February 3rd, 2012  |  Filed under News

Burning Man Addresses 2012 Ticket Situation

February 3rd, 2012  |  Filed under News

Marian Goodell is a Founding Board Member of Black Rock City LLC, and Burning Man’s Director of Business and Communications.

[UPDATE: The last paragraph of this post was updated on February 6, 2012.]

Participants, friends, Burners, community:

The Burning Man organization recognizes that the ticket registration and random drawing process has caused many participants frustration and concern over whether they can attend the event this year.

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

A team of Burning Man staff and organizers, who have been working on the ticketing process since August 2011, met Thursday to review what happened and what can be done moving forward.

The organization is looking at short term fixes and long term solutions to improve the ticketing process to make it work as well as possible for as many people as possible.

Following phone conversations with major theme camp and art group organizers, we determined that only 20%-25% of the key people needed to bring those projects to the playa had received notifications for tickets. A number of people also told us they’d used multiple credit cards and asked friends to register for them as a way to increase their chances of getting tickets. Those who received more tickets than they need said they are considering how to redistribute them.

We believe we need two weeks to let the dust settle to see how much redistribution happens. Even with that redistribution we know that key people and projects may not get confirmations in time to move forward with their plans. We are looking at options to keep that from happening.

Burning Man’s most important priority is to make sure the community stays intact in the face of the current challenges. Combining what we learned from the phone conversations and what we’ve heard from the Burner community, we’ve come up with some ideas to address the short term issues. We will continue to gather information and listen to your feedback as we work towards announcing our plans within two weeks.

In the meantime we urge our community not to buy from scalpers or from large resale sites. We will have the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) activated on February 22. This is the most secure and hassle free way to enter the re-sale system. Please use it.

Those registrants who received rejection letters should keep an eye on your email as information about STEP and any other options will be made to you first.

Not everyone who wants a ticket this year will get one, that is clear — the demand clearly exceeds supply. But we are going to do everything we can in the coming days to ensure that we preserve and respect the community that supports and creates this event both in the short term and long term.

We will be reaching out to you and working with you to make that happen. We recognize that we have work to do to repair the faith in the organization. We are very sorry for the frustration, anxiety and deep disappointment this year’s ticketing experience has caused for so many citizens of Black Rock City.


All of us here at the Burning Man Organization

1,150 Responses to “Burning Man Addresses 2012 Ticket Situation”

  1. Geoff Says:

    I don’t understand why we assume scalpers won’t join STEP and get the tickets that way too.

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  2. J Kanizzle Says:

    Thank you for the quick response Marian. Meow and <3 and dust and hugs….

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  3. Spark Says:

    Were any checks on organized-scalper-type fraud in place? For example, multiple credit cards sharing the same billing address? Or disproportionate concentrations of billing addresses in unexpected locations? For example, if historically Massachusetts were the home of 1% of Burners in attendance in recent years, it would be surprising to find 10% of 2012 ticket recipients had billing addresses in Massachusetts.

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  4. Fatemeh Says:

    Thanks for addressing this, Marian, but I’m sorry to say that discussions with the community should have happened BEFORE the ticketing process was set into motion.

    The BMorg got a LOT of great suggestions the day the lottery was announced, and instead of listening to them, it proceeded with an ill-conceived system.

    Please, please, please – listen to the community now. Not just because we’re venting spleen, but because many of us are in operational and systems planning in our default lives, and we have DEALT with these kinds of issues before.

    BTW, it’s unclear to me (still) whether BMorg will be profiting from the STEP program–will you be charging buyers and/or sellers in that marketplace? I know there are administrative costs to facilitating that exchange, but I really hope that you guys eat those expenses, and mitigate ANY perception that there’s another income source via STEP. It’s not the community’s fault that this debacle has occurred.

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  5. T. Harris Says:

    I doubt even 10% of our group received tickets. These are long term burners and participants in the event year-round, volunteering time and resources.
    What a nightmare!!
    I have my doubts about redistribution; most likely the legitimate people who received more than they need already have recipients in their immediate environs vying for them.
    Is there not some way the remaining tickets can go to theme camp and artist groups that are “key” to the event?
    Even though my own attendance is in question for the first time in seven years, it would be entirely too sad to know the event has been diluted beyond recognition by the exclusion of these loyal participants. I certainly do not envy the Burning Man staff dealing with this dilemna!!

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  6. theglitchreport Says:

    this whole situation is heinous. This was a manipulated process that was full of flaws from the beginning. We are turned off attending this year because of this garbage. Way to crap in the playa punchbowl guys and gals

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  7. Uriel Guy Says:

    I think the lottery system just hurts lots of burners.. especially those coming long distances (crossing oceans) who need to plan a long time in advance… Just frustrating.

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  8. Pinky Says:

    Burning Man is running a serious risk of 80% of the people on the Playa having to pay more than the top tier for tickets, making the Playa even more of a rich person’s paradise than it already is, decreasing investment in the city, and (this is my personal pet peeve), increasing the wall-to-wall RV phenomenon that’s overtaken the streets in recent years. I have faith that you guys can fix this but you damn well better have something good after two weeks of pondering.

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  9. Homiesinheaven Says:

    It would greatly ease some tension if BMORG owned up to many of the mistakes made through this and offered a simple sincere apology. Everything up to now is coming across a bit cold and robotic. Mistakes happen, we all know that. Can you guys please be a little more humble or human about it?

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  10. Hbaker Says:

    Worst ticketing system EVER! Thought I would make this my 5th year anniversary after years of a break, but I’m over it. I’ve officially given up on this festival. It’s a Rich Man’s festival now.
    Good luck!

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  11. John Glueck Says:

    I keep getting that nagging feeling that the other 80%-75% of tickets went to scalpers. I understand the request to let the dust settle, but must admit, as it is currently settling, it appears more and more like the Org has been owned by scalpers.

    I am like many others, deeply disappointed. But not because I didn’t “win” at the lottery system. No, my disappointment comes from the fact that as an organization, this is not your first rodeo. As an organization, you have at your fingertips some of the finest and best qualified talent the WORLD could offer. As an organisation, you failed to live up to even the minimal standards required to prevent this from happening. I am disappointed in you, Mr. Goodell.

    It will be quite the interesting experience watching how you, and your organisation handle this issue. It will interesting to see what actions you take to mitigate what I believe is the plundering of tickets by well trained and adapt scalping professionals. I’m afraid though, that all I will see, is the same kind failure you have displayed here.

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  12. Todd Gardiner Says:


    The JRS newsletter did explain before tickets requests were processed that “known scalpers” and duplicate registrations were removed. It is unclear what process was used to weed out these scalpers and specifics are probably never going to be known, since that information aids the scalpers’s methodology.

    Fatemeh says that “It’s not the community’s fault that this debacle has occurred.” Well, that is true is the number of real tickets needed is hugely higher than those available. But if only 54,000 people are trying to buy 53,000 tickets and they messed up the system by over registering for the lottery (via friends and family), one point of view is that it is indeed partially their fault.

    I am of the opinion that hoarding limited resources when there are lots of unknowns is a human factor that possibly can’t be avoided (without giving scalpers useful information, anyway). The Glastonbury Festival’s system of non-transferable tickets might have to be the way to move forward.

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  13. maxw Says:

    thats what im saying.they returned 3 emails for my single ticket application at 320 telling me ill have priority on a first come first serve basis.whos not to say scalpers didn’t get this response especially if they applied many times for tickets and who’s to say they wont apply for step?

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  14. Godfather Says:

    I heard that the number of participants could be increased if some of the money from ticket sales was paid to the surrounding towns? Maybe BMorg needs to find a way to increase the number of partipants that may be included.

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  15. maxw Says:

    i agree with non transferable tix

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  16. shawn higgins Says:

    Just curious, dies it not seem logical to just make all the tickets the sane price and put them on sale on a better server ? Seems like the more complicated it gets the easier it is to play the system.

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  17. Skibit Says:

    This should not have even have been an issue. As if no one has ever sold tickets before.

    In CAPS:
    SELL ME A TICKET THAT “ONLY” I CAN USE, non-Transferable.

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  18. Spaghetti Weevil Says:

    Thank you for the response. Of the ten burners in our regular squad (we’re too small to be called a “tribe”) only one got his ticket. If it is true, as you said, that “Burning Man’s most important priority is to make sure the community stays intact…” then why was there absolutely no consideration given to prior attendees? it makes no sense. Now I’m left trying to figure out what to do with the half-completed mutant vehicle in my garage!

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  19. Luke Szczepanski Says:

    Thanks for using my photo, BMORG.

    I strongly agree with other comments here – put names on tickets, no transferable.

    I was lucky enough to ‘win’ the lottery. Half of my camp wasn’t so lucky. Can’t explain how mixed my feelings are about it.

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  20. Sam Drury Says:

    While my partner and I got really lucky and each got 2 tickets, we have so many friends who didn’t we’re now faced with the tough decision of which friends to choose to sell (at our cost of course) the two extra. so, I appreciate the Org’s thought that there will be dissemination of the extra tickets. However… this is more than a bit naive I believe, counting on the community to cover the mistakes of Org mis-management. I had thought last year’s ticketing process was bad, but the lottery was even worse.

    Can someone please explain why there needs to be a multi-tiered ticket process at all? Why not choose a price for ALL tickets (median of around $350 per?) which is still REALLY expensive and doesn’t address the “rich person phenomena” referenced in earlier postings, it might resolve the stress associated with simply getting the tickets. BM should be a peaceful and happy experience, getting stressed about the tickets seems like a bad way to start.

    Time to simplify, clarify (see: “transparency”), and clean up the whole process. Come on BMOrg – we know you can do it!

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  21. Kran Says:

    If you want to save theme camps, make an application process for some of the remaning 10,000 tickets. Camps can submit and defend a request for an allocation of the minimum number of tickets to allow their camp to confirm going forward. For example, provide evidence of past cotributions, the plan for 2012, their minimum required crew minus the tickets they already have. Priority to the kind of projects that need the most lead time to make a commitment. Minimum only, they will still have to find more tickets on the open market.

    Allocating just 1/4 of the 10,000 tickets this way could assure over 100 camps of commiting to go forward.

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  22. David Boyer Says:

    Next time, perhaps BM can try to pilot a new program with a small, limited number of tickets rather than change the entire system…just a thought!

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  23. Brian Erzen Says:

    I know this isn’t the best situation, but couldn’t you take an official poll and see if people would prefer that all these orders where cancelled and they were sold as non transferable tickets in some time in the near future? I know this is sorta crazy, but first come first serve worked better then this.

    I feel sorry for all those in Borg, and wish this works out somehow. It’s really depressing to see what this is doing to theme camps, and the amount of people I know who didn’t get tickets is staggering.

    A full do over for all the lottery tickets should happen, it’s not the best solution, but I fear if it doesn’t happen then the event will suffer as a whole.
    *I personally did not enter the lottery, and I have no idea if I’ll even make it to the playa for my 10th year*

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  24. Robyn Bloom Says:

    Let’s identify the real problem that was trying to be solved by moving towards a lottery system: tickets sold out in July of 2011 for August of 2011. Clearly, those camps and participants that were the primary planners and contributors were already on-board and were amidst putting the final touches on camp plans. How many people were actually unable to attend last year?

    Instead of creating a system to honor the time, energy, resources, creative spirit and commitment made by 1,000s of generous burners, BMORG artificially created a perfect storm of SCARCITY among those wanting to attend. It was clear the moment the plan was released. Me? I bought my tickets in the pre-sale and I could not be more grateful. Sadly, the virtues we, the Burning Man Community, hope to live by, are clearly not embraced by all. But we knew that, didn’t we??? Isn’t that why coming HOME to Burning Man every year is such a welcome respite to the greedy, overly commercial, free market society we live in. Scarcity will, to the best of my knowledge, create chaos if it happens outside an anchor of safety and faith…..enough said.

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  25. Javaman Says:

    Earmark the next 10,000 tickets you plan to sell for artists & infrastructure only. Mark them ONLY VALID FOR ENTRY BEFORE TUESDAY so that anyone helping build an installation or camp can get in with plenty of time to build. These folks are early arrivals anyway.

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  26. non transferable Says:


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  27. joe playa Says:


    It clearly didn’t work.

    Here’s another prediction:


    My camp and quite a few other camps won’t happen if core people can’t make be there to make them happen.

    Can we go back to the old system of first-come, first-served yet?

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  28. Judy Says:

    Thank you for this message, Marian. My partner and I did not get tickets, but we hope to get them in March or through STEP. Thank you for working so hard. Looking forward to the next time we’ll be going home, whenever that may be :)

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  29. Agata Ostrowska Says:

    Non-transferrable tickets is the only way to go.
    I think you should recall the lottery. Then allow people to order as many tickets as they want, but each ticket would have a name laser cut right the ticket, like airline tickets. They would be non-transferrable. You show your id at time of entry. People who do not have a credit card, pay by check or money order. You want to go, you go. If you can’t last minute, you don’t go, but the infrastructure is paid for.

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  30. Dominic Beaulieu-Prévost Says:

    Thanks for giving feedback to the community. I’m part of the lucky ones who got their tickets, and I am quite happy about that since one of my research projects depend on that. But since you wrote that you are listening to feedback from the community, I’ll give you mine.
    It is clear that most people who asked for tickets do not plan to go to BM. Such an increase in participants would be very hard to believe. The problem is thus due to (a) scalpers (tickets are already being sold on ebay and other places) who will clearly find desperate burners and (b) burners who try to get more tickets than needed “just to be sure”. Both a and b create problems since there is a limited nb of tickets. The only way that I know to avoid these problems is to use non-transferable tickets. I know that it means more work for the BM organization but there is simply no other way. If burners have to pay an extra cost to help you deal with that extra work, then be it. And if you want the system to be more flexible, you can accept to refund a ticket (you decide until when and if you refund the whole amount) and resell it through your system. That way, the person asking for a refund does not control who will have the ticket. If you really want to get rid of scalpers (which are clearly a major problem here as suggested by the estimated 25-30% of burners with a ticket), non-transferable tickets are probably the only way out. You could probably make the 40 000 tickets non-transferable by asking names to the lucky winners or offering to refund those who refuse. I could understand that you don’t want to do it due to the extra work it involves. However, I think that you should do whatever you can to do it for the last 10 000 tickets, even if it means increasing the price of the tickets to deal with the extra work. Do not hesitate to contact me if you want to discuss the issue.

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  31. HK Says:

    incompetent |inˈkämpətənt; i ng-|
    not having or showing the necessary skills to do something successfully : a forgetful and utterly incompetent assistant.

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  33. Non Transferable Too Says:

    Time to make the tickets non-transferable. If you can’t use them – send them to the ORG for resale at Will-Call and a refund.

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  34. No Scalpers! Says:

    Non transferable tickets!! Glastonbury does it so can Burning Man!!!

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  35. Shaia Says:


    So you’re counting on those who “cheated” the system to fairly redistribute the tickets in the STEP program? Irony!

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  36. Tom Says:


    This whole thing is the unfortunate result of the slow, steady growth of the event, and the fact ( which can’t be changed Godfather with more money ) that the BLM WILL NOT allow more people there.

    So: more interest has met capped capacity. It’s not about tiers anymore.

    Having non-transferable tickets would be a VAST improvement, and really limit scalping.

    And, you’re absolutely right: what’s missing is a clear, direct apology. They are the ones setting up the process, they have to own up to it having gone very off the rails.

    That said, I have faith, boundless faith. Logic says its unsolvable, but unsolvable falls apart when it comes to the playa. This will get this worked out. It won’t be perfect, but it’s going to be worked out somehow. See you all there…

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  37. nikolaus heger Says:

    ^ I am hoping they’ll have the good sense to do non-transferable tickets next year.

    But it’s not too late for that even – just make it so people can sell their tickets only via STEP. Then make STEP sold tickets non-transferable and named. Those who got tickets must present the credit card they used to buy them at entry so those are quasi-named too.

    I won tickets but I am just as disgusted with the process as is anyone. I got 2 because I figured that we’d redistribute them within our camp. Unfortunately as of now only 25% of our camp members won tickets, and some of them only have one, so we’re way short.

    I would start from the back to resolve this: Fact is that maybe 60,000 people want to attend BM 2012 and only 55,000 can get tickets. That’s a shortfall but only a very small one – the perceived shortfall after the lottery is that only 1 in 4 can go. Work on closing the gap.

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  38. DropDeadCutiePie Says:

    I just want to say that, yes, the outcome of the ticket lottery has been challenging and frustrating this year. BUT, prior to this year, anyone who really wanted a ticket but couldn’t afford to pay $300 or more had to be able to afford enough time during a weekday/workday to sit in front of a computer long enough to stay in queue to buy tickets. THAT SYSTEM also sucked. Just sayin.

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  39. Nicholas Hoffman Says:

    After last year sold out, I agree that a new ticketing system is necessary. However, it appears that the organizers forgot some simple rules of economics when creating a new ticketing system this year.

    Scalping wasn’t an enormous issue until last year – because last year sold out. When something sells out, demand is higher than supply. Increasing ticket prices this year lowers demand – but only slightly. It’s quite apparent that people are willing to pay a lot more for Burning Man. A LOT MORE. Making a lottery system cannot stave off hungry scalpers when the returns are between 2 and 3 to 1 on this “investment.” Since we’re buying in January and selling before September, that’s a solid 8 months to double or triple a scalper’s money – and with far less risk than any equity in the securities market. But, we’re Burners, right? STEP will totally solve everything and scalpers will all be shafted, right?

    When an investment banker sees an opportunity to make a guaranteed 10% return ANNUALLY, they will exploit it like zombies foaming at the mouth until that money geyser no longer exists. This is only 8 months, and returns 100-200%, or 10-20x the amount that a banker would freak out about. BM Organizers: you really should have anticipated that the scalpers would do ANYTHING to achieve such returns. Including completely bypassing this ridiculous lottery system.

    Secondly, having 4 pricing tiers (low income, 2 discounted tiers, and $390) makes absolutely no sense in a lottery system. Instead, you should triple or quadruple the number of low-income tickets, and then make everyone else pay $390. Really, why should people who are willing to pay $390 even have the chance to pay less when that shafts those who cannot afford it? One reason: getting people to pay in January instead of months later. If you still think you need that incentive (as obviously disproven by this year’s sales), at least go to 2 tiers instead of 3 – one for early buyers, one for late buyers, if there are any. Having the triple-tier discounted system actually made sense in previous years as a way of thanking people for signing up early and bringing in revenue early. When 27,000+ people bought on day 1 last year, you should have realized that having 3 tiers was no longer an appropriate solution.

    It’s much more than key theme camps that have been affected. Burner morale has been affected: some of my friends don’t even want to go anymore. I almost want to boycott, but I won’t let you or anything else stand in the way of going back Home.

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  40. Baba Jahlove Says:

    For me the answer to all this mess is quite easy: if the ticket demand would have been reasonable, let’s say 70/80 % of the burners would have got their ticket, then the lottery system and the subsequent redistribution mechanism could have worked. But if, as it seems, only under 50 % of the demand got satisfied it would have been way much better to go for a non transferrable ticket system!
    Solution: take the tickets back, reimburse the money to the credit card accounts and change to the non transferrable system (and please do not stress me about typical american fear of a lawsuit)!

    p.s.: I’m European and I have already bought 5 flights to San Francisco…

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  41. Non Transferable Too Says:

    The tickets that were awarded through the lottery have not been distributed. BMOrg has the email addressed for everyone who got tickets. It seems logical that an email can be sent to the successful attendees asking if they have “extra” tickets as a result of the lottery. If so, then BMOrg can reabsorb those tickets for distribution in the second phase. In the meantime, laser cut the tickets with names so as to cut the scalpers off at the knees.

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  42. Laughing Goddess Says:

    In my camp, of the 17 core organizers of the camp that applied, only 3 received tickets.

    We normally have a theme camp, large art car, great sound system, and really fun band.

    It’s quite possible that we won’t attend this year as we need to start applying for permits and all that soon. It’s hard to get motivated to do all that when we don’t even know if we will get enough tickets.

    major bummer

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  43. Weasel Says:

    If this organism called Burning Man is to continue to grow, why limit it? As much as I would hate for it to get bigger – that’s part of life. Let it grow beyond 50,000 I know that has problems all to itself, but welcome to the real world, and real world problems – it’s call “over population.” How’s that for the theme for 2012?

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  44. Jim Says:

    I really, really want to hear you guys say you fucked this whole thing up and that you’re sorry. Stop being so obtuse and step up BMORG! I get that some people have more forgiving and charitable attitudes toward you, but I’m not one of them.

    Thanks for eliminating the ONLY thing that guaranteed us serious burners a place on the playa… FIRST COME FIRST SERVE. You wanted to fix your server load problems and stop scalpers. What made you think you knew better than many other orgs that sell vastly larger quantities of tickets for events?!?

    - First come first served
    - Attendee Names required at time of registration
    - Name printed on ticket
    - ID’s req’d of EVERYONE at the gate or the whole car turns around and drops off those without ID’s in Reno.
    - Tickets can be resold back to BM for a $25 fee to cover administrative cost
    - Tickets not transferable in any way, BM is the sole outlet for acquiring tickets.

    This is NOT COMPLICATED!!!

    I know you don’t like all this business about requiring ID’s, but something’s gotta give. The laws of crowd behavior and supply & demand exist and will trump whatever quaint desires you all have up there in the BMORG offices. This alternative was destined to be a shit show. Your were warned from every corner beforehand, yet you trudged on blindly.

    Lottery-unlucky and Pissed Off About It

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  45. G Says:

    WAAAAY bigger cluster than I could have imagined.
    The ball is in your court Marion, good luck sweetie, wish I could help in some way.

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  46. Endeavor Says:

    Here is my feedback. I think these are excellent suggestions that should be considered.

    Every ticket currently purchased must have a name and ID confirmed by the end of February. That means the only people who can hold tickets have a legal ID or are being signed for by a parent or guardian. Any ticket without a name and ID attached to it gets refunded and goes right back into circulation on the STEP program. If someone cannot go or decides to gift their ticket to someone later, they must go through a transfer of ticket database with the ticket holder. At the bottom of this “Change of Ticket Holder Page” the new ticket holder will have to confirm by checking a box, that the ticket is either being gifted or sold at the face value of the ticket. At that point, scalpers are screwed. If someone can’t go and does not want to gift or sell their ticket at face value, then they can return their ticket to the BMorg for a 10-20% refund fee. This way, the BMorg has complete control over all the tickets and it discourages people from buying more tickets than they need. To fix any additional problems, I would contact all the main theme camps that make BM what it is, and offer to sell them the open sale tickets first. If the 100 main camps all took 40 tickets for their main people (most camps wouldnt take that many) thats only 4000 tickets.

    To fix the problems for next year, I would have a presale at the $350 level and offer those tickets to veterans first.
    I would open ticket up to:
    1. tenth year veterans who didnt go last year. They get first pick.
    2. tenth year veterans who did go last year
    3. anyone who volunteered more than 40 hours last year
    4. fifth year veterans who didnt go last year
    5. fifth year veterans who did go last year
    6. anyone who volunteered more than 20 hours last year
    7. third year veterans who didnt go last year
    8. third year veterans who did go last year
    9. theme camp and art project people needed
    10. Everyone else…

    I know this isn’t the perfect solution, but I have taken a lot of people’s input and put together what I think is the most reasonable solution. It also is a lot more involved, but this entire community is as well, so if we want Burning Man to continue to succeed, we have to be willing to change with it while still sticking to the principals of Burning Man.

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  47. PiqueHard Says:

    require name-on-ticket registration for all tickets won in the lottery.
    one name per ticket. ticket is non-transferable.
    all tickets without names go back into STEP. full refund.

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  48. Taylor Brook Says:

    “Burning Man’s most important priority is to make sure the community stays intact in the face of the current challenges.” What a miserable load of marketroid-ish, bullshit language. NONE of BMorg’s actions with respect to ticketing for 2012 have shown respect for the community. When the new system was announced, PLENTY of folks in the community spoke up about the obvious, glaring shortcomings in the plan; they were ignored. Now they’ve been proven absolutely correct.

    You guys have totally given the community your middle finger — and NOW we’re supposed to believe you somehow care? I was looking forward to my 10-year Burner Anniversary this year; now I feel like I’ll be lucky if I can afford a second-hand ticket. I’m absolutely crestfallen. It is clear that the folks making the decisions at the organization are either incompetent to the point of lacking basic common sense (how could you NOT see that a lottery would *worsen* the ‘scarcity’ issue, not fix it?) or simply don’t give a damn. Which is it, Marian?

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  49. Bmix Says:

    To fix this year:

    1) Set aside a number of tickets for theme camp use. (You know the math on how many would be needed better than I.) Camps can purchase tickets when doing the paperwork to register their camp, just make it a step in the registration process.

    2) Wait to do the Open Sale until after theme camp registrations are done. Leftover tickets from Step 1 go back into the main sale after theme camps have what they need. This is biased toward theme camps, yes. But they are a critical part of the event, perhaps the most critical.

    3) Marry the tickets to the person who purchased them. Tickets can only be transferred thru the STEP program. ID checks at gate will be a pain, but should almost completely eliminate scalping. Finally…

    4) This year, instead of Gate and Greeters, add a new stop: TICKET, then Gate, then Greeters. Have a “breakdown lane” set aside for forgotten IDs and other anomalies. I’m sure you’ll get complaints, but it beats the current situation by a landslide.

    For next year:

    1) Change vendors/beef up existing vendor to handle demand. The technology exists to sell a quarter-million tickets without server outages; you’re at the point where you need to graduate to this. First come, first served is still more fair than going totally random.

    2) Keep the named tickets and the STEP program for transfers.

    3) Party like rock stars.

    I post this in the spirit of trying to help something that I love very much. Good luck to all who still need that “golden ticket,” and congrats to those who have gotten them so far.

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  50. DustShepard Says:


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  51. Diea Says:

    I’m wondering if BM is going to be a bunch of RV’s in the desert this year without much art or theme camps. I didn’t win a ticket. I’ve been an early arrival helping build a theme camp for the past several years. NON-TRANSFERABLE TICKETS!
    This years theme is sounding more like Infertility to me.

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  52. Michael Says:

    With all due respect, A fundamental change in direction will be needed to repair the relationship between the Llc and many members of the community. The move to non-profit can’t happen fast enough. Open books, some sort of accountability mechanism, and a re-evaluation of the very decision-making processes that led the organization and community into this situation are what many of us are seeking.

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  53. Token Says:


    Used to be a core value.

    Irony. See above.

    Burning Man is a commodity now. Buy and sell as you please.

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  54. Bmix Says:

    It looks like several people posted basically the same things I said while I was typing out my message… sorry for the redundancy.

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  55. John Says:

    Shame on you guys for killing thousands of burners hopes for attending BM. You great ticket process is lame bullshit.

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  56. milena stardust Says:

    I guess my first question is: WHo has all of the tickets? I have been all over the internet reading posts everywhere- and also on listservs with theme camps I’ve either stayed with or thought about camping with in the past… No one in the community has these tickets. Really. There is definately a less than 30% positive response rate for everyone everywhere. No, scalpers aren’t showing their hands yet because they don’t have tickets in hand. But they will. And I believe that we will all find that out very soon.

    What’s fair for further ticket distribution? All of the suggestions dont’ take into account people like me.
    I’ve been to the playa 5 times, decoms, local burn events, yet never bought a ticket straight from these BMORG sales before trying this year- because people in the community always had them avail to sell around the time I had saved enough $$ to pay for them.
    I’ve camped with theme camps- and made large time and energy contributions such as brewing chai from scratch every day- 3+ hours for hundreds of camp mates and visitors, worked on 2009 temple, though my costuming skills far excel my carpentry skills, so ended up making outfits for the crew instead. I’ve pulled an extensive art proposal together for local community members I barely knew before that. The last two visits home I put together and led together smaller unregistered camps for friends and newbies alike- so I don’t show up on lists anywhere. I’ve made contributions to the community yet wouldn’t get recognized for a ticket by any of the suggestions above for granting tickets.

    Does that mean I get to be left out because I don’t belong to a big theme camp this year? I sure hope not. If the BMORG is rewarding theme camps with tickets- just so they can bring the ” free entertainment” for their event, I’ll have lost faith altogether. I am hoping that whatever ensues or schemes they are dreaming up to rectify this situation- has something a bit more fair in mind.

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  57. Mike Says:

    I just had a crazy thought. I was thinking about how the Coachella Festival this year decided to have 2 weekends instead of 1. Basically, you have a choice of attending the festival on the weekend of April 13th or the weekend of April 20th. Same lineup, different weekends.

    Seeing that A LOT more than 57,000 people want to attend Burning Man… What if BM did the same thing? There could be another event (in June, for example) in addition to the usual event in August-September. Same theme, different week.

    I’d have to attend both, though. ;)

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  58. Rob Hise-Denk Says:

    Some suggestions for STEP that would make things more difficult for scalpers and hoarders:

    1. Do as much as possible to ensure that every registrant is a different person. I’m sure that this is obvious and already being worked on.

    2. Don’t allow sellers to choose who they sell their tickets to.
    3. Don’t allow buyers to choose who they buy their tickets from.
    These measures will prevent exchanges of additional funds outside of STEP.

    4. Don’t allow anyone who already won in the lottery to buy tickets.
    5. Don’t allow anyone who didn’t win in the lottery to sell a ticket.
    This forces scalpers and hoarders to jump through additional hoops if they want to work the system.

    6. Only allow buyers to buy one ticket.
    7. Only allow sellers to sell two tickets.
    Buyers only need one ticket, and sellers aren’t likely to have a legitimate reason to sell more than two.

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  59. Danno Says:

    I just have one question: who did the tickets go to? Of all the people that I know, no one seems flush with tickets and everyone seems to be looking for them. It seems crazy to think that either demand has increased that dramatically or that scalpers now account for substantially higher than a percent or two of total sales.

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  60. Brad Says:

    I echo what several other posters have said that continues to fuel the frustration…BMORG just apologize!!! There is not more forgiving group of people in the world than Burners. You are digging yourselves a bigger hole by tip toeing around the huge blunder you made. Salvage some respect with honesty and transparency.

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  61. Sparkle Pony Says:

    So lets see if I have this right. Out of 50,000 tickets there are only 10,000 left so 40,000 have been sold. Of that 40,000 only 25% of people from theme camps got tiockets. That means 30,000 went to regular Burners. Does that sound like this was a fair process and that there are 70,000 people who want to go this year? Something is rotten in Denmark and it isn’t the Burners that come from there. It would have been so nice to have used the old system when last year you still had tickets avalible one month before the event. Are you really listening? No Everyone else knows the solution is to put the peopes name on the tickets and then watch all the scalpers dump their tickets in lewss than a week. Problem solved but as it is going logic doesn’t count this year.

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  62. truthman Says:

    I honestly don’t know why we ever expect BMORG to operate with any professionalism or integrity: First, do you really think that any member of BMORG (or their friends) had to go through the lottery? Second, from what i have gleaned most of them couldn’t organize their way out of a paper bag… Its a full-on emulation of the way congress does business – one rule for those in power, another for everyone else…

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  63. Matt Freedman (Maestro) Says:

    For my theme camp, 13 people have tickets, 22 were denied, the rest haven’t reported back. Our camp is typically around 45 people. We can’t make it happen without a core group of at least 25-30. Those who didn’t get tickets include myself (a key organizer) and many of the core elders.

    It’s not clear whether our camp (Salon Soleil) will happen in 2012 (our 9th year) absent a major shift in ticket availability. None of us are motivated to start planning without clarity on whether our core people have tickets. We’re all in a state of collective shock. I’m hearing similar stories from everyone I know in the SF Bay Area. Many camps are in crisis. Everyone is reconsidering whether they really want to go in 2012.

    If not enough of us have tickets, our camp may not happen. Our storage unit in Alameda will remain packed with gear that doesn’t go the the playa. Hundreds of people will not receive the benefits of our healing fair — massages, treatments, reiki, facials and other interactive services. All the random folks who normally spend time relaxing and dancing in our welcoming, beautiful and comfortable domes will have to find another spot — perhaps the inside of an RV or a pre-made camp for VIPs? And those seeking to recharge their batteries will have to rely on gas-powered generators instead of our clean, efficient solar system.

    It’s really our fault — we listened to the BMORG when they told us to only submit for the number of tickets we needed. We should have known that good actors would be punished and bad actors would be rewarded. Had we properly understood the system, we would have all submitted multiple lottery entries and enrolled large numbers of proxies in order to compete with the scalpers and ensure that our camp had enough tickets. Shame on us for honoring your request to be reasonable.

    The ticket system needs to be reformed. I support a system where tickets are coded to specific names in a database and cannot be resold. Those who buy tickets should be allowed to cancel (up until early August), have their money refunded, and the ticket should be resold through BMORG. Every ticket should be held at will-call with entrants providing IDs at the gate and checked against the master list. I’ve selected will-call tickets for many years and never had a problem at the gate.

    Without this type of change, BM will be increasingly dominated by the following:

    (1) VIP package tourists who arrive with wheeled suitcases, inhabit pre-made camps and are served by paid staff

    (2) 20-somethings packed into RVs who are attracted by the idea of a giant rave and participate by giving out a few cans of beer to strangers

    (3) Virgins who arrive ready to consume, but not necessarily prepared to contribute

    Perhaps 2012 marks the end of an era. If so, I will be very sad. I and many others have devoted untold hours to building our camps, helping others, contributing to the community and trying to make Burning Man unlike any other gathering on the planet. The lottery result leaves us all feeling quite raw, diminished and foolish.

    Please fix the system now.

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  64. Sam Brown Says:

    The long term solution is to once again match the supply to the demand. If BMOrg were to secure a permit for more participants with the BLM, the issue of scalping would go away instantly. It’s only when scarcity exists that scalping is profitable. As desert is not in short supply, and the current population of Black Rock is less than the population of Cowboys Stadium when it’s packed, this should be entirely possible.

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  65. Tony Ziemer Says:

    What is this “restocking Fee”? We send Burning Man Org our unused tickets as good little burners should and they skim off just a little to resell them. Are you kidding! If I don’t use the 1 Ticket I have I think I’ll sell it for face value plus shipping, that’s fair. I’ve never had to buy my ticket this early and jumping through all of these hoops has me rethinking whether or not I will participate next year. I think a better plan is hold a significant number of tickets back and 2 weeks before the event release them for sale and the scalpers will be stuck.

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  66. lynx Says:

    What worries me most this year is the impact the ticketing flux has on the creativity that lies at Burning Man’s core. How do you motivate a group to create a project when they don’t know if they will be able to get to the Playa to assemble/perform it?

    Many of us predicted exactly the problems which the lottery created. The overbidding caused by scarcity. The crippling effect on art projects and theme camps. So why did BMORG ignore the obvious?

    To add to the challenge, this is not a concert. The event is not the result of 50,000 randomly selected individuals, but of groups putting in great expense and effort for months beforehand. The most important thing is to remove uncertainty for those people.

    Sure, not everyone can go. We understand that. But everyone should know their fate sooner. When charging up to $400 per person, many solutions are possible. This lottery, or a better version (non-transferable tickets! project pitches!), should have happened before December. As it stands, it may be summer before camps really know who will be able to go.

    This will already be a damaged sort of year. But fix your process so camps know where they stand _now_, not three months from now. Then learn for next time from all the advice the community has been offering.

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  67. D Says:

    I have been attending 7 years in a row, I have organized my camps and carried many virgins along the way who have become committed active attendees.. I have been promoting the event to my family on the opposite side of the country ever since I stepped foot on the playa. This is the year they could all finally pull it together and make the journey and now we have been denied tickets making it seemingly impossible to organize everyone in my family from distant places. The playa is gigantic, we could make a full circle city yet we are limiting the number of attendees.. I’m sad to see this happening.. Scalping is an issue but if that is the cause for this system than I must say their is a better preventative way than doing a lottery.. I give much credit to the organizers on many levels and I am aware that the state of Nevada is adding pressure but their must be a better resolve. Please advise

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  68. Dr. Bungee Says:

    The disappointment and bitterness of not being “chosen” has somewhat subsided after reading these comments. I definitely am not alone. My 16 year love affair with BRC is over, I was dumped for some rich 1%er . At one of my first burns, there was a giant sign at center camp saying “No Spectators”. I hope all the rich fucks who can afford to go have fun looking at each other, wondering where all the cool shit went.

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  69. eggchairsteve Says:

    it is too late to change the theme…Helco2.0?

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  70. huskyfan Says:

    Burning Man 2.0 !

    let’s get an alternate started. the BMorg no longer has the burn as its main interest.

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  71. Tom Says:

    GET OVER YOUR PITY PARTY! The BLM WILL NOT just allow the event to expand limitlessly. And even if they could and did, there is still the unmovable limit of exodus–you can only have so many cars per hour leaving.

    This is not about Burning Man getting rich, nor being for the rich. This is about how do we ALL deal with the fact our event has outgrown its size? In the default world, it would just be who could pay the most. Clearly, Burning Man is working their ass off to find ways around that. Yes, they could/should have seen the sell out coming. Perhaps they held on too long to the ideal that some people buy tickets and randomly gift them. Sadly, those days are past. Then again, so are the days of driving at full speed, shooting guns in town, fireworks, you name it. Every one of those things going away were said to be the death of the event. None of them have been.

    The event will survive. Most of us will be there. Plan on it, and get to work on that art car….

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  72. John Lord Says:

    I’m just gonna go to Gathering of the Juggalos instead.

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  73. Gaaah Says:

    Clearly, selling the remaining tickets to people not involved with theme camps and art would exacerbate what’s happened, so please bite the bullet and retract the open sale in March.

    What confuses me is why you didn’t realize this would happen? It’s time to decide whether what has been built up over the years is worth defending, or if it’s okay to let it dissolve within a year for the sake of never favoring one person over another. Not an easy choice. Good luck.

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  74. kir Says:

    another vote for making tickets non-transferable! it’s not too late. I would love to volunteer to help check tickets & IDs at the gate, as I’m sure almost everybody here would. manpower is the last thing we’re lacking.
    it might require a small bit of extra hassle on the part of those already-ticketed, but I can’t imagine everyone wouldn’t agree it’s worth it to save our home.

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  75. Bradtastic Says:

    I’m also wondering who has all the tickets. It’s not “friends and relatives” of burners trying to game the system. It has to be professional scalpers!

    I haven’t heard of any group where even half the people have tickets. In most cases, it seems to be about 10%. If people were doing things to increase their chances, there wouldn’t be such widespread reports of whole camps where nobody has a ticket.

    So.. what happened? Is Borg imploding like the inner circle of some cult? That’s what it looks like to me.

    I think someone there must be doing this to make a lot of money very quickly. Because otherwise it’s just incompetence, but that level of incompetence doesn’t make sense in a community with this much talent.

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  76. Cassandra Says:

    Could you make the STEP and General Sale non-transferable tickets, it might slow down the scalpers and give Burners a better chance of buying a ticket.

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  77. Dan H. Says:

    I finally decided that I will attend BM this year, but with funds being limited I opted for 1 ticket at the lowest tier…I was VERY excited when I got the email saying that I got my ticket.

    THEN, came the bummer…the majority of my friends from Toronto with whom I was going to go with didn’t get tickets. Now I’m stuck attending this event practically alone…not fun for a first timer. Plans for rides, camps, sharing expenses, knowing someone, etc. all kinda went down the drain.

    If friends don’t get tickets, I will have no option but to sell mine…and I don’t wanna make a dime more than what I paid.

    But I agree, non-transferable is the way to go…seems to me like BM is an event that you don’t just decide, “hmm, no, I’m not going”…and if you cant make it due to some situation that arises in your life, then isnt the entire idea behind BM “giving” and “gifting”…well, you have then sacrificed what you paid for your ticket for the sake of BM, its livelihood and what is represents….NOT CONCENTRATING ON THE MONEY.

    And the option: if you cant make it, GIFT your ticket back to BM and in the months before the event, the organizers of BM can resell your ticket or give it to those who cannot afford it…or give it to the theme camp people who make the experience wat it is.

    i really hope i still end up going…otherwise it would seem like BM is just another corporate failure that we have become so used to in this world.

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  78. ozz Says:

    Sounds like the end of our Camp, playa art ,mutani vehicles….Burning man as we have known and loved it . R I P BM Ozz

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  79. Marie Says:

    My suggestion – Limit ticket sales to one per person, non-transferable. People can return their tickets to the STEP program if they can’t attend. This would completely eliminate scalpers! Seems like the only way!

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  80. Dannelle Tomarchio Says:

    Three things:

    Take the 10,000 tickets and set up an application process for the registered theme camps to get tickets to their key members. Give them first dibs to those tickets.

    Scalpers can be eliminated by making everyone show the credit card used to purchase the tickets at the entrance.

    I received my ticket, but I am sad for the rest of my burner family and what the outcome will be this year :(

    That is all.

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  81. Godfather Says:

    I’m the leader of a theme camp and 80% of our members don’t have a ticket. We’re starting our planning now and are trying to make our camp bigger and better this year. This won’t happen if we can’t get our core people in and our camp probably won’t make it this year.
    You still have a chance to fix this. Scrap this ill-conceived idea of a lottery. True leadership means being big enough to admit that you’ve made a mistake. I “won” 2 tickets but would gladly give them up and play the ponies with a redo ticket sale using a first come, first served system.
    If you can’t do that I suggest a non transferrable ticket (under the buyers name) to those that have already won one. If someone needs to sell a ticket they can sell it back to Burning Man at face value. This way scalpers can not sell a ticket to someone else at an inflated value. Yes it will make the process a little more complicated but will effectively cut the scalpers out of the process.

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  82. erilke Says:

    So turned off by this process that after 5 years of joyously attending BM, I don’t even want to bother trying to get a ticket through step. BM’s innocence is lost.

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  83. 2Man Says:

    Boycotting, you guys bombed this bad.

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  84. Unfortunate Circumstances. Says:

    I really don’t see the organization saving this years event, call me pessimistic. As we all know, bad news travels fast – and this response was weak at best to actually address the HUGE problem at hand. I was hoping for a solution, an apology, or you know – anything that could help subside the huge feeling of loss that most of us are feeling right now. I do however offer a solution. 4th of JuPlaya. All those that couldn’t attend the actual event should look into pooling resources to make this event all it can be. Any thoughts? I’d hate to see everyone’s work this year sit in a garage instead of being shared amongst the community. The playa this year will be different, sparse, and honestly probably not worth seeing if you’d like your perfect vision of burning man remain where it is. I have a ticket and will be selling it via the step system if the tickets aren’t RECLAIMED by the organization and redistributed via a NON TRANSFERABLE SYSTEM. I simply can’t attend an event that half of my closest friends and family wont be able to attend because of a now short-sighted and based on this response – bureaucratic organization.

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  85. nikolaus heger Says:

    Here’s a proposal: Make all tickets sold so far non-transferable.

    All lottery winners just sign in and enter their name / ID card number. Passport or US driving license. Data will be verified at the gate.

    End. Of. Story.

    STEP will then take care of redistribution.

    From one of the lucky winners.

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  86. Andrew Says:

    Yep, make the tix non-transferable.

    And give everyone a cold beer or six at the Gate, as an apology.

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  87. Maxweinberger Says:

    BMorg themselves said try have plans to up attendance to 70,000 in he next 3 years. Gerlach and getting in and out is fucked but you’re competence has to be questioned at this point especially az stated above. Cowboy stadium is bigger. Don’t let jerry jones out smart you guys at bmorg

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  88. Beach Bum Says:

    This is an example of horrendous crisis management. Learn from effective ones, the Nixon Checkers speech, the J&J Tylenol recall, the “Jack is Back” campaign where he dynamites the boardroom after they killed a few kids with e-coli.

    Larry Harvey has to personally issue a heartfelt and thorough apology, saying “I screwed up badly”, talking about respecting our “community” being a core belief embedded in the vaunted 10 principles, that we view ourselves as stewards of the community rather than as owners of Burning Man, and backing up the words with real action, instead of just giving it lip service.

    Then get every possible ticket to the community of the camps, mutant vehicle owners, artist groups, and dedicated participants. With any additional tickets sold only available at Will Call to the actual purchaser.

    Heck, to discourage scalpers and casual scalpers, while it’s not legal to change the tickets that have already been sold to be non-transferable, it’s perfectly legal to print the purchaser’s name, address, telephone number, and email address directly on these tickets and saying the tickets are not valid if this info is crossed out. Good luck scalping one of those for more than the purchase price.

    We have a fantastic community that is seriously hurting, and unbelievably intelligent feedback comments being made on this fiasco. Please respect this. Thanks.

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  89. Kran Says:

    Number crunching on eplaya shows 30% burners, 20% newbies, and a whooping 50% to various scalper types. The debate is, professional or all the people who thought they could win something in a LOTTERY and sell it on Craigslist for $1600 (4X or more what they paid).

    There is barely a shortage of tickets. BMorg managed to stop burners from over entering the lottery, but invited the general public to win something in a LOTTERY, and they did – HALF THE TICKETS! BMorg is refusing to believe they screwed up, instead believing that Burning Man suddenly went from a 6% annual increase, to a 125% increase in demand (WTF, BMorg fantasyland!). Once they get over themselves, BMorg can start to inform everyone that half the tickets are in scalper hands.

    Watch the price drop as tickets get dumped on the market and into STEP.

    In the meantime the theme camps need to be saved. Take the 10,000 tickets and set up an application process for the registered theme camps to get tickets to their key members. Give them first dibs to those tickets.

    The rest of us can get tickets over time as news spreads to the would-be scalpers that they are not holding “the last BM ticket”, just one of 20,000 scalper tickets.

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  90. wolfenlisa Says:

    Idea for next year….
    1. One price per ticket, no more tiers ($275 -$350?) somewhere around there so it is still dueable for the average person.
    2. Begin online sales in Jan. for X number of tickets.
    3. Name on tickets and non-transferable unless done thru BORG.
    4. Begin second round of online sales for the next X number of tickets.
    5. Begin final round of online sales in May or June of remaining number of tickets until all sold.
    This will allow people to buy when they can and not worry about tix running out in Jan. and it will eliminate the online crashes because the “competition” for the cheaper tix will be gone as well as people won’t feel rushed to buy in Jan. beacuse they will have two other chances. January is a hard month for some people after the holidays in Dec. and may need a few months to save money for the tix.
    This still gives BORG sales in Jan. for operating cost.

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  91. Josheldo Says:

    one name, one ticket…

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  92. Beef Pies Says:

    I haven’t read all of the replies, so if I’m interrupting a thread, I apologize. But I did want to have some input on this.

    My impression is that the Borg were just a little too pie-in-the-sky about this whole mess. I believe that the assumption was that Burners with the Burner ethos would be the vast majority of registrants for tickets. But when the event sold out last year and a few scalpers made some money from it, it set up a perfect situation for opportunists. Rather than, as Marian suggests, 10,000 people over-ordering tickets, I think a few resourceful and unscrupulous persons can acquire a surprising number of tickets. It remains to be seen whether this is the case, but I’ve heard they’re showing up on the usual scalper sites.

    I’m a member of an established theme camp, Tsunami, and most of us–including the camp founder!–haven’t been able to get tickets. Even if I were to go, I don’t know if I would want to be there without my campmates. I fear a Black Rock City full of rich assholes who can pay $1000 for a ticket, throwing beer cans all over the playa. In my mind, I’m calling it “The StubHub Burn”. Only time will tell if I’m wrong, and I hope I am, frankly.

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  93. Playa Ninny Says:

    Our theme camp received 4 tickets out of 30 + folks. We have decided to pull the plug on Burning Man this year unless the lottery is reversed or the non-transferrable model is put into place within the next two weeks. Without either of those, we simply don’t have faith that the event will be worth investing our time or money into.

    C’mon BMORG – do it.

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  94. James Says:


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  95. Andrew Says:

    One more thought: in 2007, the Man was rebuilt mid-week.

    The community can come together to address problems like this. Let it.

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  96. Double Jeopardy Says:

    It’s obvious that the same scalpers who took the lion’s share of the main sale tickets will do the same thing with the STEP tickets.

    How many times do you people have to shoot us all in the foot?

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  97. Ryan Says:

    Non-transferable. It’s the only fix at this point. The main concern I was reading from ePlaya was that the added time to check id’s would let traffic back up onto HWY 447. You mean to tell me you couldn’t put a few switchbacks or curves into the entrance (think bank or airport queues) ? You realize you have a whole 500 square miles to work with. The extra space to make the line longer is everywhere.

    And from a technical standpoint: Amazon’s EC2 servers are infinitely expandable and charge by the bandwidth making the cost of running a ticketing system easily within the budget (if buying more robust servers to handle the load wasn’t in the budget this year). That wasn’t a plug for Amazon, but an example of a service that you lets you rent server space if you only need it for a short amount of time.

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  98. Jax Says:

    BM did not listen to the community. we told you not to the lottery for this very reason. admit you made a mistake and START OVER!

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  99. Ack Shuel Says:

    Thank you Marian for the open letter. There where definite problems built into the lottery system as well as the past systems. I preferred the latter though, because it allowed for those who planned to attend to purchase early at prices they could afford. I used the presale system for last years event. For some reason, BMO decided that this years presale should cost A LOT more that last year’s which forced me into the lottery system failure. I look forward to seeing how STEP will work.

    First come first gets worked. If I remember correctly, last years sell out didn’t happen until very late in the ticketing process.

    A side note here: As the creator of Occupy The Playa, my response to a failed ticketing system, I will keep it in the planning stages only at this point.
    (Occupy The Playa IS NOT AFFILIATED with ANY OTHER “Occpy” movement, protest or organization. It is burner driven!)

    Again, thanks for the timely response.

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  100. ploppertop Says:

    I knew this was going to blow up in their faces, I told everyone EXACTLY this was going to happen and am waiting this year out. I would not be surprised if the multi-registration performed by scalpers and regular folk was 4 times the normal amount of attempts to buy tickets, spreading out tickets extremely thin. Also a good point made earlier: I had the pleasure of meeting lots of burners form across the country and overseas last year, I’m sure many of them didn’t even bother trying this year due to uncertainty and lack of planning time. Have fun burning with: unusual amounts of wealthy yuppies, random virgins, cranky vets who half their crew couldn’t go, people seperated from significant others, and hanging at theme camps where only 20% of key members got tickets.

    Oh and of course the nightmare scenario: this festival is an exercise in radical self reliance, if tons of vets and and planner types didn’t get tix, you are going to see a lot more people suffering from dehydration, heat exhausting, other medical complications, maybe even death.

    sorry if this was bleak but this ticket disaster was shameful, predictable and preventable.

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  101. Onessa Says:

    This will be my first year at Burning Man and I was actually lucky enough to get a ticket. However, I would give it back gladly if the Borg wanted to recall tickets and have a do-over for this debacle. Right now, I’m the only one I’m my group who got a ticket, and everyone else is a long-time Burner. I recommend allowing people to buy multiple tickets, but require names on tickets and non-transferable. That way, camps can get their tickets for everyone. Also, single price or only two tiers seems wise.

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  102. Chewy Says:

    Want to really screw the scalpers? Boycott this year. Don’t buy tickets from anyone, including STEP.

    All the scalpers will take a loss of an average of $300 a ticket. Burning Man will still make their money. It will all be good. and we can all go back next year when Burning Man is born anew.

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  103. cheetah Says:

    Maybe creating a tier of non-transferable tickets, so people who need to plan as far ahead as possible can secure tickets. Maybe make them will-call only so IDs can be validated, if printing named tickets is too much of a hassle. Cancelling it would put the ticket back into other tiers, etc. Gifting could still be possible if the person you buy a ticket for is identified during purchase (the system comic-con uses) so that’d fix the problem of requiring the buyer to be present at will-call at the same time.

    My comment will probably get lost in all this noise, but I wanted to give my two cents to BMORG, and in a nice sort of way, since there’s probably no clean solution this year, unfortunately.

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  104. Gary in Reno Says:

    Since no tickets have gone out and this is obviously destroying this event and tearing the burner community apart at the seams, why don’t you just refund the money and start over? We will forgive you. We all make mistakes.

    The event did not even sell out until July last year. Was the process really so broken that you had to reinvent how people buy tickets?

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  105. foxwalker Says:

    I hope BMORG is actually reading all of these comments.

    Here’s what I see:

    Before last year when the event did not sell out, first come first serve worked fine. In fact it would have worked fine last year too if the technology was sufficient (and I really don’t understand why that is so hard).

    Now that the event is selling out and demand is higher than supply, well, first come first serve could still work if the technology was sufficient (and I still don’t understand why that is so hard), but something must be done to eliminate scalpers. The Lottery was an EPIC FAIL threatening the event itself. As many have already mentioned, non-transferable tickets seem to be the way to go. Do it like the airlines do it. ID required. Physical ticket not even needed. It’s all done by computer. Refunds accepted for a small but not insignificant return fee ($25? $50?).

    Eliminate the tiers. I understand why that was needed before, because it gave incentive to buy early so BMORG got cash early in the year to operate. If there were no tiers before, people might have waited until Jul or Aug to purchase. It’s no longer necessary because the demand is there.

    Lastly, just like last year, no apology was given, no “we’re sorry, we fucked up.” LAME LAME LAME. I’m glad this post finally came out, because was thinking BMORG’s silence was deafening and contributing to people’s frustration. COMMUNICATE you stupid fuckers!

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  106. Brian Walter Says:


    1.) All the tix went out to peeps who registered more than once.

    2.) Only 20% of theme camp members got tix.

    So, *none* of those theme campers multi-registered? Who, then? 400,000 scalpers got past your watertight system?


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  107. nikolaus heger Says:


    That’s what they did with Led Zeppelin tickets at their 2007 reunion. There were 20 million orders for the 20,000 seats. There were tickets on Ebay for several thousand pounds per ticket. Then they got the surprise that each ticket would have the purchaser’s name on it, and the ticket holders had to pick up the tickets in person and had a wristband put on that would admit them to the show. Needless to say, the Ebay scammers disappeared.

    This was a much worse problem than Burning Man has. And guess what non-transferable tickets took care of it. It’s not that hard.

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  108. Lion Kimbro Says:

    Non-Transferable. If people do not want to verify with a gubbernment ID card, let people submit with a picture of their face, printed onto the ticket.

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  109. nikolaus heger Says:

    PS: Eliminating tiers and so on – sure, for next year. The immediate problem is to solve this year’s mess.

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  110. Mari Stephenson Says:

    Give us more information about what has happened. Keep us in the loop. We need updates several times a day informing us about what is happening and how this problem is trying to be solved. The lack of information is making everyone frantic. Me included. (A 9 year burner with a camp of 15 only two of whom got tickets.)

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  111. Shenanigans Says:

    We won the lottery, so we are not complaining, and much love and compassion for those banging their heads on their desks trying to overcome the issue.
    I believe the only choice is to grow the city. As soon as the lease allows (see if you can get the limit raised early) Overcome the exodus issue by having two gates: Southbound traffic at 3, Northbound traffic at 9. It’ll require more volunteers, but we’ll have more to draw from.
    Next year, kill the tier system, and release 10 000 tickets a month for 6 months. those that are on the ball will get tickets.

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  112. Josh Says:

    Regarding not buying tickets from scalpers, I think the message should be that given tickets haven’t even been issued yet, that buying tickets from a scalper is even MORE dangerous than ever – how do you in fact know that the scalper even has a ticket to sell???

    STEP needs to be up and running ASAP. That will help calm the waters some. In retrospect the ticket exchange program probably should have been developed before the lottery. But then it’s easy to quarterback after the results of the play are known.

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  113. G Says:

    Hear Hear!! ATTN BMORG ! ! !

    nikolaus heger Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 6:56 pm
    Here’s a proposal: Make all tickets sold so far non-transferable.
    All lottery winners just sign in and enter their name / ID card number. Passport or US driving license. Data will be verified at the gate.
    End. Of. Story.
    STEP will then take care of redistribution.
    From one of the lucky winners.

