July 29th, 2011  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Tickets Have Sold Out: Your Questions Answered

July 29th, 2011  |  Filed under News

Now that tickets for Burning Man have sold out for the first time in our 25-year history, we’ve been getting a lot of questions from folks in the community … here are the most common ones, answered:

Q. How many tickets have been sold?
A. We don’t release ticket sales data, which is annually a different number from the population that actually comes to BRC. We’ve cut off ticket sales early in order to manage our population count over the course of the event, as stipulated by our BLM permit.

Q. So how many people will be at the event?
A. A lot of variables affect who actually shows up each year on which day. We project that if the event is any larger than last year’s peak, it won’t be by much, and it’s our responsibility to try to keep it in line with that to comply this year’s permit.

Q. Why/how did the event sell out?
A. Burning Man stopped ticket sales on the evening of Sunday, July 24th in order to manage our population count over the course of the event, as stipulated by our BLM permit.

Q. Where can I buy (who can sell me) a ticket?
A. There’s always a healthy ticket aftermarket in action on the ePlaya, Burning Man’s Facebook page, Craigslist, eBay and (in some cases) Regional discussion lists, though demand is especially high since the sellout. We don’t recommend using eBay because ticket prices there may get artificially-inflated, unless the buyer uses “Buy It Now” at face value of the ticket. Buyers should visit our ticket page for information on confirming tickets before buying from third parties. Please do not buy tickets above face value.

Q. Is Burning Man going to be releasing more tickets for the event?
A. No. Really. That is not an option for this year’s BLM permit.

Q. I planned for everything, got a camp together, bought expensive plane tickets and an RV, but hadn’t gotten my ticket yet. Now I’m screwed. What can I do?
A. We do sympathize, but we’ve been warning people about the possibility of tickets selling out for months now, including the JRS, artist lists, theme camp lists, mutant vehicle lists, volunteer team lists, and more. We recommend a ticket be the first thing, not the last, on a planning list to come to the event. You can try and buy a ticket in the aftermarket (see above).

Q. What can be done about the scalpers?
A. Scalping is not regulated in Nevada where our event is held, so there is nothing we can do about it from a legal standpoint. We have had controls in place to help keep anyone from buying up large blocks of tickets throughout the cycle, and we’re not of the mind that scalpers are sitting on large piles of tickets.

We encourage our community to not buy/sell tickets above face value, which will only encourage the scalping market. Participants are encouraged to be patient, and look for the usual flood of Burners who decide as the event approaches that they can’t go, and sell their tickets.

Selling for a profit hits at our core principles; public sentiment in our community is very opposed to selling above face value, and we do think Burners should refuse to buy or sell a ticket that lines a third party’s pocket with unearned profit. We’re working on communications to the community that will further address this issue.

Q. Is Burning Man becoming an “exclusive” event?
A. We continue to offer a spread of ticket price tiers, as well as low income and scholarship ticket programs, which provide cheaper tickets for those who need them. For the past 7 months, tickets have been available to anyone who wishes to attend … in the future, as demand continues to be high, the only exclusivity present will be in favor of those who plan ahead.

Q. Now that tickets have sold out, what’s going to happen next year?
A. We’ll sit down to weigh all the variables. It’s logical and likely there will be more demand on ticket launch day, and perhaps a faster sell-out of all available tickets. We’re going to be discussing internally how to best handle this and plan for it. We have a lot of great advisors in our Regional Network who have faced sellout points for their events, and come up with lots of creative solutions.

Q. Can we increase Black Rock City’s population next year?
A. Certainly Burning Man has always grown from year to year, and interest can be expected to continue increasing. We are working in a cooperative partnership with the BLM on a new 5 year permit; through that process our population’s size and impact are being evaluated, hopefully so we can continue to grow as appropriate.

Q. Is this the last year for Burning Man? (Thanks to “The Shroom” for a quite believable hoax article that claimed so.)
A. Nope. Satire. Someone says this every year!

