Ticket Update: Radical Inclusion, Meet the Other Nine

First things first:

For all the frustration, anxiety, stress, and heartache this year’s ticket lottery has caused, please accept another humble apology.

Photo by John Curley

This is no time for issuing statements or putting a spin on anything. The system may have worked, but the cultural outcome sure didn’t, and even though some of you saw that coming and said so, we didn’t, and for that we are sorry.

The current trajectory is not acceptable. Even people who did get tickets aren’t cheering right now, since so many of their camps and friends are standing out in the cold. Entire groups are worried they’ll have to scrap all their plans. Burning Man is a participatory and collaborative event, and many collaborations are perilously close to falling apart.

Clearly we must reevaluate, but first we want to say more about what we’ve heard, how we got here, and what our next steps will be.

What we’re hearing:

Our office in San Francisco is awash in feedback. We have been meeting every day about tickets, and have burned the midnight oil poring over every available list and forum, logging and absorbing every email, complaint, and plea for information. We’re absolutely listening very carefully, and we are 100% clear that there’s a very big problem playing out.

What’s happening isn’t fun for anyone, and there’s no sugar coating to be put on it. Clearly, despite projections, the majority of the people who have previously built, created, contributed and participated – not just those who’ve been before, but who have created the foundations of Burning Man — don’t have a ticket to the event this year. And whether it was our naiveté or just underestimation, we didn’t see that coming at this scale, and we know it’s hurting us all now.

We understand and recognize the impact this is having – on individuals, on projects and collaborations, on your ability to plan vacation time, book plane tickets, submit applications for your camps, your art projects—everything about participating in Burning Man. We see the emotional response it’s causing – only too well, as we’re Burners at HQ too, and so are our friends, our campmates, our teammates, and our families. Watching this unfold has been painful. Each of us is responding differently – worrying, losing sleep, meeting through the evenings and weekends, throwing things, searching for answers…this is one of the most painful moments in our history.

What happens next will be pivotal – whatever is to blame, now that we’ve reached this point, we absolutely know we have to get this next moment right. We are all about to write the future of Burning Man.

Through our process of discovery and data analysis, we’ve heard from our whole community — including some experts we’ve never talked to before. In a lot of cases, we have asked for their consult; some of those helpful blogs and comments you’ve been forwarding to us have turned into meetings and phone calls, and we’re figuring out how else we can engage with a wider range of Burner minds to help guide our community through this.

How Did This Happen?

The moment in 2011 that we saw tickets were going to sell out, we knew it would have a major impact on 2012 ticket sales, and we started planning. As we analyzed how to build this year’s process, we projected possible scenarios. Some of us thought we would see a sell out on the very first day of ticket sales. Most thought it would take longer (after all, last year’s tickets sold out in July). Few could predict exactly how many new prospective attendees would register, though we had plenty of indication that public interest was greater than ever – especially since we sold out last year, but also in the rise of social media and visibility for Burning Man. In any case we knew we were in for a different kind of ride in 2012.

A first-come first-served system would not meet the demand either. Every ticket vendor informed us we’d have to use the same type of “queuing system” that meant hours waiting in line at your computer screen – a luxury perhaps not available to many perfectly deserving Burners. And since we did estimate that demand would exceed supply somewhat, we knew that when people rushed in to grab the tickets available, there would be someone left out in the cold – not everyone was going to get tickets who wanted them.

By spreading the registration process over a period of time, and making random selection a stated goal of the design, we aimed for a more sane way to access what would be basically the same “odds” at tickets. We’d diffuse a few hours of frustration (middle of the night for some Burners, middle of the workday for plenty of others) into a more moderate, less angst-ridden experience, but get the same kind of results.

We felt it was culturally important to retain the different price points in that scenario, to make a wider range of ticket prices available for people of different means. Our desire was to distribute that access in a manner that gave people some control over how much they were willing to spend.

While the system was not primarily designed to prevent scalping, there were certain deterrents to it in place. No event organizer or ticket seller has solved scalping completely. Some of the measures they’ve implemented to ameliorate it, unfortunately also prohibit certain things we still value about our culture, especially the practice of gifting tickets. Many a great Burner had their first experience after getting talked into it at the last minute by a friend, and plenty of us have given, swapped, or received a ticket late in the season when plans began to change. A two-week registration window to request tickets would still let us do more crosschecks to weed out the speculators and scalpers.

And in those regards, the ticket selection system worked as planned — but it created other unforeseen problems, and most of them boil down to an unpredicted, overwhelming level of demand. The impact of that demand is beyond what we projected when designing the system; even if we knew there were destined to be some people missing out, we didn’t expect nearly so many.

The Numbers:

Let’s break it down and just talk numbers: we had nearly three times the number of tickets requested than we had available tickets. We did conduct a survey before purchase, and while surveys are not perfect, they do give some interesting data. In that survey, about 40% of ticket buyers said they had never been to the event before, which is a higher number than we’ve seen in previous years. It does appear — and I’d caution we don’t know everything yet — that there was a fair amount of over-registration – those who said “I need one but I’ll order two…” or “I’m not sure I’m going but I’ll get one just in case.”

We can now see that some of that happened simply because the perception of scarcity drove fear and action for all of us. It could be said we were quite naïve to think we had much control over a basic emotional response to scarcity. Game theory won out over good wishes.

But that’s not all that happened. In fact, there were plenty of ‘perfect storm’ influences afoot: 2011 had perfect weather, awesome art, and record attendance and visibility in the press. The ticket sell-out made headlines around the world. Social media use is higher than ever, so participants who had such a great time were more active than ever telling everyone all about it. One such participant shared a magical YouTube video he created in 2011 (“Oh The Places You’ll Go!”) – the link hit the Huffington Post in January and went viral, eventually hitting 1.3 million views from all around the world; its visibility peaked right around the day that ticket registration opened. And, thinking we wanted to ensure a fair shake at the new system for Burners, we decided to leave registration open for two full weeks, just to be sure that any of you who were out on vacation or away from your computers for the announcement had plenty of time to get a fair shot.

A perfect storm.

The Big Picture:

The overarching fact we must face now: awareness of Burning Man has reached the world at large. It has tipped into the mass consciousness and drawn exponential levels of new interest. Thanks in part to thousands of enthusiastic storytellers from throughout Burning Man’s history, the number of people who want to burn now exceeds the current capacity of the city in the desert.

This was a possibility at every point in our history, of course, but the speed and scale were surprising. We were not blind to this possible outcome, but we did not anticipate an increase in demand that would so dramatically exceed all precedent.

Our friends in the days when Burning Man was much smaller worried what it would be like when ten thousand people showed up on the playa. In 2012, we’re faced with figuring out how we can address the Principle of Radical Inclusion now that the unthinkable has come true: millions of people have heard of Burning Man, and a whole bunch of them want to come. Although Radical Inclusion states “We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community,” that doesn’t mean that every one of us fits in the same place at once.

While we’d all like to blame some mysterious “Other” at this point – while we’re all offended by the concept of scalpers profiting off tickets our friends should have gotten – there is no clear evidence that scalpers are holding all of these tickets. Sure, they’re out there. And there are returning Burners who are right now sitting on an extra ticket, afraid to speak up and start a stampede among campmates, or quietly redistributing those tickets among friends or other strong ties.

But what’s appearing more and more likely is this: we’re about to meet a lot of newly-minted, first-time Burners. (And hi, new friends. Kindly step up to the mic and say hello in the comments below – we’re thrilled to welcome you, really, and would love to hear from you. You’ve arrived at a very interesting time, can you tell?)

And that’s fantastic. New energy and enthusiasm is the lifeblood of Burning Man, and we were all new here once (well, except for Larry Harvey). We love newcomers.

However, if new Burners are the lifeblood, the existing community of collaborators, projects, and creativity is the corpus of Burning Man. And now we’ve learned after a few days of polling and information gathering that many of the largest groups and projects (mutant vehicles, theme camps, volunteer groups, and other collaborations) planning to attend this year have secured only 25%-30%, on average, of the tickets they needed to commit to their projects. Even calculating that many tickets would eventually become available via the secondary market, the timing of that possible influx comes too late. These groups are telling us “This might be the year we skip Burning Man.” Plenty of significant groups have already moved forward with making alternate plans.

At an individual, person-by-person scale, such a turnover might be acceptable — if this was a concert or a sports event. But you’re not just fans in a seat, all more or less the same. In a collaborative culture, in a community based on a web of social relationships, these numbers are perilous. And while it remains true that no prerequisites exist to be a part of our community, we cannot and will not let overwhelming interest tear apart the social fabric that is critical to our culture.

What We Can’t Change:

Two things are immutable:

1. It is not possible to simply grow the event to welcome more people in 2012. Between traffic concerns and the limitations placed on attendance by the Bureau of Land Management, that’s off the table.

2. Without our core collaborative community, the fabric of Burning Man could fray and tear apart. Regardless of all good original intentions, that ripping sound has to stop.

We very, very much want and need to welcome new people to Burning Man. New creative energy and enthusiasm also help make it what it is, and newcomer experiences can be some of the most transformative. We continue to welcome the stranger. But we can’t work so hard to welcome new Burners to BRC that it comes at the expense of those who have and will make the event what it has been. Radical Inclusion is the first principle, but faced with a Burning Man event that is limited in population, Civic Responsibility and Communal Effort dictate that we endeavor to radically include those who create Burning Man in the first place. There are, after all, Ten Principles, not just the one.

What We Can Do:

So, what now? Let’s start with what we know for sure:

* We can’t and won’t reverse the Main Sale drawing results. That part is done, and there is nothing fair about taking awarded tickets away from anyone…it solves nothing at this point, and changes the terms after the sale has already happened, and probably isn’t even legal. Besides, that only makes a bad situation worse.
* We must now attend to preserving the fabric of our culture.
* There are listings on ticket scalping sites, but right now, they don’t all equal tickets that will be sold above face value. None of those sellers are actually holding tickets yet, and won’t be for several months, and we will collaborate to do what we can to starve them out. There are right now only about a hundred such tickets on those sites, although that doesn’t mean there are not more tickets that were awarded to people who plan to scalp them eventually.
* The STEP program will launch this month and we believe it will help. Those who were not selected to purchase tickets in the Main Sale round will be notified privately of how to register, and given the first option to sign up for the “Want Tickets” waiting list in advance of any other users.
* Right now we are contacting representation from all the types of affected groups analyze the overall shortfall and figure out the scope of the problem and what options exist for us. We’re also consulting with Burners of every possible stripe and trying to increase our brain trust to help make sure we don’t miss any signs as we find our way out of this storm.
* Our Regional Network and other teams including many community advisers are engaging around what to do about the issue of acculturating new visitors to Black Rock City this year.
* We’re clear that next year, big changes are necessary to address scarcity, capacity and community.
* We have agreed to be as transparent and honest as we can, describing next steps and decisions as quickly as we are able to make them. We are really considering a vast array of options as we continue to absorb information and analyze data.

We’re working non-stop to understand what happened. We’re checking in with theme camps and art groups. We’re talking to volunteer teams and regional coordinators, performers, mutant vehicle crews…all the smaller sub-communities that make up Burning Man. We’re gathering information on who placed orders for tickets, who received them, and, if they have a surplus, how they intend to resell them.

We are meeting constantly with Burners right now. We’re reading what people are writing and inviting many of those voices to come meet us, call us, and help us sort this out. You are going to be a big part of that solution. Please continue to email, write, call, tweet, and post your ideas and suggestions. Please check in with your own community to see what tickets might be available.

Meanwhile, please know that everything we’re working on here in San Francisco is guided by the desire to find the best possible way for our community to come together again on the playa. We’ll continue to communicate as we have information available. We expect to present a detailed plan on February 15th.

About the author: Andie Grace

Andie Grace

Andie Grace returned to the staff of Burning Man in 2019 as a producer of strategic storytelling content. During her original tenure at BMHQ from 2000-2013, she was a member of the Executive Committee, managed the Communications Department, and helped oversee the early development of the Regional Network. During her seven-year hiatus, she co-founded an indie film distribution label, an indie video game label, and a creative coworking hub in Silicon Valley, but ultimately her passion for Burning Man and its cultural future pulled her back to the staff of the Project. She lives with her family in Berkeley, California.

1,184 Comments on “Ticket Update: Radical Inclusion, Meet the Other Nine

  • Leslie Bocskor says:

    First :-)

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  • Big E says:

    Me and my art project will be there ready to play. Big E

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  • Kurt Zorcn says:

    Adversity is an opportunity. More humans than ever want to touch the magic. Let’s figure out how to give it to all of them.

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  • Angela says:

    Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.

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  • Fiver says:

    Names on tickets. Been said a million times but I’m repeating it. It may not be possible this year, but for 2013 (if there is a 2013) that should happen.

    Perhaps a new “Grandfathered” clause for tickets. I got mine for 2012, so I have a better shot at 2013? I know new people are the blood of festival, but the veterans are the bones, and we need that support.

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  • Thank you for writing this finally. I hope this will ease some tensions with people. I am with BDC and I know we are really short on tickets. This will be my first year at the burn if am awarded a low income ticket. I hope this will work out so I am able to actually meet the people I have made friends with online from this community in person. I have had some already amazing interactions with people such as gifting and helping with being a Mod on the Burners against scalpers FB page. I just hope everything works out .See you in the Dust… I hope! :)

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  • taoshue says:

    thank you, burning man, for this post. i’ve been terrified ever since the lottery system was announced that it could destroy burning man. the thought of that happening is too horrible to bear. i’m relieved that you have acknowledged the mistakes in an honest and forthright way, apologized for them, and are now working hard to correct it. thank you, and i love you.

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  • Justin Gunn says:

    For all the whining and moaning, I still know in my heart that this system was set up to be as fair and inclusive as was thought possible. I still have faith that even as the inevitable push of – gasp – market forces descend upon an otherwise egalitarian community, the collective will of that community (and yes, the Org as well) will find a way to make it all work. You know what they say, “one day we’ll all be laughing about this…” Or better yet, we’ll be thankful it happened because the lessons learned and even unexpected beneficial consequences may indeed be great.

    I’ve always said, if it wasn’t so damn hard to get there it would be nearly as rewarding!

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  • Brody says:

    I appreciate the care, thought and effort that’s being poured into this challenge! Thank you, Burning Man, for doing the difficult work, and for listening to and engaging with the community. We ARE all Burners, it’s a good reminder.

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  • BetaGirl says:

    I suggest:

    Requiring volunteer participation to get a ticket in. So any future virgin would start with community building… It can be volunteering in any way; camp, car, cafe, dpw, hq, etc.

    If we are all participants, let’s figure out a method to quantify that and include min requirements.

    As a parent my daughter’s school requires our family volunteer 20 hours a year… How about BM requires 4 verified hours?

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  • Exact Lee says:

    The expectation bar has been set very high thanks to the efforts of those who were newbies before you! Bring your A game and bring it on! Don’t disappoint the veterans who can’t make it this year.

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  • Wampa says:

    Thank you for writing and addressing this issue, finally. I’m 3x burner and not planning to attend this year. My suggestions to the powers that be are as follows:

    1) Abandon the lottery idea. My prediction is that many tickets will be redistributed from those who lucked out (by having friends and family order for them) to those who weren’t so lucky this summer sometime. Unfortunately, that doesn’t give anyone much time to make plans, much less art and theme camps.

    2) Raise the price of tickets considerably. Like, double it. That will discourage some who can’t afford it, but still allow those who are hell bent on going a chance to raise funds and save up and realize their dream of going. Wealthy people will go and the poor will be excluded, so…

    3) Reserve 1/8 to 1/4 of the tickets for low-income on a grant/application basis. Perhaps even incorporate your lottery for this small cluster of tickets. That way people can have a shot at going for cheap or they can fund raise to go for full price.

    4) Think of some way to make ticket-acquisition as difficult as Burning Man itself is. Don’t make people sit in line all day to buy tickets, but throw some obstacles in the way that weed people out (or rather, weed people in…those who really really want to go). Create a volunteerism requirement and require submission of paperwork. Require sponsorship from an existing Burner. Require an essay. Do what colleges do to weed out applicants. You’ll discourage a lot of scalpers and you’ll dwindle down the number of attendees who want to go through that bullshit. But those who show up will really want to be there.

    5) Make it harder to sell and transfer tickets. Yes, all these suggestions would have been terrible a couple years ago, but I think they may be better than your lottery idea. At least now you seem to be asking the community before you implement your next hair-brained scheme. If you had asked for help from the community to solve this problem, many of us would have steered you away from the tiered lottery. At least I would have.

    much <3,

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  • Rob says:

    Thank you for making a few things clear finally.

    – “We can’t and won’t reverse the Main Sale drawing results.”
    – “It is not possible to simply grow the event to welcome more people in 2012”
    – “Without our core collaborative community, the fabric of Burning Man could fray and tear apart. Regardless of all good original intentions, that ripping sound has to stop.”

    I read this as “10,000 open sale tickets will not be sold openly”.

    Am I right?

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  • Joe says:

    I went in 2010 by myself, and in 2011 with my wife. Tired to get tickets for 2012 to go with my 17 year old son (and, yes, I confess, I also had our 23 year old daughter enter for 2 tickets as a back-up — also figuring if we won all four, my son, youngest daughter, my wife and I all might go together).

    But mostly I wanted to be there, and share the experience with, my son.

    Now I don’t know what the experience will look like — no theme camps? (or far fewer??), angry long-time burners who ARE there? Others talking about “occupy Black Rock?!?!) really? Do I want to share that with my son?!?

    So sad.

    I’m, FYI, a fairly hard-core libertarian. Free markets and all that, and saw this attempted social engineering disaster happening. Hopefully good powerful lessons for the community, much needed. Governments and good-hearted folks, and best of intentions cannot alter how markets operate. Supply and demand and all that.

    So, surely, long-term, there much be some spot of land, near a really good set of highways, that would love the money generated from 100,000+ at a week of burning man.

    That is where I’d be looking if I were allyoualls. Outside Vegas maybe? An abandoned military base in North Dakota or something? Surely somewhere is a place big enough for all the art, dreams, wonder and people who I’d love to see there –even 500,000 . . .

    I do look forward to coming back someday. Maybe with my son (although it’ll be much harder to impossible to miss the first week of a year at college over the next few years, than it would have been to have missed the first week of his senior year of high school this year).

    No hard feelings though.

    Just hopes you and everyone appreciate how the best social engineering is the one that relies on Adam Smith’s invisible hand. Sure seems we’ve all just been slapped hard by it!

    Theme for Burning Man 2013 — Who is John Galt? With a Taggart railway art project running in a big circle around the man?


    And with love and gratitude for all I’ve experienced with this community, even now,


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  • Mikey Souza says:

    THIS is what we’ve all been waiting for. Thank you.

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  • Calen Barca-Hall says:

    It seems like the major source of this scarcity problem is the rapid influx of first timers. Radical Inclusion is necessary yes, but maybe “First Timers” could be required to have some sort of introductory level of access. Lets say veterans could arrive starting on sunday, but first timers weren’t allowed to arrive until wednesday. Im not sure if something like this is the perfect solution, but I know that as a recent virgin I would have tolerated a “first time” initiation ticket. (2 years ago was my first year, last year I did an honorarium project)

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  • melissa alexander (foam) says:

    Good on you for publishing this. Evolutionary pressures can be a bitch and learning can be painful, but in the end many of us know there are people taking this on the chin. I came for the art and stayed for you people.

    I still love to be with you people -desert or no. Still, please continue to be amazed and humbled (yes) by how highly valued this shared experience. So much so that folks are are mourning. It means it aint just a party. You have the hard problem not the easy one.

    xoxox foam

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  • Funx Jigsaw says:

    Well done! We are out here ready to help. xx

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  • Toi Box says:

    “”* Our Regional Network and other teams including many community advisers are engaging around what to do about the issue of acculturating new visitors to Black Rock City this year.””

    What about a BRC Big Brother/Big Sister program?
    This could be implemented regionally, new burners register regionally to be paired with a local burner that would mentor them and help acculturate both on and off the playa. Ideally a stranger.
    This could even be done in person at the “newbie picnic” that many regions hold.

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  • Mitch says:

    Nicely said, ma’am.

    (But, just back of the envelope, if 40% of the bidders were newbies then 60% of the bidders had to be either vets or scalpers. Since we know that veterans got about a third, or 14,000, tickets in the pre- and main sales, then newbies should have received about 9,500 to maintain the 40/60 split. That would leave just under 20,000 tix in the hands of scalpers if nobody lied in the survey.)

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  • Katieq says:

    ONE ticket per person. I am peeved that the main sale is showing a max of 4 tickets per credit card. Stop this nonsense. Make it a low reward activity for scalpers and stop the Burner hoarding. Unfortunately, we Burners contributed to this problem by hedging and purchasing more than we needed.

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  • Katieq says:

    … i still need a ticket … *sniff*

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  • Chris says:

    I really hope I can get a ticket to go home this year!

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  • Lee Baby Sims says:

    I’m a birgin who didn’t recieve a ticket but was (and still am) hoping to make 2012 my first year. Two thoughts:

    1) If vital theme camps and sub groups being shorthanded is a reality we have to cope with this year, what can we do to get all the newcomers involved in learning and helping out? What better way to become acculturated than in the months leading up to BM itself? Perhaps this is an opportunity to forge a more cohevise and national organization and skill sharing community from the bottom up.
    2) Can we just have two Burning Mans? :)

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  • OCCUPLAYA on the 4th of Juplaya says:

    No words can be expressed by all of us shut out and booted from home. Such a great loss for so many. And, with the way the world is going, maybe there won’t even BE a burn in 2013.

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  • Heyu says:

    Thanx Andie!

    Core Burn Monday night! (after the man)

    (Ease the exodus)

    Newbie night gatherings will be huge this year!

    We can do this. We are burners !

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  • Jwen says:

    My small pink fuzzy monkey with superhero underwear campo needs 6 tickets still.

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  • Yishai K says:

    A solid response from BMORG regarding the ticket fiasco. They are taking responsibility and promise to work hard on finding solutions and try to sort this mess out.
    I wish them and all of our beautiful community the best of luck – but at this point I am loosing faith that this years event will pack the same impact as in previous years.
    The fact that so so many artists, theme camp and art car organizers, participants and other pivotal playa people don’t have tickets and cannot plan accordingly really worries me – even if Lior (my fiancee) and I do get tickets – will it be worth it to go all the way from Israel?
    Will the city even glow?
    Will there be 40,000 virgin spectators that aren’t prepared to generate the power and love needed for the magic to happen?
    I am sure burning man is starting to make it’s impact on a global scale – and that very soon we will see the Regional Burns rise to glory… all over the world. It’s still to early to let the playa die out.
    I pray (to the man and playa gods) that this will work out.

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  • Jason says:

    My 2 cents for next time:

    – NAMES on tickets
    – Make them harder to get: write an essay, volunteer requirement, something
    – MANY more tickets (various price tiers) for art projects, volunteer groups and theme camps to distribute. let more people get tickets that way

    Thanks for listening.

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  • Cindy says:

    Our theme camp has decided to go ahead and plan/participate as if we all have tickets (when really only 10% of our returning campers and 20% of our organizing comittee have tickets). We’re pretty confident tickets will find us somehow! Chins up everyone <3 See you at home )*(

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  • z says:

    A virgin told us we were spoiled kids who ought to let the newcomers re-write the Playa. It hurt. The Playa is my home and I only get to be there for one week in every year. I have a ticket, but I’m not celebrating yet. This apology has helped.

    To that virgin I copy and paste the following excerpt. And I wish him/her a wonderful burn. Know this: without all of us your New Playa will be Spring Break in the desert. We are the burn, you are welcome to join us, but don’t you dare think we are not an intrinsic part of it.

    “Without our core collaborative community, the fabric of Burning Man could fray and tear apart. Regardless of all good original intentions, that ripping sound has to stop.

    We very, very much want and need to welcome new people to Burning Man. New creative energy and enthusiasm also help make it what it is, and newcomer experiences can be some of the most transformative. We continue to welcome the stranger. But we can’t work so hard to welcome new Burners to BRC that it comes at the expense of those who have and will make the event what it has been. Radical Inclusion is the first principle, but faced with a Burning Man event that is limited in population, Civic Responsibility and Communal Effort dictate that we endeavor to radically include those who create Burning Man in the first place.”

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  • Camo Mike says:

    I’m a veteran of 10 years. Last year was the first year I’ve missed in 7. My mother passed away and all my vacation and savings went to tend to her final days. The past year has been incredibly hard on my family, especially my father(married 40 years). My sister and I were the work horses of the family, pushing our grief off to help my other sister, father and nephew through her passing. In time my family’s grief has begun to heal. However; My grief had been sitting dormant, never getting a chance to process it myself. I’ve looked forward to making my peace with her passing at the temple this year, To me it seamed very fitting. My mother was the big reason I was able to attend my first burn. She saw the change in me after and encouraged me to keep attending, even financed a few directly to make it happen. My mother was as much a part of Burning man as I was.

    When I received the declination letter, I was heart broken. Every emotion I had pushed down came welling up. I felt as If I was told I wouldn’t get my chance to say good bye. I felt like I wouldn’t get to make my peace. My peace with this amazing woman who gave me this very community. It forced me to finally start to process her passing.

    I am fairly resigned at this point that I will not get tickets. I will however not stop trying. I will register for step. I will try other means. I will seek out tickets until the time has passed to make travel feasible. I owe her that much. I owe the community that much.

    Thank you for this. Thank you for finally breaking your silence on the matter. I felt like the community and it’s organizers had turned it’s back when I need them most. I know you folks are having a hard time with this, thank you for trying. No system is perfect, No solution is definite. But thank you for trying.


    Camo Mike

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  • Curtis Coleman says:

    I am humbled, (once again), by your MAD skills and willingness to be a kind and loving human being, LMNOP. A grateful community (I believe), is about to show you, and most importantly themselves, what support looks like. Thanks for being an equal partner. :-)

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  • Mike Higdon says:

    Thank you for this. I’m a new Burner this year with my wife. We were one of the people who both applied for tickets to increase our chances but only I received mine, so our system didn’t work. Some of our new burner friends didn’t receive tickets either, which surprised us. For one, it’s Nevada, so that level of gaming the system should’ve been expected. But that’s not important anymore.

    Maybe the STEP system will help a lot more than we think and Burners are resourceful people who may find other ways to get those important tickets? In the future, perhaps the “Bones” of Burning Man should use a separate system to get their tickets. A combination of que and lottery. Or, maybe there’s nothing wrong with the que system. A minor day-long inconvenience for waiting for tickets somehow seems to be outweighed by the emotional negativity coming from the new system. And those who are serious, in any event throughout the nation, have always had precedents over those who are not.

    In any case, I have faith in this grand community to figure how to adjust and perhaps it’s okay if this year is a Wild Departure from the past, isn’t everything humans have done for the last 5 years been just that? Don’t fear a different future, embrace the change, make a new experience.

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  • Terry says:

    First come first serve will work 100% of the time if you only have one ticket price. There is no longer a need for multiple levels of pricing. If you didn’t learn anything from this exercise you should have learned that.

    Concerts seem to be able to handle first come first serve without a glitch perhaps you should find out who some of the larger stadiums use to process major headliners.

    If you demand names be assigned to tickets you’re going to have a bigger logistical nightmare for BMHQ staff next year than you do this. Last minute name changes. Lady minute gifting. All staff is on playa and didn’t get the info. People were planning to ho but had to change because of life happening in their general direction. Adding names is absolutely not the way to ho. Also will take longer at the gate and add more to the gate people who have more than enough to do already.

    One price
    No names
    First come first serve

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  • ChrisO says:

    Thank you, thank you for the post!
    The community needed to hear that all the comments weren’t falling on deaf ears and that the BMorg is looking into where we go from here.
    We’re human. We just needed to hear that you were listening.

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  • Thank you guys SO MUCH for everything you have done. While our hearts lay bleeding out in cold, only you guys could understand and help us. Thank you for the addressing the problem and speaking to us.

    Just for reference, Shangri-Lawless as a camp got 12 out of 30. We would REALLY like to come back and move forward with our bigger, badder plans.

    Much love


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  • Moorlock says:

    Move Burning Man somewhere less hospitable or with more capacity. Reduce demand and/or allow more people to come. Not only should you do this anyway, since Burning Man has become disappointingly repetitive, but I’d imagine that BLM and the other governmental agency leeches who have been sucking up so much of the attendees’ ticket costs will sing a different tune about how many people are allowed on the playa once they see their cash cow gazing at new pastures.

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  • mystikmike says:

    Andie –

    This post – and the attitude it displays – is the reason I burn. Thank you for being the real deal.

    I second Wompa’s suggestions. Make ’em earn to burn.


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  • towelXcore says:

    I must admit I am a first time burner. I have been amazed by burning man for the last couple years but i didn’t know anyone that went and i thought going alone would be a bit intimidating. Now i met a theme camp and was stoked that i got 2 tickets. One for me and One for my best friend (also a virgin). I am also bringing my RV and a trailer. But now the theme camp is talking about not going because much of the members didn’t get tickets. This makes me a bit nervous just because the people i was going to have as a home base might not show. I am still going to go because everyone i have ever talked to that has gone has told me about all the love and amazement the week on the playa can infuse into my life. Though it looks like there quite a bit of weight on my shoulders as a virgin to make this burning man the best yet. looks like i have some reading up to do on how to do a bunch of stuff i wasn’t planning on for my first burn ie. creating a theme camp of my own and registering an art car. If anyone has any suggestions on articles to read please let me know. I don’t have a much for funds but i have lots of elbow grease and good intentions. Peace! and see you on the playa!!!

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  • kiki enfuego says:

    Thank you. I have a ticket but 75% of our theme camp doesn’t. At least we know our pain is understood.

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  • Shaia says:

    I don’t know what to say about this.

    What I heard is since I’m not part of a giant theme camp or drive a mutant vehicle, I will be left out. Again. :/

    While it decreases the angst to receive a heartfelt apology, I’m not sure if anything can be done THIS YEAR that will get me a ticket.

    This ticketing thing is broke. Scooping up all the pieces and fitting them back together, and wrapping it with duct tape will still be a busted system.

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  • anya says:

    This is the best letter Ive read so far. While others were clear, there hasnt been any responsibility taking for the the ripple effect (on theme camps, friends who’s “families” dont have tickets etc) the emotional impact, and the heart sickness the shortsightedness this has caused. I am sure it is not “the influx of newbies” that are causing the numbers to go up as much as it is people who were trying to beat the odds. Scalpers are much more likely to show up- not now when things are hot- but closer to the Burn, when people desparately want to return home.

    Do with only 10, 000 tickets left, they will probably go to theme camps- and the scalpers will come out of the woodwork later on.

    I will not buy a ticket above ticket price. I hope no one else will either. Let them be left holding their tickets, is what I say.

    I am sad to see this disruption occur in 2012. Burning Man has been a bright Light that has led us to opening our hearts through freedom of expression. I thank all the hard workers behind and not so behind the scenes for all the work you have done over the years.

    I know this isnt easy on anyone.
    Thanks for taking responsibilty and recognizing the pain from those of us who havent gotten tickets….and love BRC.

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  • Captain Oh, The Irony! says:

    “This is no time for issuing statements or putting a spin on anything.”

    (and then….. well….. a series of statements…..)

    Following in the wake of a well-reasoned blog posting from a PR professional on how tone-deaf the BMorg has been in their communications on this crisis, I can’t help but read that as, “look, we know we owe you an apology, and here it is, but it in no way took that blog post to clarify what we needed to be telling you, seriously, all our own work…..”

    Look, it’s long over due and entirely reasonable beyond that point, but clearly y’all are still taking baby-steps when it comes to radical communication…. The quoted qualifier was shameless…..

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  • Sonicinema says:

    Maybe you should be awarding those remaining 10,000 tickets to the theme camps, art creators, art car creators and other makers through an application process, instead of through a free-for-all? Because then you have an event again, or at least a minimal event with about 1/3 less of everything. Otherwise, it is looking like you don’t.

    Overheard, from a conversation between a newby who got tickets and a burner who didn’t: “Too bad you’re going this year, as it looks like there’s not going to be much there.” -Burner
    “What do you mean? It’s a festival, right?”
    “Um, it’s a festival created by the people who buy the tickets.”

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  • kelly says:

    We are all talking about radical inclusion….those camps/art projects that are short of help could give a shout out to newbies for help with pulling it all together. This year could be like a big cocktail shaker and creating a new mix of people. Imagine your first time…lots of us went and got our feet on the ground (or head in the clouds) then came back year after year and got more and more involved. Imagine if your first year could have been a total dive in and really get to know the culture. Maybe we will end up with less weekend party ponies down the line.

    It might also help to reduce some of the snobbery I sometimes see with groups that are so close nit that there is no room to meet them.

    I have hope this will all work out in the end. There are so many great people with great energy involved in this burning man thing that it just might.

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  • Milkman says:

    Thank you for working so hard to salvage this situation the best you can.

    If you are able to ensure that the 10,000 final tickets go to theme camps, volunteers and participating artists and announce as soon as possible it will help stop the bleeding. If this isn’t done the Playa will be bare.

    While the lottery cannot be undone, in my humble opinion it is not too late to enforce non-tranferable tickets. It is a tough decision that will certainly take all hands on deck, but we are here to help in any way we can.

    This does present a wonderful opportunity for us to expand our culture. These next few weeks are crutical and hearing how serious you are about doing the right thing certainly is relief.

    Thank you for all the you do. )'(

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  • Tim says:

    Never having had the pleasure of experiencing Burning Man, coupled with the fact that I actually “won” tickets, means my perspective is likely to differ from long-time burners who didn’t win tickets.

    That said, I think the reasoning behind your decision to proceed with a lottery system makes perfect sense. I recently attempted to purchase tickets for Coachella and it was extremely frustrating. I was in my staff meeting at work with my laptop open pretending to pay attention to the meeting while really just waiting for the clock to change to 10am so I could hit Enter then wait. And wait I did. And wait. And wait. Finally, hours and hours later, the screen changed and it said everything was sold out. 1-it’s not typically advised to attempt to purchase Coachella tickets during a staff meeting, but what choice did I have? 2-to really try that hard and have little to no chance at a ticket (my feeling), was extremely annoying. 3-seeing tickets on stubhub for 2 or 3 times face value less than a half day later, that was an insult.

    The lottery idea made sense to me because, as you said, I didn’t have to get on my computer at a specific, and likely inconvenient, time. I didn’t have to keep hitting refresh. Or take away from my job, or my family, or my life. I went on during the two week period, entered my info, and a week or so later, boom, I was awarded two tickets. I even won tickets without having to accept the highest-tiered option. So for me, all is good.

    However, I was invited to a Facebook page of some really cool burners who are hoping to set up their camp for the third (I believe) year and of all of the ones who have commented, maybe half got tickets. That sucks. I’m not sure if the plans/camp will be disbanded, but, that prospect is really bumming me out because these people have been so welcoming of me to their virtual camp; I was/am really excited for the welcoming and inclusive spirit in person. Now I don’t know if that will occur. Furthermore, the thought that some of the mainstays (camps, art cars, etc) will not be there makes me feel like I’m going to a concert for a favorite band that was replaced at the last minute by Matchbox 20. Still nice to hear live music but not really what I was looking forward to or hoping for.

    One part of me says: you know who the key burners are, the ones who year after year make this event what it is (the octopus car comes to mind from my hours spent looking at pics online of last year’s event), so, through your contacts, reach out to them, if they haven’t already reached out to you, and get them tickets for god’s sake! Don’t give us new burners a scaled down version of what we’ve all heard so much about. New people are great, but if there are too many it’s like joining your high school basketball team the year that all the good seniors left and now your once successful team flat out sucks.

    The other part of me, the part of me that is, from what I’d guess, already a burner at heart, says: no, that’s not right. The cards fall as they’re meant to fall and, while this burn might not be “the same” or “as good” in some people’s minds as it has been, or even worse, as “it should be”, that’s just an example of our egos and self-centered minds projecting what we think it should be. Like praying to god for what we want instead of asking god/spirit for guidance/direction and to flow with the life of energy rather than trying to fight it. Right now, everyone is fighting it. Saying “this is what burning man is/this is what it should be”. Well who are you to say what it is? In my mind, things like this are what they are. They are what they turn out to be. I obviously don’t know the man who invented burning man, but based on everything I know about it, I’d say that whatever happens out there, however it turns out, is EXACTLY how it was supposed to turn out. No more. No less.

    And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.
    Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake. Unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

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  • Cory says:

    I want to thank you for addressing this.

    I was REALLY against shutting down the 10k open sales, but now, I can see how the preservation of the current culture has to happen. Many friends will not attend, but we are at a critical juncture where a large backbone might be gone semi-permanently. Burner-colony-collapse-disorder.

    If there truly are 40% virgins…we are going to need a bigger BBQ.

    Could the remaining tickets go to artists and camps? Or, perhaps have a short application process a la scholarship ticket program?

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  • Doug says:

    This is what should have come a long time ago, thank you! I am hoping those last 10k tickets are not just going to theme camps that are favorite children of the BMORG. I hope I am wrong. I have had a theme camp for the last five years and built 2 mutant vehicles and been going for 11 years. I really think you have underestimated the number of tickets in re-sellers hands (pros/amateurs). Hoping for the best, dusty hugs to all! )'(

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  • The Real Monty says:

    Thanks for the post and the sentiment – it’s extremely helpful.

    Against all odds, almost all of my camp actually has tickets, so we’re talking about what we can do to step things up and do more than we’ve done before. We were already looking at bringing art for the first time, and we’ll look at expanding the scope of our camp … I’m not sure what else we’ll come up with, but we’ll do our best to do what we can.

    Keep it up – we’ll make it through.

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  • D says:

    Thank You for who and what you do……

    5&7 time burners here…..art project this year as well….my only concern is for those of us that worked with in the system, and we’re going to wait for the open sale. Really are not going to have a shot at all, unless we get lucky and find so done local reselling. How I see it is those that gobbled up extra tickets out of panic, are not gong to put them back into the general burner community, they will go to their friends first, so not alot of diversity.

    We have accepted the fact that we might not be going this year and it saddens us, as we celebrate our anniversary there every year. This year a huge art project was coming and all the art was being gifted after the gallery showing, art that was about the photographers of burning man.

    We could accept the fact that we did not get tickets, because there was just so many people going….but it is hard to swallow we are not going because fellow burners panicked and did not follow the way the system was set up to work……and because of that fact alone the burner community is largely at fault for what they are complaining about.

    We put money aside for the highest tier ticket every year, with out hesitation. We are part of the oldest theme camps out there, this year we are mourning the lose of our captain, and the memorial at BM will not include so many of us.

    My 2 cents…..for years(30+) my family has held rights to season tickets for NBA games. The way this team handles things is such….all season ticket holders (I.e long time ticket holders) own the rights to purchase their tickets, in the same seats and for as many games as they want. Those are done by invitation, months in advance. Once they know how many season tickets are gone, the rest go out to the community for general sale. Once a season ticket holder choses to not renew his tickets those seats go back into the general fund of tickets.

    I also handle marketing and ticket sales for a semi pro football team, and it is the same way we handle things….season ticket holders get first crack at renewing their seats, after our valuable patrons are taken care of the remaining seats go out for the general public, no matter how many we have left over. If a game is sold out it is sold out, trying to accommodate everyone is were we get I to trouble, because it is just not possible….

    If this is of any help, I have contributed…..
    But again thank you for what you are doing

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  • Sparklecious says:

    I love you! Fertility 2.0, growing in the petri dish. And no, I do not have a ticket, but I will make it home!

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  • Shayla says:

    This entire process was extremely disheartening. I was a first time burner last year and already feel completely attached to the Burning Man community. I have formed a camp of around 30 people and am one of the only one’s that did not receive a ticket in the raffle. I may not be an “old-timer” or part of a major theme camp. But, I deserve a chance at a ticket just as much as anyone else. I would really appreciate you not taking my only hope for a ticket away in March. You owe everyone who got jipped (especially those of us who didn’t even receive an email!!!) a fair chance to attend.

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  • scoir says:

    well at least the theme camps and mutant vehicles will be there maybe but sadly those of us that say bring their art for the cafe, help with playa art projects and add in other ways like giving out food always coming with extra cord rebar and clamps for the newbies and have to drive thousands of miles will likely be left out this year. just thinking this might be a little late and maybe the great talent pool at your finger tips should have be listened to before hand a bit more

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  • kiwano says:

    In terms of tossing in a little extra barrier to buy tickets, how about a really dead easy multiple choice test (also make sure that the information’s available in the survival guide, and tell people to read it before ordering tickets):

    LNT means: a) Lounge Near Tents, b) Leave No Trace, c) Lusty Naked Twinklepeople, d) Larry’s New Temple, or e) Little Nevada Tornado

    If it wasn’t in your body…: a)then why is it in your vomit?, b) it does not go in the potty, …

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  • Rayman says:

    I hate to say this but I’m going to be very surprised if very many people put tickets into the STEP program. Everybody has friends that don’t have tickets and those tickets will go to their friends. I’ll enter the STEP program, but I don’t expect to get a ticket that way.

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  • gk says:

    thanks so much for this clear, detailed update, and for working so hard to make it right. yikes! good luck to you guys and good luck to all of us!

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  • Thank you for the honest and sincere update. I suppose if we are meant to attend this year, the universe will supply the tickets. We need 4 to bring back our mutant vehicle

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  • chels says:

    if you do end up changing the remaining 10,000 to not being an open sale/first come first serve (which seems like a potentially good option to me) what about privileging people coming farther distances since flying requires more notice – especially because the STEP program (over the course of the summer) seems like it would privledge SF and local burners

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  • Octopus says:

    Congratulations for putting out a good explanation of the situation, apologizing and owning up.

    I have been to the playa 11 years, always volunteering with a theme camp and 5 years with the ARTery (except last year when I just went with no responsibilities except taking care of myself).

    Once I saw the papers in the Bay Area last year and read about the lottery system for this year I figured, why bother, what a crazy idea? I don’t know if I can afford to go or take time off this year anyways (we are in a financial depression which has affected a lot of people in case some of ya all forgot that). But, in a normal first come, first serve system as in the past, I would have tried to get a ticket and just having it in my hand would likely have me do what ever I could to get out there this year. If I couldn’t go, I would make sure to sell it face value to someone else “deserving” of the privilege. I have pretty much bagged the hopes of going this year but since I have enjoyed it so many times I figure maybe I ought “share the love”. However, I am grief stricken just to hear a snippet of some of the frustration and disappointment that so many people are going through who make the event what it is.

    I know how very special Burning Man is, there is truly no place that compares, although I am sure there are some kickass regionals at this point and I think this situation will spur the growth of those which is a good thing.

    Obviously it’s a huge sign of the “success” of Burning Man to have such high demand and yet it’s also a tragedy as you have pointed out that obviously only so many people can attend. I think it’s already too big and sincerely hope that the BMorg does not follow the above idea of creating a city as big as San Francisco and call it Burning Man, talk about insane and pie in the sky. It seems it’s already hitting the max of capacity for the Org to deal with, for the tolerance of the “default” world and the capacity of the area.

    Anyway, although I was once a virgin and have met incredible newbies and supported newbies in going, I disagree with the perspective that new comers are the lifeblood of the event. Burning Man would not exist as it has without the lifeblood of the volunteers (hello!) who are totally dedicated to the event, the community and the culture and the people who create the art, theme camps and art cars. Sure, there are some newbies that create amazing costumes and put together groovy new little camps and maybe some of them volunteer their butts off but they are not the foundation of Burning Man. Without the long time Burners who have experience, organization, resources, talent, maturity (sort of), perseverance, and that special something that makes them nuts enough to take on these huge projects and pull them off in the desert, Burning Man would mostly be a bunch of “yahoos” romping around in costumes in the desert looking for the best party in teh world.

    No offense to people who have not been before but Burning Man is what it is because of the experienced people who go year after year and know what they are doing, whether it’s DPW or rave camps or artists, etc. Without these people, I think the event will die or become something very different than the amazing city and community it has become.

    If people want Burning Man so much then create your own event where you live and make it amazing.

    I suggest (not like you haven’t heard enough but here is my $0.2) the BMorg do whatever you can to make sure the artists, theme camp core teams, volunteers and art car teams make it this year or you are screwed for the future as the event might get way too much bad press as being not worth it. Then, have a certain number of tickets available for worthy newbies (perhaps next year as likely there are already going to be tons of newbies this year). The suggestions Wampa posted above are good ones although I think merit and contribution should win out over those with lots of cash to throw around. Perhaps the event will become only available to the rich (some say it already is), that would be really a shame and so completely different from the humble roots of the event being created by artists and anarchists.

    I am hoping the event is a great one for everyone that makes it and that those who do get tickets contribute and express their asses off.


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  • Vasquez R. says:

    Firstly, much love for such a well thought-out, caring response

    Now…Burning Man 100% MUST find a way to increase the number of possible participants from 50,000.

    Look at the Wikipedia page for Burning Man….the festival has continuously grown in size every year, so to finally cap the capacity (ESPECIALLY in our current social media age, where information is shared so quickly) is not a possible option.

    If Burning Man doen’t increase the capacity past 50,000 now, this EXACT same issue will happen next year, then the year after that, and so on….and if this current scarcity problem continues every year, it could tear the entire festival apart.

    Find a way to address the traffic concerns….contact the Bureau of Land Management and work with them…there has to be some possible option, especially since other festivals have found ways to grow in size (Coachella sells 100,000+ tickets). I attended BM last year, and there was lots of room for more camps heading outwards (can we get the streets up to Z?

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  • Fucko says:

    I think this is the best thing to happen to Burningman in the past 13 years!!!! I’m not trying to disrespect anyone but just happen to think the chaos provides new opportunities! Mc Lovin it! oxoxo fucko

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  • Burner says:

    I was thinking that, considering that you are considering a vast array of options, and at the same time that Burners are so creative and resourceful, why not share these options with the community in this forum and see what kind of feedback and ideas it generates? We know you have a lot on your plate here, and we would love to help!

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  • gina says:

    This was driven by tickets selling out in 2011…

    But what you miss is that you could easily buy tickets on Craigslist for face value and and up (most were for 50% of face value) value throughout August including hte week of the Burn.

    I went looking for tickets in LA and NYC on Wednesday of the Burn.. and there were plenty being sold.

    So tickets were always available last year.

    This was all unnecessary.

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  • Lux says:

    I hope that Black Rock City is prepared for an influx of people who have not yet dealt with living in desert conditions. I suggest that the organizers reiterate the importance of safety and reading the First Timer’s Guide… Safety of participants is deeply important to me.

    I wish I had gotten a ticket, and I am hoping I still will. I would love to continue to remind others to drink water and MOOP!

    Virgins who got tickets… please, please be mindful of cleaning up after yourselves and the playa! Love and protect the land as others can be neglectful.

    Safety and honoring Black Rock Desert are my two primary concerns at this point! I hope the organizers are prepared to handle these issues as veteran enforcers of the principles will be fewer and farther between this year….

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  • geo says:

    Larry has to give up the ideal of ‘radical inclusivity’ now. The next 10K tix must be awarded on merit for what you brought and will bring. If he is so stubborn as to not give this rule up, then I’m done throwing down my life blood for this experience.

    Geo Frey, 11 year burner, Red Lightning.

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  • Bunny Two Shoes says:

    I’m fine with giving up my spot this year and spending labor day spreading the burn to other places. I hope whomever gets my spot rocks out!

    For next year, a couple of brainstorms:
    1. Names on Tickets, Names on Tickets, Names on Tickets…yep, it’s been said before, but it would certainly help weed out the scalpers.
    2. Close the gate on Weds or Thurs to ensure that the burners attending are committed. Many of my burner friends have commented on the flood of spectators who arrive on the weekend…it kinda kills the vibe to have the onslaught of half-hearted burners arrive and would be an easy way to decrease demand somewhat.
    3. Make the event two weeks instead of one so that people are cycling through more and the total population of the city is reduced while the number of tix sold could be greater. The logistics of this would be weird…when would the man burn? Maybe half way through? hmmm…just something to think about.
    4. I kinda like the suggestions of volunteer requirements, thought I’m sure it would be a huge pain to enforce…so, what about selling 70% (or whatever percentage) of the tickets through camps/art cars/art projects/etc? Presumably the people leading these projects would enforce the volunteering on a micro level and BMORG wouldn’t have to do any extra massaging of crazy complexity.

    <3 You!

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  • arcticcircle says:

    Really appreciate this. So nicely stated, so needed. xxxxxxxxxxxxooooooooo

    I’ve seen a lot of great suggestions along the way and made a few myself. One suggestion that I’m not so fond of is to give preferential re-buy opportunities to attendees of this year’s event. It’s a) salt in the wound of the many non-winners who have given to the community and got shut out by the lotto, and b) will raise the premium on getting to the playa in 2012 to an insane degree. You’d HAVE to hustle up a ticket at whatever cost you have to pay, if getting to 2012 is the only clear way to get to all future burns.

    Good luck BMorg!

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  • Shrek says:

    Dear Burningman!

    “A first-come first-served system would not meet the demand either. Every ticket vendor informed us we’d have to use the same type of “queuing system” that meant hours waiting in line at your computer screen – a luxury perhaps not available to many perfectly deserving Burners.”

    Well it does work for those that desire it to work. Take a vacation day or “sick day” is how our family has done it for the last 8 (would have been 9 burns) Yep! sit infront of the computer for hours waiting for “your turn in line”. How hard is that?

    Please return to this, it works for those that find ways to make it work.


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  • How about – Names on tickets + a name change fee? Charge people $75 like the airlines do to change the name on the ticket. It discourages scalpers, discourages over-purchasing, and still allows people to give their ticket to a friend. Close the change window a few weeks before the event.

    You could waive the fee if the named person was in the same car. That way if someone wants to buy two tickets, not knowing who they’re bringing, that wouldn’t be a problem.

    Not sure if it will work, just trying to help brainstorm a way out.

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  • Shrek says:

    PS…..Burning man most likely will be the lamest it has ever been this year!!!! For this reason I will wait for your Org to heal and return it back to the state before if that is even possible?!

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  • TFGMF says:

    I have many friends who have been attending Burning Man over the years, but, they were West Coasters. I live in Montreal, and the logistics always scared me. I’ve met several people in the community here, and realize that being part of the event is a possibility. One of my best friends and I are going together. He was going to play the lottery as well, but I told him I would take care of our tickets. I am happy to say that I was selected, and that I am “investing” in my own 45th birthday present by finally making it to the playa. I really look forward to losing my burner virginity, seeing wonderful eye candy, discovering unique individuals, and sharing my energy to making this a wonderful community event.

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  • Shrek says:

    40% 1st timers…bull…people buying prepaid credit cards, setting up “new names/e-mails” to increase their chances is what I think!

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  • FandangoLiz says:

    A slightly modified version of the Glastonbury model would work beautifully to keep out scalpers. They instituted the non-transferrable, photo ticket policy because scalpers were making a mockery of what Glastonbury was trying to do. If the most successful music festival on the planet managed to solve the scalper problem, I know BMORG can too. Talk to the Glasto folks. This year is a wash, but you can make it better next year. Good luck.

    I myself did not participate in the ticket lottery this year. Last year, when we were at Burning Man, we all talked about the lottery system & decided to skip this year because of it, and other factors. This would have been my 15th Burn, but instead we’re taking Fandango to somewhere tropical. Maybe we’ll see you in 2013.

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  • phoenix says:

    Well written, thanks Andie.

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  • magdelyn says:

    Well, obviously the lesson is, that if next year they have a lottery:
    1. Get every friend, relative and intimate get into the lottery.
    2. Get a bunch of unneeded tickets.
    3. ?????
    4. Profit.

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  • stephen dee says:

    Just about the best “we’re really sorry about that” comment from an organization I’ve read. Light years ahead of Komen!

    I understand that you think that the STEP program will help, but I am skeptical. It will certainly help the market to clear closer to BM, but at that point, travel plans and vacation times will have been made, so that only some work-flexible locals and students will be able to take advantage of the cheap tickets.

    This suggests a reverse discriminatory-pricing issue where the people who live close will attend and the people at a distance will be prohibited by expensive airfares. Now, if you were clever and connected, you’d coordinate with two airlines (because you need competition to make this work) to offer substantially discounted airline tickets from anywhere in the world to Reno. In fact, I’ll bet if you teamed up with the Reno Chamber of Commerce the Nevada gaming commission and local hotels you could get a really great partnership working that took some money out of the airlines pockets (they’d at least break even on filled the planes).

    A marketing campaign to stay a week in Reno after the burn would probably not only attract people who went to Burning Man, but build a whole massively coordinate Reno post-burn subculture that some people who couldn’t go to Burning Man would attend to hang with Burners.

    And then get a bigger venue, already!

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  • L says:

    2012 is going to be what it is. 2013 ought to be EPIC.

    I hear so many people planning on bring an RV. Last year I felt like they were a plague!!! Great, you’re comfy. But it’s not interactive, nor artistic. The Symbiosis Gathering is charging an additional fee for bring RV’s. I think that would be a good idea .. encourage people to put there resources towards theme camps (either creating or joining one). Why would you bring an RV if you have a well-funded camp?

    Want to be in your private RV and not with a camp? BACK ROW! If your not with a camp that’s doing something, you have no reason to be front and center. There should be an RV camping section on the edges (farthest back streets) … It might sound bias .. but I think it makes sense. Especially after getting lost on dark, RV lined streets trying to get from D to center camp!

    What I feel a lot of involved people are thinking … Next year tickets ought to be awarded to those with projects and theme camps first. Doesn’t matter if they’ve been before or not … people who have submitted plans of creative merit should get first dibs. It’s not like there’s going to be enough of them to create a ticket crisis … and if there were: Dang! That be one hell of a burn!

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  • Liz McLellan says:

    Hey Andie,
    Great job on the clarifications… I feel your pain – What a rotten spot to be in. Our camp (abstininthe) is one of the camps having trouble putting all this together. We are glad to hear you get it with regard to the collaborative community of Burningman.

    Sending you all lots of love and patience and hope the next few months are not too insane…

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  • Ian Baker says:

    This post assumes that a record-breaking proportion (40%) of newbies signed up because they actually want to attend Burning Man for the first time, but fails to acknowledge every hopeful burner who asked their mom, aunt, co-worker, and high-school sweetheart to register for them “just in case.” Until we start talking about this practice separately from scalping, we’re not addressing the entirety of the situation. From the perspective of those who didn’t get tickets it’s no different from scalping, except that it can’t be easily measured by observing the market since the tickets will never hit the market.

    I suppose the hope is that these tickets will go to STEP. Here in the land of reality, though, there’s no incentive to sell them early. Unused tickets will get sold, but not until it’s far too late to plan large-scale art or infrastructure. The only way I can imagine dealing with this situation is attaching names to tickets. Of course, that gets in the way of ticket-gifting.

    There is no technical solution that allows for gifting and prevents scalping. The two are inseparable because we can’t see the details of the transaction. Do we exchange friendship and love, or suitcases full of cocaine? Nobody will ever know.

    This fairly obvious subtext here is that the 10,000-or-so tickets that Burning Man has reserved for the open sale may instead be distributed to those burners who make up the “corpus” of our community. Now, we all have to grapple with how to decide which burners are corpus enough. I suggest a partnership with hotornot.

    In all seriousness, though, the only way to decide this is to use whatever not-entirely-accurate database you have of previous attendees. Make the remaining tickets available only to those who don’t have a ticket yet, and who also have attended in the past. It’s a poor solution, but I believe it’s the only one that’s left and preserves ticket-gifting.

    Well, that and checking IDs at the gate. We give up the ability to gift tickets, and in return we get a system that’s actually fair and mostly scalper-proof.

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  • Dusty Lashes says:

    Yes, I too would love to come back this year, as last year was my virgin burn and I threw myself in it with participation but received much as well. But not getting a ticket makes one contemplate on many levels. I know this has been toyed with my some already but I am curious if there has been any thoughts on holding BM in another location? I know the beauty and mystique of the desert has it’s appeal but there are other options on that as well. And surely the elements of the playa are not what creates the threads that bond the community. Although it is a special place, just saying it’s not the only special place.
    Or, maybe holding one at the same time on the East Coast, making the pilgrimage a bit less costly, less daunting, and more accessible to some east siders like many enjoy on the west coast. Camps and individuals could decide which burn they wanted to attend each year. Or, you could alternate east and west every year thus allowing those who desire to attend could at least get ticket to one or the other. This would allow even more participants to attend, create art, music, theme camps, mutant vehicles, and more? And it would help strengthen the community. After all, isn’t what we ultimately would like is for our principals and participatory community to spread and grow until the default world has the fire within as well? I only imagine it would make the default a much better place. Just a thought… And maybe a stretch but I think Fertility 2.0 should give birth to a “Burning Woman” on the level of the ORG. I am liking the sound of it already.Hugz and love to all!

