You Can Still Be One of 4,000 People to Get a Burning Man Low Income Ticket

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.

About the author: Laura Dane

Laura Dane

Laura Dane is the Grant Program Manager for Burning Man. A former art major turned scientist, she delights in combining her passion for art with her skill of solving the devil in the details. Laura attended her first Burn in 2009 where she was given the playa name Daneosaur. After earning her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Microbial Biogeochemistry (don’t worry, her parents don’t know what that means either), she was sprinkled with playa dust and re-named Dr. Daneosaur.

49 Comments on “You Can Still Be One of 4,000 People to Get a Burning Man Low Income Ticket

  • Mr. White says:

    If there are leftover tickets, why not put them in the OMG sale, at the regular price, so the people who were stuck in the “waiting room” have a chance to go?

    Report comment

  • Danielle Kummer says:

    Does that mean I can resubmit my application, with more financial information, and make sure I read the instruction properly – if thats the main reason people are denied?

    I REALLY want to come this year, and would love another chance to apply.

    Report comment

  • Ana Kee says:

    Ah…you have got to be kidding. Extensive financials…for burning man? Like applying for a loan or college or a job or house or apartment?
    You have really turned yourself into a laughingstock with this…as if its the most important thing in the world…maybe it was..but not anymore…sold out…

    Report comment

    • Monkey says:

      I agree completely. So elitist. If you have the cash, come on in. If you don’t, give access to all your financials so the privileged can decide if you’re worthy. Fuck that!

      Report comment

      • C-Mo says:

        What? For me and my friends, this was a beautiful, exciting opportunity for us – students, etc. – to be able to experience such an amazing place. Few of us are otherwise unable to join, with how expensive it is preparing for the adventure. I think this is an amazing thing to not leave out those whose hearts belong there but can’t always afford it…

        Report comment

      • Wanderer says:

        I applied for and got a LI ticket. I didn’t have to show them my entire financial history. Just a copy of my latest tax return with all of my personal information blacked out and I answered a few questions. I work for myself so I didn’t have a current paystub so I sent a copy of my quickbooks, again with all the personal information blacked out. It was a beautiful gift to be able to go the playa this year. I’m an artist and a healer and I live very close to the bone. So, this was pretty much the only way I was getting in. I’m grateful.

        Report comment

    • Robert Adams says:

      The entire process of preparing and traveling to the event is expensive enough. It is too much to ask for this level of personal scrutiny for an event such as this. It was a wonderful experience but I have soured over it in the time since because the changes made to the application process.

      Report comment

  • Jan says:

    I am technically unemployed in NYC, work as a nanny, and am transitionally homeless…could I provide past bank statements or could you give me a suggestion as to what I could submit for documentation? Went to my 1st burn last year and it was life-changing, just not sure I can afford to make it without the assistance this summer. :(

    Report comment

    • Jon Mitchell says:

      Hi there, Jan. Here’s what the program’s documentation says:

      You must upload proof of income & expenses for your submission to be complete. Examples:
      • Your current W2 for 2015,
      • a current pay stub with your name on it,
      • disability or unemployment benefits statement,
      • a current student loan statement,
      • mortgage statement, etc.

      Report comment

  • Drew Holly says:

    I am confused as to why my application was rejected – my income is very low, I support myself as an artist, DJ, jeweler, and raw foods chef, living in Los Angeles. The majority of my work is done in trade for food, and because none of these jobs are documented on paper the only financial evidence I was able to provide was my bank statement, showing the small amount of money in my account. I live my life in the burning man ethos year round – bartering, creating art, and spreading light to the people and places around me. I am paid just barely enough to cover rent at a tiny room, and the rest I am paid in food. At the burn, I participate through providing free henna tattoos, gifting organic lemonade, and DJing, among other gifts. This just doesn’t make sense to me. Is it possible to re-apply and somehow come up with more financial documentation or further explain my situation?

    Report comment

    • Jackie says:

      We were cheated. Plain and simple. This year has been a complete joke with the low income tickets.

      Report comment

    • IndigoOwl says:

      I was denied as well. I provided my EBT card, and my bank statement with less than $60 in it. I must be lying and filthy rich, right? I don’t have a w2, because I do jobs under the table. I stay off the record, so I guess I can F off. smh

      Report comment

      • Anthony Taylor says:

        If you are on government assistance, you shouldn’t be going to this, period! The $190 can be used for food so I don’t have to buy it for you, asshole.

        Report comment

    • Chowski says:

      Bartering isn’t a burning man ethos. Neither is DJing. You’re confusing BM with some awful EDM festival.