Select Media Coverage:

Reno Gazette Journal article

SFGate article

NBC news story


47 Responses to “Burning Man Tickets Have Sold Out: Your Questions Answered”

  1. HK Says:

    Why the Nixonian answers to the first two questions?

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  2. Terence Says:

    Yeah, regardless of the organization’s policy or what has been done before, why the secrecy about attendance and number of tickets sold? Will we be angered or surprised by how many tickets are given away to certain attendees? Will we be able to gauge too closely the amount of cold, hard cash the organization takes in from tickets?

    If I thoroughly read the Afterburn report will I realize the answers are readily available? But even then, why hide from numbers here?

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  3. S Says:

    I know the BM does not want the attendance numbers out and I do not think that we have ever seen the BLM lease paperwork but it occurs to me that the BLM is a government organization. Would it also follow that at least the BLM documentation would be available through a freedom of information request? I do not have technical skills in this area, but someone has to, so what do you say? Is it worth the hassle to get our hands on at least some documentation?

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  4. ~lancho! Says:

    The key question that remains unanswered though is will last year’s Burning Man Festival be better than this year’s Burning Man Festival? And, is Fan Camp being invited this year?

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  5. ~lancho! Says:

    P.S. The second question is utterly unanswerable…. let’s be real. The first one… hmmmm….. why indeed?!?!?! Nixonian may be a bit harsh but, it is curious….. Still, I defer first and foremost to the organizer’s thinking and defense. Does it really matter after all? Really? No, I mean really? Why don’t yall just go and hang with the folks that also go…. it’s highly likely to be a really good time.

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  6. Badger Says:

    Q. Why/how did the event sell out?
    A. Burning Man stopped ticket sales on the evening of Sunday, July 24th.

    Shouldn’t that be “When did the event sell out?” :)

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  7. Boo Boo Says:

    According to the Mayan calender, next year the world will end. With this in mind don’t you think the increase in available tickets and a appropriate theme should be first and foremost on the schedule? I’m already planning my outfits, and will be greatly put out if the theme is like “What would Barbie do?”

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  8. James Says:

    I agree that the strange, evasive answers to the first few questions is disheartening, like something I expect to hear from a politician, not BRC.

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  9. raven Says:

    it’s probably much like an airline. they oversell and people don’t show up. who really cares? 50k people last year and you wouldn’t know it. it’s am amazin experience and if you didn’t buy your ticket, you have no one to blame but yourself. they are probably allowed to grow from by 1-5% per year with a variable rate of scalpers etc purchasing tickets that they don’t sell.

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  10. disco che Says:

    is daft punk playing this year?

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  11. Andrew MacLachlan Says:

    They actually wrote this Q&A if they wanted to be truly underhanded, they could have just left the first two questions off.

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  12. Nick Says:

    Last year was my first burn. I could not have asked for a better time. I am a sailor and I told myself if I was on land and had the money I would go. I was late on the ticket purchasing because I am in the arctic now working, I was not sure if I would be done up here and heading home. Now it looks like I am free. If I learned anything last year is that I am lucky to know what burning man is. I am lucky to have gone. I learned that people can grow rapidly when they are not caged in by society. From the day I left I have burning man in my mind and in my actions. I dance more free and am more accepting. With that being said if I am ment to go something will turn up. It is my fault for not buying and early ticket(it won’t happen again) I don’t want to pry and I don’t hold contempt for the BRM. I say thank you and keep up the good work. I still hold hope that I will be able to go back home this year.

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  13. Miss_GO Says:

    Part of being a Burner involves planning and preparation. We spend most of our year getting ready for this. They have been saying for months now that this event will sell out and tickets will not be sold at the gate so I’m finding it a bit funny that people don’t belive this is really happening. I’ve been going for 9 years now and I’m a bit amazed that it’s sold out too because this has never happened before. Beats Antique just posted that they don’t have tickets either. You should have planned better. Sorry.