    AAAAAAAND . . . same story, longer but:
    Kimo Says:
    February 2nd, 2012 at 2:01 pm
    I’ve been following this thread from the very beginning. I truly feel that I may have a possible solution to preventing the sale of a ticket on the secondary market for a price above the face value. I suggest that we petition the BMORG to employ this:
    Actually the fix is quite simple. Let everyone keep the tickets that have already been virtually awarded/distributed (scalpers included if they like… but read on).
    Use the name on the credit card used to register for the lottery or per-sale, and attach that to the ticket. When entering the gate to the event that person must accompany their ticket(s) and show a government ID. Much the same as going through the TSA checkpoint at the airport. Entrance will only be granted to the person registered to that ticket and up to 3 others. NO MATCH = NO ENTRANCE. This fucks the scalpers, since the only way to change the registered name of the ticket is to go through STEP, which will only allow tickets to be sold/exchanged at face value or less. Anybody who buys a ticket in the secondary market outside of STEP is purchasing an invalid worthless ticket. The scalpers will either have to sell through STEP for no profit or eat the ticket.
    BMORG sends an email out to everyone that entered the lottery or bought a ticket in the open sale explaining this policy. If you don’t like the policy, don’t buy a ticket or get your initial ticket purchase refunded and no ticket will be sent to you in June. END OF STORY
    I’m sure we’ll see a significant number of tickets re-circulated as the scalpers will now need to unload their worthless ticket-for-profit.

    What Kimo & nikolaus said !!!

    Hey BMORG, one thing to be said about where you are right now. This is a sort of rock bottom we are at. Would seem nowhere to go but up!
    and . . . . congratulations, this may well be the most distinctive burn I have been to. #10 for me. Thought about blowing it off, but, naaaa, I am going, and going to make the best of it. Could be the best Burn ever in unexpected ways or it could be the worst. I would like best it if it were both.

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  114. Bear Says:

    It seems to me that the scarcity of tickets through the lottery system forces people right to the scalpers, instead of avoiding them. so many are faced with uncertainty have no other choice.

    Report comment

  115. Driver Says:

    Anarchy 2.0

    Shut it down

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  116. Gemma Says:

    Really disappointing to see the pain, sadness and utter frustration on my long-time Burner friends’ faces every day since this lottery crap was announced. This was going to be my first year, after they made it a point that I could not miss any more.

    Afraid to say that I am glad we did not win our tickets, as this is not the event that they talked about nor one I would want to attend. A good majority of the people in this thread saying that they got tickets also noted they’d be willing to depart with them if the old system came back. I think that’s the only way to make this as successful as previous years and attempt to clear the clouds that have been hanging over our heads for months.

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  117. Joe Says:

    “Demand exceeds supply” “not everyone will get a ticket who wants one.”

    Once upon a time, in Economics 101 the fair solution to this was to have the price rise to the point that demand equals supply.

    If that seems unfair to those who can’t afford it, then the solution is to increase the supply — increase the number allowed to attend the even.

    And once again it’s our fucking government that is the problem, not the solution. The government rapes our environment, mismanages our national parks, has not come up with a solution to nuclear waste, but somehow must protect the playa??! Really??

    As for infrastructure concerns — the event could double to 100,000+ by having tickets for one of two days of entry, and a departure lasting a self-selected two or three days . . .

    Or so it seems to me.

    The BORG could use econ 101 lessons rather than socialist hopes; and we could all turn our anger to those in the federal government who are illogically suppressing supply.

    As for the “unfairness” of increasing the price, we now see that markets rapidly adjust to reality in a way central planning never can. Scalpers WILL profit, price WILL match the supply/demand curve. It’s just the Burning Man organization that will not benefit.

    One other solution would have been to have tickets rise to $500, $600, $1,000 a ticket or whatever the market would bare, and then have BM offer generous discounted tickets to the core of long-time artists and theme camp contributors. Or use those funds for other community benefiting efforts. Now those revenues will just go to the scalpers . . .

    Maybe the Gods of Burning Man wanted this community to get an understanding of how economies, markets and society actually work despite wishful thinking and (perhaps) the best of intentions?

    Theme for Next Year: Burning Man 2013 — “Who is John Galt?”


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  118. G Says:

    Just for fun, the idea popped into my head of banning RV’s and making it a tent only event crossed my mind. It would certainly damp demand and roll things back to the good old days in many ways. I read that the appearance of RV’s was controversial in the early years.
    I am not being serious of course.

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  119. JimS Says:

    As an off and on burner for 12ish years, once I heard about the lottery, I decided to skip another year.

    Over the last 12 years, issues with ticketing have been the norm, not the exception. Given BMorg is based in San Francisco, and (slight exaggeration) you can pick a random scruffy 20-something in SoMa who, more than likely, is capable of building a system that can handle a one-day scaling spike…there really is no excuse for the continuing ticketing issues.

    The group I have camped with over the years entered the lottery, less than 1/3 were awarded tickets.

    All I can say is, way to go BMorg. I look forward to what comes out of those who have had enough of the BS and move on to what’s next. Rumor is Juplaya will be pretty popular this year.

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  120. Blunt Instrument Says:

    The only way to fix the situation is to refund everyone’s money and issue a new system where previous ticket purchasers get priority. Otherwise you still have the problem of scalpers having a huge block of tickets now.

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  121. Mad Maxine Says:

    The lottery is the most stressful, ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of. Seriously, why are we even having this conversation? People from all over the world have to plan for this event for months, and this kind of uncertainty is really an unacceptable means of distributing tickets for something that is so life-impacting.

    Consider selling tickets like the airlines do. People buy their ticket in their own name in advance and pick it up at the ticket counter when they get there. Do this, and no one would buy a ticket just to turn around and scalp it later.

    Set up a system so that, up to a certain date, people can return the ticket for a refund with some kind of minor cost penalty. Then the ticket can be re-sold by BMORG at its original price. That way, you can also avoid the problem of people selling off a ticket for a higher price than they paid for it.

    Yes, you’d have to deal with the logistics of the purchasing site and tracking of financial transactions, but it’s not the hardest thing in the world. The hardest part would be that you would have to figure out a gate procedure to get the right tickets to the right people when they arrive en masse. I’m pretty sure someone brilliant could figure out how to get people their tickets when they get to the event. For crying out loud, Burning Man is full of frickin’ geniuses.

    There’s got to be a better way. Until there is, I’m going to do other fun things with my time and money. Sour grapes, I know. Waah.

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  122. Uncle Stitches Says:

    I have been a participant at BM for 11 years now. Every year that goes by more and more of the people that made BM a special place are being pushed to the side. I know, this is an old timers lament and every thing needs new blood to come in. But then again this latest act of stupidity has really made me reconcider if BM is where I want to be. If the org is trying to come off as a totally ineffecient goup hell bent on making sure profits go to scalers they have succeded. Now we are going to handle tickets two or three times more? Did someone in the federal government or Halliburton set this system up? We used to be in a small but dedicated theme camp. Our camp got two tickets out of about 15. So much for looking forward to something I cherished.

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  123. Pods Says:

    I’ve been doing a large scale art car at BM for the past 2 years, and plan to continue doing it. Our group tried reached out to friends and family to purchase tickets for us as well in order to increase our odds. We’ve been redistributing the tickets in our group (we’re still in process of doing this) which consist of 2 year to 9 year burners. The left over tickets we will sell using the STEP program. Although I would prefer to sell them directly to infrastructure camps that need them.

    The ticketing system is not perfect, but it’s relying on the community to help out the community. I have faith that many burners have extra tickets and will redistribute them using STEP.

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  124. Goddess Mother Says:

    Solutions Long Term
    Lottery the Theme Camps, there have been far too many in the last couple of years. Not every camp will get picked every year and that’s Ok. I haven’t had to “find” a place to camp since 2006, It won’t kill me to not know everyone on the block every year.
    Guarantee a certain number of tickets for the camps/projects that win the lottery. This way we’ll have a city we can recognize. Don’t give them more than they need and make them only valid if used by Tuesday as someone else suggested. I’m so freaking tired of people telling me they are going for the first time and are getting in free because they know someone with a big theme camp and they’re going in on Friday or just for an afternoon to sightsee. GET THOSE FUCKING FREE TICKETS UNDER CONTROL.
    Do the Theme Camp/Art project lottery in December or January so they/we have time to plan
    The rest of the tickets can be first come first served and non transferable. Only resold through burning man with a small fee. Yes with a fee, I don’t care if Larry and Marion and anyone else who put this together is rich. You put something this amazing together and you can be rich too.
    Short term solutions for this year mostly already mentioned
    Require names for the tickets awarded through the lottery. True burners will give them considering the mess our community is in this year. If you read these comments you know WE ARE BEGGING YOU TO ASK FOR NAMES AND MAKE THIS YEARS TICKETS NON TRANSFERABLE!!! I got a ticket PLEASE ASK FOR MY NAME
    If names aren’t supplied in a short timeframe, credit their cards and keep the tickets for distribution to our community.
    Give established theme camps/art projects priority to a percentage of the available tickets.
    Beg BLM to up our population for this year by 10,000
    Now to everyone who longs for the old first come first served process, IT WOULD NOT HAVE WORKED THIS YEAR. the minute tickets for 2011 sold out scalpers had $$$$ in their eyes and were planning how to make money off of us. they would have bought up as many as they could get.
    Lastly I know everyone is frustrated and angry and in shock. Stop taking it out on BMORG. Really if money was the only thing they cared about we’d have T-shirt stands and vendors everywhere. Do you really think they don’t care about our community as much as we do? They tried, it failed. Hopefully they will fix it before the tickets go in the mail
    Hugs and Kisses from the Goddess Mother

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  125. Alex (Chimpsky) Says:

    I’m a seven-year Burner and three-year volunteer, currently on a two-year hiatus from the Burn while I go to graduate school. Even though I wasn’t planning to go this year, I’ve been seeing the anguish in our community and hearing it from all of my friends who have been making Burning Man happen for years. I’m glad to see this blog post from Maid Marian, but it somehow doesn’t feel like you’re taking enough responsibility. The community emphatically told you not to go through with this lottery system, and suggested plausible alternatives, but instead you went ahead with this and now we’re all seeing why it was a bad idea.

    I know that 100+ web comments full of unsolicited advice may feel totally futile. But since people have been drawing parallels to the Glastonbury Festival with the idea of non-transferable tickets (which I think is just self-evidently necessary and wise at this point), here’s another idea to borrow from them:

    The “fallow year”.

    Skip every year in seven [or more, or less]. Let the playa regenerate even more. Cancel Burning Man for 2012. Refund everyone’s tickets, and take the time to study as many different models of ticketing as possible, to choose one that will work better than this mess. Accept that as utopian as we all believe Burning Man should be, its popularity has caused it to reach physical limits and our community will now have to deal with scarcity. And this scarcity has real effects on our individual and collective behavior which we can compensate for, but which can not be completely avoided. Because of this, we’re all acting rashly, from the inner circle of the BMorg to the sparkliest of sparkle pony newbies.

    Skipping this year would be painful for many of us, but just as we somehow managed to live our lives before we ever heard of Burning Man, we can handle a year off. And I think this would allow us all to regroup, calm down, and really take the time we need to figure out as a community how we are going to adapt to this new reality. Instead of a festival at Black Rock this year, maybe we could all go back to our year-round communities and do an extra Regional? Or start one if one doesn’t already take place? Or start week-long community service projects? Or Occupy something? Maybe that’s what the mission statement (er, art theme) for this year’s Burn was really hinting at, even if nobody, not even the writers, could make that leap?

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  126. My 2¢ Says:

    I see a lot of people that didn’t even register, crying about how they don’t have tickets. Well no sh*t you don’t. Also out of my network of campmates and burner friends, I see about 20-30% openly saying they dont have tickets, and some of them didn’t register as well. I’m also part of a major sound camp. I truly feel terrible for my friends that got the “sorry to inform you” email, but I believe these people will still get their tickets somehow. Rememeber that all the actual burners that did get tickets, are VERY QUIET right now. I’ve even heard a few people say “the org purposely picked mostly virgins in the lottery”. Really??? Don’t give them that much big brother power, they’re not homeland security.
    This really has turned into a frustrating nightmare for most of us, but it’s time that we stick together as a community, and quit whining. If you complain and give up, guess what, it IS over for you. If you calmly pursue your needed ticket, you’ll most likely go to the burn this year.

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  127. Judy Strauss (gong diva) Says:

    As you work through possible short term solutions, please consider that the few people in a camp that got extra tickets want to sell them directly to those in the same camp who got none (and not risk entering the STEP program).

    For 2013, why not sell a certain quantity of tickets AT the 2012 event from a booth in Center Cafe? This would reward loyal burners. Another possibility is to sell tickets for 2013 at the event prior to Monday’s opening so that those artists and theme camps who come early to build the city will get tickets. Plus you would get extra cash early.

    good luck solving this horrible mess.

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  128. al Says:

    I suspect those in the business of consuming and reselling tickets for profit saw this BM lottery system as easy money. Naive of BM to think anything else would happen. Too bad.

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  129. Mandy curnow Says:

    Please spare a thought for international burners – we have had to book and pay for travel (for 3 of us) from Australia prior to knowing whether we had tickets – we’ve already paid $8000 to get to burningman. We didn’t get any tickets in the draw and dont know whether we will get any in the next rounds.

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  130. Eddie Says:

    Lotto, artificially create a sense of instability, urgency, and increased demand at the higher tiers. I smell a moneymaker! Is Mit Romney on the board?

    Question: is an IPO in the works? If so, I want in!


    I luv you guys, but you had this coming!

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  131. Refund all lottery sales Says:

    The lottery did not work.

    Refund the money, think a bit on how to put a better system in place (and get the community involved this time!) and try it again.

    The entire Burning Man community will praise you for doing the right thing.

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  132. Tumbleweed Says:

    I have never been to burning man because my wife works in education and cannot get off work for the week of the event. However an opportunity opened up for us for 2012 and we were lucky enough to get drawn for 2 tickets. What happened with the tickets from the drawing is horrible. Here is my take on this from a non-burner perspective. For 2012 the allowed number of participants needs to be increased to provide tickets for all who want to attend. That means attendance will exceed 50,000 bu that is the only reasonable fix. Those with extra tickets will have a window of time to to participate in redistribution before new tickets go on sale. That will fix the fiasco and let the event continue as it has in the past. For 2013 burners can register for tickets at the event (1 per person) transferrable only through a BMC redistibution process (no mark-up). That will eliminate scalpers. Everyone who attends can return if the so choose. If 2013 registration is below the 2013 population cap then extra tickets can be sold as they have in the past. If registration exceeds the cap, then no extra tickets will be available.

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  133. Hu Says:

    79 TICKETS ON EBAY (through STUBHUB): Ranging from $704.00 to $7333.33 EACH.

    25% (?) of historical BM community is ticketed.
    Lacking essential participants, they’ll be lucky to produce 10% of their prior output.
    Allocating tickets left to theme camps exploits them as “free entertainment”.

    Nominal Theme camps will be overtaxed.
    Disenchanted BM family will be alienated.
    Throngs of “well off” spectators and “lucky” newbies with no experience base, will tailgate together in the desert.
    “Radically Inclusive” will translate to “Boringly Mediocre”

    1) Cancel the lottery, and email all with the following instructions:
    2) Non-transferrable ticket sales, all tickets user identified.
    3) Ticket prices tiered by purchase date (March $250, April $275, May $300, June $350, July $400, August 1-26 $450, August 27 tickets at the gate $500, August 28, $550, August 29 $600, August 30 $700, August 31 $800, September 1 $900, September 2 $1000).
    4) Through May 31st, tickets refundable at BMOrg minus 20% re-sale fee.
    5) June 1st – June 30th, tickets refundable at BMOrg minus 40% re-sale fee.
    6) July 1st through July 31st, tickets refundable at BMOrg minus 50% re-sale fee.
    7) August 1st thereafter, tickets refundable at BMOrg minus 75% re-sale fee.

    All tickets go to intended users.
    Dedicated participants who spend months preparing get affordable tickets. Indecisive individuals will postpone ticket purchases, ensuring availability to others.
    Participants who change their plans pay a fair fee.
    Participants who decide to join later pay a fair surcharge.
    Tickets will be recycled as soon as plans change.
    Excess ticket fees will go to BMOrg instead of to scalpers and STUBHUB.

    Hu, the guy with the giant conch shell.
    10 Burns, in a row.
    Thousands Conched.

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  134. bam Says:

    I’ve never been to this event and always heard of good experiences, life changing ones in fact, and seeing what happened with this….there is community that wants to grow, but you have to keep it in check. Distribute ticket sale links to communitys involved with burning man first. Then open ticket sales. Gives the return burners a chance to get there ducks in a row before all the tickets are gone. I want to come some day but not if it blows up and is impossible/expensve as hell to go to. Don’t turn into bonnaroo for rich people….

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  135. Jon Fillmore Says:

    How to Save Burning Man:

    I’m an MBA grad from SCU and a Business Project Manager who builds and runs sales programs. I grew up finding ways to cheat corporate systems such as this. Now I build systems that can’t be cheated. This is my take on how burning man staff should save Burning Man (BM).

    1. Cancel sale of all random selection tickets and all presale tickets:
    -Refund everyone and start over. Do this as soon as possible
    -This is the only way to implement a policy that will work correctly, restore the image of BM, and stop scalpers
    -Admit your mistakes, apologize, and clearly explain to the people why this must happen.
    -25% of theme camps will not be able to go, Burning man will end as we know it, etc.
    -Realize that most people who care about Burning Man will be ok with this course of action

    2. Change the system:
    -All 53,000 tickets will be for sale on March 28th (open sale) or a new date selected by BM staff
    -4 ticket per person
    -All tickets are the same price ($345) This will reduce rush to purchase tickets and generate the same revenue
    -Full name must be entered for each ticket and will be printed on the ticket
    -Check box for children (under 16) when purchasing ticket and parents name will also appear on child’s ticket
    -Alternative (all tickets are Will Call; scan drivers license or credit card for quick entry)
    -Identification must be shown when entering BM (Drivers License, Identification Card, or Passport)
    -Full name must match each ticket exactly for entry

    3. Eliminate ability to transfer ticket ownership:
    -Tickets can no longer be resold to others (this will completely eliminate scalpers)
    -You can cancel your ticket purchase through Burning Man (STEP) however there will be a restocking fee (20%)
    -This will deter people from buying tickets until they are fairly sure they can go.
    -This could be a rolling percent 10% tell March, 20% tell May, 30% anytime after (optional)
    -This will encourage people to cancel tickets earlier if they don’t think they’ll make it

    4. Give discount to people who already bought or received tickets (optional):
    -All people awarded BM tickets will receive another email providing coupon code for ($40) off tickets.
    -This will reduce negative feelings from people who had tickets which were taken away.
    -Note: any discounts of this manor will have to increase overall ticket price.

    5. Sell through a ticket system that works:
    -This year: use Ticketmaster.com or something like it. (Realize there will be additional fees for ticket buyers)
    -Next year: Build your own ticket sale system that does not crash and cause panic.
    -By charging 345 (as listed above) an extra $75,000 is generated (Use this to build a good system)
    -If you need more, get it: every $1 increase in ticket price generates another $53,000

    6. Ask the community for feedback through surveys:
    -Post a complete policy (such as this one listed here) and ask for feedback through surveys, etc.
    -By including the community in your decision making process you can eliminate widespread negativity

    For additional details on how to implement this ticket sale process, from announcement to the public, to clearly detailing a full process, to integrating feedback, please contact me on Facebook (Jon Fillmore from San Jose, CA)
    -I’m more than willing to help. Let’s make burning man better for everyone. : )

    Thank you for taking the time to read my proposed changes to the BM ticket sale process. This has been posted on Facebook, Burningman.com, and sent to Burning Man’s main email account. Please repost this everywhere!

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  136. Jon Fillmore Says:

    Comment on my ideas and add your own on https://www.facebook.com/BurningMan search for How to save burning man or Jon Fillmore

    Lets start the discussion.

    -Jon Fillmore

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  137. Chris Says:

    Camp Yes Please
    52 Regular Core Members
    7 got tickets
    2 did it by cheating.
    They made Swiss Cheese out of Yes Please..
    Going to stay positive.
    The Playa Provides.. ;)

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  138. Saddened Says:

    I curious about whether the lottery system was something that had been discussed previously to the sell out last year. As a student of science we are tought to observe and hypothesis about phenomena, and I would have thought logic would prevail in the sense that after the sell out why not observe the trends of this year and see if it sold out again before implenting radical changes.

    I am struggling to come to terms with the possibility that I may not be able to attend this year while my friends go – and I have been planning this for close to a year, from Australia. My whole trip to the States centered around BM, it’s close to heart breaking for me.

    But what breaks my heart even more that after being swept up by the magic and the underlying messages of what BM is and is not, I see all these seasoned burners bickering and showing distaste towards “virgins” who got tickets, where is your sense of gifting? Why not gift your place this year to someone who would like to experience the magic. How dare you. And how dare you seasoned veterans think to dictate who is worthy of attending and who is not, there is no love and no sharing of experience there – YOU are what BM is NOT. And to those of you who took advantage of the lottery system, with extra tickets now announcing you are selling your tickets for double – shame.

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  139. Playa Monkey Says:

    How about starting with a “we realize we messed up, and we are truly sorry” and then start your update. Just like every large COMPANY, you are covering your ass and NOT taking on the blame!!! FAIL!

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  140. Exactly Says:

    Its really sad, not only the frustration and reality facing long time burners and high end participants, but the loss of some of the key benefits of this amazing world we create. Cross number one off the list – radical inclusivity – when such high numbers of burners are excluded. Really a shame, and maybe it really is the end of Burningman as an institution and event – not this year, but unless theres a shift, its easy to see it spiraling down to the end real quick. The really sad thing is that it may never resurrect itself again either – no guarantees.

    my two cents is to cancel the order and start over with non-transferrable. theres clearly no need to honor scalper’s purchases and for burners that did get one, let them have a priority with a named ticket.

    also, lest there be the fear of exposing your name/self to the establishment and electronic world, let a high value privacy policy be strictly maintained, including options to purge your name after the event. make it a peer reveiwed policy.

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  141. Goddess Mother Says:

    Oh I forgot one more thing NO DAMN KIDS. There’s no room and they must be the first to be left at home. We’ll see you when you grow up

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  142. nikolaus heger Says:

    @Jon Fillmore +1

    It’s probably a question for the lawyers whether or not existing sales can be cancelled or converted to non-transferable. BMORG needs to avoid getting sued by parties with ill intent – those that caused all the issues in the first place. My feeling is cancellation will invite lawsuits while non-transferable is pretty safe. It’s been done before, at other events. Learn, BMORG.

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  143. Djed Says:

    Why does demand exceed supply? BR Desert is HUGE. Burning Man leaves less of a “scar” than smaller events held out there every year. Wondering how quickly BMORG gave in to the BLM demands. I know for a fact from trained military counters that sky jumped in 1999 that there were more than 56,000 people. How does Reno’s Chamber of Commerce or whoever owns Brunos or owns those little markets on 447? What about the casino’s and Lake Tahoe? I bet they all enjoy the commerce that BMAN brings to the area. I think BMORG has more clout than they think. I want to know how far do “negotiations” with the powers that be go. Sold out at 50,000 people is restrictive and has caused this problem. Fight for the use of OUR public land and DON”T SELL OUT. That has several meanings.

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  144. Sirreal Says:

    I agree that we need to share ideas and quickly come up with a solution to this serious issue, but lets refrain from overly abusive/negative words and vibes towards BMorg (which is comprised of ‘burners’) who are certainly working at full speed to fix this problem.

    Offer criticism, but keep it constructive :)

    I also STRONGLY suggest we move to non-transferable tickets (which I wrongly assumed was going to happen instead of the lottery)

    Lets scalp the scalpers!!

    Report comment

  145. G Says:

    So, if last year was “ticketpocalypse”, what is this?

    Report comment

  146. Refund all lottery sales Says:

    STEP will be gamed by the same professional scalpers who flooded the lottery sale.

    STEP was planned under the assumption of a successful lottery sale, and limited demand for extra tickets. Ticket demand is higher at this moment than in the entire history of all other burns combined.

    STEP will see very limited use, as any burners with “spare” tickets have already allocated them to friends who did not win the lottery.

    STEP will fail.

    We are in uncharted waters. To get us back on course to a successful event, we’re going to need good planning from our leaders, good information as to what is happening and why, and we need it as soon as you can get it to us.

    Waiting two weeks will indeed make the clamor die down, because the sound of people giving up and making alternate summer plans is silence.

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  147. Indigo Says:


    Report comment

  148. Captain Oh, The Irony! Says:

    I think the word you were reaching for but never quite got to was, “sorry”.

    Y’all f’d up. Own it, if nothing else.

    It’s like you don’t actually live in the Default World, where regular folks know how things go down when, say, tickets for a big-ass rock show go on sale.

    Oh wait, that’s right…. y’don’t live in the Default.

    You’ve probably never been to sporting event and thus don’t understand how scalping impacts where you can and cannot sit (times however many cities you can think of that have a major-league team…..)

    From a distance it looks like you were relying on the already-existing secondary market (Craigslist etc.) to redistribute the tickets that you hoped would end up mostly in the hands of burners who just “over-ordered”. Because, perhaps, on paper, a secondary market actually favours the most-networked burners…. the burners who know other on-again/off-again burners…..

    So — and this is pretty indisputable — you had a choice between non-transferable and “secondary market” and chose “the invisible hand of the secondary market will re-balance” and got ass-f’d in the process.

    You assumed the secondary market would right what you couldn’t right yourselves.

    And….. you hopefully learned something about how markets operate.

    So, again……. “sorry”?

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  149. Trinity D Benson Says:

    I can’t even begin to tell you how totally turned off I am and how bitter and embarrassed I feel for the BM organization. I don’t think BM could have been any more unprofessional and unsophisticated with this ticket situation. For the amount of money I spent on getting to BM last year I can go to Paris this year, and I think I will. I’m SO OVER you, BM.

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  150. Jy5 Says:

    I’m bummed!
    In our regular camp of 12 only 2 got tickets in the lottery.

    At our local midwest burns in Kansas and Missouri we are required to provide ID and the tickets are non-transferable. At the gate your ticket number must match your name in the log. It’s not a hassle, the vibe is the same. I’d assume other smaller burner events have demonstrated similar ticketing system success.

    My BM camp, made of people from all over the US was discussing renting shared storage space out in Reno. The lottery makes investing in long term storage and structures unreasonable.

    Report comment

  151. Javier Espana Says:

    Pendejos! Without the sweat and energy of those who know, “home”, Burning Man goes bust! Can you please explain, “rejection” vs. odds in a lottery? Thank you:

    “Those registrants who received rejection letters should keep an eye on your email as information about STEP and any other options will be made to you first.” — Maid Marian

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  152. Mofessor Says:

    Having read the various (and long) threads on the problems with entrances and exits, it’s clear that what is needed is to move away from volunteers at the gate, and move instead to paid staff. With paid staff you can up the number of people checking cars/IDs, ensure everyone shows up (and not have 5-6 volunteers flake during busy times), and have an overall process that is more smooth.

    So, yes, this is another vote for putting IDs on this year’s tickets. Whatever problems it creates would be offset by allowing the greatest number of people a fair chance to participate.

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  153. blech Says:

    The solution is obviously requiring photo ID with your ticket. We cant make this impossible either. so lets be realistic:

    There is a bar code on all these tickets. There is a bar code on the receipt. Name is on the receipt.

    Present a photo ID **PER SALE**. So if you bought two tickets (like I always do), you’d have to present your ID, with your ticket and receipt and get a +1 for your guest.

    If the ticket holder cant personally attend, that order must then be redistributed through step. Bummer if the intended +1 can go and the buyer cant, but somethings gotta give.

    Someone introduce me to the lawyer that is going to suggest that this couldn’t work because of something binding in the original sale. It would seem implausible that you couldn’t just turn a new rule on.

    It will make for a better Black Rock City.

    Everyone on here is bitching and moaning about not getting a ticket. There needs to be way more attention from people, like myself, who will be bummed if I cant go this year, but regardless of my presence, I’m devastated at the thought of the festival changing SO much because of gross mismanagement.

    Please do something to make this right. This is FAR more delicate than just a bunch of angry people that cant get tickets to an event.

    Please do the right thing, it’s completely, in every way, on you to do the right thing.

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  154. Chloe Says:

    From JRS 11/19/11, in the list of FAQ’s about ticket sales:

    “Q: Why not just register each ticket with a name and require ID at the Gate to use the ticket?
    A: It has been our experience that a great many tickets are purchased for giving away, ensuring a project has coverage, or selling later to a friend in need. The administrative cost of changing the name on every ticket that ever changes hands exceeds our capacity. And frankly, many of your fellow BRC citizens are uncomfortable with the notion of showing ID just to enter the event (nor suffering through even longer wait times at the Gate). While we know some events use non-transferable tickets, we’re not convinced it works for our community. We’re counting on everyone playing fairly so we don’t have to go to an “ID-specific” process for ticket sales and event entry.”

    I guess their counting on everyone to “play fairly” didn’t go so well. Unfortunately I think the org has had too much faith in humanity.

    Perhaps this is what the Mayans meant when they saw that the world would end in 2012!

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  155. Jack Rance Says:

    I am NOT a burning man participant. I have NEVER been but one of my very best friends is and I’ve just spoken to him and shared his great disappointment and sadness at what’s happened to this event that’s meant so much to him. My friend attended the playa in the past with his grown son , it was a bonding experience that strengthened them both. His son died of cancer early last year and his dad lovingly placed his ashes in the Temple on the Playa last year.. My friend who spent most of last year in care of his dying son and grief also volunteered with his Tribe to help make Burning Man what it was. I say WAS because my friend and less than 20% of his tribe were lucky enough to win the lottery. This has not only caused him great concern but has made him experience his loss and the emotions of anger and frustration that so many others are expressing. To him and so many others The Playa was MAGICAL -a harmonious gathering of the best of humanity. By this uncaring poorly conceived lottery ,that magic has been trampled in the dust. Something very special has been lost. I for one will support my friend in helping to join with other like minder free souls to support a new event. Sorry guys but Fertility 2.0 has come up sterile before it even had a chance to breath the fresh air of the dawn.

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  156. irony Says:

    save the man, burn the burners!

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  157. Rob Says:


    1. drop the long anxious wait date of March 28th for the secondary sale, and put those tickets up for sale in a week or two.

    2. Once that is over, MAIL THE TICKETS SOONER! Don’t leave everyody wondering if they will be able to go untill June, or nobody is gonna have time to get their camp together properly, or make art etc etc.

    Let the community figure this out on our own, because this waiting around wondering is killing people’s spirit.

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  158. Noah Says:

    It’s all been said.

    Non-transferable is the only way to make this right.

    Start afresh.

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  159. Rob Says:

    ^…and if you do this PLEASE only anounce it in the JRS, so only burners know about the changes.

    Report comment

  160. Noah Says:

    … or this year it’ll be 50,000 millionaires in fancy hats.

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  161. Jon Fillmore Says:

    Join the discussion on How to Save Burning man: https://www.facebook.com/BurningMan/posts/10150430601467168

    Report comment

  162. Ronimo Says:

    I think that BMORG shoul distribute the re-sale of tickets through the regional BM Functions and let them distribute to Burners who love BurningMan

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  163. Papatua Says:

    I’ve heard many times that non-transferable ID-based ticketing is “impossible” for Gate to manage. Frankly, I disagree, nothing is “impossible”, airlines do it all the time and they have MILLIONS of customers every day. There will be logistical hurdles, perhaps even a whole re-design on the arrival process, but it NEEDS TO HAPPEN.

    This is the ONLY SOLUTION that cuts to the heart of the scalping and hording problem and retains fairness and community cohesion. There are alternatives that don’t require a government ID, but there must be an unbreakable link between ticket purchaser and ticket user.


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  164. Ranger Ryan Says:

    The ‘first come first served’ way tickets were sold in the past is clearly the better way to go. It weeds out people who don’t have their act together, or don’t care enough to be online when tickets first are available. That is what needs to happen in the future– but this year– it is simply too late to take back the tickets that already have been sold. It punishes people who played by the rules. When the lottery system was first announced I remember the long, heated threads on eplaya and facebook from people, like me, who fiercely thought a lottery system is a very bad idea. The org did not listen. They apparently thought they knew better. I am mystified as to why choose not to listen.

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  165. Dept. of Perceptions Says:

    Five year resident here, theme camp elder, check. Tix for two of ten. Pissed.

    But there is something we have learned at Burning Man that I have not seen applied here… (And it’s not a lecture of the basic concepts of the exponential function)

    What if we apply our Burner lessons and let this trainwreck happen?

    The scenario is obvious. Nothing but RV parking past the Esplanade. The temple is being unloaded from a train of semis, but there is no one to build it.

    The Opulent Temple is looking good, but there’s no sound system. The Flaming Lotus Girls have half a disassembled erector set. Somehow lots and lots of propane has arrived all over the playa, but the guys who know how to work the shit aren’t here. The majority of the populace is wondering why they came.

    Now, imagine you’re a veteran burner in this scenario. Most of you have found each other by now, and are having a gigantic bitch session. It’s so bizarre, you note, that what looks like the remains of Burning Man after a disaster was brought here on purpose.

    By sunrise, a plan begins to take shape. Some camps have discovered they can combine resources to pull off something worthwhile. A larger plan involves teams of burners banging on RV doors and delivering a lecture on what Burning Man represents. The spectators are then asked to participate, or asked to leave. (There’s no plan for enforcement, it’s simply meant to underscore the idea that if you don’t understand this, you don’t really belong here).

    The exponential function again rears it’s head, and before too long, ad-hoc teachers and preachers roam the streets encouraging everyone to take stock of the resources in their own neighborhoods and figure out a way to ‘radically’ cooperate to make this a true Burning Man experience. Perhaps this is Burning Man 2.0?

    That’s just starting at the ill conceived event. There’s some months ahead to plan for such a scenario. You want to rock the theme “Fertility?” Here is our chance.

    Corny as hell, but I can see a group forming “Burners with Tickets” — and “Burners without Tickets.” Both groups could work together to plan for a shortage of reliable and familiar support — and building support from that other group, “Virgins with Tickets.”

    I’m pissed, like I said. I want to go home. Half my camp is my immediate family, and this is our annual reunion. The thought of not being able to go is heartbreaking.

    Nonetheless, my Burner spirit says something great things come out of the worst circumstances — and some pretty horrible things come out of the best circumstances.

    Burning Man isn’t the event, goddamnit, we know that. I’ve heard more than one burner suggest that maybe everyone should be required to bring a virgin just to gain admittance.

    Anyway, I’m suggesting that instead of fixing the problem at hand, it might be interesting to explore the possible scenarios that could result from the current direction.

    Worse case scenario, Burning Man sucks this year and next year we’ll have it all back to ourselves.

    Best case scenario is that next year we have two vibrant cities that rival each other in every way. How would you like to know that there are 50,000 more people like us, willing to pull off what we do?

    It would suck to have to miss going home this year. But what if it represented the opportunity to birth an entire new generation of Burners? What if our spirit spread fivefold because of this fiasco?

    Either way, Black Rock City is not likely to be the spectacle of recent years. But it didn’t start out being that. It started out with a bunch of people bringing fun stuff to a beach party and have some intelligent conversation prior to getting blitzed and dangerous.

    With the proof-of-concept that is BRC and a full curriculum of lessons learned by most, Burning Man 2012 might just be a rapid incubator for our collective principles of inclusion, participation and radical self-reliance.

    Admittedly, it’s hard to imagine a trainwreck going well, but here at the Department of Perceptions it’s our job to remind people that it happens all the time.

    It occurs to me that I may be perceived as a toady for the BORG. I only wish, lol.

    I’m just an entrepreneur who has seen things go so tragically, laughably wrong — and then terrifically right in a new direction no one saw coming at all, that gives me some faith in a good old fashioned miscalculation. In business, it’s seldom the one who makes the mistake who benefits — but in this instance, a rapid spread of Burner spirit would benefit us all.

    Maybe Burning Man 2012 only looks broken.

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  166. Malaclypse the Elder Says:

    No, its broken.

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  167. lilly Says:

    To state the obvious, simply: 1) non-trasnsferablr tickets (though a bit sad b/c I have gifted late in season to someone who has helped me. 2) To assume this year would sell out when that has only happened once is well, an ASSumption. Recall…refund…do-over. BTW, I have a ticket, but I would rather see a working system.

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  168. obie Says:

    Is a sincere apology too much to ask for?

    Count another vote for non-transferable tickets with names printed on them.

    Report comment

  169. Dave Says:

    Why are they not telling us how many people put in for tickets. This whole thing has a stench about it!

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  170. Demen1st Says:

    Department of perception nailed it… This, in my eyes could verry well be an evolutionary milestone for this social experiment called Burning man. Force “participants” to actually “participate” and keep this vibe alive.

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  171. Alex Johnson Says:

    90 in our Tribe, 18 so far have tickets. Hope is fading and all our plans for our theme camp are expiring. Many have stated they are going to go regional instead as opposed to paying scalpers $500 or more for a ticket. I take my daughter with me every year as it’s one of our most memorable experiences. My art car I’ve dumped over $2,000 into now sits out in the yard of my shop covered in a blue tarp and most likely will be saving it for next year when this returns to normal.
    I’m also in concurrence with other previous posts in that the word “sorry” or “we apologize” has never been stated. We are Burners as you are and I personally feel an apology is in order if not just for the ticket debacle, but for dashing the hopes, dreams and visions of so many who make your event what it is. “the demand clearly exceeds supply” is not reality either, more like “greed exceeds supply” since doing the math, reading blogs, and talking to other burners brings to light WE don’t have the tickets. This can only mean one thing: The scalpers have them. Here’s a plan: Nobody pick up a ticket until the week before the Burn and they will be offing them at half price, especially if there are tens of thousands of tickets by 2nd party vendors.
    We are in our camp now looking at putting our art and focus on ’13 and making plans to go someplace else like Hawaii and forget about all this. Good luck in whatever plans you have to come to a meaningful solution to this. And whatever you do, you better do it fast, Burners are dropping like flies as is there passion for coming this year.

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  172. Demen1 Says:

    Department of perception nailed it… This, in my eyes could verry well be an evolutionary milestone for this social experiment called Burning man. Force “participants” to actually “participate” and keep this vibe alive.

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  173. Wraith Says:

    Dept. of Perceptions, if you’ll buy that, I’ve got some beachfront property in Arizona to sell you.

    Report comment

  174. leo Says:

    To paraphrase Yogi Berra:
    No one goes to Burning Man anymore, it’s too crowded.

    Report comment

  175. maxweinberger Says:

    brc is on google maps for christ sake.youd think they could use a lil flex on blm

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  176. Terri Says:

    Burning Man is nothing more than a “for profit” corporation now. A business whose only concern is making money. You sold your 40,000 tickets, made millions so why the concern now? You think any of us are buying that? Really, maybe because it’s dawning on you now what a colossal mistake you made? Right, as you are laughing all the way to the bank. You’ve completely destroyed the spirit of BM in one act – the lottery. What makes you think anyone is going to want to redistribute tickets through the STEP program when they are so hard to come by? And how much money will you make through your “restocking fee”? You are waiting to see what happens after the dust settles? Is there some miracle waiting in the wings…your permit will suddenly allow thousands more on the playa than originally thought and you can sell even more tickets? BM will never be the same! Congratulations, you’ve managed to make a lot of people rich and happy – the scalpers. Nice job.

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  177. sundust Says:

    I would have never started going to Burning Man and felt part of the community as much as I do now if it didn’t honor the idea of “radical inclusion.” That said, it is difficult to host an event that can honor this tenet if the demand exceeds the number of tickets available.

    I believe that the lottery system attracted scalpers, but also people trying to pad their chances of winning a ticket — we now know the consequences.

    I like part of Endeavor’s idea of requiring tickets be registered in the names of the people attending by the end of February, making the chances better for tickets not to be scalped and for ones that were intended for scalping to make their way back into the community…quickly. Ticket names could be matched to IDs…or as another burner has recommended, to the physical receipts. If a “do-over” is not realistic due to legal and financial reasons that could completely crumble the organization, something else needs to happen to keep this community intact, while still allowing for it to grow.

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  178. Danno Says:

    I am inclined to share the sentiment of the department of perceptions. I can’t help it, I’m an idealist.

    If we weren’t competing for a limited number of tickets, then I wouldn’t have to hear people whine about how veterans deserve tickets more than virgins and abide the judgement of those who arrive in RVs. No camp should be broken up, but no one deserves a ticket more than anyone else, and no one needs o be judged for how they approach their participation. The competition is really ugly in some of these comments.

    So really we’ve just outgrown the blm permit or maybe the black rock desert (and make no mistake, this is not a defense of the llc) We have to remove scarcity as an influence and find abundance again. Without scarcity, the purchase of a ticket would be more about a donation to a collective experience again and less about staking a claim to consuming an experience.

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  179. La No No A Go Go Says:

    I agree with Kran.
    I believe that an application with minimum ticket allotment for past contributers is a great idea!!!
    I also agree with the idea to make tickets non-transferable.

    Altho I was lucky to recieve a ticket I have mixed feelings about going now. I can only hope that the same spirit and inventiveness that has brought Burning Man this far will continue through this process.
    I would love to see my friends and campmates on the Playa and have that feeling of “Home”. Let’s not let our city be bogged down by this “dust storm” if we can find a way to see it through! Stay possitive!

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  180. Alter Boy Says:

    After 15 years of extreme passionate attendance to BM, I now have to get lucky to attend…I wasn’t lucky!

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  181. Jon Fillmore Says:

    How should we fix burning man? This is how: https://www.facebook.com/BurningMan/posts/10150430601467168

    Let me know what you think.

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  182. Mazer Says:

    Scalpers stand to makes hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions off tickets if they can get there hands on enough.. With not any large Camps getting more than 30% of needed tickets… Is it possible that the system was compromised??????
    I understand that Supply is less than demand but it is not even close to possible or comprehensible that Demand is 70% more than Supply.. Maybe if it was Provable that the system was compromised this could be redone and save Burning Man 2012…


    Ive been thinking about this for days and the numbers don’t ADD UP.. not blaming BMORG.. Maybe their system was honestly hacked…..

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  183. G Says:

    True Mazer
    I figured 9/10 would get theirs, and we would be hearing the despairing 1/10.
    It is stunning that it seems closer to 2 or 3/10 requests were rewarded.

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  184. OCCUPLAYA on the 4th of Juplaya Says:

    None of our camp mates got tickets. After 8 years of volunteering we have all been shut out. Our mutant art car won’t be there after all the work we have put into it.

    We are heartbroken. All our work and love and efforts squashed.

    We won’t even bother trying for tickets. We’ve decided to attend OCCUPLAYA Fourth of Juplaya.

    That’s really the only way to fix this – show the BMORG what they did to the community. And, guess what, all of us old time burners can go and make the city ourselves this year.

    Sorry Marian, you fucked up a LOT of people and dreams. Are you smoking crack?

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  185. Josh Says:

    Thanks for trying out a new way of ticketing. I’m happy to see how this works out and excited about the burn this year.

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  186. RamonaMayhem Says:

    I think what’s happening here is mightily interesting. BRC is an amorphous, living entity and I think it just shed its skin to emerge anew. I like it.

    Nuts and Bolts: +/- 5,000 tickets ended up not being used last year. If an art car/theme camp/project is so important consider lessening the carbon footprint and go regional. Just say No to non-transferable–tickets are expensive and it’s nearly impossible to fully commit 8 months in advance (default world reasons often apply). Kudos to Theme Camps that are so organized they’re ready to get on playa right NOW, but as camp registrar for the last 4 out of 5 years of a semi-large camp it’s been my experience the heat doesn’t turn up til May or even sometimes June.

    Quit whining people. It’s not the end of the world! (That’s not happening til December, right?)

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  187. yokel Says:

    sorry, but this system is just not working. non of my friends got a ticket – thats just not cool…

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  188. JollyChip Says:

    All the more reason I must create my bigfoot-sized Musical Jolly Chimp to bring to the playa. Let them laugh at the monkey-mess this has all become.

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  189. jefe Says:

    You guys are doing your best and its not your fault more people want to attend than there are occupancy.

    I completely agree, limit ticket sales one per person and non-transferrable, must be refunded through BMorg.

    Open the sale for the Art makers, contributors, musicians, seasoned burners, and those who actively improve the playa.

    I had a first year like everyone, but lots of NEWBIES these days don’t get it and ruin the burningman experience. Please limit the last sales to seasoned burners and contributors.

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  190. Rak Says:

    Hi Burning man representative,
    I just received an email notification with
    the sad news I was not selected in the first round of ticket sales. This despite I picked a mid range price. I also filled out your survey, stating I am a veteran burner, and artist and I was not worried about this new ticket distribution process. Clearly I should have been. And now I am.
    If I had known it would be 2 – 3 months before I’d have another opportunity to purchase tickets, I would’ve put requested a higher price or something on this first go around. Now I am stressed. And sorry I had confidence that reasonable people would balance the demand for tickets with a reasonable amount of information about what the timeline, process,consequences, etc. that would happen with this new system. I am trying to put forth a worthwhile sum of money in JANUARY. There are plans that start soon. But what if I don’t get a ticket…
    Thanks (not) for the stress. Of course I will TRY in Feb and March. But how about being more transparent about what happens if I don’t drop my dollars on the highest ticket price in some reasonable amount of time, not 2 – 3 months. This sucks…………….. ~Rak

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  191. Alex Says:


    The lottery system allowed scalpers to leisurely obtain large numbers of tickets, without having to worry with the stress of getting them within a strict timeframe. Anybody could easily enter into the lottery, including people who had no plans of ever going to the Burn and only bought tickets because, lets be honest, its a good economic investment.

    The demand is so high that anybody with extra tickets probably knows people personally who are in need, and will distribute them that way. Scalpers can now buy what remaining tickets there are at cost via STEP, and continue to sell them for exorbitant prices on ebay.

    As much as you can urge people not to buy from scalpers, when it comes down to it people are going to do what they got to do in order to attend. And if that means buying from a scalper, then thats whats going to happen.

    BMORG, please, just admit you utterly failed in this ticketing system and do what you can to fix it. Its not too late. Require IDs to be tagged to each ticket and make them transferable ONLY through STEP. Make it so that everyone who currently has a ticket must confirm their identity within the next week otherwise they forfeit their ticket(s).

    Or do something. If you all cant figure this out than hire professionals. Or better yet, Im sure there are a few business/econ graduate students in the SF area who would love to take this on as a research project.

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  192. Vanessa Says:

    There needs to be some kindof one person per ticket sort of deal. This isn’t working bm! You guys have almost encouraged scalping more than last year if that’s possible. And for what? because some people couldn’t buy their ticket more than a month in advance last year? In my camp of 30+ people, one person has been “awarded” a ticket.

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  193. simoneski Says:

    Your letter sounds like pure corporate spin. BMORG’s “To big to fail” attitude is not congruent with the spirit of the event. And why is it so hard to own up to failing and apologizing to the community?
    I only know 4 couples who got tickets, and from reading the posts, it looks like this is the norm. It does not take a degree in statistics to realize that the odds of getting a ticket were much lower than they should have been. Just where are all of the tickets? Somehow I do not think they are in the hands of burners who will resell them at face value.
    You blew it.

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  194. Everything changes eventually... Says:

    Funny, my husband said almost the same thing as Dept. of Perceptions……New and beautiful things have been known to come from disasters, like it or not. I don’t know what to think, I’m taking in all the suggestions, emotions and angles. We got tix, but only 4 (including us) of 20 of our camp mates did. We are on our 3rd yr, the other on I believe their 9th. I was skeptical about going w/out my friends/family, but my husband pointed out, although it may be very different, it could also turn out to be an amazing new experience. I’m choosing to roll w/the tide & be grateful for what I was given, no matter what BMORG decides to do, although, it does pain me tremendously to see friends/family distraught. I have a feeling this will all work out in the end the way it should. If I had not ‘won,’ yes I would be mad-at first, but I would also choose to make the best of that situation as well. You choose what to make of your situation, good or bad. Maybe you will have an unexpected and amazing new experience yourself BECAUSE of this fiasco.

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  195. Vanessa Says:

    refund all tickets. start over. apologize. non-transferable tickets.

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  196. zoe brock Says:

    I have a ticket. But meh. In future I’d prefer that I didnt get one simply because I wasn’t fast enough and because demand was high, than because I randomly didn’t get chosen. I want control of my own destiny. Give it back! This lottery is ugly. No amount of smiling and trusting is going to make it feel like a good thing. Yes I think most of us might make it, but the whole vibe is changed. If you want us to radically look after ourselves then let us fight it out on the ticketing website and look after ourselves like we always did. I’d rather take my chances against humans than rage against the machine. It’s late. I’m tipsy. A dozen friends bitched all night about no tickets. I’m so over this shit.

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  197. FoxyD Says:

    Of the 5 of us who applied for tickets, 2 were successful. I was full of hope when the system was announced and really surprised at the number of disappointed registrants. I am less hopeful that the step program will benefit us and of course now wish we bought the tickets in the presale, but wouldnt that have shown distrust in the system you planned? Instead I had faith. I have always said a cynic is a disappointed optimist.

    All that being said, I feel earmarking the remaining tickets for theme camps is just another way to divide our community. I have been a burning man community member since 1997. We started as a family camp with our 3 and 4 yr old sons and though for the first few years entered alone we have always immediately felt part of a larger camp by the natural assimilation with our burner neighbors, a Spontaneous generation unique to burning man.

    All ticket solutions should have all of the burning Man festivals participants in mind. We are all part of the greater community.

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  198. I Sorek Says:

    For the sake of our BM Family!!! As you said on your comment you are considering how to proceed and what next steps to take… Open discussion, etc… Please listen now and do not repeat the mistake again… Make the STEP and the remaining 10,000 tickets sale on name basis only. That will ensure scalpers do not participate and at least make it FAIR for those who been planning year round. For those who come to live and for those who come to create… Please consider this seriously!!!

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  199. Kodish Says:

    Growing community ????

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  200. erin b Says:

    BM should be able to hold 100,000 people easy. Get the permits. Theres got to be a way.

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  201. Dani Says:

    ID’s to tickets. Only transferable through STEP. Ship hard tickets at the beginning of August. Any tickets sold after that through STEP (or otherwise), become will call with ID. There would have to be a ticket phone line, but isn’t there already some process set up for people that want to sell a will call in past years? This means someone would also have to man the ticket line until the Friday before the burn, but that would just have to happen. It would have to be a hard cutoff date/time for the transfer of tickets, but this is what we have come to.

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  202. Wild Bill Says:

    Hundreds if not thousands of us “loosers”In the lotto system are going to 4th Of Juplaya
    In the ten great years of being at Burning Man I think I, and many of us can survive with the love of ourselves and others around us. Burning Man has been a great life changing expeirance and expeiment for the World to see. And maybe it still is.( and will be) )”( I think either two weeks long would be a help, or “We” need to move to where as many people as want to attend, can. If the town of Sturgis South Dakota can accomadate 100,000 + people for a week, then we can do the same. The BLM charges the tax payers of public land over $600,000 for this event “To watch over us” Pershing County also wants $600,000 this year. I don’t think the BMorg has agreed to it yet(?) I seems to me [greed] is coming into play of what started out on a small beach in SF that was free for anyone and everyone! We seem to be making a full circle as we do in the “Default World” If 3,125 people go “camping” for a week in July and paid @ $320 per person ( just for a ticket) It would amount to $1,000,000, yes, one million dollars! Yes, I think thousands of us can have a new found fun without a costly ticket to buy. We have learned, enjoyed, smiled, had great fun at Burning Man. I give a heart felt thank you to all the DPW for all the love and hard work, and to all the vollinteers, and artists. You know who you are! Thank you for all you have given to us to share! May we, and God, bless you!
    Remember the rules, “Ask, Leave no trace, and Harm no other” ( “Safety is third” is just for fun!) Is there a new Mayan Calendar? Or is that “Our Worldly” new task?
    “Hello!? Is anyone out there?”( I think I here an echo?!?)”(
    I hope we will always Love Burning Man and not treat it like a Marriage gone bad. That would suck! I don’t have to go to Burning Man this year,( this would be 11 years in a row) I would love to be there as I always have, I will miss it, and all the people, the fun, the art, and the art cars, theTemple and the “Man”.(….And lack of sleep! etc.) It won’t be the same, but then again, it never is, as we are all apart of the moving art of Burning Man. At 4th of Juplaya I want to see people, art, art cars, lots of fun with old friends and meeting new friends. And soak in the Hot Springs!
    And also bring Virgins to the playa with out spending hundreds of dollars on a ticket to see if they can enjoy the extreme, yet beauitiful Black Rock Desert, that so many of us call “Home” Think of the many people that didn’t get to go to BM last year. This year so many more of us will feel the similar feeling they had from not getting a ticket to go. Some people we know and love won’t even be alive by August 26th 2012. Live, Love, and Laugh, each day! We see and feel how important Burning Man is to us, don’t we? We don’t want to miss it do we? For so many it is so expensive! A lifetime seems to go around in a single week. It seem like there is nothing like it in the World…Maybe there isin’t. I think we should try letting as many people be there as want to be there, and see just how many tickets would sell, and $200 to $300 per ticket is a fair price. I like the art, but lots of ticket money goes to a few big, great and expensive pieces if art. and yet smaller artist don’t even get a “free” ticket to the event. I have seen artists who have spent over $10,000 dollars to bring in their art, set it up, take it down in a week and not even get a ticket, seems a bit unfair to me. But I’m there to Live, Laugh, Care, and Love as much as I can.
    Dusty Hugs and a cold drink awaite you at the FBS and the LBS!
    Keep the Love alive!

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  203. james rogers Says:

    you have to be kidding me!!! tickets selling on stubhub for anywhere from 690-1300 each!!!! somebody screwed the pooch BIG TIME this year……so much for keeping the community together

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  204. Betty Says:

    Please, for the love of Burning Man, DO NOT just “let the dust settle” then proceed with the STEP program as previously planned. In a perfect world, the STEP program *could* have worked; but let’s not kid ourselves here… given the current situation, it’s more likely to fuck things up even more. Scalpers WILL take advantage of STEP; this ugly hole WILL deepen if plans are not changed (and changed soon).

    As so many have already suggested on here, please require that names be tied to tickets already awarded. Set a strict deadline for this. Anyone who cannot provide names to be linked to each ticket by the deadline will have their ticket(s) cancelled, and their money refunded. Make tickets non-transferable (with the option to sell back to BM Org if the individual cannot attend). Utilize STEP to re-distribute tickets that are inevitably re-collected from BM Org by scalpers.

    This is a surefire way to cut out scalpers and get tickets back to Burners. And given the option to choose between a method that WILL work (making tickets non-transferable) vs. a tactic that *could* work (STEP, in its current / unchanged state), which will you choose? Please do the right thing.

    FYI… as you “let the dust settle”, countless Burners are dropping out. Whether a result of not “winning” the lottery, being separated from camp mates and family members, or the sheer stupidity of the situation… people are getting fed up and washing their hands of BM 2012… fast. Can you blame them? The current situation foreshadows an unrecognizable event. Just saying… the “dust settling” is not necessarily a good silence. So many logical, intelligent people have been / are giving you feedback and suggestions. Please listen and act accordingly.

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  205. Sparkle Pony Says:

    When BMorg started this new system they sold it as being fair. Lottery systems are not fair they are just about luck. If it was under the old system people would still be upset but not to the extend they are now. When you have more people than you have tickets the only way you are going to keep the scalpers at bay the best you can is to put the buyers name on the ticket. This is not rocket science stuff. I see no way out of this mess no matter how much BMorg says to give it time it is going to work out. Just think of all the great conversations this about the “great ticket snafu” of 2012. If it has gotten so large that it can’t be fix maybe it is time to move on. As they say all good things come to an end.

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  206. Just cancel the whole damn lottery Says:

    What do Komen, Netflix, Rick Perry and Burning Man all have in common?

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  207. Cheese Simon Says:

    Thanks Marion for giving us all at least some information. I’m happy to be patient. Going to repost my comment from the other ticket comment page before as I think we need some more positive input here, although it looks like folks are starting to think more about solutions now which is great.

    I’m a UK burner who came in 2009 & 2010. I got my 2012 tickets in the pre-sale as we’re getting married there this year and didn’t want to take ANY chances we didn’t have to. Fortunately our key friends from the UK also got tickets in the draw this week.