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  • Belteshazzar Daniel says:

    Hi, I’m a virgin, from Colorado, and I was blessed with a ticket for myself and for a dear friend who has burned many times before. I look forward to participating, collaborating, and creating with everyone at the Playa this year ^.^ will bring bacon hahah!

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  • Mr. Bill says:

    Thanks for the heartfelt “We fucked up” I think most of of us lifers have just been waiting for that more than anything else…

    Now let’s all make it work-somehow. We always do. We’ve got big ass fiery art to build, art cars to drive around, and we ALL have to come up with a way to make that happen. So do what you can. Yes I mean YOU, not just BMORG. Put in your 2 cents worth, get unused tickets to your friends & campmates, and for Gods sake, put any tickets you don’t need back into STEP. We won’t be mad at you for being extra lucky or anything.

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  • Figgy says:

    without getting all numbnuts with the things that I’ve done or otherwise contributed…

    1. I felt angry.

    2. I felt hurt.

    3. I felt neglected.

    4. I felt remorse.

    and then…

    1. I felt compassion.

    2. I felt even more creative.

    and now…

    It’s okay. Things change. The regionals will be more epic than ever. As for the Playa – I’ve seen high level execs in Tu Tus and frat boys in thongs. It’ll be okay. The spirit of those lands will permeate the pores of whomever is there.

    There is roughly 10% of our crew that got the nod. The current plan is to chill and see what happens with the STEP…

    Beyond this, we’re still going to be doing…because, well, that’s what we do.

    Thanks for being and doing…


    PS: On a side note – one option for BMorg for the Veteran burners might would be to offer some volunteer tickets to come in early & help with the projects of others.

    While we love the entirety of the event (ok, the wife doesn’t dig Fried/Sat Night mayhem) but build week…that’s just pure heaven.

    We would totally buy a ticket to come and work the week before…with the express promise to depart before the gate opens, of course.

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  • cooked2442 says:

    OK – that’s step one. Wasn’t too bad was it? Hurt a little, but the pain went away fast and you felt lighter.

    Now take the second step.

    Be honest
    Be transparent
    Respect everyone

    (that’s just the golden rule)

    Yes, it’ll hurt but you won’t die

    good luck, we’re rooting for you.

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  • beadedladi says:

    First welcome newbies you are in for an interesting year and so are us old guys if there are really 40% new ones..I was kinda ready for a change so it just goes to show that “you should be careful what you asks for”..playa serendipidy can be a trickster.

    Second Yes it’s been said before but do both..a) Names on tickets, and b)one ticket per account/person and chack the database. Credit card companies do it all time. Make the force work with you obiwan.

    third and this one is that creative force coming out. Make the event longer if we can’t make it larger. The tourist have been coming in on Fridays for a 3 day stay for years. Stop “entry” on Wednsday night at midnight… You might actually see the gate crew at a theme camp for a night:). If it so important to you then get your butt there and participate. It takes a day to set up a reasonable personal camp at minimum.

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  • Ian Baker says:

    Oh, and here’s a proposal for 2013:

    Sell paper tickets (that can be gifted, transferred, re-sold, eBay’d, etc), but only at Burning Man 2012, inside the gate, limit one per authentic non-scalping burner. Check names at the BM2013 gate for all online ticket sales, let the paper tickets in the usual way.

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  • Hez says:

    At the OCF we have an annual discussion about a second weekend- perhaps another BM a week before or something along those lines. More logistics but it might be smaller and more intimate- say like 30,000 people- a nice number.

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  • Cookie23 says:

    So people think the big theme camps should get the remaining tickets? What about the small(25) theme camps? Less people, less importance? That’s crap. BM screwed up the first sale and as it stands now, people would be able to buy 4 tickets in the next sale? Doesn’t make sense. Since you are unwilling to redo the whole ticket debacle, why not limit the next sale to one ticket per person. More people have a shot at getting a ticket. Next year, just charge one price(more) and offer low income tickets. Tickets go on sale, January whatever, first come, first serve. I work two jobs to make ends meet and I would be willing to plan, work harder or more, and save to buy a ticket at a higher price. Things worth having should be harder to attain and require more work, preparation, thought, and love. Just sayin…

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  • ph03n1x13 says:

    As someone who’s been a long-time Burner, when I saw that there was going to be a ticket lottery, I new that it would be a flaw in the system. Lotteries simply do not work. That’s just a fact.

    How do we fix this? I like the idea of requiring volunteering. As someone who has volunteered off-Playa for 3 years, I get more out of where I’m at because I helped bring something to it. I also got the same fulfillment the 4 years I have been able to go and working with a theme camp.

    I dislike the idea of grandfathering on the basis of attendance. It feels like you would still be excluding veteran Burners who cannot make it due to financial restraints. I have had to miss 3 years because of being unemployed. I’m sure that there are a lot of other Burners who haven’t been able to go due to financial hardship. While there are a small quantity of tickets available to those who don’t necessarily have the finances, there’s not enough for all of us. So, I patiently wait to get a job and hope that maybe next year I might be able to go back out there.

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  • Philip Romero says:

    As a 12x burner who has brought kids for most of those, I am saddened and will continue to be sad by my striking out on the lottery. I agree with the letter, but I also hear and feel my longterm burner famiLy that are such a large part of my life. I will continue with hope in securing a tickets with whatever way Burning Man Llc. Plans. We couldn’t keep this to ourselves forever and this is just all due to the event we have loved being loved by so many others.

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  • NimRod says:

    Thank you for addressing our concerns. I hope you do away with the first come first server direct sell of 10,000 tickets in March and let those of us with a proven history of volunteering and being a part of large art/theme camps a chance to buy one single ticket at the $390 price point before offering them to the public. Just ask for proof that we have been a part of an art project, theme camp, or worked as a BM volunteer to be able to purchase the ticket. Proof would be easy, you have a database of Theme camps and the person who registered that theme camp, have that person sponsor the “would be” ticket purchaser and people who have volunteered for BM have received patches that they can present as proof. I’ve been a part of Universal Citizens, Roots Society, Kitty Camp, and helped/volunteered with DPW to help take down center camp in some of the worst weather they’ve experienced (Tuesday-Thursday of 2010) when most of the other volunteers split to save themselves.. .Unfortunately lady luck and the ticket lottery left me out in the cold this year. I’m now part of a Reno Maker’s Space and have multiple opportunities to join / help some major art installations, but I can’t because I have no way of knowing if I’ll ever find a ticket. Some of the art projects have already been abandoned due to not being able to find hands that can help who have tickets. My personal project which I hope someone runs with if I can’t find a ticket, is to set up an empty Truck and a place for people who flew in (or anyone), to drop off their unwanted tent, sleeping bags, and coolers after the burn so I can haul them off and donate them to homeless shelters and disaster relief groups like the Red Cross. If anyone wants to help me do this, please just let me know of a face value ticket, it’s fun to party and its fun to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and the beauty of BM is that we can do both.. if a ticket can be found =)

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  • Wag says:

    I still think the one ticket per credit card (and bring that card with you for entry) thing is the best idea. Give the ticket checkers at the gates iPods and/or iPads with card swipers and away you go! People who don’t have credit cards could obtain pre-paid credit cards and use those. People who want to gift tickets can get a pre-paid card, buy a ticket with it and hand it off! Nobody (with a brain) would buy a card from a scalper with just the promise that a ticket is attached! I know this is unsavory to many people who think their privacy would be invaded or something, but I would rather risk a little invasion than not getting a ticket because they’ve all been bought up by scalpers!

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  • Julia Brown says:

    I applaud your brave work in breaking this hard ground. There is no modern precedent for a participant-built event on this scale.

    Have you looked at how Bayreuth handles this problem? They get 500,000 requests for 58,000 tickets every year, and give preference to folks who have attended before. A structure like that might promote stable growth and enable the long-range planning needed for truly great gifts to BRC.

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  • Red the Dirty says:

    I want to thank you, that is, YOU. Not the org. You who have been posting your comments here. When I read that halfhearted “apology” tonight it finally started sinking in that I may never have another Burn. I’ve been keeping a stiff upper lip so far, been hopeful even, until tonight. It’s not that I don’t want to go in future years, it’s that I’m afraid there won’t be much of a Burning Man to go to.
    It’s your comments, feelings, and stories that are putting things in perspective for me. I don’t know if they’ll really help the situation but you should know they help me. I have a ticket and I’m mourning almost as hard as those who don’t right now. I’ve been to Burning Man one time. I’d scraped and saved to go, I’d helped with an art car project all summer, and I’d heard nothing but amazing BM stories for 2 years before that. When I got there the weather was awful, the playa (ground) was a mess, there were dust storms every day, very few of my friends were there with me, and being a newbie I just wasn’t really prepared. I had about 24 good hours there out of that week. But let me tell you, did those 24 hours BEAT ALL. Those hours let me know what all the fuss was about. They showed me how it could be because when things are good out there, they’re UNBELIEVABLE.
    It’s a blessing and a curse because I know what I’m missing now. I always wanted to go back, not make the same mistakes, do it right. I guess I waited too long. It didn’t help that the year or 2 after I went all my friends went and had the best years ever. Everything was beautiful and perfect and fun. And I got to hear all about it. My fomo’s so intense right now I could just keel over and die.
    But it’s nothing compared to what I know some of you are going through. Your stories, hardships and disappointment don’t fall on deaf ears. Many of you have devoted such a huge portion of your lives to BM that it must feel like having a limb removed. I’ll probably never know that feeling. Also a blessing and curse. Is it better to have loved and lost?
    Thanks for letting me vent. Maybe all you hopefuls are right and there will be some point to going out to the playa this year. I guess ticket-holders shouldn’t be pouting. It’s just that I don’t feel like I “won” anything at all.

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  • Dani says:

    Thank you for the post. Much appreciated!

    I am 100% against favoring theme camps or any other group for tickets. Yes, people like the big theme camps and cars – but how can you say they are MORE of a participant than anyone else? Any system with “priority” can be gamed.

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  • Whompa1 says:

    So I won a ticket in the lottery, but if Bassnectar & Skrillex didn’t secure a ticket, I don’t want to go.

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  • Goddess Mother says:

    First Thank you!! I’ve been wondering if I would use the one ticket I got in the lottery. I still need a friend or two to get tickets before I decide for sure and possibly register a camp. My suggestions going forward are as follows
    1. Take apps for Theme camps/Art Projects/Mutant vehicles early and lottery them. The app would include how many tickets are required to pull off their project. Pick a number to guarantee inclusion. X # of mutant vehicles, X # of Art Projects X# of bar camps…dance camps etc, you get the picture. This doesn’t need to be the only projects that eventually get registered and placed but it will insure an infrastructure.
    2. Allot those projects some guaranteed tickets, maybe not quite as many as they swear it will take to pull off their project :)
    3. These projects should have some Playa history. Without it scalpers will register a theme camp that never shows up. I’m a firm believer that scalpers could possibly have in the neighborhood of 10,000 tickets this year. There are already 100 available and the tickets haven’t even been mailed yet. Besides who is going to buy a ticket for 1000.00 if the seller admits to having has 100 of them. They want to make you believe there is a scarcity even at those prices.
    4. This guaranteed ticket availability for projects should only take up 10-15,000 tickets and could possibly be priced a little lower than the regular priced tickets. These should be exchangable within the camp and the camp contact can inform BMORG of the name change
    5. All other tickets should be the same price and sold first come first served with the possible exception of a few for low income registration.
    6. ALL tickets be registered by name with return through a STEP program. Everyone seems to be screaming for this now and asking why you didn’t do this to begin with. Many of those same screamers would have objected just as loudly to the invasion of privacy and inability to spontaneously gift a ticket prior finding out they didn’t get a ticket at all this year.
    7. Projects that win placement in the lottery and later decide they can’t participate can throw their spot back to BMORG to be redistributed in a STEP like program.
    8. More camps and projects and vehicles can register after the lottery just like it’s always been done there just wouldn’t be a guarantee of tickets for their members. This would leave room to welcome newcomers, maybe you need a break from the bar and there’s a couple of virgins who have been there a few times and everyone connects. Let them run the bar and go take a shower. Next year they are key members of the camp. Or maybe they start their own camp.
    Sorry now I’ll rant…
    1. Free tickets. I live in the Reno area and every year I hear someone say they are going because someone has a BIG camp that gets lots of free tickets, or someone belongs to a civic, governmental type organization and they get free tickets. I know you have to do some of this but please put some restrictions on those. We are not a circus for the holier than thou to come gawk at. Please impress on the camps and organizations that for whatever reason get free tickets that they need to have some respect especially this year. Give those tickets to the people helping to build our city by way of building your camp. If it’s a government entity that you give tickets to put some kind of entrance restrictions on them, maybe require they have a tent and some water in their car so they are not just there for the afternoon.
    K, I’m done for now
    Hugs and Kisses

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  • Bog says:

    Why not decentralize the distribution of the tickets, let the leaders of some of the major art camps/themes, etc. be designated to ensure that important projects carry on, and let them decide the criteria for getting some of them, and opening only some of them for sale to newcomers? Just a thought.

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  • zipporah says:

    *bravo* …this kind of honest humility is both necessary and comforting. i did not get a ticket…but i’ve done my best to maintain the belief that, if it’s meant to be, a ticket will be forthcoming…someway, somehow. it hasn’t been easy to remain optimistic in the midst of such an obvious clusterf**k…hard to see how things might right themselves…but this post strengthens my resolve. perhaps all is not lost. *thank you BMORG…

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  • LOVEBUG says:

    I know you all are taking some hard knocks, I know you tried your best to do what you thought was best, I know you now see that your best wasn’t good enough. For me, I just want to again express gratitude, evolution is not easy. I’d like to think that the growth potential for regional burns to step up their game as a result is off the charts…and that will be a good outcome from this painful experience.

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  • Thank you for this humble and thoughtful letter, written very much in the “we are all in this together” spirit of Burning Man. It will do a lot to staunch the tide of negativity on the social webs and help allay the fears that many theme camps have.

    I hope the clear, honest communication keeps flowing!

    As one of the co-leads of one of the largest theme camps out there, Sacred Spaces Village, however, I’m hopeful that the 30 or so tickets we need for our core team of producers, artists, sound engineers, projectionists, DJs, musicians, builders and most importantly — the electrician — (thank you power Gods!) will manifest–but we’re still concerned.

    Last year, we had an overwhelming number of first timers (virgins) and half of our membership came from abroad. (That’s right, a bunch of people who don’t know the principles of Burning Man arrive often with no water, no tent, no rebar and can’t even speak English!) They think their $330 camp fee entitles them to an all inclusive vacation.

    We were overwhelmed with non-participation — and the dedicated core volunteers were totally exhausted by about Tuesday.

    The thought of a predominantly wealthy, entitled, Virgin-only Burning Man isn’t just scary — it’s impossible.

    We love virgins, and breaking them in is one of the most unconditionally gifting, most consciousness-raising acts of Karma yoga, BUT, somebody has to show up for the volunteer shifts and drive to Home Depot when we run out of dome bolts!

    Also, there was a great deal of stress and panic once the tickets sold out, because most of our most dedicated artistic crew and build crew are, well, quite frankly, living on the edge and can’t to plunk down $400 on their credit cards in February when they need that cash flow for other things — like rent. (That is, if they even live somewhere. A lot of core Burners are gypsies who don’t even have credit cards.)

    There needs to be a cash or walk in option for these people, some of whom are the most brilliant and creative on the Playa.

    Those of us who make art live in the flow and wait untll the last minute for a ticket to “manifest.” (Amazingly, all the tickets we needed did materialize through our own community last year.)

    In the early days of Burning Man (my virgin burn was 1993) there was a huge sign that said NO SPECTATORS and everyone was expected — no — required to participate.

    I was assigned a required volunteer task, well before I arrived. Anyone who hauled porta potties from Reno got in free! Volunteering was actually the most fun I had during the entire experience–and it helped me connect more to people and get out of that camera and khaki shorts tourist mode.

    There were LOTS of obstacles to getting your ticket. You had to know somebody. You had do dial a telephone number to get the information on a recording. Then you had to send in a request in writing, by mail, and pay with a check.

    You received a map printed on RED paper with the secret directions, (so it couldn’t be duplicated) and you needed a topo map and a compass to find it. It was like a scavenger hunt to get there.

    The problem with this lottery was it was just too darned easy for scalpers. Yes MAKE people wait all day for a ticket! Inconvenience them–a lot. Make them jump through a few hoops to weed out the wannabes. Throw in a magic password or make them go through a scavenger hunt to find where you apply.

    At Sacred Spaces, we always sell out, so we create a participation survey that people have to check off before they pay for a ticket. And this is meant to DISCOURAGE non-participants from even registering.

    As far as we’re concerned, we don’t want the money if it comes with the burden of an entitled newbie sparkle pony Trustafarian who bought their ticket for $1,000 with their alimony payments (they don’t have to work, ever), and expects us to wash their dishes and pound their rebar while they paint their toenails silver and apply their feather hair extensions in the big mirror they remembered to buy at Walmart. (“I’m sorry I can’t pound rebar — I’ll chip my nails.”)

    And this is why this statement scares me:

    “Those who were not selected to purchase tickets in the Main Sale round will be notified privately of how to register, and given the first option to sign up for the “Want Tickets” waiting list in advance of any other users.”

    Well, aren’t most of those folks potentially scalpers!?

    I would hope BMORG ditches those folks right away and institutes a system that assures that ONLY dedicated volunteers, theme camp leaders, art project leaders, DJs, musicians, performers and their build crews are allowed to buy those 10,000 tickets! We need FIRST priority, not to get whatever tickets remain after the sparkle ponies and scalpers snap them all up.

    Make at least enough available at a discount rate to bona fide returning contributors and once every returning officially placed theme camp, art project, big art car and infrastructure team has enough core members with tickets, put the rest of the tickets for sale at a higher price, where the billionaires, celebrities and jetsetters can buy them and thus fund the starving artists who make Burning Man the inspirational mecca that it is.

    I hope we can find a way to return Burning Man to it’s core values of participation, inclusion and self reliance before it’s overwhelmed with a deluge of sparkle ponies and tourists who have to learn the core values the hard way. (When there are no veterans there to show them the ropes and nobody is around to loan them work gloves and goggles, tie their flimsy KMart tent down before the windstorm, or give them electrolytes and water when they get sunstroke.)

    You can’t really teach that in one week — it takes a few visits to Burning Man before you really understand that doing, creating and gifting is what it’s all about.

    I hope we can all find a way to continue sharing the magic.

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  • Mikey says:


    It’s clear from your letter that long time burners are no longer welcome at burning man. What BM.org wants is all new faces. And now that BM is sold out they can make that a reality. But who is going to bring the art if veterans are excluded.

    And if this was a lottery why did we have to say how many times we have been to BM. This was no lottery but systematic discrimination against veterans.

    This goes back to my original theory that Larry hates burners. The 5 hour gate times, the 6 hour exit times. The last (flippant) question on the form of your opinion of how well you would do in the “lottery”. There is no question some people have caused problems at the burns but every society contains a few asswipes.

    So what Larry wants is all newbies who have never been to burning man and will be content with a neon effigy of a man burn, some plywood temple art ( they used an accelerate last year so it would burn faster ) and some fireworks.

    Wow… I’m sure the newbie’s will write glowing reviews.

    Goodbye burning man, the first 10 were kick ass.

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  • duder9000 says:

    1. Sell a portion of tickets in a first-come first served open sale to VETERANS.
    2. Sell a portion of tickets in a lottery to VIRGINS.

    Keep the tiers and low-income and pre-sale. Virgin lottery will help prevent scalpers. Open sale to Veterans doesn’t pose a big scalper threat and will allow camps to plan better.

    I wrote a detailed post suggesting this on eplaya: http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=290&t=53752

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  • Rae Kell says:

    If I get a ticket, I will be a first-time burner. I’m lucky in that I have already been “adopted” by a camp, along with a long-time burner offering to make my experience a good one. Because it is my first year, I will have nothing to compare it to. This is a good thing. I don’t want to be thinking “this is different” “this is worse” “this is better”…I just want to think “this is burning man”. I’m excited, and have a feeling I will get a ticket, but I refuse to pay a scalper or do anything that would sacrifice integrity of the event, even on a “just me” scale. I am coming to understand the base of what BM is, and want to be part of THAT. And, I have always been a believer in “everything happens for a reason”. Hope to see you there…

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  • David Singer says:

    You have totally underestimated the number of tickets in the hands of scalpers. It was obvious from the day you announced the lotto system that anyone winning would be able to sell their tickets for double what they paid for them. How many people (Burners excluded) do you really think would turn down a chance to double their money with zero risk when all they have to do is fill out two forms (one for the lotto and one on ebay). About 10 minutes of work. You should setup a system to track sales on StubHub and postings on the major craigslist. I would bet a large sum of money more than 5,000 tickets get scalped.

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  • Sean Solo says:

    I would also like to thank you for writing this finally, too. I was able to get a real sense of compassion from your choice of words. I won a ticket, unfortunately only 7 out of 50 in our theme camp got tickets. I am exploring the possibility of not going. Eventually everything turns to Dust…

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  • Luki Pa'a says:

    Here are my observations and suggestions following the most recent Burning Blog post:

    The “TL:DR” version:
    Sell the 10,000 tickets in open sale as promised, not to hand-picked camps.
    Names on tickets is a good system that works for other events. Try it.
    Reverse pricing tiers to sell most expensive first, or better yet, one tier only.
    STEP will likely not attract many extra tickets.
    Worse things have happened. Roll with it, burners are a creative bunch. Even new ones.

    The “I’m not lazy” version:
    There are a couple people here suggesting the 10,000 open sale tickets may not end up being open to all, and that BMORG might instead hand-pick theme camps to allow entry. This is problematic in that it does not allow organic creation to happen. And who gets to decide which camps are worthy? Burning Man could still be Burning Man without the Flaming Lotus Girls…

    Names on tickets is the only way to weed out scalpers. Whether there is a surplus of demand or not (among virgins or long-time attendees). Checking ID’s at the gate would not be harder than checking vehicles for stow-aways. And you could implement a program (potentially with a transfer fee) for gifting tickets or otherwise letting them change hands. Burning Man has for some time been the type of thing you almost have to plan ahead for. I realize there are those that choose to go last-minute, but I feel that is a small portion of the community and would be a more acceptable casualty than the current ticket shortage among nearly everybody. Those who plan and build make the event what it is. The old queueing system is testament to the fact that we are willing to plan ahead. Once this is implemented, it would make sense not to allow any one person to buy more than 2 (or even 1) ticket.

    One (higher) priced ticket tier and a more robust low-income ticket offering would make a lot of sense. Low-income must fill out an application, which most scalpers won’t do. The rest of the tickets should be open sale, not a lottery which is too easy to enter multiple times, etc… The predicted scarcity is what made people want to recruit friends to try etc. First come first served with a solid server to run it on would have helped on that front significantly. In my opinion, interest has not increased by quite these levels, despite the Dr. Suess video’s popularity.

    If you must have pricing tiers, reverse them. Sell the most expensive tickets in open sale in January, so people who simply must be there can get in from the start. Then let the dust settle for a month and do the second open sale at a median price, then one more month downtime, and a final open sale at the lowest tier. You guys thought something similar in the early bird sale this year. That was on the right track. Those who wait the longest for the cheapest tickets are taking more of a risk that they will not get to go. So assuming a total of around 55k tickets:

    January – Open sale – 15,000 tickets – Highest price tier (perhaps $450)
    February – Open sale – 15,000 tickets – Median price tier (perhaps $375)
    March – Open sale – 15,000 tickets – Lowest price tier (perhaps $300)
    Whenever – Low income – 10,000 tickets – via lottery if necessary (around $200).

    This would also discourage scalpers in that it makes it harder to buy low and sell high. Granted, the demand will continue past the inevitable sellout, and without ID’s being checked, scalping may still occur. But the cost being closer to “real market value” for most people will help as well. This way going in, if you want to be assured of a ticket, you pay for top tier (like bidding top tier in the lottery only without people double and triple entering)… Everybody knows up front that the lower price tiers will be more sought after.

    Don’t expect STEP to be a huge success. Most people who are holding extra tickets will distribute them in their immediate circles rather than to the larger community. Sell the 10,000 in open sale as you said!!!

    Finally, I see this year as an opportunity. Just because BRC may not be the BRC we “recognize” doesn’t mean it won’t be magical. A good friend once told me that the playa is an empty canvas, and WE!! (that’s right, virgins too) have a civic responsibility to create our community the way we want it to be. We can’t rely on veterans to always do all the heavy lifting in creating the experience. While the so-called frat boys may be out in full force this year, it’s not too late to convert them into the seasoned veterans of tomorrow.

    Much love to all burners everywhere!!! Thank you BMORG for leveling with us on the issue and hearing our pain… And whether we make it home or not, don’t let the wheels fall off the bus, we need the bones and the blood and the dust!!! And don’t fret too much, last year was always the last good year anyways.

    Looking forward to my third burn in 2013.

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  • Simba says:

    Thank you for that heartfelt and detailed response to the community.

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  • Amani says:

    I love this article. I am impressed by the thought and sensitivity that I’m seeing organizers take, in the face of what I know to be the biggest PR challenge ever faced by the org. Thank you for taking whatever it takes, to write a thoughtful note to everyone in the Burning world, and for considering so many people in seeking a solution to the challenge. I think this is also an interesting time for Burning Man organizers to help temper the culture of ‘radical entitlement’, the snowflake principle.

    Yes, sure- the veteran artists who’ve been coming out to the playa for years are a part of the fabric, the environment, the visual records of Burning Mans past. Also though, under ‘welcoming the stranger’, is an implicit passing of the baton. Acculturating the newbie, I love to see that there’s emphasis on this in this (incredibly well-written) article. I love that some thought is being put in to the possible scenario of, ‘What if we threw a Burn, and nobody knew not to put a watermelon in the potties?’.

    Maybe it’s time for some of us to adopt a n00b, and then get the heck out of the way. I love someone’s bumper sticker which reads, ‘If you had enough, could you recognize it?’
    Maybe the crusty vets have had their (our) turn, and rather than being pissy and writing hate mail about the fucked up system, they (we? I’m crusty, but I don’t write hate mail) could step down from relying on the annual pilgrimage, and let someone else have a turn.

    No one group makes Burning Man. It’s not Nexus, nor Opulent Temple, or anyONE. Even the loss of many well-known presences may be, oddly, lovely. What if? Newbies don’t know what’s missing, if suddenly there’s no DIS to ORIENT on the Esplanade.

    Black Rock City isn’t a timeshare community, it is a ticketed event. This ticket situation is a challenge to our collective expectation that Burning Man- whose principles we espouse smugly from dusty soap boxes, even tattoo on our bodies- will always be there for us personally. I’d love to see this moment include a public invitation to all of us who’ve been attending the event in the desert for over a decade (or more, yes I hear you too, peeps)- to count our blessings for getting to be part of this amazing thing, and maybe take a year off. It wouldn’t kill any of us, to miss it. None of us is entitled to go. Perhaps it’s time to ask ourselves, who would we be without Burning Man?

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    Its *that* freakin’ simple.

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  • Samsa Lila says:


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  • nikolaus heger says:

    I think the only thing that can be done – since you said you can’t just scrap the lottery – is to now. NOW. put names on tickets to at least remove the opportunists and scalpers from the equation.

    As one of the winners I’d still be in favor of scrapping the lottery altogether. That said – the new info here is that BMORG is not sure whether there isn’t just unprecedented demand this year – that’s certainly a possibility, and a bit of a scary one. It’s always been my assumption that the number of people who (a) want to go and (b) can actually make it when the time comes is going to be less than 55,000.

    I applaud that you’re prioritizing those that “lost” in the lottery in STEP.

    I got an extra ticket and given what was said about the lottery beforehand, I assumed that I’d use it to help out a fellow camp mate if I won. Unfortunately, our camp has too few tickets overall for this to work. Only 25% got tickets, and some didn’t see this coming and didn’t apply for 2. So we’re way short.

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  • Burner says:

    Like Rob Said Earlier:::

    “Thank you for making a few things clear finally.

    – “We can’t and won’t reverse the Main Sale drawing results.”
    – “It is not possible to simply grow the event to welcome more people in 2012″
    – “Without our core collaborative community, the fabric of Burning Man could fray and tear apart. Regardless of all good original intentions, that ripping sound has to stop.”

    I read this as “10,000 open sale tickets will not be sold openly”.

    Am I right?”


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  • kate monster says:

    i didn’t have a problem with the lottery, and i too failed to realize the extent of the problem it would cause, figuring when i didn’t get a ticket i’d just get one from someone who got an extra or decided not to go…i assume you guys will give the remaining tickets to those who run the big camps, and i don’t have a problem with that, either, even though it means i won’t get one, since i had hoped this was going to be my first year helping organize a camp.

    i signed the signon.org petition about recalling the lottery, because i generally agreed that those were very good suggestions – except i would say have a higher fee for transferring tickets than 5$ to further discourage scaplers and overpurchasers. i would also suggest raising the price, and compensating by giving out more low-income tickets (although for those of us on the east coast, especially people who put camps together, the whole concept of low income tickets is kinda silly, because the ticket is the least of your worries financially).

    i’m not sure at this point if i’m still going to come (assuming i myself could get a ticket somehow). the fact is that if the friends i know and love are unable or unwilling to bring a camp together due to the ticket situation, i’ll stay on the east coast and spend the time and money going to regional events and/or traveling.

    but considering how much this community has given me over the past year and a half…i’m sending you <3 from bmore.

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  • H3R3TIC says:

    I applaud this message and hope that all the peeps who’ve been drawing negative energy…now understand there were many factors at play – and that your effort to preserve the core fabric of the community through what seems like thoughtful hole-patching is proof enough that there was never any intention to disenfranchise longtime groups, artists, or projects. In short, well said.

    I’ve posted this before – and it’s a well loaded principal complete with it’s own new set of challenges and problems…but I feel compelled to make the point again.

    Buy land.

    Hartford Institute estimates there are roughly 335,000 religious congregations in the United States. (Churches) They operate tax free, and privately…and are therefore not subject to police intrusions. Seems pretty smart to me. Membership. Gold stars. Merit badges. All that shit. People want to be recognized for their efforts. Remembered. Cherished. Not replaced in a lottery system. But we need to own the land to do that. WE need to dictate the terms. Not the BLM.

    This year will be my fourth week on the Playa. I’ve already gifted a ticket to a ten year veteran with the Golden Cafe and last years French Quarter. I’m volunteering, supporting art projects, trying to rally friends to accept and embrace change. I’m also going to help teach the new sparkle ponies what’s up. By example. And by direct criticism if necessary…

    I think if we all do that we’re going to have a great burn )'(

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  • joe potter says:

    Do you understand the future? Camps and art need the ability to plan this can only be done with NO CAP. Can BMORG be honest? Up to this point it seems unlikely. Step is a joke any burner with tickets will have plenty of friends to use up his tickets. nonburners will scalp their tickets. face the facts that if burners had 16 entries pro scalpers had 160. if burners have 30% of the tickets say 13000 and 40% were new and got their % say a round 12000- who has the other 25000 tickets and why aren’t you addressing this? 15000 scalpers tickets and you say the lottery works?
    So people will need to know the facts – like less than 1/2 the 700 camps will ask for placement – when THAT Happens. State the facts about loss of art and themecamps this is now a commodity people need to be aware that value has been greatly deminished. Please get ahead of the curve instead of 2 years behind – SCARCITY OF TICKETS WILL NEVER ALLOW THE LARGE GROUPS AND ART> you need to hold the sale asap so people can plan – you will never strave the pro scalpers

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  • short sell bob says:

    I must have missed the first humble apology. My bad.

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  • katrina says:

    We are very lucky, a small camp (last year 15 and this year 20) who are 80% ticketed, which means worse case scenario we are same size as last year. Most of us are 5x + veterans. I’m guessing there will be lots of small camps this year and hopefully lots of new ones. I’ll miss the big sound camps for sure but am also in a weird way looking forward to experiencing something radically different. Its been really disheartening to see the overwhealming negative comments and entitlement attitude in the community and am looking forward for the dust to settle and maybe the lucky ticketed people will start chiming in about what we can do to make it a good burn. One thing is for sure if there’s going to be a huge jump in virgins better start educating them, those darkwads drive me nuts….

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  • Sharrye Starry says:

    I’m so confused.

    I first found out about Burning Man two years ago. Both years I didn’t have the money to attend. This year I don’t have the money to attend so I was going to try for the financially challenged tickets. Now I’m not so sure.

    Is this how the majority of old-timers feel -> “To that virgin I copy and paste the following excerpt. And I wish him/her a wonderful burn. Know this: without all of us your New Playa will be Spring Break in the desert. We are the burn, you are welcome to join us, but don’t you dare think we are not an intrinsic part of it.” That specific individuals are more important than the community at large? That certain people MUST BE INCLUDED or there is no BRC?

    The history of BRC is what touched my spirit. When the word went out to create Burning Man, the word went out to all. Every and any individual was welcomed. There were no oldtimers and newcomers. There were no egos involved to make people feel less than or unwelcomed. Per your history, “A 1990 Cacophony newsletter item invited interested people to meet in downtown San Francisco to help assemble a wooden sculpture to be burned at a San Francisco beach in an annual celebration”

    “80 people [strangers, newcomers] had suddenly become 80 friends who cared for each other, had made a commitment to follow this strange wooden statue to the desert and live with it till its last moments when wood was to become ash and smoke.” That’s the BRC I expected. The one where you’re only a stranger in your own mind. The one were showing up makes you family. Not this one where you need prior relationships and participation to be someone of importance, of standing. I have that in my everyday life, BRC was suppose to be better than that.

    “Did we know what we were doing? Probably not. Did we care? Yeah! We knew that whatever we were doing, it would be different. If only for that weekend, we were going to put some meaning into a special experience, recreating an ancient pagan ritual that was actually 1000s of years old. In Cacophony, we called these adventures; a ‘Zone Trip.’ The Zone was some other dimensional place, it could be the past, the future, something weird, it didn’t matter. We were going there, and we would challenge it and be better for it.” Everyone would be better. Everyone would be changed. The magic was not saved and parceled out to “real burners.” It was for all who were blessed enough to be there.

    This is from “What is Burning Man.” “You belong here and you participate. You’re not the weirdest kid in the classroom — there’s always somebody there who’s thought up something you never even considered. You’re there to breathe art. Imagine an ice sculpture emitting glacial music — in the desert. Imagine the man, greeting you, neon and benevolence, watching over the community. You’re here to build a community that needs you and relies on you.” When did that change to you’re here at the whelm of the real burners. You’re tolerated but we expect nothing from you for you have nothing to offer the real burners. Your money is welcomed to help cover expenses, but only after we, the real burners, have determined who shall attend based on past participation, prior involvement, and value of service. We, the real burners, shall put on a show for you, the ignorant newcomer but never for once believe or think yourself equal, for you are not today, were not yesterday, and will not be tomorrow. We, the real burners, make this what it is.

    I understand that some groups that have always provided projects are low on supporters but have they even tried to reach out to the newcomers that will be in attendance for ideas and support? Why is the artistic contribution of some more valued than the contributions of others? Why are the oldtimers so scared of new blood, new ideas, new direction? Yes, there is a feeling of relief to have home always be home but that does not a “magical experience” make. I was pulled in by the words on your website, by the welcoming energy of prior burns, where everyone was valued. Now, people appear to be showing their true colors and it’s not pretty. It’s selective, unwelcoming, full of entitlement and ego. Again, I have that in my every day life. I am not hurting for people to make me feel different and less than.

    My question is, what is Burning Man? And as a newcomer, if I can one day attend, will I be valued as a real member of the community or will I be a newcomer, someone who took the place of a real burner?

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  • durgy says:

    Well spoken my friend. As LH says: “Authenticity costs extra”. I can feel some soul in your post, so some human cost. I have never doubted the good intentions but it does lead us to where we are.

    I agree that tickets have should remain transferable. I only wish I had an extra to gift right now. If they were ‘non-transferable’ but there was a way to transfer them prior to the event (via an online service) or at the gate, that would be cool, but it is either software that has not been written or a logistic nightmare.

    I think the timing and some pricing needs some tweaking.

    I know there are operating expenses so a limited ‘pre-sale’ makes sense – though you could and should jack that price up and limit the number maybe both by a factor of 2 (twice the price as the main sale and half the number that were available this year).

    Us great unwashed participants need to know the theme with enough time before the art grant applications occur to make a difference (not just a couple of days).

    I also think theme camp and art car applications can happen earlier than the main ticket sale and an ‘approval’ may also give the camp manager the ability to purchase ‘x’ number of tickets (and it may be a number less than they request). This would mean that we would get treated like individuals for this part. Administratively, someone is going to need to process those applications which has to occur anyway. One could look at historical data – how much space from last year, how many people did the camp have, their LNT record, etc. – to determine whether they camp gets approved for space and also some number of tickets in a dedicated sale. Some percentage of theme camp / art car tickets could be for new camps, but you really need to be on point and slick with your application to get a pre-approval for ‘x # of tix’ which is a hoop that a scalping company might not want to jump through.

    For this year, you could still add to the theme camp application and art car applications a box for how many you are short and allow managers to make a pitch to be able to purchase towards their shortfall. BTW, the Beacon is short 4 as far as I can tell. Yes we will radically self rely and have people sign up for STEP and beg, borrow and steal to get our people out there, but if we could make a pitch based on how we would like to contribute and our needs for our people that would be great. Even having a forum to make that pitch in an official capacity which could potentially work (though could also not with little or no explanation) would feel good.

    But between the theme camp / art car / art grant / pre-sales that should only comprise up to some percentage of the population (50% or so). Then a final general assembly ticket sale.

    I used to follow a band that had a mail order. You had to send in a self-addressed stamped envelope along with a money order and you’d either get tickets mailed to you or your money order. You had to know about it and be connected to the community to have access to those tickets. You’d see the same people on Shakedown Street and on the rail and there was a feeling of community. Maybe there is a way to pull people into the circle.

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  • Rob Lord says:

    > We can’t and won’t reverse the Main Sale drawing results. That part is done, and there is nothing fair about taking awarded tickets away from anyone…it solves nothing at this point, and changes the terms after the sale has already happened, and probably isn’t even legal. Besides, that only makes a bad situation worse.

    Do you have a legal opinion on that? Given there have been no transactions to date, chances are BMORG’s liability is minimal. Any ticket sales boilerplate agreement indemnifies the seller.

    Moreover, BMORG has yet to address what every well-reasoned commenter repeats: non-transferable tickets, like the airlines, Glastonbury Festival, et al., is the simplest, most field-tested, most effective sol’n to undesired gaming of scarce commodities.

    > We must now attend to preserving the fabric of our culture.

    Yes, mindful that addressing a symptom, not the cause, is a palliative solution.

    > There are listings on ticket scalping sites, but right now, they don’t all equal tickets that will be sold above face value. None of those sellers are actually holding tickets yet, and won’t be for several months, and we will collaborate to do what we can to starve them out. There are right now only about a hundred such tickets on those sites, although that doesn’t mean there are not more tickets that were awarded to people who plan to scalp them eventually.

    The sellers and buyers in 3rd party markets do not need to hold tickets to accept offers to buy, sell and resell tickets. They are playing the scarce commodity game, assessing fair market value. They think your plans “to starve them out” are just a rent on their margin. Unless your rent exceeds their margin, they will price and run the market. Nothing to date from BMORG is convincing that rent will exceed margin.

    > The STEP program will launch this month and we believe it will help. Those who were not selected to purchase tickets in the Main Sale round will be notified privately of how to register, and given the first option to sign up for the “Want Tickets” waiting list in advance of any other users.

    To those playing the scarce commodity game, you just announced that the scarcity perception frenzy will have a long duration and thus maximize their chances of peak margin as tickets trickle back to market at pre-promised rent-free face-value prices. I understand that is/was not the motivation/intent of BMORG, yet market forces exist a priori of human intent.

    > Right now we are contacting representation from all the types of affected groups analyze the overall shortfall…

    That’s good.

    * Our Regional Network and other teams including many community advisers are engaging…

    That’s good too.

    * We’re clear that next year, big changes are necessary to address scarcity, capacity and community.

    The challenge at hand isn’t next year or addressing symptoms; the challenge at hand, extrapolating the current perception trajectory and scarce commodity market realities, is pivoting the 2012 ticketing system to a non-transferable sol’n before the consensus perception of BM’12 as a BMORG operational failure is irreversible.

    That said, we’re all on your side to succeed. And when you do, we will throw down harder than ever before. :)

    rob ‘beta’ lord

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  • little glass cat says:

    All good things must come to an end. It is obvious that Burning Man has hit it’s peak. Sure, it will still have magical moments and transform people, but it’s been on a downword spiral for a little while now. The music just keeps getting worse, almost unbearable for the most part this past year…and once the playa is 50% new people, well…the vibe is most likely going to be pretty awkward. It’s not worth the stress, and the people who’s lives are being “shattered” by this might need to consider expanding their horizons a bit. It was an awesome event, but there’s a big bright world out there with plenty of other amazing things to offer.

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  • Tom P says:

    You have (finally) done a very good job being transparent and you need to keep doing so.

    The issue of the new burners is a significant one. New blood is needed in all societies, but the lifeblood, the core, are those burners who are very active in creating art, giving workshops, building camps, etc. Without these burners you are going to experience a huge problem of cultural identity.


    I was a virgin in 2011. I, as most virgins, did not really know what to expect. It was the community that taught me. An amazing community. I would be able to give better this year because I know understand the BM way. I get the culture. But I had mentors. I don’t know who most of them were. But they were usually kind and fascinating people.

    The vibe. The vibe is what makes BM what it is. It is magical and you were right to point out Sauders, Howell and Walsh’s terrific youtube tribute. It was excellent.

    When you have too many newbies, like I was (and sort of still am), you risk the culture. It’s fine to argue with immigration that we need to accept that cultures change, but who wants BM to be just another festival? Anyone? And that’s what risks happening (as I’m sure you are well aware).

    Given this I have the following proposition. Recognize that BM is in jeopardy in terms of being a going concern. If you do not handle this well, it could be all down hill from here. Those long time contributors are not just participants, they are your unpaid volunteers creating the whole experience. You obviously have a database of previous participants. How complete and clean the data is, I don’t know.

    Ideally, however, I suggest you design a system that attributes points in a transparent manner to people who have participated in the past. If you have created an official art installation, for example, then you gain 5 points, if you were a center cafe volunteer, 2 points. You review your records however far back you have them where you have decent data. You add up the points.

    Previous participants can then register with you to have you assess them and assign them a total point number. You then start offering people from the top of the list a single ticket until you run through the 10,000 or so you have left.

    I, for example, would get perhaps four points total (2 for a reiki workshop and 2 for cafe volunteering on two days) – not a lot and perhaps not enough for me to qualify for this. But it would be a reasonable approach with a sense of justice behind it.

    This would not be without flaws and it would require a lot of work on your part. If you do have the data, however, I would suggest you seriously consider it. BM’s gross revenue is enormous. The expenses, while high, do not come anywhere close to the gross. You can afford to invest in an approach like this.

    The question is: Can you afford not to?

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  • whowhyen says:

    I’m a noob. I just started participating in regional burn events within the last 12 months. I wanted to go to 2011, but it didn’t work out financially or with time off work. So I set an intention to go in 2012. When my friends mentioned it was registration day… I registered for a single ticket for myself. My Facebook post after registration was: “I’m going HOME this year… Just waiting on the Universe 2 confirm my itinerary.” A few weeks later I received an email confirming a ticket.

    But it saddened me (in the days following) that those people who told their stories of the great burn, enticing me to join them, did not receive & became increasingly worried that they would not receive.

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  • Genevieve says:

    Thank you for letting us know…I know this made me feel better because it answered questions. 2012 will my 2nd year and I have not given up hope that somehow I’ll make it back. I think and daydream about going back to burning man everyday since that RV came back to Oakland and I unloaded my playa dusted gear back into my small studio apartment… I felt like I left home instead of returning home…

    I love you all and appreciate all of your hard work and I know we will all get through this by sticking together. )'(

    Thank you thank you thank you

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  • Marty says:

    Andie – thanks for your kind and comprehensive words. But I am still very sad. Sad for myself and my dozens of friends, of course, but also sad for our community. It hurts to think back of all the times we hear “Welcome Home”, and to have a sense of belonging that can’t be found anywhere else – and then to be told I’m actually not welcome, at least this time around. It feels like there’s no room at Thanksgiving dinner because my dad’s new wife’s friends will be there – it’s still technically family, but it’s perhaps no longer going to be the place I’ll seek out as a refuge where I can feel comfortable being myself.

    One of the very first ambassadors to Burning Man I met was Rebecca Throne, who sold me my first ticket and who has since served in some important roles in the BMorg. I have since returned the favor dozens of times to family, old friends and new acquaintances, but only if I’ve gotten the sense that they have what it takes – that is, the drive to take precious time off from work to do *more* work, but with the promise of a huge emotional payoff.

    I must admit, as the ticket experience unfolded I got the sense that BM leadership took it for granted how much many of us sacrifice to make it out there. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve tried to convince people that I wasn’t nuts or irresponsible because I took time off from a job (from which I was quickly let go), or left my pregnant wife at home, or our baby. But it’s worth it, or at least it was. I don’t regret for a nanosecond what I went through to make it the previous six times, but I am deeply worried that the likely ratio of virgins to veterans this time around will make for a profoundly less meaningful experience for all.

    Believe me – if by some miracle my friends and I get tickets (I’ve had some playa miracles but this would trump them all) – we will do our damnedest to set the same examples of kindness and inclusion that veteran burners have shown us. But I can’t seem to shake the sense of tenuousness in the definition of “experiment”. I can’t tell you how much I hope I’m wrong.

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  • Sue says:

    “…we went to get away from ourselves, and the way to do that is drive, down through Nogales some day when the pretty green places pall and all that will move the imagination is some place difficult, some desert. The desert, any desert, is indeed the valley of the shadow of death; come back from the desert and you feel like Alcestic, reborn” Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem 1965

    Simplify! Isn’t that the burning way? One price, first come first serve, and don’t start selling them right after the holidays!! Later, in the early spring perhaps, or Feb if folks just have to know that soon in advance for planning purposes. Its sad to think I might be home weeping and missing all of you while someone else gets jetted in, and set up with a motor home stocked with everything costing $20000+. There is nothing about the Core Principles in that.

    I love you Burning Man ♥♥♥

    BTW motor homes on the playa are intrinsically offensive. Sorry, but there’s nothing self actualizing about living in the lap of luxury at other burners expense …and that includes the playas’ expense. Simplify!!

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  • Paul (silkscreen camp) says:

    Andie, thanks for trying to clear things up a bit. However it turns out this year it will be interesting. Some will be glad, some sad, some experiancing a wonder for the first time and some longing to go home. I dont envy the organizations position on this. You cant win this year, no matter what you do. I wish you luck, and luck to the vet burners without tickets, including myself and whole camp. I WILL NOT BUY FROM SCALPERS and hope all others without tickets will refrain from doing so too. The man will survive, (till he burns), and I’m sure next year will be much better, dont think it can get any worse, plus I can now make my project twice as nice with the added time to create. Once again good luck to all affected, hope to see ya out there. Paul

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  • Theron Hunt says:

    I feel for your crew but I say take back 30% of the lottery tickets and let the committee sell them to those whom you feel need to be there. Next year you will learn to let scalpers be scalpers and burners will be burners… fixed something that wasn’t broken. All is forgiven and if not then they don’t get a ticket…. xo

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  • Roy Ceresale says:

    Idea for 2013…

    No system is going to be fair to every single person. The question is how to make it the least unfair.
    30% awarded to camps/artists by citizens of BRC, 10% awarded by BORG, 60% Lottery
    30% of tickets awarded to camps voted in by citizens of BRC: Burners would get to decide which Camps/Artists they definitely want to see back. Each burner could vote* for up to X number of theme camps/artists they want to see again next year. This would be an ongoing incentive for camps/artists to gift maximum ‘experience’ and ensure the survival of the backbone of Black Rock City – theme camps.
    10% of tickets awarded by the BORG: This would give BORG a meaningful yet manageable 5,000 ticket pool from which to exercise latitude vis-á-vis artists and camps.
    60% of tickets chosen by lottery For all the other threads of the tapestry, this provides individuals and non-voted-in camps a fair shot at attending(newbies and vets). If any member of a camp gets a ticket, everyone in camp gets a ticket (With a cap on camp size). There could be a set minimum number awarded to individuals.
    *Ballots could be given at the gate pre-printed with registered theme camps/artsists and space for write-ins.
    ** This could be divided into small and large camp categories. Large – 25 or more members, small – 24 or less.

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  • c in slc says:

    Thanks for laying it out so nicely. Really.
    Eloquent, and confirms everything I ever thought about the people in the bm’org :)

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  • noelle says:

    deep gratitude to you… i really needed to hear this from you guys. i have been disappointed, disheartened, and confused by the lack of acknowledgement and/or empathy expressed to the community that is the heartbeat of burning man. so thank you, i feel better. a little. it goes without saying that the damage is done and i am comforted to know that you are doing all you can do address things. “this is one of the most painful moments in our history” brought me to tears; indeed it is. since receiving my “dear john, better luck next time” letter, i felt a sense of disconnect from the community i think of as home 365 days a year, on and off the playa, in a way i never have. for something i have poured heart, time, money, love, energy, etc into for 8 years, this was more than a little disconcerting. the note above inspires me to think we are all in this together, and together we can/will find a solution.
    i don’t know if i’ll make it to the desert this year, and i can be at peace with that. i will wait to see what happens over the next several months in the plans of friends’ theme camps and their ticketing situations and intentions to participate this year. we’ll see how things continue to unfold. and much as i, too, appreciate and welcome virgins, the idea of a playa with nearly half newcomers is a little concerning and reminds me of the first and last time i went to coachella several years ago. it’s clear that the old way of doing things is no longer effective and the event is evolving at a pace quicker than anticipated. bittersweet impermanence…
    once again, thank you for responding to this matter in your heartfelt way, i can promise you, the people needed to hear this. i am re-inspired and while just a couple days ago was ready to ditch all my fab dusty duds for good, i think i’ll hang on to ’em a little longer. please keep the updates coming.
    much <3

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  • Trillium says:

    For 2013, when I hope to return to Burning Man, I suggest the following:
    – First come, first served
    – Every ticket assigned to an actual person (verified by legal name, date of birth, etc)
    – non-transferable, non-refundable.
    good luck :)

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  • Jon says:

    Soloution: (1) All tickets are registered to the person who Paid for them. (2)All tickets are will call. (3) The person who’s ID is on the tickets, must be present to pick them up from will call. (4) Anybody who won the lottery, will keep their ticket rights, but have the option to back out. (5) The people who opt out will have their credit card refunded the full amount they paid for their tickets. (6) The “Opt out” tickets will be put back into the STEP program, and sold at highest level value. (7)People who signed up for the lottery will recieve priority for these tickets.
    I believe the “Opt outs” will provide many tickets to worthy burners, rather than line the pockets of scalpers.

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  • GR says:

    Thanks for the update on the situation.

    I am a long time burner and have been a member of a few theme camps over the years. Please DO NOT give preferential treatment to “veterans”, “art projects”, “theme camps” or anyone else. That is just not fair at all.

    And, contrary to what you might think, because, whether you realize it or not, all the BM crew are in the “inner circle”, many of those camps and art cars and other “special” groups are not particularly interactive or inclusive. They are often quite closed, insular and unfriendly.

    Just sell the remaining tickets as you planned and give EVERYONE a fair chance at getting one. Sell one ticket per person/credit card.

    Guess what….BM will happen and it will be just fine. It may be different, but that is the case every year anyways. Yes, there will be some disappointed people, but that is going to happen no matter what you do. Give everyone a fair and equal chance at getting a ticket. Past attendance or volunteering or whatever should not entitle one to special treatment.

    Thanks for (hopefully) listening.

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  • robin lamkie says:

    We should all get over it and realise that our tickets to bm are now worth some kind of average between what the scalpers are asking and what BMOG asks for.
    Supply and demand of what the best HOME costs these days.

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  • Fortunata says:

    Has anyone thought of purchasing that desert area? Is it possible to purchase? I know you can petition the BLM…

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  • Jane Maru says:

    Deep gratitude, thanks, and appreciation for this exquisitely transparent, eloquently articulated letter of Integrity.
    Growing pains are part of any worthy endeavor,
    a necessary step to reach the next level.

    Jane Maru

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  • Lara White says:

    I don’t see how the STEP is going to ensure that tickets go to the veteran burners of the theme camps and art cars instead of just more newbies? There are LOTS of people holding extra tickets “just in case” so why not create a way to get those people in touch with the veteran burners that desperately need to be able to confirm their plans?

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  • huskyfan says:

    thank you BMorg for addressing this in a much more open and honest way.

    Marketing 101. passing grade. if I had read this a day or two after the “lottery” it would have been higher.

    I have no idea how to fix this year.

    next year raise the price. make tickets nontransferable. sell tickets in sections of 5,000 at different hours, days, months. make the sections demand specific. ie – long timer burners, birgins, theme camps, rvs, musicians, volunteers, what ever else you divide us up into.

    like this : a birgin invited to a theme camp with an rv would have several different catagories to chose from. perhaps one ticket sale is at 4 am Wednesday, three weeks later hold one at 1 pm Saturday.

    if you get overwhelmed with entries. skip the birgins.

    or hire ticketmaster. they do this every day.

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  • That Guy says:

    I honestly can’t believe you folks didn’t see this coming a mile away.

    I myself am not, and never will be a “Burner”, but many of my friends are, and many of those friends are part of the “theme camp” phenomena. People who (for whatever insane reason) plan their *entire* year around this week. Many of these people are freaking the f&%k out over this fiasco. Many are now just planning on ditching BM and heading elsewhere (I actually think this is the smarter idea, but I’m not a Burner, so what the hell do I know). But those folks are still heartbroken.

    Regardless of my own personal disdain for what you folks call “home”, I don’t like seeing my friends upset, and I don’t want my precious “Parking Man” (what us folks who remain in SF with our showers call the week you’re all at BRC) being ruined by having a bunch of you folks stuck back here.

    All sarcasm and snarkiness aside – I have some actual suggestions – who knows, maybe an outside opinion wouldn’t hurt.

    1st off – I have no idea what the Bureau of Land Management says your population cap is, but it’s clearly maxed and you need more capacity. Period. Start looking for another piece of land (as was suggested above) – one that will cap out comfortably at about 100K – your community is a-growin’, and that number isn’t too nutty to expect. Plan ahead!!!

    Next – regarding theme camps. Easy – these folks have to submit the theme idea and such far ahead of time, correct? Then start making theme camps prepare a hard roster of participants right from the get-go, and do it EARLIER. Then, once they do, simply make sure all theme camps have enough tickets for their roster set aside prior to releasing any to the “regular” participants. Also implement a system where if they have people drop out, their tickets automatically go back into circulation for everyone else. If they have truly planned their camp, then they should know fairly well in advance (barring any emergencies of course) and essentially, should have their collective sh*t together. (and if any emergencies pop up late in the season, those folks should put those tickets into the general circulation as well – then maybe late planners would have a shot).

    Now that those are taken care of – for everyone else, as was suggested above in another comment – one ticket per person, one flat rate, 1st come, 1st served. PERIOD. You have a finite resource, you have to treat it as a finite resource. Now, clearly this doesn’t take into account greedy scalpers – but at least you mitigate the problem so a scalper could logically ONLY get *one* ticket for his or herself to scalp. This means your going to have to get some tech in place on your end to make sure spammers and bots can’t purchase tickets. But of course, if all tickets have to be purchased via credit card, then only allow a CC number to purchase ONE ticket. Or PayPal – only one ticket per one account. Again – probably can’t stop ALL scalpers, but I’m pretty sure you won’t find that many crafty enough to create that many fake accounts or steal that many CC numbers to get enough tickets to make it worth it to them to scalp.

    If you want to talk pre-sales – another great suggestion from the comments above – charge out the wazoo!! Double the ticket price, hell, triple it! If someone is so hotshot hoity toity that they think they should cut in front of everyone else, than said person should be prepared to pony up the dough to be exclusive. I feel like pre-sales for BM are kind of like bottle service at a nightclub – if you want to look important and tell everyone about how you scored tickets before everyone else, you need to be charged d-bag tax for it.