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  14. rsdio Says:

    I have not seen this year’s ticket, and I don’t think I ever looked closely before, so forgive me if the following suggestion has already been implemented:

    How about making the ticket purchase into a contractual agreement, where the buyer of any Burning Man ticket agrees not to resell the ticket above face value? I have no idea whether that sort of contract is legal in every state, nor do I know how difficult it would be to enforce (seems like you would have to catch them in the act, or get testimony from the buyer later), but it would seem like a solution for the future of Burning Man. Then again, this seems so obvious that I would guess every ticket says something to this effect, and probably isn’t very successful.

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  15. Tasha Says:

    SO HAPPY TO READ ALL OF THIS, HOPE ALL PEOPLE WEATHER YOUR A VIRGIN OR A VET READS THIS BLOG! THIS IS SO HELPFUL! CHEERS TO YOU AND YOUR HARD WORKING PEOPLE THAT DEVOTE HOURS OF TIME ENERGY AND MONEY TO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE FOR THE BURNING MAN COMMUNITY. CANT WAIT TO SEE YOU AT HOME EVERYONE!!!

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  16. glenn campbell Says:

    PLAAAYYYAAA!!!

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  17. Becca Says:

    Argh! I can’t go this year– does anyone still need tickets, because I have two. Contact below:

    fbjunkmail here: fbjunkmail (at) gmail.com

    I just want a some cash for them and *photos* of your escapades on the playa! Burn baby burn

    Becca

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  18. Kevin Kraus Says:

    Honestly people I was a virgin who went to Burning Man last year and I only have one question for some of you; where on earth can you have as much fun, love, entertainment and good feelings for an entire week for approx $300?? Does it matter whether the people who organize the event make a profit or not (more likely not)?

    Consider what you get: Infrastructure incl porta-potties, security, medical, and probably a ton of things we’re not even aware of. They have to maintain an organization with administrative costs and probably very expensive insurance for the event.

    So who really cares how much they make? Just go and have fun and don’t sweat the $300. They provide a beautiful service.

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  19. 6 Says:

    As a 6 year burner (including this year), and someone who has taken advantage of the low income tickets (when needed to), as well as bought full price tickets (when able to), and as a first year contributing artist and theme camp host, the ONLY thing I care to know about tickets, is that I got one! I could care less about how Burning Man allots what amount of tickets to what tier, or how many tickets they give away to artists and theme camps for free, who work their ASSES off to provide amazing spaces and artwork for my enjoyment during the week. I KNOW they’ve earned it! I also know that whatever Burning Man does with the tickets, they have mine, and the whole burner community’s interest at heart. If you don’t agree, and are that concerned about the “numbers,” don’t go. Go get drunk at a concert in your home town and count the number of tickets there. I’m going HOME!! See ya on the PLAYA!!

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  20. fool Says:

    ummm.. WHAT HAPPEN TO THE ROW OF TECHNO THEME CAMPS ALONG ESPLANADE!? i dont know anyone going this year

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  21. Natalie Says:

    It is absolutely revolting to me that there are tickets for sale on Ebay for $5000 a piece. You cannot tell me (and expect me to believe) that there are people who bought more than they needed with the explicit intent to profit from it like this. Completely goes against the grain of what the burn was created for in the first place. Makes me sick that people are doing that.

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  22. Zodiac Says:

    Well, it sucks that the event sold out. I understand why BLM had to cap the population. People had plenty of time to buy tickets this year and have no one to blame but themselves if they have to pay scalpers prices on ebay, although it is amazing how much one ticket to the event can command. I am worried about the rush to get tickets next year. They might sell out in a few days and then were will Burning Man be?
    On to smaller and better. See Wasteland Weekend.

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  23. Ruleryak Says:

    This isn’t in response to selling out of tickets – that was inevitable and we were warned. I have mine for 2011 and have had it since the day they went on sale. This is with regards to the day tickets go on sale next year. This post proves to me that you, the BORG staff, are aware that ticket sales are going to be SLAMMED on day one in 2012. You know it’s going to happen and I urge you to get moving now on a solution that absolutely will work as opposed to the BS thousands of us had to put up with this year:

    Please please please please please go with Ticketmaster next year. Please don’t give us any “they take too much” or “we don’t like their policies” responses. Your staff and your system fell on it’s face again this year despite months of assurances that it wouldn’t happen and many many people were forced to give up an entire day only to get screwed in the end and have to buy at the highest price anyway. If I am logged in and ready the day tickets go on sale in 2012 you better be ready to take my money and let me get back to my day within minutes. You KNOW it’s coming this time so again, PLEASE PREPARE.