    Initially I thought this random system was a good idea (and maybe some of it will turn out to be in the long run, who knows) but there is clearly a LOT of bad feeling about it from the people who make the city what it is. I’m literally welling up just reading some of the comments on here and what some long-term Burners must be feeling. So here are my thoughts:

    1. To all those who currently don’t have tickets and want them. What comes across clearer than anything is that people are EVEN MORE passionate about BM than I thought possible (and having been before a couple of times I know how much passion exists there). And despite all the negativity and frustration, in a “silver lining” way that makes me feel a bit better about all this. The last thing I want to hear is community apathy.

    2. It’s still early days for 2012. In the first post sell-out year there was bound to be significant changes. I’m hoping that a lot of the sentiments expressed above are just the initial reactions of some understandably upset people. And that after the dust settles in the coming weeks that people start turning it around, find solutions to the ticket problem and that we don’t start seeing tickets changing hands at vastly inflated prices. I love the fact that BRC changes year-on-year but I’m struggling to see how it would work as well without so many veteran camps and people there. I do hope all those wondering “How do we solve this when only X% of our planned camp currently have tickets” find a way to solve it one way or another and find the determination not to let stuff get in the way. I’m rooting for you all! Doing the impossible is what we all do best, right?

    3. This whole situation and these comments are just making me MORE determined to step up MY game and build something truly challenging for myself & our team and to conenct with people on the playa. I already had big plans for a giant maze but as of right now I’m going to up the ante. I’m now NOT going to apply for any funding or grant AND I’m going to increase my budget. I will make it more awesome. I will ADD additional personal art projects. I WILL NOT LET ALL THOSE VIRGIN BURNERS HAVE ANYTHING LESS THAN THE AWESOME EXPERIENCE I HAD ON MY FIRST BURN, NOT IF I HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT! I WILL MAKE DREAMS HAPPEN THIS YEAR, DAMMIT AND NEVER STOP THERE!

    4. I do genuinely feel a bit sorry for the BM organisers as they appear to be in a situation that is now very difficult to resolve for this year. What we all do to make it happen is hugely important but they have a job for which there is very little precedent and nobody’s perfect. BUT from what I’ve seen and read if there’s one thing I understand is that they are great at adapting, learning and overcoming just about any bloody obstacle in their way. So I’m going to reserve judgement until we see what their response is over the coming months. I do hope there is some honest, transparent answers in the JRS and from the board as I do think that’s key to getting people on side again. But I’d rather have some good quality, well thought out answers than a rushed statement.

    Love to you all & let’s get constructive in every sense!

    Cheese Simon, UK

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  208. Dept. of Perceptions Says:

    We here at the Dept of Perceptions didn’t mean to infer that the “Let It Be” approach was anything more than another way to look at things. We invite you to share your “alternative endings.” Right now it’s hard to see anything other than “We’re gonna be all salty for a while over this.”

    Do you want to go to the extreme? What if this is the end of Burning Man altogether? Perhaps it is too big to succeed, and last year’s beautiful weather is the last memory we’ll ever have of BRC.

    Then we’ll have to suffer the misfortune of being among the few who were alive to experience it, many of us multiple times.

    Perhaps the idyllic scenario I outlined above ends with a small but dedicated group of hard core burners who realize the tourists do not get the message. As the numbers dwindle to just a few thousand by the weekend, the remaining burners realize this is the end, and spend the last days moving the temple to envelop the Man and burning both on Saturday so everyone can return to the default world early to grieve.

    The point is that anything can happen. Even if this is the death of Burning Man as we know it, do you think we’ll all just settle for that? I’m sure a good 40,000 of us will fight tooth and nail to make sure we can find our way home, somehow. Somewhere.

    Burning Man is far from over. It’s just starting to get interesting.

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  209. Salt Says:

    Totally agree with Jon Fillmore’s comment.

    Should we create a petition/poll to make the community decide on the cancellation?

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  210. shameless o Says:

    Well well…finally your little club has consumed itself. Can’t figure out who deserves to be a PARTICIPANT!!??.. who made your little scramble to existentially destroy the link between you and the rest of humanity? Is that the theme of your”camp”? Not like humanity is a camp I would join with at yosemite or mono lake/ bodie…anywhat, whomever would commit to the new paradigm deserves it. This includes dpyou, DPW. I just feel sorry for my friends who has (g)ifted their lives(styles) to this movement…?( and all the folks who had their lives changed…because they were partying with their friends. Fuck you Budweiser man, long live Paul’s add-on..

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  211. Edward Frake Says:

    As a virgin Burner ,I’ve been reading the comments all week. I totally agree with most everything said here so I’ll try to just hit the high points.
    1. With the 10,000 tics left you must get these to at LEAST the 100 largest theme camps, and get them the tics they need ,at the discounted price of $275.00 each as a way to make this lottery right.
    2. Get your list of people from other countries ,who have already spent money on planes etc. ,sell for $325.00 each as another act of contrition.
    3. Any tics left go first come first served for $350.00.
    4.You still have 4,000 tics left for low income.
    5. Go to your “sorry no ticket list” and see just how many are left,fill as many orders as possible from the people who need 1or2 tics, from whatever is left of the 10,000.
    6. It would be hard to go to the “name on tic. ” this year. Also how does one gift tics ? I’ve seen several posts of people who buy for Thier kids,or visa versa. My son and his wife bought for me and my wife this year.( we are and have been too broke the last five years or so. I was dying last year watching the ticket sale go into June before the sell out.) we only asked for 2 tics. In the lottery ,with only one credit card. I see now we were incredibly lucky to get them .But if you buy for your loved one then put their name on tic, it won’t match credit card. I’ve got to believe that’s been the way of it for years.I mean gifting is what it’s all about ,right?
    We are ready to help in any way we are needed ,at whatever camp we humbly ask to hook up with. We’ve been waiting to come Home for a long time.We know all our people or their children are there. We have lost several of our extended loved ones the last 4or5 years,so we have names to write on the Temple walls.We will bring their love as well as ours. Please think about these points . Please! I know I’ve asked you to lose some money but do you really lose ? Huggs and all our love to the people. I hope we see you on the Playa!

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  212. Jim Firewalker Says:

    Unlike many I am a relative newbe (only 3 years this would have been my 4th). For the last 3 years I have participated as a solo burner doing spiritual work, holding space for all, and participating in the opportunity to live open heartedly in community.

    It would appear from the responses that this years event will certainly be different given the major disruptions imposed through the change in ticketing.

    A total lotto with no free tickets (even for organizers), no pre sales, all tickets at the same price, non refundable tickets, and non transferable tickets where all were required to enter the lotto would have more equitable for all.

    No solution to the theme camp situation addressed by Maid Marian can occur without violating the tenet behind the lotto, namely a fair chance for all to participate.

    This situation was created behind closed doors with forethought and intent. It is a microcosym of the same issues which face society as a whole. A choice between the soiety we have to coexist with where only those in the inner circle are provided for, or the inclusion of all willing to walk open heartedly.

    It will be interesting to see if the organization is capable of pulling the foundation (community) of this event out of the fire or whether it just morphs (turns to ash like the man) into an event for rich party goers who purchase tickets at any price for participating in the party without heart.


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  213. Edward Frake Says:

    By the way Cheese Simon ,what you said was beautiful!!! Love you and will find you guys !

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  214. Andrew Says:

    This has been brought up repeatedly, but I am going to add my support: announce all lottery tickets are going to be non transferable. each winner has XX days to reply to another notification email with the names to attach to their tickets. non responders get refunds and can join the queue in March. people with extras and no names, refunds. all extra tickets either go to step, or the sale in March. No tickets are transferable. refund only back to bmorg for step or general sale in march. this is still fixable.

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  215. shameless o Says:

    Gift all your tickets to camp carp, the only good thing that BMW ever made come at burningmaan(camp carp) ( blak sabbat pennekoken) long live la contessa, luau contessa rove,
    (Mini remote control galleon); 2cb…CAMP KARP NEEDS yr GENEROUSITY, please people, when did you ever have fun without em?? How. Can. There. Be. Communion. Without. Community???
    (Camp carp 2012). This message is not affiliated with camp carp llc. Copyrights pending

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  216. shameless o Says:

    Hope the drugs aar gut beecuz the art willsuckken…

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  217. Eric Says:

    It looks like BMORG stepped on their dicks with this one. But, it was to be epected at some point. This was a “fringe” culture event that has become very very mainstream. Many of the folks that go now probably don’t care about the art aspect of this festival. They are coming for the drugs, seks and to brag to their friends “Yeah, I was at BM”. Time to start a new festival somewhere else. But then, it’ll be mainstream in a few years and you’ll be back to this again. Sorry folks, it was fun while it lasted, but it ain’t what it used to be!!!

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  218. shameless o Says:

    I only ever paid 40 dollars to go to my first burn…2001. As a member of extra action marching band. O kinda knew what burning man was, mostly from the wierd ass world I committed to….
    The next four years I “PARTICAPATED” in, I never paid a cent for admission, coffee, drugs, or over the top recognition…. Unless there was some “problem” with the way “We” were “interfering” with “somebody’s” “Burn”…have fun you crazy kids, ” BUT DON’T interfere WITH SOMEBODY’ ELSE’S BURN..” Let me now ask you..HOW THE FUCK DO YOU BLOW SOMEBODY’S MIND WITHOUT INTERFERING WITH THEIR PRIME OPERATIVE…AND WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU SPEND A WEEK+ IN THE DESERT, ON DRUGS OR NOT, BLOWING MINDS…IF YOU’RE NOT CHARLES MANSON? (MIND YOU , HES IN JAIL, HE WONT U7BE AT THE BURN.Y

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  219. Sharon Mandelbaum Says:

    Whomever is reading these comments should consider the overwhelming positive attitude that most of them possess, and be seriously sorry and humbled by the number of long time participants who are not in attendance due to this terrible, distructive fuck up.

    I more thought towards the bigger picture would have helped. The lottery, by definition, means winners and loosers. Why did you think it wouldn’t?

    Big picture for me: I need to be booking my flight *yesterday, because of my default commitments, on a red-eye back from Reno before the temple burn. Did the BMORG even consider things like flights and rentals, which can’t wait until end of March?

    People commit themselves all year to getting to playa and building this city. With this lottery system, you made NO COMMITMENT to us, the people to travel far and wide to make a commitment to you.

    Time to own up to your mistakes, fully. This letter does not. It does not address the fact that Burners themselves DO NOT HAVE EXTRA TICKETS TO SELL. I do not know one person who has an extra to sell, and I live with a very large burner community.

    The cries from all over the world keep saying the same thing, and you seem to think the fix is the STEP. It is not. Why? Because those of us who need a ticket in hand now in order to make the rest of the logistics work to get there, don’t have them.

    I think the only way to do this is to do it over. All tickets now sold are void. Get some servers up and running and have us line up in the digital cue. Last year, this time, just a couple of days after main sale, it was not a problem. Make tickets come with a name.

    Make it right. Do it now.

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  220. Double Jeopardy Says:

    To those of you who think this ticketing debacle will kill the event, consider this – nothing that generates this amount of cash will be allowed to die.

    Welcome to Pepsi Cola’s “Burning Man”

    Who’s to say they haven’t already identified this opportunity and gotten in on the ground floor of what has demonstrated itself to be a cash cow. There are simply too many tickets unaccounted for.

    If Disney can simulate all the countries of the world in a domed Epcot, who’s to say corporate sponsors can’t simulate “theme camps”. Imagine these “theme camps” run by costumed shills, hired to create the shadow of the experience, just like Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. Imagine a playa covered with the best art corporate dollars can buy. Ad agencies reshaping the experience, guaranteeing the next generation of “burners”, ON SAFARI FROM MIDDLE AMERICA, have the time of their lives.

    “It’s hot on the playa. Grab a refreshing Bud Light on your way over to the ‘Fun in the Desert Sun’ installation. We built it with you in mind.”

    There will be plenty to see and do at Panasonic’s “Burning Man”. The only thing you won’t see is the heart and soul and tradition that made the event what it was in the first place. But that won’t matter to the new wave of consumers. This product will be shaped for their consumption, to keep THEM coming back. The fringers who started the community don’t have the kind of cash it takes to feed the beast this has become.

    I would have been a virgin burner this year. I regret I waited so long to take the leap and join the experience. Looks like it’s too late. Looks like I’ve already missed out. Burning Man is gone, but the “event” will likely live on. Even as an outsider I can see this one coming a mile away.

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  221. Greene Fyre Says:

    I haven’t seen this suggested floated about yet, but what if Burning Man “ticketing” was more like admission to University? It would be expensive to manage this, but … BMU is expensive, right?


    You make an application, you get admitted for 4 years at one price tier (you DO have to pay tuition at the start of each year), and you’re able to plan with your mates to do whateveritis you do for four years out. You’re first in line at the gate to get tickets for those four years. You then reapply for “grad school” at a different rate of “tuition”, ideally the lowest rate because you’ve demonstrated your undying devotion to the Burniversity. Again, ticket entitlement ensues due to having earned your Burnchelor’s degree. There could even be “early admission,” the ability to buy your ticket a year in advance. Or defer your admission from one year to the next.
    This way the old school is guaranteed to be back in school when the bell rings.

    Greene Fyre

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  222. Rob Blakemroe Says:

    Ask everyone who got one for a PHOTO and a NAME to put on the ticket. If none is provided, the tickets go back into a first come first served sale.

    This really is simple – and has been solved many times before for events that are much bigger. Please talk to someone who’s been to Glastonbury in the UK. The event was going to be shut down until they addressed the entry and ticketing system properly – with the simple mechanism of a photo and a name. This can be solved NOW. There’s no issue. Refund anyone who doesn’t stump up a name and a photo in Feb (scalpers won’t have the names yet), and put the “non-response” tickets back into a first come first served sale.

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  223. Scotto Says:

    As a 13yr Burner and the Benevolent Dictator of PolyParadise a 14 yr staple in BRC with 175+ campers and a $21,000 budget that is solely funded by camp fees…

    I am hearing that only about 20 of our campers received tickets in the lottery, I was not one of them.

    Without campers we have no money and without money we have no Theme Camp. I am not sure what the solution to this might be, we are hopeful that whatever ‘The Project’ can wrangle will be enough to calm the waters and make tickets available to my Theme Camp as well as other Theme Camps that are in a similar situation.

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  224. MonkeyGurl Says:

    So here we are, I’m a one time attendee, 2011 was my virgin burn. I left the playa so uplifted and obsessed, seeing man symbols in all kinds of random items eg>corkscrew when arms up….ok, so I’m wacked on Burning Man. But I didn’t get a ticket in the lottery. Our little camp, our beautiful gathering of fabulousness and heart, is now down to four people. Four. Out of 18. We may not be a theme camp and we may not be important to anyone but ourselves, but we are family and we want to go home.

    I’m discouraged. The moral is going to suck for 2012 no matter what you do now, Bmorg. You cut out my heart. You better do some fancy footwork to fix your mess. Oh, and if the scalpers sell the tix to the rich and nonparticipatory, you can BET that moop map is going to be solid BLACK when it’s over.



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  225. Swellmax Says:

    This may be the first year where one can say without a doubt “Burning Man was better last year!”

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  226. Canadianderthal Says:

    what a huge mess. i am not sure who realizes the impact this “lottery” has had on the burning man community. it is massive. the entire foundation of the event and of brc has been undermined/broken. the % of virgins will increase one way or the other in a big way this year, and only to those who can afford to pay a lot more for tickets, to the detriment of burners who have attended for years and have a ton of time and money invested in making burning man what it is – if the lottery continues, burning man goes from having a huge base of burners with burning man ethos to a transient party for the people who can afford to attend, with no hopes of really planning out very much in the way of art projects of any kind. the sole gets ripped out.

    There is ONLY 1 solution – and it is contrary to 1 of the main burning man principles, “radical inclusion”. there must be a selection process which is dictated by BMorg, and BMorg will have to have the kishkas to implement it, no more pussy-footing around. the fact is that there has now been a selection process put into place either way with this lottery, such selection being based on access to tickets and access to cash to pay for scum-bag scalper-inflated ticket prices. there could be nothing more un-burner than this. THE OLNY SOLUTION IS to refund the lottery tickets now, and go back to the drawing board as follows: people who have been to brc leading up to this year get priority – simply because they already have a ton of time and money invested in the brc – on their art projects, on their camps and the infrastructures for same, etc… and because BRC NEEDS them to maintain it’s culuture and naturally pass it on to virgins who attend in future years. this needs to be prioritized simply by who has attended the longest down to who attended for the 1st time last year. this can be done by looking at the registrations for the lottery and checking email addresses/credit cards, and names to see where they line up against the last 5 years of attendees for example. ALL burners who have camp infrastructures etc.. will get tickets, and many will still be left to be purchased by virgins who have as yet not invested much time or $$ into all the things that make up BRC. virgins could then buy tickets by lottery or by 1st come, 1st served. isn;t the Bman principle about Radical Inclusion once at BRC and following? now that demand is far outsripping supply (such demand including that of scalpers and profiteers), if BMORG does not have the kishkas to create and implement a selection process that makes sense to ensure the continuity of Burning Man as we know it, then the selection process that will take place is the natural one based on profit and greed that we are now seeing. there are ONLY 2 choices here, keep the BRC community in tact and available to naturally pass along the torch one by one to renewal, as has always been the case, or renew now and every year based purely on financial resources. which is the better of 2 evils? it should be clear.

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  227. Truck Boy Says:

    Summary: we want to believe that Burning Man is still small town community, but it’s not.

    I say BM goes out with a bang this year and just has an open door policy. That scenario looks like this:
    Population is unlimited, $15 tickets
    Zero restrictions on camp location
    Zero restrictions on art cars
    Zero restrictions on Playa art, but you fund it
    Zero restrictions on fire arms
    Zero restrictions on roaming the Playa (hot springs here we come!)
    Zero driving restrictions, anywhere, anytime
    Zero police presence
    Zero infrastructure (e.g. porta potties, ice, road signs, dpw, medical, etc)

    Ironically, this is how it all started. Every great civilization in human history has failed. Maybe Burning Man is just too big of an idea now.

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  228. WayWard Says:

    Change is eminent. I appreciate BMorg’s challenge in implementing any ticketing system now that demand outstrips supply.

    Is there anything the community can do long term to increase occupancy in the long term? Write letters to BLM and other government offices? After all, it is most of our land (US Citizens).

    Does new land to support a 100,000 person event need to be found?

    Thank you BMorg, the ticket tema for putting so much time and thought into these processes and how to arrive the best solution.

    Sorry for the growing pains, I know it sucks.

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  229. Driver Says:


    Get it right or Shut it down

    Anarchy 2.0

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  230. Dan Illowsky host body of Mist'R Cool Says:

    I know this is a long shot, but there is a creative way to solve the problem. Increase supply and the scalpers will be left holding the bag.

    Two ways to increase supply:

    Sell more tickets (20,000 – 30,000) should do it.
    Or extend the event a week.

    After explaining the situation, might it possible to offer and beg BLM to allow the possibility of more attendees or extending the event?

    If you track down and interview a couple of hundred random lottery winners you can determine with statistical certainty how much of the problem is overbuying, how much is newbies and how much is seasoned campers. I tend to believe that the number of newbies can’t have grown bigger than the event, and overbuying could not account for that much. So if you determine that the tickets are in scalpers’ hands, selling more tickets will outstrip demand and the tickets will be left in scalpers hands since no one will prefer to buy from them. The event will only fill to the real demand which is likely to be much less than 75,000 (20,000 more than last year and you should have an acccurate idea if you do the statistical investigation suggested above).

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  231. Lani Says:

    refund the tickets. all of them. do it over. better. this time. seriously.

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  232. punchskin Says:

    Mistakes were made, own it, do a recall of all tickets, or do an analysis of who bought tickets, and recall those? Is that legal? Probably not. Void all sales and start over. Name with some form of ID, it can be transferred but only thru your step program and a small fee paid by the buyer, not the seller.

    Here are the issues for this year burn

    1) MOOP – I have brought new burners before, and the ones before teach about MOOP to the new burners. Will there be enough wise ones to teach the new ones?

    2) Theme Camp – large and small – new burners are clueless about the dust storms, shelter, evap ponds. Without these camps, how will the new burners learn.

    3) Art – I love burningman for the art, but how can the art flow if the people who create and support it can’t afford the tickets. ie 390 340, I went for the 240 price.
    Not all the art displayed is registered, some are just small camps now gone since they don’t have their family

    4) Families broken up. mother/fathers can’t bring their children.

    2012 is the year Burning Man will turn into a RAVE, the clean up immense, the volunteer community disseminated so angry at how you treated us.

    You broke the family, the volunteers, the artist, the Teachers. and as you said last year. Burning Man is evolving, or perhaps it’s the end of Burning Man. 2012

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  233. Brian Says:

    First off, I am a burning of 10 consecutive years. Despite the fact that I did not get a ticket, I am still envisioning a positive outcome.

    What I really don’t understand is why the lottery system was introduced in the first place. I am reasonably disorganized, yet for ten years, I was able to mark my internal calendar for January 1, and begin looking at the website to see what day tickets would go on sale. Then I would put a post-it on my front door with the exact date of the sale. Later I would stumble in from work (several hours after the tickets went on sale) and get online. On several occasions I cursed at the square electrons running through round wires that had just monkey-wrenched my ticket transaction. In every case, though, I was eventually able to purchase a ticket without paying the highest level of price. Last year I even made the lame mistake of waiting a couple days to purchase tickets, and STILL I got tickets, just as always, without paying the highest price.

    Other members of my theme camp can relate similar stories. So why fix something if it is only slightly wonky? Clearly the current fix is inferior to the old system…the worst part is, I knew this would be the case, as soon as I saw the word “lottery” this year. Please hire me as a consultant. I AM NOT A COMPUTER GUY, I am a high school teacher with a good intuition and lots of common sense based upon actual experience fucking things up. I can spot crap from a mile away, and would be happy to work with other types of burnings towards working this out. To top it off, I even actually know how to listen to others and share and play nice and everything…

    We can work this out!

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  234. Rodney King Says:

    Cant we all just get along?

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  235. Michael McCoy (The Real) Says:

    There is no way to prevent people wih unlimited funds from gaming the system, except by having the tickets dedicated with the owners name printed on the ticket.
    Please dont let BM become a profit center for ticket resellers……

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  236. Rubyrude Says:

    I keep hearing about Non-transferable tickets. Why has this option not been explored?
    You are NEVER going to stop people from trying to make a profit and I am sure they will try and get around Non-transferable as well but you have to admit that it would solve the problem. You already check peoples tickets and I come in an RV which you come aboard why not take a few seconds more and check our ID with our tickets? If this added a cost to my ticket I personally wouldn’t mind if I had to pay a little more.

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  237. Freeman Michaels Says:

    it’s easy folks.

    1. apologize to all lottery winners and refund all tickets.
    2. sell tickets w/ the name of the purchaser on it. the purchaser must be present able to come to the gate to let you in. (or just be in the car, or drop off at will call naming the person to pick them up.)
    3. each person can only buy 2 tickets
    4. if you want to sell your tickets, send them back to BMorg and if they sell them, then you get reimbursed.

    not hard, not expensive, no scalpers. and if you want to further diminish the rush, flatten the ticket prices. instead of $240~$390, you have $295~$335.

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  238. MissAyme Says:

    I’m 55 now and have heard the wondrous stories of the Playa for many years, always wanting to go but for one reason or t’other never came to pass. So last year my friend and I made a vow that we’re finally going in 2012. I was so pumped! My very first Burn!

    But I wasn’t selected in the lottery, and I was willing to pay 390; should’ve done the pre-sale in retrospect. So now we wait until this step thing launches, and try our hand at the last 10k in March. And should that fail…well, the disappointment will be quite palpable.

    I so much want to learn and participate and pick up moop and make art and dress up and play music and sing and dance and absorb the energy and give it back…

    Clearly Burning Man has transmogrified into something careening out of control – will there be one in 2013 at this rate? I like the idea of no RV’s, tents only; definitely one person one ticket non-transferrable, sell ‘em at one price, first-come first-served.

    We’re going to be patient and see how this all shakes out. But we don’t have our hopes up.



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  239. Cindy Gunn Says:

    Well I didn’t enter the lottery as I don’t do lotteries, of any kind. That aside I’ve been to the event 12 times and after a couple of times of buying my ticket on the computer the first day of sales I quit doing that. It turned out to be a huge waste of time as your server always seemed to crash as so many were trying to buy tickets. People waiting hours and hours all trying to get the first tier of tickets was insane and quite frankly rude of the BORG to waste so much time of so many people. Now you came up with this idiotic lottery system which has not only left loyal burners without a ticket but stirred up much resentment in the process. I have to hand it to you you have figured out how to make Burning Man the most frustrating event ever.
    If making more money and charging outrageous fees for the event is your purpose, but you now realize you have upset hundreds of people in the ticketing process I have a very simple solution for you. Make your tickets non transferable, go ahead with your tiered system, but make them available for a couple of months at a time, say first tier available January through Feb, so now there will be no waste of time and crashing of the server, second tier non-transferable available March through April, third tier May through June – you may want to make these transferable as they will be more expensive. Any tickets you sell after June could be through the roof as you see fit.

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  240. Chaz Says:

    Lets just have an old fashion sit-in at the gate.
    Occupy BRC?
    Seems fitting considering the past years events…

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  241. Cookyn Says:

    the real question is: how many tickets were requested? how many requests were turned down? AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, WHY CAN’T YOU INCREASE TICKET NUMBERS ACCORDINGLY????

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  242. Cookyn Says:

    and at the very least, take “radical inclusion” out of your mission statement… geez

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  243. Kimo Says:

    So Marian Goodell goes to LA this week to speak about how to successfully manage and grow your event. HA! What a joke! Maybe she can pick up some pointers on how NOT to have a lottery as a means of distributing tickets? In the video (link below) she states “we will figure it out as we go” in regards to the current disastrous situation. WTF!? STOP THE BLEEDING NOW!!!


    Skip Paige, the driving force behind Coachella, leads a panel of festival pioneers outlining the major factors to consider when growing an event. A myriad of issues, including commercial, production and legal implications will be explored to determine how they can have a direct impact on the growth of your event. This is a must-attend session for any ambitious event organiser and an invaluable opportunity to learn from the best in the business.

    Pasquale Rotella, CEO, Insomniac Inc, Electric Daisy Carnival
    Shaul Zislin, Owner, The Hangout & Hangout Music Fest
    Steve Rehage, CEO, Rehage Entertainment, Voodoo Experience
    Marian Goodell, Director of Business & Communications, Black Rock City LLC, Burning Man

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  244. Fuzzy Fuzzy Says:

    Dear Burning Man organizers, Marion!

    i was SHOCKED when I heard that there was no arrangement made for major theme camps, and they are all saying the only less than 40% of the core members got tickets in this lottery.

    I am here to admit, I personally asked 2 of my family members to register, not just because I wanted to increase my chances, but MOSTLY because I knew that my freinds my not get the tickets and also I knew that Scalpers/or greedy people will do the same. I now have 3 extra tickets, and I am so concerned, that I am even thinking of volunteering to give away my 4 tickets to my friend, and fellow camp mates. I even thought at some point that maybe I should not go this year!

    I have only been to the burn in 2011…it has changed me in the most tremendous way. You are my new family, and I care really about you.

    WHY Don’t we print names on the tickets? that is my only question?
    WHy is that so hard?
    I am sure, just take a survey and ask the community and see how many people are oppose to that?
    Just print the name on the ticket, if the person decides to change it then come up with some creative way, then you will announce that ticket VOID and the money goes back to that person, and the next one in the queue will be issued a new ticket.

    What is the real problem here, is it because you don’t have enough people to do that, or that will increase your costs? I don’t know.

    But I think one of the main issues here is to PRINT each persons name on it and check ID at the gate.

    another issue that comes to mind is also, we talk a lot about major theme camps, but a lot of this music camps have been the reason to increase participation, and having been to several of their event in SF i hate to say, but I don’t feel that they really focus on creating a community, they have more clique-ish. So in a way, I think this is also a wake up call for them that just because you are a DJ or music Camp doesn’t mean that you got the right to attend burning man.

    I am hoping for the best, even though I have tickets, I am so concern.
    good luck to ALL

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  245. Call to action Says:

    I think by now it’s clear what needs to be done for us to have Burning Man this year


    Cut and paste these two lines into your message and maybe if enough of us say it, it will be heard.

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  246. G Says:

    I just read up on the Glastonbury Festival, and there was statement concerning how fast the tickets sold online, it was stunning. Burning Man selling out all 53,000 in one minute is well within the realm of possibility.

    Last year I was stunned to be above the 5000 range in the cue after deliberately waiting 5 minutes to avoid spiking the demand on the servers. 35 minutes after the hour in, I got in line again on a separate computer and browser as a hedge against server failure on BMORG’s part. I was stunned to see I was somewhere above the 25,000 mark in the cue.

    If first come, first served is put into effect again, perhaps it could be done in successive stages. Over a period of days sell off a batch of of X thousands per day to spread around the chance of hitting it at the starting gate. If tiers are an idea BMORG wants to stick with, then each day could be the next most expensive tier.

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  247. Dane Ballard Says:

    You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    You are KILLING this event.

    and two weeks… is too long… I have campmates that are deciding right now if there are ever going to burning man again.

    This “Lets wait and see if maybe some of our problem goes away” approach is yet another mistake on your part.

    Every day you wait on launching a REAL FIX, is a day you loose more burners for good.

    You are killing this event

    and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

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  248. DawnL Says:

    I think even as hard as it was last year those who really wished to genuinely go fought the queue and stuck it out to the end and did NOT procrastinate and were able to attend. This new system did nothing but create a mess and heartache and will destroy the experience for many who genuinely care and desire to GO HOME :( I have never felt more at peace and at home then on the playa but so far have no tickets, I sat in front of computer for 8 hours last year to insure I could and it was worth every min.
    Just admit this was a HUGE mistake, refund the money and start over, go back to what worked before. Sure it was a sell out but the procrastinators were the only losers and those who genuinely wanted to go for the most part made it. This year who knows what it will be like when the whole crowd as you just stated cant even be there as they have been.
    REFUND AND START OVER WITH WHAT DID WORK FOR YEARS, and understand it has become an event that will sell out and be first in line if you really want to go. Lotteries never work for the players. :(

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  249. Jim Firewalker Says:

    Not that it wil happen…

    Here is a thought:

    All those greedy entities with their hands out for a cut of the action…
    How about no event then Pershing County, the Paiute Tribe, all the state and federal paramilitary police organizations, Department of Interior, and Forestry Service… they…


    Take a year to regroup and if necessary find a new location not limited to 50,000!

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  250. Tink Says:

    BMOrg needs to:

    1) Offer the community a sincere apology.

    2) Change all tickets already awarded to non-transferable, one name, one ticket. Register ticket-holder name online within 2 weeks or lose your ticket and refund the credit card. Show ID at the gate.

    Do it soon so we can all get on with our projects and our hearts can be happy again. In the mean time, my mutant vehicle is waiting in my garage for upgrades and I don’t know if I’m going this year, Arrrgh!!!

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  251. Jenni Micheletti Says:

    It would be really great if next year we could go back to the good ole 1st come 1st served–the same as every other tickets selling process. Let the planners who can commit prevail! Eh?

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  252. Bear Says:

    BMorg is an LLC Corporation, not a 501-3c nonprofit.
    A corporations primary function is to return profits to its owners/shareholders.

    BMorg has built its trademarked “brand” carefully, intelligently, and successfully.. to the point where ticket demand exceeds supply due to the “radical inclusion” of trendies, package tourists, and other people. Many with info on BM from TV shows and carefully placed internet events showing how “cool” it was. (Known as “Brand placement” in the advertising trade) Tickets were probably “comped” to TV/Movie types to achieve just this end. Genius.

    With this success, they are able to maximize profit within the constraints of the BLM occupancy limits. I suspect that few tickets were actually sold at the lower tiers, and those who asked for lower tier tickets were the primary rejected applicants. Selling 20,000 tickets at the lower tiers would reduce BMorgs receipts by over $2,000,0000.00. Yes, Two MILLION dollars. Fiscally irresponsible for a “for profit” corporation. And since there is no public accounting released.. it is easy enough to fake. As for scalpers, it matters not to the corporation WHO buys the tickets, as long as they get their money. (But it does give them a scapegoat/excuse for any problems, as a handy side benefit)

    Thinking that the org has any interest other than profit and continuation of the brand is naive. It may have started differently, but the last couple years have proved it is now just another Disneyland.. meant to get money from tourists, with the advantage of long time true burners, art/theme camps, mutant vehicles, and the like paying for the privilege of being the free entertainment.

    Call me a cynic if you will, but that is how I see it. A full and certified release of the ticket sales accounting, or better, the LLC tax returns, may prove me wrong. But don’t hold your breath waiting for it.

    (Full disclosure… I got no tickets, followed the rules, and only applied once.)

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  253. erinnn Says:

    Is there a way for the BMorg to talk to resellers like StubHub now, while tickets are going out on other markets? Those outlets need to be informed that their vendors are selling tickets speculatively, and that no one physically has passes to the event. If those places are genuinely trying to facilitate a market where REAL tickets are bought and sold, every listing on that market right now would have to be taken down.

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  254. Bull Bunny Says:

    It’s not too late. BMORG needs only send an email to all “Lottery Winners” requiring them to list the names of recipients to go with each ticket. A couple of weeks to comply, then all unnamed tickets go back into the system and money is refunded. After names are collected they are printed on tickets and non-transferable except through STEP with a $50 penalty per transfer. This way scalper/hoarders loose money on their scam, and innocent transfers don’t suffer that much. Get on it! This will force tickets back into the system and not leave the distribution of extras to individual hoarders/scalpers. You can still be heros, as of now your the villian.

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  255. rakshi Says:

    STEP will not work: If people in the BM community are fortunate enough to have an extra ticket, they will have plenty of eager people close by to take it off their hands.

    Cancel and refund all tickets distributed in the lottery fiasco.

    Start again with non-transferable tickets, all at the same price. Unneeded tickets can be returned for resale.

    It’s the only way forward.

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  256. Jenn Says:

    Make tickets non-transferable.

    Earmark the first batch of tickets for sale to theme camps, producing artists, mutant vehicle owners, lamplighters, etc. Then do open sales. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a bunch of first-timers and self-proclaimed VIP’s standing around staring at each other wondering where all the cool stuff they read about is and wishing they’d gone to EDC instead.

    I have two projects I’ve been working on since December, but no ticket. Even if I had a ticket, no else in my theme camp does, nor do either of the folks who own art cars that let our family ride on them regularly. The other folks who had volunteered to help with my two projects didn’t get tickets. My 13 year old son didn’t get a ticket. Please get this figured out, and soon enough that there will still be time to plan the city!

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  257. trey Says:

    8 year theme camp. 25 members. 9 tickets.

    I guess we did better than most. Still far short of being able to pull anything off.

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  258. Kimo Says:

    Fuck tickets – make it a FREE event. The ultimate playa gift!

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  259. Dusty McShroomface Says:

    I applied once and was awarded 2 tickets. Thanks… but my theme camp of approximately 75 was unlucky with only maybe 25 obtaining tickets, but none for our core build team. I am all for changing to a name and photo on the tickets system, must be completed by February 15th or else tickets will be refunded. While checking IDs at gate may take longer, but if it defeats the scalpers and gets unused tickets back to the community, then who gives a flying fuck…

    I also saw a recommendation on another blog where someone recommended having the gate open Saturday at midnight, then have MAN burn on Friday then the Temple burn on Saturday then having a 2 day exodus on Sunday and Monday… I think this is an excellent idea..

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  260. Bobbie Says:

    The world needs optimistic people, those that go with the flow and are equally happy no matter the outcome. We also need those who see something wrong and will stand up yelling “Hell no!” It helps to keep life balanced. The ticket lottery has taken many of my easy going friends from being someone who went with the flow to someone saying “Hell no!” This tips the community out of balance.
    Face it this has become a default world of instant gratification. It wasn’t convenient, but it was gratifying, to sit online (or have a friend do you the favor) and have confirmation of your ticket purchase. It had actually become quite a social event with friends online having coffee and giving updates. Yes, there were snafus, I’ve been dropped or couldn’t find the link. Still I knew that when I was giving up my credit card information I was getting tickets for it. The lottery was very unsatisfying and actually consumed more of my time checking for confirmation.
    I have a village comprised of several smaller camps. I do the organization and bring them together so that they can have a presence no matter their size, some as small as three people. We are highly interactive and spend a significant amount of time and money to go to the event and gift to the community. We do this on a shoestring yet have earned prominent placement. This will be my camp’s 5th anniversary. I won’t lie, it is a struggle every year. Power, transportation, set-up, clean-up, coordination, planning and re-planning, meetings, fund raising and break-downs along the way. The journey home is never without challenges. Seriously, it is hard to get commitments and something always happens. Yes we plan, then we plan a back-up, and then back that up so that somehow we survive and make it happen. I have no ability to back-up for this. Every year tickets are an issue with camp mates. Key people wait to the last minute, somebody new wants to come with one group, funds are limited, there are tons of reasons that we are always looking for tickets within the community. There have always been tickets listed by scalpers and other venues, many counterfeit. Very few took that route for purchasing though.
    So, last year tickets were selling faster than normal. It was a big anniversary year with added attraction of CORE projects. Announcements were made in July that “It will sell out”, alerting scalpers that there would be money to be made if it sold out. Still, it took six months to get there. It sold out and procrastinators whined, some paid the scalpers making it profitable. The biggest year ever took six months to sell out. We scrambled and found tickets for the key people who needed them within our community. As of now, there are far more people in my local community in need of tickets than the few extra available. Telling people not to panic is ludicrous. It is a lot of hard work to bring theme camps to the playa and far too many involved are without tickets.
    My personal belief would have been to lay low. “Yes, we had a banner year for our anniversary but without the economy rebounding we don’t expect that to happen again.” Put the resources into the existing system that allowed every Burner that could commit and had the resources to secure tickets so that they could begin serious planning. Scalpers would be leery of investing huge amounts of money until it was close to being sold out. In the mean time, serious Burners that scrambled at the end last year should have a head’s up to plan early for tickets. My opinion is that an artificial sense of urgency was created when the announcement came that the system must be changed because it is clear that there will be more demand than availability. Then a two week window was provided for scalpers to get multiple entries registered for the lottery.
    I did get tickets for me and my husband, but now will need to also sit in queue on March 28th to help camp mates get theirs. However with the highly inflated prices I will have to limit how much help I can offer. I might feel better if I was hearing that people got extra tickets. That is not what I am hearing. I am hearing large percentages of people who normally would have a ticket not getting one. Any that become available will quickly be gobbled by local community and never see the STEP system. Would you want to see an extra ticket go to a friend that didn’t get one this year or a stranger that is computer assigned?
    Being that I put in a lot of work to organize my village/camp, at this point had I not been awarded my tickets, I would have serious doubts about being able to secure them. Several of my camp leaders did not get tickets. How are they going to feel about organizing and putting in their time and then fighting to get a ticket from somewhere? Help us please. There are tales of speculators making multiple entries and getting large blocks of tickets (80 requested netting 18 tickets), now if all rejected are given first priority then it is likely that the same percentage is all that will make it in the hands of speculators/scalpers instead of in the hands of the community. How about first preference to those email addresses that bought last year? Reaching out to Rangers, DPW, Post Office, artists and established theme camps to find a way of saving the interactive components is desperately needed. Many here have offered ideas, workable or not, but it seems the only thing that will hurt speculators/scalpers is to increase the tickets available and hold some for a late sale. There will always be rich assholes willing to pay scalpers what-ever and stay in a bedroom community with full services, that can’t be helped, but let’s find a way that makes them eat a lot of tickets or be forced to sell them at face value. If that isn’t addressed, this event will forever be seen as a cash cow for ticket hoarders.
    People are wondering how the change from five tiers to three, with significant price increases (well beyond inflation), was justified if significant infrastructure growth for growing attendance wasn’t planned. There is no huge CORE project investment this year. Yet, we were willing to pay more to be treated as if we didn’t matter. Another thorn in our side was the obvious award of third tier, followed by second and then first tier to maximized the number of tickets sold at higher prices. Had everyone entered actually had a chance at first tier tickets, there probably would have been some second and third tier left to go in the general sale. We all know tiers were created to encourage people to buy and commit early so the organization had working funds, but tiers in a lottery made no sense. It has left us feeling that profit mattered more than people.
    This was home, a place that we felt we belonged. A place that we worked hard to make the experience that it is. We feel abandoned and unwanted, others feel orphaned by the lottery rejection. It isn’t the same welcoming feeling. Maybe regional’s will grow and give us that warm fuzzy back that we are missing. Maybe feelings will change once we make it home. Our village will be there this year, in what-ever capacity, and will see how anxious we are to start planning the following year after seeing how it all shakes out.
    I disliked the lottery from the start but tried to keep faith that most would get tickets. I haven’t confirmed with everyone yet, but we are running about 20% got tickets. I guess I need more friends/family with available credit to increase/further dilute my chances. It is too early in planning to have this much stress. Good for those able to still go with the flow, the world needs you. Likewise, don’t dismiss the real feelings this lottery invoked in others and the stress they may feel over it.

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  261. meg Says:

    this year, two of us were going to be bike riding 4000miles across the country, with black rock city, HOME, being a very important stop on our trip.

    but, neither of us got tickets.

    also, i don’t feel right asking for low income tickets, when i make enough money to pay for full price.

    after seeing what a mess this horrible system is causing, we won’t be attending this year… i hope for all of the other seasoned burners that the “crowd” is “quality” if that makes sense… not missing the core people who make this city what it is, because they didn’t win tickets in a lottery and didn’t want to deal with the mess afterwards. i know i don’t.

    i hope this is fixed, good luck, hope next year is worth it.

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  262. dragnet Says:

    tickets??? major theme camps?? start with the artista….thats what started this fantastic event, camps came after! every artist who was placed last year (or in the past), or prove they put something out there, should get a free ticket anyway…..and a reasonable number for the crew it takes to create it – REASONABLE…..they should have an express lane in and out of the event as a simple perk….TAKE CARE OF THE ARTISITS !!!……theme camps – unless you are like the awesome old school eggchair camp, and have been granfathered in for contributing when it was a smaller event, a bar camp should be considered different than a theme camp. going out for a drink is default stuff even if the decor is way artistically cool, please keep doing them — but they are a lower ticket distribution priority…..bad idea theatre, now this is a great example of a true camp, original concept, and they serve alcohol a bar camp with the emphasis on the camp theme…..porta potty pigs are a great example of a smaller camp that gives a great gift to the city, taking charge of a block of porta pottys offering sunblock, tp, humor and witty (especially if you are personal friend of larry harvey) banter to burners using the facilities…..art cars, well too many of them with too many tickets, when mostly its their own campmates who ride on them 80% or more of the time (except for larger ones)….keep them coming they rock, but fewer tickets allotted per vehicle……mobile party busses are excellent like heart deco, as they bring the party to you on the backstreets of the city where we need more people going anyway….photographers with passes should download EVERY image they take before they leave the playa and sign a paper saying they did so and agree to post them ……..most just hang out on open playa and never hit the streets or go to deep playa, and they get in the way the night of the burn, to those of us taking our own photos from the fire perimeter, …..ales prikryll is an example of a photographer who gets it, explores all the event for his magic…..when bman shares a great photo site, it always reminds me of this, great means you capture the event, not just the easy part when the art comes to you or its standing still….ales captures images people missed as well as the big stuff….. all theme camps need to submit a SIMPLE plan about what they are doing and who they need, in order for them to get their priority tickets……….if you want a ticket earn it I say, EARN IT! wacky unique comes as first priority, not massage and free food camps….keep those camps out there again we want them, but they get a lower priority on the distribution list…volunteers like the lamplighters and bus stop crew, they get ‘em first at the lowest cost possible along with the artists and … then your bar camps, etc……..all of this will take more persons managing and committees deciding i understand, but the money is there to employ a few people to help make decisions……… solo art or small camps are equal to large theme camps always……..keep some in reserve for those artists who decide later (you can always release them to the general public later) with this plan the play shifts back to a time when a high percentage of the people out there were creative participants ….dragnet, a citizen who has been gifting, doing art, and small theme camps for over 15 years…

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  263. Sparkle Pony Says:

    After months of working on the new ticket plan and saying that it was a great fair plan we are now told that they have listened to people and to just give them two weeks and they will roll out another great plan. BMorg has all their money for this year so they don’t have a problem. The problem will come next year if the same lottery system is used and a lot of people didn’t get tickets this year. Although it is a great event and I have a ticket this year someone else can have my place in the lottery next year because I know there is some place else to go that won’t have such negativity attached to it. Life goes on and in the true burnner spirit BMorg can get their big bucks from someone else.

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  264. Jason Says:

    It would be interesting if EVERYONE including the BMorg Staff had to get their tickets the same way as the rest of us unwashed masses. Would the lottery have happened this way if Larry and Marian and and all the rest of the organizers had to take their chances on this silly experiment too?

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  265. Butch de Playa Says:

    As a playa caked Architect, I’ve discovered that we usually learn more from our failures than our successes. We truly have a lot learn here. But, it can be better.

    Many years prior to building a Temple, I worked in the ski industry and continue to patronize them. Each year, ski areas sell a variety of individual season tickets at different prices. One may buy in person or on-line. Usually, the resorts offer a discounted ‘early purchase’ to its repeat pass holders before it openly sells passes to the public. Either way, the resort creates a laminated pass with an I.D. photograph, name and bar code. To access the ski lift, one passes through a scan portal that projects the pass image to a visual screen for verification and operates a turnstile for admission.This system eliminates scams entirely if the gatekeepers pay attention. There are no multiple tickets without personal verification for each.

    Burning man could do the same thing. Theme camps and Art crews apply early with realistic numbers….done. Vested and tenured burners also apply early for verification….done. Each individual with a unique I.D. The rest are sold in timely increments until gone. In today’s world, it is not difficult to keep and cross-check historical data. Is this elitism? Yes, but these are the folks (rich or poor) who have made BM what it is. They have earned this right of first refusal. So, whoever buys a ticket keeps it or returns it. Once the laminate is made, it yours! No transfer!

    To make the photo I.D. in person, I suggest only 3 ticket venues, S.F., Reno and possibly Gerlach (any of which would replace the ‘will call’ at the gate). The potential pass-holder shows a purchase receipt with other I.D. and the pass is made. On to the gate. Everybody out of the bus, do the search, do the scans, ring the bell, go park. The bar coded pass also controls exit and re-entry.

    Talk to the folks at Squaw Valley or Alpine Meadows. You may even be able to rent their system as it would be their off-season. A bit more expensive, yes. But what is the price for credibility and respect?

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  266. TC Says:

    You see, some of us actually like gifting tickets! No, no, no to the commodification of Burning Man!!

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  267. Fabricio Godoy Says:

    Well, look like BM 2012 will be a very different city this year with bunch of non participants walking around with no much to see or do…. At least they will have the sunrise…. And my beloved dust…..
    Re-do the ticket now!!! First come first serve….

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  268. Mazer Says:

    With no word on anyone with extra tickets sell and no larger camps getting more than 30% of needed tickets… WHERE DID ALL THE TICKETS GO?????

    You mean to tell me that over 130,000 tickets were requested on lottery day????

    Are you sure there aren’t 10,000+ tickets in the hands of scalpers????

    Do the Math!!!!!!

    Are you sure your lottery system wasn’t hacked????

    Is a well organized group can get there hands on even 2000 tickets, sold for 700ish a ticket,… there is over 600,000 profit, and that’s only on 2000 tickets…

    If you don’t think that the underworld of scalpers hasn’t been plotting since you announced this system so long ago…. Your Crazy…

    I honestly believe that your ticketing system was hacked by well organized folks who stand to make a fortune off your event…

    Have a computer expert come in and check things out.. If a hacker group can hack and intercept government conversations, close down bank and government websites how hard is it really for a group to access the system and award there people with many tickets…

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  269. Sparkicus Says:

    7-time burner, 5-time conclave participant, contributed performances for MANY BM events, gung-ho BM evangelist since 1998… there are THOUSANDS like me, and thousands even more deserving of a ticket than I who’ve been participating since the mid 90′s. But now, who we are and what we have done to further BM is meaningless. We are as worthy of a ticket as scalpers are, apparently. 20% of our camp got tix, which is so low it might as well have been 0%. FAIL. What are we gonna do with 80% of our camp gone?

    Time to own up to your foolishness, BMORG, apologize and MAKE IT RIGHT. Your CORE is at stake here, the very soul of this enterprise is leaking out of a jagged hole made by bad decision making. Listen to the community and act fast or you’ll have an unforgivable (and AVOIDABLE) travesty on your hands this year.

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  270. Zos Says:

    this is more than clever scalpers with bots, outwitting every theme camp and the whole Burner community – I suspect an inside job. Someone within the BMorg “facilitated” the transfer of 80% of tickets to another entity that they control. tickets are now selling for up to $6000 on Stubhub. This is potentially a $10 million + heist.

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  271. Sabin Says:

    Me and my husband are artists and since years we wanted attend burning man but we didn’t have the time and money. This year finally everything is right and we have the time and the money to go. We finally would have been able to join our friends who have a theme camp and go to BM since 15 years. But we didn’t get a ticket as so many others.

    I don’t understand why the MBstaff who are working on the ticket system would think that the lottery system would have keep scalpers away? There are tickets out there already for 1650.- each. and not just a few but many.
    I agree the STEP system will also not keep scalpers away, they will happily integrate themselves with their own tricks.

    It is too sad. I will send out a lot and a lot of positive energy to the BM staff so that they come up with a wonderful idea to turn the whole thing in a positive direction for all.

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  272. Sabin Says:

    I totally agree with what Tink said:

    “Change all tickets already awarded to non-transferable, one name, one ticket. Register ticket-holder name online within 2 weeks or lose your ticket and refund the credit card. Show ID at the gate.”

    what a fantastic idea. Make them like airline tickets there is a name and only the person gets it.

    And if the person can’t go for some reason let him return the ticket refund many back and sell it to another person.

    very simple.

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  273. azcanoe52 Says:

    As a hopeful virgin attendee this year, I say hopeful because the cost of me simply getting there may be as big a problem as the cost of the ticket itself.
    I have lived my life following all the “rules” of our society – worked hard, never arrested, and always paid my bills on time. I could not think of a more impractical way of celebrating my 60th birthday and my surviving cancer than to attend BM this year. To see all in person what I have only watched on the internet.
    So I registered for the lottery for 2 tickets at the mid-price range. I did receive notification that I have “won” 2 tickets.
    Could there have been a better system? Probably so.
    It is now the “fixes” that concern me and it’s impact on the culture of BM as I understand it through countless hours of reading everything I could find.
    I purchased 2 tickets in the hope that I would find someone to attend with me.
    so printing my name on the ticket would not work for me.
    if I do not find someone, I plan on selling my ticket to the local BM community at a price slightly above the face value to help pay for my travel expenses.
    am I a scalper?
    Is BM org going to find the lottery system null and void and have a redo?
    then maybe I will not be able to go
    Will BM org have a special sale of tickets to art groups and theme camps only?
    that sure seems elitist.
    it seems to me that art projects and theme camps should reach out to those who do have tickets

    There is a simple solution to both the increased popularity and the increase in scalpers gaming the system.
    Ban RVs and self-contained trailers! They ban firearms and pets. Only those who really wanted to attend and was willing to truly practice LNT principles would attend. I wonder what price scalpers could get if buyers knew that they could not take there home away from home.

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  274. Tomaso Says:

    I’ve seen many people suggest this and I tend to aggree- have 40,000 tickets that are sold in a pre-registration that are Non transferable. Send them out in June.
    If neccessary in case of unforseen events- they could have a Step program through Burning man that transfers the tickets – at cost with a small fee for handling. (I know that makes the non-transferable idea moot, but things happen in our lives and this might be fair. If BMORG could transfer the tickets to another persons charge card and refund the sellers card then prices could be regulated)
    I kind of felt that the December sale at 0ver $400.00 was a rich mans way of guaranteeing their way in. That actually felt like a Burningman Org Scalping to me- as much as I hate to say it- thats how it appears to me -elitist.
    This is the first time in 15 years that none of my camp got tickets. There are 4 core people and they played by the rules- 4 people- 4 ordered tickets-here, I thought that was fair and within the burning man ethos. Apparently not.
    I hope we all get what we desire, good luck everyone in the following sales and I hope STEP works out in a way that safely allows ticket transfers- (hopefully through BMOrg) and in a regulated manner.

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  275. Sparkicus Says:

    Yeah, BMORG, just checked Stubhub: there’s a “VIP” BM ticket selling for “$6,666.66″ This is, of course, a scalper laughing his ass off as he helps you make a mockery of this year’s ticketing process.

    UGH! Non-transferable tickets NOW, please!!

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  276. Andrew Says:

    Not sure why my last post got deleted…

    Anyway. I won the lottery, 2 tix for me and my gf. Both burgins.

    We would happily give our tix back to go with any other ticketing system. That’s clearly not going to happen.

    The best fix here at current time, all currently sold tickets require names. You sent out notification emails, re send all those again saying with 7 days we need the names of the people for your tickets.

    No names, refund the tickets. Put them back into the pool for the next sale. Thats really the only way I can see this mess being salvaged.

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  277. min Says:

    So… Stub Hub is currently listing 80 available tickets to Burning Man. Starting Price? $640. There is one listing for 8 tickets at $825 each, another listing for 8 tickets at $1,500 each, and the max list price is a staggering $2,800 each.

    My theme camp has three tickets. Three. We are a camp of over thirty. We bring an art car, we build a theme camp, we participate, and have for years. Explain to me, if you will, how, if tickets are already being scalped at three to ten or more times face value, this whole redistribution thing is going to happen? It’s just not. This lottery was a disaster.

    And several of us have to apply for the low income tickets, as it’s the only way we can afford tickets. Truly the only way. Is the low income process going to be flooded now with all of the people who didn’t get tickets in the main sale? A trickle down ticketing disaster seems unavoidable, making this entire event that much more inaccessible to that many more people.

    I’d like to echo the call to invalidate the lottery, and sell tickets which are non-transferable instead. Or just sell first come first served at the gate at the time of arrival, with the exception of those who bought in the pre-sale, and those who are low income and must buy ahead of time through the individual low income application vetting process already in place.

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  278. Erika Says:

    As an 8-year, dedicated Burner and contributor to the community, I am extremely disheartened by your entire handling of this situation and I, like many others, am considering not attending this year.

    I enterred the lottery system, registered for 2 tickets at a max price of $390, and surprise surprise, got charged $390. Meanwhile, friends and acquaintances of mine who can afford $390 tickets received $240 tickets… Just like a bunch of the scalpers, I’m sure.

    I don’t understand AT ALL why you’re still doing a pricing tier. It made sense when the event was small, or when you were being rewarded for planning ahead. Now it’s completely insane. If the tickets are THE SAME, and they’re being bought at THE SAME TIME, why are they different prices? And it’s not a $20 difference. I’m disgusted that I paid $300 MORE than friends of mine did for 2 tickets. Thanks for ripping me off, Burning Man. Guess that’s $300 less I’ll be putting into our village events or Mutant Vehicle. Doesn’t matter anyway… The founders/ organizers of my village didn’t receive tickets, so I’m not sure if our lively, 200-person group will even be there or what shape it will take.

    Please realize: THERE IS NO WAY TO ENSURE THAT PEOPLE WHO NEED THE LOWER COST TICKETS ARE GETTING THE LOWER COST TICKETS. So how about we just make this FAIR and charge everyone the same price?

    And how about your ridiculous $420 early order concept? Way to reinforce the idea that this is totally becoming a rich person’s festival. Do you know what that system says to your community? “Hey rich people, step over here to this VIP line, order more tickets at a higher price, and we won’t run you through the ridiculous hamster wheel that we’re making everyone else get on.”

    I agree with everyone else here — ONE TICKET, ONE NAME. But I also want to say, how about ONE PRICE.

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  279. Crissa Says:

    Scalpers have always been a risk. The system did not benefit them, but apparently it did not help, either, with the number of people willing to game the system.

