Suppliers - AfrikaBurn


AfrikaBurn 2018 Supplier Process

UPDATE: the process below has been adjusted for our 2018 event cycle. To get the lowdown on this, see this article on our Latest News page.

Heads up: if you have input on the process below, let us have it – mail, thanks.

Once upon a time, a little event in the desert happened, and it became very popular. As word spread, so the numbers grew – and along with them, so did some of the camps. Some camps got so big, they had to hire in services and suppliers to deliver essential camp infrastructure. Some of that infrastructure even became so large, it was subject to Health & Safety regulations, which meant that only certified crew were able to erect it. Along the way, many more service providers were contacted by large camps, and asked to provide a service.

Eventually, because ours is a decommodified event, some changes had to be made, to find the happy medium between companies delivering, supplying and servicing essential gear – some of which can only be handled and set up by qualified and certified professionals – and the culture of the event, which expects everyone to be radically self-reliant.

That’s where we’re at right now – we’re faced with a large and growing number of services and suppliers who (due to the remote location of our site) perform the tasks of delivering essential equipment such as large stretch tents, generators, building material, water containers, and so on that are necessary for Theme Camps, Art crews and everyone else to survive in the desert, so that they in turn can make a contribution to the magic of Tankwa Town.

In 2017, the number of people on our site who performed this function came to around 1000 people. And like everyone else at the event, they are provided with the same set of community support services: medics, toilets, air evacuation, security and so on. All of this comes at a price, and in addition, it also costs our event in terms of manpower, infrastructure and admin to manage suppliers on site – so as at any large event, a fee is charged to support this administration.

For some years, we played it easy on this front, and only asked that suppliers (by which we mean drivers, crew and managers) pay for a one-day ticket on arrival, with these being refunded on exit. Unfortunately, some of them did not play ball – they stayed for the whole week, or brought in extra gear and made a quick buck on site as a result – and that’s clearly not OK as far as how Tankwa Town operates. Something else some suppliers and service providers have tended to do is create a ‘service mentality’, which is something clearly at odds with the culture of our event and the principles that underscore it.

After all, service mentality and a sense of ‘I have the money, so I get what I want’ entitlement is what we’re all striving to get away from, in the dust and beyond. It’s the same mentality that’s seen large Plug & Play camps profit, from being to provide luxury in the desert (despite our clear guidelines to the contrary) – precisely because suppliers were able to come in under the radar and deliver hotel-grade services. More than this, it’s really important to us that our event doesn’t perpetuate the unfair labour practices that are a characteristic of South Africa as a whole. We’ve done what we can to prevent this, by introducing guidelines that explain what Plug & Play camps are, and why they’re not OK, last year – and by regulating and registering suppliers we’re able to keep this end of things in check to a greater degree by being aware of who they are, and how they operate. It also creates an opportunity for dialogue, through our team contacting suppliers and inviting them to attend briefings at which our event and culture are explained, so that suppliers are considerate of how things work in Tankwa Town.

So, to manage the influx of suppliers, we’ve developed a framework that’s fair on everyone involved. Here are the broad strokes: 


The Basics

If you need to outsource an essential technical service, or event legislation requires certified technicians to sign off on something (such as large stretch tents), you’re likely going to need to use professional suppliers or services. But if you just want to outsource the hard yards of physical labour to someone else, well… maybe you’ve confused AfrikaBurn with another event. We are all invited to play at AfrikaBurn, and we’re all expected to work … and that starts with your home for the week. To put it simply: essential services are OK to outsource, but hiring labour to build or service your camp needs (like chefs, bar staff, setup crew, etc) is definitely not.


Our Supplier Process has been developed to support, manage and streamline the work of all companies permitted to supply equipment and services to participants at AfrikaBurn. Declaring your supplier is the first step towards helping them get their Supplier Credentials and Tickets which allows them permission to enter and operate in Tankwa Town. This process is to ensure that they understand and respect AfrikaBurn’s core principles and how this affects their service delivery in Tankwa Town, and to better facilitate the safety and experience of you, our community. 

As our community values self-reliance and communal effort, we do not allow turnkey (Plug, Play & Profit) services of any kind. This means you and your camp or project crew MUST be on hand when your supplier delivers their product or service, as you will need to set up and install infrastructure yourself or, where it is a legal requirement that the supplier signs off the installation, assist them in the installation. Specifically, you must have at least 4 camp mates or project team present when your supplier arrives to assist, support or help your supplier. 

Not all suppliers can be assured of getting permission to access the event site. Only those who sign an agreement with AfrikaBurn acknowledging the guiding principles and the supplier guidelines they underpin, will be able to get their Supplier Credentials and Tickets.