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  24. sarah Says:

    I purchased two tickets from your website, but my friend can’t go so I am selling one of them. I am happy to give the codes on the back and my email address to any potential buyers so that they can verify through you that they are real. But what if it is someone that just takes that information and uses it to give to people to sell fake tickets?

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  25. Mullins Farms Says:

    Can’t wait to go this year!

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  26. Terence Says:

    Layaway program for 2012! Put us on a payment plan and the BMORG will have a steady stream of cash all year long.

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  27. wizard-0T Says:

    don’t go with ticketmaster. that’s a scalper’s wet dream, and will add significant cost to the tix.

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  28. charlesmcneel Says:

    clever i ment

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  29. Here and There Says:

    Looking at the responses elsewhere to this event (the tickets selling out), I find that the only people I’m disappointed with are my fellow burners. The BLM would seem to merely be trying to do what it is supposed to be doing – managing the fragile land under its care in a sustainable manner. 50,000 people is the population of a mid sized city. Limits did have to be set, and the Burning Man LLC was reasonable enough to accept that. Or, at the very least, prudent enough – get the BLM annoyed enough, and that permit might not come next year. At that point, good luck to anybody who wants to get to the event.

    My disappointment is to be found in the fact that all that a lot of burners are willing to do about this inconvenience, or let anybody else do, is whine about it, and that’s the word I’d use for a lot of what I’ve been seeing – whining. If somebody really is stuck and really can’t do something about a situation, and voices his unhappiness about that, I get that. It’s when complaining is all that he’s willing to do or see done that complaining turns into whining.

    Some, myself included, have tried to get alternative events going in a variety of locations, and learned the hard way that if one doesn’t have name recognition, all that the people coming seem willing to do is stare at each other sullenly, and leave once they’ve drunk one’s liquor supply dry, when any of them show up at all, and usually nobody does. Lots of luck even getting any of them to pick up after themselves, much less bring something of their own to share. “Is this an official Burning Man event”, people will ask, people who I’ll never see in person, because not being the local representative, I have to answer by saying “no”, and they’ll then want to know where I get off holding a burn.

    Burners are only willing to go to official events, or to regionals that have already “gotten going”, with no answer given to the question of how an event is ever supposed to get big, if nobody is willing to attend until it already is big? OK, fine. I go onto a well known Burning Man forum and suggest something else, and get to watch people go insane about that, too.

    I suggested that the LLC create a second event to catch some of the overflow from the first event, starting next year. When people would show up on the ticket page after tickets were sold out, there would be a note saying “sorry, tickets for Burning Man are sold out, but we’ve got tickets for this related event you might like”. While those who didn’t get there before tickets were sold out wouldn’t get to see the Man burn, at least they’d get to meet part of their community that year, and get to experience something akin to the same kind of energy, transmuted a little.

    As those around in past years have told us, there are things that Burning Man has lost as it has grown. A smaller event might not have the huge, surreal crowd scene to offer, but it has its own kind of charm. Those who found themselves “settling” for the backup event might, at the end of it, feel that they weren’t really settling at all, but had enjoyed an experience that they would have missed out on, had they had what they would have, at the time, had the good luck of buying a ticket before they were all sold out. They’d go away happy, instead of disappointed, which would be a good thing, wouldn’t it?

    Having suggested this, I got to watch people on the board lose their minds over the fact that I had offered a suggestion to the LLC. They weren’t going to tolerate that, and did their damnedest to put a halt to the conversation before it ever had a chance to get started. So where does this leave us? These burners aren’t willing to go to a new, unofficial event, or let anybody suggest that a new official event be created without creating a tempest in a teapot in response. All that they are willing to do about the problem, or let anybody else do, is complain, uselessly, when solutions to the problem can easily be found.

