Lakes Letter – October

 Lakes Letter

TOPICS: Pick Our 2017 Theme! | Lakes of Fire Needs YOU!

Pick Our 2017 Theme!

PHOTO: DimphotographyBack in the scorching heat of August (how we miss it now) we asked you for ideas for Lakes’ 2017 theme and we received hundreds of suggestions, many of them wildly creative. After much discussion, we’ve decided to go with Lakes of Fire: Pokemon.

Just kidding. But it was an actual suggestion.

Our hard-working team lead volunteers met in Chicago a few weeks ago to debate event-wide decisions for the coming year, and that team pored over the theme suggestions, narrowing down the list to five.

Now it’s time for the most important part of the process, your vote!

Your voice is essential. We’d love to see a hearty, positive debate as people decide what to vote for, so please share this with your attending friends and let us all know why your selection is most appropriate for 2017. Let everyone know your ideas for how to turn the theme you want into reality!

Please also respect your attendees and support our Communal Effort by not attempting to game the voting process – doing so may have consequences.
Our choices are:

  • Fire & Ice
  • Pangaea
  • The Oracle at Delphi
  • The Other Side of the Fence
  • Adventure for Breakfast


Voting will close on 11/20/16, at 11:59pm EST


Lakes Letter – August

Lakes Letter - Lakes of Fire, Great Lakes Regional Burn

TOPICS: Mythical Creatures | Take our Survey | Submit your Theme | Board Members Needed | Bean Counter Needed | Matthew Vo Fund

Lakes Of Fire: Mythical Creatures

Photo: Simon RubinsteinThis year was just as amazing as ever – the laughter and tears were in full force for the year of Mythical Creatures. The Lakes Of Fire team hopes your experience was as incredible for you as it was for all of us.

We were so fortunate to have so many people participating with full hearts – so many art projects, a fierce and interactive Effigy, brilliant new theme camps, and all of your individual gifts and sacrifices for your fellow burner made it unique and priceless.

Thank you for putting so much effort into Lakes of Fire once again. From our heart of hearts, we at Great Lakes Experimental Arts, Inc., want to thank you for being such a passionate, artistic, and loving community. We <3 you!

Please take a moment to thank the people who donated their party time to stand out in the sun and direct traffic, pick upmoop, or otherwise contributed to the survival and success of the event.

Many participants allowed us to share their photos with the community for our yearly collection. If you’d like to relive the week, check out our Google photo gallery or ourFacebook photo gallery. We’ve checked with each person but if you see a picture of yourself you’d like us to remove, no problem! Just let us know.

Take our Mythical Creatures Survey!

Every year, Lakes of Fire asks our attendees to fill out a survey so that we can better understand the experience of all the amazing burners who attend Lakes – whether it’s your first time or it’s old hat.

We’re always interested in improving every aspect of the event – please participate in our survey and share it amongst your camp mates and friends!

Submit Your 2017 Theme Suggestions!

Photo: Rick Blevins  Do you have an awesome idea for Lakes Of Fire’s next theme?

Can your idea follow in the steps of (or be totally way more awesome-er than) Mythical Creatures, Fabulous Contraption, Release the Kraken, Superstition, It Was on Fire When We Got Here, Anima Mundi, A Spaced Oddity, and Metamorphosis?

Share your wonderful theme idea with us, and don’t forget to spread the word! The more ideas, the better.

The Lakes of Fire leads will select out of the many hundreds of suggestions for you to vote on later in the year.

G.L.E.A. Board Members Needed!

Great Lakes Experimental Arts, Inc. is seeking two highly dedicated volunteers to join its Board of Directors in 2017. Great Lakes Experimental Arts, Inc. Board members are the legal face of Lakes of Fire and are directly responsible for the long-term production and sustainability of the event.

Candidates would ideally have some experience volunteering with Lakes of Fire as a Team Lead, or a Shift Lead in previous years, however, there are no prerequisites for joining our Board of Directors, other than a deep commitment to seeing Lakes of Fire continue to thrive.