    Personally, I don’t know anyone who got tickets. Not the lead of our village or any other camp I know personally.

    I knew tickets would be scarce this year after the scare last year – that just gins up scalpers as well as regulars – and don’t know how to solve this aside from non-transferable ticket sales.

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  280. Harry Nutz Says:

    Half my camp mates did not get tickets.
    Get BLM to increase the number allowed to attend! Period…It’s our land!
    With the extra revenue hire people to professionally get the traffic moving. The current traffic managment is a joke.
    I know of nobody that has extra tickets so the STEP idea is doomed!
    Forget the tier system price level idea and make it a tiered system where proven participants get first crack at tickets.
    I hope BM org “accidently” sells another 40,000 tickets during open sales.

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  281. Crissa Says:

    PS, anyone who says $420 is ‘rich people’s pricing’ they should look at what it costs to camp at a ‘premium’ tier – RV and potties and purchasable blackwater/vending service per night. Then $42 a night doesn’t sound so expensive.


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  282. gk Says:

    thank you for the update, marian. it’s good to know that ideas are being juggled and information is being gathered. people in the burning man community need as much clear, timely information about the fixes and solutions as you and the organization are able to give at this point. the more involved and informed you keep the community, the better we can all focus on mitigating the myriad issues that have arisen. you have a lot of input and feedback already from the community; we need more from you. “help us help you”! …and if sharing that kind of information somehow reveals too much to scalpers or damages the process, then we need to be told that, so we don’t feel like we’re being ignored or left in the dark. thanks again, and keep up the hard work.

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  283. Christian Delp Says:

    Hmmm 1st year of the last ten that I consciously decided not to attend… and look at this.. wow.. In your efforts to limit scalpers you have made everyone a scalper or a person beholden to scalpers… way to go!!! Theme camps should have had 1st access… Then if you wanted a lottery … two tickets per ID and CC at the gate… Clubs do this all the time… Man, good call on my part to have avoided the whole mess… Good luck…

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  284. Zorsha Says:

    I agree with what someone said about cancelling all current orders from the lottery, and starting all over again, with either first come/first serve, or non-transferrable tickets. I got a ticket – along with the only 30% of the large theme camp I belong to. I would rather risk not getting a ticket the 2nd time around, than have a half-assed camp this year. The experienced, loyal burners who run these camps, art cars and art installations are what make BM what it is. It’s only February – there is plenty of time to do this!

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  285. Kali Kayei Says:

    Annul the lottery! Start over……. Sign the petition!

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  286. Elizabeth Says:

    I could have registered for the early, rich-person ticket – but didn’t, as it seemed strange and elitist – the antithesis to the BM in my mind. So I plunged faithfully into the lottery – believing so much in our Community that I used one credit card, for one ticket. The joke is so on me.

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  287. Wrath Says:

    Will no one speak of the elephant in the room?

    Supply is the issue. Increase supply. With that, all issues of everyone going and tickets being scalped would be averted.

    I feel as if a decision was made that allowing more people to attend was impossible. This has brought about even more problems, not for those who don’t go, but with those who do.

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  288. Freeman Michaels Says:

    everyone, please write to this “burner” and request that the tickets be return to BMorg for the STEP program or just sell them at face value. this is outrageous. PLEASE EMAIL THEM NOW!

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  289. Lisa Lisa Says:

    The community clearly has differing opinions, so I’ll add my 2 cents. What would have been so wrong about
    *setting 1 ticket price (rather than the tier system, which seems designed to ensure the BM organization extracted maximum $ from “the community”) so no one feels taken advantage of
    *limiting 1 ticket per entry (allowing Pay Pal or those reloadable “VISA” cards for folks who don’t have a credit card)
    *making tickets non transferable (keeping the current official system of distributin a few transferable tickets to organizations like The Crucible to raffle, and for CORE groups, volunteers, etc)
    *using the old first come/first served “system” rather than the murky, non transparent, complicated lottery which seems to have fueled the scalper fire/mania rather than quelled it.

    Good vibes to all and let’s hold out faith that things will come together in the end.

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  290. Erika Says:

    Wrath – The Bureau of Land Management set the population cap. Not the BMorg.

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  291. Jera Says:

    This is supposed to be a diversified event. If you’re only in the business to make sure that “veterans” and the same people go every year than don’t open sales to the public. Only invite who you want to go. I’m very frustrated at all this outrage and people wanting tickets revoked. I’ve never been to burning man and was awarded tickets. I was really excited to go but now I don’t feel the warm fuzzy welcoming feeling everyone has been talking about from burners when they go. I must say I’m disappointed. I thought this was a loving friendly community but now it only seems that it fades when “veterans” don’t get what they want.

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  292. Mojo Says:

    Thank you for your response. Please don’t make theme camp members more important than any other participant. Yes, they are important to Burning Man but no more so than anyone else. Take into consideration the many, many volunteers that do not camp with a theme camp. Would you make tickets even harder for them to acquire by somehow increasing an allotment for theme camps? Maybe the only thing that has been ok about this whole thing is that it seems to have effected everyone across the board – no one group seems to be more “excluded” than another.

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  293. Doug Says:

    1. No real apology 2. Sounds like perhaps the “big theme camps” may still get special treatment. 3. Refusal to say man, we really fucked up D. not willing to admit that scalpers took a large number of tickets 5. not making public the number of total applications submitted. Bottom line, tried to fix a problem that really did not exist, unintended consequences, but consequences that should have been obvious to anyone with an IQ above room temp.

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  294. Kitty Allura Says:

    We did not get our tickets and I was quite dissapointed for a few days. After a few days, a couple of million breaths, I realized there is nothing we can do. Burningman has admitted the mistake, it is what it is…be optimistic and move on.
    Our youngest son did get a ticket, he sits here saying “If you do get tickets…we should do lottery camp, passing out scratch tickets to win $100, massages, etc.” Of course you would not really get these, but you would get a coool scratch ticket gift. Sense of humor works for me and it is a pretty funny idea.

    I will do the STEP program and remain optimistic that we will join the rest of our camp which is doing the same. If not, we will either find a way to get them or wait until next year. Havn’t we all learned not to sweat the small stuff? BMORG admitted admitted it, so really it is just small stuff.

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  295. DMT Says:

    How the scalpers likely did it (excellent blog post):


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  296. Double Jeopardy Says:

    STEP is going to be fail part 2

    after reading the comments on eplaya, it’s clear that any full-blooded burner with extra tickets is going to be doing their best to salvage camps and pull in long timers. and rightly so. those tickets will never see STEP. what does that leave? scalped tickets. and those tickets will certainly never see STEP.

    ademas, any tickets that do go on STEP are going to be just as likely to be picked up by scalpers.


    cut the scalpers off at the knees by making all tickets non-transferable. so simple.

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  297. Dan L Says:

    It’s hard to believe that BMORG didn’t see the problem coming.

    Surely they had a count of ticket requests in the lottery, and surely they could have seen the difference between 65,000 requests for 55,000 tickets and over 180,000 requests for 55,000 tickets.

    And there’s not much motivation to fix the problem now, either. The money is banked. The remaining 10,000 tickets will certainly be sold within hours of the sale opening.

    But there might be a bunch of people wandering around the playa this year, wondering what happened to all the cool stuff they’d been hearing about for years.

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  298. cooked2442 Says:

    BORG: Swallow your pride, cancel it and start again.

    Many many non-transferrable ideas are outlined here that will work.

    Its not too late. The tickets have not gone out or been printed. Yes this will cost you money – but you screwed up and need to eat the costs to fix it. The legal risks are your problem not ours – and should come out of that fat profit margin thats sitting at the bottom of the page.

    The bandaids might get close to working but the ill will will only fester and build.

    A do-over is the only way to fix it and begin the healing.

    Yes it’s harder to do – but its the right thing to do.

    NOW! – time is wasting.

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  299. tondava Says:

    We all make mistakes, but ultimately only BMORG can fix this one.

    Just a suggestion: You are not bound to this. Let a Phoenix rise from the ashes. Burn this f*c%#r to the ground and start over. I believe that those with and without tickets (except for the scalpers, of course, and who cares about them) will cheer it on in classic Burner style, smile, and move on.

    Good luck and Godspeed!

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  300. Kevin Says:

    You know the only answer is non-transferrable tickets. Why do you keep stalling on this decision? Look to your peers – Comic-Con sells 125,000 tickets in a first-come-first-serve style, and they are non-transferrable. There’s very little scalping, because you need to present ID to get in the door to get your pass.

    Send a follow up emailing saying names must match tickets. Give everyone a week to submit names. The option is putting your name on the ticket, or getting refund. All refunded tickets are available on STEP and person-to-person resales are not allowed.

    You MUST know this is the only answer. YES, it’s work, but you must realize this event has grown too bid to simply hope that “everything will sort itself out”. Resellers have an opportunity to make 200% profit with no effort. OF COURSE they flocked to the sale. The ONLY solution is non-transferrable ticket. Buck up, make an effort, do the work, make the change, and please save this event from self destruction. We are all counting on you to do the right thing.

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  301. TransitionalDave Says:

    Yet another long time Burner with no tix and honestly little desire at this point. I hope this isn’t just a sad ending to an otherwise incredible journey with BM.

    My suggestion:
    1. Refund all monies & promised tix and start over.
    2. Issue non-transferable tix, can be sold back to BM with processing fee. At the gate, no ID matching your ticket, no entry.
    3. One ticket price, around $350.

    Done. Otherwise, I’m afraid BM may be going the way of the Dodo.

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  302. Fire Tigerlily Says:

    I’m one of the newer members of a big group of longtime Burners (my first year was 2001 and at least half of them startedyears before then). We have a large scale dance camp on the Esplanade each year, and it takes all 125-140 of us to put it together and fund it. So far it sounds like 8 people from our camp have tickets. I think we have more or less scrapped the idea of bringing out our Theme Camp, since there are not enough people to get it going this year and there will not be enough time to plan for it at the end of March (and I suppose we would only get a few more tickets anyway) so we have come up with the idea of shiftting all of our tickets to “newbies” or people that have never come but want to and couldn’t get tickets. That way, they will all be able to come out together as first timers and build their own version of Burning Man/Theme Camps/Art. Who is to say that it won’t be better than ours?

    I think having a majority of Virgin Burners on the Playa this year is a perfect match for the theme of “Evolution”. I’m sure at any rate 2012 going to be a lot different than years past since it sounds like a majority of the artists/theme camps have been shut out anyway. Come on you guys-give up your tickets and set up small regionals this year that include all of the friends and connections you have made over the years. Let Burning Man Evolve (if only for this year-maybe if it doesn’t work out we can try again next year) It’s only a 1 year hiatus….. Do it in the spirit of Evolution!

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  303. Teal Says:

    This is a petition I have started, which suggests a solution, the solution is in this community and its up to us to work together to find it.


    With the introduction of the lottery system there is an inequality in the distribution of tickets. The scalpers have succeeded in procuring tickets, but theme camps are finding that in some cases only a handful of members have been awarded tickets. Examples are of 60 members only 5 have tickets and this is not unusual. Artists and their support staffs are also without tickets. This is devastating to the community and the spirit of the event. In this petition we are not asking for a redo of the current lottery, as that could have significant legal restrictions and implications, but rather move forward so that the remainder of the tickets available are distributed to the actual participants and that the mailing of the paper tickets is discontinued and replaced by a system that mirrors the early pass distribution.
    • Future ticket allocations whether by a lottery or open purchase system will be tied to the purchaser’s credit card credentials and a valid legal ID such a driver’s license, id card, or passport. Purchasers would be given 20 business days to assign their additional tickets to another valid ID, or allocate any of their tickets to the STEP program without a fee imposed.
    • All tickets are connected to an ID and transferable only by STEP or a modified version of it. This will eliminate any price tampering and profit for speculators.
    • After the 20 day grace period, participants will have their extra ticket(s) automatically reassigned via the STEP program. The initial purchaser will refunded all costs once the ticket is transferred.
    • Participants needing a ticket can sign up via the STEP program.
    • Tickets in the STEP program are sold to buyers first come first serve as the tickets become available.
    • The buyer pays face value of the original ticket and any fees.
    • Whether the buyer receives the ticket initially or through STEP, they will receive an email notification, or snail mail if email is not available for a $12 fee which will require a signature that they are a recipient of a ticket. In this document they will receive a confirmation number, the credit card used, the id information that will be required for entrance and a bar code. This is very closely mirrors the early entrance pass process.
    • Tickets will no longer be mailed out. The above mentioned email or snail mail document will be your pass for the event. When you arrive at the gate you must produce this document and the ID affiliated with it. The gate folks could even have tablets and or scanners so that they could do the verification at one’s vehicle.
    • When you arrive at the greeter’s station and receive your entrance package you will receive a facsimile of a ticket along with your sticker as a keepsake.
    This system would end profits for scalpers and counterfeiters. As an extra bonus the postage costs will be reduced, the need for staff to stuff ticket envelopes would be minimized, and we will save some trees. All ticket purchases are electronic, recorded, overseen by the burning man organization and most importantly of all the tickets will be in the possession of the actual participants of this event so that we can continue to create this amazing community for years to come.
    Thank you for reading this and please sign the petition and pass it on. Be the change you want to see in this community.
    Peace and Dusty Hugs.

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  304. DMT Says:



    The BM community has been FRACTURED; BMORG needs to mitigate this disaster NOW.

    Going forward in 2013 I’d suggest:

    1) Same price, all tickets
    2) One ticket per person
    3) Name imprinted on ticket
    4) Refunds/resale through BMORG *only* with handling fee
    5) Refunded tickets sold to those on waiting list (STEP or otherwise)
    6) Open sale all tickets at once online at the end of January
    7) Increase attendance cap to 60k (if possible with BLM)
    8) Hire professional traffic/security control

    Evolve or die.

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  305. DMT Says:

    And yes, you’ll have to eat the credit card transaction fees for all those scalper tickets sales/refunds this year.


    Report comment

  306. Ben Says:

    to all those angry posters – yes it’s natural to want to vent your frustrations, but please keep in mind, no one at the org made this decision with ill intent. So be gentle, yes offer up your opinions, voice your frustrations , but be respectful.

    I think it is not unreasonable to now request those who have won tickets need to assign names to them within a certain time frame, say April or May or even earlier. Once named, that ticket cannot be transferred, but can be cancelled for a refund in which case, the ticket will go to someone on a waiting list.

    This method does several things – forces the scalpers to sell them quick, or thier ticket is either refunded, or they get stuck with a named (but unusable ticket). It also allows scalpers to actually get a refund so that they don’t resort to other methods, cheating the system in another way, or hanging onto tickets hoping they can sell them later. They gambled with trying to cheat the system, but now that you’ve given them a way out, they may take it and run.

    Use the lottery registrants, those who didn’t win, to now use another random method to give you a place in a waiting list. As tickets are refunded, offer them to those on the waiting list in that order. Hey last years first come first served method seemed like a random draw, I logged in at the moment of the start of the sale and was several thousands spots in the back of the line already. When/if your spot in the waiting list comes up, you must be able to submit a non-transferable name at the time of your purchase…again with a refund option.

    This way, all ticket exchanges stay within bmorg control. I know it’s a lot of work, but I think we owe it to our community to put in this effort. It’s going to be a full time job for many folks for a while, but I’m assuming that’s what my service charge is paying for right?

    I don’t think it’s feasible to print everyone’s names on a ticket. but maybe send a letter with your physical ticket with a bm stamp of some sort including the ticket number and name. You must bring that letter and your ticket and they must match in order to get in, something like that.

    anyway, you’ve got lots of suggestions, I trust that you will be making the best decisions that you are able and I hope that everything works out. Thanks for all your efforts.

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  307. happybug Says:

    I appreciate that there is an official response, and I appreciate that the organization is looking for answers. However, it is difficult to see the comment about waiting to see how much redistribution will happen — it reflects a failure of the organization to see what is clear to most of us: most of the tickets are in the hands of scalpers. Standing by and waiting to see what happens won’t change this fundamental issue.

    Unfortunately, there are no easy paths forward, but two difficult ones: 1) accept that Burning Man will be broken this year, possibly enough to break it for good, or 2) recall and refund all tickets and start over with non-transferable tickets tied to an ID. Option 2 is hard now, good later – can’t say the same for option 1. The burners have made their vote known. We know you have the wherewithal to rise to challenge. We pray you will!

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  308. DMT Says:

    Names are EASILY printed on the tickets.

    And the situation needs to be resolved QUICKLY…like THIS MONTH. Reading this is just heartbreaking:


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  309. DMT Says:

    And no need to refund ALL tickets this year. Just the ones without names submitted by a deadline THIS MONTH.

    This will break the scalper’s stranglehold INSTANTLY. Negative ramifications include:

    1) Credit card transaction fees for the THOUSANDS of refunds
    2) Increased workload/overhead for BMORG
    3) New gate policies

    Professional traffic control, ticket verification at the entrance and gate security should really be implemented this year, not next.

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  310. Sparkle Pony Says:

    I am looking foward to this year to see the protest that will go onat the event. Alot of people have said to put the persons name on the ticket and I agree. Do we really need a ticket with the art work on it or would it be better to have a plain ticket with the persons name on it? All good things come to end. Looking for the big burn to end all burns.

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  311. U2pilot Says:

    Happybug, there is a third solution. See Ben just above you. Require names to be printed on tickets within a period of time, or refund the sale price. It’s a good approach because it doesn’t hurt the real burners who won in the lottery, and it returns the scalpers tickets to the the pool without giving them a basis to sue.

    One possible tweak — 2 tix in your name gets you and a guest in, provided they are in same vehicle.

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  312. U2pilot Says:

    Some observations:

    1) I personally found Maid Marian’s post to be encouraging for the most part, acknowledging that there are some real problems and that if theme camps largely disappear, the event is in very serious trouble. Finally, an indication they don’t really believe all of the problems are going to fix themselves. It’s a start.

    2) Nevertheless, nearly all of the comments are negative. Marian, your vague promises to do something in a couple of weeks, and a continuing claims that STEP is going to be effective, are clearly too little and too late to change perceptions that disaster is barreling towards us. You have lost trust of the vast majority of your customer base, and your blog post clearly did little to reclaim it. In short, waiting 2 weeks to see how things sort out may be a fatal mistake as the number of people pulling out accelerates.

    3) The secondary market confirms this lack of faith, where dozens of tickets have changed hands already on StubHub and the minimum price continues to climb. It’s gone from $625 to $640 in a day, and we’re just 7 tickets away from $663. What will the minimum be in 2 weeks? $800? $1000? Those buyers are the people who still believe in Burning Man, but not the Borg.

    4) It’s abundantly clear from the comments that virtually no one (including me) thinks STEP will solve any problems. Continuing to hang your hat on that, while the next ticket sale is almost 2 months away, does nothing to rebuild trust. I don’t think I’ve seen a single post where someone with extra tickets says they will be going into STEP. Only way to change that is names on tickets.

    5) To those who say “cancel the lottery,” there could be legal issues, but there’s another as well. Credit card processors charge roughly 2.5%, both coming and going. Giving back the money and then recollecting it will cost the Borg %5 of gross, or roughly $900,000. And anyone who has looked at the afterburn reports in past years will see they clearly don’t have that much cush in their budget. They really AREN’T making a lot of money. So, any start-over is going to mean an extra $15 in ticket costs.

    6) And for those who did play fair and won a $240 ticket, you want to take that away from them and give them a chance at a $350 ticket (assuming 1 price for everyone)? Oh, yeah, that’s certainly going to fly. Much like telling a PowerBall winner they aren’t going to get the money after all because the people who didn’t win don’t like the outcome, so the rules are being changed post-win. (I wish the rules had changed BEFORE the lottery results were announced.)

    6) 294 comments in 23 hours. Lot of talking, and I doubt much listening/reading. Including the Borg. Very few references to other people’s comments. I included a URL in my comment to a previous BLOG post, and 36 hours later it is still awaiting moderation. I wonder if almost everyone who took the time to write something on here (including me) is just engaging in mental masturbation.

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  313. Michael Gould Says:

    Wow 6 people out of my 60 regular campers in my Theme camp PLEASair got tickets and none of them were any of the main organizers of my camp, I don’t know if there is a way to plan on bringing our camp to the playa this year. We have been on the playa since 2005 with PLEASair. We are saddened by this years process it doesn’t seem that we can continue to grow and create with the uncertain amount of people, there has to be a better way!!! NON-TRANSFERABLE TICKETS. PLEASE COME UP WITH A WAY FOR THEME CAMPS TO BE ABLE TO CONTINUE TO BE THE CORE OF BURNING MAN

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  314. Sparkle Pony Says:

    Sorry to disappoint you U2pilot but I have read almost all of the posts. It is interesting reading. It is surprising to me how smart people who have run this for 25 years screwed it up so bad in just days. Oh well next year Yosemite looks real great. It has been a good run but time to try something else. I did get a ticket but have no desire to go through this crap again next year. Looking forward to a huge burn and many protests this year. Do you think Larry and Marian will actually show this year?

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  315. Eat the loss this year, and save Burning Man Says:

    If charging back everybody’s credit cards costs a 2.5% transaction fee twice, that’s 5% of the ticket price. OK, on a $390, top-tier ticket, we’re looking at eating what, twenty dollars?

    We’ll eat it, really. Make all tickets the same price, add twenty bucks to cover the expense of the lottery disaster, and do another sale with non-transferrable tickets.

    Even if Burning Man doesn’t make a profit this year, who cares? This is when Burning Man can give back to their community, show what the event organizers are really made of.


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  316. Geoff Says:

    Everyone who comes for early setup should get a voucher for the next year that ensures they can buy a ticket if they want it.

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  317. Some Seeing Eye Says:

    There has been a lot of speculation.

    I’m certain BM can organize past year databases of email addresses, CC numbers, billing addresses, names, theme camp data and cities to do “big data” analysis. That, particularly from pre-(mid)2011 scalper days, and with current private 2012 data which only they have, and which is and should remain private, will no doubt lead to a solution.

    Participants are critical, but the org has ample self interest in the transition to a non-profit, to preserve what makes BM great, the culture passed from year to year by theme camps and returnees in a reasonable proportion.

    The BLM and local communities are event population limiting, but I’m sure BM is informing them that their limits may kill their own golden goose.

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  318. huskyfan Says:


    should have happened years ago. an IPO. make BM a stockholder organization. like the Green Bay Packers. a community owned corporation. set a stock price. say $100. one person one share. individuals and theme camps could buy in. stockholders vote for an executive board of at least 15 people. yearly. everybody has input. the executive committee would then hire an administrator. who would go on to hire staff. ticket prices are set to cover expenses. any extra would be distributed to the stockholders. if the administrator or executive committee doesn’t perform, vote them out the next year. a true community of the Burn, for the Burn, by the Burn.

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  319. Rob Says:

    Everyone suggesting the ticket sale do-over or recall this year is not realistic. There are 40,000+ people that they would piss off if they did that. Just because most of us with tickets are quiet, doesn’t mean we aren’t burners that participate in BRC.

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  320. Double Jeopardy Says:

    Adding $20 to the ticket price on a do-over isn’t going to cover the cost of the class action lawsuit that the scalpers most certainly would file. This is about big money now. People fight to the death over much smaller things.

    We’re screwed.

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  321. 40,000 tickets = 15,000 burners +25,000 scalpers Says:

    i wouldn’t mind pissing off scalpers

    and the burners are the only one’s who would come back for the non-transferable ticket sale

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  322. Kali Kayei Says:

    Annul the lottery! Start over ….. Save our camps, neighborhoods, families, villages!

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  323. Laurie Stevens Says:

    We did everything you said, totally
    Above board…6 family members,
    Separate credit cards, only tix
    For ourselves, paying the highest
    amount possible…6 rejection
    notices. Where are the tickets
    going??? Go to first come/first
    serve non- transferrable tickets.
    A great summer with lots of
    planning already gone into it for a
    true family experience and
    celebrating 30 years of marriage
    plus five years out from cancer seems
    pretty much up in smoke.

    Boo, hoo for me and my family. It
    Is just too bad that so many
    devoted burners won’t be there…fiddler

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  324. Dogknee Says:

    After reading all of this I’m considering not going at all. I did receive notification for 2 tix which is all I needed. Now though, if the camps are to be so badly fragmented and the art projects won’t be available I don’t see the attraction this year. I enjoy just about everything at BM. But it sounds like a lot of the theme and art camps aren’t going to make it this year due to the ticketing issues.
    What a shame. I’m thinking that named non transferable tix isn’t such a bad idea but that doesn’t really increase anyones chance in receiving a ticket. First come first serve was really the best way to go. It was the fairest for the attendees. If you wanted to go bad enough you’d find a way to get online when tix sales opened.

    As the tix prices increase, its only a matter of time till it exceeds my funding which looks like in a year or two. I won’t go above 300 a ticket. Let someone else with money enjoy it like I did.

    So be careful BMORG. This year could fold before it starts if the theme and art camps throw in the towel for this year.

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  325. Jim Firewalker Says:

    I agree with the recent post that a recall of the fiasco created by the lotto is impractical. I also believe that the problems with the theme camps are a symtom of a lack of intelligent foresight which may or may not be corrected in the future. Community has taken 2nd place to profit and priviledge this year. What we have observed is not singular to this event, it is occuring throughout our society if one looks.

    I will forever be grateful for the 2009–>2011 burns. They showed me how beautiful people can be. The organization provided an umbrella allowing us to find our way in interacting. It is time for us to spread our wings and create our own events. We all have choice!

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  326. Captain Lanky Says:

    I think most people are not clearly getting the underlying theme here…

    Demand FAR outstrips supply. Period. Scalpers, lottery, unicorns and shirt cockers are not to blame. We’ve have outgrown our britches and now it hurts to watch our baby all grown up in front of our eyes.

    Sure the scalpers have some and the ORG can do a much better job at distribution. But I doubt the scalpers are hanging onto 20-30k of tix. The question for our camp and most others, what do we do now? And none of us have the answer yet. Just watched a few BM videos to remind myself why I feel so hurt. The playa is such a special place and if you are reading this, it’s special to you too.

    Peace and love. Hope to see you out on the playa.

    Capt. Lanky

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  327. Burny from Barbie Death Says:

    Would this solve the issue?

    Tickets non transferable
    One ticket per person
    Name is printed on the ticket
    Photo ID to be shown with the ticket at the gate.

    Sorry I know its Brutal….

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  328. Fire Tigerlily Says:

    Well, I for one don’t see why they should re-do the ticket sale/lottery just to make long time Burners happy. It will all work out one way or another without bankrupting the BORG and who are we to say it won’t be what’s meant to be…Playadipity….

    I think the demand for tickets goes up about 5% every year (maybe less in economically hard times like now) and even if it eventually sells out it wouldn’t be for a while without the scalpers speculating on them…..the tickets didn’t sell out until July last year-not that many “virgin” Burners would have known about the January/February purchase date, or even planned that far ahead. I think when the scalpers get their tickets in hand they are going to be up on eBay again.

    This isn’t the end of the world, however. I’ve watched Phish Shows at the Gorge in E. Washington sell out in under 10 minutes (50,000 tickets) and watched scalpers put them up on eBay for Months, as the price slowly comes down because certain people (Phish followers, Deadheads and probably Burning Man attendees) refuse to pay Scalper’s prices based on principle. When 5 of us showed up at the Gorge without any tickets for 3 nights’ shows, we had to pay a fraction of the original price for our tickets to the scalpers who at that point wanted to re-coup some of their money even at dirt cheap prices (one night someone stood outside and passed out free tickets-we got 5 tickets that originally cost $450!!). I imagine that will happen with a lot Burning Man tickets at the end as well.

    However, I do want to acknowledge that for a concert you just show up at the venue and all of the entertainment is provided for you. There is no advance planning needed other than personal camping supplies. However, with Burning Man you need months to get ready and to gather everything you are going to gift and in our case, put your camp together, get it out there, etc. . You can’t just get the (finally cheap) tickets a week before that event and just show up and BRING IT – the great theme camps and art and all. We ARE the city!

    I think that they should just plan on things being a lot more low-key this year. People who are usually slaving over a big theme camp should just focus more on community this year. It’s very possible that with the world spinning as wildly out of control as it seems to be lately, the community is going to take presidence over a bunch of “great stuff” and “flashy art” anyway-who knows-this might be a blessing in disguise… The first gatherings didn’t include these huge theme camps and giant art. It’s not a huge deal if everything is totally scaled down this year, is it? (At least not to us-the newbies who have been hearing the legend of Burning Man will be the only ones disappointed….if they are just there for the glitz this will winnow them out!)

    I think if I get one of those cheap tickets at the end I’ll have a good time hanging out in a non-theme camp, maybe with a bunch of new friends, and if I don’t get one, I’ll have a great time hanging out at a smaller regional with a bunch of my favorite Burner Peeps that also got shut out!).

    Let’s just do our best to move on and see what happens. I know some people from our theme camp, after initial anger, are kind of relieved to take it easy this year. Some are going to Cancun instead; others are going camping in the woods with a bunch of friends. We are (growing used to and becoming secretly relieved) not to have to spend inordinate amounts of time and money to bring out the “Big Guns” .

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  329. Jonathan Says:

    I believe in the community, we can overcome these growing pains together!

    Please *click like* if you agree, maybe BM will notice if enough people like :-)

    #1 Let’s turn it around on the scalpers. Tickets that have been sold must be registered with a name & photo IMMEDIATELY, tickets that are not registered or returned in the next 2 weeks are NON-refundable. Scalpers either have to come to the event or they lose their money! Use that extra $ to implement item’s #2, #3, #4. All remaining tickets must be registered to an name/id & are non-transferable except if sold back to BM.

    #2 Regarding having to show ID at the gate, isn’t it HIGH TIME WE HAVE 2 ENTRANCES! In fact, why not have 4 gates? Northeast, North West, South East, & South West, pick the gates that gets you going where you are going fastest. That way showing ID doesn’t slow down entry & exodus. Evidently the real bottle neck are the towns of Empire & Gerlach, which is why we also need to implement #3 & #4.

    #3 Implement a loyalty program ASAP, with 3 levels of loyalty, & provide the people/camps who have consistently contributed the most to BM with earlier access to the event & first access to tickets. Staggering entry over several days will also prevent gate issues. Huge camps that provide major installments/art cars etc can come 1 week EARLY & have first shot at a certain amount of tickets, perhaps 3,000, large camps that contribute slightly less can come 4 days EARLY & have next shot at another 3,000 tickets, small camps that contribute more than the average camp can come 2 days EARLY & have a shot at 2,000 tickets, that way entry isn’t all at once!

    #4 Regarding exodus, don’t kick people out on Monday! Stagger the exit over several days. Encourage the community to schedule small events after the Temple Burn, on Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday, to keep more people sticking around so everyone doesn’t leave at once, this can become a whole new tradition. Let’s keep the event growing & evolving beyond it’s normally confines because honestly, we all know 1 week is not enough.

    #5 BM leadership should (& I believe is) working on getting a larger permit for more people.

    #6 BM leadership should consider buying the land from the government, the government really needs the money because they are bankrupt (morally & financially.) Zing! Or lease the land. Whatever it takes to have more control & more freedom to provide access.

    #7 Time to create even more BM sanctioned events all over the country! Each one inspired by a natural setting of vast wilderness & BM’s ethos/10 guidelines.

    Comments & feedback welcome!

    PLEASE do NOT buy overpriced tickets, we can solve this together! :-)

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  330. truelove Says:


    I reflect back to the furore at your original announcement of the lottery. In particular I recall someone that works with Paul Oakenfold sharing her experience and wisdom on the blog, and among the chorus of dissent telling you the foolishness of your plan.

    I think it is sensible to see how the dust settles over the next few days and what the numbers look like, but from our camp and the majority of the voices above it sounds like more than half have been unsuccessful. Which begs the question: who has all the tickets?!

    Have scalpers, professional and part-time, really invested, say, $7,500,000?
    If so, what a beautiful opportunity to deny their greed!

    I am sure everyone would be interested to see the results of the survey one had to take before submitting one’s application, albeit that scalpers likely won’t have been honest, at least the ‘what do you think…?’ field will be instructive (for the record, I said I thought you guys were insane, or whatever the wording was)

    As I said on Tuesday, and which the general consensus seems to support, NON-TRANSFERABLE can be the only way forward. (84 of the 306 posts above actually use the exact term)

    People even seem to think it is feasible this year to apply the principle retroactively, to which I say great! (And if you’re worried, I guarantee the Burner community has a huge number of badass attorneys willing and able to advise you – just ask!)

    Granted, it sucks on a civil liberties level, and I am sure the thought of needing photo ID especially sticks in the craw of the SF veterans, (as much as it does me, who was fortunate enough to attend the last couple of Stonehenge Free Festivals) but there is a seriously greater good at stake here (the integrity of the festival no less), and let’s face it, The Man already knows you attend the festival anyway (even though soberly dressed, I was challenged by an immigration officer at LAX last year to establish if I would be attending BM – he might have been a burner I guess…)

    As said above (numerous times), this time listen to your community!!!! We know our shit!

    Truelove out

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  331. Fire Tigerlily Says:

    Finally, just to be a dissenting voice-I don’t see how “non-transferrable” can work out for many people. For example, let’s say you are dating someone and you bought him or her a ticket, and the whole relationship blows up in your face before Burning Man. If you bought the tickets, and have all the camping equipment and know that person would NEVER go without you, do you just have to eat the cost of the ticket? What about the person who finds out they are pregnant a week after registering the tickets (I hung out with someone who was pregnant in 2007-she was miserable and she and her boyfriend nearly broke up over her misery). What about people who buy the tickets in the hopes they can get off from work, and then can’t (9 months is a long time away) What about people with the onset of health problems, family members with health problems, emergencies at the last minute? I know we want to hurt the scalpers, but I don’t think punishing all of these other people is worth it.

    Instead of ordering the Borg to change something, we should probably just work on ourselves. Lower our expectations, resolve to focus on building community as opposed to big flashy blinky sound camps, and refuse to buy scalped tickets off eBay ( be sure to talk up the miserable weather and destructive forces of nature and the more negative aspects such as dehydration and the noise and the onset of irreparable relationship damaging issues to newbies so they don’t want to buy them for $1000 off eBay either (LOL)

    Finally-if you really MUST go-volunteer to work for a few weeks with the DPW!!

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  332. creo Says:

    Dear BMorg,

    I’m saddened that you think so little of our long-term friendship. I’m disappointed that you don’t seem to remember me. I’m the guy who’s sent you his credit card number and mailing address for the past 12 years (don’t you keep records?). You’ve asked me to volunteer and I have. You can find my name on past signup lists here or there. You’ve asked me to participate and I have. I’ve worked on art cars and a major installation or two. You’ve asked me to contribute and I have. I bring my own art every year and gift it in the spirit you intend. You’ve asked me to be a productive part of the community and I have. I’ve assisted in more than one medical emergency. I’ve always picked up my moop and the moop of others. I’ve never started the smallest of arguments or stolen one of your precious street signs. I’ve also conscientiously filled out your survey every year and because of that survey, you know why I’m drawn back Home. I’ve told you repeatedly, it’s not the music, naked bodies, drugs, alcohol or art. It’s my extended BM family. The annual Playa reunion is a bigger deal to me than Christmas or Thanksgiving. I can’t wait to embrace my loved ones. Thanks for F-ing that up.

    The ticket success rate for our small camp of 30, isn’t even at 20%. The frustration that’s being expressed on various web sites and message boards is astounding. I suspect that many long time Burners won’t be going home and that worries me a great deal. Imagine an infrastructure so weak that the Man, the Temple or any other large structure is erected with the best intent but less than safe execution. Imagine the larger camps not being cohesive and the smaller camps non-existent. Many aspiring art projects are not there. The sound camps are understaffed. Now….. combine that with an influx of virgins who think BM is a rave that makes me VERY nervous and could be a recipe for dangerous times. Without the community of experienced Burners, who’s going to keep the insanity in check?

    The overwhelming feeling, energy, vibe will be emptiness because our families have been fractured. I’ll wait patiently to see if you can make amends for the ticket fiasco and if my camp population improves. If it does not then I will flat-out gift my 2 tickets to someone locally who will report back to me with a two thousand word essay about BM 2012. I’m done.

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  333. Papatua Says:

    Lots of good suggestions here about NON-TRANSFERABLE TICKETS.

    A way to save money for the Borg:

    Don’t bother considering how to get names/ticket numbers on the fancy tickets you always make, instead hand those fancies as keepsake ‘gifts’ when participants arrive on the playa and present a valid ID-based ticket. They give you their ‘created in the default world’ plain ticket and once they’re validated, you hand them their REAL ticket. It’s just art, but neatly symbolic and secure.

    The ID based ticket could be *very cheap* think a simple letter with a barcode or some other easily-created-for-ticketing method… perhaps its even a PDF with a barcode that the participant can print out at home on there own, not unlike early arrival.


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  334. Cleulady Says:

    As anyone with a clue will tell you, Cleu camp has been located on the outer rim at 3:45, and we’ve had an playa art installation for over 10 years. Right now, only 2 of the 12 Cleu campers have tickets. What will happen to all the dusty pilgrims looking for a clue if there is no Cleu camp to be found? Seriously, we are one of the hardest working camps in Black Rock City and a small oasis in a neighborhood of long-time Burners. For me, it is the continuity of our culture created over time that makes Black Rock City the most beautiful city in the world. A new ticketing system should prioritize people who have made this event a priority in their own lives and who have taken the time to welcome and educate first-timers. It may not be easy to devise a fix, but you should act to reward commitment.

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  335. There are alternatives to fighting Says:

    I know we all want an oompa-loompa NOW, but what if we just can’t have one this year?

    Let the scalpers have their tickets. Forget them.

    Juplaya is still wide open. It’s good any year, but might be fantastic this time, with so many core burners looking for a creative and legal place to build and destroy dangerous art.

    It’s new and dangerous and different on the playa with nobody holding your hand. Scarier. And possibly, a lot more fun. Fun that hasn’t been allowed at Burning Man for so long we’ve forgotten it.

    Ever wish you had been at Burning Man in the beginning days?

    Like a hurricane spawning an inner eyewall when the existing eye has grown too large, we may be witnessing the rebirth of Burning Man as something new and wild and free.

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  336. DMT Says:

    Non-transferable does NOT mean non-refundable, Fire Tigerlily (and others). Please read fully what others have suggested in considerable detail and various permutations. But the core concept is simple:



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  337. Gatz! Says:

    Two tickets tiers:

    One (cheaper, plentiful) for entry >Tuesday only

    Another ($pendy, limited) for entry <Tuesday

    This would keep the weekend tourists from snapping up the bulk of tix, maybe. Things suddenly feel pretty crowded on Friday…

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  338. Gninja Says:

    Put names on the tickets. Send an email to the lottery “winners” requesting the names that will go on the already sold tickets. If no name is provided within 10 days, the order gets cancelled & refunded. Don’t screw the Burners who already have tickets. Screw the scalpers instead!

    I can’t imagine it could take any longer to present ID along with my ticket at the gate, but if it really would: Double the amount of gate staff and entry lanes for the opening 12-18 hours. Heck, I’ll be happy to come down a day early to help at the gate. I’ve volunteered tons of hours for all kinds of things in my 11 years at BRC and have no problem using a few more vacation days to make this happen.

    Give theme camps & art projects some kind of priority for part of the March general sale tickets. BRC is going to suck without ‘em!

    Require names for tickets going in the general sale. Non transferrable, but returnable to the B’org for face value only, to be resold to Burners. No more scalpers.

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  339. Al Says:

    I did not get a ticket. I miss the old days when u could walk up to the gate and buy a ticket. It’s really very simple if the organizers really care! Last time I saw Tom Waits in Jacksonville it was all done via paperless tickets. You purchased online and showed up with your credit card and photo ID. The scan was effortless. No hassle whatsoever. Didn’t even have to worry about receiving a ticket in the mail or losing one. Maybe this solution is just to simple.

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  340. Nadine Silver Says:

    I’m a member of a group of sculptors who gift our art every year. Last year we all got tickets but this year only three did. I do not believe this has happened due to a population explosion. It’s the result of gross mismanagement of the tickets by you. Why don’t you introduce tickets with names or photos and be done with it. We would much prefer that to the heartache you’ve caused by ripping our community apart.

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  341. Wrath Says:

    I think the idea of non-transferable tickets is insanity.

    So when I find out I can’t go three weeks before the city opens I can’t give my ticket to someone else?

    Report comment

  342. Sparkle Pony Says:


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  343. U2pilot Says:

    Sparkle Pony, your caps-lock seems stuck, but your logic is spot-on. At the same time, I think they could require names to associate with tickets, and provide refunds to those who don’t provide names.

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  344. Donna Says:

    Thanks for at least considering this ticket debacle. This year’s system is just wrong. For 8+ years my partner & I registered for 2 tickets each and got them easily. We kept 2 and gave the other 2 to someone else in our group who missed the sale. This year, out of our group of 15 who attend, we have 4 tickets. One lucky recipient got notice that – for a fee – he could turn the tickets back in to be re-sold. The re-sale charge will further encourage ticket-holders to sell on e-bay, etc, where there is no re-sale charge AND they can ask a higher price.

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  345. U2pilot Says:

    Donna, are you sure about the turn-back-in-for-a-fee notice? No one else has reported getting that. No one I know who got a ticket got that kind of notice, and it contradicts the Blog listing at the top of this page wherein they say they are going to wait a while and see how things sort out.

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  346. huskyfan Says:

    hmmm. some of the above posts got me wondering …

    what if it isn’t scalpers, Birgins, spectators, etc … what if its an old fashioned computer glitch? several, me included, sent in 1 request and got 2-3 rejections. hope BMorg is checking this.

    what if there are no scalpers its just a giant sellout?

    what if BMorg staged this to drive publicity?

    I *heart* transparency.

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  347. Leo Says:

    What is so difficult about the BMORG admitting that they made a mistake and offering us an apology? I can’t believe that they would ignore all of the comments here and on eplaya. They need damage control ASAP. BMORG, show some balls (or ovaries) and admit that we have a serious problem here. Your silence is doing nothing to help you credibility.

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  348. Wrath Says:

    re: alternatives

    …and when Juplaya blows up? When BLM wants the playa regulated then too?

    I’VE GOT IT!

    Let’s have a lottery to decided who gets to go!

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  349. simoneski Says:

    U2pilot, I think you are wrong about people not reading the posts, I have read every post. It sounds like a good year to go somewhere that we have never gone before, I’m thinking Africa, and hey it will be cheaper than a scalped ticket. Going to a regional won’t work for us, we live in Tahoe, BRC is our region. Sure hope this isn’t the end.

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  350. Noah Says:


    No. 17. This ticket is a revocable license that may be revoked by Burning Man for any reason.

    Doesn’t this indemnify the BORG against litigation, if they decide to require ticket registration and/or issue a recall?

    Report comment

  351. simoneski Says:

    Huskyfan, Like you, my partner and I both got 2 rejection emails each and many friends told me the same…..you could be right about a computer glitch.

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  352. huskyfan Says:

    did anyone send in 1 request and get 2 or 3 acceptance?

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  353. splinter Says:

    hey folks, scale back on the Will Call scenario for all tickets, it is inefficient and one more needless bureaucratic step. I tried it a couple of years ago when there wasn’t the complicated mess we seem to have this year and it was bad. Too many people in line, too much difficulty in vehicle movement blah blah blah. if ID’s need to be checked it should be a gated function when tickets are torn instead of a separate process that may require people to get out of their vehicles.

    Also, in addition to the lottery snafu, they have also changed the process for low income tickets that require applicants to give potentially sensitive personal information as a pre-requisite for qualifying for a LI ticket. This exposes people to an unneccesary risk that, in light of other management issues, may not be adequately protected from prying eyes. BMorg also assumes that everyone wants to pay via credit card when, at least for me and likely for others, a money order is a preferable way to pay.

    Venting about all the other issues has been addressed by other frustrated burners and they apply to me as well so no duplication.

    Geeeez, did it have to come to this??? Isn’t there something ’bout, if it ain’t broke (too bad), then don’t fix it????

    oh yeah participate, don’t spectate!

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  354. DawnL Says:

    As I sit here and think about Burning Man, I recall WEEKS it took to clean Playa dust off everything I owned, how some outfits FOREVER will be marking in a tote in my clostet “Burning Man” never able to see the real world for no one would understand, I ask WHY? WHY was I willing to PAY to go sit in the desert for a week NO water but what I brought, no food no a/c dust white outs, hair that I dare NEVER show the outside world from the dust collected in it . . . WHY did I want to PAY for that?


    FREEDOM to be WHO I wanted NEVER judged and smiled at regardless if all I wore was a pair of knee high platforms and paint . . . I was HOME and for THAT I would pay . .

    So WHY has Burning Man turned into this?

    Reading the posts and seeing the chances of what it may become makes me thing my home is gone and may once again be that outcast in this world looking for home . . .

    THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. . . So where will it be now with no tickets and no Burning Man as I grew to LOVE it

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  355. Dawn L Says:

    As I sit here and think about Burning Man, I recall WEEKS it took to clean Playa dust off everything I owned, how some outfits FOREVER will be marking in a tote in my clostet “Burning Man” never able to see the real world for no one would understand, I ask WHY? WHY was I willing to PAY to go sit in the desert for a week NO water but what I brought, no food no a/c dust white outs, hair that I dare NEVER show the outside world from the dust collected in it . . . WHY did I want to PAY for that?


    FREEDOM to be WHO I wanted NEVER judged and smiled at regardless if all I wore was a pair of knee high platforms and paint . . . I was HOME and for THAT I would pay . .

    So WHY has Burning Man turned into this?

    Reading the posts and seeing the chances of what it may become makes me think my home is gone and I may once again be that outcast in this world looking for home . . .

    THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME. . . So where will it be now with no tickets and no Burning Man as I grew to LOVE it

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  356. Traveler Says:

    1) Lottery can’t be recalled. It’s a legal binding contract at this point.

    2) You can’t require a name on the tickets at this point. See item 1) To do so would be changing the conditions of the contract, after a sale. Don’t believe me, buy a car from me, after I tell you it’s not for resale at any price, you’ll find an attorney that will prove to me differently.

    3) Giving the next 10,000 tickets to theme camps and their captains to distribute them will ONLY “help” but not FIX this debacle. There are still lots of contributors who need tix that aren’t affiliated with a camp. You CAN make these new tix require a name because the contract hasn’t been done yet (see item 1 above). That still leaves us with 32% virgins or 17.8% of existing tickets being held by scalpers to sell to f-tard tourists.

    4) Best solution is for BLM to allow 75,000 tickets to be SOLD – remaining 30,000 – name required, system will self correct, attendance will be 65.7K this year. Exodus will be 8-14 hours, entry will be 8-11 hours. Chance of BLM doing this is 5.8%

    5) We’re basically screwed. See you at other festivals. :)

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  357. waynerd Says:

    I’m a newb so forgive me if I’m way off base. But as I understand the problems with ticket sales in previous years was based on system crashes and scalpers.

    Would it not be possible to disperse the tickets for a year’s event in tiered intervals? You’ve already set up the tiered system. Have 1/4 or even half of the tickets available presale in January to “previous attendees only” and perhaps theme camps etc for say $300. That way people that go year after year and have camps to plan can get the ticket BS out of the way and concentrate on their art.

    Then a month or so later have a general sale for almost all remaining tickets at about $250 minus 5000 or 10,000 tickets. Leave the sale of the very last tickets to say mid July for the late comers (perhaps at a higher price than $300 (thats what you get for procrastinating ;). Now tell me, what scalper is going to try and get tickets early on if he knows he’ll potentially be stuck with them until AFTER the late comer sale is done and the event is approaching? It would be a risky gamble for those scumbags.

    Now you have the dedicated long time burners able to get their tix early, room for the rest of us on a first come basis to get the rest either in the general sale or the late comers sale. It’s not like you’re NOT going to sell the rest.

    Anyway, just my idea, or NON TRANSFERABLE is totally agreeable too. Two cents from a burgin who was blessed to get a (one) ticket. I look forward to seeing many of you there.

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  358. G Says:

    If the huge demand spike is indeed scalpers, which I think the reported success rate of numerous camps is indicative of, they apparently don’t realize in this case they are not taking advantage of spectators to a show, but in fact are taking advantage of the producers of the show, and wrecking it. This is a participatory event. As such they are destroying the event in ways that are impossible do to to a spectator event.

    One thing I don’t quite get is that BMORG could have looked at the numbers, and realized how this would fragment the organized camps before going ahead and rewarding tickets. They could have blown the whistle and declared a re-think and a re-set. That ship has sailed, making constructive remedies about 100% more difficult. I only hope this year’s BM won’t be a mix of dedicated attendees, and hugely diminished participatory camps and art, and hordes of well monied people in huge RV’s with extravagantly priced scalped tickets who are wondering why the event is so uninspiring and not what it was cracked up to be.

    One thing that amazes me in all of this is how many people are so motivated to direct anger blame at BMORG. It is a useless thing to do, even if they are somehow stupid, or unethical, or arrogant, or profit motivated, which I don’t think they are.

    I have compassion for BMORG. I have innocently / stupidly made some ugly mistakes in my life too, so who am I to cast stones? Fuck, are they in a really ugly disastrous place to be right now. Good luck Maid Marion & co. ! Here is hoping you can conjure up some playa ingenuity, creativity, and community spirit to remedy this unfortunate turn of events.

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  359. Kali Kayei Says:

    I say DO OVER! Save our camps, neighborhoods, families, and villages! For anyone interested, there is a Burning Man Lottery Recall petition that you can find if you google it.

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  360. We are altering the deal. Pray we do not alter it further. Says:

    What’s our exposure if we refund the lottery?

    Say there’s a class action and the class prevails? What law would we be breaking, and what’s the penalty?

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  361. Creageous Cat Says:

    Hoo Boy… I don’t envy the trolls who have to wade through all this and make a decision. I was think I would return to BM this year, but after reading all this it seems doubtful. I agree that if something drastic is not done then the event will suffer dramatically.

    Here’s what I like from what other people said:

    1. Cancel all lottery orders and refund the money and start fresh.
    2. Sell more tickets.

    IMHO…. 500,000 tickets at $25 each.

    If woodstock can do it so can we.

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  362. Saul Good Says:

    WE NEED AN IMMEDIATE FIX FOR THIS YEAR. There is NO WAY that redistribution of any substantial amount will happen in two weeks- this is wishful thinking. Too many friends and family have too much personally invested in THIS YEAR’s event- so chalking this year up to an “experiment” would be simply callous.

    Here’s a proposal for immediate action that preserves the lottery result, will not impair revenue, involves no special judgements of deservedness, but should allow a pool of tickets to become QUICKLY available to legitimate participants with commitments to attend this year:

    -Allow all current lottery winners to exchange their current tickets for non-transferable (name-assigned) tickets, or elect to receive a full refund. The window for this exchange shall be ONE MONTH. those that have not elected for the exchange shall receive a full refund by default.

    -After the exchange period, hold an open sale for non-transferable tickets. Once all tickets are sold, buyers will be put on a WAIT LIST in order of purchase. Buyers will know where they are in the wait list.

    -Name-assigned tickets can be partially refunded, up to three weeks before the event. Spots arising from refunded tickets will be allocated to the wait list, in order.

    SAVE OUR CITY. This is a crisis, make no mistake. Quick, decisive, corrective action is needed to avoid dealing a death-blow to the collective morale. It can be done.

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  363. 666isMONEY Says:

    This video went viral a few days before the lottery, it has almost 1.3-million views:

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  364. Ian Denchasy Says:

    Regarding the ticket fiasco…

    Here’s an idea. Why don’t all us veteran Burners (I guess eleven times qualifies me) give up our tickets to newbies only. Wait, before you jump all over me, hear me out…

    First, what makes us think we’ve got some sort of “right” to going to Burning Man simply because we’ve gone a whole bunch of times? I might argue the EXACT OPPOSITE, that it’s because so many of us now have a hold on the place it’s become STALE and PREDICTABLE. Same sound and theme camps year after year, getting larger and larger. Ever more elaborate parties, giant art installations, art cars that cost thousands and thousands of dollars to put together, everyone now cramped together and monitored by hundreds of cops from every municipal, state, and federal level, etc. I mean, people bitching because their favorite DJ didn’t come? Please. At what point did Burning Man transform from a funky happening in the desert based around giving to a giant organized party of pissed off people who can’t go? Here’s some “radical self reliance” ideas that might shake things up for the better…

    1. Give first crack at tickets to BRC to newbies ONLY and take it back old school. After all, the first Burners had no clue what to do or what they were getting into and seemed to figure it out just fine. There were no giant theme camps in 1991. No art cars. No bacon camps. And yet, if you talk to any really old timer, they’ll to a person say those were the BEST TIMES BURNING MAN EVER HAD! Transform the playa back into “testing ground,” so to speak, where people are thrown together to see what comes out. Get rid of the storage sheds for established camps and truly make attendees pack it in and pack it ALL out. This will insure not only that new blood will bring fresh perspectives and cool new ideas, but also take things back a notch in scale. Am I the only one who thinks it’s stupid that an art car has to undergo some judgement before it’s allowed to cruise around? They need to be FUNKIER, not carry more partiers and blind everyone with their lighting systems and make everyone go deaf from their woofers!

    2. Ban RV’s over a certain size limit or altogether. I admit to bringing an RV myself and it’s undoubtedly nice to have a cocoon into which we can retreat when the dust storms hit. However, they also encourage separation, suck down massive amounts of fuel to get there, run noisy generators for A/C and the like, and take up tons of SPACE (which means the city has to constantly be enlarged to accommodate all these vehicles). Let’s see how many people would show up if they have to build structures to withstand the elements or sleep in their cramped cars. Want to REALLY weed out the fakers and the takers? Remove the porta potties and see how many people can stick out a week in their own shit.

    3. Harness the power of veteran Burners and help us establish a more powerful regional presence. The DoLab model for LIB is a pretty damned good example of Burners taking the spirit and transferring it to the default world. 10,000 people only have to drive an hour or less from most SoCal locations to get to it and it really captures the spirit of Burning Man quite well. Shit, there’s a huge desert less than two hours from Los Angeles with all the land we need to put together events of virtually ANY size. Just up Highway 5 is some of the most beautiful mountain countryside no one here uses. Grab some tents, a good PA system, some food, and throw a party. My fellow Burning Man Veterans, what are we afraid of?

    4. Finally, since the panic over tickets seems to revolve around the scalpers and inefficient lottery system, put in a system next year that makes each ticket purchaser have to show ID to match a name on the ticket. Can’t make it? Well, it goes back into an exchange and the opportunity to buy it goes to a waiting list (if there is one). Right now, I’d argue there’s an ARTIFICIAL shortage that’s exaggerated due to everyone panicking. No matter what we do at this point, we can’t thwart the scalpers if BMORG doesn’t start the whole thing over, so treat this year’s fiasco as a learning experience and make changes. Throw money at this problem and it should be solved easily (heck, lots of Burners in the tech industry).

    Anyway, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and have already passed on my FOUR confirmations to some friends who haven’t gone yet (so no need to e-mail me begging for them). I’m going to head to the former Mayor of Kidsville’s (Lora Green and her husband, Gordy) Arizona property and try to get something cool going during that week you are all at TTITD. Want to join us? Send a message. Peace out!

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  365. 8C Says:

    I agree with what all of you are saying. I am still a newbie to the MAN, and will be on my second year. But I attend with 50 other Sparrows that have been going for years and they didn’t get tickets…. Yet… I am trying to stay positive, hoping that the Org will make this better.
    I dont understand why names/non-transferable tickets weren’t put into action a long time ago. Especially with everyone talking about the server crashing and all. I have no problem putting my info and my spouses info on our plane tickets, whats the difference? I also think that there should be some sort of priority to those that need to keep their camps alive. If only 8-10 of us have gotten tickets so far how will the camp be a camp? This all being said, all of the chatter about F*** Burning man or petitions to return tickets and have no one actually go, is in my opinion the exact opposite of the symbolism of Burning Man. Stick together, heads high, optimism, voice your opinions, maybe having this little experiment fail, is what they need to get it right.

