The Zendo Project Expands for Burning Man 2017 and Beyond

Article by: Emily Ward|@_drawylime

Thu August 17, 2017 | 19:33 PM

In 2017, if you’ve been to a festival, you know what it’s like to need something. you’ve needed something. At some point. Water, cell phone service, water, somewhere to sit, a food line that didn’t top 50 people, water, it’s happened to me, it’s happened to you. Thousand of people attend a festival, and shit comes up. We all know this. To assume otherwise is irresponsible.

(Raise your hand) if you’ve been to Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis, Burning Man, Boom, , you’ve been mere yards away from a Zendo Project tent. Guarantee it.

According to Billboard , more than 32  million people will go to at least one music festival this year in the United States. A significant number of them will choose to use psychedelic drugs. In an altered state, things can get weird. Enter: The Zendo Project. A nonprofit organization that provides a safe space and compassionate counseling for those in the midst of challenging psychedelic experiences, Zendo is the harm reduction nerve center at the center of it all. 

Odds are, the Zendo will be taking care of you if you're having a tough time. 

Since 2012, Zendo's trained volunteers have been providing a 24/7 safe space for people to recover from difficult psychedelic experiences. Cut to 2016, where Zendo drew a record 200 volunteers to help 477 guests at Burning Man. Now, in 2017, the Zendo will expand. A warm, welcoming environment; mats, pillows, overall a soft place to land.

MAPS and The Zendo Project are currently fundraising to fund their expansion, starting with next week's Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  Initial response to the campaign has been overwhelming, with Help Zendo reach their stretch goal!

Donate here to entirely fund their presence at Burning Man, and invest in guest care. With the start of Burning Man just days away, this is big news for supporters and would-be guests of the Zendo.

It's only been eight days since The Zendo Project announced a fundraising campaign to support their expansion into improved infrastructure and expanded training resources.... and they've already raised nearly 100,000 dollars. That's the kind of love the Zendo Project brings in.

If you or anyone you know is in need of psychological or emotional support at Burning Man, The Zendo Village will be located in two places within the city, in the 9 o'clock plaza next to Rangers and 4:45 &A.

What Is the Zendo Project?

One of the most unique aspects of the Zendo Project is it's foundation rooted in peer care. The organization works closely with medics, rangers, law enforcement, other trained supervisors and administrators, but ultimately, when you come to the Zendo, you will be taken care of by a peer. 

Reduce the need for law enforcement, and actually working with law enforcement to ensure care. increase the level of communication between medical teams, security, rangers, legal authorities and Zendo coordinators.

The Zendo offers peer to peer counseling with individuals who are trained to work with overwhelming experiences. Many of their volunteers are mental health professionals, psychedelic researchers, and medical service providers. Others have training in holistic healing modalities or other relevant experience. We provide our volunteers with an on-site comprehensive training which further prepares them for offering harm reduction services.

Sponsored by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Zendo Project provides a safe space and trained staff to care for individuals at festivals, concerts, and other events where people may choose to use psychedelic substances.

Since 2012, the organization has supported over 2,900 guests at festivals and trained over 1,500 volunteers.

Reduce hospitalizations, reduce arrests

A supportive environment, specialized compassion and safety. 

In 2016, Everfest staffers traveled to Costa Rica to check out The Zendo crew in action at Envision Festival.

Behind the Scenes With Harm Reduction

How did the harm reduction begin? Longtime fans of Grateful Dead and attendees of those legendary shows in the 70s, RockMed was the music scene's first foray into non-judgmental harm reduction services, providing free care for attendees of concerts at the height of San Francisco's Summer of Love, and continuing today at Levi's Stadium, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, and more.

Zendo volunteers are committed to offering support to individuals undergoing challenging or overwhelming experiences. Volunteers come from a variety of different backgrounds and are knowledgable in the fields of psychedelics, psychology, and psychotherapy. Volunteers must be able to assist in crisis situations while remaining calm and grounded.

The Zendo Project has provided services at Burning Man (Nevada), Boom Festival (Portugal), AfrikaBurn (South Africa), Envision Festival (Costa Rica), Lightning in a Bottle (California), Symbiosis (California), YouTopia (California), Sonic Bloom (Colorado), Electric Daisy Carnival (Nevada), and many other events.

Zendo's Future, and How You Can Get Involved

Since 2012, the Zendo Project has assisted over 2,900 guests and trained over 1,500 volunteers and dozens of law enforcement and medical personnel, in the principles and practices of psychedelic harm reduction. Those numbers will only grow.

Our volunteers are committed to offering support to individuals undergoing challenging or overwhelming experiences. Volunteers come from a variety of different backgrounds and are knowledgeable in the fields of psychedelics, psychology, and psychotherapy. Volunteers must be able to assist in crisis situations while remaining calm and grounded.

Their $100,000 stretch goal will completely fund the Zendo Project’s psychedelic peer counseling services at Burning Man, and support their presence at upcoming events. These additional gifts will potentially help us travel to a new event, acquire new tools, and secure vehicles for transporting guests and supplies. We’re aiming for $60,000 to expand the Zendo’s services internationally, with an emphasis on growing our public training program and our advanced trainings for law enforcement, plus extending our infrastructure to accommodate more guests than ever.

Donations to the Zendo Project will be used to: 

  • Provide essential infrastructure such as structures, transportation, and supplies for community-based psychedelic support at Burning Man 2017 and other events; 
  • Train additional volunteers and develop new resources for public trainings; and 
  • Expand the Zendo Project’s capacity to deliver psychedelic support services at festivals and events around the world.

Burning Man is just the largest event of the year for the Zendo Project—millions of people will go to festivals this year, many will use psychedelics, and we have lots of work to do.

You needn’t be under duress to stop into Zendo. They have earplugs, water, electrolytes, and a ton of smiling, friendly faces on hand 24/7. Stop in, say hi. They’re taking care of us!

The Zendo Project is sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a 501©3 research and education organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. To find out more, visit