Ticket Purchase Rite of Passage

**NOTE: I AM NOT AN OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF BURNING MAN. I am merely a Participant with a passion for the event, people, and principles of Burning Man. Half-baked ideas & views expressed aren’t necessarily those of the Burning Man organization.” **

photo by Halcyon

In some cultures, a rite-of-passage involves having your foreskin ritualistically removed with a dull stone.
Suddenly the rite-of passage required to get a Burning Man ticket doesn’t seem so harsh, does it?
Was it smooth & effortless? HECK NO.  (I’m referring to the online ticketing…not the ritualistic circumcision.)
Of course, getting to Burning Man isn’t smooth & effortless, either.  Almost nothing about surviving in the desert is smooth and effortless…UNLESS you can let go of your expectations and forget your plans.
The truth is that the best things about Burning Man usually happen when things don’t go according to plan.  So consider the ticket process as a many-hour (or all-day) crash course in “Non-Attachment.”
If you can master that skill *before* the Burn, you’ll be in great shape when your trailer breaks an axle, your tent collapses, the dust storm lasts a forth straight day, your camp mate drama melts down, or any of the zillion other “adventures” that are simply a part of the Burning Man experience.

During this chapter of ticket frustration, I was reminded of some of the powerful “Lessons of Surrender” that the Playa has given me. In this video I tell the story of “The Fall of Xara” from Burning Man 2000, speak to the ticket sales frustration, & share “Burning Man & The Art Of Non-Attachment.”

** Ticketing suggestions are merely brainstorming ideas, concocted without due diligence of the challenges at hand. **

-Halcyon )’(

The 2011 Burning Man Ticket Launch Day

Dear Burners:

Wednesday, January 19th was the launch of Burning Man tickets for the 2011 event. Unfortunately the annual ritual and excitement for opening day of tickets was matched with an equally overwhelming feeling of frustration at the ticket sales process.

Never has there been as large a simultaneous demand for Burning Man tickets as there was this year and as a result, our ticket vendor’s systems were quickly overwhelmed. This year’s standstill of the ticket purchase process was quite a surprise, since the technical systems hadn’t changed from the smooth launch in 2010. However, the demand challenged the servers managing the queues and as the In Ticketing staff worked to balance the load and we worked to inform you of the situation the process became more complicated before it was resolved.

It is inexcusable that anyone would have to wait to purchase a ticket for as many as 8 hours, and we are very sorry that so many people had to spend a fair portion of the day tweaking and monitoring their position in the purchase queue. In Ticketing is still doing follow through on the situation and is responding to every issue they’re informed of. At this time we believe that the vast majority of purchases in the initial queue on Wednesday have been completed. There seem to be some confirmation emails that have not been received and any outstanding inquiries will be answered as soon as possible.

We’ve been working with In Ticketing for years. They are not just a ticket vendor, they’re our friends, and fellow Burners. The ticket sales process has improved steadily since 2006 and in 2010 was completely effortless. Moving forward we will be collaborating with In Ticketing to ensure the queue won’t crash again in the future.

We’ve included a personal note from In Ticketing, below. If you have ticketing questions or problems that need to be resolved, you can contact them directly by visiting this support page, and using the drop-down menu to select the topic that best fits your issue.

Please monitor our information resources for any possible updates: the Jackrabbit Speaks Newsletter and the Burning Man website, and announcements on the Burning Man Facebook Page and our Twitter feed.

We will continue to monitor our public resources for your feedback on this recent frustrating experience.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We very much look forward to seeing you in Black Rock City. Despite the ticketing hiccups we believe 2011 will be the best burn ever!

~Burning Man


We respect and value you as a part of the Burning Man community. We at In Ticketing are not just a ticketing company; we are also longtime Burning Man participants that are deeply rooted in the Black Rock community.

In the course of our longstanding working relationship with Burning Man, we have shared many successes along the way, and occasionally a little turbulence. We know that the Burning Man experience is much more than just a ticket launch and you are much more than just a ticket holder. We consider you all friends and family. Our goal is always to make the ticketing process smooth and enjoyable for everyone and that did not happen this year.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced.  The number of people on the site at the time of tickets initially going on sale was significantly greater than ever before.  Although we took many additional steps to prepare for the increased demand, there was an overwhelming interest in tickets this year. This caused an unexpected delay in the queue, which had to be reset to continue processing orders.  We are aware of the frustration and impact that this had on many of you and are very sorry for this experience.

As a result of sharing information in real time while troubleshooting was still happening, some information given during the course of the day may have been incorrect. The intent was to keep you informed, and not to mislead, cause confusion or create stress during the process. We are working diligently to correct this issue and we plan to keep you in the loop of any further developments.

