The March of the Little Green Man

On an otherwise unremarkable Wednesday, around 80,000 people sat nervously in front of their computers, waiting for the noon hour to strike. And when it did, they quickly clicked the link to get into the queue to purchase one of 40,000 precious tickets to Burning Man 2015. And then began … the wait.

As we’ve learned, it takes time to process all those transactions. Maddening time. Anxiety-inducing time. Time people spent on an emotional rollercoaster from hell, as they waited helplessly to see whether or not the winds of fate would blow a golden ticket into their hands. And during this time, probably more intensive psychic energy was heaped onto one single thing than anything else in Burning Man’s 29-year history: The Little Green Man.

The Little Green Man
Green Man walkin’.

The Little Green Man (yes, we’re capitalizing it, shut up) was the little dude standing, strolling or running along the progress indicator bar, marking one’s advancement through the ticket queue. As ticket-seekers urged him on with a fervor worthy of a filly at the Derby, he ascended to the level of a little green mythical being of possibility that would make the average totem, rune, relic or fetish (wait for it…) green with envy.

And while technically he’s white on a green background — Burners are known to be loose with aesthetic interpretations — he will go down in Burning Man lore as The Little Green Man. We’ve pulled together some of the sale-day homages to the little guy here (and we’ve saved our favorite for last) ….

https://twitter.com/Tophury/status/568144237625094144

And our favorite (this one’s a JOKE, people) …

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase

Will Chase is Burning Man's former Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He was the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Burning Man Journal, and content manager for Burning Man’s web properties. He also oversaw the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social media presence. Will first attended Burning Man in 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004 until he transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009. He is now the Director of Content and Community for Maker Faire.

56 Comments on “The March of the Little Green Man

  • X says:

    Must be nice to get to see him strolling along. When I got in line at 12:00:40 it was apparently already too late.

    Report comment

  • mollygolightly says:

    Maybe my crew weren’t cheering on The Little Green Man hard enough but of the 20 people in my camp who tried to get a ticket via the individual sale, zero got tickets. These are all people who logged on at 12:00, had burner profiles, not their first time at this rodeo. ZERO.

    Perhaps the camp got ZERO tickets at the Individual Sale because we don’t worship The Little Green Man, that we are nonbelievers? We certainly believe in mathematics and understand the law of averages, the rule of sample size and the shortcomings of experiential data.

    And it makes no sense that the outcome was 0:20.

    Report comment

    • Chris Huelsbeck says:

      Wow… I didn’t get any either and I was in line in the first few seconds. Your story sounds insane… 0 out of 20??

      I agree that just doesn’t sound right!

      Report comment

    • SoYo says:

      Ours was the same. Zero of 20. First time in almost 10 years.

      Report comment

      • Darren says:

        Yep, get used to it. Though they said there were only 200 fucking loser cheat snake asshole tech dicks, in actuality those are just the ones that were dumb enough to get caught!

        We know that BM and Ticketfly are NO MATCH for the type of savvy hackers out there. Just look at the incentives;

        BM/Ticketfly – really have no desire to stop the cheaters because the tickets are getting sold anyways. (though they may pay lip service to “fairness”, blah blah blah)

        Scalpers/Turnkey Camp Entrepreneurs – can leverage each ticket they obtain for many, many times more than they acquired it for (you can’t sell a $40,000 all inclusive BM vacation without the ticket first)

        Do the math folks. They just serve it for the finest technical outfit with the best and fastest set-up.

        And don’t try to tell me milliseconds don’t matter – I work in the trading industry where companies spend millions of dollars to gain 1000th’s of tenths of a second. Every iota matters!

        Long time Burners want a return to the good old days where we go wait in line at a record store for our spot. Give us a fucking chance!

        Report comment

  • Christian says:

    I made a YouTube video of the Little Green Man.

    Report comment

  • Jovankat says:

    The little dude is white on a green background. How have so many people gotten that wrong?

    Report comment

  • Chris says:

    So many horror stories… I clicked at noon and never even saw te little green man, I got offered tickets immediately. Also, everyone in our 20+ person camp got tickets, we may have no vehicle passes to get our infrastructure in, but we can always walk it back and forth from across the country I suppose! – Kidsong, we will all just pay a second service fee and shipping charge to get them in another sale.

