Retrospective and Planning for the Future

A word from the Chair.

Hooray! Element 11 2022 Happened!
As an organization we have so much love and gratitude for our community. A lot of people suffer under the misconception that E11 is “run” by the Element 11 Organization. The truth is, we simply offer a venue for the creativity of our community. It is all of you amazingly wonderful people who make this gathering happen. Sure, we provide a few logistics, like porta potties, but we do not create the art, feeling, or soul of this event. So on behalf of the Element 11 Organization, we want to THANK YOU for everything that you do. If you’re interested in how we as an organization feel about our event, be on the lookout for this year’s “AfterBurn” report, being released on our website soon. 

So, Next Year Was Better, Right?
Right after the burn is always the time that we get the biggest ideas. There are so many things we want to do to make things bigger, better, more burnery. But also, it’s a good time to look at what we did well and where we struggled. This year turned out amazing. We are so hopeful for our future and everything that is coming down the line. There is no question that Element 11 continues to grow in popularity and by extension, population. This year we had a population of 1800, our largest yet! In order to support our continued growth, we need more people to help. Currently, Element 11 is run by a core group of about 150 individuals who volunteer enough time to get a discounted ticket. We have rockstars who continue to put their time and sweat toward making our event happen, year after year. For the past few years (despite our continued growth), this number has remained relatively static. This is where we need our community to step up. We need 15-20% of our population to volunteer at the event. I could delve into this topic in much greater detail, but for now, I’ll just say that our ability to be able to offer the opportunity for more people to attend this event is directly proportional to the number of volunteers we have.

Where is Element 11 2023 Going to be Held?
Since 2015 Element 11 has been held at Stargazer Ranch. Overall, the feedback has been extremely positive. For the past 7 years we have worked with the owners of Stargazer and they have been awesome to work with. Additionally, every year our relationship with Box Elder County grows stronger, and they trust us more and more. Because we have continued to build our relationship with the owners of Stargazer and Box Elder County, we currently have no plans to change our venue.

The History of E11 Dates.
Let’s talk for a moment about the history of when Element 11 has been held. For a few years after the move to Stargazer Ranch, Element 11 tried to figure out when the best dates for the event were. Holding the event in July was feasible at our previous venue, with water readily accessible and being much closer to civilization. We tried that at Stargazer and eventually the consensus was that it was not feasible for fire safety and for participant safety (heat related illnesses were a common theme). So in 2019 the decision was made to move the event to June, permanently. If you’ll recall, we had dates scheduled for June of 2020, but then Covid rocked the world. 2020 was canceled. In 2021, we were not sure if we were going to have an event at all, but we cautiously decided to move forward. Ultimately this led to the decision to hold the event in September, as we were one of the few events happening at all, and we wanted to understand what impact Covid would have on our event. In 2022, having worked through our fears with Covid, and understanding how we can responsibly hold an event with a new endemic disease, we were back to June.

What Goes Into Deciding Our Dates?
Element 11 has a lot of moving parts. This year, I began a conversation with the owners of Stargazer Ranch about what their preferred dates for E11 2023 would be. The consensus was that June was the ideal month, but Father’s Day weekend was not an option. Before Father’s Day, there was no guarantee that the ground would be dry enough for long enough to adequately prepare for the event. So that meant it had to be after Father’s Day. I then spoke with the Box Elder County Fire Marshal about the dates. I was informed that July and August are not good for burns. Additionally, July and August are simply too hot for participant safety. That left June. They informed me that we could not get Box Elder County coverage for the weekend of Father’s Day, or for the weekend of Independence Day (July 4th). This left us with a single weekend which works for Stargazer and for Box Elder County, which is the weekend after Father’s Day.

Now, For a Little Consistency.
Element 11 has been around for more than 20 years. We are the largest community gathering of our type in Utah, and by default, many organizers plan their event around ours. As much as we try to be conscious of other events happening when we have the conversation of scheduling our event, we are ultimately at the mercy of several outside factors, and sometimes dates will overlap with other events. We do, however, want to provide consistency and some ability to plan for the future. It is with this in mind that we are announcing that moving forward, for as long as Element 11 is held at Stargazer, you can expect Element 11 to fall between Father’s Day and July 1st. We hope that this will help our community plan more effectively for their summer, and as an organization you can expect us to provide more time for planning the event. Our goal is to open art grant applications earlier; and have ticketing on a single date and planned earlier, so all of our community will have the support they need for making this happen. Because it’s not us as an organization who holds this event. We just provide a venue. It is our community who creates the magic which is Element 11.