Burning Man Tickets Have Sold Out: Your Questions Answered

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

About the author: Will Chase

Will Chase first attended Burning Man 2001. He volunteered as the Operations Manager for the ARTery (Black Rock City’s art HQ) and was on the Burning Man Art Council from 2003-2008. He was Web Team Project Manager and Webmaster from 2004-2009, then transitioned to the Communications Department in 2009 to become Minister of Propaganda, working on global communications strategy. He's the editor-in-chief for the Jackrabbit Speaks newsletter and the Voices of Burning Man blog, and content manager for Burning Man’s websites. He also manages the ePlaya BBS and Burning Man’s social networking efforts.

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