We appreciate what makes this community special and wish the day would have gone smoother for everyone. We are continuing to address these issues and keep you posted.

~In Ticketing [para_end]

How Burning Man changed my life

One day in the summer of 2004, I decided I needed to go to this thing called Burning Man. Somewhere in the desert, and there was probably music. I was at a job, where I had to wear a suit all day, and I longed dance and get out in the open air. I gathered two, then three, friends. We made some costumes (mud people, faeries, polar bears), and got a lot of water, and for some reason, so many zip-lock bags that I still have some now. We packed our dreams and our water and our tutus, and headed for the desert.

I couldn’t believe it when we arrived. It was like waking up and discovering that this other, magical, world was real. A collection of the most amazing people on earth greeted us, welcomed us home, gave us a place to park, showed us how to tape the inside of our goggles with gaffer’s tape so the dust wouldn’t get in our eyes, fixed our car, and fed us huge meals of fresh shrimp from a grill set up in the middle of the desert. I listened to a piano concert out on the playa, conversed with a filthy-mouthed robot, flew kites, volunteered to sell coffee and ice. The dust was everywhere, but it was nice, clean, dirt, like you’ve been in a zip-lock back filled with powdered sugar and shaken for a week.

At E and 4th, one morning after someone had shampooed my hair, I was feeling alive and free, and momentarily clean. I saw a man carrying a banjo, and so I flew up to him and said, “Hey Banjo Man! Play me a song?” He played Dead Flowers, others joined in, and before I knew it, we were jumping on a trampoline at G-spot, climbing the Temple, and walking the playa with our hearts blown open. The magic dust glittered in the air around us.

Eleven months later, he was holding me as I gave birth to our daughter, Brigid. The goddess of fire. She entered the world like she was shot from a flamethrower, and has lived with the heat turned up ever since.

This year, I am undergoing another rite of passage, transforming myself out of being a suit wearer, to my joy job as a photographer. My photos of Burning Man over the years are some of my favorites. Long live the magic.

by Kiki de los Feliz


So I’m standing in this bar the other night. This total stranger … never seen him before … is passing in front of me. Suddenly he stops and just swings around and looks me in the eye.

Then he starts talking … a little tipsy, British accent, and I’m thinking who is this guy?  We chat for a while, I’m making small talk to be polite, and he mentions Burning Man.  I like to hear what people say about Burning Man without them knowing what I do for a living, so I let him go on for a while without letting on.

He says Burning Man is the one place in the world — and he’s lived in more than a handful of exotic countries — where he actually felt HOME.  He came with his friends from the UK and it changed his life. He tossed it all up in the air, moved to San Francisco, and here he stands in front of me.

I finally tell him who I am, and he says: “Oh, wow!  OK, I really need to tell you this story.”

Banksy's Girl With Heart Balloon
Banksy's Girl With Heart Balloon

“You know that one Banksy stencil of the little girl with the heart balloon?”

“Yeah, sure,” I say. He tells me he was an animator back in the UK, and made a short animated film based on that image. He had a picture of it on his bedroom wall for years … it was the first thing he saw when he woke up in the morning, and the last thing he saw before falling asleep.  Then he came to Burning Man for the first time. (more…)

Gift of magic

That year, life at home was as unpredictable as the dust storms on the playa as I navigated the treachery of a divorce. I had fallen in love with Burning Man three years before, while falling out of love with my husband. I looked forward to coming back to the playa especially that year. My friends and I set up a camp of our own with a fancy mailbox to mark our spot. Our neighbors became family as we shared our costumes, laughter and assorted sundries.

Around a night fire on the playa, we shared stories of the exquisite landscape discovered that day and details of work or heartbreak in our “real lives”. We huddled together close for warmth, sharing secrets even though we were strangers only days before. In a quiet moment, I was given a red velvet box tied with wooden ju-ju beads by one of my new friends. His sweatshirt’s pointed hood framed his face, and backlit against the fire he took on the ominous silhouette of a ancient priest.

The little box was handed to me without ceremony and in total earnest I was told it came from New Orleans and that it contained a most powerful potion of love. The bottle inside was cushioned on faded red satin, its label worn, almost completely erased. Only “Eau de Parfume” remained legible in the firelight. I removed the bottle and was quickly cautioned that I should deploy the powers of this potion with great care, if ever; that to whomever I should apply it would be forever enslaved to me and that I must be willing to accept the consequences of using such power. I laughed and asked if he had ever used it on anyone, and he shook his head to say no but I could see a mischievous sparkle in his eye, even in the flickering fire light (and the bottle was indeed not quite full).