      Report comment

  • Mark says:

    does this mean that you don’t feel confident you’re finding enough worthy recipients if you don’t turn down half of them, or just that that’s about the rate that you’ve been approving applicants?

    Report comment

  • Cristina says:

    I haven’t received my reply yet, but reading this I’m a little worried now. I think the application only allowed 3 documents, I had a ton ready to go but had to only choose 3 to send as proof. Did I get that wrong? If not, and if more financial docs are needed that portion should be changed to allow at least up to like 10 if you want a clear view of the applicants financial situation. Here’s hoping I get approved!!

    Report comment

  • Billy DaMota CSA says:

    Hi Laura;

    I put in a regular request a couple of months ago, willing to pay full price for my one ticket. Have they stopped considering those requests? Am I done?

    Billy

    Report comment

  • Jackie says:

    I’m thoroughly disgusted by this. I have proof of disability that I attached this year to my application and was STILL DENIED! How much more financially in need other than homeless can you get?! Don’t bother applying unless you’re from out of the USA. I had a full theme camp I was a part of. I hope they read this comment. I feel so cheated.

    Report comment

    • Candice says:

      I was denied and I’m not in America. I provided LOTS of evidence to prove my case. I thought it was because I was not living in the US, but judging by the comments it seems many American citizens have also been denied, so I’m not quite sure what the criteria is they go by, I’m sure they have a system in place? I’ve come to terms with the fact that maybe this isn’t my year to burn! :'(

      Report comment

  • Dominique Lessman says:

    Hello beautifuls!!!

    My name is Nikki (Dominique) and I just got done applying for volunteer projects out on the playa. I applied for a low income ticket the last 4 years and got one my first 3 years, but unfortunately I didn’t get picked this year. I kind of flew through my application…it was a crazy time. I have my daughters in dance and we were getting ready for a huge show their studio puts on at the Nugget. My mind was in so many places at the same time and I must have just bombed it. I’m a single mom of 12yr old twin girls and am doing the very best I can with time and money. Trying to keep them n their passion and trying to reach out to mine can be a struggle but it really is all worth it. I’ve been thinking and pondering and have been reaching out trying to figure out if there is any other way I could possible get a low income type ticket. I’m absolutely willing to volunteer in any way I can. I’m also going to go to the generator and help out there as much as I can.
    I live in Reno with no family (other than my girls) and am raising them as best I can with no help. (Their dad suffered a brain aneurysm when they were 8months old) and my parents were here but retired and moved away a few years back.
    I found a man that has some he’s willing to trade in exchange for some full time work cleaning and prepping campers but I can’t take extra time off work to do his full time bit before the burn.
    So I started thinking and was wondering if maybe a low income ticket could be available if I worked for it while I’m on the playa. I think it would be extremely good for my mental and emotional well being. And I’d love to connect with new burners and like minded beings.
    The last few years, I was in a rather roller coaster relationship and didn’t feel like I was able to take that time out….this year, I plan on going alone and tending to myself and then over Saturday/Sunday have my twins dropped off to me again like I had done last year. It’s their last year to get in with a child’s ticket. I just can’t imagine not making it out there.
    I have so much hope and faith.
    If you guys know of anything. Any programs. Any work. Maybe you can help point me in the right direction??? I filled out the volunteer questionnaire and I’m about to go check my email and respond to the different groups I picked. I have my head high and my heart open!
    High hopes to see you guys on the playa )'(

    “Not all who wander are lost…”

    Thank you so much
    Much love
    Dominique (Nikki) Lessman

    Ps could I possibly reapply???

    Report comment

  • Barbara Moebius says:

    Barbara “BARE” Moebius here not sure I am in the correct place but I would love to apply for 2 $190.00 tickets to Burningman. Two major events happened in our lives this year. My husband’s retirement and my Brothers death, and taking custody of two of my grandkids. The IRS took $6,000 in taxes when we left California and moved to Oregon just to exist. My brothers passing took $3000 more to have him cremated and the cost of 2 teenage boys is about to break up not to mention make us insane. One has joined the army and leaves July 10 the other is 18 and going to job corps but I truly want him to experience the playa once. We are prepared to work wherever needed I have been a Lamplighter, greeter, and worked at Arctica for years. Please let us know how we may apply we so very much want to experience Burningman one from a virgin perspective and one from a jaded old burner. Many Thanks
    Respectfully
    Barbara Moebius

    Report comment

  • Hannah says:

    I’m in the same situation as a couple of people in this comment section. I spend half of my year in Asia where I can actually afford to live and make very little money as I go. I was in Asia waiting for the low income tickets to pop up. I applied but like the application states you need supporting documents. I don’t file taxes as I too barter my way through life…I make Jewlery for a living and Massage. I make just enough to survive. My last time to the Burn was 2010 and the heart urns to go back…..but this women cannot afford a ticket nor does she have enough supporting documents. what happened to the old ways of writing an essay …the creative way of doing things just as what this festival is about.