If you feel you have the experience and desire to serve the organization, event, and attendees through this vital role, consider filling out the Interest form beforeOctober 15th to be considered for the open Board positions.

Join us as the Lead Bean Counter!

We are seeking a volunteer to take on a very important role for next year’s Lakes Of Fire – our Bean Counter!

This position roughly equates to the Accounting Department, and helps keep track of expenses, receipts, money coming in, etc. It’s a critical administrative position that helps keep G.L.E.A. Inc.’s Lakes of Fire event profitable, financially secure, legal, and openly transparent to our community.

We need to fill this role soon – please email gryffn@gmail.com if you’d like to contribute by August 15.

Matthew Vo fund for charity

If you would like to contribute to a fund for Matt Vo, you are welcome to join the GoFundMe campaign set up for charity.  It reads in part:

Matt Vo“We are collecting funds for the family in the devastating loss of their first-born son Matt Vo.

Their plan is to donate the proceeds towards a charitable foundation for autism, in support of his brother Alex.  Matt always loved his brother and would have wanted to help others like him.

Matt was a selfless, kind and generous person who lit up the lives of anyone he touched. Although Matt was known to be a quiet and private person, he had an understated charismatic personality that naturally drew people to him.  He was always someone you could share a good chuckle with or be that shoulder to lean on.  Matt, your kindness is an inspiration to all of us and you will live in our hearts and memories forever.”

Info_bot logo


We miss you already!





Updated information on Matthew Vo

Posting on behalf of the GLEA Board of Directors.

Great Lakes Experimental Arts (GLEA) and the entire Lakes of Fire community offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Matthew Vo who passed away at the 2016 Lakes of Fire event. We are committed to sharing the most accurate and timely information we can about this incident with all those affected by it. This is the updated information as of 7:00 PM, Monday, June 20, 2016.

Matthew’s camp mates alerted event volunteers that he was missing Sunday, 6/19/16. An extensive search of the site was initiated and Oceana County Sheriffs responded including a marine search and rescue team to scan the small inland lake. Sunday’s searches did not turn up any sign of Matthew. Missing person information was spread both by local media, in the surrounding community, and extensively on social media.

On Monday morning 6/20/16, an event volunteer found Matthew’s body, in the water near the edge of the lake. An immediate response was made by two EMTs volunteering for the event and within minutes, Oceana County Sheriffs were also on site. Sheriff’s investigators say that pending an autopsy, the presumed cause of death is drowning.

Volunteer counseling resources from around the region and from Burning Man’s network of Black Rock Rangers are being made available to all family, friends, volunteers, event participants and others who are impacted by this tragic event. If you would like to speak with someone for support please reach out to rangers@lakesoffire.org. Gathering in person with your local communities, campmates, friends and family are also encouraged during this difficult time.

The outpouring of support has been tremendous. We especially thank the Oceana County Sheriffs team for their timely, professional, complete and caring response. In addition, we thank the extended community of Rothbury and Montague who assisted in searches Sunday. The extended Lakes of Fire community and the broader Burning Man communities around the world have offered great support to each other. Please take time to care for yourselves and for those around you as we all absorb this loss.

We honor Matthew’s spirit and are hearing beautiful stories about him. At this time, no announcement has been made about memorial services. We ask the extended Lakes of Fire community to hold Matthew, his family, and friends close in your thoughts.

We offer our sympathies to his family.

Thank you,

Lakes of Fire Board of Directors

Our previous post regarding Mr. Vo: http://www.lakesoffire.org/2016/06/20/matthewvo/

Green Dot Rangers and Certified Counselors Wanted

4977181433_4b95592721_mAre you a Green Dot Ranger or counselor interested in supporting our community through the loss of one of our own?

The Lakes of Fire Board and Ranger teams are reaching out to the community looking for Green Dot Rangers and Certified Counselors who are able to assist and share space with participants during this difficult time.

Please use this contact form to reach out to us, with our deepest gratitude.