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  366. K B Says:

    Why not set tickets aside for artists and theme camps???
    Sorry, but the creativity/effort/time and -hey- money invested is the main thing that makes Burning Man such an amazing experience. Why NOT give priority here?! While some (not contributing in these areas) argue that this is entitlement and not ‘fair’, it seems viable that this, paired with the quest for tickets, could engender more creative contribution. More participation, less lip-service. I (and many other Playa artists) would love to see more of the attending community actively involved. Even for the ‘wrong’ reasons, an incentive to create and contribute.

    I echo the non-transferable tickets suggestion.

    Here’s a suggestion to deal with the RV plague – require each vehicle to have a ticket. Get folks to make a choice. Bring the tin can. Or a beloved/ friend, and come up with a more neighborhood-and-aesthetics-friendly living setup. Add a week of desert..voila, radical self-reliance.

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  367. RJ Says:

    Have fun fire dancing for a bunch of rich fucks. The spirit of Burning Man has withered and died.

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  368. Betty Says:

    Sign this if you agree…


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  369. Noodel Says:

    Funny the only thing that has changed pre and post lottery is people are more upset. The thread was eerily close to the same “Don’t do the lottery, do non-transferable tickets” Burners are trying to help you BMorg. We all know it was a bad call, apologize for it and take what we are saying seriously. Go with our suggestion and show us what it is going to take to implement it. We know non-transferrable tickets is not going to be an easy process but I am sure you will find more than enough people willing to help. I just don’t see the “Community” in ignoring awesome suggestions.


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  370. Noah Says:

    On the Burning Man Terms and Conditions site:

    “17. This ticket is a revocable license that may be revoked by Burning Man for any reason.”

    Does this indemnify the Borg from litigation if they were to issue a recall or make sold tickets non-transferable?

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  371. Lazlo Says:

    My thoughts on the ticket SNAFU

    My fiancé and I were “lucky” if you can call it that… My request for 2 tickets was granted at the $390.00 tier.

    This will be my thirteenth burn in a row, and my fiancé’s seventh in a row. We got engaged on the Playa (on the Man!) in 2007. I’m a participant, as opposed to a “spectator.” I’ve been a part of large scale music camps, small scale (but cool) art projects and several theme camps. I bring a small art car and give rides to anyone who asks. I’ve gifted literally thousands of dollars worth of custom made trinkets as a way of thanking my burner brethren for their participation. And every single day, I wear (proudly) one of the two burner necklaces I received in 2004 from Liquid Diet Lounge. (Gave the other one away, as instructed, to someone who “wasn’t an asshole”). I’ve been responsible for countless virgin burners deciding to go, getting there, and getting through the event. I truly cherish the core ethos of Burning Man, the freedom to express oneself without conventional boundaries. Being among those who appreciate and participate in such an event is awe inspiring and rejuvenating. That’s why I’ve been back every year since I first rang the bell in 2000.

    Its also why I’m heartbroken at what has happened this year with the ticketing situation and its probable impact on both the event and – more importantly – the community. There is a lot of confusion, anger and pain out there. Its palpable and its legitimate.

    Our core group of burner friends and camp-mates played by the rules, and of the 12 of us who applied, only 4 got tickets. I doubt any of the four of us that got them will actually go unless something miraculous happens for a majority of the other eight.

    What hurts isn’t that there hasn’t been some sort of profuse apology from the Org, as so many apparently demand. What hurts is that anyone who is smart enough to be in charge of such an event should have seen this coming a mile away. When the lottery was first announced, there was an almost universal antipathy from the community. Many people, presciently, pointed out that scammers and scalpers could and would easily game the system. I personally sent a letter to the LLC last November explaining numerous ways that the system could be gamed and provided several methods (legal and technical) to prevent them – including linking tickets to IDs. I never heard back. Others tried to warn them too, directly and through social media. But the Org decided they knew better and asked us all to trust them…we really had no choice….
    And so here we are.

    Its important to realize that this is not a virgins versus long time burners issue. Yes, its important that the large scale camps have sufficient manpower to build their projects. But I don’t think there is something that makes a long time burner more deserving of a ticket than a virgin. We were all virgins once. The event needs a constant flow of new people and fresh ideas to remain vibrant. So I hope my long time burner brethren will stop bashing the virgins simply because they were lucky enough to score a ticket.

    I do not think it particularly “burneresque” for people to cast personal aspersions. I don’t – for a second – believe there was any overt intention from the Org to screw over our community. They did what they thought was the right thing to do. Hindsight is always 20-20. I appreciate and believe Maid Marian’s statement that the Org is going to take a long hard look at their options. I’ve been fortunate to have met Marian and I am certain that she is as heartbroken and concerned as I am, if not more so. So I do not approve of people attacking her for her press release.

    I will say that I think it was incredibly naive of those who set up the lottery to believe that scalpers – who due to the supply/demand situation could potentially triple their money in just a few months – wouldn’t take out pre-paid debit cards which the “scrubbing software” couldn’t possibly catch. They do this for a living and know how to game far more complex systems than the one employed by the Org in running the lottery.

    I also believe it naive (or at best wishful thinking) to assume that there are a significant number of actual burners who got more tickets than they need and who will now redistribute them through STEP. The sheer number of people who have discussed the ticketing problem on social networking sites, the e-Playa and here are ample evidence that simply didn’t happen. Thus far, I have not spoken to a single person who registered for more tickets than they needed, and got them. In fact, what I’ve heard is that a few registered for more than they needed, and got none at all.

    One additional concern I have, which I have not seen discussed, is that it reasonable to assume that if only a third or so of the burners who applied actually received tickets, then there is a strong probability that only a third of the scalper applications were granted as well. So simply giving those who applied and were turned down a better chance at the remaining ten thousand tickets will only put more (probably 60%) into the hands of the scalpers. Talk about pouring gasolene on a fire….

    Complaining isn’t going to fix the problem. It may be cathartic, but its not really productive. As I see it, the real question now is what can be done to try to fix the problem.

    Selling more tickets isn’t an option. The BLM permit has restrictions and – believe me – the government doesn’t care about the ticketing problem.

    Some are talking about “occupying” or rushing the gate or trying to sneak in. Please… It’s a federal crime to trespass on federal land. There are many in the government who frown upon our gathering, and would look at a huge number of arrests, be they for drugs or trespassing, as a golden opportunity to deny future permits. So unless you want to throw out the baby with the bath water, that isn’t the answer either. Perhaps the long term solution to the supply/demand problem may involve moving from our beloved Playa to another location that can accommodate more people, but that is a discussion for another time. But the man burns in 210 days…

    So what can the Org do to make this better now. Many have suggested linking IDs to tickets. I agree. (I suggested it in the letter I sent in November.) The Org should immediately undertake and implement a legal and secure system to do so. (I hereby volunteer to help.)

    I believe it can legally be done, even for the tickets they have already sold. I wanted to know for certain, so I went to the source… I have my ticket stubs going back to 2003. Each one bears the same warning; “This ticket is a revocable license and it may be revoked by Burning Man for any reason.” Any reason can now simply include that the ticket hasn’t been linked to an appropriate identification document as required.

    Burning Man has the e-mail and mailing addresses for every ticket sold. An e-mail (and a snail mail letter) should go out to each “winner” with a coded link to a database that allows them to identify the name(s) linked to each ticket reservation. If you won a single ticket, its your name. If you won two (like I did) you can identify the other person you are bringing. If you show up at the gate without an ID that matches your ticket, your license is revoked. (Yes, there will be a line for those to plead their case that they lost their ID on the way, or whatever, but it won’t be allowed to hold up the main entryway.)

    Each ticket must be linked to an ID within a short period of time, otherwise the license will be revoked, the ticket refunded, and the available ticket placed back into the pool. The time to link the names must be reasonable (perhaps 15-20 days) but must end long before the March 28th drawing. The Org should immediately publicize the new system to keep people from being duped into purchasing in the secondary market. Scalpers will not be able to collect hugely inflated prices – especially for tickets they don’t even have in hand – when people know they have to be quickly linked to a specific ID or be revoked.

    While it could be done, there is no need to actually print one’s name on a ticket. Each ticket is already bar coded, and they have been for years. It doesn’t take all that long to check a ticket’s bar code against the database to ascertain the correct holder. Yes it will take a bit more time. Yes, the Org will probably need more lanes to get people in without clogging up 447. But we have 8 months to work through the logistics.

    The programming for this system can not be all that hard. In fact, they may already have the system in place. The early arrival system already uses bar-coded PDFs which are checked upon arrival. If they need to improve that system to correlate to IDs and to handle the larger numbers, or even build a new one from scratch, I’m sure a good programmer could code the entire system in well under a week. The Org just took in a significant amount of money. I’ll bet they can afford to hire someone good.

    Anyone who needs to sell a ticket can do so, but only through STEP. A reasonable service charge may be appropriate, and may increase as the event gets closer, but it would be relatively easy – and fair – to restrict sales to the STEP program.

    People seeking tickets through STEP will be placed in line, first come first served. It would be easy to include a tracking feature for each reservation so that you could go on-line and see how many people there are in line in front of you. Tickets purchased through STEP tickets must be immediately linked to both an ID and the purchasing credit card, and the names on both must match. The printed tickets should now include a notice that it must be accompanied by the linked ID, and is non-transferable other than through STEP. Any tickets left over (if any) would be available – at a premium – at the gate.

    It’s clear that this will not be a simple task and that it may cost some money to implement. It may require some more on-Playa manpower, but I’ll bet that the Org wouldn’t have much trouble getting volunteers if it helps alleviate the problem we are all facing now. But it’s certainly doable in the time between now and the Burn. The Org have access to people with significant legal and technical expertise. If they don’t, then I can help them find some. This could all be solved next week if there is a will to do so. I hope there is, because I’m looking forward to my thirteenth burn and hope I don’t have to wait until next year to experience it.

    Report comment

  372. DMT Says:

    ********PROBLEM SOLVED IN ABOVE POST*********

    Report comment

  373. DMT Says:

    Seriously, Marian and the rest of the BMORG need to read that post VERY CAREFULLY and then DO IT.

    Report comment

  374. Noodel Says:

    I Agree completely. And I hope they do unlike when they heard it the first time before this problem

    Report comment

  375. Dogknee Says:

    Imagine what it might be like if people were this pro-active in voting for a president.

    Report comment

  376. Jim Daniels Says:

    If there are not enough tickets, why not just make black rock city a circle to accommodate more people?

    Report comment

  377. Jim Daniels Says:

    How can burning man be about freedom when tickets are $400

    Report comment

  378. DMT Says:

    It’s going to cost them some real money; chargebacks on perhaps as many as three out of five credit card transactions in the main sale, increased administrative overhead, additional procedures/staffing at the gate.

    That, or, we all will eventually come to realize that last year really WAS the very best year, *ever*…mere months before the spirit of the event suddenly and surprisingly up and died.

    Twenty five years…what an incredible journey. Shame to see it end like this.

    Report comment

  379. DMT Says:

    Jim, the BLM limits the number of attendees. And freedom is something that is ultimately inside you, and really has nothing to do with the tickets.

    Report comment

  380. DMT Says:


    Folks, this shields them from frivolous scalper lawsuits VERY effectively.

    No name, no ticket. Deadline THIS MONTH. Refunded tickets go into STEP, first-come, first-served.

    They need to announce a resolution along these lines NOW.

    Report comment

  381. DMT Says:

    And then there are some insidious suggestions in other threads that this debacle was an INSIDE JOB, btw. Seems *insane*, but…this whole fiasco is unbelievable. EPIC FAIL.

    BMORG needs to restore their credibility and most importantly *SAVE OUR COMMUNITY*.

    Report comment

  382. DMT Says:

    Since hyperlinks posted here need to await a moderator’s approval (and apparently no one from BMORG is reading/moderating these posts over the weekend…interesting), folks wanting to read how the scalpers likely pulled this (along with MANY illuminating comments) should type this link into their browsers and remove the words “DOT” with actual periods:


    Report comment

  383. Noah Says:

    I still haven’t heard a rational explanation as to why checking identification at the gate would require a the need for extra staff.

    Reading two lines of text shouldn’t add more than a few seconds delay and can be done while the vehicles are searched.

    Give people ample warning to have IDs and tickets ready.

    Those who don’t comply get sent to the end of the line, which WILL give them plenty of time to get their IDS ready.

    Report comment

  384. Leeloo Says:

    Please take action!

    This is like when my husband is completely quiet and doesn’t say anything if I am slightly angry or upset!

    If you do not take any of the wise advice of the above comment…

    How I would proceed:

    Make all tickets that are sold in STEP and in the open sale on March 28th non-transferrable (a person who buys multiple tickets simply must enter with their guests.)

    The effect would be that the tickets that scalpers already have would go up in price but there is a way to what I might call lightly discourage scalping in the future…
    If you have proof of someone that is buying dozens of tickets for scalping report it and forward that info to the BORG. Perhaps those people can be banned for life. I would call that deterrence. Perhaps this might be severe and I don’t want McCarthyism on Black Rock. Also report it at the door so they can track the serial numbers back to the original buyers for potential investigation.

    Report comment

  385. Andrew Says:

    Non-Transferable tickets please. Not just from here on out, but for the last lottery round winners as well…

    Report comment

  386. Mercedese Witty Says:

    I am just a two person camp at Burning Man – Mom and Pop……. I bring what I can to the community in the form of gifts, food, help for those who need it when I see the need, lost waywards, and most especially the heat exhausted. I am the block Mom on my street. I am not a big flashy theme camp…. but I contribute. I am radically bummed that I did not receive my tickets. I was barely able to attend at the price of $390.00 per ticket and with the higher prices due to scalping… and believe me, that is occurring right now, I have been priced out of Paradise and probably won’t be there.

    Report comment

  387. Erika Says:


    BMORG as a whole is not even reading these posts. This comment section serves no purpose but to let burners vent, to try and let you calm down. Your comments here are wasted because they are easy to ignore.

    We should be flooding BMORGS personal email in boxes with these messages. Their phones should be ringing off the hook. Their VM boxes should be full with our outcry.

    We should organize protests. We need to get actual protesters outside of these peoples offices and homes. Someone needs to post all the contact information for the BMORG members. We need activism here.

    We need to deliver our outrage at how this was handled (and is being handled) to them directly. Because It’s too easy to just not look at the comments section. It’s too easy to keep for them to tell us what they are going to try next instead of listening to us about what we want them to do next.

    Activists… organize real protests… give us an event where we can be seen and heard… we need a day, and a time and a place to show up in force to show how pissed we are and make sure they start listening to what we are asking of them… We are Burning Man, and the people in charge need to know that we will not accept this.

    They are destroying our event.

    They have created a market that only the wealthy and dishonest can take advantage of.

    They have dissenfranchishes the poorer burners.

    They continue to look for an easy solution… instead of choosing one of the many options that actually put things right… that actually make whole the people who got screwed.

    Organize… organize… organize.

    Don’t wait two weeks!

    Each day more burners drop out just because of uncertainty.

    People are loosing hope and dropping out.

    Fight now… while while everyone is still mad enough to do something about it!

    Post these peoples addresses and phone numbers so people outside of SF and share their discontent directly…

    Post addresses to Everyone in SF… so that big groups of theme camps… and indie burners can organize to show up to a real protest.

    Come on People… Stop just venting online… DO SOMETHING!

    Report comment

  388. wilknott Says:

    i am 10 and my stepdad has participated in 10 burns my mum is lucky that she got a ticket our friends john and bronwon have got one ticket beetween them and were hopping we can find john a ticket its now my forth burn and i am glad i dont need a ticket this lottery selling way sucks allot and i hope you burners reading get a ticket :)

    Report comment

  389. Thedeclineja Says:

    Just sell people some bloody tickets already. First in best dressed.

    Report comment

  390. Habibi Says:


    Scroll up and read Lazlo’s post. He wrote a very good summary. Please add only new thoughts. If they don’t understand Lazlo, they will ignore us anyway :-(

    Report comment

  391. Betty Says:

    Dear BM Org…

    PLEASE read the post above from ‘LAZLO’ (posted February 4th, 2012 at 11:16 pm). THAT there is a Burner talking some serious sense.

    Report comment

  392. Rob Says:

    I wonder is they’re even taking any of these comments seriously? They didn’t take the thousands of concerned warnings, before the lottery even began seriously. They really need to junk this bad idea of “letting the dust settle”. By the time the dust settles, the people that make Burning Man what it is, will have booked their flights elsewhere…

    Report comment

  393. Nice thought Lazlo, but riddle me this Says:

    did everyone who entered the 2012 lottery have access to your 2003 ticket stub?

    did everyone who entered the 2012 lottery have access to the information that the tickets would be revokeable?

    where was the information posted for the 2012 lottery that said “tickets are revokeable”?

    where was the information posted for the 2012 lottery that said “tickets are non-transferable”?

    any lawyer would gladly take this case. and i’m betting a judge would have to hear it.

    even if the case turned out to be a win for BMORG, the time and expense of going through the court battle will likely keep them from going down that road.

    Report comment

  394. tyrus Says:

    Every time a credit card is run, it costs money. Even a refund costs. so 3% of 100 is $9
    3 the first time, 3 for the refund, and 3 for the new person

    Make that a $300 ticket, and you are talking 27 dollars. Sure by running a few million, they can get the average down close to two percent, but business and rewards/ points cards are higher.

    *** tip for the future, resale not through the bmorg, must be approved by a theme camp or regional (contact or event). This eliminates the resale fees (going to big bankers) and eliminates scalping, as it keeps the resale within the community. These are people the bmorg knows and can hold accountable or lose there status as a theme camp or regional contact/event.

    Report comment

  395. Driver Says:

    BMorg has done more damage to the spirit of the event than anything else. Even if they do figure out a way to put lipstick on this pig the pig has already pissed all over the community. Newbies to the playa have always been able to get tickets via the “old” system. I return to the playa each year to reconnect with my old friends of the playa and to make new ones. If we go this year it will be like a reunion of disaster survivors.
    Wondering who made it and who didn’t.

    We should create a cemetery of headstones with the names of our fellow Burners that were eliminated from the playa by the monster “BMorg”

    Report comment

  396. stephanie Says:

    already there is a bay area ticket company with 37 tickets available. they have event passes for 1700 bucks. isant there some kind of contract on the ticket stating this is not allowed (or am I just being naive?).

    Report comment

  397. Kay Says:

    Eliminate the greeters, that will make things move faster during entry, have ticket taker, take ticket, hand out literature, eliminate virgin bell…

    As far as ticket fisaco…..sheesh….

    Report comment

  398. BrotherMichael Says:

    BMORG needs to put this event back into the hands
    of its citizens ASAP.  Waiting 2 weeks may be too late.  
    There is a crisis of faith in the event right now.  
    It seems to me that the MORALE and INSPIRATION required to create art and participate 
    and plan for our journey home is at rock bottom.  

    As much as we need a workable and fair ticket system…
    We need to feel that our voices are being heard and that our ideas matter.  Is this a participant driven city or not?

    Scrapping this whole lottery thing, admitting the mistake and starting over would at least bring morale back and allow us to start seriously planning our art and theme camps.   We need to start planning our projects and camps NOW, 

    I fear that each day, more and more citizens will be pulling out of the event (whether they get a ticket or not) and the effect on the art and theme camp presence will be drastic and permanent. 

    I hear that David Best is considering doing the temple this year.    Will any of us even be there to see it? 

    Report comment

  399. Stellan Says:

    I started reading these at 8 pm last night and have just finished reading every comment (yes I did some sleeping, and what a fantastic moon!)…

    If you only have time to read one, don’t read this – read LAZLO, February 4th, 2012 at 11:16 pm. Most astute, well thought out plan, and in the spirit of BM.

    A lot of the rest was a little like witnessing addicts being cut off from their main drug of choice. Or a stick being poked in an anthill. The level of vitriol was often unfortunate, and it was always good to hear from those who at least paid tribute to the spirit of the event.

    I have only Burned twice, and just happen to buy my 2011 ticket in mid-July on what turned out to be the very last day. Clearly I was a lucky late-comer, and appreciate that I got to come. I was part of a small creative camp, Muses of Prometheus, and NONE of us were ‘winners’ in the lottery.

    I feel badly for all those dedicated burners who need to be able to organize their art and camps, and for all those coming from long distances who must make timely and expensive arrangements. I also feel for those virgins who may have dreamed of joining in and now find 2012 rapidly becoming ‘the bad vibe year’.

    Maid Marian and BMorg: please take fast action! Forget about the torturous waiting ‘for the dust to settle’, requesting faith in STEP, and the seemingly random March 28 date.

    LAZLO and others have workable solutions. Burning Man 2012 teeters on becoming a sad has-been affair or could spring forth afresh with a quick, positive, intelligent response to the situation from YOU!!!

    As LeeLoo, February 5th at 12:45 am said:
    Please take action! This is like when my husband is completely quiet and doesn’t say anything if I am slightly angry or upset!

    Report comment

  400. Creageous Cat Says:

    It is not a crime to enter and camp on BLM land anywhere that I know of. The only restriction I know of is that you can’t camp in the same spot for more than 2 weeks. There are also restrictions on camping too close the road or too close to a water source, but that’s it.

    So… imagine a 2nd city… New Black Rock City a mile or so north east, shaped like a triangle with an Sphinx to burn and a temple in the shape of a pyramid.

    These are our public lands!! The feds have been trying to muck with our rights. We will not stand for it. Let’s dance and party for it!!!!

    Report comment

  401. Stellan Says:

    Ewww…Creageous Cat – A triangle and a Sphinx? If this is doable, count me in!

    Report comment

  402. Joe the Carpenter Says:

    Long term Burner, first time caller. Been every year since 2001 and think you do a kick ass job.

    I’m not going to tell you how to fix what’s happened but I would like to make two suggestions if I may.

    1. Please listen to the community. They have good ideas. Accept advise, don’t assume you are always right, and don’t cut yourself off – otherwise you run the risk of turning into a dictatorship (funny I know, but true).

    They were right about the lottery, they could be right about other things too.

    2. It’s incorrect (but convenient for you) to assume the discontent is limited to ticket losers. Ticket winners such as myself are also ticket losers when our camps are shut down, our art projects are canceled and our friends lose out. The discontent extends far beyond Facebook, this blog or the emails you are receiving. It’s touched most Burners.

    Love, light and peace out.

    Report comment

  403. Habibi Says:

    They will not take any action.

    Report comment

  404. Jamie Says:

    What we’re you thinking?!? If you want to solve the ticket problem, all you have to do is make them non transferrable. Plain and simple. No scalping and use the the STEP program if you need to exchange hands. Ebay is already selling tickets for $3000 each, pretty gross! I view burning man completely differently now. All good things must end…. I guess.

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  405. josh Says:

    Please make all lottery tickets that were won non-transferrable, with the option to get your money back if you were just trying to resell the tickets. This is the only solution.

    in loving service,


    Report comment

  406. Habibi Says:

    AGAIN: Please read a few posts before you start repeating what’s already repeated.
    E.g. ‘LAZLO’ (posted February 4th, 2012 at 11:16 pm). He wrote a good summary of this thread.

    Report comment

  407. Mr X Says:

    Kay Says:
    February 5th, 2012 at 8:40 am
    Eliminate the greeters, that will make things move faster during entry, have ticket taker, take ticket, hand out literature, eliminate virgin bell…
    As far as ticket fisaco…..sheesh….


    OUCH Kay, as a long time greeter, I assure you tons of people love the greeter shtick. If the greeters thing has affected you negatively in any way, would offering my personal apology help?
    Aaaaand, what does your posting have to do with the lottery???? There are Greeter threads on in Playa you could go to.

    Report comment

  408. Mr X Says:

    threads on ePlaya I meant

    Report comment

  409. Dawn L Says:

    I am searching the web in hopes of “moving” and finding a new “home” is there any others hoping and desiring to leave this mess to the money hungry people and move back to the true spirit of freedom that it was meant to be??

    Any thoughts or talk of those done with mess having something elsewhere and leave the money and motorhomes on the playa by themselves to clean up the moop they are creating!?

    Report comment

  410. Reid "Playa Poetic Justice" Says:

    I feel that we need to go to lottery for everything or nothing not just tickets,
    there will be a lottery on the porta-john usuage, and a somewhat connected lottery on single ply toilet paper.
    Lets put a lottery on the absurd this year.
    We are crazy folks.
    If we want to come accros as a community at a truly pivotal
    point, maybe its time to get rid of tickets all together.
    I vote on pay at the door.

    Report comment

  411. Serotonin Says:

    Not the way to create community. Sending a very corporate feeling letter instead of a heart felt apology. Why won’t the Borg stop being the ‘higher ups’ that know better. The community has been discussing and giving real answers to the ticket problem through out the year. How did a few in an office know better then the rich wealth and experience in the masses.

    - signed 11 year burner with ticket

    Report comment

  412. Jamie Says:

    Great idea Josh! It appears to be a fabulous solution and keeps the burning man spirit alive.

    Report comment

  413. Noodel Says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Reposting for thoes of you who only read the bottom 3 posts.

    Posted by DMT

    Since hyperlinks posted here need to await a moderator’s approval (and apparently no one from BMORG is reading/moderating these posts over the weekend…interesting), folks wanting to read how the scalpers likely pulled this (along with MANY illuminating comments) should type this link into their browsers and remove the words “DOT” with actual periods:


    Report comment

  414. Kassandra Says:

    So we all believe this mess is caused by some inner circle which is totally immune to all arguments and reactions? Regardless how may hundred times they got told, before or after? Totally unaware of all those concerns which turned into facts meanwhile? Absolutely unable to accept that simply everybody except them knows what the problem is? Really?

    We are probably nothing but naive.

    Report comment

  415. Marc Blaquiere Says:

    Names on tickets needing photo I’d at the gate – can only be sold back to burning man.

    Next 10000 tix made available to registered theme camps, performers and art projects based on last years registration numbers.


    Decadent Oasis. – we had the palm trees on the Esplanade last year. We had 100+ people in camp and this year less than 40% have tickets….. Many of the key players have yet to find tix… :-(

    Report comment

  416. Deanos Says:

    I think you should refund everybody’s money and start over. Whoever came up with this idea needs to be tied up on the playa and everyone gets to spank them.

    Report comment

  417. ToMmY Says:

    You have squandered the goodwill of many burners. If I were you, I’d refund all of the proceeds so far. Then I’d open it up: charge whatever revenue goal divisor ticket price that does the job. Do another sign-up on April 1. Prepare for ugly computer messes, but 50K people signing on isn’t tough– it’s done all the time. Then apologize for such foolishness.

    Please take the lottery protagonists out back, spank them, and forgive them. Then we will. You’ve made a lot of people unhappy. May I suggest stemming the tide of the bad karma quickly, while it’s still easy to do. This is your “jump the shark” moment. Do the right thing.

    Report comment

  418. Cleulady Says:

    See Lazlo’s comment on Feb.4th at 11:16pm. We need a solution for this year. Just do it. Please Bmorg, get a clue! The lottery is foreclosing on our beloved ‘hoods. Save our camps, families, villages, and neighborhoods! Stand up for community and the continuity of culture at Burning Man. Thanks for all you do– now is the time to do the right thing.

    Report comment

  419. Kassandra Says:

    Do we really think they are so endlessly ignorant that they did not read nor understand our feedback?

    Do we?

    Report comment

  420. Veryscary Says:

    I think our community outnumbers scalpers many to one and that we’ve always taken care of each other. We will continue to do that this year and the outlook will improve if we just keep the faith for the next couple months. The fact that scarcity of tickets will be a permanent aspect of the event is something we’ll all have to evaluate personally and with our camps and the community at large. This year’s ticket situation however is surely not as grim as it appears right now. (No, I don’t have a ticket either, nor do any of the friends/campmates who might have had one for me. At this point we don’t have a camp either.) Keep burning friends!

    Report comment

  421. Sterile 2.0 Says:

    4th of Juplaya… $400+ is a lot of powder

    Report comment

  422. Terena Says:

    The lottery system obviously doesn’t work. But I also think non-transferable won’t work. Not everyone in our community has a credit card and camps tend to evolve over time. There needs to be some flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of people. Just beef-up your servers and sell them first come first serve. This is a technology problem, not a sales problem.

    I was lucky and got two tickets: one for me and one for my hubby. But my father and brother who I go to the Burn with, did not. We usually set up a family camp, including Aunts and Uncles and cousins, but this year, only me, one cousin and an uncle got tickets. I’m excited I get to go, but upset my family may not. I agree that it’s very hard to make plans and start building a camp when your larger group of almost 20 is down to just 4 people. What now?

    The lottery system doesn’t work. But I also think non-transferable doesn’t work. Not everyone in our community has a credit card and camps tend to evolve over time. There needs to be some flexibit

    Report comment

  423. Brendan Behan Says:

    Can somebody please fill me in on this 4th of Juplaya??

    Report comment

  424. john Says:

    I’m asking all Burners and everyone they know to boycott Stubhub, EBay and other sites that sell Burning Man tickets. Not just for those tickets, for everything they sell. The goal is to get them to remove Burning Man Tickets from their listings and ask the sellers to transfer them to STEP at face value.
    Email and call Chris Tsakalakis
    President of StubHub and General Manager of eBay Tickets
    try CTsakalakis here: CTsakalakis (at) stubhub.com
    and Noah Goldberg that you’re boycotting stubhub for allowing scalpers to sell BM tickets.
    Senior Director of Customer Operations
    try ngoldberg here: ngoldberg (at) stubhub.com

    199 Fremont Street, Floor 4
    San Francisco, CA 94105

    Report comment

  425. Kassandra Says:

    What if main sale has already started? Is this really less probable than total ignorance?

    Report comment

  426. Noodel Says:

    No Kassandra I am sure they read it, they just let there ego in thinking that it will work cloud there judgement. Now we are re-stating that going the way of non-transferrable tickets is a better solution than the direction they are going. And as I have said before if going to that route creates more workload then ask the community for help. I guarantee that there will be more than enough people to volunteer time.

    Report comment

  427. june franko Says:

    All those calling for non transferable tix might want to consider that checking id’s would turn the already nearly torturous wait times at the gate , increase by about four times. 15 hour waits anyone?

    Report comment

  428. Kassandra Says:

    It’s as simple as this:

    - Only 10’000 to 15’000 tickets were in the first lottery, whatever they said. This is why only 20 to 40 % got one. Even two people who applied together got sometimes ‘seperated’. On purpose.

    - At the same time scalpers offer strangely large amounts of tickets in the internet. No wonder – the scalpers and BMOrg are one and the same.

    - The second lottery will be again about 15’000 tickets, at a higher price already. Still the rest is available on the black market at prices raising and raising.

    - After the second lottery about 70 to 80 % will have tickets – depending on the success of the scalping business. The others will be really greedy, because most of their friends have one. This giving ‘scalpers’ another boost.

    - Then all remaining tickets get labelled ‘given back’ and go into ‘main sale’, at the highest face value of all.

    This explanation is more probable than anything written above.

    Report comment

  429. Noodel Says:

    June, that’s why you increase manpower at the gates to alleviate expected longer waits.

    Kassandra that is your “Theory” I can’t say that it is more probable than anything else. But to assume that BMorg is creating inflated markets by scalping their own tickets seems a bit far-fetched.

    Unfortunately we may never know exactly what happened during the main sale and it is going to be speculation for years to come. I am however going to hold faith that there are good people in the world. The folks at BMorg just made a bad call with the lottery. Hopefully they are going to come to a conclusion that the only way to fix this is by implementing non-transferrable.

    Report comment

  430. Sunny Says:

    LAZLO has the answer. Do it now BMorg!

    Report comment

  431. Kassandra Says:

    I do not believe in saints. Last year they were sold out and this showed them the opportunity.


    Report comment

  432. Sandra Kupper Says:

    I agree with a great deal of the above except for all the blasting of our devoted B
    M group. I say ,just start over, cancel everything, credit all accounts, New rules but add some kind of a parking fee for the monster rigs and segregate them off by themselves. Maybe in the back behind 9, 10, 11 am where they can breath there own generator smoke.
    Say a fee of $ a foot for anything over 22 feet l, $100 for the first foot, $200 for the second. $300 for the 3rd. if it is and old rig, say over 20 years old doesn’t count, old school buses don’t count you get the idea.
    I did not get my tickets but am ever hopeful. This will be my 3rd visit home and for my 75th birthday I have to have a positive vote for all of you to fix this mess,

    Report comment

  433. Jim Hobson Says:

    Personally, I feel “Limits of Growth” is a more appropriate theme than “Fertility” for this year’s Burn. But speaking of Fertility, here’s one idea for this year: Those of us without tickets can get together with our communities and stage multiple events at different locations at the same time as the Burn.
    Maybe next year there should be two official Burns in different locations at the same time.
    I also liked the suggestion about getting the BLM to allow more participants by giving more funds to surrounding communities.

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  434. SDee Says:

    Commentary from someone completely outside the “community” (i.e. never been to Burning Man, didn’t know what it was until today, didn’t know something like this existed as a “community” outside the event).

    1. $350 for a ticket to an art show? HOW is this different than any other societal gala affair?
    2. A lottery for tickets? Why not just let people come because they want to? If the community is into volunteering to create as little impact as possible, then shouldn’t there be enough people to clean up after the herds leave?
    3. I was reading the blog and looking at photos and thinking…”Man, I’d really like to go to this thing…” but since I’ve never been to a burn, I apparently now have NO chance of getting in…reminds me of wanting to be King of England…no chance unless you’re born in the line…how sadly in opposition to what your core values claim to be…

    Call me a purist, but it seems like the Burning Man community had something great going, but, like everything else, has fallen into somewhat disarray because of human greed and a sense of entitlement that prior Burners have.

    How can your community grow this way?

    Here’s one who considered it, but can’t find a way in…is that who you want your Burning Man to be? One that burns others?

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  435. U2pilot Says:

    Sandra Kupper — canceling the lottery and starting over would be like telling the PowerBall winner that he isn’t going to get his money after all because all of the losers didn’t like the outcome. There are huge legal and financial issues that make this a non-starter.

    Registering tickets to individuals doesn’t hurt the Burners who played fair in the lottery and won, while bringing the scalpers’ tickets back into inventory. Many have suggested variations on: a) first-come-first-served going forward, b) names on tickets (or a database of names-to-barcodes), c) non-transferrable or with a fair way to transfer (or get a refund) if going isn’t an option. This may not be the best solution, but after reading thousands of posts, I’ve not seen any others that even get close.

    The vast majority of the 416 comments to Maid Marian’s post at the top of the page show the Borg has lost credibility, and there is zero confidence STEP is going to fix anything. The Borg only has one chance to fix this and regain trust. Screwing the 20% or so who say they did get tickets isn’t going do it. Taking action that renders the scalpers’ tickets worthless unless they are returned to inventory, and assuring that all tickets end up in the hands of actual Burners through a system perceived to be fair and transparent is their only hope to save the event from probable death.

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  436. U2pilot Says:

    Sandra — Thanks for the creative suggestion regarding a steep tax on RVs. As a 8-year vet who has contributed on many levels, and someone who bought a 30-foot RV specifically to bring to Burning Man, I am thankful your massive tax-the-rich scheme will go no where. (It would be $3600 in my case, and $27,600/yr for a friend who bought a 40-foot RV that only gets used for Burning Man.)

    Maybe taking your suggestion a step further, why not just have everyone park immediately after clearing the gate and carry everything in a couple of miles. Think of all the fuel that could be saved. Or is maybe taking your plan to a level where it inconveniences YOU not such a good idea?

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  437. Yarnhead Says:

    there’s some good stuff going on in this thread. not to be a gung-ho burner pollyanna — well, fuck it, yeah i AM a gung-ho pollyanna burner — but i hope some of these conversations continue. in the meantime, i do hope the Borg just posts a brief, honest, non-corporate-PR-sounding “omg we fucked up, we’ll get back to you when we figure out what we’re doing, and we are SORRY!”

    conversations i hope we all continue: veterans vs. newbies; participants whose contributions to our city aren’t big and as someone said “flashy” vs. gigantic theme camps and grant-supported mega-art; RV’s and other stuff that represents luxury to some members of the community; and the huge, huge ticket price that’s currently happening regardless of the sales system’s technicalities.

    we really do need to branch out. some ideas couldn’t happen this year, but there could be two official BMan events — say one at Black Rock Desert, one at Alvord Desert or a similarly hostile desert location. or a 10- or 12-day festival where perhaps you select from your favorite burns to decide when to stay (if i couldn’t stay a full 12 days, for example, and the Temple was the last weekend and the Man the first weekend, i’d make sure i was there for the Temple).

    or we strike out on our own and make new events, attend 4th of Juplaya, take matters into our own hands. i remember paying $50-ish to get in. i remember a Man standing on top of hay bales before he burned. that less expensive Burn was great, too. if a new group starts organizing stuff, it might also involve more newer Burners and even virgins — i’d love to see what they came up with so we don’t just imitate the infrastructure of BRC.

    blah blah, i’m probably just trying to make this whole thing a Teachable Moment like at the end of a South Park episode…

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  438. Kali Kayei Says:

    By my calculations, there are 53,000 tickets being allocated by lottery. I think that means that 2000 free tickets are being given to people who have an “in.” Now I’m wondering about the lucky 2000. Who are they? Is it the DPW, First camp, the Lamplighters, the Temple crew, the funded art projects? Does anyone know? There needs to be more transparency around ticket issues, especially at this point. What are the criteria to be exempt from the lottery? Who gets an automatic in? Who gets in free? TRANSPARENCY, please!

    Report comment

  439. Rico Says:


    Report comment

  440. U2pilot Says:

    Rico, many posts have pointed out what that’s neither feasable, nor fair to those who played by the rules and won tickets. You should read them. In the mean time, would you be saying the same if you had asked for a single $240 ticket and gotten it? Especially knowing you might not get anything the second time around?

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  441. Check Point Charlie Says:

    I told everyone this would happen and I was not proven wrong. Borg, what don’t you guys understand about supply and demand economics. You created this problem and now you need to fix it,,,,, FAST! You folks are killing the Golden Goose. If you sit around and don’t address within a week many of your hard core fans are going to make other plans this summer. Our Camp which is one of the OG of camps only received 20% of the tickets our 50+ members needs. Its going to to be a very boring place if many of these theme camps cant make it. BTW, a ‘SORRY’ would be nice to hear.

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  442. Kali Kayei Says:

    Many people who got tickets will refuse to go in #solidarity with their campmates.

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  443. Katie Says:

    “Finally, just to be a dissenting voice-I don’t see how “non-transferrable” can work out for many people. For example, let’s say you are dating someone and you bought him or her a ticket, and the whole relationship blows up in your face before Burning Man…”

    Simple. Make tickets non-transferable, EXCEPT through resale via STEP. The staff could require that the physical tickets be returned by mail prior to issuing refunds, and could then reissue returned tickets with new buyers’ names printed.

    I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to think demand for tickets suddenly grew to the point where so many camps are lacking 75-90% of their burners. Bottom line: the lottery provided scalpers the opportunity to make hundreds of dollars for nothing more than a 5-minute time investment. These are people who know how to manipulate these systems to their advantage, and it looks like there were virtually no basic safeguards to prevent them from doing so. Is it any surprise this happened?

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  444. Roadancer Says:

    How about an “Occupy BRC” movement. :-) I’ve not been to BRC in 10 years, it was my plan to go this year at it’s my celebration of 50 years on this planet.

    But I now see that a lot of the general community who have made BRC what it is have been screwed over because BMORG can’t come up with a simple ticket sale system.

    I can afford to get a ticket anywhere, yea it means that much to me this year. Problem is that with the current fiasco, not much sense in going if the community that I came to love has been removed by this crap.

    I so hope that this gets resolved… I’d like to revisit the playa this year, but better yet, I hope the community is not disrupted by this insanity.

    Report comment

  445. Ramona Says:

    Cancel/recall the lottery.

    Non-transferable tickets, first come first serve.

    ONE ticket per purchase. (Radical self-reliance)


    Report comment

  446. Bartholomew Burner Says:

    The starting point to my mind is to remember that the cap on tix is from the BLM not BMORG. Just as the event moved from a beach to a playa, it may be time to move again or consider consecutive events or multiple events and adopt the mindset that if not this year, then next year. If we are to honor the principle of radical inclusion, then we have to admit that the “community” is way larger than the available pool of tix this year.

    The non-transferable, ID-linked idea is seductive and is something that Glastonbury does (along w/a set-aside of some tix for purchase by those who’ve gone before). The objection I have is what if someone w/a ticket has to drop out? Why shouldn’t that person be able to give that ticket to someone else who can then be in their camp? I have an extra ticket and I am offering it first to a friend who first brought me to the playa and was not allocated (so far) a ticket this year (her husband still needs one). If I go through STEP as currently conceived the ticket will go to someone else as deserving, but my camp will still have a gap.

    A separate draw for theme camps would make some sense too. Either all in the theme camp go, or none go, would take care of the fragmentation.

    The old sit-and-click system was how pretty much all event tix are sold and is a system for which scalpers are set up to take maximum advantage of. The registration system allowed for checking for duplicate credit card numbers, names, addresses etc. Burners bringing in friends and family allows for “crowding out” scalpers. Frankly, it likely should have been suggested explicitly rather than left for people to realize or not. Perhaps the March sale should also be a “lottery” or converted into a sale for some number of already-registered theme camps.

    I proposed to BMORG that a smartphone app be developed so that potential purchasers could scan and validate a ticket and enter the price offered that would cancel the ticket if being offered for more than what it sold for (or the max price for that year). If it was a valid ticket being scalped, then the app would alert the potential purchaser and that ticket would be canceled and reissued through STEP.

    I think Burners should start boycotts of StubHub and eBay and CL and such for offering tickets for more than the max price. These sites should pledge to respect the cap (as I believe CL is endeavoring to do). A broad boycott (petition on Change.org) would apply the necessary pressure.

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  447. Sunny Says:

    “Cancel/recall the lottery.

    Non-transferable tickets, first come first serve.

    ONE ticket per purchase. (Radical self-reliance)


    Seconded. All in favor?

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  448. Noodel Says:

    You “CANNOT” recall the lottery……I don’t get how this keeps coming up.

    You can still impliment non-transferrable under the current perdicament.

    We wouldn’t need to boycot, protest, occupy or anything because every ticket out there is linked to a person going.

    ‘LAZLO’ (posted February 4th, 2012 at 11:16 pm).

    Report comment

  449. jihadjim Says:

    You guys fucked up. You have all but admittted. This year is fucked, no matter what the outcome. If it is no too late. Re-do the entire ticket process. Refund everyones cash; re-do the ticket sale in March. One ticket per person.

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  450. Juicy Says:

    A FEW burners (BMORG) have little chance to outsmart 40.000 burners making up the community, nor professional scalpers.
    PLEASE do not let the dust settle and try to solve the problem BY YOURSELF …Using the same people that created the problem in the first place has a very high likelyhood to be a disaster again.
    ASK FOR HELP from some of the real super pros and super minds that exist in the community. Many of them have created super complex business processes supported computers systems handling millions of transaction per hour.
    MANY OF THEM are sitting on the sidelines, sorry for all of us and ready to help. This is your best chance to fix up the mess.

    Report comment

  451. U2pilot Says:

    Noodel, you are right — the lottery can’t be canceled, and all of the people making that suggestion should read a few comments first to see all of the reasons. I still wonder if they would be making that suggestion if they had won a $240 ticket in the lottery and knew they might pay more or even get nothing in a do-over. It seems roughly 20-30% of the tickets went to real Burners who played by the rules, and it is not fair to screw them by unilaterally rescinding their sale.

    The goal should be to return the scalpers’ tickets to inventory for distribution without screwing real Burners in the process.

    Those who suggest a boycott of Stubhub unless they cooperate in ending scalping are probably not thinking this through. Providing a safe marketplace for buying and selling scalped tickets is StubHub’s very reason for existence. Probably the promoters of 90% of the events on Stubhub would prefer their event to not be listed, so why would anyone think they would be especially sympathetic to Burning Man?

    I’m convinced the only solution is to eliminate the resellability of the tickets allocated to scalpers, which is to say names go on tickets. This only requires a way for scalpers to back out and be made whole for their purchase.

    With names on tickets, there are still simple solutions when necessary by changing situations. One is to allow multiple tickets in a person’s name to get that number of guests through the gate, as long as they are all in the same vehicle. Another option is to allow transfer to a new name if photo-id of original buyer (matching credit card name) is faxed to Borg.

    Or perhaps the bigger problem is the Borg’s loss of trust and faith, along with the widespread beliefs the system was neither fair nor transparent, and STEP will completely fail. Waiting 2 weeks to see how things work themselves out, as Maid Marian seems to be suggesting at the top of the page, with the next ticket sale 2 months off, are not responses that inspire confidence. And a comment I made on a prior blog that remains unmoderated after nearly 3 days (because it contained a URL) doesn’t leave me believing they are even looking at what we are saying.

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  452. DMT Says:

    “Following phone conversations with major theme camp and art group organizers, we determined that only 20%-25% of the key people needed to bring those projects to the playa had received notifications for tickets.”

    If folks here with contact numbers for the BMORG pick up the phone and flood them with calls saying “NON-TRANSFERABLE TICKETS” maybe that will get their attention.

    My comments with URLs are also STILL awaiting moderation. Clearly, they are not reading this thread.

    Sad. Very sad.

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  453. Noodel Says:

    I am hoping that in these 2 weeks of blackout they do something. If they come back with “We are still confident that STEP will alleviate the ticket issue” people are gonna flip shit. I understand that demand has risen for BM. And if this is truely a sold out event the least they can do is take the tickets out of the scalpers hands and get them to a few (not all) of the people that want to go. So atleast they can say scalpers are not the reason you cant go.

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  454. ECarp Says:

    As someone said earlier, BMorg has access to the best logistical minds and systems in the world. What could possibly have been the reasoning behind NOT doing something non-transferable? Any other system creates the incentive for people to scalp, over purchase and hoard.

    Please save this event. Refund all the existing lottery won tickets and resell them as non transferable, first come first serve tickets with an at cost STEP system that is also non transferable. Tried and true, fair and transparent.

    I’m saying this as one of the lucky few who successfully got a ticket in the lottery…

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  455. Sandwich Says:

    Last year was my first burn. It changed my life.

    I showed up with the RV looking for a party and by the end of it, left with the drive to return some of what was gifted to me.

    Since everyone under the sun has summed up what a shame this lotto was, the only thing I can add is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE require names on ALL of the 40k tickets that have been sold off. So few people I know got their tickets that I have to wonder where they all went?!

    Regardless, what really matters is that BM doesn’t end up a dust bowl parking lot because none of the regulars got tickets.

    Report comment

  456. DMT Says:

    Yep, a big dusty parking lot with folks wondering, “Where’s all the cool art?!”

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  457. one smartgirl Says:


    Every person who will be aged 13 or over on Wed 26th June 2013 who intends to purchase a ticket for Glastonbury Festival must have a valid registration number. Children aged 12 and under do not require tickets and do not need to register.

    Each ticket for the Festival features the photograph of the registered ticket holder and is non-transferable. Security checks will be carried out to ensure that only the person in the photograph will be admitted to the Festival.

    Seetickets are the only company permitted to sell tickets for Glastonbury Festival. No other site or agency will be allocated tickets. Any other company or individual claiming to sell Glastonbury Festival tickets is bogus. 

    You can register online at http://www.glastonburyregistration.co.uk or visit http://www.seetickets.com/see/getglas.asp, to check whether you have an existing valid registration.

    Seetickets aim to respond to all registrations within 24 hours during the working week. If you have not had a response from them within in that time frame we would suggest the following 3 courses of action:

    1) Check your spam/junk email folder, in case your email has been rejected by your service provider
    2) Check online at http://www.seetickets.com/see/getglas.asp to see if your registration has been approved
    3) Re-register at http://www.glastonburyregistration.co.uk


    Online registration only takes a few minutes, but needs to be completed at least 48 hours before you intend to buy a ticket. You will need to provide basic contact details and to upload a passport-standard photo, which should be of portrait orientation and in jpeg format. You will receive an email when your registration is received, and once your photo has been approved, you will receive a second email with your unique registration number that you will need to quote to book your ticket. At peak times Seetickets aim to process registrations within 24 hours during the working week, however during the Festival’s fallow year registrations may take longer to process. If you have not received a confirmation email within 48 hours (Monday-Friday) of having made an online application, please check your spam folder. If your registration is rejected or you do not receive a registration number, please re-register.

    Once registered you will be eligible to buy a ticket for the Festival when they go on sale. Please note that registration does not guarantee you a ticket. If you plan to buy tickets for other people, they all need to be registered. When tickets go on sale you will need the registration number and registered postcode for each person for whom you are booking a ticket.

    Your chance of buying tickets is not influenced in any way by the number of times you register, or the information you provide during registration.

    Hmm…….seems like a good solution to me! Plug and play baby.

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  458. Will Whitacre Says:

    Eight years … not nine.
    I loved the burn; hate to see it die.
    The core is gone, the soul has spirited away.
    A burn-for-the-highest-bidder is a different city; GoldRock is not BlackRock.
    This year please don’t burn the man, bury him.
    Goodbye friends, Weedseed Willie won’t be back. I wouldn’t be able to find the place if i tried.

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  459. Debbie Says:

    I can’t believe people are complaining about the cost of tickets. I’ve burned twice and it’s by far the best value I’ve ever ever found. A movie is $9+ for a hour and a half. A concert, $45-$100 for an hour and a half. This is $300+ for 7 full days of non-stop entertainment. That’s too much? Really? Price per hour, it’s the best deal I can think of. I entered the very first lottery for the highest tier and paid over $400 per ticket. I’m fine with it. The event is expensive regardless…travel, food, accessories. Does $20 or $40 make such a difference? I’d skip one night out a year and go to BM but maybe that’s just me.

    As for the ticketing, I very much support the non-transferable option. It will eliminate scalping ndjeken

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  460. things that make you go hmmm Says:

    Another vote for “don’t try to fix this yourself”. Seek help, bring in the people you need.

    Anything else goes wrong here and Burning Man 2012 is going to become “Alternate Plan 2012″ for a lot of us..

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  461. S Ops Says:

    Marian Goodell acknowledges that it doesn’t appear there are as many tickets available within those established burner networks as she had hoped would be the case. So BMorg was planning all along to allow participants go into the drawing, over order (scarcity model) and then basically let all of us scramble to figure out how to get tickets into our friends, family and camp mates hands? Does anybody else feel like we were sold out?

    BTW, I earned a staff priced ticket via massive amounts of volunteering ~ given this fiasco and the amount of bad energy out there towards the event, I’m not sure I’ll be going this year.

    Report comment

  462. Dan L Says:

    I don’t think the “missing” tickets went to scalpers.
    I think it went to newbs that heard about the sellout last year, and wanted some.

    I don’t think personalized or non-transferable tickets will solve the problem of
    something that has become vastly more mainstream in a single year, and hence
    more popular. I think the “cures” to this problem could easily be as bad as the
    problem itself.

    Welcome the newbs. Enlist them in your camps, as helpers and participants,
    because camp life greatly enhances the whole dust/wind/fire thing.
    Teach them what they need to know, and try not to teach them our bad habits.

    Report comment

  463. CampMaster for 7 Sins Lounge Says:

    (there’s so many comments, I’m sorry if I repeat anything already said….)

    I’m a 13 year burner and have run a theme camp for 10 of those years. And like many, I feared the lottery would be an unplanned disaster but was willing to hope I was wrong. I even encouraged my campmates to only ask for actual tickets needed, hopeing that 80% of ticket requests would be filled.

    Unfortunately even the BMORG has admitted those # are closer to 25% which means 10,000-20,000 tickets are in the hands of people who plan to sell them for whatever it will bring, which puts the continuence of BM as anything but a springbreak style event at serious risk.

    My opinion:
    1- the BMORG did not do this as some evil plan- as Burners they truely believed a minor tweak and good will would solve it. They were wrong.

    2- You can’t just invalidate the lottery – some Burners won fair and square and branding them cheaters just further fractures the community. The lottery stands.

    3- The only people who will use STEP are people who bought tickets and didn’t plan on selling them at a profit – OR who CAN’T sell them at a profit. That # is likely to be very small with the current system.

    4- At the March sale EVERYONE, (including my camp) and any scalper will order the maximum # of tickets. The % of tickets per camp wont improve.

    My suggestion:
    Since we’re trying to minimize an unfixable problem for this year, I have 2 suggestions -

    1- Theme camps:
    All Theme camps in 2011 justified their early passes as minimium core staff needed – before gaming the system became tantamount. Offer them 1st chance at that # of the 10,000 March tickets, which will get core camp builders there and do more to help restore good feelings than a “sorry, we value you, but” platitude. All left over tickets are 1st come 1st serve.

    2- Scalped tickets:
    This may be too late for this year, but non-transferable tickets are the only solution to scalpers, especially individual scalpers.

    a) For this year, all lottery winners are given 45 days to assign a name to their tickets, which allows them time to gift or resell them to campmates. The ticket barcodes are already scanned to prove they aren’t counterfeit, so assigning a name to display would be relativly easy and could be checked during the vehicle search. Requiring someone in the vehicle to provide that ID would allow you to have a limited # of multiple tickets assigned to the same name in the same vehicle while making non-attendees tickets worthless.

    b) After 45 days any tickets without assigned names will be refunded and added to the STEP program. (trust me, we will buy them.)

    c) After 45 days no name changes will be allowed. Tickets can ONLY be re-sold to STEP.

    We’ve long known that success could distroy BurningMan, and I fear if the BMORG doesn’t take steps to address this problem now, this unique event could very well die the way so many popular theme camps have – abruptly and irrecoverably.

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  464. James Jones Says:

    I am a 12 consecutive year Burner, part of a placed theme camp that dearly loves to contribute significantly to the Burning Man (BM) experience, for the benefit of the Black Rock City (BRC) community, including ourselves. BM is an extremely important part of our lives, and we care deeply about it, meet and talk about it all year. Participating fully in this year’s lottery on day 1, only one third of our committed campmates who tried got tickets, even playing games to increase our odds. (Apparently, other committed, long term Burners had similar outcomes under the new process, since many other theme camps are reporting similar results.) Those of our camp who got tickets paid significantly more for them, on average, than ever before.

    This places our contribution to the Playa at serious risk. Without an adequate tribe to share costs and do the real work we do to build our camp, create our art, and provide the interactive experiences and hosted bar we offer, we seriously question whether we can do what we want to to help create the Black Rock City we love. This is seriously demotivating, discouraging and even frightening. The ticket situation this year is the most significant problem we have ever contemplated for Black Rock City and the Burning Man way, ethos, code and gorgeous alternative vision for what our civilization should include.

    Some respectful suggestions:

    Recognize the gravity of this situation:

    Most large events are created by their organizers. The event team provides the venue, builds the stage, offers the entertainment and experience, collects and spends the money needed to create the event. Attendees are mostly just spectators, although true fans contribute an energy that is a key factor for event success and entertainer satisfaction.

    Burning Man is different. BM organizers provide basic infrastructure for Black Rock City and basic essential services, like getting a permit, managing event access, laying out streets, building and burning the Man, providing port-a-potties, ice and coffee, cleaning up… The rest of BRC and the Burning Man event experience is created by committed BRC citizens. BRC’s citizens build most of the city and provide the vast majority of the experiences that make Burning Man absolutely unique on earth.

    If the committed, long-term citizens of BRC, those who understand and cherish BM values, goals and visions and contribute money, effort, spirit and love to creating BRC, cannot get in to the city, because of a broken ticketing process, BRC and the Burning Man experience will suffer through, at least, much less impressive infrastructure, less art, fewer theme camps, less entertainment and a clueless and noncontributing population. Profoundly and negatively affecting who can attend Burning Man profoundly and negatively affects and threatens the Burning Man experience at every level. The very nature and essence of what Burning Man is is at risk, unless something radical happens to change what is happening right now. Burning Man may be irreparably destroyed if something big does not happen now to fix this badly broken situation. This needs to be managed aggressively and thoughtfully.