    That’s why I don’t respect the complaints, or the complainers, for the most part. Their contribution is purely a destructive one.

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  30. In the now... Says:

    Wow…that was quit the dissertation on the art of whining here and now…burners do not want to go to the foster home, they want to go HOME here and now, and there is no place like home…no place. So thanks for smack down on the people who are unable to get a ticket…thanks a lot

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  31. Here and There Says:

    You’re quite welcome, “in the now”. Part of growing up is learning to accept that we can’t always get what we want, when what we want isn’t reasonable, and finding ways of dealing with that, instead of screaming at the top of one’s lungs about something that can’t be helped.

    If you go to the theater, and the movie you wanted to see is sold out, do you make a scene about the fact that 1001 people can’t fit into 1000 seats, or do you just go to another movie? Which sounds like a more productive approach?

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  32. Here and There Says:

    Better …

    Let’s say you want to go to your grandparent’s place for Christmas, but they live in a small apartment and had many grandchildren. Do you show how much being there means to you by screaming at them abusively about the fact that they weren’t able to fit any more people into their place, or do you accept that reality with good grace, and get off their backs about something that they can’t fix for you, and find somewhere else to spend Christmas?

    See where I’m going with this?

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  33. Here and There Says:

    Oh, and by the way – I was one of the people who couldn’t get a ticket.

    * shrug *

    Stuff happens. Not the outcome I would have preferred, but that’s life.

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  34. tommy Says:

    …During the week of the burn, Countries will riot,babies in Africa will die of starvation,police somewhere will take another life out of the name of justice,millions more tons of radioactive pollution from Japan will flow into the ocean,a species or two of animals will become on the endangered list,an elderly woman will decide between food and medication,a family will lose their home they worked so hard for,a Veteran that went to war for your freedoms will be exposed to the cold during those nights you are there,a lot of people will be wondering where futures will be heading during this week. …But don’t worry about a thing you will be nestled in your own perfect city,an alternate world of amazement and “self”expression.Not a worry not a care and the drugs will ease your suffering just that much more.The biggest problem you have is “buying” your ticket into Zion.And for those that could not get tickets,at least that is your only problem you have. I think none deserve an alternate place till the one we live in is fixed. Did you work hard enough for others in your own community all year to let loose in Disneyland for a week? Yes some did,but how many?

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  35. Here and There Says:

    And I think that you need to go back on your motrin, Tommy. Nobody may have fun of any kind, until misery is abolished – something that isn’t going to happen for the foreseeable future, if, indeed, ever? That’s an awfully long time to ask somebody to wait for a weekend, and a fairly weak rationale for a puritanism that isn’t hiding very far beneath the surface of such an unreasonable demand.

    Are babies starving in Africa? Africa is, in fact, relatively underpopulated, richly endowed with natural resources and its countries are self-ruling. It is perfectly capable of solving its own problems, but its leadership chooses not to do so. What would you propose that those who would attend Burning Man do about this? Should we call for an invasion of each and every country on the African continent, with the possible exceptions of Morocco, Tunisia and South Africa? And then, I suppose, go on to protest the very wars we had just called for, because bloodshed and killing aren’t pleasant, either?

    A species or two will join the endangered species list? They’ve been doing so since the dawn of time. Note the absence of old recipes for trilobyte on the half shell. They’ll be doing so for some time to come, the vast majority of them doing so in the tropics, where most of the species are to be found. Shall we invade Brazil and Indonesia, to force those countries to end the clearing of the rain forest? Shall we invade China, to put an end to that country’s demand for the resources that are getting the rain forest cleared, or to the quackish folk medicine practices that brought about the extinction of the West African Black Rhinoceros? Wouldn’t the thermonuclear war that followed probably be at least a little bit bad for the environment?