Official Statement regarding Matthew Vo

It is with deep sadness, that we share the news that Matthew Vo, who was reported missing June 19, 2016 from his camp, has been found deceased.

Great Lakes Experimental Arts, on behalf of the entire Lakes of Fire community, extend our deepest condolences to Matt’s family and friends. We thank the Oceana County Sheriffs, volunteers, friends, and the local community who assisted in the diligent search for Matt.

Sheriffs and emergency services volunteers are currently on site. Volunteers from the extended community of Lakes of Fire and Burning Man Rangers and Emergency Services are stepping forward for anyone who needs someone to talk with during this difficult time; they can be reached through rangers@lakesoffire.org and board@lakesoffire.org.

Together, we grieve for Matt and his family and friends. Please hug each other and take care of each other today.

WhatWhereWhen Guide for 2016

2016 WWW coverThe WWW is off to the printers! As always, we only print around 1,000 to reduce waste, so you’ll want to get yours early.

Alternately, you’re welcome to download your own copy for viewing or printing.

This version of the WWW has the corrected gate hours. If you had it open previously, please refresh the document or redownload it.

If there is an error on the map or in the events, that’s called errata – you are welcome to inform the fine folk at the Nexus once you’ve set up camp, and we’ll let people know on our awesome giant chalkboard.

While the WWW has a map inside, you’re welcome to download the map separately.

P.S. Don’t forget to read the updated 2016 Survival Guide for Entrance rules, safety info, and more – there is NEW INFORMATION for 2016, so even if you’ve read it before, please read it again.

Lakes Letter – early June


TOPICS: Lakes of Fire Food Drive | Volunteer Shifts Needed | Art Honoraria Chosen | LoF Tickets Fire Sale | Survival Guide

Lakes Of Fire Food Drive

Please bring additional non-perishables (cans preferred) to donate to the 3rd Annual LOF Food Drive!  Be sure to drop off any unused/unopened non-perishables on your way out on Sunday!

All food is being donated to the Trinity Lutheran Community Food Bank in New Era Michigan.  This food bank feeds over 4,500lbs of food to more than 180 families every week – this area of Michigan has one of the highest hunger rates and you can help!  The Greeter station will be accepting the food donations during their shifts and exodus. We’ve donated large quantities of food to the hungry in previous years, please help us keep paying it forward.

(Unopened/Unused Toiletries Are Also Welcome!)

Food must be:

  • Unopened
  • Non-perishable
  • Cans are preferred
  • No glass please


Lakes Letter – Mid May


TOPICS: WhatWhereWhen Deadline | Kids Registration | Chicago Newbie Night | Survival Guide | Be a Ninja | Gallery in the Pines

WhatWhereWhen Deadline

The WhatWhereWhen Guide is a list of scheduled events put on by your fellow burners, and is a great way to get out the word about the cool things you’re doing at your camp or around the lake.

Submit your events to our What Where When Guide form before, May 17 at 11:59pm EST., or suffer the consequences!

All times in the WWW Guide are “ish”, of course.  Check out our 2015 WhatWhenWhere Guide (PDF) for an example of what to expect this year.

Kids Registration

All participants under the age of 18 must be registered through the Registration for Minors form to help Lakes of Fire and GLEA understand who to reach out to if there is a safety concern. Children 12 and younger may come to Lakes of Fire free of charge with their parent or guardian; please do not register children until your own ticket is secured.

People under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a 21+ parent or guardian, both at entry, and at all times during the event. (more…)

Lakes Letter – late March


TOPICS: Ticketing Update | Art Grants Announced | Code of Conduct | Forms Forms Forms!

Ticketing Update

Photo: Rad DelongOur ticketing team reports that the vast majority of tickets to Lakes of Fire 2016 have been purchased. This means any future ticket offers will depend on ticket refunds; those refunded tickets are then made available to the next person on the waiting list.

Refunds are happening every day; our Ticketing team are releasing those tickets as they become available. There is still time to network within the Lakes of Fire community to make sure folks know of your need when offers become available.