Supplier Depot

As you arrive at the gate, take note of where the Supplier Depot is (to the right as you enter the event) – if you expect a delivery, this is where you’d need to meet the supplier (at a pre-arranged time) to escort them to your camp location. Suppliers are no longer permitted to simply drive into the event to find you at your camp site. It’s advisable to set up the date and a specific window of time in which you expect to meet at the Depot.  Planning is everything: remember there’s no cellphone signal on site at our event.


Your supplier will not be allowed to access your camp or project site without one of your camp mates or crew present with them. The supplier will remain at the Supplier Depot, awaiting your arrival. There will always be a representative from the company who will remain at the Supplier Depot to arrange a time to meet, in the instance that their team are already onsite assisting another camp site/project. You must have at least 4 of your camp mates/crew present when your supplier builds/offloads to assist, support or help your supplier. Don’t forget: Theme Camps and Support Camps need to be set up by Monday 23rd April, so all deliveries of infrastructure and supplies must take place by or before this date. Camp Site Managers will be on hand to assist camps and suppliers to get in & out of the city on time, so that preparations stay on track.


Suppliers are only allowed to start striking/collecting goods from 7am on Saturday 28th April. Once you have packed up your home/camp and have completed your MOOP Swoop (to ensure no trace of your stay is left behind), your supplier can then strike or collect the goods that they supplied. 

You must have one of your camp mates/crew present when your supplier strikes/collects their goods, and at least four people from your group on hand to assist, support or help your supplier. If you are a Theme Camp, then you need to ensure that AfrikaBurn’s designated Leave No Trace team have signed off your camp site before you head home. If you are a personal camp, please be aware that it is NOT OK to leave MOOP or infrastructure up, without helping the supplier strike or cleaning up after yourself. 

NOTE: Your campsite can’t be abandoned before your supplier has completed their strike and they have been signed off by the Camp Site Manager. Why? Because this is how tents, generators and other gear goes missing – and if it does, you’ll have to pay for it (which will be a kak surprise after you’re home and washed and settling into a much-needed post-dust chill).

Delivery schedule guidelines: 

Supplier access can broadly be divided into three groups. 

  1. Suppliers supplying goods and services to theme camps or creative projects
  2. Suppliers supplying goods or services to personal camps 
  3. Delivery companies simply dropping off your personal goods or supplies for your project/theme camp or personal camp. 

Deliveries for Collectives and Support Camps:

The crews of registered Collective projects will be provided with Work Access Passes as part of their registration process. These passes enable the crew members to enter the event site early (before Monday 23rd April) to enable them to complete the set up of their projects before the event officially starts.

Deliveries for Open Camping

Personal camps in Open Camping (ie: in camp areas where spaces are not reserved) do not get Work Access Passes for the purpose of meeting their supplier(s) onsite in order for set up to happen. We do realise though that some personal camp participants will have received Work Access Passes due to their involvement in a project. Suppliers are therefore able to deliver goods/services to Open Camping before the event officially opens on Monday 23rd April. All deliveries made to these camps, for individuals who do not have a WAP will need to be done from Monday 23rd April until Wednesday 25th April. If you’re not in possession of a WAP, and do not intend arriving before Wednesday 25th April to meet your supplier onsite, then you’ll need to set up your luxuries yourself. 

All suppliers are required to down tools on Wednesday 25th April at 18h00 and either leave site or join us at the event provided they have the correct supplier passes (Supplier Pass). The only suppliers that will be permitted to drive their vehicles onsite, will be companies that are servicing or delivering to registered creative projects (e.g. toilets, water, etc.) and even then these companies will need to have obtained written permission from AfrikaBurn to do so. Times for these companies will also be regulated. 

Please note again: The onus is on you to ensure that your Supplier has the correct credentials in order to access the event. Suppliers will not be allowed access to the event unless they have followed the correct procedure, and obtained the correct tickets and credentials prior to arrival in the desert.

Supplier Tickets and Credentials:

Once you as either a project/theme camp lead or a personal camp lead have declared your service provider, our team will contact them to complete the registration process. This process includes the following:

  1. Sign the AfrikaBurn service provider agreement.
  2. Attend at least one briefing prior to arrival in the desert. This briefing will outline the process for them and inform them of our ethos and principles. 
  3. Pay a R5000 refundable deposit in order to provide goods and services to AfrikaBurn. The full R5000 will be refunded if the service provider adheres to the service provider process both before the event and whilst onsite. 
  4. Suppliers will need to provide a list of goods and services that they will be providing at the Burn. This inventory will be checked at the gate upon entry and again when they exit the event during strike. This is to mitigate against theft, and ensure no items are left on site after the event.
  5. Suppliers will need to provide a list of their crew & vehicles, who will be assisting onsite and purchase full price event tickets if they intend staying onsite for longer than one day. The Supplier Gate is open for deliveries from 07h00 until 19h00 from Monday 16th April until Wednesday 25th April and then again from Saturday 28th April for collections. If the supplier is able to provide their goods or services within a day and before 19h00 that same day, then they do have the option of buying a refundable single-entry pass for their crew, which gets refunded if they leave before 19h00 the same day they entered. 