    “A lot of people will be wondering where futures will be heading during this week” … being among the long term unemployed, at this point, I wonder where mine is headed, all of the time, and what of it? How is somebody else not having a good time going to help me, in the least? Do not project your own pettiness onto the poor, or your lack of an imagination. One finds ways of enjoying an unreasonably limited life, ways that your self-righteous obstructionism would work to undermine. Does it not occur to you, as you so indignantly complain about the plight of those of us living on rice and beans and travelling by foot, while the rich man enjoys his prime rib and limousine a few miles away, that we might much rather have the rice and beans and maybe a festival or two, than have boiled chuck steak and an otherwise gray, tedious and ultimately joyless existence, one without what you would probably deem to be frills, and that this should be our choice to make, not yours?

    This is the problem with an ideology that exalts emotion that has been allowed to run out of control, while denigrating reason. It makes getting just about anything done in the real world, a near if not absolute impossibility. Making a scene is easy. All one needs is a lot of time on one’s hands and an unhealthily exaggerated desire for attention. To actually solve problems takes real work, thought and imagination, none of which is to be found in abundance in those who live to rant.

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  36. Jeff Says:

    Not sure if this is for real, but I read somewhere that there are a couple companies that work inside the festival and offer entrance for their workers. It sounds like a descent job too, just selling ice cream. But the job doesn’t specifically say whether it is for Burning Man, but I suppose I might just apply anyways.
    http://www.studentjob-usa.com/vacancy/5/Ice-Cream-Vendor-at-Music-Festivals
    But I just don’t want to get scammed into buying a fake ticket, that happened to me last year for Coachella..

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  37. tommy Says:

    …really? that sounds like selfishness within itself.good luck with your burn!

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  38. Here and There Says:

    So all that you have to offer in reply is a personal attack, Tommy? I mean, another personal attack, following the last one that I just replied to?

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  39. julie Says:

    i remember when this event was free and now we r charged hundreds of $ for this event now so sad u hv 2 pay so much 4 such a great and wonderful event

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  40. julie Says:

    i remember when this event was free now we hv to pay hundreds of $ for this wonderful event so sad

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  41. Here and There Says:

    I have difficulty believing that you remember that time, Julie, given that you are using a style of misspelling that is found almost exclusively among members of gen Y. How old would you have been when Burning Man started charging for tickets?

    But if you want to go to a free event, backyard burns usually are free. Are you willing to invest some time in one of those? What else was Burning Man, itself, in the beginning, but an event like one of those? Are you willing to be with an event through its early years, or do you just wish to complain that you can’t get a pre-packaged experience for free, with somebody else paying to cover the expenses?

    Portapotties aren’t free. Neither are the projects covered by the art grants, or the permits paid to the BLM, which probably wouldn’t be thrilled with the thought of having 50,000 potentially destructive campers parked for free in one place, and nobody being legally responsible for the mess that they might leave behind – which is the deal they’d be getting if there was no LLC running things, and no rental fee for the land on the Playa.

    That rental fee runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Do you have that kind of money laying around? I surely don’t – and there are other expenses on top of that. So, if the LLC didn’t charge for tickets, how would they raise that kind of money? I’m picturing Maid Marian with a lemonade stand, and thinking, that had better be darned good lemonade, because she’s probably going to have to sell at it about a thousand dollars per glass, at that rate – and San Francisco really doesn’t have a lot of hot days. A bake sale, then, but the police would probably get interested when the brownies came out, so, no, that wouldn’t work …

    See the problem?

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  42. RICARDO VILLALOBOS Says:

    KICK THE TIRES AND LIGHT THE FIRES

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  43. Here and There Says:

    Huh?

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  44. Here and There Says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if I dismissed what Tommy had to say too hastily. Having seem some of the attitudes toward the poor expressed on ePlaya, as a poor person, I was outraged, and then I was banned, after I dared to talk back to some of the richer people on the board.

    “But don’t worry about a thing you will be nestled in your own perfect city,an alternate world of amazement and “self”expression.Not a worry not a care and the drugs will ease your suffering just that much more.”

    That comment now makes a lot more sense. If this is how burners think, then I’m wondering if I want to have much more to do with this event, at all.

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  45. Here and There Says:

    Over and out.

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  46. arlene Says:

    How old do you have to be to attend the burning man?

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