    Short-term Possibilities:

    Cancel Burning Man This Year – Acknowledge the ticket system failure and very real possibility that Burning Man would be destroyed if allowed to happen as it will have to without radical changes. Say having the nature of the event so severely degraded is unacceptable to this community, and we would rather skip a year than see Burning Man destroyed. Use that as leverage with the BLM to secure more permit admissions than before. Gerlach, Nixon, police, BLM and others will suffer serious financial harm without having Burning Man, and their pressure will help with negotiations. Nobody likes this idea, but it may be better than witnessing BRC collapse tragically under invading hordes and demons of greed.

    Cancel All Current Tickets and Start Over – Acknowledge the gravity of the situation, explain the gravity of the situation, apologize, declare the current system void, cancel all ticket sales under the current system, and initiate a new process that addresses the situation proactively and adequately (see long-term possibilities below). This causes BM to have egg on its face, but BM already has egg on its face. It at least prevents the destruction of BM as we know and love it.

    Issue Remaining Tickets Preferentially – At least make sure the rest of the tickets go to known contributors to creating BRC, check historical contributions and save at least some major BRC theme camps, art and efforts. Tie remaining tickets to theme camp applications and verify camp histories. Save the theme camps and major art projects, so at least the most committed core of BRC can survive.

    Ban RVs – This sounds unfair. However, part of what has helped manage BRC’s population in the past, and conserved many other natural treasures, is the harshness of its environment and difficulties in getting there. That alienates the uncommitted and causes many of them not to come. The proliferation of RVs is a problem at BRC independent of the current ticket debacle. Utterly uninteresting RVs isolate and insulate people from the Burning Man experience. Part of what we escape in BRC is the isolated box paradigm of default reality. Issue a statement ASAP that RVs will not be allowed at Burning Man this year. That will cause many of those who do not understand and appreciate Burning Man adequately, those unwilling to at least create an appropriate camp for the environment, to decide not to come, releasing tickets for those who really cherish, embrace and create the Burning Man culture.

    Sting Scalpers – Issue a statement or add to the buyer agreement, if it is not already there, that ticketholders agree not to resell tickets at greater than face value, or they lose their right to a ticket. State explicitly that Burning Man views both buyers and sellers of BM tickets at more than face value as rotten douchebags unworthy of our community. Disparage motivating greed. Have a team of BM volunteers investigate all posted offers for tickets over face value. Identify the sellers in that process. No tickets have yet been issued, so scalpers cannot hand over tickets. Just before tickets are released, void all tickets for people trying to scalp them. Release all of those tickets in the STEP program and refund the scalpers so they have no loss.

    Occupy Black Rock City – To BRC citizens: If this situation is not fixed, and Black Rock City is going to be invaded and destroyed anyway, it might as well be BRC’s true citizens that are the invading hordes. Organize a concerted citizen attack on the perimeter, take it down and have one last big bash on the Playa, even without the great theme camps, art and giving we cherish.

    Longer-term Possibilities:

    Tie Tickets to Individual Human Beings, Like Airline Tickets – Ticket buyers have to show ID on admission that matches information submitted with the ticket purchase from Burning Man or they don’t get in. That cuts most scalpers out.

    File a Class-Action Lawsuit Against Scalper Organizations – Scalping is a plague, not just in the Burning Man community. Having profiteers scoop up all of the tickets not acquired in the first few minutes of electronic ticket sales and maximize the price remaining attendees pay for events discriminates against those who cannot afford to pay more than the event organizers offer the event for. That makes these experiences only available to the rich, which is inherently unfair, undemocratic and un-American.

    Ban RVs – Same reasons as above.

    Issue Tickets Preferentially – Same reasons as above. Make sure BRC’s proven, most devoted, contributing citizens can attend the event.

    Change Burning Man Management and Decision-Making Processes – Clearly something is broken within the Burning Man organization. If the ticket situation were not adequate demonstration of that, then not releasing this year’s Burning Man theme until well after Christmas should help support the argument. That takes half a year of visioneering and production time away from serious artists hoping to create art consistent with the theme. It contributed to people’s anxiety about the event and the collective dysfunction that was part of the ticket problem. Reorganize and improve management and decisionmaking at BM HQ.


    We recognize our limited abilities to fix or influence this situation. We are genuinely concerned, though. These thoughts and suggestions are offered with respect and only the best intentions. We continue to be committed members of the BM community and just want the very best for all.

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  465. Jack C Says:

    I’m a new burner and understand the frustrations of the community with the lottery. I want to present another side of the picture. I was never able to buy tickets until this year because of distance and a hectic life schedule. I’m thankful for the lottery and will do what I can to contribute to the event with positive energy. There are many of us who are ready, willing, and able to become active participants, the community only need to ask.

    By the way, I only count about 100 tickets for resale on stubhub as of today. I hope STEP keeps the scalpers out, perhaps by allowing sellers to commuinicate with and verify the counterparty.

    Report comment

  466. Kassandra Says:

    You fools, wake up. There are no scalpers. It’s BMOrg themselves who make black market prices go up and it’s BMOrg themselves who is selling on Ebay. Do you really believe in such an extraterrestrial ignorance? Read what I wrote earlier.

    Report comment

  467. Droidle Says:

    Lets be honest for once. Please. Hit reset. People withoit tickets suggest non transferable. People who have tickets still want to be entertained so they want the people putting on the show to be shown preferantial treatment. The fact of the matter is thaf everybody, from the doe eyes virgins to the wisest and most jaded veteran are important to the success of the event. I’m tired of hearing oh I am so much more important than, or those are just “regular burners” . The community needs to stop clawing at eachothers throats. Look at all the comments here. Most commented post in bm history. We need you to address us again. This is a think tank of some of the brightest lights that ever existed. So now you need to think of a way to fix this. You work for forty hours a week. If you cannot come up with a solution when all these people who don’t even get paid to think up solutions are helping you with many good solutions, then you prove yourself as inept at your position as you are being accused.

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  468. Rolan Thunder Says:

    James Jones Says: …”demons of greed”…

    “What would he get if he were to leave the group, just $20,000?” Larry said. (Regional Summit speech, April 2011. http://sfscribe.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/man-on-the-move/ )

    See what happens, Larry, when you f*ck your participants in the ticket?

    Report comment

  469. Kassandra Says:

    They fool you.

    Do your maths, please. Due to rising numbers maybe 50k people took part in the lottery, not more. They may have applied as 100k, because few people go to BMF alone, so couples applied double with their individual credit cards, but this is of no importance. After all only a 1/4 or 1/3 got tickets and this clearly shows that only a third of the tickets were in the lottery. Read my lines again. Calculate. A third only.

    At the same time large amounts of scalper tickets showed up online and everybody keeps wondering how the scalpers got them. Come on, folks, 1 plus 1 still equals 2. It’s BMOrg themselves selling on the black market, making an easy extra million. Who else?

    I know few people believe my words. Most people prefer to believe in a BMOrg which is travelling in a spaceship with all communication lines to earth interrupted. But you will learn that I am right, latest when they do not change the lottery system until gate opening.

    You may stop posting advices to the BMOrg now. They don’t read it, because they don’t need it. They not even moderate this thread. Instead they yawn. Your reactions come as no surprise to them. The plan is made and working. You burners are too late.

    You heard Kassandra’s word. Now keep on riding for your fall.

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  470. CampMaster for 7 Sins Lounge Says:

    “Kassandra Says:
    …..I know few people believe my words. Most people prefer to believe in a BMOrg which is travelling in a spaceship with all communication lines to earth interrupted. But you will learn that I am right, latest when they do not change the lottery system until gate opening…..”

    Huh?? this makes as much sense as that email from the African Banker promising me $30.2 million if I respond right away….

    Report comment

  471. Kassandra Says:

    They will not listen. They will not change. As last year, most people will get tickets – but overpriced ones, bought from a scalper which is in fact BMOrg.
    Have fun. Feel the spirit ;-)

    Report comment

  472. Merv S Says:

    I got a golden ticket. I am very happy I have my name put on it.

    Anyone I know w extra tickets will hold them until after the next round. All of our friends will try for tickets and the ones that don’t get them will then ask the friends who have them for a ticket. I had an extra ticket last year and it sucked. I was stuck in a bad situation where I had to play god. Professor or Maria or dr jones who would I select? Not fun at all.

    Camp registration is coming up. People don’t have tickets. How do we plan. Extend registration.

    The change in CFO a few years ago and BMORG getting more professional is good and bad. Cleaner books. More art grants. Better resources. Night vission. Less free tickets for people who come and help for a week pre burn. Still little money for hard working paid position individuals. Higher ticket prices. Fatter cats. BM staff drinking the cool-aid on why books should be closed.

    Like it or not Here comes BM 2.0. Or Whatever you want to call it. Wthin 2 years BM will not be the only game in town. On the current BMORG path there will be fertility 2.0 and the best talent may go where there are open books, transparency, democracy
    and an org that listens before doing something w good intentions but stupid.

    If the server is the issue and there are a real 60,000 that want tickets then lotto them off. One ticket per applicant w name on it. You can only return to BM. While I have gone 10 y and started a theam camp years 6 y ago and volunteer for BM, I don’t feel I am more important than anyone else.

    Your PAID to do a great job with peoples salvation. Peoples life. Peoples dreams. The way people are able to be happy in this crazy world. How you deal w this is not a ticket issue. Your dealing w peoples salvation. It is a hope for a better world. A calling. Default world is where we have to be because some hits the default button on laborday and it takes us a year get back to where we were. It is what we live for. It is why we know illegal immigrants that won’t leave cuz they can’t get back to BM. It is not a ticket it is why we have dreams. It is Our food. Our water. Our air. This situation is starving people and suffocating people all at the some time. Take it serious and dont be afraid to let go of your position if it is too much. Let ego go. I consider myself a share holder and feel someone should step aside for the better meant of the whole.

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  473. Red Machine D Says:

    This year was going to be my first burn, as well as the first burn of my niece, nephew, and girlfriend. It’s heartbreaking to see the organisers take the spirit of BM and do… this to it. I don’t even know what to call it; I don’t have words for something like this. It does send a very mixed and very hypocritical message, however, to give large amounts of tickets to scalpers for an anti-capitalist event.

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  474. instinctive Says:

    My $ 0.02 (yes I received tickets in the lottery):

    1. All pre-sale, lottery, final first-come-first-serve, and STEP tickets must be accompanied by the purchaser of those tickets at the gate. ID required. No exceptions.

    2. Pre-sale and lottery tickets may be turned in to bmorg for a full refund up to April 1, after which the refund discounts 10% per month. Once physical tickets are sent they cannot be refunded. If you can’t make it, your tickets are worthless, like many other situations in the default world. Sad but true.

    3. Transparency on all tickets that were dispensed without the recipient having to jump through the hoops that the rest of us have to.

    4. All RVs must remain outside of H. (I admit this is personal bias but whatever.)

    I think it’s inevitable that the burn will be very different this year. If (1) and (2) are implemented there’s a good chance that a large number (60%) of non-tourists will find their way. That’s sad, but better than the current 20-25%.

    It might be a year of less art, less theme, and more zen with yourself in the desert. Who knows?

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  475. Morgan Says:

    Obviously the system failed all in the community. The numbers just aren’t adding up, almost everyone I know if the NW who has been going – did not get tickets. Where are they? Recall the lottery, try again. Everyone can forgive the mistake, if a real attempt to fix it is made. If not – In a single year – We could lose it all.

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  476. Donovan Says:

    Despite being a small camp,we bring a mutant vehicle, metal sculpture, and are part of a new (As of last year) theme camp. It appears we got 3 out of 18 tickets needed to go, but truthfully not all of those applied as many people were put off by the lottery and already feeling unsure about our camp going … presuming they could get in on the last 10k. It is unlikely we will go this year. Sure, it isn’t the loss of a big, well known camp, but that is minus mutant vehicle, metal artwork, and our theme camp activities.

    The only solution I see for this year is to null and void the the lottery results. Server load is BS … welcome to the cloud age. Jesus. How many burners, myself included, are tech and software experts who would love to help.

    Report comment

  477. june franko Says:

    Noodle, use your noodle. You cant just manifest more workers. We already have HUNDREDS of people at the gate working constantly. Also the turn off from the highway is a big part of the problem al. There is NO WAY to make the wait shorter. Only longer. Checking on Ids at the gate will create ENORMOUS waits.

    Report comment

  478. Habibi Says:

    Hundreds of workers at the gate? Wishful thinking. Even those workers were part of the lottery, so only some dozens of them have a ticket :D

    Report comment

  479. Anonymous Says:

    Fuck tickets. Fuck gates. Fuck lines. Fuck scalpers.

    Either we boycott BM for a year, or we take it back from the 1% who profit from the event.


    Bring a tent.
    Expect us.

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  480. stephmopho Says:

    i believe scalpers are the issue. I feel like I am missing something. why isn’t more being done to punish them. you can already go on any ticketing website and see tickets are for sale for more than double the face value. I don’t have a stub from past years, but after reading some of these postings it sounds like there are stipulations about reselling tickets at more than face value. IF so, why doesn’t BM take action? Does anyone know if these stipulations are true? Sincerely asking….

    Report comment

  481. Mazer Says:






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  482. Bradley B Says:

    I just browsed around and counted the tickets available at scalper sites.

    Stub Hub 78
    Vivid seats 39
    ticket nest 36
    tickets more 37
    tickets.oak web works 37
    Ticket liq. 37
    excite 18
    bargain seats 37
    super tix 37
    ticket luck 37
    tix mate 24
    game stub 19

    The (37) is interesting several sites have the same amount of tickets. Is that because they have more that (37) tickets and are only showing a smaller number ti keep prices high? Or is that they all used the same method of obtaining these tickets? Not trying to be all “Rain Man” on you guys but this may be worth a look.

    I still say DON’T BUY SCALPER TICKETS!!! If we dont get a ticket through burning man then we just dont go. If we make a stand for this one year and burn the scalpers they will be less likely to do this again next year.

    Average cost scalper paid lets say $250.00 x 37 tickets = $9,250.00

    That might send a message!

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  483. Dusty McShroomface Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with LAZLO’s eloquently worded comments above made on February 4th, 2012 at 11:16 pm.

    Report comment

  484. JayBee Says:

    It’s all just sad. The feelings that this event has given me over the years is just draining out. Never expected such a disconnect.

    Report comment

  485. Miss Monster Says:

    I have been a Burner since my first trip home in 2001. I am involved locally with my regional community. Yay SOAK!!! I co-run a theme camp, volunteer, provide art, love, compassion and have a kick ass game of Go Fish?, fish in our pond, full of loving fish and catch some hand made wearable art!! None of my camp got tickets. Out of 10+ people. 3 of us are going ahead, and trying the STEP program, as well as going for the 10,000 in March. We are a small camp, but we love BRC, and smalls matter too!!

    Just thought I would throw it out there:

    All of us would be happy to have names on our tickets, and be required to have to show ID at the gate…..

    Not that if would fix the problem… but we may have better luck in the end making it home!!

    I hope to see you on the Playa!!!! <3

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  486. Paddy Says:

    Guys let the dust settle… you will get tickets if your really really want to go and you keep your ears and eyes open..the demand pressure was too intense for a conventional distribution system… so now that they have gently placed this fractal fern supply channel onto the population ….. do not look to burningman to provide, look to your networks…. put out the word and the ticket will come to you…

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  487. G Says:

    Glastonbury Festival takes “Fallow” years as a matter of policy every 5 or so years. Honestly, cancelling the event for this year might not be a bad thing.

    This is seriously looking to potentially be a really disastrous event. Calls for gate crashing and protests in this and other threads are giving me the chills.

    Then one has to consider what sort of spontaneous gathering would occur if there was a cancellation. This possibility is mentioned in BLM’s online permit review. Juplaya on steroids, and how that might or might not be its own disaster.

    Or is this the BMORG’s way of twisting the BLM’s arm for lifting the population cap?

    Hey BMORG!, this event is made up of a core community, and the next few weeks are critical in how it affects this community’s attitudes and feelings, as reflected by the comments here and on ePlaya. The event is nothing without the community, and the lottery has for now blown that to smithereens. I hope Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again.

    Rumors were going around last year that 2011 was the last Burning Man.
    All things pass. Is this RIP Burning Man? If so, so be it. Impermanence.
    It could be creative destruction however.

    This just gets more and more fascinating. I have a ticket, and yet am seriously considering if this is not the year for an alternate vacation, Europe, here I come??

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  488. Angel Says:

    I still think APOCALYPSE would have been a much more appropiate theme for BURNINGMAN 2012. The current ticket devastation, I fear is the beginning of the end. I strongly hope I am wrong. This will be a learning experience for all. I hope we will survive and come back stronger then ever. Good luck to BMorg.

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  489. brian michael Says:

    burning man is just a place that is HOT by day and COLD at night governed by rules and GREED of the 3 creators that change the event for their personal gain. who cares if the event sold out. you made 50,000 people happy(2011) and most of those were long time burners. i will NEVER go again. too much DRAMA. you are ruining burning man. way to go. i applaud you!!!!!!!!!!!

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  490. Robbie858 Says:

    Lazlo’s post of 2/4 makes good sense to me. Perhaps there is a job opening at BMorg for someone with good sense. If we were voting, I would vote to respect Lazlos perspective. I would also vote to make tix available to some of the longtime established Camps and those who have applied for art Projects through the ARTery who’s applications time limit has already expired, thus no rushing the art project gate, so to speak.

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  491. Carol Says:

    CampMaster – you got it right! I love your idea and totally think it would work. Hopefully BMorg will be responsive also. One can only hope. Thank you for your insight and much needed knowledge.

    Report comment

  492. U2pilot Says:

    Some posters say the lottery should be canceled, but that is a non-starter, and all of the people making that suggestion should read a few comments first to see the long list of reasons. I still wonder if they would be making that suggestion if they had won a $240 ticket in the lottery and knew they might pay more or even get nothing in a do-over. It seems roughly 20-30% of the tickets went to real Burners who played by the rules, and it is not fair to screw them by unilaterally rescinding their sale.

    A few posters say “Occupy,” which is ludicrous. Any serious attempt at that would result in the immediate (and probably permanent) shutdown of Burning Man. The 57-page plan submitted by the LLC to the BLM for Burning Man actually has detailed plans for shutting down and evacuating the event in case of an emergency. In short, the road gets shut down to incoming traffic, starting at the I-80 offramp. Think about it — a single-file line of cars, in the midst of a massive law-enforcement presence, is about the worst possible scenario for gate crashing.

    Bradley B says boycott scalpers and don’t go if you can’t get a ticket through the Borg. Easy to say, unless you’ve already put money down on air fare and/or an RV, or have hundreds of hours in an art project. Maybe made plans to get married at BM. Dozens of tickets have already moved on StubHub, and the minimum has moved from $615 to $649 in just 2 days. I suspect those are the people already buying at StubHub, and have no faith the Borg is going to fix the problem. A few hundred dollars extra may be a small fraction of their budget for the event, and spending it now buys peace-of-mind as the minimum price rapidly climbs. There are now just 8 tickets available under $695.

    stephmopho, scalping is legal in Nevada, and I don’t think the Borg can legally set a maximum price at which you can resell your property. I definitely don’t recall seeing anything like that, nor has the Borg ever said legitimate tickets bought from a third-party could be invalidated. (They only warn of the danger of counterfeits.)

    The only viable solution seems to be some variation on registering tickets to individuals, with a near-term deadline for that to take place. That will get the scalpers’ tickets back into inventory, and then the demand will probably get much closer to matching supply.

    Let’s hope the Borg has something to say very soon and that it makes sense. As it stands, they have clearly lost credibility, and they are doing little to recover from that problem. If they spend another 2 weeks just watching, all they are going to see is the death of their baby.

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  493. GODDESS Says:

    “Hbaker Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 5:10 pm
    Worst ticketing system EVER! Thought I would make this my 5th year anniversary after years of a break, but I’m over it. I’ve officially given up on this festival. It’s a Rich Man’s festival now.
    Good luck!”

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  494. GODDESS Says:

    Also…. invision and ticket and it will come to you….good vibes blah blah blah….burning man is what you make of it man! …. LOL WHAT … no it wont and I do not care anyways… its overrun by hipsters a this point

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  495. Alex Says:

    Fellow burners, I think we are to eager to assume that what happened with the tickets this year was entirely due to the new system. I think the same, if not worse, would’ve happened with the old system. And the reason for this is simple – last year was the first one when tickets sold out. There were no scalpers before because there were always tickets available. This is the first year when it makes sense for scalpers to grab as many tickets as possible. Considering this fact, I think the lottery system might have actually mitigated this problem somewhat better than the first-come-first-served would. Think about how all the tickets for popular concerts, such as Radiohead, are sold out the next second they go on sale on ticketmaster. The only way to deal with this situation, in my opinion, is to use airlines’ ticket system, with names printed on tickets. If you need to transfer your ticket, you could only do it through STEP at the face value. Unfortunately, as it stands now, I don’t see any reasons why scalpers could not use STEP system to grab those extra tickets the real burners would want to exchange among themselves.

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  496. Charlos of black rock fun jet Says:

    It is sad that BMorg had to change the stratigy for buying a ticket. Because of the first come first serve it made it possible to get the camps organized buy buying their tickets the first day they went on sale,only the true burningman people were so intent on making it.
    With putting the lottery togetherit gave the more money motivated people time to get there act together and submit. I am afraid that with this system we are destened to season of lookie loose’s.
    I believe if we just went back to the original type of ticket sales the event would come off sooo smooth. I don’t think the non transferable ticket is a good idea ethier as last year I was unable to go at the last minute so I was able to get it to someone else (at face value) so they could enjoy the experience.
    I do hope some how that BMorg can get the remaining tickets to the people that make the event work. The Theme camp are so a part of the city.It is just a scary situationthis year. Fingers crossed

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  497. Bear Says:

    Home is where the heart is and this year it will sadly not be at Burning Man. After 7 years my family has decided not to attend our reunion on the playa. First, the recycled theme lacks creativity and inspiration for us. Second, we were not awarded tickets in the lotto. We will miss all our friends and lovers and hope that when we return in the future it won’t be taken over by “celebrities” and their private RV camps.

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  498. DMT Says:

    The online petition has now been removed after the originator was contacted by the BMORG, in order to give them “space”. From the explanation email this morning:

    “Just wanted to say thank you for signing the petition and give you a status update.

    I have been contacted by BM representatives, and they have indicated that they are aware of the petition. They have heard the community, and are working on potential solutions to the issue. I believe we have brought the right amount of attention to the issue, and it’s time to give the BM team some space to work out an appropriate solution for the community.

    In less than a week we brought over 4000 signers to bear on the issue. I am turning off the petition at this time, I hope that I get the chance to see all of you rolling in the dust this year.”

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  499. Jim Says:

    I hope that the BMorg doesn’t try to “fix” their mistake by giving preferential treatment to theme camps to cover THEIR own asses so their event isn’t ruined.

    Individuals and small art projects are just as important part of the Burning Man experience as the big theme camps (in some cases even more so), IMO.

    Giving theme camp members preferential treatment by making it easier for them to procure tickets seems unfair to the rest of the community.

    Just my two cents.

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  500. Habibi Says:

    Lazlo and U2pilot, you two should connect and put your articles into a single one, which can be posted here over and over again, so dreamers don’t disturb the discussion.

    Maybe I can add something to the legal situation. I am not American, but such laws are the same almost everywhere: A contract is by definition a ‘declaration of mutual agreement’. E.g. person 1 puts a price tag on something and person 2 says ‘I take it’ – thats already a valid contract, even before money or product(service) has changed hands. For the BMF tickets this means that the tickets for the lottery winners were offered as transferable tickets and that’s what they are, even if they are not shipped yet. You cannot change them into non-transferable ones anymore. Especially you cannot suddenly put a time limit on them for registring or the like.

    Luckily a maximum of a third of the tickets were in the first lottery, so at least the other two thirds could be sold connected to an ID/name. You may contradict, but you won’t change my mind. I strongly believe BMORG is not honest with us. I can smell it.

    By the way: All foreigners always (at least since 1998) got their tickets not shipped, but on hold at will call. We got a number emailed and together with our passport we got our (non-transferable!) tickets. So it is not impossible at all, BMORG is even used to this procedure. Of course this needs a very large box office area, but this can be managed. If necessairy, I help, I have done this before. But I won’t put my language skills in a greeter job. I’ll cancel it within the next days and before ‘the dust settles’. BMORG already messed it up too much, I simply don’t want to lie when saying ‘Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome to Burning Man’.

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  501. DMT Says:

    And if that is, in fact, legally correct, maybe that’s why the petition was pulled. And why they are stalling for time. And making no further public comment/reaction to suggestions (not even bothering to “moderate” the comments with URLs here).

    The situation is likely much worse than it seems.


    Stick a fork in the Man. He’s cooked.

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  502. Curtis Coleman Says:

    You want feedback, so I felt compelled.

    I have always failed to understand why the ticketing system is set in place “prior” to the placement of art and theme camps. This has NEVER made sense to me.

    Imagine if you will:

    First things first. Deadlines for art submissions and theme camps by December 31. Tickets are made available for sale to those people that are participating and building the city. Even if your art or theme camp doesnt get placed, it can still be eligible for tickets prior to the general sale. This would probably account for 20-30,000 tickets sold. All sold to people actually building and participating. This will also encourage people (even first time burners) to be involved with a project. More people would come out of woodwork to help and be involved early. These tickets can be distributed to the project leads for distribution to their teams. Less spectators. GREATER participation. Tickets to general public would then go on sale in May.

    Right now the timing is reversed. Ticket sales seem to be the first order of things. Ticket sales to an event that asks its participants to participate radically could be distributed first to those who are radically participating. It would be cohesive with the intent that is commonly referred to as “a responsibility to the community”.

    I personally do not begrudge anyone within BRC, LLC for wrong doing. We are all making this up as we go along, as you are as well. Every one of us are doing absolutely the best we can within our lives.

    The scenario I have explained above, I believe, would solve so many of the issues that are if front you now. The most important being , saving the integrity of the event.

    I love you all, and hope you will consider this idea for the future.


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  503. DMT Says:

    Printed on all tickets:


    Can any attorneys reading this thread comment further on the implications of linking already sold tickets to names, or (worst case) voiding the entire lottery?

    The legal ramifications must surely be at the core of BMORG discussions.

    This is bad bad bad.

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  504. Jimbo Says:

    It seems impossible to resolve the issues of this years tciket fiasco as there are only 10,000 tickets left and many thousands of true burners needing them. Those that were lucky to get more than for themselves are sure to know others that are needing them and the resale on BM site will be ovwhelming with only a few available and so many needing. ANd I agree that scalpers will also, as we do, have first priority for the 10,000 remaining. This is an issue to be figured out for next year. Unfortunately, many theme camp and true veteran burners will not be attending this year. This would have been our 11th year as a theme camp, but with only 3 of the 20+ Burners in our theme camp having tickets, and we’re only one camp of hundreds, we understand that the odds are not good. Many of our camp have already resolved to not going and are attempting to get tickets. The overall atmosphere at BM this year and possibly in the future will change as many theme camp, art cars, costumes, and scheduled events will not be going.

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  505. stephmopho Says:

    bradley b…..ticket genie has 37 as well.

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  506. Elizabeth Jackosn Says:

    Greetings from Gerlach BM Community!

    Hi Marian, Hope that this short note finds you well and happy!

    I am wondering if you would be willing to discuss or address how this new BM lottery policy will effect the purchase of local tix for Gerlach residents?

    Last year the town of Gerlach made a request to BM that Gerlach local residents be allowed, as they always had been in the past, to go out to the gate pre event when BM Theme Camps, Artists ect.. gain early entry to pick up their tix.

    Last year for the very first time ever, locals were forced to stand in line with 50,000 participants when the gate opened in order to pick up the BM tix that they had already paid for.

    This took anywhere from 8-12 hours wasting a tank of gas and was a huge and unnecessary inconvenience for the Gerlach locals. Most of the local folks in Gerlach are either employed supporting the event, volunteering with the town water and trash sales or in their 70′s and 80′s so sitting in the heat and dust was not only an unnecessary waste of volunteer and employment time and hours , but not very good for the health or well being of the elders of our community.

    The town sent a petition to ask that BM reinstate the prior BM policy which allowed locals early entry in order to pick up their Tix or at the very least that they be allowed to pick them up at the Gerlach BM office when the event opens so they can avoid burning up a tank of gas and waiting in the heat and dust for the better part of a valuable day on Gate RD.

    We received a short and very corporate speak response assuring the local Gerlach residents that BM would look into this revised policy and get back to us.To date we had not heard a word.

    Marion , I am wondering if the board has made a decision on the town of Gerlach’s request and if local tix will even be offered this year? Many of us have friends and family who would like to support the event with their attendance however making plans to do so is difficult if the Local Tix situation remains uncertain.

    I look forward to your response.

    Warmest wishes,

    Elizabeth Jackson
    Gerlach Resident

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  507. Ed Rezin Says:

    IMHO- The ticketing train wreck was no mistake. For years the people running the big show have been messing with our minds. I personally have seen several attempts at “experiments” in personal behavior at this event. I truly believe the intent is to break up all of the theme camps and go back to the roots of what the event is all about. The balance in prior years has shifted into what some people call a 7 day rave, no longer focused on community building. It’s become a spectator sport. Will BM survive? Survive what? IMHO it died years ago. BUT… I still love it, love everything about it, and I want to come home just as much as the next guy. BTW, I got my “rejection” letter- 2 in fact, and I know I will be attending this year one way or another. But I digress, do you remember the “survey” that was filled out at the beginning or the tix process? I know it played a way bigger part than they will ever admit. BORG is fucking with you!!!! It’s time somebody admits the truth.

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  508. scruffyboy Says:

    Well… Looks like BMORG really screwed the pooch on this one. (if the responses here are any gauge) No, I didn’t get a ticket for the tier(s) I was hoping for. Which begs the question? How could any of us possibly know for certain that we weren’t “bumped” off the list simply because we didn’t pick a high enough dollar amount? All we have is your word that the ticketing lottery was done fairly and without bias. Where is the proof? It is also obvious that your “system” can, and has been manipulated when even you state that theme camps are now “considering” how to redistribute tickets acquired using multiple credit cards and accounts.

    Marian, that Burning Man pony is beginning to lose it’s sparkle for a lot of us and the way the ORG deals with this kind of situation is getting really old and tiresome. If you want to put on an “exclusive” high dollar event then please, do everyone a favor and take it elsewhere and give the BLM land a rest. And oh yeah this is still PUBLIC land I might add regardless of what your permits might read and some of the public is really gettin more than a little fed up with the event and it’s organizers.

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  509. Merman Says:

    The most important part of Burning Man – the core that makes it more than just a great party – is its radical re-visioning of community and politics.

    The 50,000 ticket limit imposed by the BLM has killed that part of Burning Man – not least by making us all competitors for scarce tickets rather than cooperators in a great social experiment. I’m sure a decent party can still be had this August, but the radically positive alternative vision of how humans can co-exist is dead.

    Clearly, the federal government does not want our vision to grow and spread. The 50,000 ticket limit is not the BORG’s fault, but collaborating with and being co-opted by, the BLM by accepting that limit is unacceptable. The idea that the Black Rock Desert cannot handle more people, with Bman’s record of environmental stewardship, is false.

    The only way to revive the true spirit of Burningman it is to throw off the 50,000 limit. There are options: e.g., buy or lease private land for the event; cancel it to get more bargaining power with the BLM; “Occupy BRC”; take a page from the Rainbow Gathering and exercise our First Amendment right to peaceably assemble on public land, etc.

    All we stand to lose at this point is a decent party that most of our friends can’t make anyway, and the BORG’s power, privileges and prestige. We’ve already lost the most important part.

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  510. Habibi Says:

    Those three possibilities come to my mind:

    1 – BMORG is stupid, deaf and ignorant. Unlikely, but they act as if they were.

    2 – BMORG became dishonest, greedy and corrupted. Unfortunately somehow likely.

    3 – BMORG is having talks with BLM and other officials and cannot communicate at this moment in order not to mess up those talks. Unlikely too, but our only hope.

    If someone can add a forth possibility, which is not already included in these three, please do so and post it.

    If not, let’s discuss which of the three it is.

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  511. Jimbo Says:

    I agree that without many of the theme camps, art, and events, that BM will be much different this year. It would be nice to have them all be able to attend but very unrealistic and unfair to think that they should have priority and not let new or veterans burners that arent associated with a theme camp have a chance to go. Though not fair, in trying to preserve some of BMs atmosphere of camps, art, and events, instead of giving them priorities for tickets, giving ony priority of maybe 10-20% of how many people they registered for in the past. Many of the campers in theme camps aren’t actual vital participants, i.e of the 3 that already have tickets in ours none were active participants. Also, looking at each theme camp and see if they actually contributed. We’ve seen many registered camps in the past that registered but didn’t offer anything for the community, they only wanted to be placed in the middle of theme camps. Again, giving priority to anyone would be unfair and not in line with the spirit of the event. I don’t feel that we should have priority, but only say this in the case the BM org does decide to give some priorities to theme camps for the remiaining tickets – in that case, then limit the amount of tickets given priority to theme camps and allow for individuals to attend.

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  512. DMT Says:

    4 – BMORG is deep in meetings with their attorneys right this very moment, but will likely not be able to do anything about the tickets sold so far. The big decision for them is how to handle the remaining 10,000 and ensure that STEP is (relatively) successful.

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  513. crimson Says:

    Wow! Good to hear others are feeling the same as me (we really are not alone!!) I am disgusted and hugely disappointed in Bmorg for their ignorance and blatant disregard for the quality people that make the event what it has become and for also slapping all of these same fine folks in the face for not believing, or accepting, their failed system. Our feedback was forthright and forefront from the start that the “random selection” system would not work and they blatantly ignored all the professional advice and went ahead with it anyway. They then have the gall to inform us we were not successful in obtaining tickets in the main sale. We told them it would not work and they had to confirm with us it did not. Who is doing the listening here?? I have really lost my enthusiasm to go, as well as most of our theme camp who never got tickets. Who do they think will build the theme camp and run the great services we offer?? I wholeheartedly support the concept of registering ID for each ticket sold (over the next two weeks), and if no registration is received then no tickets sold to you. All unsold tix can then go on sale late Feb, first-come, first-served with registered ID. Bmorg needs to LISTEN and make this right. Start with an apology and then a dedicated plan. Stop flying by the seat of your pants and insulting the very people who support your livelihood.

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  514. DMT Says:

    They are surely listening to their attorneys at this point…not people here.

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  515. Harvey Bell Says:

    I am happy that I got the two tickets we need.

    My concern is how the lottery affects long-time Burners. Friends with whom I camp have been coming for years with camps as big as 250 people and in later years broken up into several smaller camps. These groups look forward all year to re-uniting on the Playa.

    But there is no reward in the system, as far as I can tell, for people who have been long-time attenders. Unless there is something I don’t know, a newbie or scalper has the same chance of getting a ticket as someone who has supported the Burn since it moved to the Playa.

    I realize there was a pre-sale, but for some regulars, the higer price wasn’t affordable.

    I wonder if there is a way that you could track previous people who bought tickets directly from Burning Man over the past several years, by name or credit card number, and then give those people a lottery for the 3 price ranges.

    After those “Real Burners” get their tickets, you could then open a general public lottery that would include people who bought tickets from other people plus the newbies.

    I have a lot of respect for what I call the “Real Burners” as they are people (at least those that I have known over the years) who really care about the Playa. They pick up Moop, they help others, they participate in art projects or entertainment, they bring art cars, they leave nothing behind, they don’t dump waste water or cooking grease, they respect other Burners, and they fully participate in the Burn experience.

    To me, they are to be honored in some way over the “Johny-come-lately’s”, some of which are not as respectful of the traditions and rules of the Burn.

    I realize that you have a capacity limit and an excess demand for tickets. That’s a good thing in business. But in many businesses, when supply is short, the long term clients get shipped first since they are who helped make the business a success in the first place. How can that practice be included in the ticketing process?

    Re: Scalpers, I don’t know anything about the law and resale, but could purchasers sign an agreement that if they can not use the tickets they purchase, they must be returned. And if so, would that be inforceable against the blatant anti-burn practice of inflated price resale via the internet?

    Thanks for doing the best that you can do.

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  516. Habibi Says:

    DMT, don’t you think #4 is the result if #1 is the case? And isn’t Crimson right, whatever they are doing or planning or talking now?

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  517. Bradley B Says:

    NAMES ON TICKETS…I LOVE THE IDEA!!! Wouldnt be a big deal..I work in the box office and we deal with transferd tickets all the time. Im sure some will buy a ticket not be able to go and sell it to a friend, all they have to do is follow the ticket transfer procedure on BM website. This will keep the scalpers out for sure!!!

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  518. Harvey Bell Says:

    Re: scalpers,

    It’s sad to see what seemed in years past to be pure in spirit, become just another way for some people to profit.

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  519. Joey Says:

    The mistake burningman made this year will leave a bitter taste for years to come. This years burningman is not burningman too me. they need to publicly fire the Person that made this choice and admit to the burningman community they made a big mistake!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  520. DMT Says:

    I think that there is a lot going on here that we don’t/won’t know about, and the situation is actually much WORSE than it appears.

    The people thinking “Yay this year will be refreshingly different without the big camps!” (I know of three personally) are going to get their wish in spades.

    Best of luck with your burn, everyone. I’m done with this thread; it’s not going to change a damn thing.

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  521. U2pilot Says:

    Merman, any attempt to “Occupy” will fail. If a significant number of people arrive without tickets, the entrance will be blocked by police cars so no one without a ticket gets in, and you will get ticket-checked at the 447 exit off I-80. Contingency plans for shutting down the event were part of the plan the Borg had to submit to the BLM. Plus, the cops will start working backwards through cars already in line. No tickets, and you get turned around. Or they just shut the event down, probably permanently.

    You can’t gate crash where the only way in a single 2-lane road, and there is already a massive police presence in place. (Sure, it might be possible to crash the trash fence, but all other entrances to the playa will also be blocked.)

    Habibi, if you think Lazlo and I are repeating ourselves, I appologize. It’s just that the frustration becomes hard to take when some of the same unworkable ideas (a- cancel the lottery, b- cancel the event, c- occupy) get repeated over and over and over. None of those posters seem to have noticed they had already been posted, and shown to be unworkable by many others here.

    For what it’s worth, I have some strong opinions on the virgins vs. vets topic that I’ve kept to myself. Those discussions are about values, and I respect people to have diverging opinions. On the other hand, the viability of an “Occupy” movement at the end of a 70-mile, 2-lane highway — not a lot of question about that. And perhaps it gets into the area of values, but everyone who calls for a complete do-over seems ready to throw those who played fair and got cheap tickets under the bus.

    Under full disclosure, I got the FU letter (2 actually) on my lottery entry, but a friend with 2 tix has promised one for me.

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  522. Habibi Says:

    On the contrary. I am serious about about you, DMT and U2pilot, to repeat and repeat what you have to say. Obviously people only read the last 10 postings before they post themselves.

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  523. Dave B Says:

    Very simple solution for tickets n participants, IF BM LLC makes everyone go through so much paperwork to register art cars, art, and theme camps, well then you should automatically be able to apply for the needed amount of tickets attached to the registration of such projects. I will be quite frank that after 14 years of attendance, i feel strongly that BM organization forgets who actually brings this city and builds it and PAYS FOR IT< US THE PEOPLE NOT BM, yes your ticket pays for the city grid, porta potties, medical and even pays for you to be arrested but it does not pay for the camps or art cars and very little of the ticket proceeds goto art. SO figure it out quick cuz its not cool that so many of us have invested huge time and personal funds into infrastructure, creativity, and getting that huge pile of junk there and back, we should be your first priority!

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  524. Habibi Says:

    Please keep in mind, that the following is not a discussion point, but a fact:

    BMORG had set up a feedback link. They were told in advance about everything which is found in this endless thread. Their only reaction was making the lottery system more complicated.

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  525. tom Says:

    Best way to fix this situation for next year:

    1) Non-Transferrable but fully refundable tickets (minus shipping and service) . This should root out most scalpers, and it will make it so that you are the sole source of the tickets. Also if a participant has something come up and they cannot go, they have recourse.

    2) Priority based on past participation. This will take a few years to implement, but you should keep track of who pays you and reward those who have come back year after year. This insures that long time supporters do not get lost in the shuffle

    3) Radically include everyone in on the same price. Drop the Tiered bull$#!T. It causes a feeding frenzy on your lower tiered tickets.

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  526. Rev Dr Shamus Says:

    I have been to Burning Man five times, and the experiences I’ve had there have altered the course of my life. I’ve been part of the Burning Man community in both New York and San Francisco — and I also did receive two tickets in the pre-sale.

    However, of the folks I am connected with, 20% is an optimistic over-estimate of how many received tickets — sentiment echoed in the above posts.

    I agree with the sentiment that tickets should be made non-transferrable, but I’d also like to add a point that seems to be implied but not explicitly stated by the above posts: Distributing tickets using an “Ambassador” system like BOOM Festival, and allocating a certain number of tickets to registered theme camps that have already been to the playa and placed previously (so new camps don’t register in order to just get tickets).

    Burning Man already has the framework to create ticket Ambassadors, with the Regional Contacts, whom are often elected by some means by regional community members. These folks can be given guidelines and asked to distribute tickets to the community, and can help abate issues with non-transferable tickets; and can help handle making sure tickets get distributed throughout the community — perhaps 30,000 or so — to handle the “core” burners. This system could potentially be combined with the tickets allocated to established theme camps. You can google “Boom Ambassadors” to see how the festival most comparable to Burning Man (although with vast differences..) in Europe does it. These tickets could still remain transferable because there’d be some process to make sure this person is in fact a member of the Burner community, or at least a real person and not a scalper.

    Non-transferable tickets can be sold by the BMorg in limited quantities, let’s say 10k, to handle Radical Inclusion so people don’t have to know regional contacts or be part of an established camp. This would be the necessary trade-off to keep Burning Man open, but give some preference to those who have historically made sacrifices and contributions.

    Finally, an apology to the community should be given. Marian, you sent out numerous e-mails on JRS claiming this system would work, there were posts on ePlaya etc saying “Don’t fret, 40k burners will not have their shit together by January to sell out the tickets!’ It is clear you were blindsided by the situation and a little bit of honesty will go a long way with the community. And Please, “engaging the community” doesn’t mean calling up known and established community leaders that you are connected to. It means honest dialogue on places like this blog and the internet at large.

    Everyone knows STEP will be a complete failure. There simply aren’t these burners with all these extra tickets to distribute. The tickets went to scalpers. Something needs to be done and FAST.

    Right now, the community gets the sense you are taking the Ostrich head-burying solution, and sticking to your guns about STEP. Regardless of your declarations, the entire system of lottery and STEP is and will continue to be an abject failure.

    This is the largest controversy I have witnessed affect the Burning Man Community. Something radical needs to be done to save Burning Man. That is not hyperbole..that is the plain truth right now.

    People look to the BMORG/BM Project staff for one thing: Institutions. Street Signs. Port-o Potties. Setting the stage for the event and facilitating the experiences of Burners. Obviously, this year, you have flatly failed on your one directive and reason for existence! It’s time to come up with a new institutional model of ticket distribution that actually works for your community, not cheap cop-outs leveraging third party vendors (InTicketing) whose sales people lie through their teeth to you about the effectiveness of their scalper-filtering mechanisms, which clearly do not work.

    Please come up with better institutions for ticketing and make radical moves to implement them ASAP.

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  527. Chuck Panipinto Says:

    The whole idea behind doing a lottery was to prevent scalping. All you did was force hoarders. If it put a stop to scalping then what the hell is this?? http://www.stubhub.com/burning-man-festival-tickets/burning-man-8-27-2012-4016620/?ticket_id=433771828

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  528. Steve Says:

    From what I can gather, only about a third of the long time burners that I know got tickets. Which leads to the question, who got all these tickets?

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  529. Merman Says:

    U2Pilot – no doubt the logistics of an Occupy BRC effort are daunting. Another question is how to define “success” vs “failure” of that effort.

    Re logistics, I don’t pretrend to have a “PLAN” worked out. But I would observe that there are more roads than 447, there is a lot of terrain where people can be dropped off to hike, and people that have tickets can bring water and food for those who “occupy.”

    Re “success” vs “failure” – is it a failure if the whole thing gets shut down and people spend 48 hours being herded down 447 by a massive police presence? That depends on your perspective. If all you want is another year of partying, I guess so. If you want the entire community to particpate or no one gets to, then maybe its a success.

    My main thought is that Burning Man is no longer Burning Man right now. So shutting down what happens this August is not shutting down Burning Man.

    But when I think about “Occupy BRC” I also can’t help but think that there are probably better ways to use that much energy for positive social change. Like the next national election cycle.

    I have tickets. How good am I going to feel about partying when 60% of my camp and 60% of my community are excluded?

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  530. Andie Grace Says:

    Hey guys,

    We are reading and watching and having hundreds of conversations a day with Burners as we work to sort out a solution. It’s a very fast paced, very busy time right now and we’re trying hard to keep up with all the forums and compile feedback, real numbers, and responses. We are 100% listening and sorting out all the information as we figure out how to proceed.

    I’m not going to point by point dissect everyone’s suggestions in my response here, but I wanted to make sure you know that human beings (Burners ourselves, all of us, and all of us also deeply affected by what’s going on) are paying attention & appreciate your feedback, suggestions and ideas.

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  531. Dr. Bungee Says:

    My first burn was in 1996. The theme was Hell. It was more like Heaven to me. I’ve been going every year since. ( I am 16, going on 17 ?). There were less than 6000 people there.
    My second year on the Playa, I attended a talk by Larry Harvey. He spoke on the future of BM, and how large the community could grow. How many people could come together, in the spirit of sharing, and build the most outrageous city on earth, where nothing existed before? He imagined numbers of 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 or more. Who knew what the limit would be? With large numbers of creative, dedicated, hard working people, joining together to build a totally unique experience, life changing to most who attend, well, that’s how legends are born. I am very grateful to have been a part of this. The answer to Larry’s pondering back then, seems to be 53,000. It’s ironic that the limit comes from the “default” world, and not the community itself.
    BM is like a religion to a lot of longtime burners. I pray (for lack of a better term) that it doesn’t end like this. Please help us to continue creating this awesome event, and the enlightenment it brings to so many lives.
    One last thought. Did Larry, Maid Marion, and other “First Campers”, have to enter the lottery? And if so, did they get tickets?

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  532. Habibi Says:

    @Andie Grace: NOW you listen? So what was the feedback link for?

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  533. Luap Says:

    From the FAQs in support, prior to this ticket fiasco, there was already the question,

    Q: Why not just register each ticket with a name and require ID at the Gate to use the ticket?

    The arrogant presumption in the BMORG reply tells much:

    A: It has been our experience that a great many tickets are purchased for giving away, ensuring a project has coverage, or selling later to a friend in need. The administrative cost of changing the name on every ticket that ever changes hands exceeds our capacity. And frankly, many of your fellow BRC citizens are uncomfortable with the notion of showing ID just to enter the event (nor suffering through even longer wait times at the Gate). While we know some events use non-transferable tickets, we’re not convinced it works for our community. We’re counting on everyone playing fairly so we don’t have to go to an “ID-specific” process for ticket sales and event entry.

    It’s not too late to send out the message that only the credit card holder’s name matched to ticket and ID at the gate (plus the one extra assigned likewise in advance) will be valid, and duplicates won’t work. Scalpers with multiple tickets will be stuck, so they should be offered the opportunity to sell back to BMORG and only BMORG directly.

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  534. Cary Chisum Says:

    There are a massive number of people very disappointed in the approach to solve the simple problem of this event becoming popular. Everyone who has been introduced to this event has received advice on what to bring and how to prepare. Adding to that list the advice to buy your ticket early is the best solution. Our camp received 4 tickets out of 25. None of our group would have objected to putting a name to their ticket to ensure their participation this year. We still believe in the kind of BM community this event helps foster but the lottery system has definatly shaken our belief in the Bm org.

    I hope I get to go this year but I doubt it will happen at this point and most of our camp mates have already decided not to attend. I guess this yearly be the first of many that I won’t be welcomed home…

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  535. Steve Says:

    It’s obvious that the future of the event is threatened if the most creative, committed and loyal burners can’t even get tickets anymore. This looks like the most existential threat I’ve seen since I first started attending in ’98. Something very clearly needs to be done about ticketing to ensure that tickets go to those who follow the rules, buy tickets only that they need for themselves, never sell at more than face value, and don’t hoard tickets. I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m sure something better than this lottery can be figured out.

    Here’s one idea, if a lottery system is deemed necessary: If demand remains this high, when they run a lottery or some other system where many people don’t get tickets, the people who don’t get tickets are automatically put first in line for next year’s tickets. So you’d get a confirmation saying you have 2 tickets reserved for you for next year, then in January of that year you get another email asking you to provide payment at that time to secure the tickets, or decline it if you don’t plan to go. In that way, people would at least know they can go every other year. Any tickets left over after that go into the open sale.

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  536. the kitchen b*tch Says:

    Tickets are online at:
    http://www.stubhub.com/burning-man-festival-tickets/ for over 600.00
    http://www.vividseats.com/concerts/burning-man-tickets/burning-man-black-rock-city-8-27-1237313.html for 590 t0 1500.00

    so tell me how is this not an epic fail?

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  537. jane stebbins Says:

    Like the 1 percenters sitting in the 50 capitols nationwide, BMORG sits in San Francisco, apparently oblivious to the wants and needs of its constituency, the 99 percent. So very sad. After years of attendance, I will be finding a new festival. Best of luck. I’ll miss you all — oh no, wait! You didn’t get tickets either! I guess I won’t see you ANYWAY!!!

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  538. Epoch Says:

    I agree with Laslo. This is a solution to the problem and should be taken into effect.

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  539. HK Says:

    You have a team working on the ticket process “since August” and THIS is what they came up with?

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  540. Chef Dave Says:

    @andie grace…..hey Andie…I’d LOVE to talk to you about all this. This will be my ninth burn (maybe) and i’ve worked with a camp thats really hard to find, the Purple Palace and brcesd. I have good perspective.

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  541. sherbert Says:

    So anyone know how I can get a burning man tattoo removed from my leg ?

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  542. Simon202 Says:

    Obviously, the truth to all this is that demand outways supply. So scalping is inevitable. But It’s hard to understand how StubHub, an EBAY company, had 80 tickets up for sale Jan. 31st! And the price ranged from $700 to over $1000 a ticket. How does this happen? Everyone needs an I.D. at bars on the playa to drink now. So I agree with non transferable tickets. Otherwise, only the rich will be attending in the future and the people who make the event what it is will be left out. It’s sad that our only recourse is to give up on this event, but don’t think for a second that you’ll make a difference in doing so. There will still be 50,000 people attending regardless!

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  543. HK Says:

    The MOST infuriating thig is that this entire clusterfuck occurred because BMORG insisted on staying with the rinky-dink InTicketing outfit. They couldn’t keep up last year and rather than just shit-canning them, they came up with the current nonsense.
    Way to go, BMORG

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  544. Shenanigans Says:

    I’m looking forward to Burning Man this year. (like I don’t every year) because it is going to be very interesting to see what burners do when we are jolted out of our routines.

    So the regular party on X night and your favourite art tour on Y night won’t happen, because the camps that do them aren’t there and we won’t find our soul-mate at cosco and beat on them in thunderdome.

    But we’ll meet a lot of people who will touch our souls, and the art will be amazing, and the burgers at thunder-ninjas will be awesome, because theme camp mashups will be the best thing to come out the year the world ended.

    Oh, and 2013 tickets will only be available at centre camp cafe, and Prince and Daftpunk will be playing Thursday night after the CORE burn. Just like every other year.

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  545. andy Says:

    If there is the limited number of tickets, scalpels will be always in line, no matter how or what method will be used to sell the tickets. The only way to fix it is to talk to BLM about it.

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  546. murse Says:

    Why were there no extra servers bought or rented for the purchase? I mean…if the servers crashed the last time with the abundant requests…….servers are cheap. Renting them is cheaper. Lottery system has way to many flaws. Read the posts.

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  547. drick Says:

    Stop this nonsense about killing the open sale. Small groups of individuals provide a lot of what makes Black Rock what it is as well. Funnel some tickets to the big camps if you must, but give the rest of us a chance to return. Not every ticketless individual is a etard virgin trustafarian.

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  548. murse Says:

    You can sell your leg for a ticket. The scalpers are gonna get theirs. My camp is kaput as of right now.

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  549. Nutella Says:

    1.) Non-transferable tickets are the only way to get a handle on scalping.

    2.) Pricing tiers aren’t helping anyone, and the lottery just makes it that more arbitrary.

    $75 just isn’t going to make the difference between whether or not you can take a week off work, get your ass to the playa, enjoy yourself, not die and still pay rent for most folks. I know that tiered pricing sounds all warm-and-fuzzy, but it doesn’t really serve a purpose.

    Want a real feel-good discount program? Participate in XX hours of community outreach with your regional burn this year, and get on a list for cheap tickets when registration opens for the following year.

    Awesome, resourceful people that truly can’t afford to go will still get there. You can volunteer for the ORG, a large-scale art project, or for a group/camp that sponsors their ticket.

    3.) The simplest answer is usually the right one.

    4.) An RV ban would be nice. It really negates the naturally-occurring social filter. I don’t trust clean people on the playa.

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  550. Dawn L Says:

    It would seem from this blog to the BMORG “what we have here is a failure to communicate” !!! Many at this point as upset enough and see no reply to fix this that plans are being made to try and may a trip elsewhere regardless, plans are made in advance with jobs, transportation and finances, to sit and wait when no reply this this outcry alone makes you wonder what the playa will even be like this year. Does not feel like a welcome HOME.:(

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  551. ron albert Says:

    Oh, i can see it now. no art, skeleton theme camps, and a bunch of Jersey Shore brodozers expecting SOMEONE to entertain them! good F’en luck!

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  552. scarabin Says:


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  553. june franko Says:

    This has been an interesting experience in watching the veneer of burning man community love fall straight into angry vitriol in the name of protecting the burning man community. Makes you wonder if its not that the ticket situation broke something or if it exposed something that was already quite broken.

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  554. ron albert Says:

    As humans we are all broken. It is only natural that people respond in such a way, when the dearest and most precious moments with friends is seemingly snatched out of their reach.

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  555. Try This Says:

    Overwhelming opinions seems to indicate that named tickets distributed at the gate is the simplest way to completely undercut any scalper activity. What is perhaps not fully understood is that maybe not as many tickets are in scalpers hands as might be assumed.
    There does become a tipping point where maybe there are 25,000+ brand new people that want to go to Burningman. They registered for the lottery just like everybody else and they got tickets.
    The Dr Seuss inspired “Oh the places you’ll go has over 1.3 MILLION views. That is only one piece out there. There are thousands of galleries, articles, coverage on major networks, and all of us vets telling all of our friends how amazing it is. Really with all the hype, who wouldn’t want to go. It is after all dubbed “The Greatest Party on Earth”

    This is not the first time the event has outgrown the venue. It is dissapointing that the BMOrg did not see this coming or have a larger growth plan in place.
    Given the loss in revenue to the surrounding community, and the approximate 1.5 million dollar land use fee, does the BLM really want to cap it at 55k and lose the event?

    Forget about complicated ticket systems, priority for veterans, or any of the hundreds of divisive schemes proposed here.
    In the true spirit of radical inclusion, what really needs to happen is that with 7 months until the event, the real million dollar question is :
    “Where else can the event be held?”
    Last time i was in an airplane, I saw no shortage of vast areas of desert. Anyone out there know of a private piece of land or a municipality interested in 1.5 million dollars in revenue?

    Time to grow into a new location or strong arm the BLM for higher numbers this year.

    There is still time!

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  556. Mr Pot, Mr Kettle on line one... Says:


    You’ve complained about posts that repeat the same information and sentiments. In fact, you’ve done so to the point of becoming repetitive yourself.

    Why not practice what you preach, lest you come off as a hypocrite.

    People have a right to add their voice to the discussion. And if their words join the chorus, so much more power for the chorus.

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  557. a ezh Says:

    is anyone looking into the places where getting tickets RIGHT NOW is possible and cracking down on how exactly so many tickets are available on www dot excite dot com at double. triple and quadrupedal the cost?

    if so many actual burners are ticket-less in the community, somebody’s got some ‘splainin to do…

    and soon!

    thanks for all the hard work that i am sure is going into all this and here’s hoping for the best!