    And now that you’ve covered theme camps, pre-sales, and all the regular folks – implement a lottery or latecomer sale system for all leftovers, or tickets that get put back into circulation. That way people who didn’t plan right, get a shot, but only after all the people who DID plan get their fair shot.

    And in terms of this trying to cater to people of all time zones for when tickets go on sale…sorry, but just like any concert event (let’s take Sade’ for example) there’s a specific time you need to be online, waiting to buy your ticket – if you’re sleeping, or at work, or don’t have computer access that day – that’s kind of your own issue to handle. If the BMorg says “tickets go on sale at this date and time” – then everyone has AMPLE time to plan ahead to wait online to get their tickets, or find a computer connection, or to take the day off, or what have you. If nearly a year in advance isn’t good enough for a person to get their sh*t together to do that, then they kind of have no room to gripe if they don’t get a ticket. (and yes, I know this last part sounds harsh, but as an avid concert goer, I have had to deal many times with missing tickets for shows because I either couldn’t take the time to get the tickets when they went on sale, or because they sold out insanely fast – that’s l;ife, and grownups should be able to suck it up and deal)

    Anyway – those are my suggestions. I hope all of you kids get sorted, and have a good and safe time out there, no matter how silly I think the whole deal is. And I hope that this experience drives you folks to become even more creative than you already are. That which does not kill us, makes us stronger…right? Good luck folks…

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  • Yoshi says:

    Thanks for finally writing.
    I like the idea of ticket preference for previous years burners. It keep your core coming back by giving them a better chance to secure tickets for next year. Because it’s all about momentum right? Virgins step onto Playa expecting different things, but most end up running downhill into the light. Weeeeee! Talk of ‘Next year I’m gonna…’ is what the ride home is all about.
    I don’t think selling tickets on Playa for the next year is reasonable, but what if you could register on Playa for the next year’s ticket? Then those apps get put into a separate ‘lottery’ increasing your chances for next years burn. If 60% of the 58,000 2012 participants get 2013 tickets, then you preserve your core element, keeping that momentum for next year.
    Perhaps you could even hedge the system towards people registering (and volunteering) early. Arrive early arrival Saturday before gives you a higher ‘chance’ for tickets than someone registering for their tickets on Burn Night. Gives less priority to weekenders and it would encourage campers to come earlier.
    Perhaps you could also pad your chances by volunteering with Org duties. Greeters, Cafe, Ice… get you an added entry for a veteran ticket. (this would also reduce non-attending scalpers). All double draws are discarded. One Burner, One ticket. Even if you can’t go the next year, Burners will pass their tickets onto fellow campers that will do them proud, live the Principles, volunteer, pass the happiness.
    Rest of the tickets go to general lottery. I don’t think people disliked the lottery, they just disliked that their time, effort and financial investments went unrewarded.
    Perhaps the first year, 2011 purchasers and 2012 attendees would be included as there will be many 2011ers that will sadly not make the roll call…

    Burning Man will always be amazing. But I agree with one comment above that there will be MANY unprepared Virgins that need guidance. Train your noobs people!

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  • eko says:

    RIP….. BM is an environmental nightmare anyway. Instead of spending all year on an art project try spending a year trying to create clean water for a third world village.

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  • Tara says:

    If you host an event without corporate sponsorship (something I have loved about the event) literally built and created by its attendees, then maybe it’s high time BRC started treating those MAJOR contributors like actual sponsors. Burning man over the years has formed certain attractions similar to a theme park. Camp?, Opulent Temple, TETRIS, Nexus, The District, the titty totter, Lady Sassafras, Bliss Goddess to name a few, are all experiential installations which we burners have come to love and new comers want to experience. Yes, things change year to year based on the theme, but the larger camps and exhibitions truly make up the core structure. Perhaps it’s time to let some of these camps and artists have event priority.

    Find out what the bare minimum number of tickets per theme camp/art piece would be needed in order for them to function and give them priority if they agree to participate year to year. I’m talking camps that have been contributing to burning man for 5+ years who have clearly paid their dues and are dedicated to the progression of the event. These are people who fund-raise, spend their own income, and contribute countless hours at an event they receive no monetary gain.
    Allow a second tier for newer theme camps and let the rest of the tickets be open sale, first come first serve.

    BRC has a choice after this interesting debacle, either choose to show priority to the members who build the glorious city, or scrap it all and let the newbies build something new. I am curious what this year will look like and am heavily debating attending at all. Two people out of our 40 member sound camp (with a 30,000 watt system) received tickets. We have decided as a group to not apply as a theme camp this year because of the lottery system. I have been a burning for the last 5 years.

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  • Lucy Hosking says:

    Thank you. You may have just saved the event. Glad you are listening.

    Here are two real alternatives for the future:
    1) Do it twice in BlackRock. 4th of Juplaya points in that direction.
    2) Do it twice, once as usual in Blackrock, and again somewhere else.

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  • Kran says:

    I want the burner-contributors with theme camps, art projects, live music, mutant vehicles, and other works with heavy logistics taken care of now. Now, because they cannot wait for June and July ticket swaps.

    Many tickets will change hands between now and the burn, especially after tickets are delivered in June. For many of us that will be good enough, for the infrastructure teams that will be too late, so we have to take care of them now.

    We already know there will be a ton of virgins, so let’s show them what the old farts have been up to, eh! Let’s set the bar high for those virgins so they come back the next year as burners with heart, soul, enthusiasm and an ambition as wide as the playa and as tall as the man. They should be challenged to do better than our best, and that can only happen if we show them what we have been up to so far.

    So I think we have to take care of our veterans right now, and show them off proudly, as a challenge to the next generation. Let them see our DNA and do better! That is my vision of Fertility 2.0!

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  • g says:

    what Bunny Two Shoes said . . .
    Hear. Hear!!!

    Close the gate on Weds or Thurs to ensure that the burners attending are committed. Many of my burner friends have commented on the flood of spectators who arrive on the weekend…it kinda kills the vibe to have the onslaught of half-hearted burners arrive and would be an easy way to decrease demand somewhat.

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  • Lunchbox says:

    One ticket purchase per person- each ticket has bar code linked to said person’s name/cc info/etc/to be scanned upon entry. Period.

    Also: BRC ticket mayhem = crazy melting-pot of mystery for this 2012 burn. I don’t have a ticket, as I was planning on applying for low income, which seems highly unlikely now, and I’m OK with that! Spend my money and time on other things this summer.

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  • Trinket says:

    Dear Andie Grace,
    I accept your apology and forgive the major fuck up that is this year’s lottery. However, I’m not going to go thanking anyone until you fix the problem and do everything in your power to promise that not a single ticket of the 10,000 left falls into the hands of scalpers. On that topic, you know who is going to buy all the scalped tickets? Virgins, that’s who (making the total much higher than the predicted 40%). True burners would rather deconstruct their camp and skip a year, than feed the scalpers.

    You have thrown a major wrench into our camp plans. Only 2 out of 40 of our campers got tickets through the lottery. After talking to friends and one of us joining a fire conclave, now 5 out of 40 have tickets. Obviously, we can’t move forward making plans yet. Our leaders already decided not to register our camp on the 15th. But, don’t worry about us, we’re resilient and have lots of burner friends who need spaces filled in their camps. It’s just unfortunate that we can’t share our camp gift that we had perfected over the years.

    1. STEP— Don’t expect this to be the solution. Burners are a tight community and most extra tickets have already been redistributed amongst friends. Also, don’t be naive enough to think that scalpers can’t infiltrate STEP. If you’re sending out letters to people who got rejected, what makes you think you aren’t sending letters to the scalpers as well. Make sure that, anyone selling a ticket through STEP, questions that person extensively before handing over their ticket. And if they’re a virgin and have no idea how to tell if someone is a burner vs. a scalper, maybe you can make a questioneer that potential STEP applicants can fill out.

    2. The remaining 10,000 tickets– If you fuck this up too, 2012 is definitely doomed to be the year of virgins (no offense virgins, but you seriously won’t even know what you’re missing). Go ahead, be selective, take 8,000 of those tickets and hand pick who gets them. Is that fair? Not even a little bit. But you know what, you fucked up and now you have to step into your role and fix it. Even if that means playing favorites. But you said it yourself, without those returning artists that make BM what it is, it wouldn’t be the same. And you (better than anyone) knows who they are. And even though our measly little 40 person theme camp needs those tickets, I’m okay with BMORG giving them to the people, projects, art cars, and camps I rely on being there every year (like, DISTRIKT, Pink Heart camp, Pink Mammoth, Slut garden, the Hookahdome, Opulent Temple, whatever zeotrope Peter Hudson designs, Dancetronaughts, Abraxas, Pervertical Playground (my fav art car last year), just to name a few! Those larger than life projects are the reason people are blown away upon first sight of the playa.

    3. Next year– Work on talking to BLM and expanding. One price. Non-transferable names on tickets. Set aside a limited number of tickets (say 10,000) for camps that are deemed invaluable to the burning man experience. Set aside a number of tickets for performers and their crew (say 2,000). January, open ticket Sell 35,000 the month of January. Open all month until sold out. This makes it so that nobody has to wait in a que for hours. And I repeat, NON TRANSFERABLE NAME ON TICKET. I know, I know, what about those who don’t know if they can go until last minute or gifting tickets. Sorry, but times have changed, radical inclusion no longer holds true, and this is the only way scalpers can’t get them. March, sell the remaining tickets through a petition system. People have to write why they should get the ticket. “I’m a 10 year vet, I”m brining a huge art car, I’m driving up all the X for the sparkle pony’s”. Like the make a wish foundation, you choose who is most deserving. This is the only way I see the preservation of burning man as we know it.

    4. Getting through the gate- Less greeting antics. Increase number of volunteers. Have one volunteer checking tickets, while another is searching for stowaways and fireworks, while another is poppin’ cherries. 10 minutes max.

    See you on the playa )*(


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  • Rizik says:

    Thank you for the thoughtful, well written explanation of the Burning Man ticket fiasco. Hopefully this will turn into a growth and learning time for the Org and for all Burners. Although we no longer attend Burning Man, it’s is great to see so much passion and energy being put into making things right.

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  • Unkledaddeh says:

    Hey, it’s Burning Man and the theme for this year is, Fertility 2.0
    Burning Man birthed a whole bunch of new burners!
    Welcome! Now go and make some big awesome art, transport it to the playa, install it, and have a grand adventure!

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  • 6friend says:

    I love the ideas that are being thrown out there about requiring a commitment from those wanting tickets. 1) infrastructures need to be there from huge theme camps, art and performances, and other projects so those people would qualify on the volunteer idea 2) an essay! brilliant! If they won’t put in the effort to write an essay about why they want to go then that proves that they are not going to participate.
    Work for the spot! Burning Man is not a relaxing vacation, it’s a chance to be a part of something magical.
    PS – I am against upping the cost to double, its not about the money! :) That may just increase the participation of people that will throw money at things to go to them and discourage the typical working class people that barely make it to the burn but throw so much love and heart into what they bring to offer to the collective experience.

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  • Savvy says:

    In 2013:

    * January – Distribute tickets to theme camps and those providing Burning Man’s structure first. These tickets will not require photo ID because the camps will be distributing them.

    * June – Sell the rest of the tickets. Photo ID will be required for these tickets.

    * Set a deadline for arrival for either Wednesday or Thursday by 11:59pm. Close the gate after that time has passed. This will reduce the number of weekend tourists and allow more dedicated burners to get tickets.

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  • Paul Hughes says:

    The elephant in the room is obvious – BM and our community need to petition and push to lift the 60,000 person limit. Let’s get on thing really clear – the playa is HUGE.

    I remember in the mid-90s Black Rock City was much further out in the playa. The vast empty expanse stretched out in every direction. This space could hold MILLIONS. If BM can manage 60,000 there is no reason it can’t do 80,000, a 100,000, 200,000. To say 200,000 of the most creative, hard working and magnificent human beings creating magic in the desert is epic would be a monumental understatement – it would be galactic baby!

    If BM can scale from 100 to 60,000, it can again scale to 200,000. And just imagine with ticket prices going for $300 a pop, that’s $60 million to provide the new infrastructure, personnel and talent to pull it off.

    So let’s do it! Anything else and Burning Mans best days are behind us.

    Paul Hughes

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  • Zippy says:

    Thank you and Blessings to you for this information. We all needed it, even those who have a ticket(s) as this has caused great concern and anguish for many, and we are concerned for the future of the event with these ticketing issues. I say 1 TICKET PER BURNER. PERIOD. If everyone knows this well ahead of time, they can procure a credit card, even preload it , if only for the sole purpose of buying a ticket. I know I am not the first to say this, duh. No one, absolutley no one, should get special treatment in procuring a ticket. This ticketing thing needs to be fair. Everyone should get an equal chance at getting a ticket. I will say it again, 1 TICKET PER BURNER, Please! Thank you.

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  • DayLightFullDay says:

    Hello BMORG, I am a semi-veteran Burner Artist. I’ve attended every year since 2003 but skipped only in 2010 to care for my 4 month old child. In 2011, not only did I contribute as an Artist bringing out large scale interactive art piece but, I brought along my baby virgin Burner with me. I was hoping she and I could continue our new tradition to attend each year until she is old enough to make the choice herself. All I know is that she LOVED every moment of the festival and everyone there enjoyed her presence. I am disappointed that my chances are slim of receiving a ticket, unless of course, I participate on a sponsored piece of art. But, that is not in the plan this year for our art collective.
    So, I can only make suggestions regarding how to handle tickets next year.
    It’s unfortunate that suggestions and feedback weren’t taken before your decision to implement a lottery was made.

    Here are my suggestions:
    1. Generate a special number for each ticket holder (like a membership number) or to whom owns the physical ticket stub. That number is re-used every year but, if the person who owns that membership number chooses NOT to attend they, return the membership number back to BMORG, or GIFT it someone else but, that new person’s name must be transferred with the membership number. To Re-new the ticket, the member goes online to Burning Man website or other official ticket vendor and enter the membership number when making the purchase. One flat rate for everyone in General Admission. Assuming you will set aside a certain quantity of tickets for Artists, Performers, Volunteers etc, and also set aside a certain quantity for Students or Low-Income members as well. But, those tickets should also have a membership number assigned to them as well. So, whenever a ticket is no longer being used, it goes back into circulation so, newbie’s can get a ticket.
    I believe it should be similar to life and death. When veteran Burners quit their ticket goes to a Newbie.

    2. (alternate version of above suggestion)
    First sale of tickets go to veteran Theme Camps, veteran Artists, veteran Performers etc, whomever make up the well-established groups that bring major art, performances, entertainment and/or other interactive activities (up to 25,000). Then hold back 3,000 for Students and/or Low-Income individuals, 2,000 to sell to Volunteers of BMORG, DPW, or other key depts, then 20,000 to open general sale with membership or ticket number. Only selling one per individual. I’m sure you could adjust the quantity sold depending on your previous statistics. You may even need to consider slimming down on the theme camps permitted. Campers can decorate their area without being an official theme camp. I think people who set up a little camp may start contributing to a larger camp instead, and with more volunteers those camps could become more elaborate than before.
    This system would keep the foundation of your veteran burners locked into to create Burning Man as everyone expects it. At the same time limiting the number of virgins/newbies without eliminating them.
    I know it may seem selfish to say but, if BMORG can not expand the number of tickets then, the # of newbies will need to be lowered. But, I will repeat: It should be similar to life and death. When veteran Burners quit using their ticket then, it goes to a Newbie.

    3. Try just selling tickets online, generating only ONE number/ticket per email. Just like buying a plane ticket, one name per ticket, confirmation number is issued etc. The bearer of that email print-out has ticket scanned at the gate and then, a physical ticket is granted in exchange. The physical ticket is void immediately after entrance (during exchange or at a second gate).

    The reality is: If your selling tickets like your playing roulette, you don’t really care who gets them. But if you want Burning Man to continue be as it always was, to be the festival that attracted these huge numbers of people from all over the world then, you should start caring who get your tickets. Making sure that it is know that it is a privilege to have one.

    Unfortunately, I will not have the “privilege” of attending this year since I didn’t try to get a ticket via the lottery. I just hope you straighten it out for the next year so our chances are better. Otherwise, another festival might just pop up nearby.

    Just relax and the answer will come to you.

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  • 6friend says:

    OH and I second the idea to suck it up BM Org and just make sure that a huge chunk of those remaining tickets go to those that actually build the big projects, villages and such! The BM experience will not be the same without them. You owe it to the entire festival attendees to make sure those projects can happen!!!

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  • 2 weeks says:

    Can we have a 2 week event?

    Much easier on the gate if we get a whole week to arrive.

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  • Weedseed Willie says:

    I’ve only been to eight burns so I’m not a real oldie. On the other hand I’ve seen the burn change slowly into more and more of an RV park, where people don’t form communities but close doors.
    Burning Man too shall pass; and just maybe this is the last one. I’m seeing last year’s as my last one.
    With massive numbers of “virgins”, the tenuous control of a potentially volatile population could be exceeded. Historically I’ve observed the old burners as the prime mitigation of conflict … and how many Rangers DID NOT get tickets?
    Consider’ should this year’s burn be another great success; what will a ticket be worth next year … or the year after? I see myself as having been priced out of this market.
    I believe that IF I had been lucky (?) enough to “win” a ticket to this year’s burn, I would pass it on.
    I loved it; don’t want to see it turn old and ugly.
    the former Weedseed Willie

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  • Martin says:

    I bought 2 tickets. My friend bought 2 tickets. This was the reasoning:

    He and I were supposed to attend for the first time in 2011. Due to starting a business, I decided I couldn’t make it. His report back was that he thought it’d be a good idea to buy two tickets so he would have one to give a friend (or bring a girlfriend, specifically) since he regretted not doing that in 2011.

    Then the ticket lottery thing comes up. He’s already planning on buying two. I eventually decide to buy two, for mostly the same reason. I also figure that since this is a roll of the dice, maybe one of my friends won’t get a ticket.

    In the end, I got my tickets, he didn’t get his. I immediately told him that he is welcome to my spare. Ultimately: two friends who wanted tickets, got tickets, and got just as many as we needed. But combined, we ordered twice as many as we needed.

    I know I’m not upset at how this played out since I got my ticket. I don’t think he is since he got his ticket. There is no way burning man has a 3x increase in popularity in one year. I’ve been aware of burningman long enough to say that publicity may have increased this year, but not 3x. I never heard about the fantastic weather of 2011 until after I already purchased my ticket.

    So how do you move forward? Ideally, you would find out how many people actually need tickets that didn’t get one. And I don’t mean how many tickets didn’t get fulfilled, but literally send out an email to everyone who ordered tickets and simply ask “how many do you need? How many do you have in surplus?”

    I think if you make it clear that this is an attempt to get an idea of what the situation really is, and will not influence who ultimately gets tickets or not, then people will have less reason to lie and will hopefully give a reasonably accurate account of what the ticket situation actually is.

    I can only speak from my perspective, so all I can say:

    50% of the tickets between me and my friend got fulfilled
    we do not need any more tickets.

    Based on your numbers, you’re probably thinking that we still need two more, but we don’t. If that is the average case, then you may certainly find that your problem isn’t 80,000 people without tickets, but rather 40,000 people without tickets, and while that’s still much more than the remaining 10,000 tickets, it’s still much closer to that goal.

    To find out which direction to go, you first need to know where you are.

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  • Starfire777 says:

    There are other spaces.

    east, west simultaneous events perhaps 4 directional.

    or change the bureau of land management laws. We can do it We are many.

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  • Pardon Me, but... says:

    Stop being so god-damned cutesy in your “no time for issuing statements or putting a spin on anything” Fox News-like statement. Take noticeable action NOW! Idiots.

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  • Graham14 says:

    I would remind those that are worried about a large influx of newbies that you too were once a newbie. We all were. I guess I would now be considered a “veteran” BM attendee (this will be my 6th, and we did get tickets), and I am excited by the prospect of so much new blood out there. What’s been disheartening is how many of my fellow multi-year BM attendees feel like the festival will suffer for this. It will suffer only if those of us who do make it this year allow it to.

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  • Moon says:

    Assuming I go this would be my first BM. However, I am not a virgin Burner as I have been going to Regionals for 8 years. (mainly Transformus). I decided 2012 was the year for me to finally go to BM and (surprisingly), got a ticket. I registered with the attitude “If I get a ticket great, if not then it wasn’t meant to be”. So after reading this & some of the other stuff about the ticket debacle & the impact on BM I would be willing to “give up” my ticket if I could be assured it would go to a “key” person that didn’t get one. Don’t know how this would work but I would trust that the “powers that be” would know where the ticket was most needed. With love, Moon from SC

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  • 2 weeks says:

    You may not be able to “reverse” the lottery, but you can still require ID wtih the tickets.

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  • This video series pretty much sums up the whole issue we’re facing and WHY.

    If only people were educated and understood growth, we could do more to prepare ourselves for the future. Org should really take an interest in this as it’s the exact issue they are now forced to deal with in a classic and painful real-world example.

    The Most IMPORTANT Video You’ll Ever See (part 1 of 8)

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  • poolboy says:

    I didn’t get my art grant submitted in time because I was sure i wasn’t getting a ticket.. :( the fact that many of my friends and acquaintances in the burning flipside community didn’t get theirs only confirmed that for me.. I wanted to bring some art of my own for the first time after working on other fantastic projects out there.. oh well.. Sure do miss home..

    love you anyway..

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  • Chelsey says:

    Have faith and find peace burners. Burning man is a mindset, not JUST a one time event. Thanks to JRC and the BMOrg for this beautiful and humble letter. I am brought to tears. The universe brought each of us to burning man at one time or another and it will continue to impact lives in that way. This is too much negative energy and not enough support. Have faith and find peace for it is what has always sustained the BM culture. And remember, if you don’t join in the official celebration this year, you can always create your own at home with fellow burners and new burners to be.

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  • Nathan Grey says:

    thank you for your apology it is accepted i just wish it would have come earlier. do not distribute the remaining tickets to those who (in some way shape or form you deem as imperative to the burn) this can absolutely not be done in a fair way. people will be left out, and there is no rationalization you can give for doing so. take the remaining tickets and give them out on a fcfs basis. with a limit of two per person instead of the previously stated 6. next year put names on tickets and make them non-transferable. i do not care how much this would cost. you don’t have to check all of them at gate just do random checks as this would be fine. this will solve any scalping problems and if demand is so high that it isn’t scalpers that are the problem this will make people decide if they want to go or not earlier. gifting tickets is now something that we must part with except for gifting to an unknowable database. this is the only reasonable thing to do. the borg can eat the cost of this as it is the only way to move forward without even more problems. thanks again for the apology and i hope things get better. trust in the dust- Dirty Nate!!!!!

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  • Astro says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. This really clears the air. Good luck with the whole process. I love the community and Burning Man and know all your hard work will keep Burning Man intact. Adversity will only strengthen us.

    Love & Dust

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  • Jessica says:

    1. Why haven’t we heard anything from Larry Harvey? He really needs to step up to the mic at this point.
    2. You spoke alot of newbies…what leads to believe it is them who got the rest of the tickets, the remaining 70-80%?
    3. With so many fragmented theme camps, and if indeed the newbies do have most of the awarded tickets, then who will “throw” Burning Man for them? Most newbies don’t walk in with a big project or camp.
    4. I have to laugh (cry actually) when I hear that in spite of the fact that a large portion of the volunteers who have invested their blood sweat and tears making it what it is may not get tics because then who will do that work?? Do you have enough gift tickets available to cover those who create the infrastructure? And would they even want to be there without to build a city for the frat boys?
    5. I’m sorry, I know you are doing your best, but how could you not see this coming???? This is what hurts the most. We are a community, not an “us” and “them”, and when members of YOUR community gave you warnings you ignored them!! why? You would have seen it coming if you were listening!!!
    MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU during this challenging time, and may the magic of the playa grace you!!! Remember that playa magic works off playa too! :)

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  • Kira says:

    Thank you so much for writing this from the Purple Palace crew. It is a great relief to have you write so honestly. We have kept mostly quiet, trying to have faith in a solution. But since you asked, I wanted to mention that being one of the largest and most participatory mutant vehicles on the playa, only about 5% of our invaluable crew got tickets. Training a new crew to board and alight hundreds of passengers a night would be a sure challenge. We are still hoping for our crew to get tickets. Much gratitude to your team for so diligently seeking a solution.

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  • Rabbit says:

    Only 6 of 35+ members of Camp Romulox were awarded tickets, as with everyone else, we are all kind of in freak out mode. But Staying positive and hoping it all works out. Will be Romulox’s 5th year on the playa, 6 for many of us. What worries us the most (as you address in this blog) is the fact that many of our most beloved theme camps and art cars will not show and burning man just wont be…burning man. Good Luck, we really hope this gets figured out and everyone to whom this event is as important to as it is to us gets to have another week of wonder and bewilderment.

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  • Ragfish says:

    Thank you so much for issuing this update. :)

    For me, this fiasco has been the catalyst to REALLY get involved. My first burn was focused on Self Reliance and immersion into the experience, my second was built upon bringing friends and family so that they could witness this mind-blowing event. Now that I’m “old enough” I feel like I can contribute with some leverage and what a great time to do it.

    See you on the playa, off the playa, and in my dreams.

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  • mo says:

    thank you for the open and honest communication. it makes the recent detachment by the org seem less an attitude of “it’s done and we don’t need to explain ourselves” than a scrambling “oh shit… we’re not sure what to say yet.” i can accept the latter response much more kindly.

    i am one of the main organizers of an esplanade camp and i don’t think my crew lucked into anywhere near the 25% rate cited, but perhaps it’s time for another group to step into our role anyway. obviously it’s important to keep things fresh.

    as someone who has been attending since 2000, i’m probably on the more curmudgeonly side when it comes to talk of raising the population cap. the idea of negotiating, say, 70k next year makes me cringe. i think our culture and principles scale best when growth is managed more incrementally. newcomers are absolutely key, and i’ve had the distinct pleasure of recruiting many a kickass virgin, but maybe it’s time to let go of (or at least redefine) the “radically inclusive” myth. it’s already been roundly debunked by the fact that thousands of us who want tickets don’t have them.

    i would like to see people rewarded for 1) committing early, and 2) dedicating their time to a volunteer/community effort of some sort. it doesn’t matter if you’re a newbie or a veteran, strapped for cash or rolling in it, etc. – plan ahead and get involved. those chief prerequisites would help expand the circle in a way that includes anyone who is truly engaged in our collective experience… which ultimately is still pretty damn radical.

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  • Artemis says:

    Thank you very much for this detailed explanation of the past, present, and proposed future. I’ve gone through a lot of emotions since not getting my ticket, and I’ve been craving more information. It’s clear to me that Burning Man will not endure without continued investment in the culture of volunteerism, and it’s also clear that demand for tickets will always outstrip supply. I don’t know much about scalping and ticket sales and all the rest, but for what it’s worth, after a lot of reading and pondering since this whole thing went down, I came up with the following system:

    1. Each person who shows up for 2 or more 6-hour volunteer shifts is automatically eligible to buy a ticket the following year. You’re already tracking volunteers, so there shouldn’t be much extra infrastructure required to implement this. This approach ensures a large supply of volunteers and provides a guaranteed way to get a ticket. Working in a theme camp should count, so registered theme camps would have to work with BMORG to track their own volunteers.

    2. Charge one price for all tickets. As in previous years, if you work enough volunteer shifts, you get a free ticket the following year. This solves the problem for those who can’t afford the ticket price, so you can do away with price tiers.

    3. Each person eligible for a guaranteed volunteer ticket must pay for it by the end of January or it goes into the pool of tickets for the general sale. It’s up to each person to plan ahead and either volunteer enough hours to get a free ticket or save up money to pay for that ticket by the end of January.

    4. Start preregistration (name, credit card, etc.) in January for the general sale at the beginning of February. On the appointed day, you log into a queued system at 10 AM as in previous years. But to make this work, you have to use a service capable of handling large-quantity ticket sales. Don’t reinvent the wheel; use the same service used by other large festivals, one with a proven track record of having enough servers to handle the load. Again, if someone is worried they won’t be able to wait in line for the general sale, they can volunteer to earn a guaranteed ticket. But wait, you say, isn’t this a chicken and egg problem? How can I volunteer at Burning Man if I didn’t get a ticket? You don’t need a ticket to help set up BRC and you don’t need a ticket to clean up the playa after the burn. Volunteer for a weekend in the summer or in September and earn your option to buy a guaranteed ticket for the following year.

    5. Maximum of two tickets per person in the general sale, with pictures on the tickets. Not names. Pictures. That way children don’t have to have IDs to get in, you can preserve anonymity for those who don’t want their name on the ticket, and it doesn’t take as long at the gate as it would to check names. You submit your picture when you claim your volunteer ticket or when you register for the general sale. Like passport photos, the picture must meet minimum standards to prevent scalpers from putting in a bunch of fuzzy pictures that anyone could pass with.

    6. If you want to sell a ticket, you must do so through STEP, it’s sold at face value (minus a service charge), and you cannot designate who you’re selling it to (that prevents a scalper from charging you $500 offline to designate you as the recipient). This also prevents hoarding during the general sale (e.g., having your mom and aunt register with pictures of you), because you’re going to lose money on the transaction whenever you sell a ticket. It will also prevent people from showing up to BRC without tickets.

    7. Issue physical tickets a month before the event. Once a physical ticket has been issued, there’s no reselling it. Your only option at that point is to find someone who looks like you who wants it. Seriously. This is where miracles and gifting come in…the miracle of finding someone who looks like you who needs a ticket.

    The bottom line is that there’s no way to make this 100% “fair.” Many people every year will be turned away, people will still find a way to game the system, lines will be long for exodus. But hopefully these steps will ensure that the bulk of the community is participating, will help thwart the scalpers and hoarders, and will provide options for people who wouldn’t otherwise have the means to get there. And for those who don’t get a ticket, there are regional burns and Fourth of Juplaya to explore.

    Good luck to everyone in the org who is trying to figure this out. May creative solutions and wise council flow in with the same energy as the post-lottery outcry.

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  • Glen says:

    I wanted yo ho yo my first one this year…. Wanted to. Instead watched he death of something great.

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  • Stinger says:

    I remember when Comic-Con first sold out. They now have a pretty good system where one person can buy 2 tickets: one with the buyers name on it and the other that either has the other person’s name on it or it says “Guest”. Only the person who registered the tickets can pick them up. They also sell tickets a year in advance. While that may seem cruel to the spur-of-the-moment types, in the case of BRC knowing a year in advance of how many people you will have could help you determine how/if you do your art project/theme camp with enough advance warning.

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  • Eric says:

    Here is an idea for some future year: find another BLM playa for the event. I’m not talking about moving the event, but having it run concurrently in two locations. I’m not talking about regional burns either. Two official dry lake bed burns with the same theme, Man pavilion, etc. Yes, they would be different, but what two people experience the burn the same anyway? Yes, there would be art and camps that don’t exist at both burns, but who sees all the art or all the camps anyway, especially as the event grows? Everyone will talk about how burn ‘A’ had this while burn ‘B’ had that, but nobody will be able to say one was better than the other. Everyone is burning together, even if separated by hundreds of miles. You aren’t doubling traffic on a given road. As more people are drawn into the event you have more people to volunteer in supporting two infrastructures. Some labor, such as contracting with the BLM, porta-potty vendors, etc. can be done once to cover both sites. When these sites are overwhelmed, create site ‘C’. Some camps or art may even chose to duplicate at both events. All the planning and paperwork has been done. The plans can then be shared with the sister camp or installation at the other site. I’m sure that many would be more than happy to be the first ones to move to the second site.

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  • Joseph Ruff says:

    Good luck, all. I seriously wish you the best. I’m a 10 time burner and I’m glad I’m not going this year. Burning man is over.

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  • Jared Paul says:

    Just to be clear, the apology is for being so awesome that more people want to participate than there is physically room for?

    Dude. No apology needed. I Burned at BRC 6 times… 2001-2007, and as much as I would LOVE to return I understand that Burning is not confined to a week in Black Rock City. I Burned 2008-2011… just not at BRC.

    Burning is so much more than BRC! Burning happens anywhere, anytime one wants it to happen. I’m Burning right now.

    If someone is so distraught and incapable of finding a way to Burn wherever and whenever he or she happens to be… then they missed the whole point. Trust me, I GET IT… BRC effing rules. Know what else rules? Trying to live by the 10 Principles of Burning Man every single day.

    Cheers and congrats to those who helped build something so wonderful that so many people around the world want to be a part of it.

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  • D says:

    To Martin…..
    You did nothing wrong…you were allowed to request 2 tickets..you had the intention of buy or requesting your 2….but what you didn’t do is…you requested 2, your mother requested 2(with no intention of going), your father requested 2(again not a burner no intention of going), your sister requested 2, your brother 2, your brothers wife 2, her parents 2,..and so on and so on and so on….you intended on going and taking someone, your friend intended on going and taking some one….you got your tickets, you played by the rules of the lottery…….but for all those that did the above scenario and every single one of them got tickets that is a total of over a dozen tickets taken out of the hands of the community…..that they will maybe put into step, or resell to others. But it is the fact that there are now 6 people that could have gotten there 2 and did not. Now multiply that figure by thousands of burners that over purchased to be safe, they are the ones that created this mess not BMORG…they are the ones taking the blame, and left cleaning up the mess….

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  • Drae says:

    Thank you Andie Grace for this graceful apology and explanation.

    How to navigate next year’s storm…..

    ID’s and non-transferable-except-thru-STEP tix, smack of bureaucracy–aka the anti-burn. (Ya’ll do a remarkable job of keeping the necessary bureaucracy of the Borg reasonable and reasonably hidden, BTW. )

    And forced volunteering? Registration and paperwork to prove you are an old timer? Shudder. Gezus, that’s a long, slow, one-way ticket to killing off the spirit of the event if I’ve ever heard of one. Divide and conquer. Categorize and authenticate the creatives. Shudder.

    So how to ensure an appropriate mix of old timers and noobs? Encourage participation without dictating it? Honor the old farts, like me, without making us register for the privilege?

    Hell if I know. Ya’ll are in a tight spot. Congrats on the success that got you here. I have a few ideas that might help, but don’t pretend I have a solution.

    Has anyone considered making a certain percentage of tix available only to attendees of the regionals? This would encourage regional participation and fit with the idea of making it a journey to get there.

    Perhaps another lottery too. Only registration for this one only available at Center Camp. Or amongst registered camps and cars.

    If ya’ll come up with a series of ticket lotteries and releases, perhaps that will ease the fever. People won’t panic if there are multiple ways to get a ticket, as long as those multiple ways happen early enough in the year to plan.

    But for the love of all that’s dusty, don’t institute some hare-brained scheme requiring proof of participation. Cuz, if I had to prove I was an old timer, and participated every year, I couldn’t do it very well.

    How can I prove I baked hot chocolate chip cookies for everyone in ’08? How could you know I flew to Reno in ’07 the day after my mother died because I had to get to the Temple to grieve? How can I prove I’ve made and worn costumes, provided shade, spun fire, educated noobs and painted more breasts than I can count?

    How can I prove I love the burn with all my heart? I can’t. And that’s why registration of old timers sucks. I’m not a joiner, but I am a giver. And except for the memories I made with my friends and family, and the weekly gatherings I promote here in Tucson, the only “official” proof I have that I participate is in the ’06 people gallery. Me and Jesus, after he offered me tea.

    My god, I can’t imagine life without the burn every year. Please keep talking to the community. Don’t try to solve this on your own. Offer solutions and listen to the feedback you get. And hang in there. We do love ya’ll for what you do. Very much.

    All my best,


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  • Kristine says:

    Burning man is dead. Long live Burning Man.

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  • Badawg Scott says:

    My first burn was 2006, My last burn was 2011. I had a break in there due to the loss of my mother. her ashes were in the temple fire in 2011. The Burn is a part of me and my family now.

    Our camp, Pink Heart, is also in the “under 25%” group and that is truly a shame. I do hope those last 10,000 tickets are used to make sure the core participants are brought in, even if it does not include my honey, my son, and myself. Otherwise, this beautiful explosion may become an implosion that will take years for recovery…

    Maybe it is time for BMORG start seed funding for a much bigger series of regional events around the country and world?

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  • Buena Chica says:

    I will be there ready to welcome ALL NEWBIES and absolutely grateful for all the old timers…. giving more HUGS and integrating what I learnt and experience in the last two years of my Burning experience!!! I only encourage EVERYONE to read, read, read through all the Burning Man web to see the different ways we can all contribute…. it is an evolution indeed and very DIY….. so let’s all step up and set this party up!!!

    I still need 4 tickets that I am planning to gift….. and the scarcity has made this four individuals want to come much the more!!! I will be making them work when we all get there!!! And they will love it!!

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  • That's What She says:

    Anyone want to gift me a ticket? I’ll bring my big geo dome! ;-)

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  • Judy Strauss (gong diva) says:

    Before distributing the last 10,000 tickets, do a survey of ALL theme camps and artists from last year and see how many tickets each group needs to operate their activities. Maybe ask at two levels – minimum needed, desired amount.
    Then, assuming it will be over 10k needed, allocate some tickets to all but perhaps give more to those with a longer history as a theme camp.

    I appreciate finally hearing such a heartfelt apology and the explanation makes sense, but helping the theme camp veterans and artists will assure there is an event worth attending.

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  • Benny says:

    Face it folks. Burning Man as you knew it is over.
    Just as Burning Man as I knew it was over in the late 90’s when RVs poured in, personal campfires were outlawed and giant rave camps throbbed right next door all night long. Art and artists suffered and a great many of us never returned. Others of us kept going year after year, having fun but still missing the magical past when more people were involved in making art than taking drugs and dancing. Things change. And the “best thing ever” changes too into something you hardly recognize. I’m sure most of you who consider yourselves to be the heart and soul of the event weren’t there in ’96 or ’97 when “theme camps” were few and far between and a DJ was just the guy who put on a tape while we all did something more important. The people we then considered to be the heart and blood of BM stopped going and started doing other things, yet the event continued and became very important to other people.
    New people. New ways. The Burning Man you knew is dead. Now it’s something new. Enjoy it or do something else.
    The way we did.

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  • Geeber says:

    There is (understandably) a lot of focus on how to distribute the available tickets. However given the reality that more people want to go than there is space for, an equally or perhaps even more important question is: What will those who ultimately DON’T get tickets do instead?

    Organizing the community around alternative events for the ticket-less would, I believe, go a long way towards both (a) removing the sting for those affected, and (b) redirecting energy from whining to a more productive outcome.

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  • Fuzzy Fuzzy says:

    Thank you.

    Next set of ticket sell, should all or at least 50% go to all Art Project, and Theme Camps, and Volunteers, without them it will not be burning man.

    i still say print name on the ticket, and check ID, that will stop scalping.

    I am sure burners will understand your intentions.

    I also take this as a good thing, new people who want to explore the magic, but as a newbie myself in 2011, I was so passionate to volunteer, and tried after the event to find more burner friends and be more involved in the community. I feel like there is a certain Clique to all groups, theme camps.
    so as an organization encourage them to openly accept newbies before the event. Encourage them to start to accept newbies as volunteers, they will need them any ways. Some newbies may even have an extra ticket for their Core members.

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  • Mike Prachar says:

    I’m hoping this doesnt get lost between the rant’s and the “fuck you’s”

    I don’t know how to salvage this year, per se. DO the best you can with STEP and the remaining 9,998 tickets (I need those other two:) )

    For NEXT year, I think you should preserve a ratio of vets and newbies. You would probably have to go to the data collected form online sales and organized directly through BM to figure out whom these people are. It’s not perfect, but you’ll need to start somewhere.

    Work with the large camps and projects; I am fairly certain you would find that many of them would be willing to take a year off in order to ensure that they can ALL go on the years when they are going. I DO think that us veterens should get SOME priority when trying to come home. I, for one, would also be willing to adhere to some policy regarding skipping one out of five years, or something like that.

    As far as gifted tickets, maybe camps and vets will be allowed to buy some “extra” on certain years? Who knows – that seems like the LEAST of the issues…

    Good Luck! (for all of us…)

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  • Jeff says:

    How can I help? As one of the lucky first timers who got a ticket, I would like to help fix the problem that I helped create. I’m a project manager in the Bay Area, but will help in any way I can. Just let me know where you need volunteers and I will be there.

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  • trish says:

    thank you for your note; it was really well written.
    i appreciate the time, planning and herculean effort that is going into the event planning and also, the communications clean-up and changes that are required after the lottery fiasco…I know you’re only doing what is right and what you can at this time. From an implementation perspective, I know that it is sometimes to difficult and challenging to think through all of the scenarios before launching a product; i also realize that you had nothing but good intentions…and wanted nothing but a better system of fairness and equality. For these things – I am thankful.
    The communications and transparency at this time with your process and resolution are good and much needed at this time. Please continue to send notes to keep us in the loop on your progress and efforts.

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  • Julie says:

    Thank you for some answers, I feel better but am not holding out strong hope to make it and have been making alternate plans with my boyfriend ( a six year burner) already. Not because of newcomers, last year was my first year, but because I am well aware of the ticket shortage and know we will not all make it out there this year. I also know that grandfather camps such as Northwest mist are a very important piece of the community and need/should be out there. And fiver….that wouldn’t be fair would it, since many veteran burners did not receive tickets this year…. way to look out for yourself, it is about the whole community, not just individuals. I have hopes that I will once again experience the magic and beauty of burning man, even if that won’t be this year. I have not completely given up hope that we will make it this year. There is just fear among the community that without the main art projects and theme camps out there, it is a big floating question mark.

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  • Pat says:

    At the risk of being stoned to death at the feet of the man…I am missing the problem. Our “crew” needed 4 tickets and that is exactly what we got…no more…no less. If indeed the demand is so great why didn’t Staff see that coming? They should have had a clue based on previous years demands. Again if indeed the demand is so great now Burning Man will be forever changing every year…I for one think the system was a fair as can be…it did not take into account who you were…how many years you have been there…nothing…how can that not be fair…IMHO

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  • Twilight Fire says:

    Thank you Andie for persevering and letting this heartfelt post see the light of day. It truly is what was needed.

    Thank you also for Honoring Labor. So much of our hearts and souls and pocketbooks have gone into all the volunteering, performance, and innovation that has made the event what it is–art, theme camps, mutant vehicles, and the corps of volunteers both visible and otherwise who serve throughout the year and before, during, and after the event.

    While we all can’t make it out there this year, we implore those who can to inspire countless new participants to embrace, contribute, and create.

    Much hard and difficult work remains, but you’ve got a great and talented community from which to draw–and you have much more support than existed before this post.

    Again, thank you.

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  • Scott L says:

    I’m one of the those newbies, my friends have been trying to get me to go for years. I said yes, but didn’t win. Regardless of the outcome, I am truly impressed with the heartfelt response to a sad situation for this pretty amazing group of humans. Your genuine and erstwhile effort to do right by your people will get you through, you’ll have an amazing event and you’ll do it again… just a little differently next time. ; )

    Be well and take care.

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  • Captain Ping says:

    Bravo for standing up and feeling the community’s pain! I guess it doesn’t make perfect logical sense, but knowing that the org is sorry and concerned helps a lot.

    I quibble with only three things:

    1) If 3x as many tickets were wanted than available. That means, assuming there are no scalpers, that our population increased by 200%. This figure is hard to believe and is contradicted by the factoid that 40% of the applications said that the applicant was a first-timer. This would indicate an increase of 67% at most.

    2) To support the claim that not many tickets are in the hands of scalpers, Andie says that there are only a couple of hundred ticket listings. Maybe that’s because no scalper has tickets in hand yet! What’s the hurry for them?

    3) Why is the solution that everyone is screaming for: Making non-transferrable all the tickets THIS YEAR, not discussed? Yes, it will cost money. Yes, it will cause an even longer backup at the gate. I think what the community is saying is, “we don’t care! we’d rather pay more and wait a bit longer at the gate than not have Burning Man as we know it at all!” Andie says the org is doing everything it can to “starve out” the scalpers. Make the tickets non-transferrable and them scalpers will be returning their tickets like you wouldn’t believe!

    Yes, bravo for facing this honestly and candidly. I dearly hope for some brave action soon as well! :-)

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  • Found this web site with a simple graphic.


    Keeping it simple with an info graphic…

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  • Madrone says:

    I’m really curious to see how this pans out. Thank you for your honesty and transparency regarding the problem.

    This will be my 8th burn, and I have participated in the burning man community in a variety of ways over the years. For the last 6 burns, I have been part of a small-medium theme camp called Home Free Dome, where we have hosted dozens of workshops over the years ranging from permaculture to queer warriers discussions, to finding your life purpose to lucid dreaming kung fu.

    My concern with this chain of events is the idea of “those who have and will make the event what it has been.” Who exactly are we talking about? The people who are part of gigantic theme camps with large sound systems? Thunderdome? Opulent Temple? How do we determine which theme camps that don’t have enough tickets deserve to get them? What really constitutes “civic responsibility and communal effort?” Does my small theme camp count as communal effort even if 60 people show up to our workshops instead of 6000 showing up to a dance party?

    I’m just hearing the possibility of a hierarchy emerging and want to wave a red flag at it.

    Good luck, and again I really appreciate that burning man does seem to be listening. And reading this blog was very helpful in understanding what’s going on. Thank you.

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  • Mike says:

    I’ll add to it: NAMES ON THE TICKETS.

    No, it’s not a bureaucratic mess. Each ticket has a name and a 2D barcode (for validation). If I want to sell my ticket to someone, I do so through STEP by designating them by name and E-mail. It can all be completely automated. Surely there are enough people around the SF Bay Area with the programming skills…

    On arrival at gate, we show ID (sorry, but after the 2011 alcohol ID debacle, the “I shouldn’t have to show ID” ship has sailed) and the gate person scans the bar code with a custom-built smartphone ap. Surely, there are enough people around the SF Bay Area with the programming skills…

    Would it 100% stop scalping? No. I could offer to sell you my ticket on E-bay for $1000 PLUS the actual cost of the ticket at STEP, I suppose. But it WILL stop hoarding.

    One last thing: our camp bought a container last year. If we are not able to attend due to the ticket issue, then BM should pick up the tab for storage this year. That’s only fair. We made a commitment when we bought that container; if BM won’t let us keep that commitment, then they should pay the cost.

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  • Stiles says:

    Our camp (Camp New Jersey, on the 4:30 plaza and our 8th straight burn or so) has ~30 people in it on any given year. Of those 30 people, four have tickets. None of the 4 people with the heavy trucks and trailers that brings the camp structures in have a ticket, including me. We handle the logistics and build too, and nobody else in my camp can drive our 47′ 18,000 lb trucks. We carpool an additional 8 people to and from the burn who don’t own cars. I am a master mechanic and my gift is fixing broken art cars all week, and helping burners who have locked their keys in their cars or gotten dead batteries on the playa.

    Without us, our camp simply won’t happen. Please help us and all the other long time burners who are instrumental in bringing out the infrastructure, art and mutant vehicles that help make Burning Man what it is every year.

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  • Scott L says:

    Oh yeah, we sleazy marketing types have been doing variable data printing for years. Email me if you need a good printer for this to get people’s names on their tickets in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

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  • AmyD says:

    Holy crap. As if I didn’t respect the Foundation enough already, I have to say I’m profoundly impressed at the accountability and communication here. Now let’s roll our sleeves up and just get to work on ….. radical reinvention.

    Can we just ease into that without all the scratching and clawing? Easy for me to say. I was lucky enough to get a ticket. But I wonder if it just might mobilize those who DID get tickets in a way we’ve never seen before. Like participation on a level only ancient civilizations and perhaps the Amish have known.

    I’m NOT in support of increasing ticket prices. I AM in support of implementing some new participation requirements, which I realize sounds so painfully contrived, but could work with this bunch. Well, except for the anarchists xoxoxo

    Still thinking it all through. Breathe everyone. Breathe.

    I feel transformation in the air. No matter who’s there.

    always <3

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  • Ted says:

    Ya know what pisses me off?!
    All those damn Haitians, Japanese, Iraqis, Afghanis, slumdwellers, imprisoned, homeless, ill and all the other people who have suffered some recent times from natural disaster, war, poverty or injustice!! They think they have it tough!?

    Do they know that I haven’t been to Burning Man since 2006, and I didn’t get a ticket yet?! And I’ve only been 4 times!!!

    A-a-a-and what if I DO end up miraculously finding a ticket? If not enough of the usual instrumental people involved in BM’s construction and attractions don’t show up – BM might be relegated to some lesser infrastructure and spectacle akin to BM 1999 or 2003 – what with all the scab artists and builders and organizers due to this damn notion of radical inclusion.

    How can I trust that BM’ll be worth it?! Am I to really believe that a bunch of people who are NOT the seasoned vets can put on a party that live up to my high standards?

    And if a large majority of my friends, campmates or usual co-cohorters don’t get tickets – what am I supposed to do?!?! Meet and interact with new people?! Make new friends?! Everybody knows BM is all about going somewhere to hang out with people you already know!

    I could see there being negative practical implications galore from lack of usual quantity of experienced participants/organizers. What if the daily supply of ice out there is not enough for me to make THREE ice chests of jungle juice per day, but only TWO?! What if it takes me 2.5 hours to get in and out the gate, instead of 2 hours?! What if there is only 72% as much serenity and awe on Sunday after the burn?!

    SHAME on you BMORG for trying something different in the name of radical inclusion and equal chance for all to get a ticket. I HAVE a FAST internet connection and flexibility to be in front of the online line in past years for BM tix FOR A REASON – NOT to be shunned by a bunch of good-will efforts this year!

    SO, to all of my fellow Burners who have been yelling, screaming, whining and crying about how disastrous this is to your life for the last week or two – I’m right there with you! We ARE the 99% of the 0.00001% of the world who has the luxury to go to such a beautiful spectacle and divine experience that is BM – and someone better damn well start treating us like it!

    And I’ll be DAMNED if I don’t speak up next time I hear crocodile tears for or from some tsunami victim or someone with a little radioactive spill on them or something like that! I’ll simply open my hand and present to them either the lack of BM2012 moop/schwag/gift because I didn’t get to go – or probably a shittier than usual one because I DID go!

    I’m ready to get on Fonzie’s motorcycle at this point :-(

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  • Monster says:

    I am glad BMORG shared this with us. Everyone does want to help the situation, if given the opportunity. And It’s now that we as a community put our minds together and solve this. I know we will.
    I personally think the last 10,000 tickets should not be sold and should be first offered to theme camps and artists.
    And some kind of grandfathering system could solve this issue in the future. Like starting this year, if you go to the playa, you get 1 pt, and every year you go after you get another point. These points increase your chances of getting a ticket, but not guarantee. We would have to find a way for the older tickets, I know I don’t have any of the older tickets saved, but I think a way for other people to vouch for your presence in a specific year if they themselves have proof for that year. There are ways to circumvent this, but we could think of ways to reduce that.

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  • Crash says:

    Dearest Borg, great article, you sound fantastic, have you lost weight? I totally agree with everything you say! Is that a new hair cut? Because it looks wonderful on you. Just wanted to suck your ass like the rest of these people. I plan on being on 8:15 and D and need just one ticket for myself and the fire art project I have already spent hundreds of dollars and countless hours on, if you would be so kind. For now I plan on visiting a local frat to see where the best place to buy one of the thousands of tickets you handed over to scalpers… Oops I mean, I’m sure the POST system will work great. Anyways, send all my love to Larry.


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  • Gonzo says:

    First of all thank you for the two tickets that I was able to puchase.

    I have been going for some time now. My kids have heard my stories about B.R.C. And this was the year that I told them that they can come. They are 16 & 18 years old.
    Now that I have their tickets…. I hope I can get one more for me !
    I’m the driver… I guess I can drive them up and they can drive in and I stay in Reno for the week…. or just sell my tickts.

    I have already spent $ 1,200. on Camp G.O.R.O. stuff ( Gonzo’s Outback Resurrection Oasis)

    Please! I need one more ticket so we can experiance the whole week as a family.

    Hope to see ya’ll up there, Gonzo

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  • Kaelin says:

    I’m concerned about radical inclusion trumping common sense. Burning Man is what it is because of the theme camps, the art teams, the tribes & groups of crazy hearted people who go and give and create the structure that is there to be enjoyed by everyone else, an in many cases, keeps people safe in a harsh environment.

    I would also like to say that I, and a few of my fellow theme camp members registered for and got tickets in the pre-sale lottery. Not because we’re “hoity-toity” or thought it was “VIP” or “exclusive”, but because we wanted to leave the less expensive tickets for others. I paid top dollar for my ticket last year, not because I had to, but because I could. I thought that was one of the points… To be honest and not take a lower priced ticket someone else might need…

    And these friends and myself work 4-6 hours within our camp everyday to give back to each other and as our gift to the Burner community at large.

    We are all heartbroken over how few of our fellow camp members have tickets. And don’t know what’s going to happen.

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  • Nicki Sparxx says:

    Thank you for the info. As an organizer of a theme camp, I am worried about the feedback process and how decisions will be made with the remaining tickets. Our camp is pretty young (we’ve only been registered for the last three burns) and we’re relatively small (~30). However, we have worked so hard to give back to the community, to put on events, and to build an amazing neighborhood with close relationships and collaborations with our neighbors. I hope that as the review moves forward and events unfold, that small, relatively new camps won’t be left behind. So far, we’re 10 for 30, but I think some of our neighbors are worse off.

    Hopefully we’ll be back at the burn, and sending some sparkle and sass your way.
    Camp Dark Sparkle

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  • PapaSmurf says:

    Thank you for that explanation. I’m a ten year burner without a golden ticket. I remain hopeful, but planning is difficult. This would be year seven of our registered theme camp. Only 15% of our camp has been awarded tickets. We have 2 mutant vehicle projects that are “on hold” and may be scrapped. I have heard many people from different camps ready to give up. As time passes, more art projects are at risk. I encourage everyone to hang in there and continue to plan for another amazing burn. I think we should return to the old system of buying tickets. I was always logged on at the time ticket sales started. Sure, it may take half the day to buy a ticket, but it was worth it. I would stay on line for days in order to secure a ticket. Friends and family of a burner trying to increase chances of a ticket or scalpers wouldn’t put forth that effort to secure one or two tickets if they had to deal with a long wait time on the day of ticket sales. The lottery system created a quick and easy system for people to register for multiple sets of tickets with multiple credit cards. Hopefully, some of those tickets will find their way back to us. Thank you for the time and effort you all have given to solve this problem. Let’s keep the love strong and help each other realize our playa dreams.

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  • Marissa L says:

    Watching this whole process of a lottery system from the sidelines this year has worried me. The first time I attended Burning Man on a scholarship ticket was 2009, it was a celebration of graduating high school and a profoundly life changing experience. Now I’m a junior in college as an art practices major and looking to attend again to celebrate graduating college. This means sitting out again until next year, but one thing that is apparent is how heart breaking it would be not to get a ticket after feeling homesick for Burning Man all these years. Considering how many other people have pinned their hopes and dreams on returning, I feel their pain.
    Please do away with the lottery system. Make tickets available in different tiers, then sell each tier on different dates in a queue. Sure, not everyone will get a ticket, but a first come first serve basis at least offers more certainty than a lottery.
    Looking forward to the next burn.

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  • Desert Wind says:

    Burning Man is about wiping the slate clean.

    It has now done that on a macro level. I suspect this is all playing perfectly as part of the overminds plan for perputual renewal on all levels. In with the new.

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  • Kwxilvr says:

    Thanks very much for the belated, but honest response. However, in my little “camplette” of 6 people (part of a larger camp), only 2 got tickets. I don’t believe that our chances of securing 4 more tix is worth the trouble, even if it’s possible. For the next 10,000 tix that will be available in a few weeks you should assume a at least 30,000 seekers. And very many of those are well-deserving Burners who are integral to large theme camps, vehicles, and projects. Although my own group cannot be considered spectators in any way, we are not producing monumental art. I guess we’re humble ‘basic burners’! And we now all know that those larger projects are already “under ticketed” by around 70%. That’s just too much potential pressure for those last 10,000 tix and for the silly STEP program to absorb.

    I just don’t want to go through more ticket anguish. If our little group managed to get two more tix, then we’d still have to spend time and energy trying to fish out the last two tix over the next few months. That is not only impractical, but unreasonable. Impractical because of the extensive coordination the campers will need to continue to exert on ticket finding, when they should instead be preparing. Unreasonable because of the lurking knowledge that the effort to find the last remaining tix may not be successful: and those without tix will suffer, and even those with tix will not feel good about their “good luck.”

