 6 Jul 2021 12:19AM

I slightly formatted your text with adding headers @Alexander Paulski, I hope you don't mind.

Btw, in the past we moved these kind of proposals to the "advice processes group" - might that be relevant for this thread too? (a move would not impact the URL)


CJ Yetman Mon 5 Jul 2021 5:16PM

To some degree, I believe this is happening. Saloon and Musotopia are sharing one of the areas that allows for loud sound, and I believe that they are coordinating. More sound camps than what we have already though is totally infeasible in my opinion.


Paul aka Khromo Mon 5 Jul 2021 4:50PM

Very easy just to put them all in the same location area (they're all going to be in the loyd zone anyway, aren't they?) and just rotate the nights where they can have music.