    Report comment

  • Jenny says:

    The Little Green Man is so cute. I loved him! Well done.

    He almost made me forget that I had a job to do past my lunch hour, and got reprimanded after 90 minutes of watching this cute little guy. So today I lost my job today because of it, but the good news is that I got 2 tickets AND a VP. So I count it as kinda my severance pay, because of course I can’t go to the burn. Please email me if you’d like 2 tix and a VP. My loss is your gain.

    I also have a rent controlled flat in the Mission that I now have to give up. If you’re interested in that too, let me know. I can throw in a very well mannered and cute cat, she’s the love of my life, but I can’t take her back to NYC.

    Love you guys!

    Report comment

    • Holly says:

      If you’re serious, I’d love to talk about your tickets and VP!

      Report comment

    • Jenny says:

      Considering I lost my job, apartment, and cat as the result of buying BM tickets, if I can’t sell them above face value I think I’d prefer to go on a crime spree and harvest organs from strangers.

      Report comment

    • Jovankat says:

      I’ve got tickets but I’d be interested in maybe taking care of the apartment and kitty…

      Report comment

    • Kate Kisses Morgan says:

      Sold to two desperate AUSSIE girls whose opportunity to wait till later for tickets & a VP is not ideal given flights etc. please tell me our dream could be a reality?! I too had my little green man walking within seconds :(

      Report comment

    • Kate Kisses Morgan says:

      Sold to two desperate AUSSIE girls whose opportunity to wait till later for tickets & a VP is not ideal given flights etc. please tell me our dream could be a reality?! I too had my little green man walking within seconds :( will check my email with breath held.. kate.kateskisses@gmail.com

      Report comment

    • Jenny says:

      I understand why it would be wrong to sell above face value. That’s my loss. But I would be interested in a bartering, old school style.

      I’d be willing to trade the tix and VP for just a single kidney. I’m also throwing in a free trip to Mexico, all expenses paid. Mexico has a couple very good hospitals, and you’d be sipping cocktails on the beach in a week. And if your other kidney fails at any time in your life, I promise to donate one of my kidneys to you – free for LIFE. You really have nothing to worry about.

      But you must help find a home for my cat.

      Report comment

    • sarah says:

      whattttt??? i’d love your tix but I’m not going to accept this cat nonsense. people move all over the world and keep their pets. 90 year old peeople on social security move across country and keep their cats. call me and i will help (hell we can do trade for the tix and board your cat here until kitty has a home with you). kitty charm school 415-389-6369, i will help you. thanks, sarah/owner

      Report comment

    • Emily says:

      So appreciate you making your tickets available and not jacking up the price for profit. I am seriously interested in both tickets if still available

      Report comment

  • Jenny says:

    LOL @ selling at face value. Are you joking?

    Report comment

  • sid swerman says:

    Zero for two years. Imagine many folk wish to have BORG elaborately detail the hows and whys concerning this process…I know i do, especially when reports come in saying they got the green button before 12. Guess peoples cells aren’t linked properly to the time zone they are in.

    Report comment

  • wooka says:

    there was a green man? didn’t notice him, my 1 minute wait was too short :)

    Report comment

  • A Shay says:

    This kid got shut out with my LGM three minute from the finish line. Little dude gave it his all. I still have faith that fate (& a little ass kissing over the next 6 months) will get me to BM this year. I refuse to give in to the negative vibe. If anyone else feels the same way (& has an extra ticket and vehicle pass for face value) we should be buds. :)

    Report comment

  • Mimi says:

    Lol. I have to say I enjoyed little green dude even though he ultimately walked too slow in my case. And yes, I did immediately notice that I started thinking of him as the green man right away even though my brain said that he’s actually white on a green background.

    Report comment

  • david singer says:

    Stop worrying people that did not get tickets. In 2013 I was hoping to take a friend but did not so I sold my ticket the week before the event and it was HARD TO SELL. There were hundreds of them on craigslist often well below face value. A day or two before the event finding a ticket for $300 or less will be easy to do.