    Oh, what a mighty white out this is! But this perfect dust storm came not from the desert, but from the hubris and naivete of BMORG. So, thanks for the sincere apology and thanks for the belated awareness. I guess better late than never. I, for one believe you, and I even forgive you. But I do so knowing that this storm is just too much to weather for 2012. So I’m out this year. And I’m pretty sure my little camplette is toast. I was angry. I felt betrayed and disrespected. Now I’m just grieving and sad. Go on without me. Go on without us. Perhaps another year. Or not.

    Perhaps we will all need some new principles: Radical Forgiveness and Radical Acceptance. If Burning Man has taught me anything it’s that the transitory nature of “now” is more beautiful precisely because it is so ephemeral. So please try to fix the issues for 2013, and if the Man is willing, then perhaps we can try again.

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  • deer grass says:

    The kissing booth made out of a few wooden planks and hand-painted signs reading “French kisses,” with three real French men who were overwhelmed with excitement to give Americans a real “French kiss.”

    The “Strawberry Shortcake”-dressed woman who handed out chilled strawberry shortcakes on a silver platter in the heat of a 105 degree day. It’s my favorite dessert in the world, takes me back to childhood, and that moment made me happier than anything else that entire day on the playa.

    The Brazilian boy, Jao, who I fell in love with for 1 hour over deep playa conversation, both of our faces hidden behind masks and scarves, then never saw again.

    The Madonna mix tape party, which was literally just a mix tape (no stage, no djs, no lights, no art) when maybe hundreds of burners crammed into a 20-foot radius, screaming and dancing like their lives were depending on it (if we took a holiday, took a day to celebrate, just one day out of life …).

    The complete stranger who gave me a rose on my first day of my first burn ever, who awarded me the flower for having spoken the first compliment of the day (a flower I still have to this day).

    The woman who walked around on the last day of the burn, handing out overripe, juicy watermelon slices to everyone along the playa, just when we were all dried out, burned out, hungry, tired, and craving just that.

    The man, Tree, who I had seen for years at previous festivals around the country, yet had never actually met—and I finally was introduced to him at the Burn, only to realize that he was a part of my larger Burner community, and now we are part of the same camp.

    The caravan of British girls (first-timers) who camped next to ours, who brought costumer, jewelry, makeup, and unbridled giddy enthusiasm, who brought a slew of Mason jars with home-infused spirits and drinks they shared with us, who brought a gold-shimmered turban that became one of my key costume pieces, and one of the girls may have been a long-lost Polish relative of mine.

    These people, and countless others, weren’t necessarily part of a big camp, a huge theme, art installation, or massive crew. They weren’t necessarily long-time burners, and they probably remain faceless to the rest of the greater burner community. But they, among countless others like them, are the individuals that make Burning Man more than just a show, an art exposition, a music fest, or a camping trip. They are the ones that give heart, humility, and individualism to an otherwise very large, theatrical, and impressive experience. They are the ones that bring spontaneity, give the small rewards, unexpected surprises, and the most human of touches to the Burning Man experience. No, they aren’t all of what Burning Man is, but are a damn large part of it – they are the human faces, I believe, of Burning Ban – the faces that welcome you home and remind you that this is your family.

    If we move the ticket system to favor the big teams, the old-timers, the art makers, and exclude the newcomers, the small guys, the individuals, we lose the face of Burning Man, the people in the family.

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  • Jack C says:

    Its clear that the event has hit critical mass and could be transformational for a very large number of newbies every year going forward. Isn’t this what we all wanted? To change the world for the better?

    However, in a year when newbies are at a nearly 1:1 ratio with veterans, the impact could become very diluted. We have to get it right this year in order to scale next year.

    I would encourage a massive outreach effort to newcomers. I reached out to my region as a newb, and I expect to be a contributor this year. However, many of the newbs won’t have spent 5 hours reading the pages. BMORG. please educate the newcomers, encourage a couple of hours of volunteering, get in touch with the regionals through social networking, contribute to art installations, etc. I know we can do it!

    Yes, I support the name/ticket approach. It’s not hard to make multiple lines into camp to move traffics along, just make sure traffic is properly directed. I also support reserving remaining tickets to key theme camp/art contributors.

    And seriously, with the amount of negative energy out there, perhaps it is better that not everyone gets tickets. I don’t really want to spend a week with a week in Black Rock with people who just spent the last week calling us idiots, spoiled rich brats, and telling us to go fuck ourselves!

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  • Madge the Manicurist says:

    Unfortunately, what you have created for the 2012 BM is a Spring Break, Girls-Gone-Wild, Daytona Beach, non-participatory orgy of “entitlement.” Those who scored tickets WILL manage to scalp them, despite your best attempts at control. It is fairly clear, as well, that a good number of those who scored tickets are not only newbies but newbies without a clue as to the origins or process of BM.

    I hate to say it, but I expect this year’s Man is going to look a whole lot like Altamont…the Garden has been defiled by filthy lucre and those who believe BM is just another reason to party and Roofie some chicks. You know it’s going to happen…how will you deal with it? I figured the last BM was 2011’s…once the mainstream media grabbed onto the story it was already doomed.

    No, I didn’t get tickets (2) in the first go-around, but I’ve decided NOT to attempt to purchase any in the next round. I have such an AWFUL feeling about what’s going to happen on the Playa this year that I’d rather not be witness to the death of what WAS an amazing, almost spiritual gathering. And I fear for those who WILL be witnesses to the End of BM…may the Goddess protect them all. :-(

    It was an awesome ride, Burners. Protect your memories and be grateful you were part of something indescribable. Pace.

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  • Jack C says:

    Its clear that the event has hit critical mass and could be transformational for a very large number of newbies every year going forward. Isn’t this what we all wanted? To change the world for the better?

    However, in a year when newbies are at a nearly 1:1 ratio with veterans, the impact could become very diluted. We have to get it right this year in order to scale next year.

    I would encourage a massive outreach effort to newcomers. I reached out to my region as a newb, and I expect to be a contributor this year. However, many of the newbs won’t have spent 5 hours reading the pages. BMORG. please educate the newcomers, encourage them to give a couple of hours of volunteering, ask them to get in touch with the regionals through social networking, contribute to art installations, etc. I know we can do it!

    Yes, I support the name/ticket approach. It’s not hard to make multiple lines into camp to move traffics along, just make sure traffic is properly directed. I also support reserving remaining tickets to key theme camp/art contributors.

    And seriously, with the amount of negative energy out there, perhaps it is better that not everyone gets tickets. I don’t really want to spend a week with a week in Black Rock with people who just spent the last week calling us idiots, spoiled rich brats, and telling us to go fuck ourselves!

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  • Zena says:

    Thank you for this update. I know y’all are doing your best, working around the clock to fix things. Things will work out in the end, and if they haven’t worked out yet, then it’s not the end.

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  • James says:

    Thanks for the acknowledgment and apology. This was a good post.

    It seems that making tickets non-transferable is totally compatible with letting lottery winners keep their tickets — assuming they can submit a name for each ticket won. If they don’t, the ticket is revoked. This seems like a reasonable middle ground.

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  • Michelle Clifford says:

    Stop letting people in the gate on Wednesday. This will decrease the amount of weekend warriors, and increase the amount of time people are on the playa building & being creative. I truly believe this will deter those who are not true burners at heart from attending the event, and allow those of us to attend who want to come set up early and help clean up at the end- and be a part of everything we possibly can in between!

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  • Shawn says:

    Thanks for the info it helps to understand the orgs perspective.

    Radical inclusion is not dead – I’ll remind you that people come with their own ideas about art and what burning man is and how they fit in. ( learned that from you burners) You want to nurture that so it fill the creative voids. You give people the ability to volunteer and they will.

    Seems to me that instead of setting up bureaucratic government level volunteer management systems that echo compulsory military service, for getting priority tickets next year – you should put energy toward setting up a way for camps and art projects that need people to connect with the 40% of virgins that DO have tickets.
    Then the camps get the energy and people they need, you have given people a way to connect with projects, you’ve given the camps, art and disgruntled burners hope that they will be able to get their projects on the playa and staffed. And you have the added bonus of having newbies participating.

    I think people should stop worrying about fair distribution of tickets for next year. there is a major issue NOW and this years solution will likely create something better for next year.

    Worrying about next year is the orgs job right now.

    Just for the record – Ive never been to a burn. this was/may yet be my first year – if I can get tickets. did not get any in the lottery but you can bet I’ll be looking for art/camps that need people when I do get a ticket. Not every “newbie” is dense to the ways of burning man.

    I hope to see you on the playa.

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  • Emily Firedaisy says:

    Went to the Burn in 2002, gave a friend a ride he gave me a ticket. I was a lamplighter volunteer that year and had the most incredible time.

    I have been to many events and actually have a degree in event management. (Got to actually meet Larry at an event in Sonoma.)

    There is a way to solve this: Your first round of ticket sales are to theme camp/Art car folks only. First come, first serve to your tried and true burners. Two tickets a person available. Applications have to be in by a set deadline to enter the first round.

    Then, and only then, you have your second round to general public.

    Hope this helps, love you guys.

    P.S. I am really surprised y’all didn’t think of this, actually. ;)

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  • Andrew says:

    As a virgin to the Burning Man experience, I hear much of the pain that veeterans have expressed. Having participated in the lottery and having won, I feel a bit embarrassed when I realize how many of those who have built BM into what it is, have been turned out.

    From a commercial standpoint, it may be fine. But as even the BM organizers have noted, morally there’s something wrong when those who have (honestly) suffered the most to make things work, are now suddenly denied the fruits of their labors. As to the issue of arts project, mutant vehicles and long term core groups having their numbers cut by 50-80% or more, does that not destroy the special nature of BM.

    Some have said, oh well, they were getting a bit stale anyway. Yeh, so is that church sponsored food stand at the Minnesota State Fair – but I go there every year. And I get the same meal as I did last year. And it tastes great too. It’s called tradition. Traditions are what make a people. Traditions are at the core of any group, but especially one like Burning Man. Even how groups set up, who brings the necessary items that make things work. It’s all tradition.

    And now, for better or worse, many of those traditions may be bent, or lost. Not good, not good at all. The many who are not going, are, in many cases, those core people that have created and who define the traditions at BM.

    For me, I have my two tickets. I honor them as a product of those who have created something wonderful. And I’m thinking I may just gift them to some veteran burners, and simply watch from afar, rather than let the traditions die.

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  • Special Bunny says:

    I am a newbie who got a ticket after having to skip last year ‘s Year of the Bunny celebrations with the theme camp I helped organize. at the last minute. I have been involved with the regional community and regional burns here for the last few years but never made it down to the big one.

    Not every new Burner is new to the core ideals and beliefs that make Burning Man special, some of us have just had a longer road to get home.


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  • Rupert Hart says:

    Perfect response email, thanks. Struck the right note, said it well, and is why I love BM. The Silicon Village Burners theme camp and its peeps are here to help and we will be there to participate, put up art, send ambassadors to the Artery, Rangers, Perimeter, Playa Info and many other central areas of the Playa. We aim to boldly and proudly show them thar newbies how to do it BM-style. Sounds yucky, but we mean it. Join us, returnees, and let’s do it right!

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  • Tash says:

    I am a camp member of Identity Farm We gift Playa names. We have been a registered camp for 2 years and have become a huge draw for people at the Burn…a moving, heartfelt, inspirational, and joyful experience for the the named and the namer. We get hundreds of people through our camp coming in with one name and leaving with a new identity. It is a amazing experience to participate in and witness.

    The reason I am writing this is because out of our camp of 50, only 8 people received tickets this year. If there is anything I can do to get our camp on a list for some more tickets for this awesome theme camp gifting names, please let me know how I can do this.

    Whatever the outcome, thank you so much for your conitnual updates and transparency. I am so appreciative of the dialogue. You are all doing an awesome job trying to repair this situation. It should not go unnoticed.

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  • El Presidente says:

    Awarding tickets on a veteran basis will not work. There are certainly more than 50,000. I didn’t go to the event proper in 2010 or 2011 but I spent many many hours building and installing the Temple of Flux and building Aurora. What’s that worth and how could you manage it.

    Sell tickets like in the past. I don’t think it’s better or worse than all the other solutions.
    Register tickets like airline tickets with names.
    Make BM the only organization that you can sell the ticket back to if you will not use it.
    Have a modest fee deducted to manage this feature.
    Once all the tickets are sold you go into a queue waiting for a ticket to come back.
    There are only so many tickets, get over it.
    Stop the whole process six weeks before the event. It’s done, it’s over you’re either going or not. Get over it or start packing.
    Help a group create something if you’re not going and grab you other friends who aren’t going and make your own adventure.

    There’s always next year, and next year, and next year.

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  • Kthered says:

    This will be my second year on the playa, after an absolutely breath-taking and amazing 2011 experience. I’m eternally grateful to the people of BRC for showing me how humans are actually meant to co-exist, and for motivating me to find my own local community of burners, who are uniformly awesome people. I wanted to post my own thoughts about this crappy situation.

    – First off, I already have a few tickets, bought in the early-round sale, which I am planning to gift to friends who would not otherwise be able to go. Given what is happening now, I may have to see about putting at least one up on STEP or gifting it to a theme camp or art project before the end of February. I encourage anyone else in my situation to consider this as well.

    – The lottery was a terrible idea, though I applaud the ideal which motivated it. You simply MUST go to a first-come-first serve process and a formalized ticket transfer system, or the sharks of the free market are going to tear you to pieces.

    – I agree with other posters here that some priority should be given to those bringing art/theme camps/mutant vehicles/performances. I suggest that 75% of the tickets sold in a given year go through a process where prior attendees and those on projects get first crack. After that is done, any remaining tickets from that process go with the remaining tickets for general sale, again in a first-come, first-serve process. I know this isn’t fully inclusive, but having masses of newcomers who aren’t integrated into BRC’s unique society threatens to destroy what makes Burning Man so amazing. As a virgin last year, I can say with utter confidence that I didn’t really start to ‘get it’ until near the end of the week, and really not fully until months passed since the event and I connected with the local burner crowd. This could be a good reason to close the gates on Thursday night, as well. I arrived around dawn Monday morning (fell asleep in the line), and I would love to come out even earlier next year. The longer you are on the playa, the more you become part of it!

    -Growing the event: I am torn about this. I felt almost that there were too many there Friday and Saturday nights, the crowds were almost alarmingly large and frenzied at some points. I’m not sure growing BRC much more can do anything but disperse the interpersonal intensity of the event into a mob scene that gets crazier as the weekend approaches.

    – Regardless of what happens now, those of us with tickets and a feel for what we want BRC to be owe it to the community to get our asses out on the playa and make it happen any way we can. Imagine, you might not get to trip your face off on a pink glowing fuzzybuss all night long, but you might get to spend a week making the most amazing friendships and connections with other burners, virgin and non.

    NO SPECTATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Food for thought. Good luck my friends!

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  • Electric Dave says:

    OK so now what? 10,000 tickets left; how about commit 3000 tickets to say 100 theme camps. Sell blocks of 30 tickets to “well ” established theme camps. You could even mix it up and have different sizes of “blocks” to cover more camps needs and include more theme camps. It seems too simple a fix but WTF.

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  • Kthered says:

    One more thing! Could you set up a registry of theme camps, art cars, art installations, etc, who need people with tickets to help build and bring? THEN contact every person who got a ticket email with this list and encourage (beseech) them to reach out to said projects and get involved! Could alleviate the problems some, and would also be an exceptional way to integrate newbies before they get to the playa!

    We here in Colorado are doing something like this for all the art projects for our regional event, so they can get volunteers, resources, and so forth lined up more easily.

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  • pigtails and pocket says:

    Of the 11 members of our camp Gullible, 0 got tickets. (3:00 & K)
    Our camp has 2 mutant vehicles. (2010-Chicken Coupe, 2011 Stork delivers a baby)
    The other vehicle is a disability cart (a frog)to transport our eldest member, 82.

    Hopeful that we will get an opportunity to break out the welder, paint, fabric, lights….and create another “cool!” art car.

    Thank you for the “Sorry”
    Must say that screw up was the BIGGEST Mutant moopy poopy ever to float in the Playa Punch Bowl!
    Remember to be kind to your self as next year….when we have 1st come, 1st serve…..this all will be a distant memory. right? Big hug, Pigtails and Pocket

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  • Steve says:

    It’s hard to imagine that the people who devised the terrible lottery system that has caused all these problems are going to be able to figure out a way to improve on the incredible mess they have created, especially when they keep insisting that “the ticket selection system worked as planned.” (This statement – quoted from the post above – is exactly the kind of stupidity and arrogance that caused the problem in the first place. If they are apologizing now how can they say it worked as planned unless their plan was to screw up the event?)
    The lottery system was always obviously the worst of all possible worlds. It did not prevent scalpers, it did not preserve camps and BM infrastructure members, it did not insure that lower income burners could get the cheaper tickets. It didn’t do anything positive at all. Why it was ever selected can only be attributed to the incredible arrogance and stupidity of the people in charge – because they were warned and ignored all the warnings. Now they are left with a mess. What will they do? Most likely they’ll mess it up. (The few dealings I have had with anyone in the BM organization have always reflected a level of arrogance that is staggering.)
    There are many ways to handle all the “problems” that BM created by choosing the worst of all possible methods.
    – Every other major event on the planet manages to get by with a first come first served approach. Why can’t BM learn to operate a web server that can handle the kind of capacity this requires? I have no idea. It’s not that hard. And given the number of techies involved in BM it shouldn’t be an issue.
    – Want to stop scalpers? Put a name on each ticket and allow resale only through a centralized organization.
    – Want to ensure that major theme camps get in? Allow them to pre-purchase blocks of tickets.
    – Want to make sure low income people get the low priced tickets? Have them fill out an application form.
    – Want to increase the number of attendees? Move the event somewhere else. You might even cut down on the premature deaths from dust inhalation if you find a place that isn’t a dust bowl.
    There are many solutions.
    But I have little faith in BM’s ability to do anything but keep telling us that what they’ve done has “worked as planned.”
    If they really want to address the problem this year they are going to have to take some steps with regard to the 40,000 tickets they have already sold which they will not do (even though there are many steps they could take that would not be “illegal”.)
    Despite my anger I wish them good luck. Somehow these arrogant folks have managed to enable an event that has captured the good will and imagination of a lot of cool people. If I can get a ticket I’ll be back. If not, then maybe next year.

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  • No one of consequence says:

    A couple things that could still be done this year to discourage tourists and (hopefully) force some tickets back into the supply:

    1) Close the gates early, say Tuesday midnight or Wednesday noon at the latest. Anybody arriving later than that isn’t really contributing much to BRC.

    2) Ban rental RVs; check registrations on the way in. They are the ultimate in non-participatory tourism. Anybody that can’t come up with a better solution than renting an RV isn’t really contributing much to BRC.

    Just my inconsequential two cents.


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  • Badacting Scenestealer says:

    Lets think outside the box a bit.
    1. Regarding the BLM restrictions, what is said is not necessarily true. Currently tickets are sold for a max of 50,000. But the draft Environmental Impact assessment being proposed allows a ramp up to 60,000, and 60,000 could be granted immediately, as up to the discresion of the BLM Black Rock field officer. 20% more is possible this year, within all legal confines.
    2. Also regarding the BLM restrictions, what are the consequences for violating the number of participants? Is that consequence something that can be mitigated and accepted (such as a $1,000,000 fine), or is the consequence not acceptable (banning of future event permits), and can this be discussed with the officers using the good retort that has been established over so many years?
    3. The burning man event is working with constrains of limited space and limited time. If space cannot be increased, what about time?
    A second pre-event, which ocurs 3 weeks before the current event would allow more to come, attend, and burn, would not harm the environment, and would alleviate the traffic problems. Also this would allow students (and teachers) to attend more easily.
    A post-event could also be done. Either way, the 3 week separation could allow for a clearing of participants from one event to the next.
    4. Why not just buy some land in the desert, or in the Sacramento river delta? This would solve traffic problems.

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  • Stella says:

    I have to agree, I think a will call system which matches names (with corresponding participants, at the gates, with ID’s) would be the best way to solve this in future burns. Now Ive been burning for a few years, so I know what its like when getting into BM and I know that this could (and if not planned well, defiantly would) cause traffic problem along with delays and troubles. On the other hand, with some well thought out planning, there may be a way to make it work. In the event that someone couldnt make it, or ended up with too many tickets, an office BM buy back system could be used, or maybe even a transfer system. I know that this eliminates the possibility of extremely last minuet gifting of tickets, which I also realize is part of our culture, yet at the same time, we will have to give something up here theres no doubt about that.

    Now that only takes care of the issue if the main issue is scalping… and it my not be, but I still think, as others have said, that this could help.

    I have a question though too, this statement says that BM will make sure that those who bring large scale projects are able to come. Which I agree, is necessary. But how are you planning on doing this? Will those who take part in theme camps, art projects and art cars be given priority over the rest of the burning community in STEP? Even though I cant see the point in making that voyage I love so much out to the desert for burning man if those who make burning man the beautiful wonderland that it is are not there, it doesnt feel right to start a hierarchy in the black rock community by giving certain burners priority over others. What makes the attendance of theme camp leaders more valuable than the attendance of my own camp leader? That feels like a slippery slope to go down…

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  • just me says:

    Nevada deer tag lottery allows for party and individual tags. If you don’t get one, you have a better chance through a point system the following year.

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  • Sammy Nasr says:

    You may be just guessing that 40% are first timers. My guess, with anecdotal evidence, is that many people who wanted a ticket asked all their friends and relatives to sign up and get tickets to insure that they get one, and if they have extras, then, great for them – they know they can sell them for higher later. This is amateur scalping. There are probably many professionals too.

    Also, please remember that if we didn’t get a ticket, we’d have to pay a lot more to get one. Add these up and this ticketing error can cost us, the BM Community anywwhere from 3 to 5 million extra dollars.

    We all have to solve this. You, the organizers have to come up with a good plan, and we, the participants have to do our part and NOT BUY any scalped tickets.

    How about having two weeks, basically, add a second one piggyback. Might the BLM go for it?

    Ideally, we have to see this crisis as an opportunity.

    Thank you.

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  • joe says:


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  • Nathan says:

    So, like many other posters, I did not get a ticket. Last year was my first burn and I have been planning 2012 ever since. I have started participating in regional activities, applied to be a volunteer, and was planning to return to my theme camp or find a new camp to participate with this year; all this before the ticketing crisis. It sounds like the ORG may have other plans for the remaining 10,000 tickets besides letting them be up for grabs. I hope that in trying to get “larger” projects to the playa you don’t forget about the smaller people who want to participate! Even though I am part of a theme camp and am working on a CORE project I’m pretty low on the totem pole, so I only ask for some sort of equal chance at getting some of the remainder of tickets. I accept the change, I just hope not to be marginalized.

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  • SINdy says:

    Report from your Burning Band, a beloved BRC fixture founded 17 years ago
    on the playa….
    We know of 11 core veteran members who got tickets and 11 who did not.
    We are sitting tight and hope that the re-sale market will help experienced
    Burners (such as Band musicians) return. We thank the BMOrg for talking
    with the community and for trying to solve this big, sad, problem. Good luck, everyone.

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  • jaypee says:

    “BetaGirl Says:
    February 9th, 2012 at 6:31 pm
    I suggest:

    Requiring volunteer participation to get a ticket in. So any future virgin would start with community building… It can be volunteering in any way; camp, car, cafe, dpw, hq, etc.

    If we are all participants, let’s figure out a method to quantify that and include min requirements.

    As a parent my daughter’s school requires our family volunteer 20 hours a year… How about BM requires 4 verified hours?”

    ^^^ THIS is a great idea. I can’t see a more direct way to help preserve the culture and bones of Burning Man. Maybe even step up the help on facilitating/connecting virgins to pre-existant camps that need new volunteers.

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  • Hedgehog says:

    Demand exceeds the supply. Not surprising considering the Burning Man facebook page has now got over 300,000 followers. Add some quality videos to that on a weekly basis and what do you expect! Sound camps promoting themselves and releasing line-ups obviously does not help either. In my opinion this information should not be distributed untill the event. Or even at all, if we are to be different to Coachella. If superstar djs want to play at Burning Man, thats great, better than great, but I don’t see why it should be promoted.


    I also agree with Wampa, make it harder for people to get a ticket whatever way necessary, essays and volunteering. Now that the shit has hit the fan, newbies are going to have to jump in at the deep end!!!
    I am hoping that all long term burners who did not receive tickets will keep the faith!! We need you and love you, it is not over yet and I believe Bmorg with the help of the community will come up with a fair solution. Think about how great it will be when we make it through this and have made it home, having completely forgotten the nightmare journey it took to get there! xxx

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  • discoinferno says:

    A suggestion –

    Every ticket that goes through the gate has to be cross checked against the ticketholders drivers license and credit card/debit card. If done, then every ticket is obviously used by the purchaser.

    If you do not intend to sell your ticket through the STEP program i.e. a friend bought a couple tickets and wants to sell them to myself and another friend, then a photocopy of the drivers license and credit card, front and back, is also acceptable. Since most scalpers aren’t willing to give an absolute stranger a copy of their drivers license and credit card this would help eliminate scalping altogether.

    Can anyone confirm if you can do a direct transfer through the STEP program?

    As well, I will agree with the previous poster for a gate closure to help stop the dreaded “fratboy” crowd. Thursday at midnight would be an ideal time and though it would be a real inconvenience for some, it helps weed out those less dedicated to the event.

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  • kae says:

    To all those suggesting non-transferable tickets and checking IDs upon entry: are you prepared for the substantial added time to get through the Gate? Are you prepared to be one of those ID checkers? Remember how long the wait was this year and how much people complained about it? In principle it makes sense, but please think through what that means for getting into the event.

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  • Gizmo Gadget Guy says:

    I haven’t read the comments, so someone might have already suggested this, but I think here’s a solution:

    Cancel the next 10,000 ticket sale. Turn it into a pool for theme camps, art installations, previous attendees, however you want to label it. Do not make it available for new-comers, until the “fabric, the corpus” are known to be attending. Then turn the rest over to STEP.

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  • Foxey says:

    Didn’t get ticket, am afraid I’ve already started making other plans, only been to burning man once, in 2011, and as the results appear, this year won’t touch the amazing adventure I saw in 2011, i wanted to return with a mini theme camp of my own and give back to the community and show what i learned my newbie year, but I think if i went this year, in 2012 I would be able to tell some of the magic would be lost or the feeling of incomplete would linger in a shadow…if any good comes from this, I would think next year will be a better year to come back home, because all this chaos and frustration will make the system stronger, and harder to break next time.. can only hope anyway. Best of luck burning man.

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  • Stacey A says:

    Thank you for the informative letter/post.

    The Burning Man Ticket Ordeal has been under much consideration and analysis in my social circles, the Burning Man Community, and in my mind the last couple of weeks.

    I have considered many posts and ideas, and think that there is only one foolproof way of maintaining sanity, eliminating scalpers, and ending over-buying. It would force ticket sales to revert to the way it must have once been (an initial peak followed by a steady flow of ticket sales over the course of many months leading up to the event). It would actually make tickets CHEAPER, if done the way that I predict would be easiest for Burning Man Organizers.


    It would be incredibly frustrating to lose gifting histories, as well as some of the spontaneity that occurs at Burning Man. Attendees would be REQUIRED to show their identification cards/passports upon entry. It would make tickets cheaper because Burning Man might be able to sell 55,000 tickets, knowing that 5,000 people would not be able to go, therefore losing the money they purchased their ticket for, but they would end up contributing to the pool of Burning Man Money, making overall prices a little less. If done correctly, it would eliminate the urge for everybody and their grandmother to snap up any ticket in sight. People would be forced to take their time finding a camp, organizing their crew, and truly committing themselves to the experience which is Burning Man.

    There are many flaws with any option, but I think this is the most efficient and fair one.

    Thank you for all your hard work, Burning Man Organizers!
    Maybe I’ll celebrate my 3rd Burn in 2013 with you all!

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  • Woodeye says:

    Thanks for the super thoughtful post. I would hate to be you guys right now but know that deep down we all appreciate what you do.


    Why not withhold 4000 (maybe 5000?) of these tickets for direct requests and feedback from ALL theme camps and art projects/cars who have had a CONSISTENT presence in BRC for the last 3-5 years? Base the “awarded” ticket offerings to these projects on a percentage scale of previously allocated space/funding/”cruciality” in BRC. This could dramatically help the community to stay intact through this already weird year.

    Example: for the sake of argument let’s assume Deathguild needs 20 people to do their thing (and we need them to do their thing) but they currently only have tickets for 8 people. They need/want 12 more tickets. Deathguild provides BMORG with verifiable purchaser info (at least some should be verifiable from years past) on those 8 tickets already purchased. In return, BMORG offers Deathguild the opportunity to immediately purchase 8 additional tickets, BUT they only have 1 week (2 weeks/10 days/whatever) to do it. This would not prevent Deathguild from using STEP and the remaining March sale to get their remaining 4 tickets. Any unpurchased “offerings” would be put back in the pool and made available to other qualifying camps/projects up until the March sale date.

    Using this basic average (which will change based on camp size, etc), BMORG will have already helped 500+ theme camps and projects get dramatically closer to making it happen this year AND still have 6000 tickets to sell on the open market – plenty for fresh virgins! If at the end of the day Deathguild still only has 16 of their needed 20 tickets, they can choose to sell off their tix through STEP, bust their asses harder with fewer people or snag some newbies this year. If the lines of communication really open up, this could be a banner year for fresh community building, but there’s no denying THE FOUNDATIONS NEED TO BE SECURE.

    Thanks for listening.

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  • dubdogs says:

    hi, radical inclusivity was your bullshit pipe-dream and obviously not something you planned for, or have any idea how to establish now that you’re faced with the challenge of respectfully accommodating all our rapidly growing, highly motivated families. you have other priorities & now you want us to believe that you’re trying to be fair & get tickets to people at reasonable prices. there must be a tremendous gap between the “organizers” and us “participants” because you have tickets. you like to call it “our community” but what is it really? when you answer that question honestly, you might reach out to people who can organize a safe platform for us to land ..because you seem to be pretty clueless. 1. imagine all the people who don’t have tickets show up anyway. then realistically prepare for that. buy & rent every possible overflow venue that you can & establish lines of transportation between all the potential areas where “someone” will be working & performing. FREE borderless countries for us all to live & declare ourselves sovereign & independent from the united states of america. I say “someone” because you still want to be somebody’s bitch. we’re past that now, so if you can’t risk it, make sure it’s not you in the frying pan. if you can’t buy them, hire a real estate agent to sell them to us and help us understand how to maintain these areas. make the ranch moop available to us as construction material. and above all else, recognize that this is every day and everywhere, not just at yer little party. 2. save the $ you were going to spend on fences & patrolling them. put some of that $ into rescue crews & ambulances, water, etc.. whether you would like us to be moop free & radically self reliant or not, it’s another stupid pipe-dream because we depend on eachother. you ask us not to sell anything or use $ at all as if you think this is just an experiment. And then you charge us allot for tickets and make a system that drives up scalped ticket prices because you are hypocrites. this only works because we can usually trust eachother. unfortunately not you, so stop claiming that we are honored, equal or even similar. Where’s your radical generosity? if you weren’t lying to us about that, you would be paying each of us $390 to participate. Or maybe require us each to bring $390 worth of resources which freely accessed & re-distributed would sustain us all well beyond your imposed boundary (time & space). please just try to understand that a system that places a higher value on any single founder or participant is tyrannical and ultimately apposes an individual’s freedom. if you make utopian claims you may some day be held responsible for the result of you contradicting desires and short comings. that’s why i think you should just treat this like a giant underground rave & make a revolutionary system to protect whoever shows up. then carefully cradles them in with a spirit of nourishment. i’m betting people will be turned away from your “radically inclusive” funeral precession, but i am a realist, not a delusional optimist.

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  • Kai Ingwersen says:

    I suggest setting up a ticket booth at Burning Man (on the Playa) and selling one named (next year) ticked against every (current year) ticket stub submitted.
    For full transparency, camps considered critical to the “fabric” should be alloted a number of unnamed tickets and that should be made public to ensure selection is fair. These allotments allow the camps to attract talent (DJs or speakers) without the anxiety of being able to get them in.
    Sale of the remaining tickets? I know I need four for myself girlfriend and 2 kids for our annual desert holiday pilgrimage.

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  • Kran says:

    So BMorg kicked out 3/4 of its family to include the new people instead. That is really something to think about.

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  • Cris says:

    As someone who got 2 tickets, I say go ahead and cancel them. You can based on your Terms and Conditions Waiver. Start again with an opt-in for non-transferable tickets. Those people get a priority lottery. If there are tickets remaining, then sell them any way you wish. Sorry to post on your wall, and perhaps disagree with what is going on, but I feel its important.

    19. Ticket Sales and Random Selection Ticket Sales
    Burning Man retains the right to cancel, rescind or revoke any ticket purchases at any time prior to delivery of the actual tickets to the purchaser, for any reason whatsoever at Burning Man’s sole discretion. If anyone purchases a Burning Man ticket with the express intention of reselling it for above face value, or attempts to sell or sells a ticket for above face value, Burning Man has the absolute right, in its sole discretion, to cancel any such ticket order cancelled without advance notice.

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  • Mercedese Witty says:

    We can all beat our breasts, and Burning Man In Charge can keep apologizing, but the bottom line is alot of us, who go every year are going to be left out and that is very sad, however, I do not believe it is fair that any one group receive tickets while others do not. Any remaining tickets should not be allocated to any special groups… just allotted in a fair way to everyone who applies. .

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  • Katros says:

    Yea…. I hate to “marginalize” the person low on the totem pole in their theme camp, but honestly, if that’s what it takes to be able to allow larger art proj. and theme camps to attend, then that’s what it takes. Next year, hopefully, a better system will be in place.

    ART first and theme camps second, in my opinion.

    And as for the “4 hours of req. volunteer” suggestion made and supported, well, that’s ridiculous. Even if the new kids donate 4hrs of their time, it doesn’t a) mean they know what they’re doing or how to do it and b) that doesn’t bring the Art and theme culture to burning man.

    Thanks for your dedication, Org. I know this hasn’t been fun.

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  • TheCapitalist says:

    I have a few suggestions on how the BORG can attempt to remedy the 2012 situation:

    1) Mail out the tickets ASAP (before June but after the next sale) – While I understand that June mailing was intended to increase hold time, decrease period of “negotiability” of tickets and generally discourage scalpers, it is no longer necessary to hold to that policy. Scalpers either have their tickets or don’t, so it would be better to let the invisible hand of the marketplace digest to the true FMV of tickets for scalpers. While it is admirable to urge the community not to buy from scalpers, WE ARE IN THE DEFAULT WORLD, so let’s get the secondary market rolling so people can get their plans settled.

    This will also allow those burners with extra tickets more time to decide who to give them to. Personally, I have access to 7 extra tickets but I know 30+ people that need tickets. While I have committed a few, I also want to make sure that others exhaust the rest of their options before I start making hard choices. For example, should I sell my tickets at face value to my closer wealthy friends or to those who cannot afford scalper prices. Many people I know won’t blink an eye at spending $1K for a ticket – they know how cool BM is – they know it is priceless. So should I sell a ticket to them or to one of my campmates that struggles to make camp fees every year?

    2) Creative incentives for STEP – not disincentives. It is my understanding that there will be a charge for a seller in STEP. If that’s the case, I’ll just wait for my tickets to come by mail before I decide to allocate. Why? I’m am a fucking capitalist and I forsaw this mess, so why should I have to pay anything to cleanup someone else’s lack of forsight.

    Instead, I suggest that you make me want to drop my ticket into STEP. Give me points (or credits, preferences or whatever scheme you want to come up) with so that I will drop my ticket into the pot. Incent me by giving me a better chance for next year or the year after that. It would be a huge incentive if I was guaranteed a ticket next year – even at the highest price. Otherwise, I might as well just sell my tickets for a handsome profit and save the money to pass on to a scalper next year. Yes – there will be scalpers again next year.

    I understand that my comments will seem harsh to some. By profession, I am a trader. I exploit markets. The reason why I love BM so much is that it is so far from my life in the default world. It is my plan to pass my tickets on at face value for good karma. However, it is quite frustrating to see this system with so many obvious flaws for an adept capitalist to game it. Please take my advice and start here.

    For the record, I do not believe the old system would have worked either. The long-term solution is to distribute some portion of the tickets or, at least, the right to buy tickets (options) at BM. Also, creating an options or derivative market to transfer tickets may help. I have some interesting ideas about this but i’ll save them for another time.

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  • Luki Pa'a says:

    So in case the last 10,000 tickets are not going to be open sale as previously stated, I ask: Who gets to choose who’s “burny” enough? Unless the community somehow gets to choose, I don’t like it. BMORG could *STILL* enforce non-transferable tickets which would have more people selling extras back to STEP. Since no tickets have shipped, it’s *NOT TOO LATE* to tie every ticket to a name. Scalpers would be forced to either sell theirs back (no questions asked, no fee) or actually attend Burning Man. Is there some problem with that plan I don’t understand? Seems to me the ONLY way to fix this year, not compromise on our principles and get all VIP with it.

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  • Kurdt says:

    This was going to be my first burning man, but I didn’t get a ticket and none of my friends have tickets for me, but I actually feel okay with that. I’m part of a similar group that also tries to balance tradition with new-ness, and while our issues aren’t on the scale of burning man, we completely lost our sense of community when we opened it up and let a large percentage of virgins in.

    Since then we have returned to a closed system, and only allow a maximum of one virgin per veteran (if a vet wants to bring multiple virgins, they just have a buddy register one for them). It’s worked out well… I’d say 10% virgins is a good ratio for us.

    So, my solution for BM:
    – Distribute tix to art camps first! If they’re the core of your experience, they need to be taken care of… “extra” tickets will be in good hands.
    – Require validation for returning burners – address from a previous year, an essay, ticket stub, whatever.
    – limit “open” tickets to 10% – there’s no shame is saying BR City is at capacity

    I hope your event that is awash is newbies will fare better than ours, however I can’t help but shudder when I think what will happen when half the people show up in jeans and t-shirts, and hear that people will be giving them stuff for free. Best of luck to the safety teams.

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  • Ashley says:

    I’m so disappointed that it sounds like I’ll not be going to burning man possibly ever. I’m a new burner and he would be as well but he, like many others, was not selected. This was supposed to be my birthday present but at this point it sounds like old members of the community will be getting total priority while people like me, whose camp consisted of only one other, shall be cancelled at this point. I’m really disappointed by this experience.

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  • Vic W says:

    First, thank you for your hard work. You guys are troopers and it’s unfortunate that the knee-jerk reaction of the crowd has been to boo and hiss when you had our best interests at heart. We don’t learn if we don’t try. You tried what looked best, now please let us help you to fix it.

    Hopefully the rest of the community realizes what grace you must possess to not just throw the stones back and tell us to plan our own event.

    My suggestion – Please make it easier to transfer ownership, right now. By doing so, the people who DID suddenly find themselves with 8 tickets for 2 people (and relatives who want their money back asap) can liquidate their stash. This will put the tickets back into the community and hopefully slow the rush in March. Right now, there is no security in private sales, because with no tickets to pass along, and no way to transfer ownership, potential buyers have to take a huge risk to obtain tickets.

    Example: I just turned down face value tickets because the seller is 1500 miles away from me and, well, not someone I know personally. If she had a way to put my name on her tickets, they would be sold, right now. Ta-dah! She’d be relieved of ownership with money in the bank and two more burners would be headed to the Playa. I believe she had a buyer locally, but it was painful to decline the offer…

    Life is already interfering with peoples’ plans, so please give sellers an option to keep it legitimate as soon as possible.

    Rumors have it that STEP will simply be a first-come, first-serve outlet. Why not have a secondary area, where a registered owner can assign their tickets to a registered purchaser? Private sales can me made, with both parties having peace of mind that the transaction will go through properly.

    Right now, the only feasible method would be to draw up a contract, then send $800 to a complete stranger. I would like to think that we’re all in this together and that honesty will prevail, however, we’re still human and I wasn’t born last night, so the sooner there is a confirmed site for redistributing tickets, the better we’ll all be…

    Again, thank you for your labor and for having the cajones to make decisions for the greater good. It’s all gonna work out, one way or another. If things go well, I hope you’ll venture to the Black Hanky camp for a drink and a crispy strip of salted swine… Fingers crossed, see ya in the dust!

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  • Luki Pa'a says:

    And I agree with the sentiment expressed by TheCapitalist above, get the tickets shipped as soon as this is sorted out, not June, so people can try their luck in the secondary market. It’s harder when nobody has any tickets, only the promise of tickets in June.

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  • Well well well. there needs to be a bi-annual Burning Man, Bathing Woman perhaps?
    How about a camp you go to if you are a virgin and you have a little “training.”

    A new location accommodating the extra burners?
    If I can not get tickets for my whole camp, I do not see the reason to go.
    We put up a stage and put on a show and set up a community kitchen, offer massage, open jam sessions, henna, specialized foot care for dry feet, naked chess and so much more.
    I am sure you have heard this before, we are an integrated unit that radically self relies on one another.
    I am all for getting rid of rental RVs.
    A good way to get rid of rental RVs is to have the opportunity and applied ingenuity to build our own dwellings like Frank Lloyd Wright did with his students. He required them to all build their own habitat upon arrival to architecture school. They were all given a plot and a few essential tools and a list of things that they needed to bring to build a scorpion free dwelling in the desert.
    As a parent of a special needs child, I need the RV.
    OK not sure any of this rambling will inspire anyone, but worth a shot.

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  • Candybox says:

    Non-transferable tickets.

    Gifting tickets is great when there are plenty of tickets to spare. When there aren’t enough tickets to spare, hoarding tickets to gift out later is just as bad as scalping.

    Even though there’s been a culture of gifting tickets, things have to change with the times, and the times have definitely changed. Buying spare tickets to gift deprives other committed burners and THEIR camps from being able to attend. If everyone only bought only the number of tickets they needed, there would be much less of a problem.

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  • illuminate says:

    100 percent Will call tickets and announce it firmly online. Scalpers would drop tickets through the STEP program knowing the would have to sell the merchandise on site.

    Would require more resourses for arrival obviously.

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  • Abel says:

    The beauty of BRC is a result of intention — not free markets.

    I’m sure it would be very easy to just raise ticket prices, as some are suggesting — but I deeply appreciate the hard work being put into designing a system that fosters an intentional culture versus whatever would result from defaulting to a free market.
    From the beginning I was shocked at the vitriol directed at the lottery idea. We knew then as now that it wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was a valiant effort and a fair point of departure.
    I don’t assume price hikes will never happen but it would be a sad day when they occur for the sole purpose of population control. I can’t believe some veteran burners are so quick to suggest it. Is that the best we can come up with?
    In general I’m disgusted with the anger and entitlement this dilema has uncovered but I’m happy to see that other ticketless burners and would-be burners are remaining hopeful. We absolve you of some of the guilt and anxiety of administering such a valuable event.

    Love and gratitude.

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  • Jawon Breed says:

    Thank you for the thoughtful post. Regardless of how the ticket situation and this year’s Burn turns out, I appreciate your honesty. Please continue to keep us in the loop.

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  • pigtails and pocket says:

    do over… get a legal team….and do over.

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  • colinc says:

    This “apology” is a day late, a dollar short, and doesn’t even admit how moronic the original decision was. Asshole.

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  • Kurdt says:

    Oh, to clarify… Art camps would submit a request for a number of tickets along with their space. Not sure if you’d classify theme camps in there too or separately, but you want to encourage participation. Since tickets would be given to the camp it is a great way to include enthusiastic newbies at an early stage.

    Then you give out tickets to non-theme camps and returning individuals (this is what I meant by the validation) to round out the numbers.

    The final 10% can be given out by a lottery like you did for 2012… hopefully by now any serious burners have had a few rounds of chances to get tickets. Let the sheer weight of newbies crush the scalpers.

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  • Des says:

    BM HQ PLEASE get this ticket catastrophe together! This whole thing is a disaster and a nightmare for those such as myself left out in the dark without a ticket and panicking with what to do next! YOU GUYS are the ones to blame for this community ‘ripping’ apart!!!!! Its not the matter of IF burning man is going to loose its core values its the matter of WHEN if tickets run rampant as they are now and left mainly is the hands of scalpers!

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  • simoneski says:

    Thanks for the apology….was worried you weren’t listening. I have been reading the blogs daily, and have noticed that a significant issue has been missed. I live in Nevada. My friends and colleagues are the people who volunteer to work the medical facilities at BRC. Nurses, medics, and MDs; need to be licensed in Nevada, and go through the provider’s training. A free ticket is given to each volunteer. Guess what, I am not sure that as many will sign up if it means leaving significant others behind. Only six people I know, out of dozens, got tickets in the lottery. I could go, but it would not be the same without my partner. Plus, if it does turn out to be 40% virgins, the medical tents will be beyond slammed, not sure a free ticket would be worth that nightmare! So sad that we can’t go home, hope to see you in 2013.

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  • Adversity creates opportunities…

    There will be many ‘new’ Burners.

    There are established camps who feel they do not have the person-power to achieve their artistic vision for the burn this year.

    Let’s get them together to create something great.

    Please create a bulletin board on the Burning Man site to get the new blood and old blood together.

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  • Mike Pettengill says:

    Perhaps camps in need could put up ‘burner Profiles” that prospective ticket sellers could choose from. If some amazing burner from a great and famous camp needs a ticket what if the amazing burner can tap a well intentioned stranger who finds them inspiring. This would leave all of the amazing burner’s friends in a position to use their extra tickets to include other camp mates. Persons with tickets to ‘share’ (at face value) could also elect to let this burner that inspires them do the assigning of the ticket for them. ie: I read your profile and burner history, I admire your contribution, I see your references and links to the community and you get use my extra ticket to make sure you, your core camp and perhaps core individuals form camps you appreciate have a shot at buying tickets at face value. Community to the rescue.

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  • Ian says:

    – compile a list of returning theme camps and art installions that have requested tickets in main sale.
    – award 5,000 tickets to these participants by issuing each camp/art project a limited number of tickets based on the size of there camp and location from the previous year or size and difficulty of the art project.
    – Award the remaining tickets to participants who registered in the main sale
    – Award Low income tickets based on: time received, level of participation, years attended and meet proof of low income.

    this method along with letting the dust settle down the road seems to me to be the logical way to preserve the culture of BM and the people who create BM.


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  • Cheese Simon says:

    Thanks guys. That’s a near-perfect response to a perfect storm. I didn’t really have any doubt that a lot of the speculation about scalpers was wrong and that you folks were doing the utmost to protect what is so special for BM. Thanks for all your efforts and I look forward to seeing your next post on this.
    Rest assured – you’ll have one large kick-ass interactive art project from me and my folks.
    And let’s not forget – “disaster” is just opportunity knocking with a particularly loud knock!
    Cheese Simon

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  • rebirth 2013 says:

    With every death, there will be a rebirth. I think it’s a healthy process to let Burningman die this year. If you’re a veteran to the playa and have a ticket, and were participating in a theme camp this year that is on the fence about still making it happen. I say approach the heartaches you’re sharing with your fellow campmates by selling all your tickets on STEP so media-fed newbie interest can eat it up. To all the veterans, take your closest friends, find your own piece of land and bring your magic there. Burningman resides in our hearts not just in that particular place. Some things must die to be reborn! On a lighter note at least for those going this year, the 100,000 watt dubstep wars and silly euro techno beats that melts the brain and drives people mad by mid-week, will be minimal and everyone will get more rest. The fact that art will suffer in many great lengths is a reality folks but for the newbie, what does it matter, they have nothing but you-tube, friends word of mouth, and select documentaries to compare it to. Why do we even need to be at burningman to express ourselves? Do it on your own! occupy your nearest blm land and throw your own event and go all out at your regional events. plan around that concept and i guarantee a fun time for all this year! Die Burningman 2012, so we can appreciate it being reborn in 2013 with a more solid ticketing structure. Hell, maybe a bad media review this year will scale back the worlds interest in this event, so we can reclaim it next year. The core family will reunite!

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  • Mr. Sneaks says:

    Dear Burning Man,

    You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man. I’m going to self-reliantly sneak my sneaky butt into burning man and you can’t stop me. Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, Nyah, Nyah.

    I’ve been bringing art projects, running inclusive theme camps and helping to build art cars for 6 years now, so… I feel like I deserve it. Way I figure it, a whole bunch of other resourceful veteran burners are going to do the same thing, bringing the population of the playa well above the intended maximum. What do you think about that? Does that seem fair to you? One free ticket for thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of work? Anyways, If I’m not registered as a ticket sale, I won’t count against the population limit with the Bureau of Land Management, neh?

    I know that, even though you fervently agree with me, you can’t publicly endorse people sneaking in to Burning Man, so I’m here to do it for you. That’s right people, Sneak into Burning Man! It’s not hard, just be creative and remember that the Gate is staffed by loving, tired burners just like you! Decommodify your Burning Man entrance, accept a gift from the people who love you and sneak your radically self reliant way in there. Otherwise, who’s gonna build the art and teach the 30,000 odd virgins how not to die in the desert?

    I’ll see you there my Veteran Wonderpuppies of Love and

    Love, dust or bust baby!

    Mr. Sneaks.

    P.S. That’s right, 30,000 odd Virgins making up 60% of the population. Let that sink in …

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  • Cryingsun says:

    Thank you for the transparency. I do think you can work with the BLM in Winnemucca
    The communities all around northern Nevada and the BLM have come a long way in understanding what Burning Man is all about. This includes the Winnemucca BLM. What about asking them to permit a connected “Suburb” or distinct separate area for people to camp away from the BRC but have a passport to go between the two cities? You would probably have to open the two mile closure zone in that area.

    Burning Man is perfect where it is. I can’t imagine another environment that provides the stark realism that contrasts and connects the creations that spring to life on the desert. I hope to see you all again this year.

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  • acidkitty says:

    I really sympathize with you guys. Thanks for posting. You have to understand that we’re reacting on a gut level because we just love Burning Man so, so much. Twisted as it seems, our emotion stems from love… and a feeling of loss.

    How about reducing demand by closing the gate earlier- like Wed? I realize this would cause potential logistical issues that could hopefully be addressed (more entry lanes?). But if you simply could not be a weekend warrior because you had to be at BM by Wed, that should decrease demand a bit, as well as weed out a certain less-participatory demographic.

    I also agree with assigning names. I understand about gifting, but that would exclude far fewer people than the lottery did. Anyway, just gift your ticket early, then put their name on it. The world cup system is renowned for dissuading scalpers. When it comes down to it, you have to consider which system will do the least amount of harm- because we’re past the point of just including everyone. It also means folks have to commit in January or Feb, and can’t wait until the last minute.

    That’s just a reality from the level of demand. Trying to artificially fight it so that indecisive people can show up at the last minute is catering to folks who contribute less to the community than those who build art for 6 months, run a conclave, build a theme camp, etc. I think it actually undermines the community by valuing spontaneity and indecision over commitment and participation. This decision seems based more on a feeling than logic to me.

    That’s just what it’s come to now- you have to commit to BM in January, and you have to go all week. Seems reasonable to weed out folks who are less committed. Virgins and veterans are both welcome- you just have to be all in.

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  • Mr. Sneaks says:

    So, clearly I messed up and got my percentages backwards. 40% Virgins means on 20,000. Still, kinda frightening in a logistical, safety and participation stand point.

    I apologize.

    Mr. Sneaks

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  • Isabelle Hakala says:

    Here are my thoughts… none of them are perfect, and I expect lots of people will likely be offended by my suggestions, but I am just trying to think outside of the box:) So have at it:)

    My ideas for BM ticket issues: (in no particular order and with a wide variety of suggestions that may or may not pertain to each other)

    * Have BM twice a year, instead of just once, and anyone who doesn’t get tickets to one, automatically gets tickets FIRST to the next one, or a future one if they aren’t so pissed that they never return.

    * Anyone who has attended BM in the past gets priority on buying tickets (not necessarily a price break or anything though) over someone who has never attended before (only because those that bring the groups need to be able to come for there to BE a BM)

    * Limit that you cannot attend 2 BM in a row (if there are 2 in a year, or even if just 1 a year)

    * A wider variety of pricing schemes… (you could mix and match these suggestions)
    + dictate that you can only buy the lowest priced ticket once every 3 years.
    + Give 5 steps of pricing in advance, to choose from, and
    + give perks to someone who pays the highest price (such as a BM t-shirt? Or their name on a piece of the man? Or the ability to show up earlier? Stay longer? A portajohn near their camp? I don’t know what… just something symbolic.)
    + when it gets close to the event have all tickets left go to full price (assuming there are any that haven’t been sold yet)
    + Leave a small number of tickets aside to be sold ‘at the door’ but that are priced seriously high… this will be for the people that are really willing to pay, and are desperate to go. Press could also buy tickets only at the highest price… hopefully to deter any more press from coming… but if they do then to help with the cheap tickets for next year.
    + Sell tickets based on what day someone can arrive… if someone is ONLY coming for the last 3 days, 2 days, or 1 day, then give them a special price. They are not allowed to enter before their designated time. I am not sure how/why this one would help, but since I don’t know all of the issues, I figured I would add that one in:)
    + You could sell tickets for vehicles too… so that if you want to drive a vehicle onto the playa you must have a ticket for that vehicle on top of for each person. So that if someone is bringing an RV (which takes up much more space than a tent) then they need an RV ticket…. and if someone is driving a CAR… they need a car ticket… Bus needs a bus ticket, etc. This will help to cut down on needless vehicles on the playa. (you might already have implemented this one… I haven’t been since 2003 and I never brought a car… so who knows)

    * OR… Only one price for advance tickets, but offer an ‘adoption’ program… where if you pay an additional $100 you can ‘adopt’ someone for that BM. People who can’t pay the full price of the ticket can request to be put on the adoption list and people could ‘choose’ to adopt them. You could also let people have the ability to say how much they can pay and then people could ‘choose’ to adopt them for the full amount of the shortfall, or even for just part of it, as such, that then 2 or more people might adopt them. Once a person has people committed to adopt them (such that the full amount is pledged) then everyone gets charged for what they have pledge towards that person, and thus the adopted gets their ticket. You could let people write a short blurb as to why they need to be adopted. Or they can request ‘anonymous adoption’, or the adopter could request to be anonymous too. You could choose to give priority to people that pledge to adopt for a certain amount of funds, or for a certain number of people, etc. This could solve the ticket price problem, but might mean that lots of people don’t get adopted. You could even allow adopters to search by male/female/androgynous/other/etc, by age range, previously attended BM or not, etc, whatever you think would be important in helping people decide who to feel compelled to help and why.

    * Another set of options is to completely change the structure of how tickets are sold. Say you can really only have it once a year… Instead of selling tickets individually, how about having camps ‘register’ in advance… and state their possible minimum and maximum number of desired tickets… You could decide how to dole them out amongst the camps in as fair a way as possible. You could even put an upper limit on the size of each camp this way. Then you could have the tickets allocated through the camps. It would eliminate the scalping problem because only someone affiliated with a camp could get tickets. You would have to set up a website where people could read through the various camps and ‘apply’ to join their camp before BM, and thus get tickets through the camps. Obviously they would give preference to those they know, but you could also state that a certain percentage of their tickets go to ‘new’ people that have never gone before. You could even just gradiate the ticket prices but then give the group the ‘lump sum total’ for all of the tickets such that they could actually have people pay for them any way they chose as long as if they raised more than the cost that the proceeds all go to BM for future events. This might even help groups to do ‘fundraising’ to help pay for the tickets for their group and thus to lower the dollar amount overall that each person needs to come up with. It could bring a heightened sense of community.

    Hm… you could even have a camp that is specifically for new people so that they have people watching over them…. or several of those camps. They could help those people find other camps to be affiliated with for future BM events since they couldn’t be in a ‘newb’ camp the next year unless they were part of the camp for the next new people.

    Likewise you could have a registration system where camps have to submit lists of people’s names with number of tickets desired, in advance of sales, such that you could see exactly how big of an issue it is each year, and then negotiate with camps in advance, about their numbers… and see if you still have any extra tickets to sell to new people.

    In any of these scenarios you could put the ‘camps’ on lottery if you have too many camps… or you could require them to explain what their camp is about in essay format and you could choose those that sound the most interesting… Or you could leapfrog the camps to every-other-year, etc.

    No matter what you are going to have to give priority to something… whether that be new people, or established camps, or whatever else is important… you can’t defray responsibility by trying to keep everything equal. Ultimately all that does is make it suckier for everyone. (that is a technical term) Choosing to not make a decision is still making a decision, so to speak. It can no longer be ‘all inclusive’ if you are no longer able to include every possible person. It is time to choose what is the most important, or it is time to stop having BM.