Round up of costs: 

Ticket Type Cost
Supplier Pass
(for Suppliers on site for more than 1 day) 
Refundable Single Entry 1 day pass.
(Suppliers can arrive from 7am and must exit before 7pm in order to get their refund. This ticket is only issued once.) 
Non-refundable Vehicle Pass R300
Refundable Deposit

Deposit is returned if the supplier complies with the process before event and whilst onsite.



The fees explained: 

Supplier pass: AfrikaBurn doesn’t differentiate between Suppliers and Burners because we are all there to work. A supplier crew who is onsite for more than a day uses the same AfrikaBurn infrastructure – such as toilets, medics, insurance, event staff etc – as the average participant does. This is why Suppliers and their staff are required to pay for a full price event ticket, like everyone else at the event does. 

Refundable Single Entry 1 day pass: Priced the same as a Mayday ticket, this ticket is fully refundable if the individual leaves the event site by 19h00 on the day they entered. (geared towards suppliers who are just dropping off goods and can do so in a couple of hours). The reason this ticket is more expensive is because we had the issue in the past of people buying supplier passes (which were the same price as a regular event tickets) and then not exiting the event. They justified staying onsite because they had paid the same price for a ticket as any regular Burner who was attending the event had. Where this is technically true, it does become a problem when the event is sold out and our maximum capacity has been reached onsite. These single entry refundable tickets are available right up until just before the event when the event has usually sold out. The higher cost of the ticket is there to deter people abusing the system. 

Vehicle Pass: AfrikaBurn is charging vehicle passes for every vehicle entering the event site. Again, suppliers are no different to regular burners. The supplier vehicle price is a little higher than the regular vehicle pass because generally supplier vehicles are larger and heavier than regular vehicles and it’s these vehicles that do the most damage to the roads leading to AfrikaBurn. The vehicle pass fee is there to offset the costs associated with making the R355 safe. 

Inventory fee:For the 2018 event, an inventory fee will not be implemented. This will provide for more time to consult our community, and suppliers, on the appropriate way to manage this cost.

R5000 refundable deposit:  For the most part (and this is certainly something we are trying to change) suppliers and their crew onsite do not attend AfrikaBurn because they buy into the AfrikaBurn ethos. 

Their primary purpose for being onsite is to provide a service and to profit from this service. AfrikaBurn have undertaken to set up briefing sessions and provide information documentation to better inform these companies of the principles that underpin our culture. However, to ensure these companies comply with the supplier process, we are charging a R5000 refundable deposit that will be returned to them after the event provided they have adhered to the process both before the event and whilst onsite. Unfortunately, money talks, and supply companies are more inclined to operate within the parameters our event culture dictates if money is at stake. Till now, we have had to rely on our volunteer resources to regulate supplier behaviour onsite, and this has put pressure on our resources, and as a result we have experienced a significant increase in service mentality as well as land grabbing at the event. 

Suppliers to Register

Any company delivering anything to your camp site or project such as water, tents, wood, power, toilets, sound, other camp infrastructure or transport to and from the event MUST register their services with AfrikaBurn BEFORE arriving in the desert. If they do not, they can be prevented from entering the site. Again – the onus is on you to ensure that your supplier has registered his/her company with AfrikaBurn. If however you are bringing hired goods onto site yourself, and erecting it yourself, then there is no need to register your supplier. 

What Suppliers would need to be registered?

All companies which are delivering anything to your camp site or project, such as – water, tents, wood, power, toilets, other camp infrastructure or transport to and from AfrikaBurn. These can include:

  • Tent Companies
  • Toilet Companies
  • Overlander Trucks & Transport Co’s
  • Power Companies
  • Transport & Logistics Companies
  • Anyone supplying goods or services
    (NOTE: paid labour in camps – such as chefs, bar staff, cleaning staff etc – is NOT permitted in any form at AfrikaBurn)


How to register your supplier:

I have a creative project and need to register my suppliers for that project:

  • Log into your Burner Bio
  • Click on your Collective
  • Below your registered project/s you will see a link that says “Register your suppliers”
  • Fill in the form

I need to register my suppliers for my personal camp:

  • Log into Your Burner Bio
  • Register your Collective (this is your camp name, and campmates)
  • Register your personal camp
  • Once your personal camp is registered you will see a link that says “Register Your Suppliers”

How do suppliers register themselves?

Suppliers will be contacted directly by AfrikaBurn once you, the Burner has declared the details of the supplier who will be assisting you with your project and/or Theme Camp. Alternatively suppliers can register themselves directly by clicking on the supplier button below. The onus however is on you, the Burner to ensure that your supplier has gone through the AfrikaBurn supplier process and has the correct credentials in order to access the event. 

I am a supplier – Register Here


On a side note: if you’re interested in providing charter flights to or from AfrikaBurn, click here.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email:

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