    Report comment

    • Nik says:

      An oft-overlooked point! Tickets are historically not rare before the burn. That’s when everyone needs to get rid of their spares, people’s plans change, etc – and loads of tickets enter the market. In 2013 on craigslist there were tickets for $100 – desperately trying to get rid of them. 2014 was a little tighter but still there were at least two people searching for, and ultimately getting tickets while in the entry line at the gates!

      Report comment

      • David says:

        Only problem is it’s hard to plan if you don’t know that there will be a ticket (and now a vehicle pass to transport your art project, etc.) for you when the time comes.

        Report comment

    • marco says:

      They were harder to buy in 2014 then 2013. Expecting a face value ticket a week before burn is a huge gamble. And trying to buy one in Gerlach or at the gate is stupid.

      Report comment

  • epiphanystarlight says:

    Jovankot, think of it as a loose reference to 2007 theme.

    Report comment

  • blbpdsusa says:

    How tone deaf is this post, given the massive outrage at the criminally ineffective and unfair ticketing system. Yea let’s joke about it, that’s fun! Came to the site hoping for a post on what went wrong, and get a clown post (who I’m sure has his ticket) instead.

    Report comment

  • kadee says:

    So….at noon I logged and immediately watched a little white man RUN right to the finish line, snagged 2 tickets and a vehicle pass like I do every year because I manifest it. So for those who did not get a tickets: your first mistake was watching some green guy and your second was ever doubting he would make it to the finish line! lesson learned yet?
    Oh and for all the bitter angry folk…no one cares how mad you are, it shows your true colours and we are glad that kind of energy won’t be on the playaso yes please do make other plans!
    I wrote the BM Org and thanked them for a job well done! maybe that is why I get tickets every year….call it luck but I think Karma was a player on the field Wed!

    Report comment

  • spacecake says:

    Well, the little green man didn’t like ME, that’s for sure. I opened my link at exactly 12:00:01 (or 09:00:01 pm in my time zone) according to Apple time and he told me he could make all the way to the end of the line in only 2 minutes. Seems he found something more entertaining on the way or the spacecake kicked in or whatever, the estimated time suddenly jumped to 32 and 56 minutes and then to more than an hour. But there was progress. Slowly but noticable. When after half an hour the counter was down to 24 minutes I started to hope again. Maybe it wasn’t too late yet? Maybe I still had a chance to get one of those precious tickets ? But, oh well, the little green man had something different in mind for me and the counter jumped back to where it was before: more than an hour. So there I sat, waiting patiently and still somewhat hopeful, but far from from enthusiastic, in front of my computer until the little green man had stumbled his way through the end of the line. Finally, after one and half an hour I was sure, no ticket for me.

    Report comment

  • maltese says:

    I was logged into my Burner profile, my ticketfly account, and I hit the email link and was in que at 12:00:02 and got nothing.
    I was well over an hour watching my wait time shift to over 48 minutes, then 55 minutes, then 59 minutes, then over an hour, then back to 59 minutes, then 43 minutes, then around an hour and a half of waiting came the dreaded “sold out” message.
    How could 40,000 persons get in front of me in two seconds or less?
    I cry “FOUL” in protest as a way to express my extreme disappointment :-(
    Green Walking dude is not my friend at this point in time!

    Report comment

    • Will Chase says:

      Hi Maltese, this post explains how the Individual Sale went, and it’ll give you insight on how that could happen: http://blog.burningman.com/2015/02/news/individual-sale-recap/

      Report comment

    • Nik says:

      There were many reports of people reloading the page and getting in right away. It’s hard to figure it out in the aftermath, but something definitely went wrong somewhere.

      2 seconds late is pretty long but at the same time, there needs to be a better system so people don’t have to resort to eBay-style sniping.

      I think the worst part about that is that all the snipers and internet trolls get tickets, and then end up on the playa, and all the regular folks who do not know about these things don’t get in.

      That said, there’s plenty more chances to get a ticket and I am still convinced that all those who want to go, will go. Just don’t give up.

      Report comment

      • marco says:

        like youre not an internet troll? They either go and are just like you or they sell the ticket and you might buy it. If youre not on the directed sale list you’re all the same-participants.