    * You could switch to regional events and people can only go the event in their region. Or only go to one regional event a year. Granted I am not sure how easy it would be to find someplace in several places of the US to have it, and whether to have them staggered or try to have them ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

    *Has anyone contacted the Rainbow Gathering people to see how they deal with this issue? I have never heard of it being a problem for them, so maybe they have some smart way of dealing with it? Although perhaps it is because of where they have their gatherings that it isn’t an issue?

    These are my thoughts, and since I have not read through all of the other things people have suggested, they might all be duplicates. But I felt the need to try and help:) So here is what I came up with in the last 2 hours since reading the JRS:) I hope it helps:)

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  • Wonder says:

    I do appreciate all the hard work BMORG is putting into handling this ticketing situation, and the heart that has been put into the message above. But I am dismayed that while the message stresses “transparency” it clearly is minimizing the actuality of scale of scalping that contributed to this fiasco.

    The message above states that “there is no clear evidence that scalpers are holding all those tickets” and that there “are right now only about a hundred such tickets” on scalping sites. This is clearly not true. In a three minute search of four online ticket resale sites, I already found almost 200 tickets being scalped from $700-1800. And I did not even try eBay or Craigslist on those searches. And that was just a tiny number of the numerous sites that resale.

    I do NOT believe that the main problem here is simply “demand” by a wider, newer group of participants. I DO believe that until we address the ACTUALITY that scalpers did indeed game the system and get a hold of more tickets than BMORG would like to acknowledge, we don’t have a way of fixing the system. I ask that if we are to rebuild trust in you, we need you to not minimize this issue.

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  • Kelsey W says:

    Seriously.. I would think you guys would have learned from Phish that the whole lottery system just serves to increase demand more and makes people more bummed out when they don’t get a ticket. I mean, really, you said they didn’t sell out until July last year- there wasn’t a need for a lottery.

    I really wanted to go this year, and even though I was right on top of when the tickets went on sale and should have been first in line, I didn’t get one. I’ve heard people say I just plan on going anyway, but now I’m considering not going because everyone is so broken up. It doesn’t sound like it will be the same this year.

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  • Kran says:

    Blowing one’s immagination is part of making it Burning Man, not just a boozed up camping trip in the desert. If you want to convince people you can change the world, it takes more than bringing an extra 6-pack of beer, it takes Dr. Megavolt or a flaming octopus or anything else mind-bogglingly magnificent.

    Frankly, no virgin starts at that scale, they are challenged to it by today’s heros of gifting on the grand scale. I think we should support those heros with the last 10,000 tickets – not because it is democratic, but because we honor them.

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  • Marina says:

    Thank you, I did not receive a ticket in the lottery but fingers crossed. I look forward to going home.

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  • Taco Stomps says:

    I first came to Burning Man in 2000 with a friend from college. We were in the first batch of 2000 tickets and each got them for $95 bucks. I actually thought that was a lot at the time. In 2000 there were only 25,000 burners, very few who were “weekend warriors”, no trash fence, only 7 streets out…it was just different than it is now.

    I remember hearing back then the occasional mumbles and grumbles from “veteran” burners complaining how it had changed so much from years past – felt different – was more commercial feeling, etc, etc. Frankly, I thought these people were a bit snooty and non-representative of Burning Man, but I was only a virgin so I kept quiet and just noted it. It was a magical year for me…one I will never forget.

    Since 2000, it has seemed like every year there was a new batch of “mumbler and grumbler” types complaining about the same shit…new people, people from LA, people who only come for a few days, people just looking to party, people who crank shitty music, etc, etc. It seemed that this dynamic was just part of the process. And although I’m even guilty of finding myself agreeing with a lot of the aforementioned complaints – curse you lame weekend warriors! ;) – I also think that the cynical or bitchy veteran burners are just as lame to be around, so I’ve tried very hard to be balanced myself.

    Unfortunately, my instincts are screaming at me this year that 2012 will actually be different. Different in a bad way that I don’t want to be a part of. I literally signed up for tickets 3 minutes after the lottery went on sale in hopes that I would somehow improve my chances even though I knew that doing so was about as logical as pushing the elevator button over and over to persuade it to arrive faster. I signed up for all three tiers even though I’m job searching after just getting out of school. I even called my credit card company to inform them of my potential purchase just to be extra sure that no glitches on my end would prevent me from getting tickets. I did not get tickets.

    After seeing what has transpired, and assuming there are a crap load of computer savvy scalpers, moderately interested virgins, or bitter bitchy veteran burners out there with tickets. I’m actually kind of happy I didn’t get tickets. This whole thing is an absolute mess, and I truly hope that something good happens from this.

    Regarding suggestions, it’s obvious something has to give…and rather than keeping the dream alive of having the last minute “buddy” invite decide to come along that changes her/his world forever, you should just assume that the people who want to go early should go, and should have access first. Assuming this, I agree with the suggestion to do what the Glastonbury Festival finally realized it should do…have a headshot printed on the ticket, restrict all returns to go back to BMORG, and offer early applications for groupings of tickets for established theme camps, or artists. Although much more effort on your end of the equation, this is the only way to solve the issue as I see it today.

    I had an amazing year last year – our camp had an art car, a full art installation on the playa, interactive games, and gave out a ton of love. I hope someone else will continue on with the love and fun for me this year. Good luck Burning Man 2012 – good luck BMORG…I will be waiting to see what transpires.

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  • Isabelle Hakala says:

    FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO BUY/SELL TICKETS ALREADY… You can use an escrow account/company for the transaction, with the understanding that your money will not be ‘taken’ until you actually get the tickets (whenever that is). At least this way you, and the other person, do not have to worry about being scammed. That being said, they wouldn’t get your money until the tickets are released either… so it isn’t as if they could get their money tomorrow. Still… it is an option with much added security. FYI:)

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  • Richard Young aka Redux says:

    No doubt this has been suggested already, but why not set up some kind of ‘volunteer noticeboard’ website – so those larger groups who will be missing members can post requests for help.

    Surely this would help those key theme camps/art projects that need more man/womanpower, while simultaneously helping the spirit of participation and communal effort.

    New friendships would be forged, and it would also help integrate newbies who are lucky enough to have a ticket, but may otherwise find themselves at a loose end when arriving at the Playa.

    Just my two pence.

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  • Leo says:

    Burning Man can no longer be considered HOME anymore. I mean after all what good is a home that you are not allowed to return to.

    I really don’t understand why BMorg has its collective head up its A$$ about the scalper problem. I agree with a previous comment that estimates that about 50% of tickets are in the hands of scalpers. Of course there are not many available online, they don’t have the tickets to sell yet. Also, they will not list all of them at once, they will trickle them out between now and August to keep the price high.

    Also, I don’t agree with the statement “No event organizer or ticket seller has solved scalping completely.” Many people point to the Glastonbury Festival, where tickets are non-transferable. IF IT IS NON-TRANSFERABLE IT CAN’T BE SCALPED!!!

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  • FlashAK says:

    I am a 12 year burner who was hoping to celebrate his 60th year on this planet at his 13th straight burn. It’s clear to me that this is endangered by the administrative decision to stampede people at the lottery. I don’t care what kind of spin you put on it (as you claim not to be spinning anything), the tone is ominous.

    From the ominous message aboe, it is also clear that the management of Burning Man has already decided to give the 10,000 tickets that were supposed to be open for a first-come, first-served sale to the privileged few.

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  • Wil Har says:

    I am an odd Virgin have a ticket and don’t feel guilty.

    I heard about Burning Man only 4 month ago. When I saw the photos from the Playa I felt immediately Home. I can’t explain why but it was not because of the fancy dresses or the boobs. There is something much more profound going on and the spirit of the Burning Man is spreading wider than ever and draws you in.

    I think the old Burners should not underestimate the potential of us newbies. We have a great responsibility to be part of the experience. Thanks to the various information available on the Web we all know what it is all about. There is a deep respect for who has grown the Burning Man Culture and principals. I am sure that most of us will be well prepared to contribute understand and share the true spirit of the event.

    I hope that the organizers will find a way to assure that Theme Camps and Art Installations will stay with the main event in BRC. However we should acknowledge that there is a massive shift in consciousness happening and next year will be even more impressive in terms of requests to participate. This is a beautiful and promising sign.
    Thanks Burners for your active role in accelerating this shift.

    Please give us odd Virgins the chance to feel Home and enjoy the journey together with you.

    Hope to meet you all on the Playa

    Wil Har

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  • FlashAK says:

    So, I’m wondering why The Man wants to wait until February 15th to announce their “plan?” I may be way off base, but it’s clear to me they’ve already decided what to do. I claim that they are gong to announce on February 15th that they are dumping the first come- first served sale of the last 10,000 tickets so they can give them to those who they perceive as “privileged.”

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  • Robert Polleros says:

    I’ll make it shorter:
    What about abandoning another principle, namely that tickets have to be cheap?

    I suggest a price of $500, or whatever is needed to match supply and demand. Infrastructure like the temple should be paid from tickets, not fundraising. The tickets are a small fraction of the total expense anyways, some finance big projects, or need plane tickets…

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  • Release says:

    Hello…Release here from Black Rock Bijou here, the theater out in Deep Playa. We were planning to be back next year, which would be our third consecutive. We hope that our tiny little group has built something these past two years that now feels part of the perennial Burning Man experience, just like a favorite veteran artcar, or the Roller Disco, or the Thunderdome. But of the eight people who built the Bijou last year, zero got tickets in the lottery. (We read enviously about the theme camps where 25% got tickets. Zero percent of team did.) Our Kickstarter to raise the funds we need, was about to launch, too. But now, of course, raising money will be difficult–the returning Burners who are inclined to support us don’t even know if they themselves will be on the Playa to enjoy the Bijou! We are hopeful that with intervention from BMorg, we can at least get access to the tickets we need to get the staff in to make this happen once again. We will brave the fundraising hurdle if we at least know we can get the team in to build it. When you think about it, the art projects that are very hardest hit in this crisis are the ones where a very few people create something relatively big, intricate, and complicated, because the shortage of even one or two people makes it difficult or impossible to complete the project. This newest missive gives us a ray of hope; otherwise, the Bijou will have to remain in storage or scrapped, and we will reluctantly join the hapless Burners who have to sit out this year. Thanks for the sensitive, honest, straightforward note. We are rooting for you. Godspeed.

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  • psychotropic says:

    Thanks, Andie. There are a lot of hard truths in that message, but I trust you and the sentiment really hit the spot that needed hitting.

    This will be my 13th consecutive burn. We got lucky with the tickets. Our camp is about 50% ticketed.

    I just wanted to chime in as a veteran in support of not prioritizing us over the newbies. This whole situation is just really hard. Burning Man is home. It’s just gutwrenching and heartbreaking that some of us might not be able to go, but we can’t abandon our core values or our home will vanish altogether. As I’ve watched the comments unfold on the board I’ve been more distraught by the community turning on itself than the actual ticketing debacle.

    I think the goal next year should be to expand capacity and limit demand with new policies that encourage participation. I agree with the above posts that the best way to limit demand is to close that gate early. If you want these virgins to truly become burners you have to make it impossible to show up, consume a three day weekend and then digest the experience when they get back home on Monday. Given a minimum of five days on the playa, even if a virgin thought they were going to a festival, they’ll end up huddled in a stranger’s camp during a white out and the community will assimilate them.

    Love you all…

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  • ArtArtArt says:

    Good lord! In just the last four hours since I originally read this piece the number of comments has exploded.

    Andie, this is a great piece. Thank you for putting it together.

    My heart goes out to whomever has the task of checking the messages on the Hotline these days. I’m certain that is no small task right now.

    Best of luck to all of you in the middle of this whirlwind.

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  • Thesaurus says:

    I feel for others pain and uncertainty. I also feel for those that work in the offices, and volunteers around the country. This cannot have been an easy time for anyone. Thank you for your above post as well as the honesty of your recent twitter post a few days back. Both showed how “real” the emotions are despite all the noise on various mailing lists.

    I am pessimistic of another “public” sale. Especially if priority is given to those that “lost out” in the lottery. If many thousands of tickets were gobbled up by the “Organized buying collectives”, it is an easy assumption that they had many times as many entries in the lottery, and received as many rejections.

    It follows they will have a constant ratio of as many opportunities to buy those tickets left over via public sale or STEP…

    As much as I would like to have faith in STEP, the only tickets that I see becoming available via STEP will be given “first priority” to the ratio of “re-sellers” to “non-re-sellers”. Advantage Scalper.

    Please remember these guys have been doing this for 30 years. Established bulk credit accounts, bulk mail drops, entirely fictional digital personae. All designed to get the first 5-10,000 “best seats” to any event in the country… letting them register in advance just made it easier… (I worked in and *for* sports venues for 14 years).

    I have already read statements on my regional list, encouraging folks to “work within your immediate community”. I see this already happening in theme camps, based on previous responses above. Good for them. Keeping it local, means keeping a middle man from jacking up prices.

    Also the more data that the ORG has about *real* conditions, the better the final result will be. Let your camp lead/supervisor/department head know.

    Also, to be blunt, Putting the scalper I ran into at the black top out of business would be nice too. (Friday, pre-burn 3:20 PM, I had to leave due to a family emergency).

    He was not *actually* selling tickets at the entrance, but referring folks to a “Nevada licensed ticket brokerage” which was operating from an office in Gerlach. He clammed up pretty quickly once he saw I was leaving the event… covered in playa.

    He was very Subtle in plying his trade. Well dressed guy, big rental Truck, (spotless) parked just past the edge of the blacktop. Plainly approaching people who were stopped and asking if they needed tickets.

    Obviously not very comfortable when people tried to hug him… dress pants, dress shirt, 800 dollar shoes… Plainly frustrated at having to get out of his vehicle in the heat.

    He was *still* asking three times face value… as I left the event.

    I would assume that this location is now part of the exclusion zone, correct?

    So, perhaps, making the blacktop a “no stopping zone” for a mile or ten… and aggressively enforcing such activity along the roadway in town (Gerlach/Empire), etc?

    Lonely post to put a couple of rangers… but the lesson to the broker would be painful if they had to eat the cost of a few thousand tickets… that got delayed by the legal process. Cat/mouse game has evolved though…he appeared to only be the “front man”.

    There seems no *real* hope in convincing re-sellers to stop doing so… weeks in advance… if they can dump tickets (at a greater profit) during the last 75 hours of the event.

    (At the “80’s Sports venue deleted”, when guys were caught selling in the parking lot, Police held them until a few minutes after the event ended, and released them with their tickets in hand). They rarely returned.

    Thanks for taking time to gather data, from so many sources. Thanks for your efforts, pain, and helping folks deal with uncertainty even when there is so much going on. Thanks for taking the time to sort through all the “noise” and gather data wherever you can.

    On a final note to the Burner Community: If you see a craigslist post advising tickets for sale, just flag it. Simple enough. Anyone can do it. No log-in required. Just eliminate the posts as fast as they pop up.

    New game: “Scalper Whack-a-mole”, Craigslist version.

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  • Peter says:

    Radical inclusion is an amazing thing… but if 40% of 40k current ticket holders are brand new, we currently have about 16k new burners in our midst, and there likely may be even more. Right now if the cap is 55k total burners allowed in, that’s 30% new blood. Think about that. About one in three people on the Playa will respond by saying “Yes, this is my first Burn”… one in three.

    Radical inclusion may be faced with its greatest enemy on the Playa: envy, jealousy, and unintended exclusion. “Oh, so you’re one of the people who got to come out here instead of my long time burner friends… I (not so sincerely) hope you’re having a great time!” Yes, in an idealistically perfect world there would be no regrets about the way the cake is being baked, but to be fair, there will be burners on the Playa who are not so happy about the new blood. Not when only half of your “normal” camp was able to come out… or maybe your significant other couldn’t get a ticket. Or maybe your best friend decided to give up their ticket because their significant other couldn’t get one. But hey, at least this new burner was able to get an early ticket!! Yeah, one of every three people you meet out there.

    The point is that this will not go down in a realm of idealistic perfection. We all wish it could, and would, but we’re human… we’re not perfect, and I can’t expect everyone to just let go and think like that. I’m not gonna lie, this is a burn I wish I could join and enjoy like years past, but right now I feel like it might be a cake best left for others to eat, and I’ll check out the birthday party next year.

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  • Akmojo says:

    last year was the Rites of Passage and I’m passing in 2012..
    I am going to miss the Playa and my Dusty family…..

    BTW.. all these suggestions of virgins having to “earn” a ticket by writing essays, getting involved with projects, etc.. that just takes away from ones freedom to do whatever they want and also creates a logistical nightmare for the BMORG….

    1 person, 1 ticket.. and a name on that ticket.. if one has a change of plans their ticket can only be sold back to the BMORG which can sell it at the highest tier level (if one is lazy and not trying to get a ticket early on then the penalty for that should be the highest tier level)…. if YOU want to go then YOU have to be responsible for YOUR ticket…. radical self reliance……

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  • Kran says:

    3 out of 4 family members kicked out of home. Wow. Hard to spin that at all.

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  • Avishag says:

    I may be just a first time burner (hi everyone *waves*), but I agree with Joe.


    About 2013, again, I’m new here but I agree with names on tickets.Also, I think that theme camps, art groups,performers and mutant vehicle crews can send you an estimate BEFORE the ticketing process starts as to how many people are involved.Then, you can put that amount of tickets aside for those people. The lottery systems can be for newcomers/people who aren’t sure they’re going etc.

    On a different note, I’ll be coming to BM from Israel and I don’t know if there’s an Israeli community of Burners.I tried to search the web and this site but nothing came up.Does anyone know anything about this?

    I really hope things work out.I do appreciate this honest post.My heart goes out to those who couldn’t get tickets.Some of my friends are among them.

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  • lars kropac says:

    2011 was my first year at burning man. It was absolutely wonderful. The love, the freedom, the dancing, the openness, the art and the happiness, the overall vibe of giving and sharing made it an awesome week that is beyond words to describe. i feel what you so aptly call social fabric was the foundation for all of the above. black rock city was surely by far the greatest single agglomeration of happiness and love on the entire planet during that time. this surely energy or fabric surely continues on… thank you so much!!!
    In my inexperience as a virgin at burning man I had no idea what to expect. However, a sense of giving came to me way before the actual event. in wanting to contribute I brought some tools and spare parts and opened up a small bike shop in our camp. Helping all those people to get their bikes working again was wonderful and in way very rewarding.
    The way you are handling the current situation is also wonderful. It feels very honest, very very comitted and also a little bit concerned – for good reasons, I suppose. My first reaction was “oh no, now it has surpassed a crucial threshold and everything´s going down the drain. but i find fear-based decisions create only more of the same energy – and that surely is kind of the opposite of what burning man seems to be about. So let me send encouragement to you:
    Maybe there really are more than 50000 people on this planet that are able to join that energy, to come together, to share, to contribute and to love. Wouldn´t that be awesome and even more powerful?!?!?! so maybe 2012 is going to be a bumpy ride. it is bound to be if there is a “next level” to be reached, it always is.
    I signed up for two tickets and I got lucky. One is already pledge to my very dear friend who brought me to burning man last year as she was not lucky and didn´t get a ticket. My girlfriend who was there last year also signed up for two tickets – same story. she got lucky and one ticket goes to her best friend. I think, it is a very good idea to limit registrations to only two tickets. And maybe the lottery did create some kind of anxiety: will I get enough tickets? One idea comes to my mind: why not set aside a certain significant number of tickets that will go to people who can be connected to the social fabric. that would be art car builders, theme camp organizers and so on. so they don`t have to enter a lottery but can be sure to be able to go and follow through with their projects.
    I am sure the lottery created something like preemptive buying: scarcity becomes obvious, anxiety sets in and prompts buying that otherwise would be postponed. Also: why not enter the lottery, there´s nothing to lose and much to win. so i feel a lot of tickets will eventually move to the most dedicated people somehow.
    so, please do not despair! ;-) and keep on looking for “the right way”. it seems you are doing wonderful. If I came up with more practical ideas i will write again.
    Lots of love and hugs to you!!!
    Best from germany, lars

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  • Michael Donahoe says:


    Possible partial solution???

    Thanks for so fully sharing what’s going on. The problem is truly staggering. Might staggering also be part of the solution? For people who are willing to leave BM by Fri at 2 p.m. (and post a hefty bond that will be returned upom proof of exit by 2), let them arrive as early as the previous Fri, where they can help set up their own or other’s theme camps. Same thing for Sat to Sat. Perhaps limit the offer to those who have seen the Man burn before and would be less likely to forfeit their bond.

    Hope this is helpful. Good luck and don’t crazy yourselves too much over this!

    michael d

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  • Blue Fire aka Will Grant says:


    1. We need to accelerate regionals bigtime. I’m a veteran Burner in SoCal now and would volunteer with all my heart to help build things down here.

    2. Would it be possible to organize two burns, literally? Half the camps one place or time, and half the camps the other? Would BLM allow that? Could our infrastructure bear the weight?

    I was way ticked about a friend who’s a camp lead not getting tix (give me a break), but anybody can see that you’re honestly trying to fix this. Thank you!

    Blue Fire
    now in Palm Springs

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  • Chris Buhler says:

    Big Katuna (art car)here. Uh. . . Well bummer . . Its times like this when ya just wish you could have a redo. So lets look at the bright side. There could be some new people on the playa, and maybe it would be better to off the big fish to someone who has a ticket that also has a mechanic who also has a ticket.(if only there were a site for this) Kind of a radical turnover. Burning man could be more radical survival like for the newbies. God only knows if a person might benifit from having been thrown into more chaos for a week. Kind of a future shock fertility2.0 training. Is it a step forward? Maybe . At least the newbies would have toys to play with. The downside would be Burningman would have a bigger babysitting job to do. (I wouldn’t be there for volunteering at the DMV either. The Big Katuna had big stinkin’ expensive breakdowns last year and needs more than one responsible committed mate to have a safe happy voyage. Not to say that I could not find someone responsible enough to fill the shoes of a ticketless tunamate, . . . lets just say it would be a leap of faith that I catch that fish on the playa.
    I don’t know if this brainstorming is helping you. I hope it does not sound cynical. Its really just coming off the top, and I am fishing my way through this too. I know you are doing some serious soul searching right now. I believe you will probably find that whatever you choose to do will necessitate an accompaning radical leap of faith in its outcome.

    Good luck,
    The big Katuna

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  • D says:

    I see ALOT of people posting….”sell the remaining tickets to the camps, art projects, art cars”…….

    Let me paint a picture for so many individuals……

    We had to wait until march for the open sale for one reason or another, we fully intend on paying full price for our ALOTTED tickets. So because in the main sale our community panicked and purchased more then what individually they need and took away from other burners, we are screwed again so the theme camps can be there.
    Yes some of those tickets are going to hopefully be put back into the community, but because of the chaos that we have caused, getting even those surplus tickets will be harder. Let’s face it, those tickets are going to go to camp mates, friends, preferred people…verses the opportunity of the first come first serve chances of writing to see if you got a ticket.

    I have been working very hard on an art project, time, money,research…I’m a solo camper, so I don’t fit into the catagory of “theme camp, artist, art car”…. This is our 7th burn…so not new….where is the fairness for those of us in the middle of the road….we got screwed in the main sale by let’s face it greed…now we will be screwed in the open sale because in order for burning man to be what it is, it needs those theme camps……so BMORG has to fix the burning chaos that the community helped create. If everyone would have had faith that the lottery would have worked and requested just the 2 you were ALOTTED then so many more burners would have received confirmation. There was a likely chance of the event being sold out again, so yes the chances of some not getting to go was there, but as a community we added in this mess, and the fix is going to possible do more damage…..

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  • Hamid says:

    Why did the Burning Man lottery suck so badly? How the Burning Man brass acted in pure greed? What could they have done instead?

    Here are some of the reasons I feel this lottery was bourne out of pure GREED!

    The presale was $420 per ticket. that is the highest rate ever and people could get 4 tix at this rate! people I know who applied for this got it, not much competition. Because nobody wanted to pay THAT much!

    How come BM had to do this? give special treatment to people who would pay $420, have them buy their ticket EARLY and also 4 tix at that!! how is that not GREED you tell me? how come it wasnt a presale of tix for $240 or less. but the highest amount? 3000 tix were sold like this…

    You can also see how this was a scalper’s dream. How people with money who want to turn BM into a cash cow fully took advantage of this so called presale.

    Regular honest hard working burners wouldnt have $1680 to just drop into this like that, they were hoping they would get a ticket at the much lower rate, almost half at $240 or at worst $320, which they could afford.

    This again made the $420 a scalper’s dream. A scalper who has no interest in BM is in it only for the money and doesnt give a rat’s ass about community, who is also flush with cash and wants to make even more money. Those guys readily snapped up the 3000 presale tix.

    And there was the bloody lottery with 40000 tix to be sold over a period of two weeks. Now lets talk about the price breakdown of this. (I couldnt get this price breakdown at the burning man tickets site so I found a resource on eplaya instead http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?t=52614 which could have been what they used this year)

    Well as it appears ONLY 10000 of these tix were at $240! that is just a quarter!!! 15000 were at the $320 and another 15000 were at at the highest rate of $390. Now to add things up.

    That means 18000 tickets for burning man have been sold for at least $390. If this is not GREED again you tell me what is it? And people like me could hardly afford $320 so when entering lottery I didnt even order a pair at $390 because I thought thats money I dont have. Also they had made another very significant “error” in the terms and conditions of the lottery. they had never explained that if you buy a pair of tickets at $390 thats what you are gonna get. a couple of my friends thought that if they put $390 orders, they could actually win $240 tickets if available. I think this was not the case. But there was no way to clarify this. Thanks to the bloody lottery clusterfuq. Not that it matters now, since people are just so happy they got a ticket, any ticket…

    Now there is yet another sale available. Guess at what price? 10000 at $390 of course. not $240 not even $320, no sir, $390 . 4 ticket per person at that too. Can you say another scalper’s dream? except. now all of us who havent got a ticket have no option but paying the outrageous $390. So there would be a blood bath fight between real burners who can ill afford $390/ticket and scalpers who can just drop $1600 for a cool 4 tix.

    So then that means. BORG will sell a whopping 28000 tix at $390 or more. and only 10000 at $240 which is the price most burners can actually afford. You tell me how is that not GREEED!!

    As to what I suggest they could have done differently? Well about the only thing I liked about the bloody lottery thing was that it happened over 2 weeks, not just 1 day like we used to buy tix before. Well as a successful ticket buyer I always managed to buy my tix with the first come first serve basis of all the previous 11 years, including last year. Because I was alert and ready to go. But I think one thing they could do is mix the only good thing about the lottery. and the other system that worked. Which would be have a first time first serve tickets sales online for a period of 2 weeks where every day only a small number of tix are sold. So say they sold 53000 tix this year right? well in my online buying system I would have 53000/14 tix sold per day. which is 3785 tix a day.

    I absolutely despise the lottery system, because as a guy who takes care of himself is radically self reliant, and believes in his own hard work, and making his life happen, i despise the brutal stupidity of randomness. That goes against our sacred burner tenet of radical self reliance. To be at mercy of luck, and random things that have nothing to do with your own control is absolutely brutally sad.

    If i didnt get my tix because I didnt work hard in the first come first serve system I would totally respect that. Besides every year that I bought a ticket with that system, I always bought a pair and sold the other at face value to a friend. Now I dont have the chance to that, which means I cant do the other sacred tenet of radical self expression, of my love to my friends.

    Thanks burning man brass, I hope this fiasco taught you something. I hope the poison of GREED gets resolved. Because you better know that us burners created the burning man, not the scalpers with unlimited funds, and the yuppies who can afford those outrageously priced tickets. You better know that you are dealing with a sacred bed rock of genus people, giving their ALL to this community, who wouldnt stand for these ways of GREED. You better heed this, or it would be too late to salvage this….

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  • Michael says:

    have some balls what a chicken shit attude to say were afraid of people sueing us if we refund everybodys money and reissuing them tickets with there names on them . I would gladly give up my tickets and by them back again to take care of this mess Buurning Man HQ made . Yes In the past 9 years i have been gong I have given out tickets to friends to seven of them . So issue a ticket buy one with a mane and a friend simple >

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  • roissy says:

    For this year, change the open sale to burners from 2009 or earlier. We have enough newbies for this year. For future events, allot newbies and those with less than two years, to 30% of sales, unless they are involved with a project. In my short ten years of attendance, I have found the newbies seem to have little clue about LNT and other aspects of BM culture.
    From my experience of being a laminated volunteer last year, it seem 40% of the people I spoke to while on-shift were newbies. Maybe I attract them…
    Note: I have nothing against newbies, it is whenever I had a issue with someone this was their first time out.

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  • fractalfrog says:

    What surprises me the most is that BMORG seems surprised that this situation happened, as it was clear to most burners before the lottery that this was the worst idea EVER. How can the people responsible for this lottery be so far removed from reality that during months and months of planning they weren’t able to understand something that just about everyone else was able to realize right away?

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  • Cheese Simon says:

    Some further thoughts:

    1. I agree that a % of the remaining 10,000 tickets needs to go to the veteran camps and core infrastructure. BM is always different but I think it would be too much of a gamble to be THAT different this year. What that % should be and how you go about making sure those tickets are available to those people is a hard one but I guess you know from the community who the integral camps and folks are. There won’t be any perfect solution there and some people are bound to be disappointed but hopefully they’ll then channel their energy into something else worthwhile rather than do nothing for a year.

    2. Social Media may have been a major contributor to the huge increase in demand but it can also be a huge part of making sure that new people understand that BM isn’t a spectator sport or a “regular” festival. All of us who have been before need to work hard over the coming months to inspire the new people to bring something to the community. It’ll be great if thousands of new folks leave this year feeling inspired to do something amazing in the future but it’ll be EVEN MORE amazing if we can inspire them to do something awesome for the community THIS year. Speaking as someone who came from the UK for the first time in 2009 and built a pretty big art installation withouth a clue about what this “playa” was like – such inspirations are possible.
    So all those who are building art, theme camps, art cars, events – make them as visible as possible! Let’s see MORE photos, more videos, more blogs, more FB pages, more bonding in the next 6 months. I think this is the best way to get new folks (as well as veterans) to participate.

    OK, so the huge influx for 2012 was a bit of a shock, but it can be turned into a GREAT thing. BM isn’t just about a big party in the desert, right? Ultimately we want to grow the community round the world and make a difference, right? So having all this interest this year presents a MASSIVE opportunity to really make a difference to what BM is all about in the long term. Let’s raise our game to meet the interest!

    Cheese Simon

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  • Igor47 says:

    the BEST idea for how to sell tickets in future years is here: http://eplaya.burningman.com/viewtopic.php?f=290&t=53708

    i still think scalpers got all of the tickets. they might be professional scalpers, or just newbies hedging their bets, thinking about going, but who are going to cancel their plans and take the opportunity to make some money while they’re at it. make it impossible for them, and you’ll solve a huge chunk of the problem. all it takes is making the tickets easy to duplicate!

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  • Stefan says:

    The BM Board made a wrong assumption thinking that the queuing system meant hours waiting in line at the computer screen “a luxury perhaps not available to many perfectly deserving Burners.” Burners are folks who dedicate months of each year and years of each life, spending hard earned paychecks, to endure harsh weather to build something most other people find insane. An extra 8 hours in front of a computer is an inconvenience compared to not having to wait at all, but not at all an inconvenience compared to not being able to buy a ticket at all!

    I wrote a blog post entitled “How controlling Burning Man ticket sales is like stopping spam or or how game theory radically beat the Burning Man Board who apparently hasn’t read Freakonomics” where I propose a better solution: http://stefann.com/2012/02/controlling-burning-man-tickets-is-like-stopping-spam/

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  • AllThatJazz says:

    i really hate to be the bringer of bad news and cold hard facts amongst all this “pr spin” but here is what everyone needs to be thinking about right now…

    first, that this decision has decimated and demoralized the main core catalysts of the event. the core artists who create both the city and art are unable to do what they have been doing for years. i am not talking about those who only come for a week to simply inhabit the city, instead i mean the people who are there before the early arrivals and stay long after everyone departs. it is wishful thinking to believe that 25-30k new burners can catalyze and create the event that we have all grown to love over the years. they won’t be coming to sweat and toil and be miserable to get their projects finished. rather, the fear is that they will be coming as costumed consumers and spectators for the most part, ready to ‘party’ as soon as they enter the gate.

    second, what scares me the most about that scenario is remembering all the people who got hurt or worse at the event over the years. i have been going 17 years and i have watched the event grow comfortable and safe. this was due mostly to the many years of figuring out how to do things right…you couldn’t just show up on the playa and know what to do. extreme weather and accidents are part of being there too. it is serious stuff. which is why i think its a bit irresponsible to portray the bm “brand” to new burners without also conveying this reality. think about it, 25k or so (half the population!) stumbling around the playa freaking out and getting hurt or worse. requiring *all* types of assistance from the core community. in the past, people who successfully landed on the playa and had picture perfect years were normally a part of long time camps who helped with this transition of default world to playa. we all know it is extremely difficult to just show up and know whats what. this is a cultural function that the core community was able to do each year because they were the majority, now it will be the other way around in a significantly more drastic way than it has ever been before.

    i mean, if there are waaaay fewer theme camps this year, who will help with this transition? a typical core theme camp at bm can easily accomodate hundreds of people at time with careful planning and infrastructure and experience. do we really expect new burners to recreate, for example, something like DISORIENT or ROOT SOCIETY in size and scope and safety?

    the damage control above is no doubt necessary, but the facts still remain…

    1) less than 60 day window before theme camp apps are due

    2) a heartbreaking mass departure of theme camps from the event due to unreliable ticket acquisition which like a domino effect destroys the plans of the core community who NEED to have things planned in advance to successfully bring their art to the playa.

    3) 25-30k possible new burners who really don’t know that sometimes the playa is like a lamb…and other times its like a lion. that being a part of the culture requires spending time participating/building and learning/interacting with the core community on/off the playa. (not just buying a ticket)

    4) the event can not be made larger this year.

    i really want to be optimistic but this is a real recipe for disaster imo. somehow and in some way, the BMORG has to get tickets into the hands of those core artists and camps who are considering not going…however, a large percentage of those artists feel burned (no pun intended) by the lottery and rightfully so. they do not make money for making their art. they make our city what it is so that others can inhabit it for an incredible week of wonderful surprises and life altering experiences. i hope everyone, new and old, sees this as transparently as i do and works to make sure the city takes care of its citizens as much as it takes care of its tourists.

    sure we have been down this road before…but never quite like this…

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  • S9arky says:

    next year do a sale for theme camps and art projects. have an application process set up prior to the sale where camps apply and if verified, get a code for ticket purchasing to give to their campers. maybe put names on the tickets in this sale. after the camp sale is over, take left over tickets and do a lotto sale for them. allowing for virgins and others to have chance at tickets.

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  • Sweet Chachi says:

    I am 30 years old. This will be my 7th burn in a row. I registered in the lottery and was awarded a ticket. (Only registered once.) In that time I have learned more about myself, and I have grown as a person. For all of this I thank Burning Man and the friends I have made on the Playa since 2005. When I was a virgin I had so much help and patients given to me. So much so that after a few years of light participation my friends and I decided to ramp things up. So we started a theme camp. It started small. As the years went by it got bigger and bigger. Things were great. We had people from all over the U.S. join us and in 2010 our camp was about 35 or so people. We didn’t have so much as an extra square inch. So in 2011 our projected camp numbers were just shy of a village. About 45 confirmed. So we asked for a lot of room to expand. Burning man gave it to us. Then tickets sold out. We ended up running a 100′ x 300′ foot camp with like 25 people. We made it work. So far this year our camp has a confirmed 6 people with tickets. Guess what, we will merge with our neighbors, what ever it takes we will make it work. Different dosnt suck. It’s just different. I do feel bad for my camp mates. But this year is going to be different because it has to be.

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  • moddy says:

    The good news!; there are 10,000 tickets that can still be distibuted to core camps and artists.
    It won’t be perfect, it never will be [in fact it never should be!], but 10,000 should be enough to cover a very large % of core burner/core camp needs.
    Maybe some restrictions are attached to the 10,000 tickets – the need to volunteer, or to document the camp that they’ll be helping at, or document their art or inspirational schtick.
    In fact, in an ideal world, maybe a 1000 of those 10k should go to individuals with the best ideas – we just need a large panel to scrutinize them.
    Camps that are then still left short of members should be encouraged to recruit newbies or 2-3 year burners. Even old camps have a turnover of members and some people who don’t really do much.

    It’s the instigators, the prime movers, fantasists, builders and creators that we need to retain, and even reward [with discounts?]. It’s just a question of identifying them.

    In future about 15-20,000 tickets should initially go the core groups for them to distribute.
    That’s at least some reward for the energy, time and $$$ that they all put into BM.

    Someone above had the thought that this could actually bring together more people who wouldn’t otherwise have interacted. Some camps can be a tad exclusive!
    Turn this ‘crisis’ into a positive outcome – at least for those who get tickets.

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  • moddy says:

    One other thing;
    I suggest a strict limit on RV’s – say 2000, say 1500….?
    I think the RV approach is fine for some, but if you can’t survive without your own personal toilet, shower and A/C then just maybe you’re in the wrong place!
    A camper-trailer is just fine..my wife would love for us to acquire one, but RV’s are totally contrary to the concept of attaining some kind of oneness with the desert and your neighbors.

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  • Bex says:

    Hi there,

    Thank you very much fo the above message…. I appreciate the time and energy you must be putting in at the moment.
    I recently came accross a very interesting comment on facebook – which surprised me somewhat… and made me wonder if there had been more instances of this

    The person posted that due to a computer glitch they had recieved 4 tickets instead of 2. It may have been a one off… but might be worth looking into?

    Much love,
    See you on the dust

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  • Jonathan says:

    “1. It is not possible to simply grow the event to welcome more people in 2012. Between traffic concerns and the limitations placed on attendance by the Bureau of Land Management, that’s off the table.”

    What about staggering entry & exit over several days? In other words, allow people who have a history of contributing a ton to come 1 week before or even 2, people who contribute alot 1 week before, people/camps who have contributed a little to come 3 days before.

    And extend the event 3 days, so everyone doesn’t leave at once. This can become a new tradition, & build ion the Ying energy of the temple burn.

    An even more staggered entry & exit schedule would help tremendously with traffic, and there SHOULD BE AT LEAST 2 GATES to help with traffic as well.

    Why in the world wouldn’t the BLM want Burning Man to have a larger permit, we take great care of the dessert? & these government agencies are drowning in DEBT, surely they need the money a larger permit would give them. What about trying to purchase exclusive rights to the land? I know, this kind of goes against the ethos of BM.

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  • adrienne says:

    getting this message in my inbox this morning was like manna from heaven: thank you!!! i felt so good to receive clear, direct communication from the organization.

    i am a virgin, really hoping to get a ticket this year, and i will stay calm and trust the process!!!

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  • Tara says:

    “The agreement not to burn the statue transformed the audience into an unhappy unruly mob, as Larry realized what had been a celebration had become, to the crowd, a “mere roadside attraction.” At that point Larry realized that Burning Man at Baker Beach had reached the limits of its presentation in San Francisco, and one way or another, the statue and its celebration would have to appear somewhere else. Lowered and dismantled, the statue was put back in storage.” from the BORG website.

    It is funny if you really listen you can hear history repeating itself. The need to compromise the principles and the outside forces telling us “you can’t all do that hear”. Seem to be the same. It is all just now on a larger scale.

    Instead of changing what we do and how we do it and making it into something that it is not. I feel it is more important to be strong in our strength, in what we know we want to be and find a place that wants us!! All of us. Even if you have to hold BMan in Antarctica I think it would be better then changing it into a place where it is about who you know, or how much you are working whoops I mean volunteering…. Once status becomes more important in the community, an economy built on gift giving becomes used totally differently.

    And who knows once the fed realize they could loose all the money Bman brings into the area then, perhaps they may sing a different tune on how many people it will allow….

    whether you have gotten a ticket or not at this point. I feel like Bman at least in BRC this year has already been canceled by disqualification … At least the one that has 10 principles and accepts me for my mere humanity and I know I am an integral part of. The one that has been planted in my heart will always live on.

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  • Tim G says:

    How about:

    – you announce your theme days after the man burns. It’s not hard – you just have to come up with a theme – everyone does all the hard work :-)
    – give artists, camps, vehicles makers, etc a couple of months to put together their submissions on what they’re going to do, how they’re going to do it, how many people it will involve, how much it will cost. You know how many tickets are needed to make the burn work – if it’s 25,000, so be it.
    – If you know these people from past burns and know they’ll do a good job, you might want to give them 50% or more of the tickets they need. You could have discretion on the price you charge for a ticket – if each camp member is throwing $500 into the pot (on top of their ticket prices) to make it work, and you trust them because their contributions in the past have been amazing, give them lower price tickets as a reward and a thank-you for their massive contribution to what makes the burn so special.
    – If these people are not known to you, or have no track record, but their ideas sound fucking awesome, give them a chance, maybe tell them to scale it down a bit and give them all the tickets they need so they can have a first crack at it and bring something new to the Burn. But keep a very close eye on them and get them to send you in update reports across the next 8 months. If they fail to do that, withdraw their tickets. If this all sounds like a lot of admin, employ some people to manage it.
    – You don’t need to just consider requests from massive camps – that dude who picks you up on his two seater from 9 o’clock and drives you round to 3 o’clock at 6 in the morning when you’ve had your bike nicked (you know who he is, he’s been going for ever) and it’s bloody freezing or whipping up a storm – give him a free one. Hell, give him a lifetime pass.
    – If some chancer says I’m going to open a bar for one hour a day on row M then just toss it in the bin.
    – You get the camp/art/vehicle leader to be in charge of their ticket distribution and to give you the names of the camp who have been allocated the camp tickets by a certain date.
    – If you allocate a camp 50% of what they need, then give them a month to pay for those tickets. If they don’t pay, put the tickets back in the pot, or start taking a look at the near misses and throw some tickets their way.
    – Open up a hardship pot at the same time, and set criteria. Long term carers, disabled, etc to the front of the list. People who really deserve a cheap or even a free ticket. Ask for proof. Get tough – why should students get lower price tickets? when I studied I made a choice to be broke for 3 years and I didn’t get to do stuff I wanted to. That’s life. I know that sounds hard – but a lot of us travel from across the world to come to BM – and it’s bloody expensive once you put in flights, buying/renting all the equipment you need, jeep/RV hire, etc. Most of us are working hard to save, and normally paying the credit card bill til the next one comes around. Hardship should mean hardship, not life choices. If that idea pisses people off, why don’t you gift someone you know $100 towards their ticket if they are broke? I feel certain there are plenty of people with lower tier tickets who can well afford to pay more.
    – Once all that’s done open up first come first served, one price tier, non-transferable but fully refundable, one ticket per application.
    – In the unlikely event there are still tickets left, open it up for those who want to buy tickets to gift, etc, and they can name the recipient during the purchase process
    – And to avoid the inevitable delays caused by checking ID for all people – allow all of those people allocated tickets through the submissions process to start coming in from the Saturday onwards – pushing through half the traffic on the weekends would surely also placate the authorities and free up the highways
    – If you still feel a need for tiered tickets, maybe let higher tiers in from midnight sunday, and lower tiers from midnight Monday.

    Maybe some of these don’t work in practice, but thought it was worth throwing out there.


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  • GSP says:

    The ONLY long term solution is grow the total capacity of Burning Man. (See choices below)

    Every year that the cap remains at 50,000 the issues seen this year will only be more and more compounded, regardless of the system used for ticket sales.
    If demand is greater than supply then some portion of the interested population MUST be turned away. Excluding birgins not only goes against the basic principle(s) of Burning Man but it doesn’t even do enough to solve the problem, with the number of active veteran burners already exceeding 50K and several thousand more being initiated this year. Excluding veterans inevitably hinders group collaborations, hurts the community’s cohesion and still leaves some participants out to dry.

    Since Black Rock City is apparently hard capped at 50K it’s time to come up other solutions:
    A) Relocate to an alternate location with greater capacity (logistical hassle and really only a short term solution)
    B) Run multiple simultaneous events localized to different regions (large logistical undertaking to cold-start a comparable event, but flexible for continued growth, with stronger localized communities. Risk of having less diversity at each event as they become polarized)
    C) Run Black Rock City more than once per year (would requires additional staff organizing and Bureau of Land Management approval)
    D) Limit frequency of participation. Bi-annually? (Loses the annual consistency that many people crave, but at least it does so in a predictable fashion that could be planned around)
    E) Some combination of the above

    I personally like idea of C&D, running BRC multiple times per year but limiting each participant to only once per year. (Not sure if it makes more sense to run them back to back or several months apart, but either could work)

    Hopefully someone will read this and we can see a bigger and better Burning Man in 2013

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  • Alpha Powder Monkey says:

    Newbies, veteran burner here…

    Wanna get a better understanding of the ethos, history and love of Burning Man?

    Get this book and read it from cover to cover…



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  • Linka A Odom says:

    Thank you so much for writing this!!

    I also agree to registering tickets, I bought a ticket for Secret Garden Party last year, then I was not able to attend. It was a little difficult to go through the re-assignment process, but possible, and I sold it. Secondly, yes to the Grandfather clause, you go in 2012, then perhaps you are last in line for 2013. You miss 2012, you are first in line for 2013.

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  • Alien says:

    Honestly, it made me a little bit sad to read that. I always dreamt of going to BM, finally I got the money, time and ticket and now I am told that “it is a pity that the old crowd isn´t able to come. But it will work out. Somehow. Anyway, nice to see you.” I read between the lines that “the good old days” are over. And I tell you what: it´s true! We live in a multi-connectable world and if you would like to have BM for you and your crowd then why would you actually allow the festival to grow and spread the idea?

    I am really not feeling warmly welcomed I feel like I am guilty that another one could not come. I am really thinking of giving my ticket back to you, as it seems to me that you prefer all to stay in your “exclusive club”. I doubt the trip from Europe is worth the money, as an atmosphere of disappointment seems to wait for me, forcing me to do my best to make it as good as before (I´m relating to the coments here). For my understanding this is absolutely not the spirit of a sharing community, where people are accepted the way they are and in the way they are.

    A sad, sad alien.

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  • Laa says:

    I am really pleased to see this being addressed.

    I am still a bit distressed by the anti-newcomer sentiments I have been seeing. I didn’t get a ticket in the lottery, but when one of the resale tickets finds my hand, I will be a newcomer/first timer/virgn/burngin/whatever you want to call me. A newcomer that is planning on joining up with and working with a theme camp. And I would like to see the community acknowledge that each and every newcomer has the potential to be an incredible force in building this event, instead of assuming that we are going to need to be taken care of or have absolutely nothing to offer.

    I am terrified at the reception I am going to receive when I step on the playa for the first time. That doesn’t seem right. I feel like more of a disease than the ‘lifeblood of Burning Man’ right now, and I don’t even have a ticket yet.

    How about encouraging some of the big camps to reach out to those newcomers NOW, while there is still so much time to plan and build? Get them involved. A lot of us want to be involved! Grow your camps instead of pouting, so when the rest of your camp starts getting tickets you are even stronger.

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  • Cadence says:

    With all that money maybe buy a large piece of land and start from scratch, maybe find one near easy transportation, where railways could be used, save on gas,

    And forget radical inclusion. Instead decide what is valuable to the core group and bring in people that adds to the community. There’s plenty of gawker, thieves, etc that don’t belong. So treat it like a private event(like inviting someone to your home), and bring ones that you value, and for god sake stop raising the price! It made no sense, especially with plummeting economy. You’ve managed to exclude awesome folks, but any rich folks will still show up.

    Also does everything have to be impermanent? Why not buy some land and build up on it every year? or even more often. With all that resource it seems wasteful to put energy into impermanence. Earth resource is finite, and so is time and energy. But there is enough to accomplish great project amongst BM community.

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  • nikolaus heger says:

    Just one thought: Once upon a time, ALL BURNING MAN participants were virgins.

    Was burning man worse then? I don’t think so. In fact the old timers always say how it used to be cool but it’s all crap now (I respectfully disagree of course).

    I absolutely freaking loved some of the theme camps last year – I loved Robot Heart, I loved DISTRIKT, Pink Mammoth; LOVED it. But you know what? The most amazing thing to me was all those little places… the 2 person theme camps that had a clever idea. There was a group of 3 Japanese who set up a live, walkable camera, where you could sit inside and change the focus of things going on on the outside. It was the most amazing thing ever. A little 3×3 ft box done by 3 people who flew in from Japan.

    And about 500 other examples of this. Like the walk in Vagina slide somewhere on the very periphery where only a select few would even find it. Burning Man 2012 will rock. No matter what. I’m excited. I have gotten used to my camp family and I love them. But if we can’t pull of the same camp or a bigger one we did last year… we’ll do something else. We’ll be there.

    BMORG needs to put names on tickets to kick out the scalpers. Other than that -anything goes.

    Long term, finding a new venue would be very interesting I think. Imagine a 100,000 people burning man!!! Could it scale that much without breaking down? I don’t see why not…

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  • DrTune says:

    Andie, that’s a terrific posting, appreciate the honesty and clarity very much.

    This year will be ‘interesting’. Someone who has a ticket can tell me about it. :-(

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  • Wet Spot says:

    BRC needed an airport. An airport theme camp was created (thanks to Twighlight Fire). Maybe there should be an “Official Scalper Camp” set up outside the gate. BMORG runs it. If the only way you can sell your ticket is to have the ticket physically present on the playa, and it’s a live auction atmosphere, the the additional burden of getting rid of tickets would discourage scalping. You might even be able to get a ticket for lower than face value.

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  • mikrosopht says:

    ♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥
    [regional burn] firefly last year was my favorite thing ever. i have not been to black rock city. rainbow gathering is interesting but lacks the tech slant and draws too many uniforms. every people/place has unique qualities, and because burning man explicitly promotes and embraces radical inclusion, in this time of epic change we point to the future.

    the people – evolution control committee mentioned joining radio burning man years ago; and i just noticed brian behlendorf played a huge role in my trajectory. these folks grew us together through technology. hyperreal, erowid, detritus, sito, jodi, fax, micromusic, hell, the list goes on and on – dreamless nights – a decade later the network has a more solidified awareness of it’s intricate fractal cycles, the eyes drums spiral out. time to get everyone dancing.

    usually, people need change. but right now, a lot of people explicitly Want change, and are ready for change, and are manifesting that change. previous systems failed. and failed. a lot of burning man population understands the significance of wikileaks, occupy, SOPA → ACTA [protest tomorrow stopacta.info] – these all have tremendous impact on community. it’s time to illustrate creatively the importance of allowing radical experimentation online and in the real world and beyond; let no red tape hold creative thought back.

    a distributed network of camps makes the most sense. and who knows, some could be next door, synchronized – but we’re all neighbors. let’s burn forever.
    ♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥

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  • Remco says:

    Andie, thank you so much for being so open and honest. I think this kind of communication already helps a lot.

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  • If demand is getting so huge (which is a good thing for the global community), lets think about having 2 Burns a year. Around Memorial Day and the normal Labor Day time.

    I’ve been 3 times and I was looking to get married at the burn this year but my lovely girl and I are still in need of our tickets…..

    Fingers crossed and keeping positive.


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  • DriftingDuo says:

    Firstly, thank you for this much anticipated response. As first time burners my partner and I have been following the outpoor of responses via social media forums and can see what a strong community has built up here over the many years.

    I want to make it clear as first time burners we are honored to have the opportunity to not only experience, but to actively engage in this years event. We have been travelling the world for the past two years, meeting interesting people and expanding our cultural horizons. In that time we have attendend numerous festivals and one thing is for sure, Black Rock City is the proverbial “mecca” for festival goers – in other words, we take our roles as newbies very seriously.

    At first we were worried that this year wouldn’t be the same, and the (understandable) negativity swirling around the community really bummed us out. But, as poster Cheese Simon touched on, we want to see an outpouring of advice, videos and ways we can contribute. The bar is set very high but there is incredible opportunity to make this year the best yet. No doubt we’ll be bringing the positives vibes, so once the ticketing situation has been worked out we look forward to hearing from the community on how this duo (and other newbies) can help transform this negative ticket debaucle into a magical playa adventure.

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  • The First Timer says:

    This is my first year at burning man. I will continue to post in our local board and hopefully they will come around. ( Most newbies know that feeling I have).

    I only asked for one ticket and will use that one ticket. :)

    I will be there with an open mind and spirit. I cant wait to taste the dust..


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  • rapunzel says:

    Please only offer the remaining 10k tickets to theme camp participants. It seems they need it more than most…

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  • DrTune says:

    BTW I have nothing specifically against virgins (we were all one once), but it takes a lot of equipment to make camps happen; thousands of dollars of stuff (e.g. quiet Honda generator, big shade structures, dome, lighting, flooring, seating,etc) and I’ve acquired this over the last decade and share it with my camp.
    This year it looks like there is no camp.

    Multiply me by a few thousand and there will be a huge amount of camp hardware missing from the playa this year – and a lot of people turning up with fresh-from-Walmart bikes and tents and cycling around looking for “something to do”.

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  • MiSalsa says:

    Thank you so much for the response. My biggest issue with the lottery system was that it gave people with more money a better opportunity to get tickets which I had a very visceral response to. Not only in that there were more tickets at a higher level, but also that if you were willing to pay more you were put in the drawings for the less expensive tickets – taking them away from people who could only afford to pay less. Maybe a single price with more low income tickets would be better. That way everyone participates equally, and those who truly can’t afford to can prove their case.

    All things grow and change, and even eventually end. I remember seeing the very first documentary made about the event on Public Television, and dreaming of one day attending (at the time I was under 18) and thinking that it was too good to be true, and there was no way it would still be going when I was able to finally attend. It was still going strong when I was in college and had my first opportunity to go, and I have been able to attend many times since. I am very fortunate to have had those experiences, and volunteer with BWB and participate in many ways. It has really been an incredible journey and a community of acceptance and giving I truly hope will spread. Thank you.

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  • hazmatt's mom says:

    You guys are to be commended on your courage in admitting the problem and in creatively, inclusively, and openly working to find a solution! If only our national government could follow your example!

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  • Benoit Julien says:


    I read a lot about the ticketing issue and have a few suggestions. I will try to be concise since you must be overwhelm with feedback. Since it is too late to change the process right now, my suggestions apply for next year.

    – As you wrote, the lottery did not alleviate the scarcity of tickets. There is really no way to achieve this. I suggest you go back to the original model where people attempt to get tickets on a given date, it is still the best way of doing things. People who really want to go will make sure they get in line early as they should. If you worry the waiting line might get too long then make batches of tickets available at different dates and times as you did for 2012 but drop the lottery concept.

    – For the new comers, as you know there is so many the community can absorb without loosing its soul. You probably know already what that percentage is (I suppose it might be around 20 to 30% of new comers each year). For 2013, the idea would simply be to reserve X% of tickets to people of have already register to BM in previous years. This batch of tickets should be offered first to these burners. If we do not trust the honor system to make sure only previous burners request such tickets then you can put a process in place that will check some basic registration information against a database of previous year registrations (name or address or also credit card numbers checks). There is nothing wrong, to make sure that this list has some key people or groups that you want to make sure will be able to attend the event.

    Any unsold tickets of the previous burner only batch will be added to the second batch of tickets offered later to everyone.

    I hope this makes as much sense to you as it does to me.

    You can email me if you want to discuss this proposed process further.

    Good luck.

    Benoit (BM 2008 & 2010)

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  • Nosamk says:

    I personally feel similar to many others that have posted here. Tickets should be offered to veterans first. Only after that should they be offered to the general public. I’ve been to BM 5 years and unless some miracle happens wont be going this year as I was one of the HONEST people that only applied for tickets one time and only for the quantity I needed.

    The influx of newbies this year seems dramatic. I venture to guess that 75% of them or more will NOT be prepared. They see Burning Man as a festival and have NO IDEA what they are in for. They may be the “life blood” but I see that they will possibly drain the LIFE out of BM.

    What the hell are they going to do out there in the desert if most of the theme camps, art creators, and long time burners arent there? Look at each other and wonder when ColdPlay is supposed to be on stage?

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  • Doug Oliver says:

    Virgin Burner & Son from NJ here. We got two tickets in the Pre-Sale, and I am beginning to feel badly after reading about those that really wanted to go (especially from the long-established Theme Camps) that may not be able to.

    Please Please Please start a forum or website to allow folks like me and my son (I’m 51 and he will be 18) to volunteer for/at the Theme Camps that need help. I am offering our time as a small way to compensate those camps that will be short of established members. We are from NJ, so we may not be back next year, but we want to make this year the best it can be.