Starting Monday, April 4th, the purchase window for future ticket offers will be shortened to two (2) days. This decrease in the purchase window will move offers through the waiting list faster.  If you are waiting for ticket offers, you should check your email daily so you don’t miss your offer!



Lakes Letter – late February


TOPICS: Art Grants Closing Soon | Forms Forms Forms

Good evening, burner family!

Ticketing has run remarkably smoothly so far – our ticketing team continues to work with many hundreds of emails, so if you’re working with them, please be patient.

Congratulations to those who’ve gotten their tickets at this point, and if you haven’t, don’t give up hope – tickets continue to revolve through the system, and will do so all the way into summer.

Art Grants Closing Soon

Don’t forget, if you’re looking to submit an Art Grant, you only have a few days left! The second round form closes at February 21st at 1 am EST.

We’ll hear about the first round of accepted art grants shortly, so keep an eye on our Art Grants page!



Lakes Letter – February


TOPICS: Ticket Deadlines | 2015 Afterburn Report | Volunteer Hours Change

This special edition of the Lakes Letter is brought to you by the letter D for Deadline and the symbols “#(*%^!” for the sound you’ll make if you don’t read our Ticketing FAQ and register in time to get a ticket.

Ticket Deadlines and More

Coming up is the END OF INITIAL TICKET REGISTRATION. Please register by February 6th in order to have a chance in the initial drawing to get a ticket!

Our Low Income Ticket team is hard at work on submitted applications – don’t forget that they’re also due by February 6th. Please reach out to them if you’re having a hard time paying for a ticket to Lakes of Fire.

Full list of deadlines: 

Photo by Skennedy


  • Feb 611:59pm EST: Ticket Registration Closes

  • Feb 611:59pm EST: Ticket sales for qualifying volunteers close

  • Feb 8 Noon, EST: Randomized ticket drawing occurs. Participants are notified. The purchase window is one week long.

  • Feb 812 pm – Registration re-opens after drawing and remains open until the week of Lakes of Fire.  Participants who register after this date will be added to the bottom of the waiting list.

  • May 2711:59pm EST: Deadline for guaranteed ticketing refunds


  • Feb 6 – Effigy Design and Build Contest Closes

  • Feb 18 – Registration Forms for: Fire Art (FAST), DMV (Art Cars), WhatWhereWhen (WWW) Guide, Art Hub, Theme Camps, Sound, Volunteer Sign-ups Open

  • Feb 211:00am EST: Art Grant submission cycle #2 closes

  • April 2411:59pm EST: Form Closes for: Art Hub, Art Honoraria, Sound Camps

  • May 111:59pm EST: Form Closes for: Fire Art (FAST), DMV, Theme Camps

  • May 1711:59pm EST: Form Closes for: WWW

  • June 811:59pm EST: Car Camping Parking Permit request form closes

Some deadlines may change as we get closer to the event – please check our web site’s Key Dates and Forms page for up-to-date deadlines.


Lakes Letter – January


TOPICS: Registration Open  | New Look on Web | Help Wanted | New Board Members | Effigy Design Extention

The official dates for Lakes Of Fire 2016: Mythical Creatures
will be Wednesday, June 15Sunday, June 19!
Call your boss today.

Ticketing Registration is Open

Photo by SkennedyTicket registration is now open for everyone! You MUST REGISTER by February 6 in order to be eligible for a ticket in the initial disbursement. Tell your friends, your lovers, and your friends’ lovers. All people who want a ticket this year must register, even if you have registered before.

Registration will close for the initial disbursement – it will open again immediately following, and anyone registering at that point will go to the back of the line.

If you volunteered more than 8 hours last year, you should receive an email with your ticket info within the next day – please be patient and check your spam folder. If you don’t hear from us by Friday evening, email tickets@lakesoffire.org.

We are also launching a Low Income Ticket pilot program this year, and we encourage you to apply if it is needed.