    Report comment

  558. a ezh Says:

    and how did these fine ‘resellers’ get a hold of a whopping 79 tickets? isn’t there a way to track down where those tickets and void them?

    Report comment

  559. HK Says:

    “Marian Goodell is a Founding Board Member of Black Rock City LLC, and Burning Man’s Director of Business and Communications.”

    and she’s in WAY over her head…

    Report comment

  560. Tomcat Says:

    I believe a concern the BMorg would have that’s been overlooked here is that if the gate were to have to check IDs, and there was significant weather, the delay would increase in a major way.

    It’s like that dumb joke where you add ‘in my pants’ to graffiti. When talking about any added responsibility for any crew, you need to add ‘…in a whiteout!’. Like hey, the greeters have to do xyz …in a whiteout! The lamplighters now must replace the lamps at 3am …in a whiteout! The gate now has to check IDs …in a whiteout! DPW now has to build a second trash fence while drinking beer …in a whiteout.

    Always assume the weather will be bad. (And never mention that four letter word that starts with ‘w’… the correct term that does not offend the Gods is ‘weather’.)

    We haven’t had to check IDs in bad weather, have we? It doesn’t have to be shutting down weather, it can be pissy sideways in your face but still some visibility weather.

    My point is you have to take into account that every .30 seconds longer it takes Gate; people fumbling to pull it out, someone checking a PDA with the ticket bar code/number against it, etc.. and that times 50,000 is 17 man days more and change. (I’ve done the math twice now, I think it’s correct. 30 seconds times 50,000 is 25,000 minutes is 17.36 days)

    I don’t want to think about the scraps of driven over ID cards we’ll be finding after the event either.

    It’s not workable at all, if you think about it. I haven’t seen anyone discuss this anywhere and it’s worth noting. Believe me, I’m discussing the ticket situation among friends as I’m sure most burners are, but add this burden and you’d need to add a large number of people to handle things, considering that Gate really is operating full steam for the first two days. Gate had more people than ever last year working, and all lanes open for a while, too. Checking IDs at the Gate probably won’t work on a practical level.

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  561. Tomcat Says:

    Er, I mean 30 seconds, not .30 (a third of a second).

    Report comment

  562. Sammy B Says:

    Do “we” or anyone know that the scalpers and the ticketing agent/borg are not the same individuals?
    Seems like a great way to cash in.

    Report comment

  563. Frederickoftheplaya Says:

    I am the only AOXOMOXOAan to receive a ticket. No others. None.

    Report comment

  564. Frederickoftheplaya Says:

    Thank you Tomcat for your insight. Thank you blog…

    Report comment

  565. Sparkle Pony Says:


    If the weather is bad they close the gate. Have you not been to the event before?

    Report comment

  566. Sparkle Pony Says:


    How to remove a tattoo, remove the leg !!

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  567. :( Says:

    Registration for art and theme camps should be included in the ticket purchasing process. After the initial presale sell nontransferable tickets to individuals. Prioritize participation.

    I hope everything works out this year.

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  568. magdelyn Says:

    I think Sammy B has a good point. Being that scalpers already have tickets, how does anyone know that members of the BMORG are not the one’s selling the tickets already? Do they get a number of free tickets?

    Report comment

  569. Puddin' Says:


    Thanks for dropping us a line on the blog. Wow, some people have a lot of time to write a comment. I for one have been before and will go again this year. It seems that most of my friends have tickets and the rest of us are not worried about getting them. People are running around all over talking about how the latest rumor they’ve heard about what or what is not going to happen this year at BRC. My best answer is do what you can to pay what you want for a ticket, and see how it shakes out. Blasting the people who make it happen in the first place is not going to get you anywhere. If you don’t get a ticket and cannot attend That is unfortunate but not the end of the world.

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  570. Paula Says:

    I said it once and once again , I say it, BMan has become an elitist sort of club. IF that is what is becoming, I want no part. Adios amigos/amiga. Sad sort of situation it has become. I agree with someone farther up the line, with all the technology that is available, this sort of stupid ticket sales is totally unacceptable. Sad day.

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  571. Katrina Says:

    HK….. Maid Marian has done a great job with communication throughout the years. I remember when she first came to Reno as a guest to visit small clubs….on her own time, to share photos and stories to those of us that did not know much about the event.
    She has been there for all of us, and even though we don’t see her, she is listening, reading and probably sick to her stomach that this has happened. This has got to be the toughest pr job in the world right now. How and what do you say to thousands of people venting. Let it go……it is what it is now. Move on, there is nothing…. that can changed now, but there will be change in the future and even than people will be dissapointed.

    I keep reminding myself how I feel when I come home from Burning Man and what it does for me. That’s when I realize to breath, reflect, there is nothing I can do but try for the next step…and if it does not happen, I’m lucky to have had the experience of attending before. I for one vented but with a reminder of what it does for me, I hope to spread the good feelings on a daily basis. If I don’t, than I’m right back to where I was 12 years ago before I attended

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  572. Malaclypse the Elder Says:

    But it’s NOT too late to change. There is significant consensus among the community that we can have a workable solution now. All that it requires is open communication.

    Report comment

  573. Papatua Says:

    RE: Tomcat. Since we’re taking this conversation mobile, I’ll post my reddit response here too:

    Lets see:

    17.36 days = 417 hours
    417 hours = 69 volunteer shifts (six hour shifts)
    69 shifts over the first 4 days = 17.25 extra gate shifts total per day for the first 4 days.
    17.25 shifts per day split into four shifts = 4.3 extra volunteers needed per shift during the first four days.

    That’s it.. Round it up to FIVE extra volunteers needed per gate shift who’s sole duty would be to check ID’s. The car is ALREADY stopped for inspection, if there is a dedicated ID checker who does that concurrently with the rest of the gate inspection, the whole deal will be done with negligible impact to the actual car line.
    Of course this won’t have a zero impact, there will be complications but to try and honestly state that adding an ID check will add 17.36 days of hard wait time to everyone getting just doesn’t make sense.
    The process can be optimized and the extra man power required isn’t that terrible and we have over 8 months to figure it out.

    This is solvable.

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  574. Elanor Says:

    Checking ID’s would not need to be that big a problem. They have to check that everyone has a ticket anyway, all that needs to happen is that ID is passed over with it. Match the name on the ticket to the ID and viola, they can go in. This would take almost no extra time. If people are worried about common named tickets being passed around easily (John Smith or such) then add an initial and a DOB. Camps serving alcohol now require you to have an ID on the playa. I don’t see why having one at the door would make things more complicated. Name the tickets and end the scalping!

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  575. katrina Says:

    The lines getting in were 6 hours at some point. Checking id’s is a good idea but how much more does that add on blocking the highway for the hunters, emergency service and ranchers.. It is bow season at that time.

    Since we’re working on ticket ideas what about shortening the time to get in too. Do you give up the greeter station or do you start a new line for newbies only and let the burners go straight through after checking in at the gate?

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  576. captn leisure Says:

    Well its very upsetting this this whole mess with the tickets.Most of my theme camp did not get tickets(80%) !! captn jim, one of the founding fathers of tuna guys died this year(Went down with the boat off oregon) so now are camp is up in the air!! So now what to do.No memorial at home this year.At this time?( So you know what this means)NO TUNA at home this year.unless something change’s.best wishes and good luck to you all.(please forgive my spelling and grammar)

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  577. Katrina Says:

    I was sorry to hear about Captain Jim. Most of our camp did not get tickets either. Is your camp close to the Bay area? If it does not work out to bring him home this year, what about celebrating his life with friends on the beach in SF where the first burn was? Same weekend, just your camp for a few beers and potluck on the beach. Not the same but a way to get together, have a good time and tell stories. Who knows a tradition might start from this in memory of Jim.

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  578. Gerald Fleischmann Says:

    One third of our theme camp got tickets. It’s our sixth year – or was – and needless to say, there’s max uncertainty going forward. We were a winner of Green Camp of the day a couple years ago, and last year, we scheduled and executed 45 hours of excellent programming for the masses (Cartoon Commune).

    Considering the total debacle in ticketing this year, I propose a TOTAL REDO. JUST START OVER.
    Make ‘em all NON-TRANSFERABLE. There’s still time to do it right.

    My only other question/confusion is why BM capacity has been set at 54K? Why not add a street or two? More tickets = more money. Make it enough to buy off BLM, and just proceed. Black Rock Canyon is a very big place, y’know.

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  579. Dani Says:

    I have already sent an email to the wonderful gate team to volunteer there this year. It would be fabulous if everyone that wants ID’s on tickets pledges (AND SHOWS UP!) to work at least 5 hours at gate. Put your body where your mouth is.

    Report comment

  580. gruv lok Says:

    this situation is not very lokked indeed. too many buffalos not enough shamans. non transferrable dreadloks is the solution -or- end of the burn world.

    Report comment

  581. Dani Says:

    Oh and thank you Andie for sending a reply on the blog. I have read every comment as well, and I know this is a really hard time for the Org. Thank you for listening.

    Report comment

  582. Erika Says:

    My boyfriend and I (decade-long burners) both received tickets in the lottery.

    I vote to cancel the lottery, refund the money, and go back to square one. I don’t care that I have tickets. This event will suck unless the people who build the city, the camps, the large sound installations, etc, are there.

    Report comment

  583. The Dead Meshugganah Says:


    If orgs were only eligible for Darwin Awards, BMORG would now be a finalist.

    Well, it appears that at least SOME of you dolts (and if you played *this* game, baby, you qualify) are beginning to sober up and wonder What the HELL is going to happen to Apocalys – uh, Black Rock City – now that the Dust has Hit the Fan.

    I can help you with that.

    Here are FIVE – count ‘em, FIVE Burning Predictions from the Original, Inimitable, and unfortunately Quite Permanently DEAD Meshugganah (who, since he, you know, DIED, can indeed see into the future when sufficiently provoked):

    Prediction #1. BMORG will NOT push the Big Reset Button. Too bad for them, because it might’ve actually worked. But no dice – 1st Camp forgot how to say ‘We Wuz WRONG’ years ago.

    Prediction #2. BLM will NOT increase the participant ceiling this year. Bureaucratic inertia, doncha know.

    Prediction #3. 4th of JuPlaya is gonna be a MESS. DO NOT GO. A couple THOUSAND disgruntled Burners sharing what, 3 porta-potties… ? C’mon. Besides, the cool kids are already planning the real underground event – at a playa about 100 miles away…

    Prediction #4: OCCUPY BLACK ROCK. Here’s the equation; you do the math. 100 BLM uniforms. 200 Perimeter Patrol Gestapo. 300 Rangers. FOUR THOUSAND HIGHLY ORGANIZED AND EXTREMELY DISGRUNTLED BURNERS WITH CELL PHONES, GPS AND NOTHING TO LOSE. One easily breached orange fence.

    Prediction #5: Burning Man never was the same, so no, it will never be the same after this, either.

    And now, a few Final Words from the Dead Meshugganah:
    “Experience this one any way you can, kids…’cuz you ain’t gettin’ another.”

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  584. MutantGirl Says:

    I’ve gone to Burning Man several times. I have never had a problem getting a ticket. Nor has anyone in our camp. This year, of the 10 of us who typically organize our camp, only 2 of us received tickets….TWO OF US. I’ve talked to many other folks who’ve organized camps over the years, and they’re in the same boat.

    Obviously I am not privy to the internal issues that BM Org had during the past ticketing process. Yes, it did take time to sit online and wait to buy tickets, but I never found it to be an inconvenience, and I don’t know of anyone, any of the years I’ve gone, that couldn’t get a ticket.

    The Burning Man community is made up of such a diverse and amazing group of individuals. A great deal of brain power, artistic creativity, business savvy, and problem solving ability resides in the community. Yet, no one listened to the community, when coming up with a solution to the ticketing “problem”. I’ve heard people comment that it’s just BM Org trying to make a buck. Creating the illusion of ticket scarcity to drive up demand. I’ve always stood up for BM Org and for the community, when it comes under fire from people who doubt what BM Org is about and/or the intentions of the community. I have to be honest though, the recent lottery event has left a bad taste in my mouth…makes me want to walk away and find something else to become a part of.

    I worked for a major internet company for a couple of years. This company employs a great number of burners. I can’t help but think about all of the SW Engineers in our community, that deal with issues, very similar to the ones that arise when trying to electronically sell a large number of tickets in a small period of time. Again, why wasn’t the community tapped into?

    I, like many in the community, look at the annual Burning Man Festival as a pilgrimage. My journey to the playa is something that I think about from the time I drive off the playa and back onto the playa the following year. I’ve been a part of one of the theme camps that fixes bikes on the playa; spending months, planning with our camp members, to provide a service that gives back the community. Every year, I spend countless hours, handmaking gifts to share with the community. And spend hours on the playa, photographing the amazing art, people, and landscape of the playa. It breaks my heart to think, that I may not be able to go this year.

    I hope that BM Org will find a way to maintain the integrity of the community. It feels extremely fractured right now.

    Having worked in the tech industry for nearly 2 decades, ramping tech start-ups and building teams inside highly successful internet companies, I have certainly witnessed how a bad decision can have serious ramifications. It’s not too late to undo this mess. And there is plenty of talent and resources in the community that would help to come up with a reasonable solution and/or, aid in making the previous ticketing system more streamlined. I hope that BM Org will do the right thing.

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  585. Abraham L Says:

    It seems clear that the number of applications exceeded the number of tickets by about 5 to 1, i.e. BM received orders for about 250,000 tickets. The lottery system is a total joke and is unmanageable. People who got extra tickets aren’t going to sell them en masse through STEP, they’re going to sell them on Craigslist or Ebay or Stubhub for a profit. BM has just driven up the price of its tickets by $100 for no reason. Already the official prices are $50-100 higher than they were last year, when you could buy tickets for $240. The average price for a ticket will be around $500 by the time all is said and done, double the price of last year. All of this for nothing except the idiocy of the people at BM who thought a lottery was the way to deal with an almost nonexistent problem.
    The worst thing to me is that BM won’t even acknowledge its mistake and apologize for the damage it has done. They continue to live in a fairy tale land and claim that everything will work out fine. The “address” by Maid Marian is empty and meaningless. 10,000 tickets is not enough for all the people who make Burning Man what it is, and the sale will happen too late in the year to give people time to plan and build their projects. The lottery was a sledgehammer applied where a scalpel was needed. It’s a disaster and it should be repealed now.

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  586. Abraham L Says:

    Printing people’s names on tickets is NOT the solution. It may sound good to some people at first blush, but it’s too restrictive and too difficult to manage.

    People, especially BM attendees, change plans or make plans at the last minute. Requiring people to sell tickets back and have people wait in line to buy the returned tickets would be an administrative nightmare and too full of uncertainty.

    Many people will buy 2 tickets for themselves and “someone else to be decided later”. Someone’s friend decides not to go, so the guy brings another buddy instead. This is how I attended my first time. Why should that person have to give up his extra ticket and risk not being able to take his friend along? Or someone buys 2 tickets for himself and someone else in his theme camp. Since theme camps and their rosters evolve over time, the names can’t all be known in January for an event that happens 7 months later. The theme camp should be able to hold onto that extra ticket and be able to give it out as a reward for participation, or sell it to a new camp member.

    Tickets should not have names printed on them and be non-transferable. The best solution is to keep doing what has always been done – first come first serve.

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  587. terrible_job Says:

    This was horrible. You screwed up big time BM. What was wrong with first come first serve system? That at least rewarded those who were on the ball and had a desire to go. Not everyone will be able to go that wants to. That’s a fact. But at least the first come first serve system rewarded those who really wanted to go and were PREPARED.

    And only let ONE credit card, buy ONE ticket. That’s how it should be. You don’t have a credit card? Tough. Your friend is an idiot and won’t buy it him/herself on time? FRICKIN’ TOUGH. That person does not deserve a ticket. At least force the scalpers to use 20 credit cards to buy 20 tickets. Make them squirm A BIT.


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  588. David Jasiewicz Says:

    I have not read all the responses, but unfortunately this is an administrative issue that requires more professionalism , not more burner spirit to fix. Statistically the people who deserve the tickets and scalpers will get and equal distribution of tickets. BMORG will know exactly what this is because they know how many tickets were applied for. It appears that about 20-25% of people that applied received tickets. So this means about 160,000 to 200,000 tickets were applied for. I think it is fair to say that the demand for this event did not increase 4x (even more if you consider tickets sold at this time last year) from last year. so this makes it very clear that a large number of tickets have gone to a small number of scalpers. I am not talking about the guy with 3 credit card numbers. It is entirely conceivable to create thousands of virtual credit card numbers and never actually issue a physical card. I can’t say for sure that this happened but it makes more since than the idea that there were tens of thousands of scalpers trying to get a few tickets.

    Even figuring that most people applied for more than the number of tickets they needed for them selves, I think a large number of the 25% that have ticket are already factoring in that someone they know will be selling them a ticket. Because of this, I do not see the redistribution of tickets through STEP getting tickets to more than about 30 -35% of the people that want to go.

    Had the old system been used, it is entirely possible the scalpers would have had much fewer tickets because the system was so slow. However, not everyone has the time to sit in front of a computer for 20 hours trying to get a ticket. Also, this bottle neck is a broke system, not a solution. A scalper could still use the old system to apply for tickers through thousands of IP number taking over the system and bringing it to a screeching halt. This could still cause a disproportionate number of tickets to go to the scalpers.

    A more logical solution is to sell the tickets though a system like Ticketmaster who has the systems in place to deal with this. I now no one likes Ticketmaster, but there is a reason they are successful. It works. This would not eliminate all scalping but it would allow for a system like last year with added security and the serves to handle the demand.

    Now that we are in this predicament, there are only so many things that can be done. I do not see trying to recall all the tickets being the answer. This could potentially lead to a lawsuit that could tie everything up in court until after the event, essentially canceling it. Had it been done again, you could make tickets nonrefundable, but this is a problem too. How many people have lost their job 6 months after buying a ticket and can’t go because they can’t afford it? This adds insult to injury when you are stuck with a ticket and someone else wants to go and can’t use it. Also, lets say you get a ticket and your spouse does not, and you don’t want to go with out them. Anyhow, the idea of nontransferable tickets sounds like a quick fix, but it is not.

    Additionally complicating the issue the the fact that almost everything that happens at Burning Man is done by volunteers and usually BMORG is unaware of who they people are, unless your name is on an application for a theme camp, conclave or art installation. I have personally been a key organizer for 5 conclaves, ran 4 Fire Idol Events, helped run Thunderdome for 5 years, organized and 2 additional theme camps, made an art installation and all Burning Man knows it that I have an Art Car. And no, neither myself or my wife got tickets. So the point is, they could not distribute tickets to the right people if they wanted to.

    So there is the push for everyone trying to get low income tickets. I can tell you most of the people who financially need the low income tickets were in the lottery even if they could not afford it. My math may be off here, but I believe there is an allowed attendance to the event of 55,000 people. If there have been 3000 presale, tickets, 40,000 lottery tickets and 10000 additional tickets to go out, this leaves 2000 tickets for organizers, low income, law enforcement and conclave. I don’t think this will go very far.

    So where does this put us? The only way BMORG is going to be able to get tickets to the people needed to make the event happen is to bend the previously defined policy on tickets. They will have to hold onto tickets that come back into STEP instead of letting them back in the system and not release all 10,000 tickets that are supposed to be offered later. This is not a very professional way to handle things, but I do not think there is much choice. This will not solve all the problems either. Who do you give the tickets to? It is easy to divide them up between theme camps. Do theses tickets only to to established camps, or can you get get tickets by making a theme camp? How about people who have put lots of time in Art Cars. Some of them have been worked on for years. An application process makes since if they had the man power to go through thousands of applications. I think some method of controlled distribution will be needed, but any system will be flawed by nature. The best they can do is hope to help out some people and unfortunately the rest of us will just have to buy over priced ticket or not go.

    Ultimately they need to use the proper channels to grow the event to allow more participants and they need to either hire a professional to handle the ticking system or use an existing service.

    For this year, the best we can hope for is getting tickets to a significant number of key people to make the event happen. I think the overall quality of the event will be compromised regardless, but if you get to go, make the best out of it any give them a reason to fix the problem for next year. Over all i am very disappointed in the lack of planning, but all we can do now is move forward.


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  589. RouseMouse Says:

    For the present you send out an Email stating that the name on the credit card will be put on the ticket unless you are notified of a differing name by march first, or such, and that if the buyer wishes the ticket sale may be returned for a refund, minus credit card fees.
    It was made very clear only 2 tickets per person allowed, so only first 2 returned tickets need to be refunded per person.
    It was not stated the tickets were not transferable, but it wasn’t stated they were transferable outside the step program either.
    The resale ethics with Burningman tickets are well published and regardless they may sell them as they wish, tho they would be voided at the gate with the wrong ID. This information should be on the ticket when printed.

    See how many tickets flock back from the same office address.

    For next year I like the idea of personalized tickets, which could also be printed out at home like other E tickets or EEpasses are now and the owner matched to the picture and bar code on the ticket.

    As in; you submit a picture when buying the ticket, the picture is put on the ticket and in the database and pulled up by the bar code reader at the gate. They better match you (or ticket holder) and each other. Then like the EE passes they are removed from the valid list. The ID and counterfeiting check is the ticket itself.

    Someone out there can write an app for the I phone that reads the bar then shows the image file it relates to, With a button to “tear the stub off” marking it used.

    System could also be used to earmark a ticket for early entry. 

    A double ticket gets you, with your picture and barcode, and another anonymous guest in the gate together.

    Friends arriving separately would need separate named/ pictured tickets.

    Not sure how you buy your friend in the next state a ticket unless you have a ( facebook?) picture of them.

    If you want to sell your ticket you “return it” for a refund, scrapping the bar code and picture from data base and transferring it to the ticket pile or if sold privately you return an email allowing sale to a designated buyer with a new picture and code and at a controlled price and fee with the buyer declaring no further funds were paid, with the refund withheld and transfer stopped if the ticket price is disputed.

    Tickets could be reprinted if lost, but since they get canceled and have your face, you could have fifty in your car and still only get in once.

    Printed on 8.5 x 11 there is plenty of room for warnings against selling or buying above face value or without returning and resubmitting new picture and other ticket info.

    It requires the web page that takes picture and name and makes the check file and the printable file they download and print.
    And at the gate the reader program that views the image file and then marks or moves it off the valid list.

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  590. Colin Says:

    I’ve been following the situation with BM for the past few weeks/months. I’ve only been once, in 2011, and it was incredible. Any one of you that are sitting here today, and have lost the lottery, understand more than ever the gravity this event holds on the peoples lives that have been, are going, or will go. I can totally agree with all of the uproar about the ticket process; it’s just a shame that things were so unorganized and that so many key people may not be able to go.

    However, when I think about all the frustration from all the burners trying to get home, I think about the late Burning Dan. He once talked about a sign he saw as a virgin burner along the side of the entry road: “Don’t come home to Burning Man, bring Burning Man home with you.” No matter how fantastic and uncomparable BM is to all that have witnessed it (or haven’t) I think that people need to keep that idea in mind, because it holds more truth than the event itself.

    Where this idea can stray are the major theme camps. They are part of what makes this event so awesome. But, I have to say, that what I find more important are new events sprouting from the beauty this event has created. NoWhere, The Montezuma Festival, etc. This is the future of Burning Man. If you can’t make it to this event, I agree, it really, really sucks. But support those other events that are trying their best to reach out to those people that KNOW what Burning Man is all about!

    Just a thought… it still sucks that the system put in place has left so many people without an oportunity to go. In the end, I agree 100% with the non-transferable ticket. I will admit I get extremely frustrated sometimes with people that don’t decide to go until the very last minute. I can understand to an extent, but now things are different. If it means that much to you, then you should commit a LONG time beforehand, because there are enough people around the world today that will.

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  591. fred flamingo cafe Says:

    I had to sell tickets last year due to a medical issue, so we have been prepping for going on two years. As a result to not get tickets is a major bummer.

    Here is what the scalpers are doing already. I think this has to be undone, not just fixed for next year…don’t let this happen!!!!!

    Sports Games, Theater Events, Concert Tickets | Buy Online GotTheTicket.com – Burning Man 2012 Tickets
    Policies : Help

    Burning Man 2012 Black Rock City
    Gerlach, NV Mon, Aug 27 2012

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    How many tickets do you want? I’ll decide at checkout1234568
    What’s your price range? No minimum $600 $700 $900 $1000 $1500 to No maximum $700 $800 $1000 $1500 $2000

    Tickets below are available for this event.
    Section▼ Row▼ # Avail▼ Price (each)▼

    GA GA 2 $669.00
    Note: Tickets will be ready to ship by 08/20/2012.

    GA GA 1 $669.00
    Note: Tickets will be ready to ship by 08/20/2012.

    GA GA 2 $670.00
    Note: Tickets will be ready to ship by 08/06/2012.

    GA GA 1 $773.00
    Note: Tickets will be ready to ship by 08/20/2012.

    Event Pass GA. 2 $927.00

    EVENT PASS GA 2 $1029.00

    EVENT PASS GA 2 or 4 $1314.00
    Note: Tickets will be ready to ship by 08/20/2012.

    EVENT PASS GA 2 or 4 $1324.00
    Note: Tickets will be ready to ship by 08/20/2012.

    EVENT PASS GA 1-6 or 8 $1520.00
    Note: Tickets will be ready to ship by 08/24/2012.

    Event Pass G.A 1 or 3 $1824.00

    Event Pass G.A. 1-6 or 8 $1824.00

    We are a resale marketplace, not a box office or venue.

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  592. huskyfanss Says:

    could BMorg step up and buy up all the scalped tickets? And then redistribute them? Sure it would cost them (some) but they do make a great deal

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  593. Rick Epstein Says:

    Put bar code on back of ticket to match ID info of purchaser, or purchaser must show bar-coded email with ticket at BRC entry gate. Tickets can be instantly verified as to ID match. Bar coded emails are already used to verify early entry passes, so BM already has technology. Non-transferable !! Only sell back/transfer through STEP.

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  594. James Rettig a/k/a Owl Says:


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  595. Simple Mind Says:

    “The simplest answer is usually the right one.”
    “The only thing people with imagination cannot imagine is the absence of imagination.”

    Is that the reason why we all think a whole team like BMOrg can impossibly make such simple mistakes? Is that why we all have trust that they work on it in a way that it will turn out well? Is that why we all wait for some hidden explanation to be communicated? Is that why we all believe they hear our outcry? Is that why we are sure it won’t get even worse? Is it simply because we stick to the belief that they are the way we are and that they make decisions the way we would make decisions?

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  596. Space Vixen Says:

    I don’t see the idea of using tickets only transferrable in person at the gate working. If you do that there will be a crowd of hundreds, possibly thousands, of people waiting around at Will Call saying “I’m waiting for the person I am supposed to buy/sell a ticket to/from”.

    They will need crowd control just to deal with the number of people standing around there. In that huge crowd there will be no way to tell which people are scalping tickets and which ones are legitimately trying to transfer them. A guy could hang around all day with a bunch of fake IDs and credit cards and a stack of tickets, and scalp tickets to desparate people waiting around, and there’s no way that you would tell him apart from some guy who is waiting to meet someone they are supposed to sell a ticket to. There’s nothing to prevent additional cash from changing hands outside of the STEP system.

    And then there’s the potential that some burners in the crowd would figure it out and the guy getting beaten up and the cops having to intervene and arrest people for assault. It would be a complete fucking mess.

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  597. Billtron billtr Says:

    I just read through a 100 or so posts.

    It’s not worth writing another snarky knee jerk response that has already been posted in some form or another.

    I hope the planning/ticket folks can get it together so we can ALL have a good time. You guys don’t want Burningman to go out like this.

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  598. Space Vixen Says:

    Here’s my solution:
    A) Distribute the remaining 10,000 tickets in blocks ONLY to theme camps registered the previous year. Allow the theme camps to resell extra tickets to people within the burner community at face value (No STEP). This will ensure that the major theme camps have enough tickets to go.

    B) Try to get a bump in the cap from the BLM. Yes, there is a limit to the carrying capacity of the road, but what exactly is it? Have we seen a study? Are there hard numbers? Do they have a scientific justification for that particular cap?

    Distribute the remaining tickets from the bump through the scholarship program. Use software such as iThenticate to cross check essays for plagiarism. Anyone cutting and pasting essay material will be denied a ticket. Scalpers aren’t going to write a complete original essay for every ticket, even if they do, it probably won’t be good or convincing.

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  599. Terry Says:

    Based on previous years, 55-60 thousand want 2012 tickets. Overcome total attendance restraints, issue 25,000 additional tickets to veteran burners. Supply overtakes demand, effectively making over-priced tickets worthless. 55-60 thousand will attend in 2012.

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  600. DG Says:

    Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) will not solve the problem. The biggest is the possibility of very few theme camps – part of the backbone of BM.


    Let the person in charge of Last year Theme camps, this year theme camp – register their camps with STEP – and have a process to let them show then number of tickets they need – and let the BM community pledge/sell there extra ticks to these camps – rather than a free for all.

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  601. Kassandra Says:

    Swallow this word and you’ll be fine:


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  602. Driver Says:

    Andie Grace responded to the above posts earlier……

    My partner and I have volunteered with PlayaInfo for the past six years. PI will not have enough volunteers to operate the service. No one will want to volunteer knowing that they will be overly burdened because of the lack of experienced help….if any. Same goes for DMV, Greeters, Center camp…. Good luck getting newbies to volunteer.

    Kidsville will be empty. Families are not able to get enough tickets for the entire family.

    Lamps will not have lamplighters…..

    It goes on and on…..What were they thinking?

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  603. C. Sagan Says:

    OK here’s what’s really going on: BM explicitly wants to mix things up and destroy the large theme camps. They believe that BM has evolved too far into a quasi-commercial event. Every year there are the same huge big box stores, I mean theme camps, in the same locations. Every year there are the same huge destination sound camps in the same locations. Every year it’s pretty much the same as the year before, only more evolved and more ingrained. Less and less spontenaity and individual responsibility for creating the event.

    So why not shake it up by using a tsunami effect of a lottery? That will wipe out the large camps like Disorient and Opulent Temple, who can’t get tickets for all 100 or 200 members. Instead BM will reset to a more ground-level individual-based community, where participation means more than just signing up for kitchen duty at a large theme camp, it means actually doing something on your own without any big planning or budgeting or leaving it all to the folks who’ve been there 8 times before.

    Sure there will be a loss of exciting large scale camps or art installations. Sure lots of people will be angry or upset or disillusioned. But that’s life – nothing lasts forever, everyone has to die eventually. Over time the large scale things will come back again, as new people and new ideas take hold. It’s boring to see the same camps and art cars every year anyway. It would be nice to see a bunch of fresh faces, new ideas able to take hold, not forced to live in the shadows of the big camps. It’s the cycle of life. Something gets big and mature, and then it dies, only to sow the seeds of rebirth, and then the cycle begins again.

    People who don’t get tickets will create new, independent events all around the world, relying solely on their own ideas and organizational abilities, no longer benefitting from, and handicapped by, the comfort and safety of their mother’s nest. Necessity is the mother of invention.

    This is the meaning of Fertility, the main event giving birth to baby burning men and propagating its ideas and experiences all over the world.

    Burners, spread your wings and fly.

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  604. Distrustful of bmorg Says:

    Ok. I’ve read a bunch of posts here and as expected I’m heartened by the intelligence and wisdom of this community. (not all of you though, we’ll get to that) I’m in the non-transferrable ticket corner.
    Ticket is attached to your name, and the refund gets smaller as the event approaches. Sure it puts a cramp in a burners casual style, but unless BLM allows more participants, those casual days are gone.

    First come first serve is utter nonsense. Makes perfect sense if you’re a scalper or don’t mind buying your ticket from a scalper.

    Next, the extra 30 seconds per person is bullshit. Yes it does equal some extra man hours but so what? Its the only solution to beat the scalpers. People are reminded to prepare as they’re driving in. You hand each car a box with clips in it. Everyone clips their id to their ticket in the box. Hand the box to the ticket processor. The scan tickets, theres an program in place to facilitate, and presto.
    Dont need to really check faces against IDs. The idea is to beat the scalpers.

    the reason I’m distrustful of you is you had to know all this. Really. When it sold out and you saw tickets selling for $800 you had to know the scalpers would be all over 2012. You had to know the only solution, but went with the lottery anyway. Scalpers are far more organized than burners. The particulars of the lottery were completely in favor of scalpers. Its especially annoying that you tout the “community spirit” constantly, but its evident you aren’t into participating in it.

    Really, I’d like to hear how an organization connected to the most dynamic, creative and intelligent individuals on the planet came out with this approach. You may as well just have sold all the tickets to scalpers in bulk. I’m sure that would have been easier on you.

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  605. Michael Lucia Says:

    As a 4-yr burner who has been one of the most enthusiastic supporters of BM since my first experience, I am appalled and deeply disappointed at what has become of the society. How did the folks at BMOrg think scalpers would not be able to manipulate the system when they can hack ticketmaster or a $700 million U2 tour?

    Less than 20% of our camp received tickets and that includes members who donated tens of thousands of dollars in materials and weeks of labor just this past year alone on the pier and trojan horse projects. Without locals like them who invest incredible time, energy and expense, B-man will be something completely different and far less magical or spectacular. Do participants like that have no priority over some geek scalper who can manipulate the system and make thousands of dollars off BM without ever leaving their computer terminal? You made that travesty possible with the online lottery system and have “burned” many long-time supporters and participants who may never return to the playa after this fiasco and violation of their prior efforts to build this community every year.

    Without theme camps and their crews & art cars, there is no BM, just a bunch of wealthy RV owners closed up in their air-conditioned cocoons waiting for something to happen and spectating at what’s left of the experience. You have ruined this experience, likely forever, and there is no real fix now that you have let all those tickets go to the non-deserving online scumbags and opportunists that represent exactly what Burners are trying to escape every year. You let them into our playa world (you practically invited them!) and it will never be the same as a result. What a horrible loss and all of you at BMorg have only yourselves to blame.

    Utterly disappointed,

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  606. Chris Says:

    Couldn’t they make each ticket personalized?

    Each ticket would have the purchaser’s name on it and no one without matching ID could use it.

    That would insure that only people who were going to attend the event would be buying tickets for the event and there would be no incentive to purchase multiple tickets and no possibility of scalping tickets.

    If you buy a ticket and it turns out you cannot attend then you have to return your ticket to the pool to get your money back.

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  607. Freebird Says:

    How is the dust supposed to settle and redistribution be observed over the next two weeks if STEP isn’t even going to be online until the end of those two weeks?

    bmorg – Take a deep breath and please try to chart your decisions. It’s very clear that all of you are stressed and emotional about this; please take advantage of the numerous community offers from organizational professionals who are interested in helping solve this.

    Stop trying to be the stubborn father who refuses to ask for help.

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  608. Retep Says:

    why not just cancel the lottery and make a system that distributes tickets to theme camps first, then to freebirds. this way the core of the event stays intact while regulating new comers and sight see’rs

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  609. Retep Says:

    30,000 tickets to core – theme camps /art car etc (non transferable 300$)
    10,000 tickets to low income (non transferable 200$)
    15,000 tickets to ‘freebirds’ (transferable 400$, let the free market roll)

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  610. Cynthia Says:

    Offer the next 5,000 tickets to prior-attendees only, registered with theme or art camps, non-transferable with names ON THE TICKETS, at the mid-tier price to compensate for the fact that people make the investment early and it’s NON REFUNDABLE.

    Let 2 tickets be purchased on a credit card since not everyone has one, but EACH ticket has a separate name at issue.

    If more are needed release them before offering the rest. You don’t need to worry about selling out.

    Once the pre-named tickets are sold, let the remainder go out at market rate.

    Have a provision for emergency re-allocation if someone can’t attend at the last minute, with a refund charge to cover expenses for reallocating.

    Have a waiting list.

    End of scalpers.

    This will up the quality of participation as a whole and make sure the people really committed to being there get to come.

    Thanks and good luck!

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  611. jeggman Says:

    Several people have voiced concern over the possibility of lawsuits to which the organization might make itself subject if it were to do something radical like recall and refund all tickets in order to institute a better system like non-transferable tickets.

    Allow me to remind the organization that one of your strongest assets in the LLC structure is the limitation of liability. Here’s a suggestion: Refund the tickets. Let the company go bankrupt. Start a new BRC (2) LLC and transfer the key assets of the company (trademark, copyright, URL, contract with BLM, etc.) to it. Let it run the event. If lawsuits are raised against BRC, LLC, they won’t get far suing a bankrupt company.

    What are the options? The patient is dead on the table. This may be the defibrillator.

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  612. Bear Says:

    To suggest that the remaining tickets should only go to those registered at “major” theme camps is a joke. Small family camps contribute equally to their local communities on the playa.

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  613. Hortense Says:

    first, all hail the BMORGthulu for trying to address these concerns.

    second: as someone who’s spent hours in line breathing dust and fumes from thousands of vehicles idling their way into the city, waiting to get searched for illicit pets, guns, stashed burners or whatever it is the burn police are looking for, i’d really prefer not to have an additional delay of showing i.d and/or credit card.

    if you decide, next year, to issue non-transferable tickets then please consider skipping the searches and opening up more gates.

    as for this year – any way you can reserve the remaining tix for the theme people? have them provide a brief (1 page, w/ photos of past contributions to the burning spirit) description of their camp, tell you how many tix they need, & sell to them at the medium tier? if it’s a truly communitarian group, they’ll average the cost of all their tix and share.

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  614. Sterile 2.0 Says:

    I have read most of the prior 628 comments, and associating each ticket’s bar code to a name should solve our immediate problems…

    But the real solution is 4th of JuPlaya spontaneously populated by locals, experienced burners, ‘responsible’ owners of firearms, and people with the wit to carry out all the sh*t that doesn’t burn.

    I want most of what was there in 2011, but not all of it… gather your family, take what you want, and join us July 1-8!

    If you have a better alternative solution, please share it :-)

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  615. Grand Funk Says:

    If it is the BLM that is capping the number of tickets sold, can we not create a petition – or better yet have everyone individually send a snail mail to their offices asking that they increase the limit? If 10,000 … or 50,000?? .. letters show up in their mailbox, I believe they will take it seriously.

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  616. cody21 Says:

    This was a sad experience for us. We played by the rules. Entered the Lottery on the very 1st day within an hour of it opening .. As did 2 of our friends that we were planning on going with. They got tickets. We did not. What a horrible method – this being our very first burn. It’s probably nearing the point where due to Supply & Demand you just make the tickets $2,000 each so that people are further dissuaded from going and only the rich people can participate. Very ugly. (And yes, we’ll be watching STEP on Jan 22nd … but still, very ugly process)

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  617. Rocket Man Says:

    We know what you’re up to BMorg. We know it’s not easy but we know you have to do it and applaud your courage and ingenuity. Thank you from all of us who dearly love our precious Burning Man!

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  618. Chris Leishman Says:

    How about a very simple solution to getting the right number of paying people onto the playa: let the community manage it.

    Make the majority of tickets (say 80%?) available ONLY to the organisers of registered camps, with priority to camps that have been at burning man for multiple previous years. Then allow those people to distribute tickets as they see fit.

    This is the simplest form of self management. It is not foolproof – an individual camp could take advantage when distributing their allocation. But the impact on BRC by a single camp would be limited – the overall culture would represent the way that the majority of camps behave. And besides: camps have always had the opportunity to take advantage, through excessive dues, etc. Yet the overwhelming majority do not.

    This approach would also help give certainty to the very people who are responsible for giving BRC the culture it celebrates. Right now, there is no camp that is feeling safe in making a commitment to be out there.

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  619. Kevin Farrell Says:

    Using language like “But we are going to do everything we can in the coming days to ensure that we preserve and respect the community that supports and creates this event both in the short term and long term” to describe this situation is a joke. It is very obvious that the opposite is true. Little thought went into this system, and many people are hurt by it.

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  620. Moose Says:

    Hey burner community, where is the respect that I have grown to know and love? Try a little patience. We’ve known that this event will have a cap, we saw it sell out last year, and all of us should have been prepared for some sort of ticket fiasco. I find it incredibly disturbing reading the amount of anger spewing. I believe the folks at BM.org are working very hard to find ways to bring the system together. If you don’t like it, don’t be a part of it. (At least that’s one less ticket the rest of us have to worry about)

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  621. Burger Flipper Says:

    I got the only ticket out of my camp of 30. Now I don’t wish to go since I’m sure our camp is not going to happen. So, I’ll have a single $390 (actual $409) ticket for sale when STEP arrives.

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  622. Doug Brown Says:

    Clearly, organizers have lost sight of who actually makes the Burn happen every year. This latest ticket “scheme” seems to be BM’s attempt to be equitable and fair to individual participants everywhere. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of those tribes that work their asses off (without pay by the way) to get things done every year, and those camps deserve some special consideration as a result. Surprise, surprise: it’s not the small, squeeky individual but the large, well-oiled group that creates the magic out there.

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  623. Jim Reynolds Says:

    Is there any chance you could refund the purchased tickets, and re-open sales in a more traditional format like in April? If only 25 percent of key contributers have tickets anyway, it seems that could be a solution. It’s easy to see how this would be a financial drain on the organization, but with millions in the foundation, I get the impression you will be ok. Otherwise I think any ‘solution’ is placation and ultimately you will aleniate many of the core members.

    This is a real problem guys, better figure out a good solution or this event will start to falter.

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  624. pip Says:

    This might be a stupid question, but what was the problem with the old ‘first come, first served’ ticket system?
    I loved that one. If you’re organised, and early.. you get a ticket. Late comers risk loosing out. Sounds fair to me.

    PS I don’t like the non-transferrable ticket idea. I’m afraid the ticket price is just too much for me to loose if for some reason I can’t go (eg like my career needs me in town)

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  625. PlumLightnin' Says:

    Refund everyone’s money, BORG to eat the transaction fees (or charge more per ticket), START OVER with tix registered to each individual who buys ‘em. Each person presenting a ticket at the gate must be riding with the individual to whom the tix are registered (2 per person max). Only official IDs accepted (drivers license, passport, etc.). The STEP program can be used to redistribute and re-register tix. Unfortunately, one would not be able to specify which burners the tix would go to, since scalpers could then do the same. Hopefully some other people have even better ideas.
    A large proportion (75-90%) MUST be allocated to previous art and theme camp participants to maintain continuity and quality of the event. Maybe previous art/theme groups should distribute ALL tix…but how many per group, and based on what? (Yep, it ain’t easy–if it was, it woulda been done by now.)

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  626. Mrs. Sparkle Says:

    One ticket per person, PayPal only, first come first served after a certain date, until they’re gone. All one price would reduce the scramble. Tickets scanned at gate to make sure the person who bought them is the person entering. It’s that simple.

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  627. David Zetland Says:

    non-transferable tickets. done.

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  628. lou Says:

    Since the tickets have not been sent out yet, I agree with the suggestion that all the tickets purchased in the lottery should now become non-transferrable, attached to the purchaser’s name. If a purchaser bought 2 tickets, the purchaser should have to provide one the additional name that to be attached to the other ticket. And the purchaser should have to provide that name within a certain short time frame (like by the end of February maybe).

    Anyone with tickets they do not plan to personally use (presumably including some people who intended to scalp them) can return the tickets for a full refund. Then those tickets can be resold, again as non-transferrable tickets.

    This seems like the only way to prevent scalping this year and to make sure that 2012 is not a disastrous year for Burning Man.

    And yes, next year, there is obviously no more use for a tiered pricing system.

    Oh man, I hope it all works out this year!

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  629. ChickenHawk Says:

    As previous contributors have suggested, Name-ID’d, Non-transferable tickets. Why was this not already done?

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  630. Daniel Solnit Says:

    Marion wrote: “We recognize that we have work to do to repair the faith in the organization.”
    Wrong – there is no trust left to repair; you are starting over from scratch. BMORG totally fucked up, and admitting it honestly is step one.
    Cancel the lottery, make all tickets non-transferable, and earmark some portion for established camps, projects, etc.
    It’s not too late to salvage the situation – but it will be soon if you don’t undo what you’ve done. Please listen to the community, while you still have one.

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  631. Silver Lining Says:

    This is a true nightmare, 90% of my burner friends including me came up empty in the lottery…but all of this must be happening for a reason….

    I agree with some of the suggested fixes above, Jon Fillmore in particular provides some good ideas. While it would be costly and difficult to accomplish, I think the whole community would be in favor of (1) an admission that the lottery was a mistake, (2) refunding all monies received, (3) cancelling all tickets, and (4) starting over with a proven method that more closely resembles years past.

    At the minimum: Please consider limiting the March 28 secondary open sale to 1 ticket maximum so that scalpers don’t make a killing and so more of us can participate and attend without resorting to risky, dangerous and inflated measures to get to BRC this year.

    What else can we do? Occupy BRC?

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  632. PlumLightnin' Says:

    Any forthright people inside scalpers’ organizations (StubHub and the less formal) willing to reveal how many tix they either currently control or anticipate handliing? Yeah, that’s probably not gonna happen. StubHub seems to have about 80 “available” the coupla times I checked.

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  633. Kevin Phillips Says:

    To me the answer is very clear and simple. The remaining 10,000 tickets that are sold during the “secondary open sale” must be matched up with an ID/license number and only ONE per person. If you decide not to go, you can not resale (scalp) your ticket and instead you have to return it to Burning Man. This should be done with all tickets next year. Scalpers are ultimately the parasites at fault for this year’s mess. I understand that printing a ticket for each individual person would be horribly time consuming and tedious but, it is a lot better than scalpers and (evil) companies like StubHub getting a hold of them and selling them for profits. I hope this year works out and that the theme camps, art projects, etc. can find the help and/or tickets that they need. See you on the Playa!

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  634. Scott Says:

    Lots being said and the anxiety that was felt when this was announced is suddenly justified, but I feel like all the dust has not settled. This has spawned some great creative ideas from some who are focusing on the positive. I hope it will enhance this community in the end. Unfortunately this whole thing reflects very badly on the people who implemented this course. Generally, it just spat in the eye of the believers and shook a shaky confidence. On the other hand… we are still 6 mos away from arriving home and many of these bumps will iron out. This is why we are a community. We don’t abandon the village/city because things got a little harder. Faith and belief will carry us through.

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  635. Ted Coakley Says:

    I was REALLY looking forward to going to BM this year, since it was my first time since 2006, and other friends were returning, too – BUT, lottery didn’t pick me.
    SO, yes, I am bummed.
    BUT, WITH THAT SAID – I sure hope people in Haiti, and in the projects, and in prisons, and lots of other disadvantaged people don’t hear the pussy-ass whining that so much of our beloved BM community is doing about not getting a ticket to BM.
    Good god – I had no idea so many of these fun people I hang with are spoiled brats.

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  636. ttttracers Says:

    They should announce NOW that all tickets for this year will be printed with the name of the attendee, and those names MUST be submitted through the purchasers verified email address by the end of next month or so. Otherwise, they face automatic cancellation and refund. It’s still months before the first paper tickets go out, so scalpers can’t be actually sell anything yet- wouldn’t they then be forced to dump their loads back into STEP in order to recoup their investment, since they have no way of assigning names now? Then the STEP system might have a chance, or those who won extras to cover their campmates will go ahead and assign their tickets and turn in any extras as well…

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  637. Patrick Says:

    Scrap this ticket sale, void the tickets, return $ to credit cards they came from. Ooops, it really is about funding the org as much as possible as soon as possible. Our community was more fun when it was available to most all income levels.

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  638. Lobster Rocket Says:

    Anyone know how much it costs to rent a couple of square miles of desert? Lets get the 80% rejected and do our own event.

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  639. David Says:

    You still have 10,000 tickets for the next round. Sell them directly to members of major theme camps and art group organizers who make Burning Man so special. I’m not one of them, but I’ll sacrifice my ticket security to make sure they get in. It’s a bold move, but it’s the right one.

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  640. DiegoA Says:

    Just want to contribute to this discussion my sadness that my request for tickets in the lottery was not fruitful. Now, like so many others, I’m in limbo and will likely pay way more than I ever have to make it home for the 4th time. First come, first serve worked well enough. Not everyone gets to go and the ones that wait may indeed be at the mercy of scalpers. I had a friend who got a ticket the week before last year at face value. Off playa, it’s a crazy mixed up cruel world. It’s the world I may have to exist in come Labor Day… : (

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  641. TonyTLT Says:

    This situation really sucks in many ways. I am sad for the BM community that will be lacking on the Playa this year.

    The ticket situation has developed a negative environment around BM2012 in my opinion. Unless there is a drastic change / correction of the ticketing process; I will not be attending BM2012. Actually I think I am done with this event going forward, been-there-done-that.
    It was a lot of fun and I’ve met many great people along the way. Good Luck..

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  642. sad day Says:

    Stub Hub has 77 tickets listed… prices ranging from $650-$2000. So much for no scalpers. None of my long time Burner friends pulled tickets this year. These are people who have built huge installations and volunteered year round for many years. It is quite sad to see.

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  643. Gentleman of Squalor Says:

    Scalpers will use STEP.

    Desperate burners will submit to paying 6-800 per ticket as the event draws near.

    Let’s say scalpers are holding 20,000 tickets after the last sale ( highly conservative estimate). Figure that each scalper is making $300 profit per ticket and you have just created a $6,000,000 market for scamming burners. Let’s keep that cash for the art, gifts, and structures of the playa.

    Void the sale or make the existing sales tied to the names on credit cards used in the purchase. Make it so scalpers have to do refunds through BM org. Eliminate the secondary market. Period. In fact do away with paper tickets all together. It fixes the problem of lost tickets as well. There is a huge community of burners in tech willing to work on a solution.

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  644. Sibylle Allgaier Says:

    yep, after 9 years of coming to BRC I don’t have a ticket yet. In the past it took 1 sec after the button appeared on your website before I was 5000th in line, waiting for 3 hrs before I could actually purchase online. What are my chances?

    Our BM airport is in serious jeopardy, as many who usually volunteer don’t have a ticket.

    After this year’s promise of a lack of theme camps … make theme camp participants a priority; make the registration of theme camps happen before the ticket sales and sell tickets to their participants first.

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  645. G Says:

    The “first come first served” concept was the most fair procedure to obtain tickets. Now with this “lottery” method and all the headaches that come with it, it has destroyed the fairness because the controls are not in place. The process has now opened up a whole new avenue for “unfairness”. Tickets on ebay are already posting in the $1,500 range. Long time burners (in excess of 10 consecutive years for each of out 30 camp members) and supporters of BRC are now being turned away. BRC is certainly not what is used to be……….it’s becoming part of the real world. Not a good thing!

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  646. windy Says:

    As a multiple burner I was devastated that I did not get a ticket to celebrate my 7th burn and 70th birthday on the desert. Fortunately a newbie friend got two tickets and has offered me one, I will be there, probably for the last time as I live a long way from the Black Rock Desert.
    This brings me to the point, was support of the core of Burning Man (long term multiple Burners and Theme camp principals) not taken into consideration when the new ticketing process was designed. Of course new attendees must be encouraged but not at the expense of the experienced and hard core population, these are the people who make Burning Man. I would envision a system where experience and number of times attended would weight the process with a certain level of experience or critical involvement making getting a ticket a certainty. beyond that the process would become more and more random as experience and involvement decreased. This process will still not satisfy everyone but would ensure the survival of a strong and committed core and the possibility of a steady influx of mew participants.

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  647. Playafoot Says:

    I find it ridiculous that supposed “long-time” burners think they have more of a right to attend than noobs. That the people who put up a theme camp are somehow more important than the guy who goes solo and stays in a tent. Many “theme camps” are nothing more than shams to get folks in early and reserve a good location. How do you plan on determining which theme camp is more important?

    Get real people. The ticket system sucked, but you do not have any greater right than anyone else when it comes to attending Burning Man!

    -end of rant-

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  648. WarLes Says:

    Went for the first time last year… was thinking about going again this year, but this cluster about tickets has totally turned me off… Lack of any management and/or planning skill may actually substantially injure the charisma this event has taken decades (literally) to develop. I guess I’ll skip this year and see what happens next year. Bummer…

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  649. Bill Says:

    6 year burning man attendee with theme camp and art car. Our camp received. 6 out of 25 tickets of which actually someone was doubled billed on their credit card so who knows maybe we only have 4 tickets. No member of our art car received any tickets.

    The most obvious solution is that suggested by community which is non-transferable tickets. Unless some solution is put in place, STEP system will also be jeopardized.

    We need a fix now to get people at all motivated to even deal with art car and camp for this year. Without some fix, 2012 will be remembered as just some dusty camping in the desert.

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  650. Super Evil Brian Says:

    I’m not sure if adding to the already too-long entrance at the gate will help.

    Remember the average person signed up to buy 1.7 tickets, nearly double the amount they need. There is going to be a flood of tickets at some point — hopefully not at crack whore inflated prices.

    Reading the comments here and elsewhere it seems like no one is going, as if they sold no tickets. The situation isn’t ideal, but not hopeless.

    Lobster Rocket – I believe the BLM permit is about $2 million for the dust. All of the other stuff they require and the logistics of the event costs much more.

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  651. DH Says:

    All of us will have to stick together and not pay a penny than the face value of the ticket price in the STEP program. The STEP program should allow us to know the price of tickets that were purchased during the lottery. BMorg should pay for any of the added fees. All the money from the tickets sales should only help build and support Burningman. Let the scalpers keep the tickets at make them worthless. They can have their own ticket burning party!!!

    I hope to see you all home again.

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  652. James Says:

    Thanks for the apology. I must say I’m disappointed in that many of us in the community asked you not to do this and you did it anyway and now many of us won’t be there this year. Many of my camp mates from 2011 are already discussing where they will go in Hawaii rather than deal with the mess this year. It’s a bad vibe that will no doubt continue through the burn and you will lose loyalists over this.

    Next year I hope to be back and I hope it isn’t ruined. We shall see.

    Good luck getting the old bastard back on the rails. Many of us love him very much.


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  653. Mystique Says:

    This would have been my 6th year attending. I have an intricate, multi-day setup for my theme camp. I don’t have a ticket…I can’t afford to blow $400 on a ticket AND stay in the desert for 12 days AND provide enough free booze to keep my theme camp stocked for at least 8 days AND the myriad of other expenses that go along with creating a cool camp! Has the cost of producing burning man gone up by 200% in less than 5 years? Do we really need a triple tiered pricing scale for everyone to cover costs, make a small profit and see the festival continue to grow in a positive way?

    I know of at least four major theme camps who have less than 20% of their necessary members with tickets in hand. Most of them struggle to pay the $240 rate….at $320 and $390…and GOD knows what other prices are going to pop up….I don’t think you are going to have much in the way of creative theme camps this year. You might end up with an RV CITY awash with wealthy GAWKERS wondering where all the cool art and theme camps are? :)

    I will apply for the starving artist ticket and hope I get one. In years past when the economy was normal to good…I invested tens of thousands of dollars into my theme camp (I’m not exaggerating)….but this year…I can’t afford to do that. I can barely afford to show up….with all the infrastructure I spent five years developing (and paying for out of my pocket). I think it is very short cited of BMORG to not consider what makes B-man great is that the PARTICIPANTS absorb a huge deal of the expenses that make B-man a cool place to hang out at for 7 days. You cut us out and you cut off your own foot. Figure it out people, and get tickets to the peeps who MAKE THIS EVENT WHAT IT IS!! End of rant. Peace and love to everyone!!! Hope to see you out there this year!!

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  654. Charles Tucker Says:

    I have been involved with a non profit that has to allocate camping spots by lottery for over 30 years, and it has worked well. People who are volunteer workers, vouched for by the paid staff, are exempt and get in and are allowed a “coat tail” of no more than six people. Note that the fees for this camp (which provides tents and food) are more than twice the cost of Burning Man per person, so the volunteer worker gets in free but the coat tails all pay. Now the big art works might demand a staff of more than 7 to set up and/or operate, and the paid staff could grant exceptions to the rule.

    Like climbing Half Dome at Yosemite, not everyone will be able to do Burning Man – the fact of overflow may inspire another group to set up something else!