    Report comment

  • Joan Fuhry says:

    Can one obtain a vehicle permit with these tickets, if so awarded? I would need my vehicle in order to participate, but wouldn’t want to take a ticket from someone else if my vehicle (a van–not an art car)) was not permitted. I have never been to BM but would love to attend someday. I’m 64.

    Joan

    Report comment

    • Elliot Naess says:

      “If you are accepted to the Low Income Ticket Program you will be given the opportunity to purchase a vehicle pass when you pick up your ticket at the Box Office.”

      Report comment

  • Candice says:

    I was denied and I’m not in America. I provided LOTS of evidence to prove my case. I thought it was because I was not living in the US, but judging by the comments it seems many American citizens have also been denied, so I’m not quite sure what the criteria is they go by. I’m sure they have a system in place? I’ve come to terms with the fact that maybe this isn’t my year to burn! :'(

    Report comment

  • Martha Williams says:

    My password is not working so I can register & apply for low income & when I get the screen to get new password it just goes back to the screen to register so I am going in a circle. How do I get the link to get a new password?? Also, all the documents you need for low income need to be scanned & I don’t know how to do all that. I am a senior on SS & work partime. How does one know how to do all that.

    Report comment

  • Tabatha says:

    Hold up. Y’all need 8000 applications to even consider giving out the 4000 left over low income tickets? Or am I not reading this right. Does this mean if we don’t hit 8000 applicants that the tickets won’t even be awarded to any one. Why would you do this? You already have 2000 more people than you have tickets to award. Why do you need 2000 more? So you can be really picky and let down basicly half of the applicants who applied?

    Why does there need to be a limit. If you don’t hit the limit just evaluate the people who applied and give those worthy the tickets. You don’t have to give them all out but you should not give them out at all and dash the dreams of those waiting and needing these tickets.

    My partner is stuck not knowing if we will be able to spend our anniversary on the playa because he is waiting to hear back about a low income ticket he may not even have the chance to be awarded if there aren’t more applications.

    Report comment

  • Taylor Johnson says:

    I to mostly trade and barter for a living. How can a person who literally does not make enough cash to prove any income prove it? I have at least 20 burner freinds who could sign an affidavit as to my lack of. monetary resources, but no W2. any suggestions?

    Report comment

    • nimbus says:

      You aren’t required to submit a W2 specifically (though that is easiest for many people), but you do have to show something that substantiates the story you are telling about your financial circumstances. Do you pay rent? Do you have a bank account? Are you paying off student loans or have massive credit card debt? It’s tough to assess financial need when nothing is provided to demonstrate it.

      Report comment

  • Taylor Johnson says:

    To broke to even prove it. kind of a catch 22

    Report comment

  • Taylor Johnson says:

    Seems like, not having enough income to even report to the govetnment would be proof itself. I am disabled, and do not recieve any disabilty assistance. I work hard to do what I can to help others. Burning man is my only vacation, or was. Usually have friends who help w a ticket and let me work it off. Many of them now have a hard time getting tickets now. Guess there may not be any place for the diabled poor at BRC.

    Report comment

  • Pink says:

    Oops all you people in the barter economy. Hate to tell you but barter is income. Now if you were filing your taxes like you are supposed to be doing, you’d have documentation. Hard to have it both ways, live outside the economy and then want something from the economy. I know, kinda cynical….

    Report comment

  • memer says:

    i have the sinking suspicion this has nothing to do with income…its the sjw police, burning man is too white and unless your name is tyrone ubutu you will be passed over, the 2000 quota is for brown skins only. i mean just look at how civilized and functional our radically chaotic culture developed, something must be done about this…we need unnecessary conflict for the sake of diversity.

    Report comment

  • Peter says:

    was denied twice sending my low income proof
    (around 700$) here in germany called hartz iv.
    think you have to tell a crying story to get a low income ticket. Or work for free?!
    i’m disappointed.

    Report comment

  • Maven says:

    Laura, it says on the Program Info page that the application is closed as of 7/1. Is there any chance it will reopen to additional applicants if there are still tickets available? Please say yes! I have my application all ready to go now :(
    Thanks for all you’re doing!

    Report comment

  • Comments are closed.