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  • Tim G says:

    Agreed with DrTune. I think every ‘veteran’ wants more than anything for any first timer to have the most immense experience possible. It’s impossible to say what that experience is – for some it will be the crazy shit they find deep out in the playa, for others it will be an hour on their own at the temple, for others it will be dancing all afternoon at Distrikt, meeting the most amazing new friends, or drifting round the playa on top of an art car – or most likely a mixture of all of these things and more.

    What veterans do know however, is the major role that participants play in the Burn, and the huge amount of time, money and effort that some people put into making the Burn magical. Unless people work in major events management, they would have no idea how to go about doing what some of these camps have been learning to do over the years, accruing equipment which is sat in lock-ups in Reno or Oakland, waiting to be used again.

    In my earlier comment I mentioned that the first stage could be to sort through submissions for theme camps etc, and based on merit, to award them a % of the tickets they need to run their camps. BM Org know how many people it realistically takes to run any kind of camp, so they can sense check and will know when people are trying to pull a fast one. I deliberately said that they should only award a proportion of tickets needed to run a camp – this frees up space for new camp members to join them (whether first timers or veterans) or for any of the rest of their usual camp who get tickets in the subsequent general sale. This allows those with experience to share it with others, who may well end up taking over the organisation of the camp in the following years. I’m sure BM could knock up a site for all camps looking for new members, saying what they are looking for etc, and then those camps can accept applications from people to reach their required numbers.

    I also think it’s worth saying that joining a major theme camp is not necessarily the best thing for a first timer to do, in my humble opinion. There’s a lot to be said for having the time to lose yourself in BM without the very hard work that comes with being a theme camp member. You can participate in other ways, do something smaller, find your playa feet, donate a a bottle of vodka and some mixers to that amazing bar you’ve been hanging out in, fill your rucksack with some cold beers or water (or apples straight out of your cool box), invite your neighbours for dinner, sign up for some volunteering, give someone a massive smile, pull the sunburnt person into the shade and give them some cream and a hat, etc. It’s all gifting, and it’s all as important as theme camps.

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  • I couldn’t go in 2010 — I made it as far as Chicago by train when the California Zephyr derailed over the past night and I had to go home. I gave my ticket to some people who were going to try and make it via Seattle and San Francisco. Names on tickets would have prevented that.

    But my bigger point is that no socioeconomic system “works” in times of scarcity. There will always be some who are included and some who are excluded. Any system that deliberately selects people just breeds animosity in those who are excluded.

    I realize also that I might be in a group that is excluded. I see a lot of comments to set up the “rules” so the author is included. I’m accustomed to being part of the group that is excluded, but I’d feel kind of worse if it was Burning Man — I’d feel worse if there were specific attendance requirements that I don’t meet (or don’t meet well enough) because I think Burning Man is a group for the outsiders.

    So to me, the question is, can a system be made that truly selects people at random with no inherent requirements? Selecting people based on their ability to pay is not so hot, but neither is rewarding big theme camps, individual attendees, veterans, or birgins. Curiously, I’m drawn to the legal “personhood” of corporations: if a theme camp needs at least 10 people to exist, can they be treated as one participant since 9 people is the same as zero?

    It is a defining moment for Burning Man. Is it an event for veterans? Is it an event with big group projects? Is it for individuals? Scarcity will define what it _is_ whether we want to or not.

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  • Cosmic Boy says:

    Wowie, what a thorough and thoughtful article. I would encourage burning man to look into the system that Glastonbury festival in Scotland uses to guide sales and prevent fraud and/or scalping. I have no doubt it will be what it needs to be as it always is.

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  • Eric says:

    I have hope! Our theme camp is still planning forward… we will be there. I hope BMorg doesn’t think their community “turned” on them rather felt initially this process was done behind walls with unknown motives… in the letter above, I honestly believe what is said and understand this much better now.

    I entered the Burning Man way of life at a crazy time… but have come to peace with the inevitable beast that it has become. As long as the growth doesn’t come at the cost of the “core” burners that build amazing art and art cars and camps- it will go on. I see you’re trying to address this now.

    So my part to help this? I’ll shut up about tickets (for a bit) and hope it works out. I’ll plan on attending and bringing as much amazingness as I can. I just REALLY don’t want to have to buy scalped tickets or see any friends left behind.

    Awaiting orders.

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  • Luc says:

    It is time for Radical Inclusion.
    For all of those who participated in the lottery and won a ticket, Congratulations! I feel fortunate to have received one, and this will be my first time attending Burning Man. I am concerned that my, all of our experience thee may not be as full as it could be because of those die hard artist and burners that were not so fortunate to receive a ticket.
    If every ticket is truly accounted for by a committed person, then we shall see how this new insurgence of people will morph the environment. My guess and as stated below, many have bought an extra ticket just incase…
    If that is so, I ask of you to offer your extra tickets up (for full value) to the collective, to bring the ones left out back into the fold.

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  • DrTune says:

    It does irritate to see posts by virgins who got tickets who say “me and my wife and her friend all applied for two tickets but we didn’t all get them” basically saying ‘obviously we applied for more than we needed, didn’t everyone?’

    Many burners only applied for the tickets they needed; the culture of BM is not about gaming the system or taking more than you need.

    It’s funny that the lottery means people who think like this have are more likely to be on the playa. Nice filter.

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  • Sfburner says:

    Name on ticket. Then if you can’t go you re-sell it back to BMorg for less 10%. BMorg can then sell it to someone else. Problem solved.

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  • Madmatt says:

    Annie Grace, BMORG, et al, thanks for apologizing and acknowledging. Even if lors of theme camps and art project teams get a better chance now at tickets, which I hope will happen, there is still the HUGE problem that many, many people can’t go.

    If what you say bears out about the huge proportion of first timers coming, the problem will be if not enough people really CONTRIBUTE something to making Burning Man the stunning spectacle that it has been.

    (i know lots of first timers bring amazing and meaningful contributions, i know) BUT Thousands of people come to BM primarily because of “famous” DJs and their only contribution to BM is dancing. If we get to a tipping point, then BM becomes Coachella.

    Without “banning electronic music” or DJs (yes, i know, to some this is art), is there some waynto either reduce the scale, or change up the way we have massive sound camps that are giant dance clubs? This has been an issue for years, and I believe is directly responsible for the huge and growing numbers of people who come to BM and don’t contribute substantially. This is not a judgement on “your contribution is not good enough” or ” dancing is not expression” – but we have all experienced this, and now that BM SOLD OUT maybe addressing the BIG SOUND CAMP issue is in order…..

    That said, there is a danger that BM 2012 will be 55,000 people camping in the desert wondering where all the cool stuffed they saw in the Dr Suess video. So EVERYONE who GETS a ticket has a moral obligation to TRY DO CONTRIBUTE SOMETHING MEANINGFUL so that BM doesnt stop being stunning and awe inspiring.

    Apologies to DJs, sound camps and dance-aficionados I have offended….

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  • glamgirl says:

    I would like to offer gratitude for providing a space for such amazing experiences and people to gather. It always amazes me how burning man changes and evolves every year. I was thankful for a ticket this year and also thankful I actually was able to register for a ticket, every other year I have to cross my fingers and hope that I don’t get kicked off the website or a friend has a leftover ticket at the end of the day #1 madness.

    The only constant is change. evolve people, it is great fun. it is okay to be nervous and anxious on what 2012 bm will be like, but just leave your anger at the door and step in open and willing to rock it!

    ps i liked the lottery.

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  • MrKupka says:

    Scalping won’t go away but I’ll hold much of that judgement until we see just who gives up their extras through STEP.

    I still firmly believe this problem was not as much of a first-timer enrollment as you believe. Even when just a poll, people tend to think they’ll be rewarded if they mark that they are going for the first time. I’ve seen vets do it. In addition, padding the lottery by having friends or family put in for you is what I feel impacted this the worst.

    Ways to fix it:
    1.) one ticket per credit card
    2.) named, watermarked tickets. You’re not the only sell-out event, but you tried to reinvent the wheel. A lottery can be effective if you MANAGE it.
    3.) Can’t use your ticket? Pay a fee to get it transferred to someone else.

    It’s really THAT simple.

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  • masterblaster says:

    Cancel all issued tickets and an give refunds/credits. Expensive-maybe a little. What’s going on now is expensive in many ways. Reissue under another scheme-lottery would be fine, but limit to one ticket per successful applicant. This must be the year of public relations screw ups.

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  • Madmatt says:

    PS – 2012 will be my 11th burn, having skipped only once, and my wife and I got our 2 tickets for ourselves only at the highest price in the pre sale. Maybe some of those first timers this year will offer to sell their tickets to theme camps or art teams so that BM can live up to what made them want to go in the first place. They could go in 2013 knowing that they contributed to helping BM live on…But I know that that won’t happen…

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  • Lee Cowen says:

    Thank you for this great communication with the community. As I read this, I tried to think about how other events (i.e. coachella, a large concert, etc) would handle such a situation. It is very obvious that the org and our community truly are special. Thanks again and I’ll simply see you in 2013 if I cannot manage to secure a ticket for this year.

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  • Marc says:

    It is a sad day. I have never been, but since hearing about it, I have spent well over 100 hours planning, researching, and reading eplaya to do my birgin burn right. I was happy to spend the ~$3k to make it the 4,500KM to the event from Toronto and be a part of the magic (this is no small amount for me).

    But it sounds like neither my girlfriend nor I will be getting any tickets without a personal network of burners to turn to. All we can hope is that the number of tourists doesn’t overwhelm the true spirit of the community and infect burning man with default world attitudes so that it survives until next year.

    I make this request to all veterans who got tickets and birgins who really understand what Burning Man is about… The future is riding on you, so even though the vibe may be very different at the playa this year, you MUST infect the tourists with the spirit of Burning Man. They may outnumber you, they may push back at first, but don’t give up! Everyone who understands how special the playa is will be counting on you, whether we’re there in person or not. We’re all rooting for you!

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  • nikolaus heger says:

    No merit based tickets. That’s simply against the BM spirit. Oh my I’ve been for 5 years and now part of an emerging theme camp – am I better than others? Come on. Please. Cliques at BM are already kinda annoying with “insiders” and whatnot – I am not taking that stuff seriously but I know some do. Merit based tickets would make BM an official clique-y event.

    Even if the unthinkable happens – and I don’t think it will as there are many ways out – and all the theme camps are at 30% membership – my guess is BM will be amazing. As it always is, always in different ways. Some will make do with lots of virgin volunteers. Others won’t show. Others will scale down – who knows. There are many options. If that’s the experiment this year – bring it on!

    The only thing that BMORG really needs to do is named tickets. Not only to remove scalpers but also to force all those who have 2 – and that would include me – to sell them via STEP right away. It would flush out all the stale tickets! That’s why we need it. Now!

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  • ZS says:

    It sounds like you guys are doing everything you can to ameliorate the situation as fairly and satisfactorily as possible. You rock! Thank you for everything you’re doing for the community!

    Many people in my camp, including cousins and an uncle, failed to receive tickets. I made the tactical error of ordering only one ticket, but it seemed the right thing to do.

    There are two main points 1) Value of Contribution; 2) Actual Demand

    1) Bman is an experiment in temporary community; in some ways there is continuity, but we should not limit our vision of the future by what previous years looked like. At this point, the assumption of our conversation is that Burners with previous experience will bring more to the community than newcomers. In some sense this is true – like art projects, theme camps, etc. but the implicit dynamic is that old Burners are essentially providing the services of community to new Burners (otherwise, why discuss the lost contribution of their groups, as opposed to the same sunk cost of losing the contributions – not merely attendance – of newcomers, or others?

    The reality is that Burning Man is not the composite of theme camps, but the individual people who come. We ought not to tacitly assign greater value to certain types of contributions over others. Doing so may actually contribute to the problem – because focusing on larger consortia at Burning Man who bring big musical acts etc. increase the perception of Bman as itself being a composite of those large, flashy events, when we know that what makes Burning Man special is the unique interactions people have with each other. One of the beautiful things about Bman is going without expectations. You never know what’s going to happen. The lifeblood of Burning Man is not the continuity of previous years, but the gathering’s ability to transform and renew itself.

    2) But this still leaves the question of what do to for people who did not – but still could – receive tickets. For this year, I think you have a decent enough system to satisfy most demand. As you say, starve out scalpers, work within the community to get existing participants in as they should.

    I understand that there are legal, and perhaps natural limits to how many people can gather in the desert. This leaves two simple, but major, options for future years.

    a) Limit one ticket for each name/address and credit card number. If contact information or the same credit card are used more than once, the sale does not go through. This will make it much harder for scalpers to slurp up tickets for resale.

    b) The more complete and simple solution, however, is simply not to put a cap on tickets. As with rent caps or any other artificial market cap, the cap itself, as you have discovered, drives up demand. You will cut out the black market in one move by giving people no incentive to go to scalpers.

    c) Ah, what about the extraordinary demand overwhelming supply? You’ve done your market analysis, maybe more is necessary, but it is possible that the actual demand does not exceed supply by more than 10 or 20,000 participants. An increase, for sure, but no 3-4 times current participants as ticket sales this year indicate. If this is true, than perhaps there are arrangements that can be made with the Nevada authorities to let the event grow by up to a third this year, open up to people who still want in, and sideline scalpers in the short term.

    Why should Nevada agree to this? Because you have leverage. If they agree, you can give them some assurance that the event – and all the benefits that accrue to Nevada from it – will be repeated next year. If they don’t, then they can start looking for other sources of similar revenue, because Burning Man requires an open space that as many people as choose to join the community can do so. There is nothing sacred about the playa, and you will move to a new State that meets the needs of our community.

    Which brings us to the final point: whether or not the ticket situation can be perfectly resolved this year, Burning Man administrators should begin identifying a new location for the event – one that can accommodate up to 100,000 people. This is a big change, and will be a pain in the butt for the organizers who will have to essentially start over in a new place – offices, people, mentality. But again, the place is not essential – the people are. Another location that can accommodate the larger numbers cuts off the problem of having to choose between the value of individual participant contributions, and permanently solves the problem of scalpers – what is there to scalp?

    But won’t the community fray if the event is expanded? No. We are all part of communities in the default world – which is itself composed of millions of people. Burning Man communities will continue to flourish and change because they do not depend on the location of the event, or perceived value of the contribution – but on the special interactions people have at a personal level. People won’t be bored, don’t worry! And this will reduce the interest of people who are coming for titillation or excitement, which in reality is just a superficial by-product of the beautiful relationships people have at Burning Man.

    I am happy to continue helping find workable solutions with Burning Man administrators as you move forward. Otherwise, thank you again for your courageous efforts, vision, and compassion. I know our community will come out healthier, invigorated, and reconstituted. Much love.

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  • Robert Siegfried says:

    I am afraid and angry. Many of us are about to lose one of the most important things in our lives. Something we look forward to and plan for all year. I got a ticket. If it becomes obvious that this year will be an empty shell of The Man with the wonder replaced by a feeling of loss and grief I will bail. I will grieve in private. This could be a funeral not a festival. On the other hand if you act now and fix things we may yet have some semblance of a festival. I doubt that scalping ic contributing in a major way. Most of these tickets are simply in the hands of those who bought 10 to be sure of getting one. I would have donr that if I had known the situation! Contact everyone with a plea asking them to help by making sure that their extra tickets go to veteran burners and, just this once, to people who are helping put on the show. Offer an extra $10 or more for each returned ticket. Do something like Kiva and give them some choice who gets their ticket then facilitate the transfer. Tell people that this is happening and beg them to continue planning. Buy scalped tickets. Ferret them out now and announce that they can sell them to you for x numbers of dollars now or get their asses nailed to the wall later. Do not whine about the cost. Period. Float a bond if you have to.
    If you do not act now and do so unselfishly and uncomplaining we may wind up with a sorry wake for the Burning Man with few things to see but plenty of new folks wandering around wondering what the fuss was all about. Bored people without the sense of wonder and community that veteran burners have will simply get drunk,stoned,restless and possibly violent. It may be too late to restore the Man to a its full glory but you could save it. After this one gets fixed then you need to prioritize sales to those who have Been there within 2 or three years in order to maintain stability. Let attrition open space for new Burners. Put names on the tickets but provide a way to transfer them to another qualified person if necessary.

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  • nikOpeaches says:


    Glad to finally see an honest and well developed response to this ticketing fiasco. It is obviously affecting all of us from the radically self-entitled to the recent kool-aid quaffing converts. BM 2012 will be the best year yet simply because it IS different. If the population does truly contain 40% newbies, then i’m certain Pacha Playa will respond with a significant increase in obscenely hot days and bitter cold nights with multiple day white outs. If, indeed, the lottery was hijacked by professional scalpers, then the suckers that shell out twice the ticket price will be radically included with the unpredictable nature of that people-forsaken wilderness.

    I am extremely excited about welcoming the cast of Jersey Shore and other reality hypnosis shows to our week long dirt rave. Many of us long term burnier-than-thou participants are ready to embrace these new faces with well dosed drinks and cheap playa schwag. I’m already making pipe cleaner man figure necklaces to accommodate the growing population! Welcome Home(less)!

    Mostly, the chance to meander the desert line sweeping the a city populated by fresh converts will give our playa Restoration crew more fodder for mystery pill mania and playa schwag poker night. Tallyho!

    If DJ Lorinnectar and Skrillex don’t get tickets does that mean that Temple of Boom and Root Society will no longer blight our map w/ MOOPacolypse Black Zones? A Degenerate Punk Whiner can only hope.

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  • Verlin Chalmers says:

    I wonder how many tickets would need to be available – to have all people who were in placed camps last year – get tickets. And how many would be left for other returning people.

    In other words – only make tickets available to returning people at this point – with placed camps, volunteers etc first – and other returning people next.

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  • mel jung says:

    will be available to help as vol……no I do not want to even expect a low income ticket for helping since I have been a volu for yuears for freee. Live in Marin and can come in for many hours a a time when needed . Physilcally caught scalpers in Reno, Gerlach and Empire, Can be availale if you just call me at 415-846- 2155 and will bve in the the City for chinese new years parade etrc. and volu. will stop by to give out my verified ID, age and low income bracket as one of the oldest burners around.l at 75 Mel Jung
    been a greeter, drummer, burner without border and kagtrina volu.l from the north bay. gang.. Mel 415-846-2155
    your doing all you can and thankyou for all your dedication

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  • simon of the playa says:

    dear degenerate punk whiner, as a member of root society and a burner since 96′ all i can say is “Fuck Your Day”….no seriously….fuck your day….

    Andie, Great Letter.

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  • Space Vixen says:

    I simply don’t buy the notion that there are ~45,000 virgin burners who registered for tickets this year. Burning Man has been in the mainstream consciousness for a LONG TIME.
    Last year was NOT particularly radically new or different in terms of media presence. Twitter and facebook didn’t get invented in 2011. In 2000, the year after I went, the Man burn was reported live on CNN. Various popular television shows have mentioned Burning Man or made episodes about burning man for years. It’s not like the world just suddenly became aware of Burning Man last year. It’s not like this is the first time anyone on Huffington Post read an article about Burning Man.
    Even if there are a lot of virgins who spontaneously bought tickets because they saw a viral video, those people are probably going to scalp their ticket (sell it on eBay) at above market price when they lose interest in a few weeks/months. In the 90’s burning man enjoyed spectacular growth. But a factor of 3 increase in the number of people buying tickets – I don’t think so.

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  • Jenna says:

    I appreciate the transparency and candor of this post. Although I have not yet been awarded my ticket, I am confident that I will return this year for my 3rd burn and I am feeling inspired to contribute to weaving the fabric of the event as strongly as I can, participating in deeper, more meaningful ways to keep the community and event alive and thriving.

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  • Dinkel says:

    WOW! This will be our first year at burning man- as teachers we were always frustrated that it was near impossible to attend (it being the first weeks of school, hard to take it off). But this year decided to make the commitment and make it happen. But, now I feel sad that I was awarded tickets over someone who has been there for years building… Especially because of the conundrum presented: if the people who have been there are largely not there, then Burning Man, with mostly new folks who would need a year to figure it all out, won’t be able to carry the culture forward….

    Let solutions prevail. We would be happy to volunteer our tickets to folks who deserve them over us…

    CHEERS and Thank-you for being an inspiring ‘wilderness’ of creativity- one where even though I haven’t attended before, its very exsistence has made me more at peace in my world.

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  • Sound Man says:

    Astonishing! Perfect wording/spin on the problem and commitment to do something about it (and thank you for that). But, absolutely nothing about any changes to actually do anything about it (other than a promise to get back to us next week). But it gets worse in as much as apriori taking off the table some of the most potent tools that the BMORG has, such is a partial or complete recall of the Main lottery sale results. And then to suggest such a move might not be legal when the wording in the Terms and Conditions clearly give Burning Man the right to cancel any or all ticket(s) at their discretion. Are you reading your own tickets (which, by-the-way, you haven’t even sent out, yet)? Come on, throw us veterans a bone, such as limiting the STEP and upcoming Open Sale participants to previous event attendees (you know who we are). Heaven only knows that the newbies have done extremely well already (and yes, we love them to pieces). Take back some control of the event and push the newbie/veteran ratio toward something resembling sanity! You aren’t going to be able to organize and over communicate your way out of this. Thanks for listening.

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  • Chrissi says:

    I don’t know if this has been suggested yet, I don’t have time to read through all of the comments.

    First, this year is already screwed, so do what you can to fix it. But for next year…

    Like you said BM is not a audience venue, it is a participation venue, so you need to have your art camps and installations and cars and everything that makes Burning Man what it it. You will not survive with these participants.

    Why not contact the previous attendees first and offer them tickets, then open the remainder up to newcomers. I am sure you have some attrition each year, people move, die, become destitute, lose interest… and there will be tickets left over after the initial sale. so that way, your core groups and camps that make BM what it is will still be there, but you can still welcome the newcomers.

    BTW, I am one of the newcomers this year, I have tickets, but I’m a little concerned that I am too late, and it will not be the same as I have heard from my burner friends. I hope I did not miss it.

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  • simon of the playa says:

    oh, BTW Root Society will return after a One Year Hiatus….We NEVER scored black on the moop map after 5 years on the corner, and all of the monkey Haters better look in the fucking mirror before they start flinging poo….Judge Not asshole, until you are ready to have a colonoscope shoved up your butt.

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  • Alix says:

    Hi there,

    seeing as though there are hundreds of comments, I doubt this one will ever be read, but i’ll give it a shot.

    I’ll be a first-time burner this summer, and I feel incredibly lucky to have somehow gotten a ticket. Luckily as well, 6 out of my 7 friends who registered for tickets also get some. And we’re all excited. I personally feel increasingly lucky each day as I read more about this situation, and I feel for everyone who hasn’t gotten a ticket yet.

    I do however want to stress that I think returning burners are just as important (if not more) as burning man virgins. My friends who have attended say that the events, activities, workshops etc are the BEST part of burning man.

    As excited as I am, and as much as I know it will be an amazing experience and a ton of fun, I’m also very very nervous that I won’t get the “full” experience of burning man, or at least its full potential because only a quarter of the people who want to contribute to events and workshops will actually get to go…

    For next year, I would suggest allocating a certain percentage of tickets to returning burners who HAVE contributed to the event, a certain percentage of tickets to returning burners who haven’t organized any theme camps or activities, and finally a certain amount to first-time burners. Returning burners will need to provide proof that they’ve attended and contributed. Figure out how many tickets are necessary to have events and activities up and running, and allocate tickets that way.

    I think the random draw was not necessarily a bad idea, it was just not thought all the way through. If you have one random draw for newcomers, one for returning burners, and one for active theme camp organizers and activity organizers, next year won’t be such a headache for a lot of people… Just a thought.

    As to what we can do now to fix the current situtation, I’m not sure… But I think that giving right of way to returning burners who have / will organize camps and workshops before is a definite priority.

    Just a thought…

    See you lucky ones in BRC!

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  • Collin says:

    Regarding the population limits – the current limitations in place are primarily related to the massive influx of people arriving at the same time and then leaving (oh, exodus) nearly simultaneously.

    Here is a solution to scatter the transportation alignment and perhaps allow for an increase in the size of the desert city.

    Overstay tickets. Tickets for the hardened who pledge to arrive one day early or stay a day or two late, or both. Perhaps volunteers could even check tickets during the exodus to insure that overstayers aren’t leaving early. By allowing 10k people to pledge to stay until Tuesday or Wednesday, perhaps at a 10% discount to thank them for their services, the population limit could possibly be raised by 10k as well.

    What other variables control the limitations that are in place by the Bureau of Land Management? Can we alter those too thanks to our active community?

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  • Birgin Man says:

    I won 2 tickets in the lottery. I plan to either give the extra to a friend or donate it to a camp I believe in. How do I find that camp?

    This is to be my first Burning Man. Something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Something I’ve grown to believe in. I am an experienced camper and am ready for a week in the desert.

    When I received the notice that I had won, I was, and continue to be, incredibly grateful. The Universe has allowed me. It is finally my time.

    I am also excited that this will surely be a revitalized Burning Man. Some of the comments from the long time Burners show a sense of entitlement. I didn’t see that listed in the Principles. I think the lottery system allowed the Universe/Karma to do it’s work. It is a good thing.

    Also, I agree a long term solution IS more land, even buy land. Make it a bigger and longer event. This situation is just a growing pain for something that seems quite wonderful and magic.

    Clearly, this year some more experienced Burners without tickets will stay back in the non-BM world. I’m sure they will continue to live the BM principles as an example to others. That’s how I found out about BM in the first place.

    Again, I am so grateful to have my tickets. You have NO IDEA what they mean to me and what actually going will mean to me. It’s going to be a great year!

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  • HoneyBee says:

    I like Wampa’s idea of making it more difficult to get tickets but the processing of any such hoop-jumping may make it prohibitively expensive and/or time consuming. Personally, I like the idea of sponsoring Virgins. Let the builders of Burning Man get their tickets first, then (if there are any remaining tickets available) allow Burners to sponsor in a single Newbie, with the responsibility of acculturating said Newbie. This would eliminate any sudden influx of demand while retaining the radical self-reliance that makes Burning Man what it is.

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  • Fuzzy says:

    I Do not for the life of me understand why we can not give the gate attendants I-pad’s with photos of all the ticket buyers linked to their credit cards and what not. Is this not an event where the techies are driving the event? That would speed up the gate process, ELIMINATE scalping COMPLETELY, and let us get on with it…

    I would believe that ALL burningman attendants would be willing to give their photos to the website via secure whatever in order to make this happen. It could be a silly little participatory burner thing that u guys could do. I mean don’t you guys have everyone’s info already? There is plenty of time to make this happen.

    I am a burner of 8 years and have finally convinced my family ( My immediate family ie. mom, dad, sister ) to come after all this time. Everyone in my family got tix except for myself… I don’t want to tell them that i can’t go…

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  • Coburn Hawk says:

    As a 7x burner, I find myself with two tickets, my theme camp in disarray and possibly not happening, my art car needing some repair, and one other thing… Something I have not experienced since my virgin burn in 2002. What will I find on the playa?

    Who will be there? What will I see? What will it be like? The only way to find out is show up.

    I am also working on an option for fractured theme camps (mine is among them) to pool together, take the fractured pieces and build something new. Can I get what is left of Deathguild to camp with the remainder of HeebJeeby Healers? Well that may be a tall order, but those who run theme camps are already picking up the phone and asking other organizers “how many people do you have left?”

    Thank you for the communication. Yes it is a mess. But I know of no other community better suited to creatively solve problems.

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  • Ami says:

    Thank you! Thank you soooooo~ much! Thank you for finally addressing this in some detail. It should be easy to reaffirm to oneself that you guys are working hard on a solution. But, when you don’t come out and say you are; when people respond in cold terms, or with robotic-sounding statements; when there’s a lack of acknowledgment or empty… sometimes it’s just as easy to think there won’t be a solution. Thank you for the efforts you guys are making. Thank you for actually offering at least some level of insight. And, in the future *please* continue let us know what’s going on! I can’t possibly explain the degree of difference transparency makes, or the degree of frustration that emerges when everyone in the community is left guessing. Again, thank you so much! Thank you for everything!

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  • Dale says:

    I’m Ok with skipping a year, I hope you figure it out for next year, and with names on tickets, people can still gift, they just have to decide who they are going to gift to.

    Perhaps if you buy 2 tickets, you could have your name on both, and show your ID at the gate for you and a friend to get in together. This would allow you to find which of your non-burner friends can go near the deadline but I can’t see scalpers coming through gate with the person they sold to.

    Of course you’ll have to figure in the extra cost of refund and resale for folks that find they can’t come. But you can charge more for late (resale) tickets to cover those additional costs.

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  • Tim G says:

    Birgin Man – sounds like you got a solution for that extra ticket two posts below (Fuzzy)… Go on – do it and you’ll make this board a much happier place :-)

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  • d says:

    maybe you could allocate a certain number of tickets to each of the regionals for distribution amongst the community. they could then allocate those tickets to the people who have been going for years and who contribute to the city.

    one of my worries with this type of thing is that some of the smaller camps will be excluded from the mix because they aren’t as big or well known as some of the bigger theme camps. hell, who says you even have to HAVE a camp to contribute to the city? what about the person who comes with a tent but has his home brewed keg attached to his bike and offers beer to everyone walking by? or the person who has turned her bike into a musical instrument and who performs as she rides? when we talk about giving tickets to those who participate in the city, what is the definition of participation? is it that you have to be one of hundreds who help with a massive theme camp? i think if that’s the case, there might be unintentional consequences. (don’t get me wrong, i absolutely love the massive theme camps… i’m just worrying about the little guys who also contribute in their own way and who are equally as important to the burning man experience.)

    along with this idea is another side effect: elitism. i worry that when people get hand selected to get a ticket, it can present a lot of other problems. who gets to choose who gets a ticket? obviously that person is going to choose whoever is in their posse first. so then it becomes a game of who you know. i’m still on the fence with this because i’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. the people that they know are also the people who have been part of the community for years and who contribute to the city. but let’s say the person who chooses who gets a ticket doesn’t like someone in the community for one reason or another. would that person still get a ticket? it gives someone more power than perhaps they should have. if you’re going to hand select, perhaps make it a diverse group of people (meaning, people from many camps, etc…) who choose. that way the tickets are distributed to the far reaches of the community not just the big, well known theme camps.

    these are just some ideas and concerns. thanks for ALL the hard work you guys are doing. this is a beast! :)

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  • Nita says:

    Thank you for the heartfelt statement. Much appreciated. I can finally exhale after weeks of anger and say “they ARE listening”. For the first time since the shit storm hit, I feel like the community can start to heal.

    There is no question the remaining 10,000 tickets must go to city builders, theme camps, art providers, art car camps. Without them we have no city.

    There will be the inevitable complaints about how to determine who is a real Burner, and who isn’t. After reading JRS, I feel confident that BORG has the best interest of our community at heart and will do their best to get those tickets into the hands of the people who will contribute the most to our community.

    It’s a huge relief to know that BORG has our backs.

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  • gilbot says:

    The moment that the cup overfloweth, the magma spews forth, the coronal mass ejects, etc, is magical, tumultuous , and messy. Burners don’t cry over spilt milk, they put their face on the table and LAP. IT. UP. Those of us out here on the edges of our culture have been putting some mighty fine regionals together over the past decade-plus. If the Playa doesn’t pan out, Perhaps you’d care to join us for a few? Black Rock City might be the capital, but it is in NO WAY the only city in our great nation of ephemeral metropoli. Wherever you go, there YOU are; how bout a nice change of scenery?

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  • MisterPan says:

    Looks like someone read Alyss Royse’s topical essay on the value of PR…

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  • simon of the playa says:

    No time to explain, Just Get in the Llama…

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  • Tony says:

    There is no way you can allot a scarce supply of tickets to theme camps without coming across like you’re greasing the most connected palms.

    Just remember that we all don’t live in San Fran or are arm-in-arm with the regional heads. If this post is just laying the groundwork for an announcement in a week along the lines of “The following 75 out of 700 theme camps are going to get tickets…”, you are going to have a lot of people even further alienated and angry.

    Maybe I’m the only one who thinks so, but there’s way too much focus on “community”… The community comes from the camps, art and things that go on at the event, not the other way around. New blood is good – let’s see if the virgins step up. And let’s make the distinction between “I am worried Burning Man will not happen” and “I am worried my theme camp will fold and that my friends and I won’t go.” People seem to be saying the former, but I keep hearing the latter.

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  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for the heart-felt words.

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  • P. Michael Quinn says:

    Thanks much BMORG. I reckon “Fertility” is especially apt. Birthing is beautiful and such, but painful as hell.

    @ Dinkel – as a fellow teacher I shared your conundrum and excitement a few years ago, and maybe this year too. But, no matter who else joins you on the playa, you belong, and it will be fucking awesome. Be prepared though. Those folks in the “..Places You’ll Go..” video were somehow strangely too dust-free.

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  • Jorge Luis says:

    GRACIAS for this update! Transparency and honesty rules! I did not get a ticket and I am sad, nonetheless confident in the BM collective problem solving capabilities.

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  • Gabriel says:

    Great leadership, BM team. You’re also getting a lot of suggestions here. I like the names on tickets suggestion. Also, the obstacles to registering for tickets is solid. My suggestion for the latter would be that, in order to register for tickets, one must pass a 100 question exam on-line that is, basically, the survival guide and the Ten Principles. You must get 100% to pass, but you can retake it as often as you want and you’ll be given the correct answers to each question you get wrong. Not only is it an obstacle but virgins and veterans alike will have to learn/review important information. No more yahoos asking if I had any food to share, because they thought there would be vendors.

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  • G says:

    Reading this thread, a light bulb went off.
    It is a cruel, ironic, and oxymoronic situation you are in. How to be inclusive while having reality impose on you the fact that exclusion must be practiced.
    This may be redundant, and maybe I am not the sharpest tack in the box, but the idea of “filters” is crystallizing in my head.
    BMORG, your mission now is how to cleverly design filtering mechanisms that best preserve the core principles.
    For decades I have loved visiting my favorite nudist hot springs because the nudity is a huge effective filter that only open minded, relaxed, tolerant, less hung up, and in my perception, smarter than average people choose to pass through.
    Filters. They already exist, and always have. That single lane of road already is one, the harshness of the environment there is another. The expense and logistics of getting there are another. The lottery was meant to a filter which unfortunately turned out to be way to simplistic and generated entirely destructive results.
    Perhaps some sort of protocol for RV’s, perhaps the closing of the gate some time mid week are two that appeal to me. The time idea is awesome. I remember someone telling me when I was a virgin in ’03 that the organization liked people to show up & participate over the week rather than just within 24 hours to gawk at the Saturday night spectacle. If one is come to BRC, one must be prepared to live there, rather than visit there.
    You have a very intelligent and creative community here. Maybe with some sort of online mimic or variation of an OWS General Assembly, you and the community could come together to form a consensus and formulate some effective and sophisticated filters that best preserve the Burning Man spirit.

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  • Seth says:

    Transparency is still an issue. I’m not bitter – I decided long before this fiasco that I was not going.

    But I still wonder… what percentage of CA/WA/OR/NV/AZ participants got tickets? How does that compare with the rest of the country? I think BMorg still has a lot of questions to answer. I want to see a map. Something tells me our West Coast friends benefited from this lottery, more so than others.

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  • Twilight Fire says:

    @ Wet Spot:

    About that Official Scalper Camp run by BMOrg idea…

    There would be some Cacophony Society-style perverse irony if BMOrg set up an Official Scalper Camp outside the gate. If done tongue-in-cheeck and in the spirit of the event, it could provide a marketplace of last resort for the people who do have extras and the people who want to get in. But the logistics would be daunting–what if 5,000 dedicated and ticketless longtime Burners showed up for the scan tickets coming through? And what if the same number of unprepared first-timers showed up? Outside the Gate, we don’t have the support systems to cope with what might arise in terms of dehydration, medical issues, etc. (First timers: please please please study the survival guide very carefully!)

    Airport isn’t a registered theme camp, and it was there long before I arrived. The 2006 Terminal Project and the two theme camps that it spawned came long after planes had been flying to the event.

    Airport is its own community, a microcosm of the event itself. There are many dedicated volunteers who build it, decorate it, staff it, and take it down each year. And sadly, Airport is missing tickets for many of its much-needed people.

    I have faith that Airport will find a way to get enough tickets to operate safely this year. And without a doubt, Airport will have a great need for new volunteers!

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  • Andie Grace says:

    Alix – reading every last one of them, and all of them we can find anywhere else, I promise you.

    Coburn Hawk – I love your idea. Frankencamps.

    MisterPan – I don’t suppose it helps that this post was first drafted last week, almost immediately, before the awesome Ms. Royse wrote her post…but it’s the truth. We just had to do some work under the hood before we could get here. I hope things are now moving faster.

    That said, she was right, but we’re not talking about a simple PR problem here. We have been working on the solution to a sort of cultural crisis, not only on the way to talk about it to those affected. As Will Chase has pointed out, just one wrong move could incite further panic on everyone’s part, so we are being very careful about the technical, social, cultural, and infrastructural implications of every word we speak.

    A very smart woman told me yesterday, “Birth is painful.” And I remembered that yes, oh boy it is. Maybe this is, as others have pointed out, a birth labor starting.

    on the ratio of newcomers: me, I don’t know how much to trust the pre-sale survey – it may be that the answers were simply the product of people rushing to get to the part with the tickets. Who knows how many respondents were worried their answer would influence their purchase (answer: no) and fudged the data.

    By my own wide (but still anecdotal) observation I think we have about 1/3 newcomers in any given year these past few, but everyone has a different estimation. I have seen some serious action, enthusiasm, and creativity brought by first time visitors, and it is never more fun for me than getting to see them experience it for the first time or hearing about it when we get home. Growth and energy are positives – private parties are for country clubs. I hope we are all very vocal about welcoming newcomers in this year. I hope they join their local regional groups. I hope they bring it. I think they will.

    gilbot – well said.

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  • Absent says:

    “Between traffic concerns and the limitations placed on attendance by the Bureau of Land Management, that’s off the table.”

    Maybe this is a good time to start thinking about community action to affect this for future years. What would it take to widen 447, or build another road? What would it take to affect BLM’s cap? An individual or even BM staff aren’t enough, but if the whole group started in this direction, working with BLM and the Nevada government, we might get somewhere for 2013… 2014… etc.

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  • Thanks for the communication guys. I’m confident that you are doing the best you can.

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  • Christine says:

    Virgin who was born to burn. Finally making my way home in my 40th year of life.

    Someone grab me and utilize me. Pretty please.

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  • gjenkins says:

    As noted many times over, supply has outstripped demand. One solution is to increase supply. bigger event, regional events, etc … The other is to decrease demand.

    For the scalpers, decrease demand with non-transferable tickets … perhaps with a STEP like transfer process.

    For non-scalpers, enforce an event ideal … for me, I would prefer to see an event entry deadline … something like entry gates close Wednesday at midnight. But, that is just me and my preference.

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  • Giacamogio says:

    1. Burning Man did not listen to the feedback before they created their own disaster.
    2. They hear it now. At least this can be counted as learning.
    3. They wanted new customers more than they wanted their installed base.
    4. They forgot that it is our event, we simply let them host it.
    5. The scalper issue is not relevant to anyone, anywhere, period.
    6. The claims about ticketing system constraints are complete misdirection.
    7. Burning Man didn’t sell out until July of last year. But, March of this year. This means more money, faster, at higher average ticket prices. Nicely played.
    8. Volunteerism will fall off. If Burning Man wants to control our event they can pay us to work it.
    9. This year’s Burn is in danger of being sad. Fewer enthusiastic camps and participants. Less art and lower quality. When you work for yourself there is an X factor that is missing when you are working for someone else who doesn’t listen.
    10. It was all me-me-me before the disaster and now it’s all we-we-we. What a shame.

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  • Giacamogio says:

    Oh yes, and…explain to me again why bigger is better?

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  • Taylor says:

    It’s finally sinking in, I won’t be going home :( So very disappointed.

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  • Dogknee says:

    I’m glad to see a path forward. However, with so many newbies wanting to attend without the theme camp infrastructure , what can come of this? As a seasoned burner I’m thinking this will be my final year. I’m seeing this event becoming more of a rave than anything else. Yes, I’m old. As much as I like the event I think it’s time for my wife and I to hang it up. We’ve had a great time over the years past and would love to continue but I think it is starting it’s death spiral. It’s getting to big.
    In the last two years it has changed dramatically. Now, with cellphone and internet available on the playa it’s only going to grow. If I’m correct on this, I was told there is a Facebook page for Burningman People tweeting from the playa . I don’t do any social networking so I don’t know if the above is true or not.
    It’s no wonder there is so much growth.

    Last year, for the first time I saw people fighting. What’s up with that? I’ve never seen that in my past years. Last year a cop got beat up? This event is changing. I don’t see that it is for the better.

    Then, all the people that are whining about RVs. Get a clue. Yes, I have a toy hauler trailer. While it is only 17 feet long, it carries a lot of needed equipment for the theme camps which I participated in. I pulled it with a pickup truck which carried even more equipment for EVERYONE TO ENJOY!
    I didn’t hear anyone complain every afternoon when I started up my QUIET generator to turn on the margarita machine. Lots of your people stopped in daily for margaritas and quesadillas which we gladly gave to everyone.
    I didn’t hear anyone complain when they asked to use my bathroom in the toyhauler because closest bathroom was to far for you to walk.
    I didn’t hear anyone complain when they used my RV as a wind break so it didn’t blow their stuff away. I could go on.
    For you who want to punish folks with rvs, get a life. We did more to bring people together than to isolate us from the world.
    We by no means are wealthy. For some reason you want to label every one with an rv as rich. Apparently we do a better job of managing our money that those of you complaining about the RVs. If you don’t like us, that’s fine. Don’t camp near us, don’t accept our gifts then slander us for being there.

    This event will continue to evolve. It has to. It irritates me to see folks bad mouthing the powers that be that organize this event. They do a tremendous job getting this thing together. Walk a mile in their shoes. See what they go through in trying to keep this event going.
    It’s real easy to sit behind your keyboards and poke a stick at someone. Go out and try to live it. I’ll bet you couldn’t do too much better.

    I will be there this year but it will be my last time.

    4th of Juplaya is peaking my interest now.

    I hope those of you that will be there this year will have as good a time as I have over the years.
    Let it live so others can enjoy it also.


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  • johneed says:

    Thanks for the communication!

    I have no tickets and am likely out for this year.

    I think once BRM can assess where key groups are at, you launch MAJOR efforts to get all the birgins engaged with the needy groups ASAP. Doing so will help alleviate the pain, and also address one of the issues many birgins feel when leaving BRC for the first time (wish I had engaged more).

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  • jimmyjames says:

    Veteran burners should be allowed to purchase 2 tickets each: 1 with their name on it and one ticket to gift/sell.

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  • Todd Gardiner says:

    Do all of you commenters realize that we wrote a novel overnight?

    There are 73,000 words in the comment stream, about a 200 pages.

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  • Kimo says:

    Amongst the plethora of comments that the BMorg has been receiving, I hope that this one merits some true consideration from the powers that be. I’m an “experienced” burner… not that it makes me any more credible or deserving than a newbie or virgin. But I can offer my suggestions based upon multiple experiences during the playa population explosion that has occurred over the past 12 years. What follows are some observations, followed by some suggestions: (CAPS are used for quick reference only)

    Therefore, the BMorg has plenty of time to go back to the data that they’ve collected from those who received ticket confirmation emails and send those people another email – informing them that the tickets they receive will have their name attached to the ticket, either printed on the ticket, or associated to the bar code (whichever is easier to facilitate). The bearer of that ticket will only be allowed admission with a proper government ID, and up to 1 guest (based upon the 2 ticket per credit card limit) matching that of the ticket’s registered owner. If the partipant has a problem with that they have 30 days to reply and they will not be charged, or if already charged they will be refunded. This makes the ticket non transferable, thus making if very difficult for black market sales of tickets. This can possibly flush out a lot of scalpers since they will have no means of changing the registered ticket owner’s information and these tickets can be re-introduced to the distribution system.

    The 2012 permit is still under review with the BLM and future events are suggesting playa populations of up to 70,000 participants. The footprint of the playa was pushed back further into the desert last year to accommodate for the increased perimeter and overall size of the event. Theme camps had plenty of space and you could find large areas of unused space behind the street frontages of many camps. Add 2 perimeter streets and request a temporary increase from the BLM to 60,000 particpants for 2012. Since the BLM receives 3% of the gross ticket sales and coffee and ice sales, they get more $$$. So there is an incentive to them. 7,000 more people isn’t going to make that big of a difference to the infrastructure and logistics of the physical event. But it could be a huge difference in distributing tickets to those deserving participants, especially with the scalper tickets be re-introduced for distribution.

    Instead of providing 1 EAP for every 25 theme camp members, change the ratio to 1 for every 4, or every 3. This would allow more participants early arrival to establish the camps and complete construction of camps prior to the general opening. This would also reduce the number of people in the opening line on Sunday night / Monday morning, reducing the 6 hour waits.
    Volunteers that register as a volunteer will need to pick up their tickets at the will-call window PRE-event. BMorg will limit the number of volunteers based upon the BMorg’s specific needs. But whatever that number is, registered volunteers MUST pick up their tickets at the will-call window by a specific PRE-EVENT DATE, or those unclaimed tickets will be re-introduced to the system and available for sale to the general public via the website and can be picked up at will-call anytime before 6:00 pm the Wednesday of the event. DPW volunteers, greeters, etc would all fall into the volunteer category.

    Obviously at this point it would be ridiculous to go forward with 4 tickets/per person. Anybody that wants to be out on the playa can make the effort to acquire a ticket in the next round. 1 ticket per person increases your odds of getting tickets 4x more than the previous plan. The BMorg is obviously going to take a look at the art car / art project / theme camp / volunteer participant numbers and allocate a part of that 10,000 to those involved in such projects. The question will then be, how many tickets does that leave to the general burner, you and me? If the BMorg can successfully negotiate an increase of 7,000 participants with the BLM this year (and don’t tell me it’s too late, cuz that’s BS since they don’t even have the permit locked down yet) then this could off-set the tickets they put aside for the project participants. And let’s also get all those other tickets out of the hands of scalpers!

    This ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile! The population growth has been pretty consistent thoughout the last 10 years, with the exception of the recession year which was flat. The exponential growth that was experienced last year still hasn’t been quantified. How many people didn’t end up with tickets last year? How many veterans did? The population growth problem may not be as big as one might think. But we know for sure that there are more newbies wanting to experience this event each year than there are veterans who are “retiring”. Therefore, there is the obvious need to increase the capacity of this event over time. And though I hate to say it, the social media thing has obviously fueled the newbie interest. A Burning Man Facebook page? Burning Man and Facebook to me is like a turd in a punch bowl. Not really what Burning Man is all about. Nonetheless, it’s time for a major change if we are to maintain the core elements of this event that we experienced ones have come to love over the years and call home.

    THERE IS NO BETTER TIME THAN NOW! IT’S NOT TOO LATE TO SAVE OUR BURNING MAN! Ahhh, yes, that was me shouting out at the top of my lungs.

    There were some statements made by the BMorg about the amount of tickets (albeit “virtual” tickets at this point) that have ended up in scalpers hands, and that being an insignificant amount. This is not an accurate statement as the market will perceivably flood with scalped tickets in June when scalper sactually have physical tickets in their hands. Unless the BMorg prevents this – which they can. There are currently in excess of 200 virtual tickets for sale on the Internet today. The sellout of 2011 created the scalper market. BMorg has the ability to squash this aftermarket by employing the ID ticket distribution system earlier described. For them not to do this would be ignorant on their part. The lottery was admittedly a bad idea. Don’t make back-to-back mistakes. Fix what you can now and elimate the scalpers. You have the power!

    And finally, to every one of you burners out there… please don’t assume that you’re more entitled to a ticket than someone else because you’re a seasoned veteran. Every single one of you was once a virgin yourself. Newbies can bring fresh ideas and new art and contribute to the overall event. Let them grow along with us at our special home on the playa. Just a little less dubstep and bull horns please. We are all one family. That’s why we all want to come home each year after year. Peace to all.

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  • Stay see says:

    I’ve never been but was strongly considering it so put myself in the lottery. I won! Hoorah! But turns out I cannot logistically go. I sold my tickets at cost to a LONG time Burner (he was even in the viral video!) who did not get tickets in the lottery. I find the concept of scalping the tickets abhorrent – goes against everything BM is about. Why would someone who is the type to scalp tickets want to attend an event like BM? Ech. See you in a few years when my logistics are more favorable

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  • IZ says:

    This will be a challenging event without many of our respected elders to guide new comers on their rite of passage.

    Okay so if you can’t recall the tickets.. well.. heres what could actually be done to help hold the tribe together.

    *Limit the number of RV’s – at least new people will have to find creative solutions to their dwellings…

    *Names printed on tickets (everyone is saying it….)

    *Buy barcode scanners with all the money ticket sales brought in

    *Don’t charge people to resell their tickets on the STEP program…. any reseller fee is lame.. and discourages use of the site

    *Perhaps issue printed statements with the tickets giving info on the changes to BM and how folks can join up with a camp, share and make art.. ex: The Burner APP.

    Good luck! XOXOXO

    I love you guys and what this event stands for! I know that we can use love, brain power and technology to help us grow. Burning Man has the opportunity to fully become the global force in a new consciousness of love, gifting and creativity. The ten principals can change the world.

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  • Greg (playa Jesus) says:

    Buy the land! Build the roads! Problem solved!

    Since you own it now. Make it year round! Geez… Make it the 51 state… Succeed from the union!!! I’ll move to the state of black rock!!!

    I think your putting a band-aid on a compound fracture. These are huge problems, huge problems need huge solutions. Time to step it up… Move it to Baja California… Buy a 100 square miles out in the middle of no where…

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  • Shenanigans says:

    Hi Andie, always good to see you commenting, makes this process feel like a dialogue.

    To illustrate what kind of actual demand from there is Burners (new & old) as opposed to scalpers, could you let us know how many people are subscribed to Jack Rabbit Speaks?

    I read that in 2008 it was a massive 100 000. Which tells me that demand for tickets should be half to two thirds that number. Four years later, I’m assuming the number is much higher, and the ratio of demand is about the same.
    That won’t include the virgins who have never heard of JRS of course.

    Once everyone understands that the tickets went to burners, but there are more burners than anyone imagined things may calm down a bit.

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  • Courtney Rodi says:

    An idea for 2013…I know regional burns might be the likely next option, but there is something about BRC that can’t be replaced. What if Burning Man on the playa occurred twice (or more) a year instead of 1 event annually. You could perhaps limit ticket buyers to buy for one event or the other (an idea) to maximize who is exposed to the magic that is Burning Man in the desert. Peace and love and hope to get a ticket and see everyone on the playa in 2012.

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  • Alliecat says:

    There was no mention of the low income ticket registration in the latest ticket url. Is this also up for debate? I personally have my ticket. But I know that there are long time burners that have a hard time coming up with the money for their ticket. I believe in the concept that those of us than can afford to pay more, do. In order to aid those that cannot.

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  • AntiM says:

    Andie, hugs, and spread a few more around HQ. Thank you.

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  • Gene says:

    One tier (for next year).

    E-mail everyone to ask for “a name to print on your winning ticket or no dice and your money back” from every winner for this year. That’ll both eff the scalpers and bring some “just for in case” tickets back.

    Have all the entry guys do a cursory check that the ID presented corresponds to the name on ticket. Have them be somewhat lenient. That won’t make the line that much worse. And hell, even if it does – it’ll be for a good reason.

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  • Ray Carre says:

    HI, i am a working hard to be a BRC-virgin.

    My plan for the burn is a bicycle odyssey with a community of boston burners to stage a transcontinental bike ride to get from beantown to the playa.

    I am not the least bit overly concerned that myself nor the remainder of my co-cyclists will be able to achieve a ticket. I put my faith and trust in the community that a little will power and good energy and intention will help us all achieve what we want for this summer and the burn season.



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  • Srini says:

    Given what I have read, I think the last round of open sale for this year should be scraped and the tickets should be distributed on a referential basis to folks who were planning to be the “major participants” of the largest groups and projects (mutant vehicles, theme camps, volunteer groups, and other collaborations). A lot of theme camps (like Decadent Oasis that I was a part of few years back) have a list of their participants that don’t have tickets. We should also ask folks who are getting tickets in this way to do so on an honor basis, i.e. to check with themselves to see if they gauge themselves as a major participant for 2012 (BORG can give guidelines of what that means).

    Personally, my partner and myself who have been participants at burning man for last 8 years and had applied in the lottery system separately for a total of 4 tix & ended up with none. And given what I am proposing above, we wouldn’t qualify for the referential/honor ticket sale part since we are not planning to be a “major participant” this year. Folks like us can try our luck via the STEP system.

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  • Nick Stephens says:

    So, I’ve gone to bm for the last three years, and I would gladly go for at least three more, but this issue of tickets and distribution is one that may well end that streak. Last year was bad enough, I spent days watching ticket threads in eplaya, tribe, and various other sites. I read countless posts from whiny, childlike “burners”, claiming that they “need” x amount of tickets for their wifes/husbands/parents/children/siblings for so many different life affirming reasons. The common thread was this “need” word. It was rare to see an ” I want” or an “I would like” request. I started to wonder what being a “burner” really meant. I however, managed to get a ticket, went with my friends and had a blast. Now this years ticket debacle has just begun, but it’s already shaping up to be worse than last years. Art camps, sound camps and mutant vehicles seem to be falling apart because of the scarcity of tickets in relation to how many people want to go. There is a lot of talk about what to do to “fix” this, both from the burning community and from BMORG itself. Here again we will see abundant use of this “need” to go.

    Well, I have a solution on what to do to fix this. Do nothing. Yes, nothing. You made your bed, now exercise some responsibility and lie in it. When I say you, I mean you BMORG that grossly misscalculated this lottery’s effectiveness and you the burning community that proudly told the entire world how awesome we were to spend a week covered in playa and partying our asses off. Does it come as a shock that a random lottery is actually random? Or that other people like to have fun too? So what if burning man sucks this year because there is less art, vehicles and sound? Odds are good that demand will be down next year. That tickets wont sell out, that scalpers will move on and that most of the 30,000 first timers (based on BMORG numbers) that signed up for tickets this year will have moved on to other events. Think of it as a forest fire. It may suck in the moment, but it creates a vaccum for new growth, and it may just teach some longtime “burners” the difference between “need”, and “want”.

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  • Oz says:

    It’s a big desert. Grow the event.
    “What we can’t change”.. Creative minds can come up with traffic solutions (staggered day, entrance passes, multiple entrance locations,etc.etc ) and BLM policy changes (outside political pressure).
    Let’s not assume anything.

    Also agree w/ funnelling the next group of tickets to embedded burners.

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  • the kitchen b*tch says:

    I went to the burn for seven years. Then life and finances forced me to stay away for four years.
    I want to go home.
    I may have a ticket, I don’t know.
    I do know that first year burners are never really prepared for the playa.
    I know that without veteran burners who do newbie triage the event will be disastrous.

    If the tickets have not been sent out (mailed), look at the credit card statements and call or e-mail each person who bought tickets, then assign the ticket the purchaser’s name and the guest’s name. If they do not know this person’s name but are gifting it they may have 30 days to assign a name. If you cannot assign a name the ticket would then get placed into a pool of available tickets.

    The remaining tickets –
    Get a hold of the infrastructure of the playa – make sure they already have tickets. (med, support staff, rangers, dpw, ice crew, ect.)

    Get a hold of the camps that do provide a critical service to the playa. (Bike repair, locksmith, mechanic, sanctuary, healers, massages, of known proven worth.) How? Most of these people like the gentleman I met one year who unlocked my car have trailers and have been going for years. Most of us have stories. We know, and the rangers, and support staff will know.

    Then get a hold of the theme camps and the artists. Be honest with them. They know the placers, the know the drill, and help them get home to the playa.

    Then look at the tickets left and sell them. Sell them at regional events only.

    Be prepared to hold back enough tickets that some miracles can happen for artists or low income.

    place name and code with a non removable sticker (breaks up when you peel it) on ticket, and show ID at gate, id must match name on ticket.
    Registration for the purchased tickets would be a massive undertaking. It is do able.

    We would volunteer. We would help. We make the burn happen.

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  • Jaimee Bobaimee says:

    I know this is a shitstorm, but I would just like to say that I forgive you guys, I know you are doing your best, and I understand everything was done with the best intentions.

    Even if I don’t get a ticket and can’t attend this year, I’m okay with it. People and organizations make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world and it is not the end of Burning Man. Shit happens.

    My personal motto when it comes to things like this: Don’t agonize, organize.

