Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How To Get Burning Man Tickets.

Every year it gets harder and harder to buy tickets at the individual Burning Man sale. The popularity of the festival is growing by tens of thousands, but Black Rock City can only support around 60000 participants. If you didn't get any tickets at any of the sales, below are few pieces of advise of how to find tickets. 

First, lets take a quick look of how Burning Man tickets are getting distributed each year. 

 

1. Burning Man Presale

Burning Man tickets Presale starts in January. Each ticket costs $800 and is intended to offset the difference on the low-income tickets. It is unclear how many tickets get distributed through presale. If it is indeed targeted to cover the difference for Low income tickets, I would assume that around 4000 tickets are sold.

 

2. Directed Group Sale

The first sale of tickets is in February to Theme Camp Organizers that is called Directed Group Sale. 20,000 tickets are available for critical theme camps and participants. The tickets are sold for $390 each and in order to get access, you have to have an invitation. Availability to Theme Camps depends on past history. So if you know anyone who contributed to big art structures on the playa, contact them and ask. They often have extra tickets for the critical members of the team that could not make it. You can either buy tickets from them or volunteer during the Burn.

 

3. Individual Sale

The main ticket sale starts in February and offers around 30000 tickets. The tickets usually sold out in less than an hour and only 40% of the demand is satisfied. Many people buy tickets just to resell them at a higher price and it seems to be a big problem for Burningman.org. 

 

4. Burning Man Low Income Program

Another 4000 tickets get distributed through Burning Man Low Income Program. You would need to create an application and provide proof that your income level is low enough and you would not be able to afford going to Burning Man otherwise. A Low Income Ticket is $190, not transferable, and is paid for at the gates to the festival at Will Call Box Office.

 

5. The Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP)

STEP is a system to resell Burning Man tickets. The program opens in March, ends in late July and is supposedly an easy way to participate in ticket exchange. Buyers sign up to a line (or STEP queue) and when their turn comes they are notified of the availability. The chances of obtaining a ticket through STEP program are very low. Register for STEP anyway!

6. OMG Sale

The last sale starts in August. There are 1000 tickets available and they go very fast. Chances of getting a ticket are almost impossible. People from all around the world are trying to get them. Some say that it was easier for people outside the US to buy them than for people inside. Some have techniques to manipulate cookies and browsers to get better results. Some think the whole system is hacked and speculators figured a way to profit from glitches in the system. But all that are speculations and only maybe 1 in 10 gets a chance to buy a ticket. 


What if you didn’t get a ticket to Burning Man through all their sales?

 



There is hope! A few ideas you can do to find a ticket:

1. Ask your friends if they have an extra ticket. If they don’t, ask them to consider selling theirs to you if something happens and they can’t go. If you are the first to ask, they will keep you in mind and you might get a ticket in the end.

2. Reach out to your local Burning Man community and ask them for leads. Many cities have active burners that are contributing to the Burn; again, if they are building an art structure, a music camp or an art car, they might have extra tickets purchased at Direct Group Sale.

3. Look for a ticket at secondary markets. Browse through Craigslist, but make sure you are buying a paper ticket to avoid scams. Those are very hard to counterfeit and scammers usually prefer to sell you WILL CALL tickets that you get at the gates. Try not to pay over face value; if tickets are listed with huge markups, the seller is either not a Burner or a scammer.

4. Beg for tickets in Facebook groups. Yes, there are Facebook groups where you go and beg for a ticket in exchange of some act. This is a great way to find you inner limits. However, it could be effective.

5. Come to the gates with a “NEED TICKET” sign. This is not a very good idea, but it is an option. I personally saw two people getting a free gift ticket at the gates from excited participants. Yes, they were crying and dancing and it was a spectacular thing to witness. Don’t count on it too much though.

6. Try to sneak in. Burning Man has BRC Rangers all around the premises with high-tech motion detectors and night vision goggles. They love bragging about that one time they were watching a crawling man for hours only to get him escorted when it got too boring. Also it is a myth that skydivers get in Black Rock City for free. They will see you in the sky and chase you down at landing!

The main piece of advice is: stay calm! Tickets are sold out every year, and every year people are trying to profit from this. And every year everyone who is committed and genuinely looking is finding a ticket in the end. My community of Burners is about 300 people, and not a single person missed Burning Man, because they could not find a ticket. 


The closer it gets to Burning Man the more tickets start to circulate on the secondary market. So don’t worry and keep looking, and you will be rewarded. In the end if Burning Man is that popular, why would not they increase capacity to 70K participants?

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