Check out our Ticketing page for full details about the registration and ticketing process, and don’t forget our Key Dates page for a full list of the deadlines coming up – for instance, our Art Grant submission deadline is this Saturday!

We know ticketing is a complex process – just remember that you are one step closer to diving into Lucky Lake!


Lakes Letter – December


TOPICS: 2016 Theme | Effigy Submissions Open | Art Grants Open 12-15

2016 Theme Announcement

dec01We’re excited to announce our theme for 2016!

Dust off your unicorn onesie – next year, we’ll see you at Lakes of Fire: Mythical Creatures.

We started with 170 suggestions, and narrowed it down to 5 finalists.  There were 455 unique votes on the final 5 theme ideas – Mythical Creatures won the most votes, and was also the top ranked pick.

Thanks to everyone who voted this year! (more…)

Lakes Letter – November


TOPICS: LIT Sales | Theme Selection Vote | Burn Date Announced | Submit your Effigy Design | Art Grants Expand

Low Income Ticket Sales

nov01We are proud to announce that Lakes of Fire will have a Low Income Ticket program this year! We will offer reduced ticket prices for up to 70 attendees who meet the LIT criteria. Some details are still being finalized, but here is what we can share now:

  • Your privacy is very important to us. Names will be removed from the selection process to foster a neutral, objective based selection system.
  • All applicants will be reviewed by a volunteer committee.
  • 70 tickets will be available through this program
  • LIT price is 50% of a full price ticket
  • LIT tickets must still go through the regular registration and ticket selection system.Selected participants will still need to register for the ticketing system and be selected in the random number drawing to attend. You will see the appropriate price automatically when you pay for your ticket.
  • If you already qualify for a Volunteer Appreciation ticket for 2016 (12+ hours volunteered for 2015) you may not apply. The discount for Volunteer Appreciation is the same as LIT tickets. LIT team volunteers also may not apply.
  • Applications and more info to come!

The team is seeking dedicated volunteers who would like to help us bring this program to life in order to help our fellow attendees make it home. Interested volunteers should contact Team Leader Beans. (more…)

Lakes Letter – September


We want YOU for the LoF Board!

sept01Fall is an amazing time of year for burners! Black Rock City closed up only a few weeks ago, Chicago & Michigan each held their Decomps days ago and the last Regionals of the year spark to life in the next few weeks.

All of these events are sublime and require many passionate & dedicated participants and volunteers. When it comes to volunteering, one of the most dedicated, challenging roles for these events is to be a member of the Board of Directors. The legal face for Lakes of Fire, Great Lakes Experimental Arts, Inc. (G.L.E.A.), is seeking board members to replace Groot and Dirtball Dave, who are retiring with honor. Thanks for your hard work, guys!
They are also adding two more Board positions this year, making 7.

If you are interested in further details about the role of a Board Of Director member or you’d like to apply, please check out the Board’s New Member application.

Thank you and have a wonderful fall! (more…)

Lakes Letter – July


Photos of our burn | Theme Suggestions | Survey | LoF Community Group | Feedback

Whew, what an amazing burn!

july01The Lakes Of Fire team hopes your experience at the Fabulous Contraption was as incredible for you as it was for all of us! We were so fortunate to have such wonderful contributions from every participant this year, even Mother Nature! The art projects, the Effigy, theme camps, individual gifts, EVERYTHING & EVERYONE that contributed, from the crustiest burner to the newbiest Newb, made it so easy for this Info_bot to say it was his best burn ever and hopes you felt the same.

This year, we had an unprecedented number of fire artists and fire effects, and people were safe and sane in their artistry.  Thank you for putting so much effort into this Fabulous Contraption we call Lakes of Fire. From our heart of hearts, we at Great Lakes Experimental Arts, Inc., want to thank you for being such a passionate, artistic, and loving community. We <3 you!

Please take a moment to thank the people who donated their party time to stand out in the sun and direct traffic, pick up moop, or otherwise contributed to the survival and success of the event. (more…)