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  • kelly higgins says:

    Thank you! For hearing and responding.

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  • 76 says:

    This is a great update and has a lot of points I have thought to my self to be true throughout this lottery drama.
    I myself am a 12 year burner who was planning to take a year off this year anyway
    and have watched this all unfold from the sidelines (did not enter the ticket lottery)
    My day job also happens to have connections to those that deal in the secondary ticket market.
    I can tell you many ticket brokers became aware of Burning Man as of last year when it sold out. For sure a few of them entered the ticket lottery within intention to resell, but I am confident the number is small. Could there be brokers sitting a large number of tickets, yes but unlikely. The number of tickets on the secondary market right now is under 100, and the number that has sold so far is probably close to 100 also (about 70 tickets been sold on Stubhub so far).
    I have actually seen how many individual ticket brokers were uploading there inventory of Burning Man Tickets to various internet sites – the number was small
    , between 8 and 12, depending on when I looked at the information.
    So could ticket brokers be sitting on large blocks,yes, but as you wrote there is no evidence of this, and I find it to be unlikely.
    The weather was way too nice last year – this didn’t weed out enough people and increased demand this year way more than usual , plus I am sure there is some ticket hoarding among people who won the lottery.

    I really think what you have to do with final 10,000 tickets is simple:
    1. Make them all Will Call.
    2. Change the Ticket Limit from 4 to either 1 or 2.

    Good Luck – You’ll figure it out – You always do.

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  • joshua livingroom says:

    i have always wondered why you guys dont put names on tickets and make them non transferable. seems like people could still buy them as gifts and just put the recipients name on it.

    i feel as if raising the cost will only make this event more upper middle class white college educated professional than it already is. so if we want to decrease diversity and make it overtly classist and racist than raise prices.

    i believe it should be mandatory to tent camp (by which i mean no RVs) for your first 3 years. like my friend said last night ‘people have it too kushy’, increase the survivalist-uncomfortable-are we gonna die out here factor and a good chunk of the sissy la las will stay home.

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  • Dog Rancher says:

    What if the EI that that is pending is unable to mitigate issues related to the event except by only reducing the attendance to 40K.
    I think you all are getting ahead of your selves. Lets wait for the ES to be completed before selling or exchanging tickets.
    Dog Rancher

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  • Here is a living lesson in what happens to a society when it’s leadership violates a keystone principle and ethic. Burning Man’s principle of Radical Inclusion will be tested, and all the principles created in the world of Black Rock City will be proven true, or a farce perpetuated by the imagination of a determined few San Francisco hippies, or an “I told you so” from the real world straight-laced with its capitalistic, consumer-istic reality.

    I am a 9 year burner and theme camp member, an MPA (Master in Public Admin) and a PMP certified project manager and my consulting company handles multi-million $$ business/civic development, and here are my observations.

    Black Rock City has, on a level never before, been forced participate in the real world, with all the pressures, roadblocks, regulations and resource constraints that pelt each country, society and citizen every day.

    The leadership of Black Rock City failed to stand strong on the principles that all of our Burning Man culture hold highest. As a culture develops, the time will come when it must defend its values. The leadership of Burning Man did not defend (or respect?) their principles. They orchestrated leaving people out. Shame on them.

    Burning Man leadership are thinking like administrators. Like bureaucrats, mired in the logistics of counting tickets, worried about getting ripped off, and refusing to challenge the powers-that-be to expand territory and negotiate permitting, afraid of dealing with real-world government. Does this sound like maximizing profit for minimum effort? What? Burning Man infrastructure can’t handle growth? Change it! Change location! Incorporate a real township! This is within your power!

    Wake up Andie Grace, this is not an “event” with a problem of “ticket demand”. This is a test of a society’s principles. We, the citizens of Black Rock City, have embraced and evolved and created an ideology that transcends 7 days in the desert. We are now a collective who are realizing that our Leadership has not evolved to support our values.

    Leadership must evolve from an ‘event’ perspective to a ‘community’ perspective. To the leadership of Burning Man, we are watching and will wholeheartedly support the right decisions.

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  • Gilgamesh says:

    I really don’t understand why people are so happy with this “apology” from BMORG. All that they have done, and continue to do is to foster the further erosion of the principles upon which our community was founded.

    “Radical Inclusion is the first principle, but faced with a Burning Man event that is limited in population, Civic Responsibility and Communal Effort dictate that we endeavor to radically include those who create Burning Man in the first place. There are, after all, Ten Principles, not just the one.”

    I’ve read the previous quote from within tis so-called apology over and over again, and still cant believe my eyes. Yes, there are nine other principles; so which one is next in your sights now that you have apparently decided, or leaning towards doing away with Radical Inclusion? Decommodification? Participation? Each and everyone of these principles are important to our culture and our community, and they are ALL paramount to the essence of what Burning Man IS. If you, BMORG, or any of us burners start to arbitrarily choose which principles to follow rather than embrace them as the foundation upon which to build and facilitate cultural and social change, then we might as well abandon Burning Man all together.

    Oh, and one more thing, Andie Grace You also state: “A first-come first-served system would not meet the demand either. Every ticket vendor informed us we’d have to use the same type of “queuing system” that meant hours waiting in line at your computer screen – a luxury perhaps not available to many perfectly deserving Burners. And since we did estimate that demand would exceed supply somewhat, we knew that when people rushed in to grab the tickets available, there would be someone left out in the cold – not everyone was going to get tickets who wanted them.”

    No one expects a first-come first-served system would meet the demand . We are all well aware of the fact that some of us, perhaps many of us, would not be able to get tickets regardless of the system used to allocate and distribute them. What a first-come first-served system would do is afford us the opportunity to have a certain out of control over our destiny. We would,as in years past, waited, planned, sacrifice time and effort just for the opportunity to click that link and be rewarded with our ticket Home. This lottery monstrosity you created took that little bit of control away from us and put it in the “hands” of a computer. One that is not only impersonal, but susceptible to outside influence and manipulation.

    I do thank you for realizing that reversing the Main Sale results would be unfair and and couture productive. I can only hope you and the BMORG are blessed with the same wisdom and come to realized that giving preferential status to anyone will only drive the wedge deeper and further widen the tears in our community.

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  • Tim says:

    Less of the RV hate please! Not everyone who goes to BM lives in the US, and 23kg of baggage allowance on planes doesn’t even cover the survival equipment and desert wear. I’m not sure many airlines would tolerate full camping equipment, cookers, sun shades, chairs, tables, tarps, disco balls, etc. I don’t want to be buying all of that stuff every year for both financial and environmental reasons – as it is we have to buy a load of camping stuff which we end up gifting at the end of the burn as we can’t take it home. So go easy on us RV folk (those from overseas anyway) – there’s a reason why we do it, as it’s cheaper (and far easier) for us to do that than is it to set up a homely camp.

    If we manage to get tickets this year you’ll have to come find us after the temple burns – we do some SERIOUS gifting :-)

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  • burninggil says:

    a little word from a “Vet”…
    i’m into logistics and work anonymously behind the “curtain”…
    over the years, much effort and investment has been poured, be it time wise, monetary but especially emotionally and this ticket issue has stricken another nerve….
    we’ve been hit as well…looks like most of our camp won’t make it…and i’m not sure we’ll go at all….we know artists and theme camps in need and might forfeit to them the few tickets we were fortunate to get….after all, an aspect of the Man is about gifting and what’s a giving without sacrifice?…to give the Man away…
    it is what it is..and if it’s playa camping this year[which will not be, but i’m driving my point…], just be it…after all, it’s how it was in the early years and hundreds of newbies poured in every year and that didn’t temper our enthusiasm…..back to the source :)
    stop whining and be part of the solution….all of you out there with extra tickets, pleasepleaseplease post them back to STEP, we NEED those tickets!……..and if you can’t make it this year to Black Rock, just let go…there will be other years to come[i know iknow, it’s all about the moment…]
    you can also go or start a local burn and contribute to the expansion of our community….BE the Man!
    Thank you BMORG for all your hard thinking….we know that difficult – read “unpopular” – decisions will have to be made, but this too shall pass…and the Man will burn on…

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  • Dog Rancher says:

    There is no permit to date for the event untill BLM completes the EI.
    Assume nothing it just makes an ass out of you and me. I think I will hold on to my 6 tickets till EI is complete.
    Dog Rancher

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  • foxwalker says:

    Thank you for finally apologizing in a real way (unlike Maid Marian’s post) and for finally communicating in a real way. I am one of the “lucky” ones who got a ticket but my friends that I normally go with did not. I am not sure what can be done now with just 10,000 tickets left but I am hoping for the best.

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  • Sam says:

    I know that you folks at BMORG are trying to make the best of this terrible situation, and I appreciate your effort. Last year was my first burn and it was such an amazing and profound experience, thanks mainly to the art cars and art projects and the theme camps. It truly opened my heart. The week after the burn, I came home and fell in love with an amazing and artistic woman who had never gone to Burning Man.

    I really want to share this profound experience with her. We were lucky and succeeded in getting tickets with the lottery. But now, with the ticket problems, I am worried that man of those art cars and art projects and the theme camps won’t be there. Is there any way that the ticket reselling system could prioritize those creative projects that are so essential to the Burning Man experience? I know it may seem unfair, but those who are going want to have something to go to.

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  • The Wizard says:

    The ORG keeps making the mistake of thinking that the event spontaneously arises from random burners, when in fact, the best camps and installations have always been driven by a small group of very dedicated artists. I think burningman has never had more than 10,000 people who make it all work, and this lottery process has gutted the core of artists and builders.

    I hate to pop the egalitarian bubble, but all burners are not created equal. As far as the overall effect is concerned, one artist who can organize a project, raise the money and craft an amazing installation is worth a lot more than some random candy raver looking for a party, or some dude looking for boobies.

    The crews that support the artists are the actual builders of the event.
    You have thrown your crews into the shredder, and what remains cannot create the event we have come to love.

    I fear 2012 will be a mob of random tourists, wondering why no one has shown up to entertain them…

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  • emrah says:

    you aced damage control
    localize the distribution problem
    let camps decide under scarcity first
    (give few large camps 80% of tix they need,
    observe how they queue, then generalize what works)
    reduce your burden too

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  • Bella says:

    Thanks for the apology, that meant a lot to me. Most would not do that privately or publicly, thank you. Everyone makes mistakes and I have made plenty but the important thing is you have addressed the situation and now we can move forward. I can say this has been most emotional for me, I feel like I am watching something amazing happen in front of my eyes and am witness to it but choose to remain silent on this issue until the cards are played out. This is my home now and I want to go there with everyone else that does too. I for one will keep a happy positive energy in presence in mind and action.

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  • burninggil says:

    i agree with Gilgamesh…no preferential status….

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  • Grace says:

    With all that being said, and considering all of the disappointed veterans, it is important for all of those involved in large scale projects to reach out to virgins and ask for their help. It is up to us to keep the culture of burning man the way it was and not let it steer towards media oriented attention. Virgins will want to help, sometimes they just don’t know how.

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  • Cousin Dickey says:

    This year was to be my Burn Mitzvah.

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  • Kelly Kerins says:

    Anyone in the BMORG want to give credit to Alyssa Royse for stepping up the PR and copying her suggestions? If you’d thought of this on your own to begin with, you would have said it in your first ticket update. It’s practically plagiarism.


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  • dragonFly says:

    this article is absolutely useless and makes me even MORE angry. basically you are saying… yes we fucked up, we are so sorry (again), maybe we will see you next year when we might have a better system in place. my whole camp is without tickets. i am devastated that i most likely wont be going this year. im in shock, i really can’t believe you could fuck this up this badly. i dont care how it happened…. give us a real solution and quit posting apologies because i dont want to hear it!

    “We have agreed to be as transparent and honest as we can, describing next steps and decisions as quickly as we are able to make them. We are really considering a vast array of options as we continue to absorb information and analyze data.”

    to me this sounds like political double speak for shut the fuck up and sit down. your hosed and we have no solution.

    seriously dont bother posting this kind of dribble. its insulting. give us options and quit making excuses. fuck!

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  • mgr says:

    There will be less outcry than you think, if you simply decide on a course of action that would have been better, refund all tickets and revoke all letters, and then do it all over. As you said, there’s no joy among those who got tickets, because they know the people they want on the playa won’t be there.

    Figure out how to get tickets to the people who really want to be there. There are plenty of good suggestions above; read them.

    If you don’t fix this, you will have 10,000 actual participants and 40,000 Jersey Shore type spectators.

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  • Bobbie says:

    Thank you. We needed a hug and reminder that we matter. The volunteers, art installations, mutant vehicles and theme camps are not just red headed step-children. We have been a major part of the festival’s attraction. I believe that steps will be taken to save these valuable elements. I believe our pain and frustration has been heard.

    As my Mom always said, “Good intentions pave the way to hell”. Intentions were good, foresight not so good. If the reality is that 120,000 tickets were requested, and 40% of those had never been before the writting was already on the wall. The city would be hard pressed to function, as it has in previous years, with that many Burgins. In my camp I have several Burgins each year. They are easily overwhelmed by the sensory overload. They may contribute but not lead. This was a huge red flag. A proactive approach, since radical inclusion wasn’t going to apply to everyone anyway, would have been to cross reference the email addresses against those who purchased tickets in the first six months of 2011 and given them a priority in the lottery. At least a significant number of tickets allocated to veterans would have helped ensure more infastructure.

    I am taking my village but am still relying on BMORG to help facilitate getting tickets into the hands of my critical people. I don’t mind having to adapt and maybe do more with less. I just hope that I am not left trying to do everything with nothing. I am holding on to faith and waiting to see how this shakes out. I certainly wouldn’t relish an event with more than 20,000 Burgins walking around asking “So, where is all this art we’ve heard so much about?”

    While the numbers help to explain a little, speculators/scalpers could still be a significant portion of the 40% who have never been. Or they could have lied and are included in the 60%. I’m sure they didn’t out themselves and admit they had no intentions of going on the survey. There seems to be a big black ticket hole somewhere. I believe that many Burgins are brought to the event through joining friends in established camps. Therefore the 20 – 30% ticket success in those camps included some Burgin numbers.

    Again, I thank BMORG for the heartfelt response to our cries. I will hold on to the faith that they will make decisions based on the good of the larger community. I do not have faith that the STEP system will yield any solutions for theme camps, etc. There just are not extra tickets in the community and we are all scrambling. My biggest hope is that Rangers, Post Office, Center Camp, Newspapers, Radio Stations, Art Installations and Theme Camps will be taken care of first with the remaining tickets. Without these elements, the face of Burning Man will not be what people signed up to see. This is not Disney Land where all the attractions are in place and you buy a ticket and enjoy. This is a collaborative festival where the attractions are created and brought by the attendees for the enjoyment of all.

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  • Dana says:

    Interesting times. I was thinking of attending this year (last minute newbie) but i’ll hold off and plan a little more in advance for next year. Because there is no capacity (at this time) to grow, the lottery ticket system seems fair. I would encourage you to look at the weighted lottery system in place for grand canyon trips to perhaps get some ideas for next years BM? Just a suggestion. There may be some gold nuggets there to help for future BM gatherings.

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  • Mick G says:

    Hey there

    i have been going since 99 and got tickets in the lottery, but am worried about what this year will be like on the playa, with so, so many of my friends without tickets now, so they can’t plan and so won’t attend … I am still going to go and experience this “new Burn” and I am sure love and smile just like I always do …

    Some ideas:

    1. Allow people leaving the Burn to buy tickets for next year!!!

    2. Make tickets transferrable only within a Burning Man website for face value

    3. For this year allow the 10,000 last tickets to be sold to applicants who write in and describe how long they have been going and what they intend to do this year (kind of like low income tickets, but full price).

    4. Keep a database of people who go, so that we can ensure that peeps who go every year and contribute continue to be able to.

    5. Put a request out to the BM community for programmers etc. to build a better system – amazing what a village can do :-)

    6. Don’t allow people to come for the last three days … close the gates on Wednesday night!!!

    7. Put a limit on the size of these gargantuan motor homes and also on the amount of them, so more people would be required to camp.

    And that is about it

    Much love


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  • puppymeat says:

    Prediction: While there is much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, ultimately some form of priority/special consideration will be given to large registered theme camps/villages.

    It is entirely possible to create something awesome in a 2-3 person camp, but if you have a 50-person camp project, you just can’t get it done if only 10 people have tickets (and anecdotal evidence I’ve seen suggests the real ratio is much worse). Yes, it will suck for the 2-3 person camps, but…well, maybe you take this year off and better luck next year?

    I honestly believe there are NO camps Burning Man can’t live without (and I include Center Camp, Playa Info, The Man, Larry Harvey, etc. in that statement, not that they’re in any danger.) If long-time burners don’t get tickets, that’s a personal tragedy for them. If several large, ambitious project only gets half their tickets and so show up without the necessary resources to follow through on their ambition…well, there will be a lot of graveyards of grand ambition just taking up space. And that would be a community tragedy.

    Please note, I’m not advocating this outcome, I’m just predicting it.

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  • Waterdragon says:

    First it is important to acknowledge that the problem BM is facing is good!!! More people are coming because BM and its participants are doing a great job! Yay! This is cause for celebration! We are getting our message out! This also means that more people are likely to want to come in the future as well. Consequently the solution to our problem is painfully simple. If BLM will not relax its restriction of 50,000 then BM must move and find a new home that will accommodate all PERIOD. No one in our family should be left behind! Understandably, we have gotten bogged down in the ticket sale mechanism and forgotten our vision.

    I could be wrong but it seems possible that there are several Indian tribes/reservations in the area that would be more than happy to host BM for the amount of money that BLM is receiving. Relocation to a tribal territory could potentially solve the size, the multiple law enforcement issues (i.e. an Indian reservation is a sovereign nation and all these functions would fall under one tribal police jurisdiction), etc. Additionally, from a social empowering perspective, another positive would be that these local residents would stand to benefit directly from the event.

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  • Playa Kitten says:

    I big heartfelt thank you to the Org. I have not let myself get negative and upset with the Org throughout this, as I know that your intentions are pure and you are doing your best.

    My message for this post is: PLEASE STOP TRYING TO MAKE IT EASY!!!

    I am a 14 year Burner and I am glad that this is happening. I think that as painful as this may be right now, that this needed to happen. I feel like Burners have been slowly losing the STRENGTH that kept it all real. I have always said that if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be Burning Man. And, you are trying to make it too easy on us. When we waited for hours on the phone and then later at our computers, and showed up tired at work, it was HARD, and when we finally got those much sought after tickets, we were elated and in turn, made the very most of our experience on the playa. It added to the excitement!

    Our large theme camp of 180 people now has access to water service, and pump service, and we provide showers with evaporation ponds, a camp kitchen, and on and on. I preferred it when none of this was an option. Many of the 180 people in our camp have only ever camped with our theme camp and don’t know what it is like to arrive on their own and provide for themselves, the whole “RADICAL SELF RELIANCE” thing has been lost on them. In many ways we have handicapped them, clipped their wings. Again, if you make it too easy then a fundamental strength is lost. It is like our theme camp is a microcosm of the macrocosm, and I know a lot of large camps feel the same way. Maybe this will help us reduce and rethink things. We needed this gut punch, and I think the event as a whole did too, to reset things.

    Now we will be working hard to find tickets for the core 30 people in our camp who really do all the work anyways. Hope your STEP works!

    It will all work out and we will ALL be better for it!!!!

    I love you and thank you!!!!

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  • Furthur says:

    I know, it’s been tough on you guys. But you probably have tickets. Your call to the larger theme camps was telling. They clearly don’t have enough to run their camps. But how about us little guys? Like me, who bring a neighborhood bar (and, maybe a bowling alley). I thought of, bought and acquired, bring, put up, run, tear down and then re-store it, by myself. No big theme camp, few helpers. I’ve got years and lot’s of cash and work that has to be in (paid) storage all year. I improve and add to it all year. Well, I did. Not this year. How can i justify adding, let alone keeping, all this stuff if I have to struggle to get a ticket? And what about next year? Yes, the big theme camps are where the big action, the big money, the big effort is. But I also enjoy biking the ‘burbs to see what is in the neighborhoods. For the above reasons, I (we) may have to cut back or even abandon this effort. But without the larger theme camps, and, yes the hundreds of smaller ones, BRC loses the texture of participation and inclusion it had. And, BMorg provides only, well not only, but mostly, the infrastructure, the canvas that is then painted by us Burners to create the fabulous city in the desert (no, not Las Vegas) that is Black Rock City.

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  • jasON says:

    I know this isn’t really a solution for this year, or even for 2013, but to what extent can Burning Man get the BLM to relax constraints on the event? Would they consider a larger population if BRC was somehow structured differently? Considering that Burning Man has as many as 100K highly-motivated advocates in each one of us, don’t underestimate the power of the community voice to affect change…

    Beyond that, I thought the former idea was that Regionals were supposed to soak up excess demand over time. Clearly that hasn’t happened–in part because a singular epic event is hard to resist (solves coordination problems among schedules, allows focusing of limited resources), and in part because the Black Rock desert is a magical place with some distinct advantages. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider how the new BMORG(.org) can revitalize this plan.

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  • rocketgirl says:

    Another benefit to non-transferable tickets is that convicted sexual predators who attend the festival every year would not be able to remain anonymous. Some of them register at the sheriff’s station, like they are required to by law, but it is known among the LE community that that is a small percentage. Many buy their tickets from secondary sellers, and thus avoid their names, credit card numbers and email addresses being logged by actually purchasing the ticket from Burning Man. Requiring names on non-transferable tickets would address this problem,and possibly serve as a deterrent to their attending the event altogether.

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  • I nor did any of my many many friends get tickets.
    Sure I can get a ticket but not everyone can and I know Theme Camps are bailing so why would I want to go to Burning Man at this point?
    You guys really ruined this one.

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  • uh-huh says:

    LOL @ Harry Larvey’s attempted troll.

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  • Have another event. In Australia, or Costa Rica, or Arizona. The point is, take this worldwide interest as the opportunity it is. Everybody gets a ticket. The world is enlivened. Yes, of course, you’ll have to do some work to make sure camps aren’t split up. But just imagine the possibilities…

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  • Meow says:

    Ha! I really don’t envy the medics and the Rangers this year.

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  • Lindsay says:

    This will be my second year. Whatever solution BMorg comes up with, it’s clear that EVERYONE has to step it up this year to keep the playa what it has been. If anyone needs help on a project or more hands and hours to make it happen, I want to be a part of it. bee.bee.lindsay@gmail.com

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  • joeyhan says:

    allocate remaining tickets to certain group won’t solve the problem but will create more problems to explain……..

    short term fix:

    1) sell remaining tickets like before, 1st come 1st serve, at one flat price, $280-300?
    2) put name on ticket, check photo ID at gate
    3) only can sell ticket back to BRC, with a fee, $30?

    long term:

    1) sell tickets like before, 1st come 1st serve, at one flat price, $280-300? this will stop the rush to get cheapest ticket.
    2) put name on ticket, check ID at gate. don’t need to say more.
    3) only can sell back ticket to BRC, with a fee $30? BRC is the only place to buy and sell BM ticket.

    it is not a perfect world and therefore, no perfect fairness.

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  • Lively says:

    Can we find another location to have more than one BM? Maybe even east coast?

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  • djsburn says:

    What’s up everyone!

    The situation with the tickets is really unfortunate, but this will be my first time coming to BM. I feel privileged to be one of the few that was picked to receive a ticket (no matter how much it hurt my wallet).

    None of my friends were able to afford a ticket so it looks like I’ll be driving solo from San Jose, nevertheless I’m going to make the most of it and meet some awesome people and enjoy the vibe.

    Can’t wait,


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  • SushiMonster555 says:

    I have been to BM 2010 and 2011. They have been the best times of my life. I went with my best buddy both times and was trying to get a large group together this year to do it right. None of us got a ticket and I am bummed. I know there is much to deal with in this new age of BM, but for the future I think that doing something other than a “lottery system” would be advisable.

    BM is what gets me through many of my days during the year. I talk about it, I plant for it, and I create for it. Every time I come back from BM, I have some new found understanding of the world. It makes me a better person. I want to keep going, I need to keep going for the experiences, the excitement, and the fun!

    The last 2 years that I went, my buddy and I were only able to go from Thursday – Monday since we are college students and BM always starts the 2nd week of classes. It would be nice to see tickets that are cheaper for those who cannot attend the whole week.

    I know you are all trying your best because that is the kind of people you are, we are. The nicest of the nice. The best to be around. The Burners! Thank you for doing all that you have done and all of us commenters will be here if you need us!

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  • Wet Spot says:

    How’s this for a fix.
    A police or fire dept anywhere in the world signs up for Official Scalper Camp Outpost status with BMorg. BMorg confirms their for real. Any one can go to a local outpost to buy or sell tickets. Marked up price goes to police or fire dept..

    Would keep ticket resale on a local community supporting level.

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  • Deanos says:

    Our camp is about 50 people but we have never had a theam.
    so it sounds like if we go as a theam camp we will get tickets

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  • Steve says:

    Terry had some good ideas:

    One price
    No names
    First come first serve

    I think this lottery is bad for Burning Man. Instead of rewarding motivated, committed burners and virgins who get online in January and wait as long as it takes to get their 2 (maximum!) tickets, we have a random system where anyway can register as many times as they want over a 2 week period using various names and credit cards. It dilutes the event to the point where we risk losing so much of the culture that it just becomes spring break in the desert. Bring back the old system! One single ticket price to avoid the frenzy and gaming! Bring back the old system!

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  • Ryan says:


    I suggest having applications for theme camps or art projects due in advance of any ticketing. The applicant could be required to identify key individuals (with credit card numbers) that must attend to make the project happen. When camps and art is selected for placement, those key individuals will be able to purchase tickets ensuring that the foundation of BM is in existence before the lottery takes place. A subsequent lottery could allow for equal odds amongst virgins and veterans not core to any selected projects.

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  • Sarahsarah says:

    My two cents-

    Make participation mandatory or at least put a premium on it. There is nothing wron with new people coming out to the event, but you but the ticket, then take the ride. This will ensure that even if 60% of the people are new the city will remain intact.

    Though I hate to make rules for participation, I think it’s key and could ultimately make the city, the event and the community so much stronger.

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  • T. McGee says:

    I have attended Burning Man 5 years in a row (2006-2010). Last year my financial situation did not allow me to attend and this year I am traveling to Ireland instead. I do plan on returning in 2013 and after seeing the affect the new system had on the whole community and my camp, I am hopefully looking towards a better solution and pleased to read the above that everyone is doing their best to solve the current problem. As curious as I am to see the impact this situation has on this year’s event and community, I can’t help but worry that it will be “radically” different. And even though the event is different in so many amazing ways every year, I worry that the camps and art this year will be affected so much, it will be different in a negative way. I worry for my fellow campmates as only a handful of about 40 received tickets. But I am sure you have heard the same from so many people, so I will move on. My two cents…can’t the organization sell tickets to the event as one would to a concert? They have only a certain number of tickets available, the have a date that tickets go on sale and at some point they sell out. You will never find a solution that will make everyone happy or make it easy for everyone, but this seems to be the most simple and fair approach. Even averaging the price tiers to one price across the board would make things fair and simple. You can even keep a certain number of your low-income tickets to apply for. And making the tickets “limited transfer” (or however you want to describe it) will eliminate scalpers across the board. If someone buys a ticket and plans change, they can either re-sell them through the Burning Man organization or submit a form that “im selling my ticket to Joe Schmo at face value”. A confirmation letter from the organization can easily be brought with the ticket to the gate. Again, just one more idea to consider or toss. I hate seeing the community in such negative spirits when we are all usually planning costumes and installations and camp construction. I can only imagine the stress you are all feeling and I am hopefully that something better and solid will come from all of this.

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  • jamie smith says:

    the growth of BM has always felt too fast for me, the first year the streets got bigger [2006?] was totally disorienting, and time to get from point A–>B was distorted.

    … if new applicants account for 40% of registration, how about only allowing 10% [or something like that….]? i guess i’m just not that much of a radical inclusionist, given the current state of affairs, and what is at stake. good luck ya’ll…

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  • Dr. Pyro says:

    I’ll add my two cents worth. I understand the problems the BMOrg faces and I respect that. I also know they will do the best they can, under these rather unfortunate circumstances, to do the right thing. I hope they can set aside tickets for the theme camps; I know Barbie Death Camp certainly could use another 74 at last count. But maybe I’m being naive, and have more faith in our fellow burners (as stoned as many of them may be) than I should, but here’s a thought. I know the BLM is not anxious to increase the number of participants on the desert. Logistical concerns and all that. But if, for argument’s sake, they have 58,000 tickets available this year and increase it by 10% to roughly 63,800, but let it be known that the hurdles we face is with exodus, would 10% of those of us attending Burning Man change our exit strategy? I know I would. If rather than leaving at 2 p.m. on Sunday or noon on Monday, leave at dawn on Sunday or wait until Tuesday, that would solve the exodus burden.

    And let’s say that didn’t work; if 10% more people equals (I am making this number up) 20% more time in line and the average exit time currently is 5 hours, you’re looking at 6 hours instead. Is there a burner out there that wouldn’t be happy to wait an extra hour in line to exit in order to spend the week at TTITD? Hell, I spend that much time munching on Indian tacos. So I think the logistical nightmares that the BMOrg envisions, along with the BLM in their infinate federal wisdom, may well be mitigated by the sheer fact that burners are different from other people. Again, only a rather small minority will have to change their plans to make everything work. Add another ring road along the parameter and live to fight another day.

    Doc Pyro, Mayor of Barbie Death Village

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  • bonnaroo boy says:

    Burning Man is gay

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  • A says:

    A very good response. However you did not address, one way or the other, the idea of making tickets non-transferable THIS YEAR. Based on the early entry system it would seem possible. I’m hoping this was excluded from your response because it is still being discussed, but based on the number of people who suggested it I would have thought you would at least let us know it is a possibility. If you made tickets non-tranferable you could collect the following information.

    1. Name?
    2. Where are you comming from?
    3. Number of times you’ve attended Burning Man?
    4. Are you currently associated with a theme camp?
    5. Would you be willing to work with an established camp?

    You can use the 10,000 remaining tickets to make sure core participants from established camps can make it and use the data you gather making tickets non-transferable to pair up orphened burners and virgins with established camps that need additional help.

    Virgins are awesome, for God’s sake we have special ceremonies for them at the gate, but we want to make sure we have something to show them once they get there.

    Well done, but you still have a long way to go and in a short time. Reach out to the community for expertise in technical areas you need help with. I’m guessing we could have a moon shot from the playa if we gathered all the technical knowledge available in the community. Last year we built a giant working clock, I’m sure this year we can manage a non-transferable ticketing system.

    Also, perhaps this situation calls for reconsideration of the theme. I think a hopeful theme would be “Rebirth”.

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  • Andie Grace says:

    Gilgamesh – What I mean about first come first served is that if we were all standing there at this scale waiting to buy the same limited number of tickets, and we all dove for them at noon when the clock struck…the luck of the draw would have left the same number of people out in the cold, and if you ask me, it would have been across the same distribution of new and returning visitors (and ticket speculators). Like a bunch of birds diving for the same worm all at once — how is that more fair?

    Shenanigans – there are 164,000 subscribers to the JRS.

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  • Alexandra Bialkin says:

    Thank you for working so hard on preserving our community and handling challenges. Although I was disappointed to hear that a lottery process was chosen as a solution, and disappointed at no tickets, I have faith in our BM administration and will continue to. Our family will not rescind our vacation time requests, continue planning our camp, and will continue to seek tickets. See you all there! :)

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  • IT'S ROB!!!! says:

    HEY! My girlfriend and I got tickets! It’s our first year in graduate school (wayyy over in new hampshire) and my first trip farther West than Pennsylvania, and it will be my first time on a plane (I hope). I hope us newbies don’t kill burning man. That would make me sad.

    I can tell you that when we put our names into the lottery, we were unsure if we would/could even go if we got tickets. But then we did, and then we watched the “Oh the places you’ll go” video and we were just like… Fuck it this has to happen THIS YEAR! So that’s why we’re coming down. Always wanted to go but never had the means, no we do, its happening… I hope.

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  • Artin says:


    1)First come first serve.
    2)Cheapest tier ticket is registered per individual. Non-sellable, non-transferable.
    3)Medium priced tier is registered per individual transerable/giftable ONCE through STEP program.
    4) most expensive ticket is limited quantity but is not registered to a person. Thus is giftable/transferable without STEP.

    The argument that this is logistically difficult to manage is not genuine. Airlines have been dealing with these logistics for decades and there are many solid, battle tested sales models in place.

    It’s a model tha works, is fair, eliminates scalping, and provides a mechanism to resell or gift ticked if need be. The added management overhead on BMORG is a given considering the scale of the event the revenue that’s generated by the ticket sales. Hire more staff and take care of it. Airlines, casinos, hotels… it’s the same model more or less, it’s market economics, not rocket science.

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  • IT'S ROB!!!! says:

    P.S. I’m totally down to help with stuff at BM

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  • Reframe Betty says:

    Many thanks for retracing your steps – it was a great help in getting me to where you are.
    With so many newbies and so many theme camps and collectives shorted, how about a place where they can connect? How radically inclusive are we anyway? Yes, training is a pain in the ass so the sooner ones starts, the better. Let each group that wants to invite newbies develop their own “application” on their own websites. All BMan would have to do is set up a networking page, categorize the groups and post links.
    Thanks again for inviting us in on your process. Though I may have to wrestle my husband for his ticket, I am fascinated to see how it all takes shape. Betty’s pie shop will materialize somewhere, I have no doubt.

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  • Kimo says:

    @ Dr Pyro…. 74 more tickets needed? Really? So a couple hundred dusty Barbie dolls marching into an oven qualifies as a theme camp? Other than the wine bistro and pancake breakfast, I’m failing to see what the big contribution is to the playa. From the surface it appears that over time you’ve been able to create a village with a very small contribution to the overall experience for everyone else.

    I’m not attacking you here, but I’d like to hear how your request for 74 more tickets is about making a better experience for all, and not just personal greed for the exclusive “club” that you’ve created? Would BDC not survive with half of its’ membership this year?

    Just asking

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  • will forsyth says:

    I sure hope that all of the hard working people who make burningman happen get there because the prospect of riding around the desert and finding only weekend warriers and frat boys scares me. I have hosted several groups suchas this,(used to be a summer cam director) and they contibute nothing, take no responsibility and make only a huge mess. BEing drunk, yelling “woooo! ” and cruising around looking to get laid does not contribute to the art, community or culture of BM. These people are more like intestinal worms! (Paracites and pain in the ass).

    The idea of a lottery is ok, but given that the Burningman event is mostly participant driven, we need to find a way to get people ( GROUPS) capable to pull it all off in place first. New people are good, just less likely to participate beyond “individual participation”. Requiring volunteering seems like a good thing. I am ready to help now that I am returning.

    I have a feeling that a combination of opportunistic scalping and fearfull over-buying has occured. That being said, lets not discount the power of social media in the spread of interest in Burningman.
    I just got the internet in my home, and did not really know about the scale of Burningman when I first went. I went with friends. The suprise of waking up on day one to see a giant “trojan bunny” coming out of th dust was truely awe inspiring! I am commited to do what I can to contribute.

    I am sure that when the Ipod generation sees all the coverage (we post) online they mostly come for the party. If it looks like Disneyland, its likely they are unaware of the work that goes into it. Be carefull what you post ( because like the girl who announced her birthday party on Facebook) everyone might just show up!

    Im rambling: good letter, names on tickets, one per person, participation manditory, find a way to protect the core and the people who think of BM as a way of life and not an event.

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  • Christina S says:

    This will be the first year I get to attend Burning Man.
    I had purchased tickets in 2009 and then was unable to go when several people bailed and plans fell through, so I sold them under face value to others in my city who wanted to go (I would rather “lose” some money than just have the tickets go to waste).

    Myself and two friends have been working on plans for how we want to be part of this event this year. The three of us had planned to camp together and have an awesome interactive art piece.
    However, at this point, only 2 of us have tickets.
    We’re all first timers for the playa this year, but have participated in regional events and get-togethers with friends and organizations for several years.

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  • mimosa says:

    First off – the blog was well done, professional and clear – even if i don’t really like everything you said.

    I have concerns and a suggestion.

    Suggestion first –
    If 40% of the tickets are going to newbies and, lets say, another 20% go to those who had 2011 as their first year – then we could be looking at 50%+ of the population being first or second year burners. Let’s admit it – if 2011 was your first year, you got off easy and didn’t really have the basic challenges that those of us who have been going for years have lived and thrived through.

    IF they, the “new ones” are going to be a majority, or near majority, of new and near newbies – THEN why not engage them to TAKE A VETRAN to BM. In the past it has been “Bring a Newbie” – now, they might have the upper hand, or ticket in hand, to bring a Vetran. Ordinarily it would be a vetran bringing a newbie, or a newbie bringing another newbie. Think about it. Make them get invoived – do a call out to all newbies to sell that extra ticket(s) to a vetran instead of bringing another snot nose :>)

    Concern now –
    I feel abandoned by this process. This would be my 4th burn and I do not claim to be a vetran – however, for the past two years i have volunteered for soooo many things – and not been chosen. I came early last year and worked my ass off for my camp – I donated hundreds of dollars to projects because I can’t offer any expertise to help – only some bucks. I was a good Burner – a moop maniac – shared, cared, cleaned up after people. But all this is the ordinary stuff of BM – I am not a special burner, just a ordinary one. I am not an artist and my outfits aren’t the stuff worthy of You Tube. I would do more, want to do more and each year I’ve reached out to do more. I got shut out of the lottery and now I think I will get shut out of the remaining 10k tickets. My theme camp is so strapped for tickets I expect them to distribute extra tickets according to “expertise’, “worthiness” (aka years of service), or perhaps “popularity”. I am afraid that I won’t make runner up in any of these categories. I’m gonna be left in the dust….

    I also feel that BMorg has changed the rules on me. No prerequisite for participation?

    All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others….

    sniff, sniff.

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  • Moth says:

    Thank you for posting this. It helps a great deal to know what is going on and that we’re being heard.

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  • “No event organizer or ticket seller has solved scalping completely.”

    When is the last time you bought a ticket from a scalper at the airport?

    Now i am NOT suggesting that ALL tixs be sold this way….how about a special 1 tix per person for theme camps organizers who plan their lives around this event each and every year?…….it can still be a lottery, only for long time theme camp burners….you will know who the person is and if tragically they are unable to attend the event for some unfortunate reason they must sell it back to BM and just like a plain tix penalty fees apply…etc…then BM can resell the tix to another theme camp….say 25% of tixs being sold this way?

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  • Steve says:

    One price
    No names
    First come first serve

    I would add this too:
    If a lottery or some other system is used in 2013, those that don’t get tickets get automatically reserved for tickets for the NEXT year. It’s only fair. Then in January of the next year all those people get emails asking them to confirm and provide a credit card number to secure those tickets. If they changed their minds and don’t want to go, they decline, and the tickets go back into the open sale.

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  • JoanDelilah says:

    Hi. I have never been to Burning Man, but I am praying with all my heart I can get there this year. My life is undergoing tremendous transformation and I am feeling called to go down to The Desert and be there for this in a huge way. I hope that this will be the magical culmination of a magical time in my life, and I am literally dreaming about it regularly.

    I don’t know how I can get a ticket, and I don’t yet know anyone to camp with, but I am already a radically self-reliant individual and even if I don’t find any camp or group to go down with, I can get there with enough of the right gear and supplies for two and a stack of gifts I am already working on.

    I don’t want to be a tourist. I want to be a full-fledged part of this. I would be ecstatic to be able to offer my time and labor to the community, as a simple pair of hands, or using my 15 years of technical and operational security experience.

    I’m not sure where to start or what to do next, but I really want to come down and contribute, and I just felt that maybe coming out and saying that would be the right thing to do in the wake of this situation.

    I would never want to take the ticket of long-time burner, and I would never want to pay a scalper, but I can afford a full-price ticket, and I can afford to sponsor a low-income ticket too, and I can certainly spend a good chunk of my weekends and free evenings working to make this happen.

    So there; I have added my voice to the crowd. Please do with it what you will.

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  • Michael Everett Brown says:

    Andie Grace;

    Thanks you for your detailed explanation of the ticket situation. And all the extra hard work that you and the rest of the staff are doing to improve it.

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  • Barry SwagMart says:

    Burning Man has grown through so many obstacles over the years. Each of those surmountable obstacle’s has created a better Burning Man experience every year.
    The valuable imput by those concerned Burners will create a better experience for all of us.
    Most of us believe that none of this ” Perfect Storm ” was created intentionally.
    There are no Problems, Only Solutions.
    See ya, on the Playa.

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  • Gilgamesh says:

    Mr Larry Harvey,

    Thank you for finally making it official. I completely disagree with your decision, but at least now that’s official this whole thing can move forward.

    I am deeply disappointed to see that your solution to the problem your board created by ignoring the warnings of the community, translates in nothing less than turning your back on the very principles the project was founded on. The principles that YOU based this amazing creation on.

    For years I’ve tried to educate those claiming that the project was nothing special. Now I must eat my crow, you Sir have just made it official, Burning Man is truly for the Elite. Those with the money to buy a ticket at any cost, and the privileged ones rubbing elbows with those holding the power.

    Sad… so very sad.

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  • IDjoe says:

    I have question . . . Tickets that were ‘awarded’ to purchasers who left the questionaire blank are considered sales to whom? Newbies? Previous Burners?

    Sorry if the question has been asked or answered. I haven’t seen it.

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  • T says:

    Guess a ticket recall isn’t going to happen so, perhaps:

    1) Could you assure us that the number of years attended was purely for statistical purposes and played no part in the draw?

    2) Could you possibly dedupe addresses of successful ticket ‘winners’ (shudder) and if they’ve won multiple sets of tickets using different cards registered at the same address to limit them to one set of tickets and put the rest back into the pot? Hunt down scalpers or multiple bidders, and take their tickets off them. We’ll support you.

    3) Would it really be that hard to print names on the tickets and make people show ID which corresponds to the original ticket purchase? Wouldn’t even add to the wait time – get more volunteers further back in the line and do the checks whilst they are in the queue, slap a sticker on the vehicle of those who have been been cleared, and all those who have to go to will call are checked there? I know some people want tickets to be transferable – but 2012 might have to be a year of tough love to try and stop this from happening again. If I manage to get a ticket, I promise I’d come and help out.

    I am trying to be positive, but there are only three possibilities here: there are a lot of scalpers, or a lot of people who have been doubling or tripling their chances of getting tickets (both in my mind going totally against the ethos of Burning Man) or demand has increased significantly. There must be quite a few burners out there sat on extra tickets, who now get to decide who goes.

    On a more positive note, I do think a lot of people will have got tickets ‘just in case’ and that over the next few months there will be quite a lot in circulation. I don’t however hold massive hopes for STEP as it’s just too soon after the lottery and people won’t have made their minds up yet if they made a speculative purchase.

    All I want is for burners (old and new) to be able to stand on the top platform of the man at night, look out across the playa at the art cars, the lights, the music coming from all directions, and say ‘fucking hell’ in total amazement at the sight in front of them (probably with a tear in their eye at the same time). It’s the most amazing experience I have ever had, and I’m sure it will end up being incredible, regardless of the form it takes.

    We need to undo any unfairness in the process to rebuild trust. I used one card, for one bid. That’s what anyone who believes in BM would have done, and I’m presuming this is not what happened. But perhaps we have too much faith in all Burners, and it’s horrible to start feeling cynical about it. Last year a bloke stood at the front of the crowd throughout the temple burn and refused to sit down, despite people telling him how important it was for them to be able to see it – it was disgraceful, far worse than a fight. A fight at least implies emotional – he just didn’t care about anyone else there. I really hope he hasn’t got 6 tickets.

    BM is amazing, no wonder more people want to go – I have raved about it to enough people and encouraged them. I have probably contributed to the problem. Take out the scalpers, take out the multiple bidders, and at least it’s fair, even if lots of us don’t get to go. At least you know you had a fair chance.

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  • ramon says:

    What about limiting the amount of tickets to two or three per credit card? So even if you have ten credit cards you still have to go through the process all over again each time? It’l slow it down enough that it gives the right people the time to get a ticket.

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  • Huggy Bear says:

    Here’s the translation:

    “We realize we made a dog’s breakfast of this ticketing situation. We know that now. And we feel awful about it. Truly awful. We know many of you got screwed out of tickets and won’t be able to attend. Even lifelong Burners are going to miss out, and the thought keeps us up at nights.
    But here’s the good news: even though we know we messed up, and we feel bad about it, you’re still screwed.


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  • Leigh Mueller says:

    Thank you for the beautifully written exposition of the problem. I have been traveling sans computer for months, and wasn’t even aware of the problem until this week. I had assumed that tickets would be sold on-line in March as usual, so I’m pretty bummed to learn that most of them are already gone. As a long time Nevada resident, and visitor to the Black Rock Desert when it is empty as well as full, I would like to say this: If you don’t get to go this year, maybe take some time to bring a few friends and go experience Black Rock when it is empty. It’s like camping on the moon.
    The solitude is astounding. The place abounds in magic and visual tricks. I have spent nights on the playa utterly alone, and in some ways found it as or more transformative as when I was a citizen of Black Rock City.
    I’m keeping hope that I might get lucky and get a ticket when the 10k run opens, but if not I will keep the spirit of the burn alive and be grateful for the past years of fun and wonder.

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  • Wet Spot says:

    This might be fun in the future-
    Multiple city/art areas (more people). Maybe the cities have different themes. Human built & powered mass transit between cities. I’ve always wanted my human powered commuter train to have some poofers and a bar for safety.

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  • Danica says:

    Excellent article.

    IMHO: Reserve the last 10,000 tickets for art camps/theme camps/art cars. if you are submitting an application to bring those things, add your credit card number and number of tickets needed, just like with early entry passes. Distribute like early entry passes.

    Shambhala (Nelson, bc) has begun to run in to this problem as well. It’s a much smaller area, and with about 12,000 tickets sold out in days, it’s difficult for the “old crowd” to come. However, long-time volunteers, vendors, DJs, etc. recieve guest list tickets with their applications. I know that it is a for-profit festival and therefore much different, but perhaps it is necessary to have some recognition for the returners and the builders.

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  • uh-huh says:

    “bonnaroo boy Says:
    February 10th, 2012 at 11:00 am

    Burning Man is gay”

    Hence the demand.

    Hey did you know that Atlanta Motor Speedway has a NASCAR event on Labor day weekend? You should go.

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  • Darrell says:

    I am a two-time burner. I didn’t go last year but this year my girlfriend (newbie) and I are planning to attend. Of course, we very sad at the way things have panned out, but very much encouraged by this post. There is hope.

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  • Juju! says:

    Hellooo there! I know you have received a whole buttload of ideas for future ticket sales to help solve the current issues in the system. Well I have one, too! I am firmly in the camp of making tickets non-transferable, i.e. having the buyer’s name printed on the ticket. No option of the buyer selecting another person’s name to print on the ticket, though, as Stub Hub could make up a bunch of Playa names, and whoever buys the ticket could claim at the gate that “My crazy great Aunt Wanda who bought this for me thought it had to have my Burning Man name on it, lulz.” So only the name on the buyer’s credit card would go on the ticket. Or, if the person buying is also buying one for their luvvah, then the buyer’s name would go on both tickets and they would have to be present with said luvvah at the gate to say “Yep, I got the ticket for this sexy beast.”

    But, what if the buyer ends up not being able to go? Fear not! They wouldn’t have to eat the cost of their ticket just because shit happens. So create a Burning Man ticket resale website, *just like you are planning to this year*, where someone with a ticket who can’t go has the option of selling it to a Burner, and only at cost! If it’s a year where not all tickets sell out, then to get a Burner in need to buy that ticket instead of just getting one from the main ticket site, the one selling would then probably have to sell it for cheaper than what it was originally purchased for to make it more desirable, so it could be a deal for the buyer instead of the buyer and Burning Man does not lose anything. Then, the person who bought the resold ticket via your site would be able to print out a receipt of this transaction and bring it with them when they show up to Burning Man, as proof at the gate that the reason the name on the ticket doesn’t match the name on their ID is a legitimate one. And CLEARLY state far and wide that ONLY this website will be allowed for re-sale. Period. Print outs of e-bay ticket sales or other such denizens of the tubes will not qualify.

    Voila! There you have it. No more scalpers, no more hoarders, no more lottery system, no more $1500 tickets, all tickets only sold or resold at cost, and no worries of someone being stuck with a ticket if they end up not being able to go. IIII like it. :o)

    Dusty exes and ohs,
    ~Juju! The Fishmonkey.

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  • Wilburner says:

    Thank you! Your informative essay has made me more inclined to continue pursuing tickets for this year. I am guilty of talking my brother and my girlfriend into going to burning man with me (or as it turns out, trying to go to Burning Man with me) this year.
    One idea (and I have no idea how the logistics would work) – sell tickets for the following year at the current burn inside Black Rock City .

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  • GOS says:

    I think a lot of the occasional burners must have registered. They may not go, but want the power to decide that on their own, not because tickets sell out. And come July they can bow out AND make a profit. Why not enter the lotto if you’re unsure? There’s nothing to lose and lots to gain.

    Balancing inclusivity and making sure the event isn’t full of unprepared spectators instead of the builders of BM is a tough job. Thanks for working to preserve the event!

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  • eMagellan says:

    Thank you for your honesty and clarity around the ticket purchase issue. It is distressing to hear that many worthy Burners do NOT YET have tickets. This might all work out pre-Playa… But like other folks, I wonder if there is a way to incorporate the other principles on equal status with radical inclusion. I think Burners who have done art projects, volunteer work and other forms of participation before ticket sales should be in a priority group, similar to the higher priced tickets this year. Tiers for a lottery at each level could be: 1. “participating” Burners; 2. high-priced tickets; 3. regular tickets. There are accounting issues and some administration issues to manage “participating” status, and that status would time-out unless renewed, but those who build and sustain BRC and BMC would have a better chance at coming back, while we still include a lot of other Burners and first timers. Good luck everybody.

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  • Dennis says:

    Ill echo a vote that others have said.

    BAN THE RV’S, tents only.

    I bet you’ll see a lot of tickets make their way into STEP early on and just think how much friendlier, quieter, cleaner it will be on the playa. It might even make the journey into and out of the event smoother and quicker.

    BAN THE RV’s, tents only.

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  • nobody stranger says:

    nothing that comes easily is appreciated for long. Change is always good, we overcome adversity and are always the better for it. I’ve been the last 8 years and i can tell you what you already know, no two years have been the same. When i heard last years that it was going to be very “brotastic” and that our home was going to be invaded by people some felt didn’t deserve to be out there i replied “let them come, maybe what they need to open their eyes to the world around them is us, as we are pretty phenomenal (that’s both pretty and phenomenal). And now here we are where more and more and more and more people wish to be devirginized. begging and aching to give their virginity…to us. Perhaps what we all need is a dissolution of us and them and to realize we are all we. Humanity, a community where a helping hand and a sympathetic ear can transform minds and hearts. It starts in each and everyone of we, you and me together.
    I’m not saying i was all hearts and stars over the new system, but i do know i’m not helping by attacking those who are doing their best to help me get home. It’s reassuring to know that they are thinking and thinking and thinking about how to fix what we as a community have expressed are major concerns.

    I did not receive my ticket in the lottery but have no fear of not getting a ticket, what will be will be. if i don’t go i will miss my home and my hearts who do attend, as they will represent us to them and show them that together we can change, ourselves our mindsets our beliefs our way of life our society our very concept of who we are and why we are here. (then again we can do this everyday, but burningman is a break down the doors in your mind and let loose the children inside outside into the big full of wonder wide world kinda experience)

    Word to your mothers

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  • playadust says:

    andie – thank you for sharing the update with the community; we know you in the HQ/ORG are people with hearts and connections to the culture just like all of us – your response created a deep breath that everyone needed

    the “entitlement” game has to stop…no one person/theme camp/artist is more “entitled” to a ticket more than another
    the negativity and blaming has to end, what kind of energy are you all putting into this? what you put out you will receive ten-fold
    where is the space for possibilities? and the space to welcome new potentially just as talented and creative beings into the community?

    it’s called *change* people…it was bound to happen sooner or later…not many can deal with change all that well, I get it

    there is something to be said for anything created in the year 2012, there is opportunity to change the outcome – even the virgin burners have a chance to shine – this year’s burn will be different, as they all are, and beautiful as they all are – it will be what you make it – it’s all perception anyway

    the concern is the timing of the the open gate…the weekends are what kills the ‘vibe’ of the burn, my plan is to leave prior to that happening

    holding two tickets, answered the survey, registered once (the last day of the 2 week reg period) and received two tickets

    let’s leave the planning of 2013 for after this issue is managed and we set out for the dust

    we’ll all get there…if we were meant to be there


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  • Papa Rain says:

    1) I am still unsure how our core collaborative community will get tickets to attend. How will this happen?

    2) This is an idea to increase the number of people who could come to the event. I don’t know if this is possible, but what if buses were organized to take people to the playa to limit the number of vehicles and traffic going in and out of the event. Maybe there could be some tickets released which required entry by bus. Exodus could be improved and more people could attend.

    3) Is there any way we can attach tickets to a name this late in the game. My guess is this would force scalpers to give up their tickets and more people might be willing to give to the STEP program. I love being able to give tickets but it seems less important than preserving our community.

    Thank you fellow burners for participating!
    Dusty kisses

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  • Too Sad says:

    Too many veteran burners here venting about their 1st World Problems. When the headlines read, “Burning Man Sold Out!” the fine print should’ve stated how the hypocrisy of many burners is finally exposed. Other comments here say this much better and in a nicer way, but I’m lashing out in pain because I’m seeing my home divided and now I’ve none. This dysfunctional bickering is what I want to escape through BM. This whole disaster is just too sad – the next Seussian video parable about BM should be The Sneetches.

    As for the suggestion of checking IDs at the gate, I thought BM was all about checking your id at the gate. The experiment was just that – an attempt at solving perceived problems and it didn’t elicit the best results; therefore, maintaining an entity’s word and values during adversity is worth more in the long run than keeping around some self-centered albeit very talented egos. Anyone who feels that they are more valuable than another human in any context is not a true Burner.

    I hope that a phoenix will rise this September and reignite my faith in this movement. I hope that BMorg sticks to their word on this year’s ill-fated plan in spite of the veteran narcissistic protests (sibling rivalry of this degree is simply horrific by burner values). I hope that next year, ticketing will be an open, effort-to-earn-entry ticket system, NOT seniority-nepotism-money. I hope that BMorg sees this ticketing issue as a symptom of a bigger problem they need to solve.

    Experienced burners have an opportunity to be true leaders and grow regional burns. That is the ONLY way that this movement can realistically, organically and healthily grow in the Default. Is that fact really too difficult for people to understand? If BMorg did anything different next year, it should be to support satellite Burns as a necessary extension of the central Burn.

    The current BRC already exceeds capacity and this is proven by the very existence of this symptomatic conflict: that everyone is being forced to pick which of the revered BM values as being more important over another just to put the whole event together. Some people see that this event is a boon to the Reno region, but it is also an incalculable, tremendous stress on resources for the host site. It’s easy to tell oneself that they are doing a favor to a community by dropping in to express their humanity and creativity and then cleaning it all up and going away for a year. I know that there are programs and Burner groups who address this, but by and large, there is a simple majority of attendees who just don’t get the whole picture. So, the answer is, it’s time for the Man to give birth.

    Until next year, when we’ll discover if BM will evolve or completely succumb to the dark side powers of the Default World that has overtaken it, hope everyone finds a way to accept this situation as it is and love each other and not take anything for granted.

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  • Marc "Marco Pollo" Harris says:

    Thank you for this message. It helps in the healing process. Regarding ALL tickets, my suggestion right now is as follows: Treat it like airline tickets. Attach names to ALL of the lottery and open tickets sold, with a 2-3 week window for purchasers to send the names. If names are not provided (or no response), then the ticket cost will be refunded (and tickets put in the STEP). Name changes should not be permitted, or possibly done for a big fee, to discourage changes. This way, more people who DO KNOW that they plan to go for sure, can hopefully get tickets, and many of those that are thinking, MAYBE THEY’LL GO, will decide now. Doing this would go a long way towards improving the morale of the community. *And also thanks for all the hard work at the BORG being put towards a solution!!

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  • Paul Berick says:

    I’m a first timer who feels so fortunate to have gotten a ticket. Many of the Burners who lit the fire in me were not so fortunate, and some are really bitter. Even if the huge demand and indiscriminate fairness which seems to be causing this “conflict” costs BRC some of it’s big pieces, I’m very confident that the souls which meet in the desert will form temples not made of hands, more beautiful than ever before seen. The new blood won’t disappoint, just let us come together and burn.

