The content of YOUtopia or any “burner” event is up to you – and the responsibility of the Content Hub is to stuff it all in. The Content Hub is responsible for empowering artists and performers at Youtopia by managing art grants, sound stages, and playshops. We layout the city, draw the map and handle placement of theme camps in a way that allows for the most flow. While most of the responsibilities are working directly with participants, Content must also coordinate with other departments for fire safety, sound restrictions, generator, porto placement, etc. Remember, YOU are the gift and we’re only there to help you shine!
There are 4 departments with the Content Hub:
1. City Planning (Led by Ramiro and with incredible support from Jasmine, Meg and Paul): City Planning is responsible for placing all of the camps and art at the event. While they aren’t responsible for what you bring they will let you know where to stick it. Taking everyone’s needs into consideration is important but they are mostly responsible for making sure the “city” makes sense – from sound to bars to food to art – a well designed city helps create flow and, if done right, should mostly go unnoticed.
2. Art Curation (Led by Dominic and Gerry): Everyone is an artist and has a story to tell – the AC team gets you the extra money needed to bring it to life. Your gift can be sound, food, drink, a performance, something beautiful or questionable – the job isn’t to judge it’s simply to help you bring your vision to share with all of the participants at the event.
3. Playformers (Led by Gabriel and Jen): YOUtopia is many things and it’s entirely up to YOU – from sunrise yoga to YOUtalks to clowning around there’s something for everyone. Playformers helps you find the right venue and logistics for whatever you’re sharing so you can focus on being the star!
4. Center Camp (Led by Kristin and Boone): Center Camp is a focal point not just for performers but is also a source of information for participants. The build/strike team is responsible for setting up the stage and shade structure while decorating the surrounding area to their liking. Once built Playformers manage the stage and volunteers man booths that include a Waldo station, information, LNT, Coffee & Ice and art.
What did we do incredibly well this year?
Persevere. The process may not have been easy but what we created was beautiful. Every department in this hub wants to make major changes next year so that we can do more with less effort.
- City Planning and Art Curation will either form one super department or find a way to better coordinate information. This will not only help streamline the process for participants but also make it easier on the leads.
- City Planning took some risks this year with placement that played out great. One of the focal points of the event has been used as RV parking and the most suitable place for the Black Rock Observatory. This year we saved that space for interactive art, including the temple, and a place to go to get away from the main corridor and booming sound. We also placed some of the “anchor” camps to different areas to help shift participants to more parts of the mountain. The results were noticeable and we look forward to taking more of these types of risks in the future.
- Art is what draws so many of us to these events and we pride ourselves in encouraging everyone to express themselves. This year the Art Curation team granted around $85,000 to new and known artists. Managing this is no easy task and requires a lot of administrative effort – kudos to a job well done!
- The Playformers team has some ideas about changes they want to see. By separating the department into two entities they can focus on both managing the schedule and being entertaining themselves. We look forward to this idea as it gets further teased out.
- Center Camp would like to expand its footprint at the event. Currently the small space is becoming so crowded so annexing the space closest to the existing will allow for more art, chill space and other informative type booths without crowding the stage.
- When placing the numerous sound stages it is important to not flood the mountain with auditory pollution. Shai did an amazing job this year working with the numerous camps to place their speakers and work with each other instead of against. One of the reasons sound placement is so important is because we don’t want to bother the people who live in close proximity – we did not receive one sound complaint from any of our neighbors on the mountain. Everyone wants their work to be the focus but they also understand that turning up the volume isn’t always the solution. Instead of policing the camps Shai was able to bring everyone together in a collaborative effort and even got some DJs to turn off their sound when another camp was showcasing an acoustic set. We look forward to his wrap up notes and ideas for the coming years.
What could we do better next year?
The challenges inside this hub were numerous. For starters, every lead was new to their department and had to learn the job as they went while others realized they couldn’t do the tasks they were assigned. The Producers are addressing this by conducting more complete interviews and allowing the hub leads more say in who is chosen for their departments.