This is for those of you who feel drawn to come home to the playa, maybe even for the first time, but don’t think you can afford a ticket.
Maybe you’re an artist, a student, between jobs, or are younger or older than the average working professional.
Maybe you are working hard to support a family on a tight income, or just plain can’t spare the dough. Whatever the reason, not everyone who wants a transformative experience in Black Rock City can afford a $390 ticket to Burning Man.
Well, guess what? You might still be able to make it to the playa this year. “How?!” you ask? Through the Low Income Ticket Program, which Burning Man created to facilitate access to the Burn for everyone, even those with financial constraints.
And we have some fantastic news for you: There are lots of $190 low-income tickets left, and we want — nay, need! — more people to apply for them.
But First, a Little Background
Ever since tickets started selling out in 2011, we heard and shared your concern that the event would become exclusive.
Just like you, we don’t want to lose the beautifully varied composition of participants based on how much money individuals in our community have (or don’t have).
One of the ways we address this issue is through the Low Income Program, a metrics-driven system to ensure enough qualified applicants get access to reduced-priced tickets.
The Low Income Ticket Program is the current iteration of various low-income ticketing strategies we’ve had since 2004, and the combination of these past approaches has allowed us to offer more of these tickets in the program’s current iteration.
Our goal is to award 4,000 Low Income Tickets. We strive to award applicants who we’re sure will make it to the playa and participate fully in the event (No spectators!). This is why it’s important to fill out the narrative part of the application as fully and thoughtfully as you can.
In order to award these 4,000 tickets to deserving folks, we need to review more than twice that number of applications.
So Can I Get One? Even Though It’s Late in the Ticket Season?
We still need to receive and review nearly 2,000 more applications to reach our goal. You heard me: not 20, not 200, not even 1,000. We need 2,000 more applications from our community of dreamers and doers with limited funds to apply for this program.
How Does the Review Process Work?
Just like each one of you is a special snowflake, no two situations are alike. We look at each person’s situation holistically to evaluate everyone’s needs. We can’t have a strict set of rules about how much a person can make to qualify for this program.
We even take into account global economic fluctuations. Case in point: This year we’re putting additional effort into ensuring that Canadian Burners are represented in the program due to the current instability of the Canadian dollar.
When looking at an applicant’s income, we consider where they live and work. Two people making the same income, one living in Oklahoma and the other living in an expensive city like San Francisco (don’t get me started!), will be evaluated differently.
The philomaths on the Ticketing Team create a matrix each year to look at financial baselines for different cities to help remove location biases when evaluating applications.
What’s the Most Common Reason an Application Is Denied?
The biggest reason is that the applicant didn’t follow the instructions and didn’t provide adequate supporting financial documentation.
Make sure you fully document your financial status so the team can really evaluate your application. And please make sure the documentation you provide has your name visible, but any sensitive information obscured — like account numbers or your SSN.
What Information Should I Put in My Application?
First, fill out the narrative portion of the application fully and thoughtfully. We want to hear about how you plan to participate and about your financial situation. A few words aren’t enough for us to get a full picture.
Second, include a clear demonstration of your financial needs and/or perils with supporting documentation.
Where Do I Go To Apply?
If you think you fit the bill, go to the Low Income Ticket Program page of the Tickets website to start the application process. We’re promoting this hard now so we can reach our goal of awarding 4,000 tickets very soon!
If you’ve got your papers in order, can definitely make it to the playa, and know just how you’d like to participate in the colorful life of Black Rock City, we welcome and encourage you to apply.