    Have you thought of doing a Burning Man II in the same summer? Only allow people to go to one or the other. BRC can’t hold twice the people in the same place and time, but it CAN hold twice the people in the same place in two times.

    I’m excited and feel so destined to be in BRC with you all, I am fearful that I won’t have anything to offer though.

    See you there! – Paul

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  • Marc "Marco Pollo" Harris says:

    Oh yeah – If names on tickets slows the entry, so be it. At entry, there could be “spot checking” of IDs to reduce the wait.

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  • keeks says:

    Thank you so much for that. We needed it. Sometimes it’s hard to handle the simple fact that you guys are not just the coordinating forces that be, but you are also Mom and Dad (symbolically) and we all just want to hear you say, “It’ll be alright. We love you.”
    And I am sure you do.

    But I am still rendered completely confused because your numbers still do not seem to add up.

    If, as you say, 25% to 30% of camps were ticketed (though I HAVE to say something here…I am a 5 year veteran and know a huge amount of Burners and other Burner Camps and across the board most of the camps I have spoken to are doing numbers more like 10% or below. Camps are disbanning right and left. My own Camp, that is stretched between NYC and LA, are having a skype meeting tonight to decide if we are bailing.)

    Back to the point…if what you are saying is that 70% to 75% of the Burn this year will be newbies.
    And then you say that 40% of the people applying for tickets in this lottery where saying this is their first burn. THEN…40% got 75% of all the tickets??

    How did the Newbies get so LUCKY???

    How did the 40% (less then half) manage to wipe out camp after camp?

    I like Newbies. I was one once. But I do resent them for what feels like the Gods of fortune like them better.

    Unless that’s not what happened.

    I say…as well as a lot of other peeps..put names on tickets starting THIS YEAR.
    Even though there are only about 100 scalped tickets on websites now asking upwards of 3K, every business man knows that timing the release of a product it what it’s all about.

    The “gifting a ticket thing” is a lovely idea who’s day has come and gone (obviously). Once along time ago “the right to bare arms” actually was a good thing. You never knew when those pesky Red Coats could come sneaking back. Now anyone who wants to play paranoid militia man in their backyard shooting at the neighbor’s cat has the right to do so.

    Sometimes we need to adapt.
    Plus there’s no tickets to gift anyway.

    Put names on tickets THIS YEAR and you may see a huge amount of tickets coming back, as people who got them, who NEVER intending on going, have only one course of action.

    I would LOVE to see you all screw over those eBay monsters.
    As sweet and loving as you all are…sometimes you gotta fight a little tough.

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  • Pants says:

    I think all ticket sales should come from the regional organizations. Even folks in the boonies could find access to one near them – and it might encourage more local communities to create their own. This fosters the “take it home” element and would force newbies (and veterans too) to make contact with their local burning man communities and maybe even get more involved with them.

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  • Lory 'Moopeye' Osterhuber says:

    Thanks to all who write level-headedly about this emotional topic. I guess our collective rites of passage are continuing! Speaking as a core member of our 10-year old theme camp, AOXOMOXOA, and so you know for your data collection, only one member out of 30 received one ticket, and that one was at the highest price level. So we had a .033 % success rate in getting tickets. My suggestion for the upcoming sale on March 28th, is to limit the number of tickets per purchase to “1.” The idea that only 2500 orders could have a chance for 10,000 tickets (because the current purchase limit is “4”) seems crazy in the face of the demand. Thanks, also, for the hard-working, hard-thinking, big-time creative souls collectively in the Burning Man front office and in the community at large. We’ve weathered storms before. xxxxoooo

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  • cthulhu says:

    As a newbie who got tickets, I feel a bit like I am “in ur event, ruining ur fun.”

    I would love to participate/volunteer/haul materials and hammer nails, etc. All I can think of in the way of suggestions is to have some way to match theme camps with all the virgins coming.

    Even if it is just a bunch of people camping in the desert with a few drinks between them…will it be that bad? I of course have nothing to compare it to, but my understanding is that it is the freedom and possibilities that make Burning Man “home,” and although home without its long-term residents can feel empty, I do hope that the people who do attend will be able to Bring the Experience, as it were.

    I know I look forward to focusing on giving of/from myself, and am just worried about the “overwhelmed” feeling that people say can afflict well-intentioned newbies.

    I love art and thumping bass, but really, as long as there are people trying to creat e an intentional community, I think it will be alright. It might not be as much of an amazing spectacle, it might be a fuckton of work, but what do people bond over more than shared experience? Shared labor.

    (Of course, I really have no idea! I might be wrong, but I hope not. Everyone seems so amazing that it will be hard NOT to have a good time! Hug a sparklepony, etc.)

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  • BlueBlazer says:

    I have been following the event for four years, have listened to weeks of chatter after decompression, and watched my social circle filled with new friends and contacts from this amazing thing.

    Here’s what you are getting out of me: An able bodied, soon to be member of the CCC who has time and a brain. I urge all virgins to step in and contact theme camps now, to offer your time and energy in the development of something new. Go out to the camps and show them that your ticket didn’t go to a scalper, it went to someone’s unlikely champion. The person who was always an asset but just happened to be 200 miles away last year.

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  • TheCapitalist says:

    I want to add a bit more to my previous analysis. As Andie Grace stated above “Game theory won out over good wishes.”However, regarding scalpers, she also stated: …we will collaborate to do what we can to starve them out.”

    The BORG is quite naive to think that you could starve out holders with profit motive (“Scalpers”). The only perceive wat they could do that is to delay the shipment of tickets until June. Unfortunately, since the BORG cannot identify Scalpers they would have to put all ticket holders, including those without profit motive (“Burners”) in the same boat.

    This strategy will have the unintended consequence of driving scalper prices up since Burners the market will have a smaller period of time to settle. By attempting to contrain the market, prices will skyrocket. This is much like the backwards thinking of rent control. Take a look at rents for tenants that already have apartments in SF. Now take a look at rents for new rent-controlled apartments in SF.

    In any case, it does not matter much. If the STEP program continues as predicted, you hippies will immediately witness the massive failure of the program and your “trust” in the community. The uproar will be massive and the distribution of tickets will have to be modified.

    BM might end up sucking for most of you. As for me an my harem of Sparkle Ponies, we will have a blast either way. Oh yeah, on behalf of myself and my fellow TicketLords, I hereby declare the minimum price for the commodidity of a face value ticket to be: PRIMA NOCTE!

    Fellow TicketLords: Do not sette for less than Prima Nocte – we can starve them out!

    If the BORG wants some good ideas, email me. I’m pretty worthless when it come to the amazing art at BM but when it comes to exploiting markets – I will fuck you all.

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  • Midnight Sun says:

    Some suggestions for 2013 ticket sales …

    (1) Art installers and theme camp organizers/members get first dibs on tickets – say around Jan 2. These are the “true participants” without whom Burning Man cannot exist. Camp theme, rough design/concept, approximate total number of members and their roles must be submitted on/before that date, to prevent gaming the system this way.
    – Four price tiers for these tickets (see below).

    If there are any tickets left, they are apportioned as follows:

    (2) 90% standard ticket sales – remaining tickets sold in staggered tiers, starting on these dates:
    – Jan 15 (most expensive) – 30% of the standard tickets (tier 1)
    – Feb 15 (middle) – 40% of the standard ticket allocation (tier 2)
    – Mar 15 (cheapest) – 30% of the allocation (tier 3)

    (3) 10% low-income tickets – available by lottery (tier 4)
    – Registration starting Jan 15, closed Feb 15, notified by March 1.
    – Those who didn’t get tickets in the low-income lottery automatically get the right to buy one of the “cheap tier” tickets that go on sale March 15.

    * Except for the low-income priority for cheap tickets, sales are first-come, first-served as always. BMO makes this possible by buying extra bandwidth for the first 12 hours of ticket sales on each of these four start dates so their servers don’t crash. If I am willing to stay up all night, take the day off work, or talk someone else into sitting in front of a computer for hours just so I can get my ticket, why shouldn’t I get priority?

    * BRC is all about participation. This was clearly evident the first time I went (2001) but the most recent time (2010) there were a lot of people who weren’t creating anything and didn’t even bother to turn themselves into art. I have no problem making it harder for nonparticipants to participate, if you get my drift …

    * This system would mean planning farther ahead, which is not a big deal for repeat offenders ;) I am already locking down participants for a 2013 theme camp.

    However I suspect that there won’t be a ticket problem next year. The dearth of theme camps and art at BRC 2012 will likely turn this event into a flop, which means we’ll be back to “true participants” next year. I’m fine with that. Having attended Burning Man with 30,000 participants and 50,000 participants, I didn’t notice more creativity when theire were more people.

    Sorry if I am duplicating other posts. I couldn’t read them all. Everyone is participating :)

    Midnight Sun

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  • mamacat says:

    there is no solution.

    We created a perfect world where everyone wanted to go. resulting in its imperfection.

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  • Susie-Qsie says:

    Hmmm…I doubt it, but maybe just ask the newbies to sacrifice and submit their tickets to STEP? Maybe a wonderful surprise would come to us all.

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  • Emma Shagwell ;) says:

    Hi –
    Thanks for this post. I am looking forward to continuing to hear news. I am a hopeful first time burner who did not get a ticket. I recently moved to SF from the east coast, so I am of course disapointed with the difficulty in getting tickets, not just for me, but for all the burners who want to attend 2012.

    Since you asked for comments/suggestions, I thought I would send this on.
    Given that I am new here, this may be a silly suggestion, but why not offer “Early entrance only” tickets in 2013. I would argue that theme camp members are mostly there to set up in the beginning of the week, and a lot of ‘ravers’ just come for the weekend and the cool show. Early tickets could be offered for the $240 price, but you can only get in using them if you show up by Monday or Tuesday. Scalpers wouldn’t like it – they would have a harder time selling ‘exploding’ tickets, and Theme Campers would probably love it – getting a cheaper ticket. If someone in a theme camp can’t come early, they could still buy with other methods, but we might not see the “only 25% of my theme camp got a ticket.” Just a thought. Hopfully the Man wants me at the Playa and I’ll find my way to a ticket. If not – see you in 2013.

    M. Okamura says…”Be kind, be loving, be courageous, and find acceptance…”

    Emma Shagwell

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  • Andie Grace says:


    1. nope, no connection. How you answered the survey was not connected in any way to your purchase.
    2. We did/are.
    3. it may be possible, good question, and we’ve certainly heard enough people say they support it as a solution…it’s in the dialogue for sure.

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  • T says:

    Thanks Andie, greatly appreciated that you’ve taken the time to respond. I hope you manage to get some rest over the weekend!

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  • Scott Dodson says:

    Thanks for the effort! Whatever you come up with, great. My ideas are for next year.

    For the lottery phase or first phase make it so that tickets are tied to an individual, are non transferable and non refundable. Airlines don’t let you sell your ticket. Any tickets left over can go into a general sale. That will eliminate ticket speculation from the first wave of purchases. Only the committed will buy as you will be going or you will be gifting your ticket to a shorter exodus line for the rest of us. For the second phase, still tie the ticket to a person and if they want to sell it goes back to the org minus a healthy fee.

    While things are all slowed down at the gate checking ID’s give out wrist bands which differentiate 21+ and minors. This could help the camps stay out of trouble. The bands could also designate an E-lot or a place to stage and park for exodus, if we are going to be stuck in queue for 8 hours can we just get in queue and park rather than jockey lanes and watch vehicles break down?

    I love you freaks! The burn will be as is always is. Whatever we bring will be there, whatever we don’t won’t.

    2012 baby!


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  • Habibi says:

    My be I missed this… Threads are getting long these days…
    Does anybody know how many tickets were sold right away in 2011 and how many were sold in the months after until they were none left? Is there an official information about this?

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  • Jason Conover says:

    I think you should skip that last sale and let the larger theme camps buy those remaining 10,000 tickets. Without those art installations and sound camps, Burning Man won’t be the same beautiful, immersive experience we all look forward to.

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  • Gaspar says:

    I’ll be attending BM for the second time this year, I did it on 2011 and my wife couldn’t but she needs to live this extraordinary event. So we are going. Whereas the random selection process is without a doubt the fairest way to give out the tickets, it cannot deteriorate the quality and spirit of this marvelous experience. It occurs to me, and probably to all of you, that the best way to keep it both fair and amazing is by awarding priority tickets to the people that are basically have made the festival as incredible as it is. I don’t exactly know how many people does that mean but wouldn’t you sell the 10.000 tickets left to those people? If things are how you explain all the fresh burners have already gotten their ticket and maybe you can distribute those tickets in a case by case basis to balance things out. In any case the power of the dessert makes a lot for the festival and won’t let us down! best to all

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  • Daniel R. Nelon says:

    Thank you for posting this. My partner was able to get a ticket, my plan was to accompany her to her first Burn and share this experience with her. Going alone your first year can sometimes be a bit frightening and overwhelming. This being the first year in many I haven’t had a ticket available to me, I was pretty upset. I completely agree with the STEP plan and doing your best to eradicate scalping, but the lottery system has fragmented communities. I already have the time off from work and my art installation is near complete. If I’m not able to go with my partner this year, I will be devastated.

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  • BE Shark Jumper says:

    Plain and simple BE has jumped the shark. Might as well sell tickets to the highest of bidders and open it up to corporate sponsorship. Now is the time to milk this cow until it is dead. Like all great things, first you have the innovators and then you have the tag alongs. This is now a tag along event.

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  • Terry says:

    Hey folks,

    This will be my 11th trip to the playa. Ordered one ticket and got it, although a ton of friends didn’t.

    I only have one comment/suggestion. To encourage the powers that be to create a system that is truly fair and defensible, I hope that all BMORG staffers (yes that means Marion, Danger, LARRY, etc) should participate in whatever system is eventually arrived at. To set up a system for figuring out who can attend, and then bypass it for any burners seems inherently unfair.

    Of course, you could always turn it around — give out tickets to BM volunteers first, which would definitely pump up the number of DPW workers, ice sale volunteers, etc.

    But I trust you see my underlying point — if the people who set up the system don’t agree to participate in it, then it truly is not defensible as a reasonable solution.


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  • Fuzzy Bunny says:

    — “Every ticket vendor informed us we’d have to use the same type of “queuing system” that meant hours waiting in line at your computer screen”

    I find this statement impossible to believe. Ticket Master sells out of tickets to Madonna and Britney Spears in 5 – 15 minutes on a regular basis. These are concerts held in 50,000+ stadiums. Yes, you get in a queue, but their systems can handle the work load. This option has been available for years. Years ago you said you didn’t want to use this system because you didn’t want the big commercialized corporation to get the surcharges involved, that you wanted it to be handled by a company that was Burner owned. It was well intended but naive; which was proven out by the ticket failures of the next few years.

    Why is it that Ticket Master can sell 50,000 Britney Spears tickets in minutes, but you claim they can’t handle selling 50,000 Burning Man tickets?

    As many have said before, part of radical self reliance is doing what ever it takes to make sure you do what ever is necessarily to get your tickets when they go on sale.

    In the spirit of full disclosure; I am one of the lucky few that got my tickets and I’ll be going no matter what the outcome is when all the dust settles. And if you’re a first time Burner with a ticket, find me in AZ and I’d be happy to help you understand what it means to participate so you can make this years Burn better than last years.

    Oh, and I’d really like it if you return to the old policy of printing directly on the tickets “No Spectators, You Must Participate.”

    If anyone knows Sam from about a dozen posts back… “Is there any way that the ticket reselling system could prioritize those creative projects that are so essential to the Burning Man experience? I know it may seem unfair, but those who are going want to have something to go to.” … can you please explain to him that there is nothing to ‘go to’, ‘those that are going’ are the event. We need to explain to him and his new girlfriend that they need to figure out how they would like to participate and help create Burning Man, not ask the ORG to prioritize the cools stuff so his girl can see it too.

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  • J says:

    I hope the negative comments about newbies – that they shouldn’t get tickets, should have to volunteer, should hand over their tickets if they got them – doesn’t translate into how they’re treated at the event. I totally get that experienced burners setting up art etc are core to the event, but I just wanted to say that as a first timer myself, this attitude makes me nervous. My friends have gone before when I couldn’t, so I was really excited about going this year. How many other experienced burners take newbies along each year?

    One thing I think was crazy about the system (not sure if it was mentioned already), was that I had a friend who should have got tickets, but because his credit card company needed to verify the charge before it went through, he lost them. That sucks.

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  • Matt says:

    “2 weeks Says:
    February 9th, 2012 at 10:01 pm
    You may not be able to “reverse” the lottery, but you can still require ID wtih the tickets.”

    Agreed. This may go some way to, if not stopping the scalpers, at least making their life difficult. No paper tickets have been issued yet. When they are, have the name of the purchaser printed on them, unless you’ve formally applied to have the name altered, if gifting to a friend, and no entry unless the names match, or, as someone earlier suggested, if you’re there in person with the person whose name is on there (this allows gifting).

    If you are unable to attend, and want to gift the ticket with your name to someone else, then this has to be done through this website. I’m not saying scalpers can’t still get around it, and money couldn’t still change hands outside that transaction, but it adds a stumbling block.

    Also, seconded for a grandfathering clause, as long as that applies to people who have been in any year before, and not just in the previous one – it shouldn’t penalise long-term burners who’ve had to skip a year or to but contributed loads in the past. And I say that as a first timer this year, whose veteran friends are currently scrambling for tickets.

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  • nykol says:

    1st time in 10 years I’m able to take the trip and was unable to get a ticket. If I do get a ticket next month, I plan on gifting it to an established member of the community, but I have this to say:

    I have put time and energy in involving myself in the community, volunteered, joined groups and am still, although not attending, going to do all I can do to contribute to those members of my region that are getting to go.

    Everyone is so against the ‘newbies’, but if they were interested in attending in the 1st place, they are more than likely interested in participating seeing as that is a main part of the culture, no? Can’t the established camps welcome newcomers and call out to them for help for their participation to their camps and still have success in the creation of their art and installations?

    It’s my opinion that this can be turned around and still be a success…even if everyone who wants to come home is not able to, pieces of them can be brought to the playa via their camp and community.

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  • LionKimbro says:

    I really want more people to know Burning Man. So, I hope that there are *2* burns in 2013.

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  • Don Kushner says:

    I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the integrity the Burning Man admin is showing about this situation. I wish I had it in me to give up the tickets my wife & I were awarded, but I have to say that we identified 2012 three years ago as the most viable time in our lives to attend; it is likely the only year we can do this. As a couple who devote our lives to the arts & the non-profit world, this is literally a chance of a lifetime for us.

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  • T says:

    But Gaspar, you can’t change the rules now. Many of us, whether rightly or wrongly, entered the lottery system at a certain level, and some of us lost out, because it made no sense to spend more money than we had on the highest tier (and because our banks may have refused the transaction if we’d gone higher!).

    If we failed, we thought we had STEP and the final 10,000 to fall back on, by which time we could have had the extra money in the bank to pay for the higher tier. To change the rules midway through the ticketing process makes it even more unfair. You either scrap it and start again, and make it 100% fair, or you analyse the data, isolate the scalpers and the multiple bidders, and increase the availability of the tickets. Take it back to a level playing field.

    There is obviously a notable difference in feeling between those who did, and those who did not, get tickets. If you got one, congratulations, you will undoubtedly have an incredible time and maybe we would have passed each other with a massive smile on the playa at some point, both having the times of our lives. Turning around now and saying – holy shit, there might be fuck all to see and do when I get there, let’s now change the rules to ensure I have the best time possible, is WRONG.

    If you take out the scalpers, take out the multiple bidders, and still don’t get a ticket, at least you know you had a fair shot. Prioritising camp tickets at this late stage would just ensure that the (probably very small) proportion of Burners who played the system, or trounced all of the principles of BM and bought off a scalper, have won a second victory. Any prioritisation should have taken place before the open sale, not during it.

    This debate is not about virgins versus vets, RVs versus camping, it’s about fairness and having a fair shot at getting back to the Playa again. If it’s fair and you lose, you take it on the chin and try again the year after.

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  • Mayasav says:

    Best way to proceed 2013: Let all theme camps that have registered in the past register, provide an exact number of people that compose the theme camp with their names and give priority of ticket sales to the theme camp members (this ensuring that previous burners and participants get to attend, and weed out scalpers… Then, raffle off or sell all remaining tickets.. Only logical, fair, and keeping the participant’s best interest as priority.

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  • Ezekiel Steffens says:

    I am a three time burner who missed out last year and wanted to make up for it this year. I think that the former system should have remained in place. I don’t believe that raising ticket prices is a solution. At least the old system rewarded those who bought early, and everyone had an equal shot at different tiers. Even if the tickets sell out in minutes, it was fair. The lottery system implementation projected fear and concern, and this translated into a real sense of scarcity to the ticket-buying public. I honestly believe the old system at least gave the public a sense of permanence and continuity, even if the number of prospective buyers increased. At least former burners would not feel the additional stress of working within an alien system. It really is too bad that the majority of tickets are already gone in this new framework, as every long-term burner I know currently does not have a ticket, even my former boss Steve was left out in the cold after being at the event every year since it’s inception. The only person I know who currently has a ticket is my friend Pierre, who went for the first time last year. It’s really a shame. The landscape will be vastly different this year, and with such a high amount of new burners, the question arises as to whether the framework that provided former burners with a great deal of entirely free services and a variety of spectacular theme camps will even be around. I’m stunned.

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  • Rooster says:

    It may have already been stated but I would suggest a application process for those who add to the experience (themed camps, Bike lenders, kitchens, Etc.). These preselected folks would get to buy their tickets before the the regular tickets sales. this would not only encourage more utilitarian and ergonomic projects to add constructively to the event, but wold create a bit of competition pushing them to create bigger and better ones to vie for the acceptance of their application. It will also infuse the “new blood” aspect wherein many greenhorns will attempt to enter in this fashion and so bring a a fresh pool of art and events to the BM. another variation on this idea could be if there are a certain number of applicants that you cant seem to pick you would create an simple voting mechanism on your site and let the community decide on which they would prefer to see out on the desert.
    This way even if you were forced to do a lottery again next year you will still at least not take a big hit to the artistic and communal structure of event that so many love and may in fact increase it.

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  • Andrew says:

    I will be attending BM for the first time this year, after several years of desiring to do so, but never having followed through. Many of my friends are burners in the LA and SF regions, and many of them are active camp/theme participants who are disappointed that not only have they not secured tickets, but the threshold of veteran participants to keep their camps and cultures alive is likely to not be met this year. I’ve read the blog on this page and have a better understanding of what seems to have been a perfect storm of supply/demand effects, but also hoarding mentality in the purchasing process with the “probable” outcome of scalping at inflated ticket prices down the road. I had thought of a way to maintain the lottery process in the future while preventing scalping and hoarding incentive, and after a little more understanding of the issue, I think there may still be a way to improve even this current year’s (2012) process to disincentivize (or even punish) potential scalpers. I haven’t read the many comments above, so I’m not sure if this idea has already been discussed, but let me share…
    Why not LINK the tickets that were purchased by a single credit card or single purchaser in such a way that they MUST enter the event at the SAME TIME, no exceptions. While this idea does “slightly” punish the tradition that BM tickets can be purchased and “gifted” to others, it only does so for those who “gift” a ticket but who enter at a different time than the gifter/giftee. Yes, this would be an inconvenience for two people who used one credit card to purchase their tickets, but it would virtually ELIMINATE the incentive of scalpers or ticket hoarders, even now that their tickets have been purchased. A scalper/hoarder would now be selling a ticket that ONLY has value if that ticket enters the event SIMULTANEOUSLY with any ticket/s that were purchased and LINKED by a single buyer/credit card. Anyone trying to enter BM with a scalped or “resold” ticket but not in the presence of the original purchaser/credit card would simply be turned away. Scalpers/hoarders simply couldn’t manage to profit from this scenario, and in fact could LOSE money or RUSH to sell them back to the STEP program for fear that they have a ticket that nobody would want to buy. BM ticket sales could impose this rule NOW, and simply say that anyone whose credit card has been charged will be subject to this new requirement (eg group purchased tickets enter as a GROUP only), and if they do not agree to this new requirement, they can receive a full refund on their tickets BEFORE they actually receive them. Not sure how legal it would be to change the entry requirements of group-purchased tickets this late in the game, but the solution could certainly help in 2013, and might even be something that could remedy the 2012 dilemma insofar as discouraging scalping and reselling of hoarded tickets.

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  • TimeLess says:

    I was a virgin of the burn last year. However I have been to a grip of other similar musically styled festivals and have many friends who are long time burners. The raw and pure vibes at the burn are rivaled by none! After the event last year i immediately started working on a wildstyle mutant vehicle, which now that i am unsure about my chances of getting a tix i have halted progress on…damn. My comment is that, it seems that participation/creation/contributions to the experience are not a direct function of how many years somebody has been…Although there is most likely a significant correlation…Be careful about using number of years attended as a pure proxy for involvement/contribution potential.

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  • turgid storm says:

    I’ve been 12 times since the mid 90’s, and sadly will not be attending this year, too much hassle and drama. I guess what irks me the most, is that the powers that be were just trying to wrest any financial gain from ticket scalpers, and instead ending up giving them all the power. Ick. BM is all about newbies, for sure, I get that,(who else would have sex with some of the regulars?) jus kidding, but.. the people who make burning man.. i .e. the camps and the artists.. and thus the core foundation/people, need to get precedence…and respect or it will all break down. BM will end one day.. maybe in a hundred years.. or maybe this is the beginning of the end, when it loses it cool. And something cooler fills the void.

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  • Patches says:

    I seriously doubt anyone would be patient enough to read all the posts, but just in case…

    First of all I would like to say that I really do appreciate the work that is done by the orgs to make BM happen. I can go forever on the topic, but in short – Thanks, guys!!

    Unfortunately the ticket situation doesn’t fall into this “appreciated work” category, not for the lack of effort, though, but rather for “what the hell you been thinking” reason.

    Apologies are long overdue, the results were obvious way before the lottery started. Acknowledging it now is better than nothing but could be considered _only_ as a starting point for some new developments.

    It is interesting, how quite a lot of people generally do believe in laws of nature, but think of themselves and their deeds as of exceptions that could defy said laws. However whats done is done, lets take it from here.

    Ideally the results of the lottery should be voided, $ refunded and the whole thing started from scratch with Nontransferable tickets 1 per person. Doesn’t seem it will happen though and I can see more than one reason for it. So…

    For the remaining 10K tickets – make them Nontransferable assigned to the same name as on the credit/debit card. 1 ticket per person. At the gate check ID & ticket. Yes it will suck for a few, but will work for the most.

    Also, you can limit daily sales to say 2k first come – first served tickets and stretch the whole sale to 5 days, which would give people some timing flexibility

    Same thing goes for STEP – 1 ticket per person with name.

    Provide the refund for those, who cant attend (life happens) and turn these tickets to STEP.

    For the future (hopefully we have one)
    1. Nontransferable tickets with names. 1 per person. Yes, it will kill ticket gifting – something has to be sacrificed so the rest survives. Moral – buy your own ticket.

    2. Refunds for returned tickets and turning them to STEP (impose say $50 fee so “just in case” buyers will give it a second thought)

    3. Make all the tickets the same price – luring people to buy early is no longer an issue, imho.

    Oh, and yes I did get tickets through the lottery, but at the moment it somehow doesn’t really make me happy…

    See ya in the dust

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  • Terry says:

    One other thought — it seems clear that the BMORG must do something they probably don’t want to do: determine what percentage of newbies is desirable/allowable and come up with a system that enforces it. Because from this point on, there will ALWAYS be more people wanting to go, than the event can host.

    Personally, I think that no more than 15% of the city each year could/should be first timers. Otherwise you may lose the vibe which makes the playa home for so many people. This isn’t “fair” or “right” or “nice”, it is just necessary.

    If the playa turns into just another “spring break” destination then I will end my decade long involvement with the event, and cherish the memory of what once was.

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  • Catharticus says:

    If you close the gate Wednesday at midnight, you won’t have 30,000 people showing up for the weekend expecting Black Rock City to be ready to amuse them. They’ll have plenty of time to help something that resembles the BRC cityscape.

    My camp is The Green Hour, and we want to help you solve this problem. You can find us on the e-playa. I’m ready to volunteer. Cheers!

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  • Jwebber says:

    Suggestion for next year:
    Have theme camp registration/placement before tickets go on-sale and offertickets to those participating first. Then used the remainder to sell as a first come first serve, one per order ticketing system. If you end up not being able to go you must sell your ticket through STEP.

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  • Derek Dukes says:

    Short version:
    Newbies – Allocate ~10,000 tickets each year to open market 1 ticket per person released close to the event date.

    Theme Camps – Allocate 10,000 tickets to large scale ‘theme camps’ through an application process max
    tickets per camp at 50, allocate and distribute early.

    Core Burners – Allocate 30,000 tickets each year to open market pre-registration sale at tiered pricing 1 ticket 1 person.

    The Glue – carve out some x,000 tickets as needed across all groups for artists, admin, rangers et al. but cap this number at no more than 5%? of total tickets, the city’s mgmt need not scale linearly with the event.

    Bonus Round:
    Create serendipity – let this years attendees pre-buy gift tickets for next year’s event at this year for things that are awesome or people that are blowing your mind or the person you just met who’s the perfect person for going but hasn’t got a ticket.

    Pre-registration – Let each burner pre-reg for next year’s event at this year’s event, cap this at some number each day, suspend pre-registration by wed. the week of the burn.

    Long version:
    Getting to 50,000 tickets in a free-ish market, but fair-ish market kind of way.

    Keeping it Fresh: According to BORG census data (which is from 2007 and 2008 and at this point pretty dated, what gives?) about 20% of people at each burning man are ‘unsure’ if they will return the following year and about 2% ‘will not attend’. Let’s assume that number is pretty consistent year to year. Simple math 50,000 * 22% = 11,000 (pretty close to the number of tickets left this year). Also, a 22% ‘churn’ year to year seems like a pretty decent amount of ‘newbies’ year to year. So put 11,000 tickets on sale close to the event date and keep the 1 ticket 1 person limit.

    Supporting the Base: Theme camps provide the foundation which the rest of us are lucky to fill in with participation. If the community values the camps contributions we need to enable them to logistically plan as many camps spend tens if not hundreds of thousands to get awesomeness to the playa. Let’s create an allocation and a program for distributing tickets to camps with a max allocation (not free) of 50 guaranteed tickets per camp. Again simple math if each camp qualified for a full grant of 50 there would be 200 ‘large scale’ theme camps that would exist and have logistical capacity and more likely that number would be in hundreds of camps more as the vast majority of theme camps could do with far less guaranteed tickets and still make it to the playa.

    Supporting the Core: This leaves us with about 30,000 tickets that can be allocated to repeat burners. These are the folks who actually read the JRS each time it hits their inbox, are aware of the various cut-off dates for art cars, camp placement etc. the core that plan what they are doing next year as they are sitting in exodus. There are enough tickets for these people and they’ll jump through the hoops to get them as long as they can be reasonably guaranteed to get a ticket so they can make plans. So create a simple pre-reg on the playa process, with decreasing number of slots as the week goes on and reward the people that show up early and come every year and who likely support the art projects and theme camps on and off playa. Yes, i’m saying that membership has its privileges, because we know that is the case and it is what keeps burning man centered and grounded in that base. Think of these tickets as the burning man middle class.

    Serendipity: This is a less fully baked idea, but it is tied to the notion that burning man is a community of like minded people who usually have some common connection: art, music etc. When you find some one who should go, but hasn’t been you’ll try and make that happen. When ticket prices were lower, I’d buy an extra ticket each year and gift it to a friend or someone I’d met who had never been to burning man before. I’m not much of an artist, but I’m one hell of an enabler, and that was how I started participating. Additionally in the past 16 years, I get my tickets the day they go on sale (including this year) I’ve missed 2 (’06 and ’07) events which I had tickets to and have gifted all of them the 2 years I couldn’t go. I would love to be able to pre-buy 1 ore more tickets for the following year’s event at the lowest tier so I can have the opportunity to bring someone in to the burning man fold, sort of to pay it forward.

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  • Krueger says:

    I’ve been to BM three times in the past five years, I do not have the financial independence or the means to make it every year and this year I have already decided to not go, pre lottery registration. This does not mean that I am not involved and I do care about this discussion about what Burning is and what it will be. 30% of theme camps and art projects currently have tickets is a very scary prospect. I am really hoping that my comment does not get lost in the noise. That said here is my two cents that I would like to add to the conversation:

    Back in the day, pre Entheon Village it was Bob’s Camp and made up of almost entirely of newbies and that became Entheon Village.

    The Great Lakes C.O.R.E. Project of 2011, which I had the pleasure of working on and burning had several “virgins” who showed up early and busted their butts on a collective project.

    Just because you have not yet made it to Burning Man it does not mean that you are not a Burner.

    New people, first time burners who happen to have or will have acquired themselves a ticket, do yourself and Burning Man a favor, get involved!!! Find a theme camp, an art project, a Mutant Vehicle, a group of Burners that are planning to bring something awesome and help out. Step up and make things happen, replace some of the core members that are not going to get a ticket this year.

    Theme Camps, Art projects, MV owners, and veterans; Find these new people and bring them into your fold. Do not wait to introduce them to what Burning Man can be when you and them are on the playa, do it now. Get them involved in what Burning Man will be for 2012. Some of the 70% of your needed bodies and people will get tickets via the STEP program, have faith. The reality is that not all of them will be able to procure a “golden ticket”. You have a new army of burners to take up the banner and make up the difference. Take advantage of them.

    This is imperative so that we can fill the void the lack of tickets has caused and so that Burning Man can maintain it’s creative advantage and ignites the spark of imagination that cements what we can do and do do in the real world.

    I understand that this is not a total solution. I do believe it is a step in the right direction.

    Please, if you are reading this share the idea of reaching out to new people in your community and get them involved in projects and theme camps and mutant vehicles now. You need 10 people on your crew and you have 5 tickets among yourselves, find some new people to volunteer to help you out and Inspire them to do something now.

    If you are new and have never gone to burning man, find a theme camp, art project, and see how you can get involved. We need you to help make Burning Man 2012 what it will be, for I will tell you from experience it is so much more then an eight day party.

    also known as Ranger Phlogiston

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  • TygerCub says:

    While I am disappointed that I may not be able to attend this year, I understand. But it’s difficult, and it kinda hurts. Since first learning of the event last year (yes, I am one of the newbies) it’s inspired a yearning in my soul to be among the wonderful, open, creative people that appeared in the videos and experience the same transformation that I read about in the blogs. It was a feeling of severe homesickness for a place I’d never been.

    But if something like BM is as great as everyone says, then it’s only inevitable that it become something everyone wants to experience.

    Maybe it could be a twice-a-year event? Or perhaps it could be hosted in two locations? Either way, I know the logistics will be a full-time job for those who plan the event.

    Whatever the solution, I wish everyone love and luck! I eagerly await the outcome with hopes of getting to the event in the near future.

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  • Chris Norland says:

    I thankfully won tickets this year, and it will be my second BMan event.

    Since there as so many first time burners attending, we should focus on morphing them INTO the community, since so many vets will be outside.

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  • Todd Gardiner says:

    There are now 300 printed pages of comments on this thread. Over 94,000 words from 538 commentators.

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  • Ms. Charlie says:

    As a virgin to the burn, I would like to know how I can help preserve the cultured community that is the fabric of Burning Man. I feel that many virgins alike, want to experience the burn we’ve heard so many glorious stories about. I think newcomers would really benefit from being involved in a camp and aiding in the continuation of tradition. Is there a way to see what theme camps are in one’s area and what kind of help they need from eager volunteers? I feel that many newcomers are fearful of coming forward due to the obvious backlash and lack of direction. It’d be helpful to have an easy to access outlet for our eager hands.

    This will be my first burn and for years, I told myself that 2012 will be my year. Due to unforgiving commitments, I’ve been patiently waiting for this experience and I plan to make the most of what’s to come.

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  • spotter says:

    Thanks for posting that information. I know this must be Harder on Borg then it is for the burners who won’t make it home this year. And I have a very bad feeling it will be a DARK YEAR both emotionaly and visualy this year. With that many newbes this year i see it being a bunch of F–ked up people walking around looking for all that free food and drinks that won’t be there (how stupid is that anyway to expect that really is what happens)this year since most of the interactive camps just won’t have the manpower or $$$$ to make that happen.
    I’m still up in the air about coming this year since i have no ticket yet. I certainly can come again if i want to do another ???? project but right now i’m working on getting a new team together as many from last year have just thrown there hands in the air and said F–k It.
    Let’s just all hope that the plan for next years ticket sales may bring the doers, movers and shakers back that won’t be here this year.
    I know we all have great hind sight now but you were warned by many posts i read and i sent last year that this lottery would not work. So please take everyones thoughts in mind this year and after you come up with a plan role it out for feedback. You have a lot of great minds in the burner community, so please listen to us.

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  • Chris MacPhail says:

    Time for Burning Man to procreate. Multiple weeks or multiple locations.

    Expanding the single event to 70,000 or 90,000 would ruin it.

    Rationing doesn’t solve much.

    I hope the childbirth is not too painful.

    The people denied tickets this year could be given priority or perks for one of the 2013 events.

    If a competing organization springs up, that’s good too.

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  • Chris Fox says:

    For 2013:
    40% +/- reserved for purchase of (large?) theme camps.
    Theme camps already register for space and placement on the playa, this system could be built out to allow them to buy a certain block of tickets.
    This should keep say 80% of the folks who want to keep participating in a large theme camp comming back year over year. There will be that 20% that will need to pickup their tickets through one of the other sales.

    40% +/- for returning burners. We need major theme camps to have the carnival esplanade and that back bone of events, music, art, and perfomance. We also need a bunch of folks who know to bring tents that don’t have mesh flaps, and what is required to attach a tent to the playa, we tend to bring extra, we tend to bring burner virgins and make their experience amazing and safe. (this could include 2 ticket max, which would allow a burner to bring a virgin safely)

    20% +/- Open Season. If you really want to show up, never having been & hope for the best, there is a way, though not a particularly easy one.

    percentages are random, I’d love to see more transparency into the numbers of attendees in different groupings (theme camps, returning burners)

    You are meeting every day on this issue? Wow, what an opportunity for transparency! Let’s get some meeting notes, a read only v-team with a suggestion box.

    I do project management work for a living, I’d take a look and add my 2 cents in a (hopefully) constructive way, I’m sure many other burners will too.

    Burning man has changed over the last xx years, and will continue to do so, I have different, though no less life impacting experiences now than I had in ‘94.

    Change is part of life.

    For 2012:

    Why can’t we as burners and/or citizens approach the BLM for a population cap extension? A process exists I assume, I understand that Burning Man has been working with a population cap, which they are trying to grow, exceptional circumstances require exceptional action. Burning man has been extrodinarily good about the use and maintenance of the land where we build BRC. That + the “need” to up the population to get the returning folks in, can be made as a health and safety concern.

    How this will be fixed next year is needed (imho) to show making a last minute bump in the pop cap won’t become a yearly fiasco.

    At least ask.
    And be transparent about who is asking who and what the answer is. We have power to engage with our civil servants (in a professional and constructive way even!)

    We are Political entities as well as burners, we can follow up with our elected officials, we can follow up with BLM.

    It may be too late to raise the cap for 2012, but sayin “it is so” doesn’t give Transparency into jack.

    Public info on previous years BLM process
    5 year operating plan from 2011:
    Hey, looks like it takes about 3 months for a permit to be issued. Good thing it is 2/10/2012! :P

    The decision letter for 2011:

    Compete with data on how to contest the decision (including the 50k cap perhaps?)
    Also how to contest the decision, and the basis on which the decision can be contested (can the 50k cap alone be contested?)
    Based on the following measures:
    1)the relative harm to the parties if the say is grated or denied.
    2) the likelihood of the appellant’s success on the merits.
    3) The Likelihood of immediate and irreparable harm if the say is not granted, and
    4) Whether the public interest favors granting the say.

    Questions regarding an appeal or stay may be directed to Cory Roegner, Project Lead, at (775) 623 – 1770 or by email to wfoweb@blm.gov
    Email messages should reference “Burning Man Event (Roegner) on the subject line.

    Radical inclusion, radical participation.
    It’s not just for 1 week a year.

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  • Alex Weber says:

    Wow! So many comments and such an exciting time for this community. I’m grateful to be in such capable hands. Very interested to see how this all turns out! Best of luck BM crew :)

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  • Madge the Manicurist says:

    Kudos to everyone for their thoughtful ideas. I have one nit to pick with some of you who want RVs to be banned from BM. (I used to be one of you.) Last year I asked one RVer, “Why the big rig?” Instead of telling me, he brought me inside to SEE why: he has sleep apnea and hasn’t been able to tent camp in years. He said many of the peeps in the RV camp had issues (health) which required electricity and NOT just for the comfort level at all, i.e., AC. His neighbor had a CP child who needed the electricity for the daily suctioning of his lungs. But that kid was amazing! I saw him shooting around on his little go-buggy which had been all decorated with sparklers, etc. (Anyone see him? He wore a re-breather shaped like Darth Vader’s head!) The sleep apnea guy BTW was one of the most active Burners on the Playa, being a carpenter and all. He assisted MANY camps with their construction issues. So, I no longer support a ban on RVs. Some folks actually need them if they want to participate.

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  • forklift says:

    We are a small camp with big plans for this year. New members to BRC abond now
    and those of us that would be their mentors and in some cases hosts will be absent. I hope they have an awesome first burn all the same.

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  • Brandon Frederick says:

    Don’t mail the tickets out. Make everyone who drew tickets show up at will call with the credit/bank card they used to purchase them. Pros: prevents scalping. Tickets that were going to be scalped would be sold back long before the event. Cons: processing at the gate would take forever! And require more volunteers. Also get a count from the large camps as to how many tickets they need and give them first shot at the 10,000 that go on sale next month.

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  • Jay says:

    BACKGROUND: This will be the 2nd, 3rd and 4th year for most of my Burner group. We are young in the community and we know this. At the end of last years burn we realized we were at a point where we wanted to step it up and give more to the playa (Rather than just snow cones). We have been planning, saving money, doing research and putting together a strategy to host a really great event. This may not be possible now as most of our camp did not get tickets. YET…..

    PROBLEM: Those that do have tickets still want to make sure we participate more and create something for other burners. Lots of burners may be in this spot and lots of camps, art projects ect are missing members.

    SUGGESTION/SOLUTION: Burning Man create a site where large camps and art projects that are sort on manpower (physical and money-wise) can request help from newer burners.

    I know we all want to be with our friends and old comfortable communities but lets not eject before we can see if we can salvage.
    Adding new blood to camps seems to fit in the idea of community and assures that some of our favorites are present.

    Thoughts on this?

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  • roland says:

    We have 25 people in our camp, nobody got any tickets. But the scalpers are listing 70 tickets for sale???!
    those 40% who said they are first timers – 39% are scalpers and have no interest in going.
    I would really like to know of all the tickets sold last year, how people showed up and how many where left unsold in the hands of scalpers?
    And this burning man ticket resale site, what will prevent the scalpers from flooding the system only to hoard even more tickets???

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  • GBC says:

    Thank you for sharing your efforts with us. I am hopeful that 2013 will bring an excellent new system that is as fair as possible.

    As a long time burner, I understand the need for our theme camps, art projects, and other large scale projects; however, I encourage you not to distribute the 10,000 remaining tickets to these camps. Based on the figures we are seeing, there are significant amounts of ticketless veteran burners who are part of the playa experience whether or not they are part of a big theme camp or a small camp that gifts PB & J lunches. Big and small come together to create the community, and that should not be sacrificed.

    In STEP and the open sale, please limit sales to one ticket per person and connect the ticket to an ID. If there is a more reliable way to control scalpers from getting tickets, give the folks who got the rejection letters from the initial sale priority with the 10,000 tickets.

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  • harinama says:

    As someone said, this does appear to be a systemic removal of oldtimers, with the intention to turn BM into a new event with a lot less infrastructure and more fresh faces. Established long-term theme camps are seeing 25% with tickets, while i’m hearing about some new camps that got almost 100% tickets.


    To me it really feels purposeful, no matter what we are told, judging by the ticket distribution numbers. Maybe this is just a convenient way for BMORG to change BM to their liking and kick us oldtimers to the curb?

    To me this really feels like the end of BRC in my life. Unfortunately, what do i do with the camp infrastructure that exploded in my garage over the last 5 yrs? Sell it i guess..

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  • JasonAZ says:

    Wow, I am so glad I didn’t get tickets again this year. Look at all that newbie hate. I think some camps’ and veterans’ egos are so big now they are actually eating themselves. How dare you. The core values of BM are dead. Now we will have ticket favoritism? Some are better/more worthy than others? Newbies don’t contribute? I am sorry, I forgot that all the artists are only veterans. I love the stereotyping of newbies.
    Last year was gonna be my first burn but really wanted to keep my job and not sit all day 23000 in line online. This year the lottery cluster fuck. But it brought the true colors. Time to bury the Man and think of something new. The people that go will make due with what they have. Some people on here got it right. BM is not what is used to be or stand for. It mirrors regular life so much it is sickening. I don’t need to pay $300 to see that, I can get it at work or on the street. Regional burns are the future, get back to your roots. F this commercialized overpriced I deserve to be here more than you I pretend to include all but fuck you if you aint in my camp bullshit facade.

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  • roland says:

    How can we plan for our camp and art work. some of this takes the whole year to plan and put together, NOW I’M INTO MY PROJECT 6 MONTHS AND NO TICKET!!??

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  • David Hard says:

    Thank you for this! I’m sure a lot of us who were initially frustrated with BMorg deep down knew that you had to be just as bummed out as we all were. We needed a statement like this to bring us all together and let us know that we are all part of the discussion. Thank you for opening up to the community and sharing with us all of the forces that are at play, not just with ticketing for the 2012 Burn, but for Burning Man from here on out.

    Based on what you’ve disclosed to us, one thing seems very clear to me. The physical size of Burning man needs to find a way to expand in order to accommodate the growing number of people who want to participate. If not, the principal of Radical Inclusion becomes muddied and diluted and we risk creating a culture of privilege and exclusion.
    I realize that expanding Black Rock City is off the table for this year at least. But moving forward, we should begin looking at creative and sustainable ways of making more space (think density!) for both veteran and new burners alike to be able to return to Black Rock City year after year without the fear of wondering if they will be admitted or not.
    Burning Man has moved before, I think it’s time for the man to make like a nomad and move!
    I have no doubt that BMorg has been working on the occupancy issue for some time now. They had to have seen this coming. One only needs to look at the exponential growth of the festival throughout the years to see that this day was coming. I’m just surprised that more wasn’t done sooner to keep the population from topping off like it did last year. I would love to see the Black Rock City planners and organizers reach out to the community more and start setting up workshops, charettes, and brainstorming sessions in order to come up with exciting and radical new ways of looking at city planning and actually implement those ideas at Black Rock City. If you are looking for ways to get newbies involved, This is it! I’m sure there are countless artists, architects, urban planners, business people and community leaders in the Burning Man community who have a whole wealth of information to contribute. I would love to see BMorg organize monthly planning meetings through out the year and open up a discussions to bring new ideas to the table. The answer is out there! Let us help make it a reality.

    Burning Man changes people’s lives! I certainly changed mine. I would hate to see new people be denied the same experience I had . Let’s all work hard to find a way to restore the principal of Radical Inclusion rather than just come up with a band aid solution to selling a limited number of tickets.


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  • Sherry says:

    First off, thank you BM for trying so hard to find something that works. I’m sure with our combined efforts, we’ll figure it out!

    Secondly, I think having my name on my ticket is a great idea. It’s easy enough to list the names of the peeps you’re getting tickets for. (unless you’re a scalper) and it’s not a big thing to require a photo ID at entry (even kids have passports and state IDs.)

    Now… For all the burners who Poo-Poo the mass of virgins coming this year: This is NOT a bad thing. Virgins are just burners who haven’t had the opportunity to participate, yet. I’ve gone 5 yrs in a row, and have brought 3 virgins to the playa over those years. Showing them the wonders of the playa is one of my favorite things! They see the playa with the wonder and amazement that fades after i’ve seen the same art car for four or five years. Yeah, I know what’s up on the playa now, but i’m kinda numb (been there, seen that) to the awesomeness of it all, until my virgin friend points and exclaims, “Wow!” at a pee-jug pyramid. Then we talk about hydration, and sanitation, and art made from stuff from our bodies… and I’m inspired! (the gradient of light golden yellow to almost orange as the pyramid grew and peeps didn’t drink enough water was acctually rather a good visual representation of the importance and influance of water in the desert!) But without my virgin friend being amazed by it, i would have just hurried by it, hoping they dump it out soon.
    Virgins have very FERTILE minds.
    And if there really will be 40% virgins, then I think they will be inspired. And they’ll go out into the world better for it. And us regular old burners will also be the better for it. Maybe inspiring stuff I can’t even imagine until some noob makes it, or does it.
    But there will also be tourists. The people who got dragged along, who sit in their RV all day complaining about the weather, wishing they could BUY something from a vendor like at all the other concerts they go to. TOLERANCE, people. The tourists won’t come back.
    If you go to burn, and come back the next year, you’re a burner. You probably found family on the playa, or GOD. (He’s there, too. If there is a God, He’s a burner.)
    Virgins turn into one of two things: Burners or tourists. The good thing being that the burners come back and make the community better, more robust, While the tourists get the T-Shirt and DON’T come back.
    I’m bringing a virgin this year, too. Because my burn is better that way. And next year our community will be better for it. (good luck on figuring out how to fit us all in one spot next year.)
    Oh, and one last thing: Please keep ticket prices within reach of the poor in our community, who spend their money and time on awesomeness, and because of such hard work, have lots of awesomeness, but not much cash. I think having to write a little essay is a good idea. Will deter a few scalpers and give people a chance to get their ideas on paper (so to speak).

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  • KevinH says:

    I don’t know if you’ll read down this far, and I don’t think I can say anything to help this year, but here is an idea for next year.

    This system involves 2 lots of tickets (for each tier of tickets you want to sell).

    First, you carve off a certain percentage, lets say 50-70%. Those tickets get offered to people who actually showed up with a ticket last year (trade them their current ticket for a lottery #). For everyone who activates their lottery #, there’s a random draw like this year. This offers a decent degree of continuity between years. Note that there could be some scalping of vouchers, but paying for a chance to have the opportunity to buy a ticket isn’t exactly going to rake in big bucks

    Then after all of the first lot are either bought or past some time deadline, the remainder goes up for a uniform price auction. Keep the auction open for 2-3 weeks, so there’s no need to rush. This both gives new people a chance to come and allows a tribe to pull together to buy that last member of their group another ticket. There’s very little incentive to scalp under a uniform price auction. Notice also that now once you’ve gotten into the system, you are eligible for a voucher for the lottery next year.

    I think this would be about as fair of a system so you could get. You can adjust the first lot % to get the right mix. Too high and you end up with an elitest system, and one that encourages scalping by past-participators (though once you scalp once, you loose your chance for last year’s lottery). Too low and you might as well just do everything on the uniform price auction, which personally I don’t find too bad, but probably some would gripe about. Getting that right mix might take 2-3 tries.

    Anyway, enjoy the dust!

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  • Calamity says:

    Two weeks of Burning Man. 50k people each week. The man burns twice. (officially this time.) Everyone gets to go. Double the pleasure; double the fun.

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  • Yvel says:

    Thank you for the acknowledgement, apology, and invitation for feedback. This would be my seventh year with the Black Rock Boutique. We collectively share leadership. Last year was my sabbatical with no role or responsibility. It rejuvenated me and I learned a lot. I was one of the key organizers of our camp. After so many years, we created a collective with a shared vision. We have a solid crew that filters new people in every year via a mentoring/sponsorship program. That has worked for us, and is likely a similar system that other theme camps and art installation crews rely on. That is community regeneration. Right now it is safe to say we have about 3 tickets for a team of 30. My proposal: please reserve the last batch of tickets available for organized collectives offering a service or interactive experience. For example, when we apply for placement, dimensions, and EA passes, it is based on our vision for the year and amount of bodies we need to make it happen. We would be happy to request a ticket quantity needed and forward our money as a collective and sort out ticket distribution our selves. We may not get all the tickets we ask for, but we cannot reasonably foresee having the Black Rock Boutique in its present dream realized with only 3 ticket holders. Thank you for listening and considering this option.

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  • Jim Hobson says:

    I suggest two simultaneous official Burns for 2013 at different locations. I also suggest all tickets by Will Call. Yes… I understand that this is a LOT more work, but it is possible.

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  • JasonAZ says:

    1) One ticket price, first come first serve
    2) Move the venue to accomodate growth (Is Burning Man about community or a tract of land??)
    3) If you can’t move do it twice a year
    4) You buy a ticket, you pick it up at the gate.
    5) Don’t give lame apology, especially ONLY AFTER MANY people mentioned a lack of one on the posts days ago

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  • TallKul-1 says:

    Thaks you for the open & honest posting.
    I didi not get selected inthe lottery, but hope as a 5x burner; which supports and volunteers and performs fire breathing; that I will be able to bring wife (3x burner) again to experience what is an amazing experience.

    I realize you have /are checking into all possible meas to accomadte, but where the rubber meets the road (or wherefoot meets the playa!) one possible ides would be to look into expanding on a temporary basis 1) increased occupancy fo rthe the 10 day period to accomadte the growing crowd AND 2) temporarily increase the exits to help with the eternal exit wait time..

    I am able to help if needed, I am in Sacto.
    Thank you !

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  • taraaa says:

    I think that rather than theme camps saying they dont have enough tickets for their projects to go ahead it would be a good idea for the theme camps to recruit people who HAVE tickets to work on and be apart of them, especially virgins who otherwise might not have a project to be apart of.
    Rather than saying virgins are just going to be spectators and this year just wont be the same, lets get them involved now and give their fresh blood some jobs to do!!!

    If you have jobs that need to be done in your theme camp i urge you to find some virgins to do them and lets get excited about new ideas!!!

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  • ShaDe says:

    So here’s the deal, I live life without apology, and as such I don’t expect an “I’m sorry” when shitty things happen. I actually want something a lot more potent, I want an honest explanation of the mistake and circumstances of that mistake as well as a plan to not make such mistakes in the future.

    What this official response does is not satisfactory. At first glance it seems like we’re finally hearing what we want to, but there’s such a critical oversight it is insulting.

    What I want to hear about is why BMORG didn’t listen to us when we said “this lottery system is a really bad idea”. Oh now our voices can be heard, now that it’s too late and the community is hemorrhaging. I have lost no support for the BM community, but my trust in the ORG is pretty much shot. If I want my voice to be heard as just another one of the masses I’ll vote in a presidential campaign. I thought there was a perspective that held the communities thoughts and knowledge as important. Obviously there is a perception in the ORG that the community can’t tell what they need, the ORG knows for them. Except obviously that’s not true, before tickets went on sale every BM forum and discussion board featured the BM community speaking up about their distaste and concern about the lottery ripping the community apart. That is what I want to hear from BMORG about. Why weren’t they paying attention to us until it was too late to address our concerns? What, if any, actions were taken to account for the communities outcry before such an elementary mistake was made? After hearing about the lottery it literally took me 30 seconds to come up with the exact scenario that has played out and I’m by no means alone in this.

    I have a lot of love for the burner community, it seems for now I’ll have to take it to regional burns. Hell maybe that is the reasoning for this fiasco, get us all to make our regional burns into what we can’t get at BRC this year. At any rate, I’ll be headed to Nowhere this year, maybe I’ll see some of you in Spain this summer.

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  • Roo says:

    Maybe this is way off, and it is too late to consider for this year of course, but have we considered holding 2 Burning Man events? A couple weeks (or month) apart, maybe? Since we have outgrown our capacity then this will continue to be a issue. What if we expanded our timeline instead. I know, you guys stress as it is, getting everything put together. But I think, as a community we could make it work. 2 Burning Man’s, 2 separate but equal experiences. Perhaps some of the Art Installations get to stay for both. If we could manage a bigger crew we could get another man built and ready. This maybe way off, I know, it takes a lot more time than that. I’m still a baby burner (been twice, can’t go this year) and even though I try to keep tabs on all the amazing things this community does, it still blows my mind. But if we distributed theme camps between the two, we’d have a different experience with each. Unless we find another location to grow into. Anyway, I don’t know, and idea to consider for the future of our community now that the word is getting out. What do you think?

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