Why AOU2019 failed to launch

For the past 4 years from 2015 to 2018 Queer Burners / Scott K (Me) created an event with the goal of building bridges in our community. Before that for 3 or 4 years there was the Queer Burner Leadership events that also tried to do the same. Queer Burners has been a conduit of my personal agenda for a platform for leadership and participation for the LGBT participants of Burning Man. It would be a place that let us reach beyond our camp borders and help foster collaboration and more.

The Queer Burner Retreat we held at Groundswell for 2 years before moving to Saratoga Springs Retreat Center never really broke 150 in the last 3 years. Our first year we had 90. I feels like a tremendous success. In 2018 it started feeling like a real “Regional” style event, the kind of which maybe Burning Man Org could start getting behind. By all accounts, as a participant, it was a huge win.

Unfortunately the production team really struggled and some key players in the event moved on and away from this project. I have been involved with productions and events in the Burnerverse for almost a decade and discord is not an uncommon thing. Having different points of view are valid and my critics were standing on some very valid points. I do not want to get mired down in the details of that as it would not serve anyone to finger point or drag out any negativity further than it has.

For me – personally speaking – I am dealing with my own health crisis, my mothers serious medical issues (cancer, COPD and pneumonia to name a few), and struggles financially of my own. I never seem to have enough time and when the call went out for help to run AOU there were some answers but 20% of the team I needed. As we rolled into February (3 months before launch date) I realized I was not equipped (on several levels) to pull this off.

Before I signed a contract that committed me to a debt I could not climb out of. Before I paid for insurance for the event. I had to be sure I had the steam to do it. It was clear that I was not equipped to make this event happen.

If you want details why I had to pull out and why this had to shut down AOU2019 as we knew it I may share that soon as long as it does not seem or give the impression of negativity. Over the last year I feel like I learned a lot of hard lessons in life because 2018 really kicked my ass. Why is this about me? Queer Burners and LGBTProduction has been a sole proprietorship even though it had not-for-profit events like the ones listed above. Insurance, media, licensing and identity fell squarely on my shoulders. Hardly any of these things could be mentioned without my name being associated with it for all the work over the last 11 years.

Thankfully some of the people who worked with me in the past found a way to keep this possible magic alive. These are some of the brightest lights we have in our community. They are people of whom I think are amazing and better equipped to carry a torch into the future.

As for me? I have been forced to take a step back in order to move forward. For medical reasons and peace of mind I had to make this move. I dearly hope people can relate and understand. Maybe one day forgive me. Walk a mile in another person’s shoes before you think you understand what they are going through.

Finances:

Tickets Sales and Fund Raising was only about $5k since August of 2018 with the Indiegogo Campaign and Eventbrite ticket sales.

– All Eventbrite Ticket Sales were refunded as of 2/23/2018
– All Indiegogo Donations minus some expenses will be refunded over the next week

Expenses Include (but not limited to):
– $120. Facebook in Boosted Posts
– $250. Eventbrite Fees
– $250. Bank Fees (Checking Account and QuickBooks online)

Donations to cover fees:
– $500. – thank you

Leave a Comment

Skip to toolbar