Hey there, dust lovers. Thank you so much for waiting patiently. Info about 2016 registration and ticket sales is now available at tickets.burningman.org. Here’s an explanation of what’s staying the same and what’s changing:
For the 2016 event, the price of regular tickets (including both Main Sale and Directed Group Sale tickets, which are sold to key BRC infrastructure creators) is the same as it was last year, $390 per ticket. The price of the approximately 6,000 discounted tickets we sell through the Low Income Ticket Program and to some honorarium art crews and staff members will also be the same as last year, $190.
But here’s the thing. Expenses related to producing Black Rock City increase every year. (You can see a detailed breakdown of those costs on this nifty pie chart as well as on our Form 990 and Annual Report.) We have to cover the incremental increase, but we can’t sell more tickets (according to our current permit with the Bureau of Land Management), and we don’t want to raise the cost of our lower- and mid-priced tickets.
Keeping prices stable for most participants is especially important this year in light of the Live Entertainment Tax. We haven’t yet received a response from the Nevada Department of Taxation to our inquiry. We had hoped to resolve this matter before selling tickets so that participants would not have to pay the tax, but the state is taking longer than we expected to issue an opinion. Unfortunately, this means we will have to collect the tax at the time of purchase, as per the law. At 9% a pop, this amounts to an additional $34 for each $390 ticket. The tax applies to all tickets at all price tiers. If the tax is found not to apply after ticket sales commence, we will issue a refund for the 9% collected.
Given all this, we came up with a solution for this year that will let us cover our costs while keeping ticket prices as stable as possible.
Leonardo da Vinci Art Tickets
In light of this year’s art theme and our new conversation about patronage, we’re introducing a small tier of 1,000 tickets at $1,200 for those who are willing and able to offer support this way. The $1,200 tickets will be called ‘Leonardo da Vinci Art Tickets,’ inspired by the patrons of the Italian Renaissance who befriended, supported, and celebrated artists. These are regular Burning Man tickets without any additional privileges or access beyond those afforded to $390 ticket buyers (e.g. entry to Black Rock City). You can’t pay more to get a ticket with any extra perks in BRC.
Five hundred of the $1,200 tickets will be offered alongside the Pre-Sale tickets to those that register for that sale. Another 500 will be offered through a link in your Burner Profile after the Main Sale is over. We’re also increasing the price of the Pre-Sale tickets from $800 to $990. The revenue from these ticket sales will let us keep prices the same for everyone else. The 1,000 tickets sold at $1,200 each will raise $1.2 million. So what does Burning Man do with $1.2 million? Last year we issued $1.2 million in grants directly to artists through Black Rock City Honoraria. Add to that an additional $1.8 million in support services, and the 2015 BRC art budget topped $3 million. Again, you can learn all about Burning Man’s budget and expenses in our Form 990 and Annual Report.
So What’s the Ticket Breakdown by Price?
Below are the estimated allotments for each of the sales. Exact allotments on the day of the sale may vary slightly depending on factors including organizational and community needs, but the slices of the pie look like this:
What About Vehicle Passes?
Vehicle passes, which will cost $80 in 2016 (and are not subject to the Live Entertainment Tax), are designed to encourage carpooling and reduce the number of individual vehicles traveling to and from Black Rock City. They are often a shared expense amongst friends and campmates. The good news? It seems to be working. According to the Black Rock City Census, in 2014 12.8% of participants arrived at the event alone in a vehicle. In 2015, that number fell to 10%. But to adequately address Black Rock City’s traffic challenge, we need to do better. Of course, carpooling is just part of the solution. We’re working on other initiatives as well, and we encourage you to think creatively about how to take on this challenge.
Let’s Do This
That’s all for now. Thanks again for your patience while we finalized our 2016 ticketing structure, and as we continue to challenge the Live Entertainment Tax. With that, it’s time to begin dreaming and planning for our best Black Rock City yet!
Specific info about 2016 registration and ticket sales is now available at tickets.burningman.org.