Happy Default New Year, dear humans,
Burning Man ticket season is upon us. Nothing extra-weird is happening this time; it’ll be the normal drill. Just hold hands — we’re all in this together.
Supply, Demand and the Internet
There’s no way around it: buying Burning Man tickets is a crapshoot. In recent years, demand has been roughly double the ticket supply in the Main Sale. Every ticket is spoken for the instant the sale starts.
Of course, this reality means that the experience of buying tickets isn’t always fun. Watching the wait time indicator can be harrowing, because it’s an estimate, and sometimes people take way shorter or way longer to buy their tickets. Sometimes you can wait in line for a long time and still not get a ticket. That’s because the system doesn’t boot anyone out of line if there’s still a chance someone ahead of them won’t complete their transaction, and that’s how it should work, right?
And every once in awhile there are technical issues beyond our control, which makes the whole thing harder for everyone. We work endlessly with our ticketing vendor to improve and stabilize the process with each sale.
But the Main Sale is not your only chance to get tickets, and lots of people who buy them early end up deciding not to go. Read on for more info about what to do if you don’t get tickets in the Main Sale.
What You Need to Know about Your Options
As has been the case for the past few years, Black Rock City’s population is going to be more or less the same as last year. Registration is now closed, and there are around 70,000 people registered to buy 30,000 tickets, so lots of people won’t get a ticket in the Main Sale, we’re sorry to say. But don’t worry, because…
- There are several other ways to get tickets, including through the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP), the OMG Sale in August and the Low Income Ticket Program (which is reserved for those who are in, and can demonstrate, actual financial need).
- Many tickets change hands among Burners during the summer as people’s plans settle down. This is practically a tradition. Be patient, get the word out, stay connected to your Burner community, and one could very well make its way to you.
If you’re thinking about buying tickets from a third party instead of through the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP), which is, as its name might suggest to you, the secure program for exchanging tickets, consider these things:
- Don’t buy a ticket from someone you don’t know unless you’re certain they aren’t ripping you off by overcharging, selling fake tickets, or just planning to disappear with your money. (With this much demand, the predators will be out there.)
- If you purchase a ticket from a stranger, be absolutely sure it’s not a counterfeit before you buy it. Learn more about identifying counterfeit tickets and scams.
- Buying a ticket above face value helps scalpers and hurts Burners. Please don’t be part of the problem. Buy from people you know and only pay face value plus fees or give STEP a try. If you see someone selling tickets above face value, you can report them for the good of the community. See this support article to learn how to report marked-up tickets on various marketplaces.
And hey, if you’re in the fortunate position of having an extra ticket to the event, do your fellow Burner a solid and sell it at face value. Please do not overcharge for it, and consider making it available via STEP. Do the right thing!
One More Thing
Actually, one of 70-odd more things. Black Rock City is a wondrous place, yes, it’s true. But did you know that there are already 70ish different Regional Burns all around the world? And that’s not even counting the many unofficial ones. At least one of them is almost certainly near you. Burning Man culture is much, much bigger than Black Rock City now, and if you can’t get tickets to the “Gerlach Regional” — or even if you can! — a Regional Event might take your Burner life to a level you didn’t even know exists.
- AfrikaBurn is a Sign of Things to Come by Zac Cirivello, a Burning Man staffer on the Comm Team who had his mind blown last year at the second-biggest Burn in the world.
- This is Freezer Burn, a short documentary by Lisa Ferguson about Alberta’s Regional Burn, where the energy feels just like home, but the setting could hardly be more different.
- Burning Confessions — My First Regional Burn (in Japan!) by Burning Man’s Director of Communications, Megan Miller, who found new ways of understanding the meaning of Burning Man through this far-out, more intimate gathering.