On the playa, magic is tangible; the fantastic is quite probable in this place. When my personal life held no magic and I had no sense of control, it was a wondrous gift to hold a thing of power – real or imagined (or real because it was imagined!). I still have that box and the mysterious potion within, the red velvet on its corners all but worn away now after many years of considering it between my nervous fingers; it still holds the possibility of magic.

by PattiLouHoo


Updated Terms and Conditions for 2011

artistry meets artistry (image by Brad Hetland)
artistry meets artistry (image by Brad Hetland)

[This post is part of our ongoing Digital Rights blog series.]

January 19th is the big day — tickets go on sale for Burning Man 2011, Rites of Passage!

As you take your place in the electronic queue and wait your turn to click for your ticket to paradise, we invite you to pay special attention to something you might otherwise not notice: Burning Man, after spending much of 2010 working with volunteers from Creative Commons and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has updated our Terms and Conditions relating to the use of cameras at the event.

The Terms and Conditions is the standard ration of legal language that governs the agreement between you and event organizers when you use your ticket to Burning Man. The language about image use was the subject of much discussion back in 2009, when the EFF first took Burning Man to task over the language restricting image use contained in the T&C. (If you haven’t yet seen our original response to that blog post, it’s worth reading too.) The EFF – and you – talked, and since we already knew that the time for evolution had come, we listened.

In our subsequent meetings with photographers, filmmakers, participants, the EFF and Creative Commons, and other interested minds, it became clear that the time was ripe to update the Terms and Conditions — not only to update existing policies regarding the personal use of imagery online (specifically accommodating uses like Facebook, photo sharing apps, and the like) but to actually make the language more “human readable” and better describe why Burning Man is such an unusual zone for photography in the first place.


Art in Waiting

It is that time of year again when many individuals and groups are taking concepts and ideas turning them into to Art Proposals. It is a beautiful time for the creative spirit when every wacky concept seems possible to build. That inspired vision you had last year or that long festering idea is being sketched out, budgets are being drawn up, 3D renderings helping to visualize the genius, goofy handmade models painstakingly being hot glued together (tongue depressors, pipe cleaners and all) and all that conceptual blah dee blah is being churned out.

The moments when an idea is being hatched is a magical time in the process of artistic creation.

It is also that time of year when one who has created work for Burning Man in previous years also thinks, if I make another piece, where the hell will I store it? Which artspace, whose back yard, the dump, which kiddie rave or music fest as decoration, some cheap storage facility…..

When it is not burned or destroyed where does it go after the playa? Who’s responsibility is it? Will it ever see the light of day again?


Art Grant Workshop and Art Lounge – January 13, 2011

Calling all artists!

This Could Be You

You’ve asked, and we’ve listened! This year we are hosting our first art grants workshop. Come hear from those involved in the Black Rock Arts Foundation’s and Burning Man’s grant processes about what is needed to create a successful grant proposal. You’ll be given a chance to ask questions about the mandatory grant forms — why we ask certain questions, what information we are looking for, how to get those character specs to work, and more. If you can’t make it to the event, don’t worry! Send in your question by Wednesday, January 12th and it will be answered during the workshop. The workshop will be recorded, and a video posted on the Burning Man website shortly after the event.

This workshop is not open to the general public … only artists who are working on grant applications for Burning Man and BRAF.

After the workshop, please join us for the Art Lounge. This event is a social mixer for artists who created work for Burning Man last year and/or are planning art projects this coming year. Your creative spirit gives so much to Black Rock City and the world, that we want to thank you for your inventiveness and resourcefulness. It is also for Art Department volunteers who assist artists on the playa with a dedication and creative energy all their own. We hope this will be an opportunity to meet one another and spark increased creative cross-pollination and collaboration.

Please  join the Burning Man staff, members of the Art Department and ARTery volunteers, for a little reception for our yearly gathering in appreciation of YOU.

At approximately 7:30pm there will be brief introductions and a short talk about this year’s theme: “Rites of Passage”.

To attend, please RSVP to rsvp-specialevents@burningman.com.  It’s an intimate space, and we need an exact number to plan for.

Thanks and hope to see you there!!!

NOTE: This is not the place to review specific art grant proposals with Art Staff, though staff will be on hand who can answer basic questions regarding the process.

Remember, the deadline to submit art grant proposals for BRAF is January 15th, and for Burning Man this year it’s February 1st.

Hope to see you there!!

Burning Man and BRAF Art Grant Workshop and Art Lounge
WHEN: Thursday, January 13th
Grant Workshop 5:30 to 7 pm
Art Lounge 7 pm to 9 pm
WHERE:  Mission Rock Cafe  817 Terry Francois Blvd San Francisco, CA (Map) 415.626.5355
You must RSVP if you wish to attend. Email to rsvp-specialevents@burningman.com