        Report comment

  • Tbone says:

    I worked for the NFL for 10 years, and most of that time was in organizing and facilitating ticket sales, and assuring the smooth flow of ticket holders through the door, and lot management. This job lead me to senior levels because the efficiency of public management was primary within the organization.

    I’m not going to offer my opinion on who Bmorg can improve their systems, I just to use this forum to publicly apologize to the many fans that I took advantage of, and the women I fondled. It was all consensual. I’m most apologetic to the husbands who had no idea their wives would do such things during half-time. It’s really disgusting the things they would do to me in the executive lounges across this great country. Some of the things were downright gross and bad. I feel dirty.

    Report comment

  • Chris Huelsbeck says:

    My little green man never moved an inch, even though I was there right on time… :(

    Report comment

  • David says:

    Uh. Is this supposed to make those of us who didn’t get tickets even though we clicked on right at Noon feel better? Cause it doesn’t.

    I really don’t understand why BMorg doesn’t make it public knowledge who the privileged people are who get to buy tickets, stress free during the directed sales period. If these Elite camps are so critical to the success of burning man, shouldn’t we know who they are? it might take a little bit of the sting out of not knowing where all of those special tickets go.

    Report comment

    • cranky the clown says:

      You don’t want to know.

      half the tickets go to special guests of the festival.

      Basically rich, famous, powerful or other festival promoters in a trade for tickets to their festival. Guests of burning man.

      Then come the extra vocal camps and artcars. being friends with the founders and people in the infrastructure means you have a high level of participation. smaller camps and artcars who arnt in the click dont get in the directed sale – because they don’t participate as much. its all so very simple.

      hang out with the cool kids and maybe one day you will be cool to.

      But look at that green man! isn’t he cute!

      Sorry for you if you didn’t get tickets, 75% of those that tried! Because all of us in the click ended up with tickets fine…

      I choose to express myself radically after 14 years on the playa and actually getting through and getting two tix

      It makes me want to puke whats happening to OUR festival, when WE are being profiled in the most basic and typical way…

      Green man my ass

      Report comment

    • marco says:

      Sure. The key volunteers like EMS, Gate, DPW, folks who BMORG says are important, and some of the prople who build some of the camps that actually do shit and make cool stuff. Most theme camps are lame and hopefully get nothing. The directed tickets go to maybe 50% of the people in placed theme camps plus some volunteers, plus some artists and builders. I’m not gonna hold your hand for you. Work for it.

      Report comment

  • Morgan Lang says:

    Am I fucking colorblind? The man is white….NOT GREEN!! Semantics…I know :)

    Report comment

  • elworks says:

    I logged in and clicked the green button as soon as it appeared (1:00.01 mst) everything went fine for about 20 min and then everything went blank and when it came back it said I had an hour and 20 min. Well needless to say no ticket, what went wrong this time? I said last year was going to be my last BM, after volunteering for 13 years, and I guess you proved me right.

    Report comment

  • Running Man says:

    Thanks for your input! Our Running Man from a previous ticket sale has his own fan page: https://twitter.com/HamletGreenMan

    If you’d like to keep track of his next adventure, or make any further suggestions, you can follow Queue-it on Twitter, Facebook or Linkedin, or contact us at info@queue-it.com. Have a great Burning Man 2015!

    https://twitter.com/queueit
    https://www.facebook.com/Queueit
    https://www.linkedin.com/company/queue-it

    Report comment

  • SonicZen says:

    So if 80,000 people waited an hour to try to get tickets, and only 40,000 did… That means that 40,000 person-hours were wasted in this endeavor — which equates to a team of 20 people working full-time for a whole year, to try and fail to get tickets. SO… Given how much human energy we’ve just wasted, could BM Org please promptly hire a team of 20 people for the next year and give them the task of coming up with a BETTER WAY of doing this???

    Report comment

  • xo to all u who have some fast green ppl & reliable free wi-fi hi-jacker skill. i have time to w8 for the green little car & will love to see u this year. try to bring plumbstrings & a lasercompas again. this time (alex grey) our wooden box meets foamirage so we will be lost holding leys to lost castles. God Bless!

    Report comment

  • Comments are closed.