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  655. K3lls Says:

    No system is perfect. But be very careful to think out and defined hardship/exceptions if you go the non-transferable route (as has been recommended by a number of posters). Otherwise you may end up with a lot of folks who for very valid reasons have to change their plans and now throw away thousands of dollars worth of tickets, and at the same time prevent other people who could not get a ticket from coming. From a budget management perspective, BM LLC may also see a delay in revenue to much later in the year which may affect operations as people postpone their purchase until they are 100% sure they can make it. You might want to contact the folks running the current Bruce Springsteen concerts and learn from their “non-transferable tickets, everyone in the party must be present” to get in experiment.

    One other thing to think about is how you are going to validate the name on the ticket with the ticket holder? If you are not careful, you may end up promoting a big business in fake ID’s. (i.e. BM ticket and accompanying ID for $400 on Craig’s list). Will your ticket takers even know how to spot fake Minnesota, Nova Scotia, German, Costa Rican, etc. ID from a real one?

    FWIW, one possible solution would be to allow Non-Transferable tickets to be exchanged only on the BM exchange system. Limit the resale price to ticket face value. Charge the seller $20 listing charge, billable at time of sale, and charge the buyer the usually $20 BM handling fee. I am sure companies like PAYPAL could provide some back end processing for this. This would create a safe haven for ticket exchange and cover the cost of operation, as well as prevent scalpers from profiting. It doesn’t eliminate all the potential problems, but does reduce them.

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  656. Leo Says:


    I know how painful this situation must be for you folks. It is causing a lot of grief and fear and anger in my theme camp and circle of burners. Everybody is fighting to keep their sense of humor and optimism.

    Going forward something like the Glastonbury model (where tickets are tied to a verified identity and can not be transferred) is critical. I urge you to make that a part of future years process.

    The big question in my mind is — IS IT TOO LATE to do it this year? Is it too late to require lottery winners to provide verifiable identity (Drivers license or similar) before being provided with a ticket? Is it to late to force winners to use STEP to transfer those tickets. Sure this may open the org up to a lawsuit or two for breach of contract but it is hard to imagine the liability will be very great or that ticket scalpers will make very sympathetic plaintiffs even in Nevada. My advice is to talk to the lawyers, get the price tag and (if it makes sense) do the ballsy thing and change the rules.

    My guess is the community will support you fully in any effort to beat the scalpers. You will certainly get no complaint from the thousands of veteran burners twisting in limbo right now.


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  657. Jan DeLano Says:

    sigh….. We did not get tickets and have been active participants for 8 years.
    Had Registered art on the Playa for 6. Have similar stories and feelings as many of you that have posted. Broken camps, broken hopes, hurt, and mostly just sad….

    I keep reading about the suggested solutions and the importance of some of the groups of camps. I hope that the artists that are not the honorium artists will have a voice too. Our pieces have not been huge or need crews of 100s etc. They have been meaningful pieces that we can manage to create and transport to the Playa to be apart of the creative magic to share with others. We pay for them ourselves. I hope we are not forgotten as an important part of the event.

    I guess my point is where is the line going to be drawn as to who is deserving or not to receive a ticket in the next stages of this? I just have not heard anything about the artists that bring art up to the Playa… Please don’t forget about us.

    I am voiceing my concerns for all the artists and groups that participate, that are not the “big” ones… Is there going to be a divide created here too? sigh… so sad…

    Maybe it is time to take my art up, in the mountains, get a campfire going and burn some marshmellows this summer…

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  658. CatwomanM Says:

    BMOrg should consider closing the gates sooner this year (Wed?). Scalpers are going to get the big bucks from rich yuppies who don’t care about the community and just go in for the weekend as tourists, perhaps with a packaged deal – RVs, catered food, etc. Most of those folks probably wouldn’t come if it meant living in the dust for more than a couple of days. By closing the gates sooner, we’ll keep Burning Man for real burners.

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  659. Stech Says:

    Hi Marion (et al)..

    Thanks for the update.. currently of the 2 camps I help with virtually no one got tickets. That said, I for one, am willing to wade through the STEP program for the simple reason that I dont believe there is much choice left.

    Its all well and good to say that the lottery system sucks (and it DOES), but the fact of the matter is that its a huge problem that has to be dealt with and whining about the lottery is no longer helpful to forward motion to address the problem.

    As I see it there are only 2 ways forward:

    1) Continue forward with “STEP” and the General sale in March. I would be remiss in saying that I believe, as others do here that many of the lottery confirmations are now in the scalpers hands/In boxes, But in theory, its a good idea on its face to try and keep the tickets within the Camps and Community. That said.. I do agree that if there are any internal costs of running STEP, the Borg should eat these costs.

    2) it has been suggested many times that we should slam on the brakes. Void the tickets out there already and start again with the old system of first come-first served. While I welcome that suggestion as it increases me and my crews personal odds of getting more tickets for the camps in general, Logistically, I believe it would be a nightmare scenario. voiding that many tickets out, issuing refunds (which anyone who has ever had to fight a CC charge knows can take 4 weeks or more to get the money back into an account), THEN RESTARTING the process. Not to mention The PR nightmare, already bad, would get doubly worse as the people have already been confirmed tickets start flooding the message boards. QUADRUPLE the anger (and possible legal action) if they dont get their money back in a timely manner as well as being denied the tickets.

    PERSONALLY..I dont like either choice. But we are all in the middle of this shit-storm, but if I had to make a choice, i say stick to the problematic plan already in place, stomp on the gas, and try to make it out the other side alive.. I say this even if it means I cant get tickets this year.

    I think the Goal should be to make sure the The Burn actually happens, and is done in such a way that ensures it happens (relatively) safely for everyone, no riots during, and No Public Relations fiasco that could end the Event permanently.

    Just my 2 cents.. <3


    We are in the middle of this crisis. but there is a plan, albeit

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  660. Tahoe Time Says:

    I was one of the lucky ones who got two tickets and I do not mind having to register my name to them before the event. Last year I had two tickets but was unable to go so I sold them at face value, but most people did not. I am also one who does not camp at a theme camp but go to enjoy the event. I do not feel that theme camps should get first crack at the tickets, there is a community that likes to be on our own. I am sad that tickets seem to be going to those who want to make a little extra money and burners are being shut out. It seems that non-transferable tickets may be the way to go to help this process out or you can only pick your ticket up at the gate when you enter, yes there will need to be more man and woman power there.

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  661. Gary Says:

    Let’s face a few facts:

    Burning Man is not an ordinary music or art festival. It is very much “participant-driven”, and it’s success depends to a great extent on returning patrons who actively contribute to the event, who are familiar with the conditions of the site, and who commit well in advance to attend and participate.

    Black Rock Desert is not an ordinary venue – it’s in one of the most remote and inhospitable locations in the US, and the hottest time of the year, and involves extreme wilderness camping, and an increased risk of mishap and even death.

    If Burning Man did not already exist, and someone today applied to the BLM to stage such a cultural event involving 50,000 people camping out en mass in BRD on Labor Day weekend, they would probably be turned down.

    In other words, there necessarily has to be some preference shown for “legacy” or returning burners to ensure the continuity and success of Burning Man. It’s one thing to be “inclusive” and fair, but the way the lottery was conducted was ill-advised and threatens the future of the event. BMORG had best scrap the results of the lottery and devise another system for distributing tickets before it is forced to do so by some external party, such as a court or a government agency.

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  662. Harry Says:

    Hi I feel if you keep the ticket sales program as simple as possible will work
    Start with each or us participating in buying our own ticket (1 per person )
    You get in line to buy your ticket ,over the innternet, like last year ( it worked out )
    When they are gone they are gone, I think most of us could except that

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  663. foxwalker Says:

    Here’s another solution: VIP tickets! Express lane in and out. Front row seats at the Man and Temple burns. Luxury RV’s with full catering by a 5 star chef. Personalized luxury art cars and guided tours. Meet and greet with the major artists. 1000 tickets @ $20,000, everyone else gets in free! :)

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  664. Zesmeralda Says:

    There are resellers like Green Tortoise and others that offer package trips to Burning Man with tickets – I am just wondering how they were fitted into the lottery system?


    Did they get a special side deal where tickets were set aside for them or were they in the fray with the rest of use and probably had to use proxy buyers?

    It hardly seems fair to allocate tickets to resellers when the core camps of BM can’t get tickets for their own members.


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  665. Susie-Qsie Says:

    Well, I got my ticket…my partner did not. I’m a third-year purchaser, but part of a fabulous theme camp, much older.

    I may be incredibly naive, but I really don’t understand how scalpers can be scalping tickets already….they haven’t been issued yet.

    And as far as non-transferrable tix…what about letting people still buy 6 tix at once, but the buyer must be present at the gate to get their peeps inside?

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  666. JH Says:

    Less than 10% of our camp got tickets so it’s likely none of us will go. Without the crew there is no camp. The lottery ticket system was so obviously going to fail from the offset as amplifying scaricity creates an even better resale market. It’s very dissappointing thet BMorg didn’t listen to the community before the event, nor pay attention to how this is done elsewhere – for example with Glastonbury. As BMorg relies on paying participants to create the infrastructure and provide all the entertainment – this lack of of forsight and communication is even more astonishing. Without the community – there is no Burning man.

    The emails from BMOrg on the subject so far are a further dissapointment. The assertion that there are simply more tickets in the community for redistribution or that the STEP program will somehow fix the issues are insulting in their inaccuracy. Hopefully this debacle will lead to a viable solution for the future.

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  667. Zesmeralda Says:

    It is not too late to fix this – require all lottery ticket recipients to submit names and ID for the tickets they have been awarded by a set deadline. If they can’t offer a refund and let them redeposit the tickets. Require the recipients to show matching ID at the gate. Don’t allow private market resale for registered tickets – limit tickets to resale or refund solely through the BM ticket redistribution system.

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  668. Jeffrey C. Says:

    I want my voice to be counted.

    First come, first served ticket sales did need to be adjusted to address a community and desire that has now exceeded BLM capactiy, but the lottery was, from inception, a poor solution.

    Suggestions from here, and elsewhere, point to a solution that incorporates first come, first serve scenario in which tickets include the participate’s name; theme camp registration is done, and awarded before ticket sales; volunteerism within the event and community is considered (worst case, everyone volunteers to secure this criteria); tiered pricing is abolished with the exception of an applied-for low income ticket reserve. Oh, and rent some server space…

    At this time the community is in need of some transperancy on behalf of BMOrg.

    What exactly happened in the lottery? Scalpers jockeying the system is one thing, individuals applying for more tix than they need another, but it seems to me the draw did NOT occur in the manner promised/stated it would. Why did people who registered at 390 top “bid”, get confirmation emails before folks who registered at 240 top “bid”? Weren’t the drawings to occur bottom to top? I know only a few people who received tix in the lottery but the two I do know/have heard of only registered at 240 top bid. As 240 was likely the least registered for top bid (correct me if I am wrong), did 240 only compete against 240 making the odds for receiving a ticket at this level greater? Did 320 only compete with 320? And did 390 only compete with 390 – likely the bid scalper software registered at making it statistically the most difficult tier to win a ticket at?

    I think I share the sentiment of all burners – veterans, newbies, awarded tix, not awarded tix, theme camp affiliated, not theme camp affiliated, rv using, not rv using – something doesn’t feel right here. We deserve to know how we were mislead, and if we were not, please prove it to regain our support and trust.

    BM 2012 was to be my third burn, and my second year organizing and running a small theme camp of 6 people. Of the 6, all registered, and none received tickets.

    Now we are not planning to attend Burning Man this year.

    Thank you.
    Jeffrey C.

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  669. Forrest Says:

    I am sorry to say, but you all sound like a bunch of winey bitches. If you didn’t get tickets and the event is still 8 months away, plan on doing something else. This comment thread is riddled with long timers that are so sad because they cannot go for the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th time, maybe it is time to do something else with your money and energy and let someone else bring their energy to BM. Lot’s of people claim they are “Key” to this event, well I have news for you, if you don’t go, someone else will fill your place and the event will continue to happen. Just because the same people don’t get to go to the event every year, doesn’t mean it is going to fall apart without you. Sorry but a lot of you sound like a bunch of self rightous babies.

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  670. Gentleman of Squalor Says:

    Another troubling story I keep hearing and is easy to imagine.
    Imagine someone who doesn’t espouse all the ethics of the community, or who is misguided by financial hardship:

    They are awarded 2 tickets in the lotto, one for them one for resale at double value or more. They just got into BM for free and maybe got some gas money on top of that.

    Register and have drivers licenses (or passports for our international burners) required to enter at the gate. Think of the money saved on printing and mailing tickets. Think of the frustration of lost tickets being a thing of the past.

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  671. Gumby Says:

    I have read most of all of the comments here and am really surprised at most. Some are really looking to contribute to ways to solve the delima here, but most are here to bad mouth the people that have helped to put this event on for many years. I must admit I have only been to the event twice, but I am not opposed to changes. I do think that personalizing the tickets would be the best way to go. People do make mistakes and I am sure whomever made the suggestion of the lottery is feeling bad enough…. Lets all just work together to help fix this. I do hope bm does listen to the reasonable folks on here and figures out how to remedy the situation. Someone did make the suggestion of slow mail to the blm… Not a bad idea. My group did get all the tickets we wanted, but none of us are “rich” and we each had to give up several things to be able to afford to come. Whoever thinks just because you pay more for a ticket to do something you want makes you rich is not thinking clearly… On the other hand, I would gladly give up my ticket or submit to having it non transferable to help….

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  672. Rocket Man Says:

    Hard-core backbone veterans who bust ass and shine every year: In for sure.

    Everybody else: Lottery

    In my view, first-timers are very important as the event may expand their minds and permanently transform their hearts for the betterment of humanity in these crazy times. If I don’t get in, so what. My mind has been blown. I have been transformed.

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  673. colette mericer Says:

    I just want to thank the organization for even trying to eliminate the scaplers issues. It must be a tremendous undertaking to organize Bman, and a lot of organization out there would not care if tickets were selling for 1200 on Ebay. So thanks for the effort! Hope you see you all on the playa!

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  674. Kevin Says:


    I’m one of the people who decided, on ethical grounds, to apply only once and just for the one ticket I needed. Aren’t I an idiot. (I got nothing.)

    You are counting on all the people who got more than they needed to “redistribute”. But that is not their role. If you need to rely on that, it’s as clear a sign as possible that the whole system FAILED. It’d be nice if there could be a way to force those people to give all their tickets back.

    I’m already seeing offers for $450 and more on craigslist. The sad thing is I’ll probably end up buying one of those.

    You’ll forgive me, I hope, for not having much faith in your plans to facilitate redistribution.

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  675. Spunky Peralta Says:



    We can’t move forward until we get past step 1.

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  676. Mauricio Says:

    I’ll try to be short, since I’m a pragmatic person. I’ll go straight to some issues, hoping people in charge will incorporate my input into their decision process. I’m one in a group of 8 trying to go back to burning man, and none of us got awarded tickets. Something is definitely off, since real demand for this year (taking into account yearly increases is about 57/60,000 people). 6 of us should’ve gotten tickets.
    This is what you should do, match a name to the ticket (non-refundable) and that will solve the scalping.
    Increase capacity: I know, land bureau won’t allow more than “x” amount of people due to the 2-line highway going into the playa. Soluction: Tickets in Diferent colors of ticktet with different windows to go in and out. Monday-in and Monday out, Tuesday in Tuesday out, and so on. Maybe not exactly like this, but similar. Just an idea to start. Sure can be improved in different ways.
    PS: Ahother idea is to start a more democratic burning man, run by the whole comunity somewhere else or different week.

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  677. artandadventure Says:

    Look up Burners in Exile on Facebook – people actively planning to create an event that supports the BM community so we can burn somewhere else with our camps in tact! If yahoos, jersey shore kids and sparkle ponies get the playa to themselves don’t let that mean that our home should die! Let’s use the fertility theme and go forth and multiply!

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  678. huskyfan Says:

    BMorg needs to speak up about what went wrong and what steps they are taking to fix it. I’m still thinking a computer glitch or hacked. that statement by Marion was insulting.

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  679. johneed Says:

    Last year was my first year, so I’m not an expert. However, it was clear to me the *mostly* larger groups and individuals who create the awesome theme camps and art installations and mutant vehicles represent a huge part of what makes Burning Man so appealing these days.

    Put it this way: if theme camps, art, and mutant vehicles were guaranteed to be mostly absent from Burning Man, how many people would still be interested in attending? I for one would not.

    Something, anything, needs to be done to provide direct support to these folks, so they can feel safe about investing the gazillions of hours it takes to do stuff like that. You already have application forms and processes for these things. Why not just add a ticketing function to them?

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  680. Bettina Says:

    The only way to remedy this situation would be to retract & refund all ticket purchases that occurred through the lottery, and open a general sale as we’ve had in the past. Our group consists of “multi-year” burners and only 15% of us got tickets & we have 40% coming from overseas and less than 20% are SF based. Additionally several of us are potentially faced with losing our RV deposits if we can’t get the group together.

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  681. FireTommy Says:

    I realize it would cost me dearly if something unexpected came up and I couldn’t go, but I would buy a ticket with the understanding that it was non-transferable, and non-refundable. At least I wouldn’t have to worry about not seeing all your dirty, dusty, smiling little mugs. It would mess up spontaneous ticket gifting, but maybe the event wouldn’t sell out so fast, too!

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  682. Fruitbat Says:

    I was one of the “lucky” ones who was able to buy a seriously-overpriced ticket in the pre-sale (it was something like $450, can’t remember exactly), but out of my dozens of friends who have been regular burners, only TWO of them got tickets. I’ll likely be selling my ticket because I don’t want to go if I can’t hang with my close friends, all people with whom I’ve experienced so many amazing burns. My friends include people in theme camps who didn’t get tickets, and friends I’ve often driven up from Los Angeles to BRC with. Yes, I know I can always meet new people, but that always happens anyway. After so many burns, having my posse also on the playa is part of the experience, and I know I’m not alone in feeling like this.

    I’m appalled that there is now a marketplace on burningman.com. Commodifying any part of playa, in the desert or out of it, turns my stomach. It’s anathema to the anti-commodity stance of the entire burner philosophy. When you couple that with this ticket lottery nonsense, Burning Man starts to taste like something that is completely different from the original ideas of burning the man in the first place.

    In particular, the ticket lottery smacks of eliteism and doesn’t make me want to go and participate as a member of a community. It makes me feel like a customer, not a citizen, who may or may not be welcome back next year. Going to the playa is becoming more and more expensive, and given the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on past trips, I’m thinking this year, I may sit 2012′s event out. The BRC organizers need to recognize how much they’ve alienated their community, for without a community that participates and sustains the spirit of Burning Man, there is no reason to go to the playa. A simple apology to those who have been regular active citizens, but who can’t attend this year because of the ticket FUBAR would be a good start.

    And by the way, if I sell my ticket, there’s no way I’m going through the STEP system. It’ll be by word-of-mouth or craigslist, both of which are FREE!

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  683. Brian Foley Says:

    Thank you to Burning Man’s Organization and Community for the twelve years of amazing, fantastic and challenging opportunities to learn, play and grow that I have attended since 1997. I was hoping to make 2012 my 13th year, but for now, severe doubts have been cast… i.e. our camp will be not bringing it’s large seining vessel to the playa this year due to the fact only a few of the crew received tickets.

    Here’s my most important observation about ticket sales this year: tiered pricing used to mean something when it meant you were planning ahead – it was the reward u got for lending the BM’Org your money 7 months interest free… they needed the money up front for operations and demand was much lower. Now that they can sell all the tix in one fell swoop, priced purely by chance, I don’t think tiers serve a purpose anymore other than alienate folks. Rather they gave everyone the same averaged out price and be more fair to all. Folks that could afford more expensive tickets had 3x the chances of getting their number pulled than someone who could only afford the least expensive.

    From what I have been reading, the Glastonbury model seems like one worthy of deriving some methods and ideas from.

    Have a great Burn y’all! ~<3rian~

    ps – @ Forrest re:whining – shut up troll!

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  684. Katelyn Says:

    Wow, I’m dissappointed. No one in my camp received tickets in the lottery. Even if I’m able to get a ticket through STEP (I think its pretty idealistic, and unrealistic, to expect many people to pass up the opportunity to profit off their extra tickets) so few of my friends will be able to come. It will not be the burning man experience I have come to know and love.

    Anyone else see the irony in this year’s theme being Fertility?

    I agree that the community as a whole deserves a sincere apology from BMORG, and a very well thought-out plan of how to proceed from here. As much as it would suck for everyone who was successful in obtaining tickets in the lottery, I almost think we should cancel all those transactions and start from scratch. BMORG, lets face it: Lottery? Bad Idea.

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  685. Seven Says:

    How about this for a solution: (perhaps it won’t work this year, but it may work in the future) Before tickets are sold make a clear statement that ANYONE found scalping a ticket will have it revoked. That ticket can then be put back into the community or perhaps made directly available to the person that brings the scalped ticket to the attention of BurningMan. This could eliminate the need for a lottery, all but solve the problem of scalpers, and create a situation where those in need of tickets will naturally become the policing force to make sure that the community’s ethos remains upheld.

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  686. EEGreenBunny Says:

    Yes, a lot of good people won’t get to go this year as a result of this abortion of a lottery system, and yet the professional attention whores from the MTV show “Jersey Shore” are reported to be going this year. Sadder still, with all the money and Hollywood pull behind them, they’re likely to get in. All I ask for is that a strict ban on MTV’s cameras be imposed, and that the BMOrg come down hard on this lot to make them as invisible as possible. If they are able to attend as individuals without their odious entourage and get schooled in how not to act like total douches, I could live with that. Other high-profile individuals from Hollywood have showed up at the Burn and been low-key and respectful, from all accounts.

    Maybe it’s the sour grapes I’m expressing from not being able to buy a ticket this year, maybe it’s just that I’m in a crap mood today. The uncertainty of the lottery system this year kinda put me off. Last year’s initial sales fiasco got me into trouble at work due to all the drama it was causing me. As much as I don’t care for the non-transferable ticket concept (gifting someone one of those sounds like a lot of trouble), it sounds like the least of all evils.

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  687. Kit Says:

    I believe having names on tickets that match ID would solve the scalper problem.

    Yes, this would slow entry to the event, but if they only checked every 20th vehicle or so at random it wouldn’t be so bad.

    Yes, this would make it so you could not snag a ticket last minute, but with a limited # of tickets I think folks who love BM and are on the ball early deserve them more.

    Yes, it would mean you have to bring some form of ID, but you can get ID from CA DMV without actually having a driver’s license and BMorg could be lenient about what type of ID is required to make it easy.

    Yes, it would mean you would have to get a refund rather than re-sell if you find out you cannot go, but if you can have the full price refunded I should hope you prefer this option over scalping.

    Yes, it would mean if you’re buying tickets for friends you’ll have to know their real names, but I suppose that’s just the price you pay for getting tickets from friends.

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  688. 4th of Juplaya Says:



    We can’t move forward until we get past step 1.

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  689. OCCUPLAYA on the 4th of Juplaya Says:



    We can’t move forward until we get past step 1.

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  690. Ron Schneider Says:

    I have brought an art car to BM, built a major theme camp, been part of an art installation, been part of the core BM- DMV and Earh Gaurdians and supported building an art car on the Playa. I registered in the lottery and didn’t get a ticket, neither did my wife (2 registering for 1 ticket each). We were looking forward to this year but we can’t make the jump to spend $390 each for the two tickets we’ll need. Unless something magical (Burning Man -ish) happens we will do something else this Summer.

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  691. K3lls Says:

    After 13 consecutive years of attendance, like many others, I did not win the lottery for the single ticket I requested. With only one person in our theme camp winning, most of our camp members have accepted their fate and are now making other plans for this year. Yes there is still the option of trying to get a $400+ ticket in the open sale or on the open market, but most of us ‘job seekers’ can’t afford that. Even though we have always enjoyed our week on the playa (some of our members started coming in the early and mid 1990′s), some in our camp have suggested that if the ticket situation next year is similar to this year, maybe it is time to start looking for alternative events, or perhaps hosting our own. Maybe try to recreate the very early BM years on the playa.

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  692. who do you want on the playa? Says:

    Can we give people who have been to Burning Man before first chance to buy tickets?

    The more times you’ve been, the higher your priority.

    This would ensure that you get your veteran burners back each year, along with their big camps, their wild art, their mutant vehicles, and their playa wisdom. By letting these people know they can get a ticket, they will then feel at ease investing their time, energy and money building their art for the coming year(s).

    If there is no priority system, then nobody has any idea if they can go or not (like right now). Without a ticket, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to build that mutant vehicle or jaw-dropping art or theme camp people will remember for life.

    First timers are important of course! Few longtime burners attend every single year, and we certainly don’t have 50,000 of them, so tickets will still be available for anybody who wants to go for their first time.

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  693. Habibi Says:

    This post is not a suggestion. This post is a description of something real.

    In 1998 BMOrg sold me a non-transferable ticket.
    In 2009 I purchased a non-transferable ticket from BMOrg.

    Uh, what a surprise. How comes, you wonder? Is the guy halluzinating his ticket?

    I am a foreigner. We buy tickets using a credit card, just as you Americans do. But we don’t get a paper ticket snail-mailed. Instead we get a code number e-mailed.
    With this code number we go to box office. Actually, the code number is not even necessary (passport/ID is enuff), but it simplifies and accelerates the procedure of identifying the person. If name and code matches, we get a paper ticket.
    Then we get back in line and enter the area just as all you Americans do. You didn’t know? Now you do.

    Maybe it’s too late for this year, but pleeeease it’s definitely senseless to explain this procedure to BMOrg over and over again, since they are doing so already for 14 years at least.

    Sorry for repeating, but those posts explaining the non-transferable issue use up a lot of space (and reading time) in this thread.

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  694. Dylan Says:

    Fix for next year:

    1) No Hard Tickets – All electronic. Tickets are non transferable.
    2) When you buy tickets, the ticket holder names get put into a database. Credit card numbers and/or ID card numbers get associated with order as well.
    3) Electronic card readers at the gate. Hand all your credit cards/IDs to the gate greeter, they swipe the cards, your order comes up, hugs all around, and you’re officially a resident of BRC.
    4) Separate line for people with foreign IDs, didn’t pay with credit card etc.; their order will be looked up manually.
    5) Found out you can’t go? Refunds offered, minus an administration fee. Refunded tickets become available on BM ticket site, where they can be purchased by others at face value.

    - Scalpers 100% thwarted.

    - Simple, progressive: It’s 2012, its time we go paperless. Printing stuff out on paper, paying postage to burn fuel to deliver thousands of tickets across the country, only to have those paper tickets brought back to BMorg is kinda silly.

    It’d take me a week to write an ipad or android tablet app that integrates with a $40 card reader and links names & numbers read from cards to those in the ticket database. My app would even say “Welcome home ________” after each successful swipe.

    - Selling tickets early in the year on a first-come first-serve bases means priority is given to those who simply KNOW they are going to BM. Generally speaking, the people that are planning on going to BM a year in advance contribute way more to the community than people that jump on the bandwagon and want to go only after they hear friends are going, without even fully reading what BM is about.

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  695. George Filipovic Says:

    For future burns, I think there should be a waiting list that gets priority. And the ONLY way to get on that list is to register ON SITE during the previous burn.

    This way, you’ll know that most people who end up with tickets are real burners.

    People on the list should later have the option to give-away their place to friends, etc. When the power is in the hands of real burners, I’m sure the tickets will be distributed equitably and that, for example, burners who haven’t gone in a while will be given chance to get on the list and go.

    Please consider this for future burns, starting ASAP. Thank you for your hard work.

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  696. Mike in SF Says:

    I know this post won’t be read by BMorg, but for crying out loud this was a complete failure (as we all predicted upon announcement) so for my own peace of mind I’m posting my thoughts.

    Now that demand has exceeded capacity this event is ripe for the plunder of scalpers. As soon as an event starts to sell out naturally the resale value of tickets skyrockets and scalpers start to buy up arm fulls of tickets, which further exacerbates the shortage of tickets.

    Now that BM sells out, non-transferrable tickets are an inevitability if we wish the community we all value to stay in tact. I realize that there are substantial complications to enforcing a non-transferrable policy including possible ID checks at the gate. This is certainly not the warm welcome we’re all accustomed to, but it beats not being able to attend because a scalper bought the ticket and sold it to a tourist for 1,000 bucks in mid August.

    There are plenty of permutations to consider.
    -Sell only a percentage as non-transferrable.
    -Sell all lower tier tickets as non-transferrable.
    -Sell them as non-transferrable, but refundable. Or non-transferrable except as sold through a BM specific resale system.

    There has to be a better way. Oh, I know. How about the same way it was last year?!

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  697. Jen Says:

    I’m uneasy about all the talk about priority for long-time attendees. We were ALL virgins at one point. Being inclusive is at the core of what Burning Man is to me and it’s just as bad to limit it to the long-timers as it is to limit it to the 1%ers as some have said. I don’t know what the perfect solution is at this point, but I know being negative, bashing BMOrg and threatening to boycott the event sure won’t help.

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  698. TEEMmate Says:

    As somebody who as worked the Gate for years, I would like to add that, while non-transferable tickets would take care of one problem, it will add another: increasing (maybe doubling) the time you sit on Gate Road coming in. Plus half the potheads will have to drive back to SF or NYC because they “forgot their ID”.

    Part of the FAILure of the lottery was not anticipating unintended consequences. Do you want to spend 12 hours in stop n go traffic on Gate Road?

    Just sayin’

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  699. PlAyAmOnKeY Says:

    My ideas:

    1) Make tickets non-transferable. Print the purchasers name on the ticket. Check ID’s at the entrance.

    2) Set up a secure ticket exchange system for those whose plans fell through, etc so their tickets can be re-distributed to the community.

    3) Sell tickets on the playa during the event, giving veteran burners a chance to come back. Limit one ticket per person.

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  700. Mike in SF Says:

    Jen, I agree that giving priority to returning people makes me uneasy.

    I have been twice and did not get a ticket in the lottery. I have a virgin friend that got tickets, but decided not to attent. Instead of buying his ticket from him, I spent an hour talking him in to keeping his ticket and going. If I can’t get a ticket, I know I’ll be much happier hearing all his stories than I would be telling him my stories.

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  701. PlayaFrog Says:

    I am very disappointed after years of going to Burning Man I didn’t get a ticket this year. I don’t have a ton of time to sit and figure out what to do instead… so I probably won’t go.

    This is very sad. I had art in the Man Pavilion in GreenMan… and a theme camp the year before that which won all kinds of notice awards. The last few years I’ve been mostly kicking back and introducing virgins to the playa rather than any major personal accomplishments.

    But this year you succeeded in making me stay home.

    I am really saddened by this, but I do not know what to do about it. I’m not planning to make any big effort now to get a ticket through Legal Scalpers “STEP” or illegal scalpers (friends with extra tickets). I am disappointed in the entire affair and maybe it is just time to stop going.

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  702. George Filipovic Says:

    Oh, and anyone at the burn has the right to be on next year’s waiting list. Anytime during the burn they can stroll over to centre camp and sign-up for the waiting list their leisure.

    No caps on numbers, no line-ups. The only catch is you have to register for the waiting list ON SITE during the previous year’s burn (not any future date).

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  703. Jen Says:

    I agree with TEEMmate – 50,000 coming through the gate and having ID checks is not a sure fire solution. Sounds like a nightmare to me!

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  704. Joey Says:

    Bummer I’m skipping the Burn due to the uncertainty.

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  705. Jedels Says:

    Tickets havn’t been distributed yet, so was there anything in the ticketing agreement that precluded this obvious and frequently cited solution ?

    > Print purchaser’s name on tickets or [name + ticket number] on a separate document
    > Required matching ID at gate
    > or return to Borg for refund.

    POOF! Scalped tickets come back to the Borg, no scalps at the gate.

    Why wont this work ?

    As it is, early entry and art cars require extra papers at the gate …
    To resolve this disaster, people could too.
    There is plenty of time at entry during the search exercise.
    and lot’s of volunteers above to help if it fixes the mess.

    6 years, art car, theme camps, large art project

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  706. Jim Says:

    I have two tickets, but would have little idea whose name went with the second one at this time. Sept is a long way off and things change.

    Having said that, limiting tickets to the actual purchaser is the only way to do this.

    There is the free enterprise system to consider, if there is a dollar to be made a lot of people (mostly people who vote for the big R and don’t go to BM) will find a way to make it.

    It’s possible that BM won’t be the same when there is competition for tickets.

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  707. Nate Says:

    OCCUPY BURNING MAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  708. Kelly Kerins Says:

    To Maid Marian and all the BMORG,

    Please get help. Do not entrust this to a select few within the organization to figure out short- and long-term solutions. It is clear that the people directly involved in the lottery decision-making process do not have the practical real-world, critical and analytical business experience needed to solve this ongoing problem! I urge you to consider hiring thoughtful contracted consultants from the best firms (i.e., McKinsey) who are skilled in tackling large-scale issues. I feel as if Burning Man has been stuck in this bubble, reluctant to ask for help outside of the organization and continuing to use the same useless vendors.

    Full disclosure, I am not a consultant. I do not work for McKinsey. But this is what the majority of large businesses do to have a competitive edge and remain successful, ask for help and get results!

    Step #1: Recognize you have a problem.
    Step #2: Get help.

    A Veteran Burner

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  709. Burning Karma Says:

    We’ve been active participants for the past 12 years[including sponsoring BRAF] and more than half of our camp members don’t have tickets and other camps we have bounded with over the years face the same dilemma and that’s a sad situation…it just doesn’t look too good…fellow burners missing, art missing…what kind of a burn are we looking at?…
    In my opinion: Re-state First come/First serve[if you can't handle the logistics, outsource] and non transferable tickets.
    I didn’t mind waiting in line, online, to get my tickets, it was part of the pre-BM “ritual”, and probably many of us didn’t mind either….
    ps: as if it was not enough for us to deal with YOUR mess, now you want to charge “re-stocking fees” for returning tickets through STEP?….amateurs playing pro…pathetic…after all these years, you should have known better and LISTEN to your community…..jack stupid rabbit…

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  710. who do you want on the playa? Says:

    “Jen Says:
    February 7th, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I’m uneasy about all the talk about priority for long-time attendees. We were ALL virgins at one point. Being inclusive is at the core of what Burning Man is to me and it’s just as bad to limit it to the long-timers as it is to limit it to the 1%ers as some have said. I don’t know what the perfect solution is at this point, but I know being negative, bashing BMOrg and threatening to boycott the event sure won’t help”

    Jen I agree with you. It doesn’t have to be exlusive or a “1%” thing, but who really brings “Burning Man” to Burning Man? The virgins? Most of those I meet seem to be intent on “seeing everything” (ha) and “surviving a whole week out here”. They don’t bring a theme camp, exploding fire UFO or much else but a great vibe and their party A game.

    It’s the guys coming back for their later years that have found a theme camp to be a part of, or have created their own.

    RIght now, we kind of have a “no theme camps” situation, because nobody thought to make sure those people could go.

    A priority system could fix that. Or not, but let’s just at least considier it?

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  711. yevlish Says:

    all you had to do was attach the names to the tickets, like an airline fare. a proven system, for those willing to commit 9 months before the event.
    serious fail here, burning man. this might be the first one I miss in 12 years. impossibly disappointing.

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  712. T Jax Says:

    The lottery system has yet to show whether it is completely ineffective or not. Even if many certain artists, performers, and creators do not get tickets this year, the LOTTERY CAN still serve to fix the main problem which is that the event has vastly outgrown its 50 or even 60,000 people capacity.

    BMORG!!!! Please, please use the ticket registration data as leverage to the BLM for next year and subsequent years. I’m sure the numbers clearly indicate a drastic demand for the event to be larger. In the past no one has had this type of hard data, only speculation as to how many people might have wanted to come and didn’t get to.

    Aside from that… my two cents on tickets is that next time there should be one price and they should come just like a plane ticket. Non-transferable, show your ID at the gate.

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  713. Would-be first timer Says:

    As a would-be first timer, I was briefly happy my partner & I got tickets….but then we learned none of the others we wanted to camp with did. (Another first timer & some veterans) Now everyone’s plans are uncertain. Too many people I know in the wider circle were denied.

    Even though I was one of the lucky ones, I must add my voice to the chorus saying, “recall all the tickets and start over!”

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  714. Mike in SF Says:

    Jen & TEEMmate, I agree that ID checks are a sad proposition, but it may be inevitable. And besides, you can always just triple to number of gates and attendants. This scalping fiasco is a big enough problem to start paying dedicated gate attendants. Wouldn’t we all pay 5% more to fix this issue? Take that 5% and pay for enough people at the gates to make ID checks a legit concept.

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  715. sherbert Says:

    Issue a refund for all tickets sold in the lottery. Then sell tickets with names on them . This is the way the Wynn in Las Vegas keeps scalpers out.

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  716. Francesco Says:

    I am sorry if you did not get tickets.
    My girlfriend, who loves BM more than anything other than her flesh and blood, says this is the end of BM.
    Just cancel the whole thing this year, seriously.
    (I have tickets, I purchased them before christmas, so this is not a sour grapes phenomenon.)
    Talk to the people who used to handle the Grateful Dead New Year’s tickets, I think they had a pretty fair system in place.
    One person, one ID, one ticket, tickets can only be sold or resold via the org at face value. If the name on the ticket does not match the name on the ID, no entry. Make Burningman 2 weeks long, I don’t give a fuck about being at the burn anyway, I will come for the first week…
    To those of you who cannot get tickets, and to those who like myself who will attend for the sake of those they love, but at this point would be just as happy skipping the whole thing, don’t worry, everything is going to be OK. The love you take is equal to the love you make. View the experience of not having tickets as a spiritual exercise. Live the 10 principles 365 days a year.
    Love, let go, don’t cling to pleasure, it only hurts more. Change is inevitable.
    Blessings on you today and if not all day, every day and a more and more each day.

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  717. AdrenaC Says:

    Yeah, it’s time for our community to grow and to that end I’m attending two regional burns this year. Waiting around for a magical ticket- so not-Burning-Man. Instead I’m paying a fraction of a cost, attending two awesome burns with 700 or so beautiful people, in both the mountains and the desert. We’ve gotten so big, why not attend a regional somewhere new every year! F- all this other B.S.

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  718. Heathen John Says:

    I went to a Tom Waits concert awhile back that did a good job of thwarting scalpers. Tickets were paperless and each credit card could only buy two tickets. Both people had to be at the door at at the same time, we had to present the credit card used to purchase the tickets along with valid IDs.

    Burning man can do something similar. Only way to change the credit card info is to sell the ticket through STEP. That way scalpers are not screwed, they just don’t make much of anything and have to sell through STEP or lose their initial investment.

    Here is a story about what Tom Waits did:


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  719. slide Says:

    One more thought. If this is not fixed in a way that allows the camps to make their plans and commit to going-I like the do over with non- transferable tickets also- then LOTS of burners are going to start to give their tickets back rather than go to a FUBAR burn. At first this may seem like end of the issue, plenty of tickets in the STEP program but it will be too late and for the wrong reason. Fewer people will want to attend and BM and the scalpers will both be left holding the bag. Fix it right and soon.

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  720. George Filipovic Says:

    I see some people are uneasy about giving preference to old burns, because they don’t want to leave out virgins.

    We have no choice. It’s not like we’re protecting virgins by maintaining the status quo. We’re not. They’re not getting tickets now any more than old burners. The scalpers are a plague.

    Give veteran burners the power. Unlike scalpers, they can be trusted to do the right thing, and make sure everyone gets a shot to go – virgins and vetrans alike. That’s why I like the idea of the priority waiting list I proposed earlier.

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  721. Cleulady Says:

    Just saw the Jack Rabbit Speaks, and it seems that BMorg will be reading this blog. Thank you, Andie Grace, for actually commenting here. As a veteran who has participated in Burning Man every year for the last 13 years, I feel disoriented and distressed by the results of this lottery.

    What will happen to Cleu Camp? Because of our location (3:45 on the outer perimeter) for the past 10 years, we have not been able to be an “official” theme camp. We have gifted Cleus and brainwashings to over 11,000 dusty pilgrims and created an art installation every year, most recently, the Cleu Labyrinth. A solution that only rewards official theme camps will not help us. Consider the value of hard-working, creative, gifting camps that are outside the theme camp area, and don’t just go for the “easy” fix.

    We need a long-term vision, and it would behoove you to seek more input from Black Rock City citizens, not less. Why did you ask to have the lottery recall petition removed? Please do more to involve all of us, perhaps through an online survey, and offer more TRANSPARENCY on your decision-making process for all aspects of Burning Man that affect the lives of participants. Also, how ’bout enabling the reply feature on this blog so that we can have a real discussion?

    Speaking as a long-time veteran, I must also say that in the early years, before RVs swarmed the playa, the dust, wind, cold, heat, and rain used to guarantee a lot of turnover in the next year. THE WEATHER USED TO BE ON OUR SIDE. Get a clue, BMorg! Restrict RVs to those who need them for health reasons. None of us true denizens of the desert would mind a bit! Let the playa be your guide: parking lot for RV’s or most beautiful city in the world? You decide. In dust, we trust. We are the clue.

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  722. baw Says:

    What was the benefit for going to a lottery system again???? I missed that… I heard mention of scalpers, etc. however a lottery system still doesn’t help that if that was truly the problem.

    Not thought through at all, which is now apparent rather than just speculation.

    Have a lottery for lower price for 15,000 tickets.

    Sell 30K or so through regular distribution limiting to two per person/cc at a specific rate.

    Sell rest in traditional style, but only allow pickup at WILL CALL. If someone needs to buy 10 tickets for their camp they are not going to be scalping or reselling, but let the larger groups and key individuals have a way to purchase what they need to execute their plan, and their camps.

    All ticketing events have the problem of scalpers. It has never been solved, BM is not the even to try to fix it.

    …..I do wonder, if there were more than 10K entries for the $390 tier why would the additional entries be ignored. Why sell tickets cheaper if you have more than 10K people (whatever the number was) bidding to pay $390. It wouldn’t make sense for the bottom line. Does explain that most people who received 2 tickets paid the $390 price and few people in the lower tiers received two tickets.

    Just thoughts…..

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  723. Doctor Pancakes Says:

    Dear OCCUPLAYA on the 4th of Juplaya: Please follow through and DO NOT GO THIS YEAR, even if you manage a ticket. We’re all upset & angry, but the language & level of vitriol you’re displaying here is WAYYYYY beyond any reason. Please stay home & chill the f*&k out.

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  724. Candybox Says:

    I wish BMORG would issue a sincere apology that they really messed up the situation. Also, count my vote in for NON-TRANSFERABLE TICKETS. I would gladly, gladly volunteer my time to help with the “extra work” that comes with that if only to avoid this horror in the future.

    I think it’s unfair that now those of us without tickets are to trust the very people who gamed the system and get their leftover tickets.

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  725. baw Says:

    Refund all of the tickets…. never will happen. The fees alone to process, refund, and then re-process is a significant cost, one I’m pretty sure will make that option unrealistic =(.

    Plus good possibility of having their merchant services ripped out from underneath them.

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  726. robinho Says:

    Trying to control ticket sales from scalpers or otherwise fundamentally goes against some of the main principles of Burning Man in my opinion.

    Capacity constraints should have been thought of long before today and a clear path towards incentivizing desired behavior should have been put forth.

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  727. Doctor Pancakes Says:

    First, let’s put aside the notion of recalling the lottery sales that have already gone through. Not going to happen. Even putting aside for the moment the legality & practicality of doing this, it would be screwing the burners who did get their tickets fair & square. No sense in aggravating the situation.
    As for imposing a requirement that successful purchasers specify, NOW, what names go on the tickets & making them non-transferrable after the sale – or return them for a full refund … Well, at first, I was shaking my head at this well-meaning but impractical suggestion. But on thinking about it, I just don’t see any other way.
    It’s crystal clear: Neither STEP nor the March sale nor anything else is going to make significant numbers of tickets appear – and without these, the theme camps & art groups so critical to Burning Man cannot proceed.
    Is it possible? I don’t know.
    Is it legal? I don’t know.
    What I *do* know is this: If we can’t get those tickets away from hoarders & scalpers and into the community STAT … we might as well cancel this year.

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  728. Slutty Goat Says:

    I was going to comment on the ticket situation, but reading these comments, most of what I was going to say has already been said.

    I’ll just throw-in my comment that the ticketing situation has probably ALREADY ensured that my theme camp will not be on the Playa in 2012. There may be NOTHING you can do in the short term that will get my theme camp to Burningman in 2012.

    What I really wanted to mention is that there are some thoroughly childish comments here. Calling BMorg “idiots” and telling them “fuck you”?!

    Know what? Someone that immature and non-constructive doesn’t deserve to go to Burningman. They wouldn’t know the Burningman spirit and ethos if it bit them in the ass and they’re probably the same kind of knuckle-heads who piss on the playa, throw garbage in the portapotties, and/or steal people’s bikes. For you guys? Maybe not getting a ticket just ruins your whole year so you’re going to have a temper tantrum like a little baby and insult others who put-in VASTLY more energy towards the event than you EVER have.

    For me? I’ve brought enough of the Playa spirit into my “default world” to where I just shrug my shoulders and look at the possibilities about what else I’m going to do with the money, time, and effort I would have otherwise put into Burningman.

    Yes, the ticketing situation this year was an epic-fail. Still doesn’t give you an excuse to act like an entitled brat.

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  729. Rob Siegfried, Jr. Says:

    This situation is worse for those of us who meet the same friends time after time and find that a major part of the experience. I seem to have been unbelievably lucky to get my one ticket without subterfuge but what about the friends I meet from around the world who may not make it. Many of them are extended family or multi family groups What happens when Sandy does not get a ticket? Joe can’t leave her behind! That means the kids aren’t going either and Ralph and Louise won’t bother because they share the same caravan. Shit! I am not sure that I want to go because the entire attitude will be changed by the controversy. There will be anger.
    The problem is that Burning Man is getting famous. If it gets any bigger it won’t work. There has to be a limit but this is not the way. Next year I urge you to sell the tickets to anyone who has been to BM within the past 3 (5?) years. Continuity and planning will still be there and the remaining tickets can then be lotteries or 1st commed to the new folks.
    This year you must buy up all extra tickets. Period. Re-sell to those who have come before. Perhaps bias slightly for those most important to theme camps. Take out loans,ask for donations. Sell those who did not ask for advice into slavery but make it right!

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  730. Shade Says:

    I’m not so sure that it is organized scalpers that have all the tickets. For the first time everyone has been given a guaranteed refund if they don’t use their ticket. Just get it back in the pool. You may even make a few bucks, but you can’t lose.

    So I think it is more likely that tickets were purchased by people who have been a few times in the last 10 years, and thought ‘why not’. They were brought by US. I think that what happened was surprising, but think about how many 100s of thousands of past burners are out there.

    Sure, organized scalpers got some, and there are clear profiteers, but I’m beginning to feel that tickets could flood back in when people realize that this is the one year when Burningman could seriously suck.

    I run a theme camp and we were debating whether to take a break this year. We are sitting at 35% after ticket pooling. We could run the camp with that, but if 30% of the theme camps bail, and they will bail late in the game, then the remaining camps will be stressed with tourists. We will be there but many camps need at least 80% coverage to be effective.

    This is how it will suck. We could be turning away many people who come to our camp for fun. We do body painting, and we simply won’t have the staff. We noticed this last year where people actually complained that they were wandering from camp to camp, being turned away because the ‘event’ was over subscribed. They chose poorly, but it was real. Disappointing people sucks on both sides of this issue.

    This is Burningman growing pains. I for one believe that the ORG is sincere in trying to do the right thing, but too many fundamentals are being wrenched from beneath them. Now that BM is in the popular vernacular, everyone knows about it.

    I tried something new on Playa virgins last year. I told them that they were in our camp to entertain us, not the other way around. In past years people just knew this. Surprisingly nearly all who got that ‘talk’ stepped up to the task. We are evolving.

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  731. Paul Carey Says:

    Here is what must happen NOW. Without theme camps and large scale art their is no Burning Man

    1.) Cancel ALL commitments with apologies to all with the possible exception of the presale.

    2.) Advance the deadline for theme camp and art installations proposals to 30 April. Submissions will specify the number of tickets are required for the camp to function. Placement takes control of ALL ticket availability during the proposal acceptance period.

    3.) Theme camp leaders will control the purchase of the tickets allocated by Placement. Tickets in a Theme Camps allocation will be assigned by serial number (ticket number) to individuals. This database would be provided to the ticket vendor who with some modification to their system can accept payment if the purchaser can provide the assigned ticket number. (Similar to a coupon code)

    4.) The deadline for submittal of ticket holder names and assigned number would be July 1. Ticket purchases would have to be completed within one week or assigned ticket will be forfeit to the spectator pool.

    5.) Tickets purchased from Placement allocation would be available at a flat rate of $250. Tickets from the spectator pool would be $375

    I realize that this will effect Bmorg’s cash flow but your creditors must realize by now that all tickets will be sold.

    I see no other way to handle this other that to bring all ticket availability under the control of Placement.

    Yours in flame B’s

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  732. Habibi Says:

    Who is afraid of the evil scalper?

    I have heard of 78 tickets on the black market so far. That’s probably a single scalper offering his tickets on numerous websites. Maybe it’s even a bluff.

    This might change, but for now calm down please.

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  733. IDjoe Says:


    First of all, If you’ve been one of the warm and friendly greeters who has greeted me home with a hug, thank you.

    I don’t think there is a ticket solution without problems. Are ID’s a problem to the 10,000 burners who’ve flown, the 20,000 burners who’ve driven, the 30,000 burners who’ve shown ID to buy beer ????

    How many people really don’t carry some form of ID?

    Thanks again for working the Gate.

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  734. Daddyo Says:

    The Decline Of The Burning Man

    A man called Larry, frustrated and constrained

    started a fire on the Great Plain, yeah, no, on a California Beach man;

    a wooden effigy took his pain and a group was born called the Burning Man.

    He stoked the fire for 25 years until it got so hot it disappeared. There was no trace, like no other place. But this time it lost its roots because he stopped giving a hoot. Prices and vices clouded his mind to the point that the People said never mind. It wasn’t the same. Elitism, greed, and various miscues clouded his fame. To see the art, to make a camp, to make a trek to nowhere was visibly lost. Because it cost and cost. But never fret, it’s liberated now. The people know how to find their way without structure to pay. Thanks Larry. You’ve had your day.

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  735. horse shit Says:

    The BORG is full of horse shit.
    The ‘lotto’ was a slow motion train wreck! Everyone on the outside could see the impending disaster. We yelled and screamed but the BORG would not stop.
    Don’t blame scalpers.
    Love the scalpers… they are your best shot at going to this sold out train wreak of a party.
    Don’t blame participants who knew that one entry wasn’t going to get them in. They were right!
    Then buy a scalped ticket and sneak in as many people as you can.
    Blame First Camp ( the gated community of airstream trailers at 6:01 and esplanade). Bring your megaphones and rotten eggs and bass cannons to first camp as express how this lotto makes feel.
    If you know anyone who works for the Borg, Slap them hard in the face and tell them how hard it is to be radically self reliant if you cant even get yourself a ticket.
    Save the man. burn the BORG!

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  736. Peter Lansing Says:

    Not a fan of non-transferable tickets. I volunteer so will get a ticket but I registered for two tickets to gift this year. I was not successful but am still hopeful for STEP or the open sale. Counting on Karma to help obtain tickets.

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  737. The Devil X) Says:

    The first thing that should be done is stop scalper round two in March. You have 10,000 tickets to make things better. One ticket with one name non transferable but returnable just like the overseas folks. This would and maybe my 5th burn love them all. Not one of our small camp of seven got a ticket. A lottery only works if the people who apply want to go.

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  738. 666isMONEY Says:

    It’s my understanding that the lottery was supposed to be a fix of the server-problem (last year the server overloaded and the ticket que was reset) — not to prevent scalpers.

    Supply/demand is this years problem.

    A quick check of this thread shows that “demand” is mentioned 62-times, “supply” 37-times and “scalper” 271-times.

    A lot of the comments here remind me of high school only substitute “clique” with “theme camp.”

    I look forward to meeting many single burners, like myself.

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  739. Mike in SF Says:

    There is really only one piece of information that’s missing from this thread.

    What is going to keep scalpers from buying up all the tickets on STEP at face value and putting them right back on StubHub/Ebay/CL for three times the price?

    Please give us some hope that the rest of this process won’t be as infiltrated by scalpers as the lottery appears to have been.

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  740. Middleway Says:

    Since money tends to corrupt, and a quick calculation comes out around $17 million, BM has moved into the likely to be corrupted area (as a result of external forces influencing internal powers). This is the only logical answer to why the lottery went forward (as planned), when BM must have had at least 60K ticket registrations for the 30K lottery tickets. This would have clearly been a red flag, stopping the lottery…. yet the lottery went forward, due to one or a few people, who have likely been corrupted by external forces. If the BM lottery goes forward (as outlined before), pirate external forces are operating behind the scene. If there are changes to the lottery, to remove the scalpers issue, then that would prove me (happily) wrong.

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  741. Booka Says:

    Despite actually receiving my ticket through the lottery system I would fully support a complete “do-over” where all tickets sold to date are scrapped. Let’s start over with (hopefully) a more appropriate system. Yes, there would be complaints, but I think most people in the community would support this (even those who have received tickets) because it really looks as though the event is going to suffer this year if we keep walking down the path that the lottery system has paved for us. It is only February. Not too late to turn around…

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  742. MMburn Says:

    First of all, I am truly sorry for everyone who has experienced anxiety and stress related to the ticket sales. I don’t think BMorg was trying to be mean or planned this disaster so I wish people would stop being so mean to them on here. Its ruining all the BM good vibes.
    Secondly, I’d like to say that the lottery did work out for me. I know that doesn’t mean this is a good system, but I’d like to point out it did have some intended effect.
    This is my fourth year and the first time I have had a ticket in advance.
    Last year I sat in line for my ticket for half a day while in Mexico, and then the power went off, and I lost my place in line. Of course, I procrastinated until the tickets were sold out, and then frantically searched for a ticket at the end of the summer. This meant I didn’t have time to plan or be as involved as I’d hoped because I didn’t know if I was going. That was my fault, but not the best system either.
    The year before I couldn’t afford a ticket at the gate so wasn’t going to go, and at the last minute my friend sold me his tier one ticket so I was able to. First year, I was scheduled to work, but at last minute found someone to switch days with me, and showed up Wed morning and bought ticket at gate.
    This year, I entered the lottery for 2 tickets, one for me and one for my boyfriend. Trying to play by the rules, my boyfriend did not register for tickets. So this system actually ended up working out for us.
    I like the idea of one ticket per person with the name printed on the ticket. That really seems like the best way to avoid the disaster next year.
    In the mean time, don’t worry everyone, you will get a ticket and the burn will be amazing, as usual. Don’t let this hiccup get you down because as I’ve learned in all my other BM experiences, it will all work out in the end.

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  743. Damned lawyer (rob wolf) Says:

    Is there a legal way to cancel the lottery and have a redo. I gained a ticket , but , whats the point if the artist and theme camp participants do not. This mess comes at the same time as the Komen Cancer foundations idiocy , they at least were able to correct their decision.

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  744. Penrose Don Ricardo Says:

    The silver lining to all of this is that as Burning Man turns into a self-cannibalizing tourist event, the Regionals will pick up the creative slack, and the ethos will continue to grow … away from control of the BMorg.

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  745. Shirley Crawford Says:

    I followed all the rules, but being cautious about losing out put in for the highest priced tickets, hoping that if lower prices were available, I would get them at a lower price. Highest price was a little out of my range but hubby told me to go that route. Did get two tickets and won’t complain about the extra $150 cost since it made him happy to get them. Notice that you immediately took the money and your confirmation confirmed that the tickets would be sent in June. June!?! Why not sooner??? In the past they usually were sent within 10 days. Whole system sounds confusing. Or is it just me? Enjoy our money while we sweat out wondering if, in June, the tickets will arrive.

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  746. Disco Mike Says:

    “We recognize that we have work to do to repair the faith in the organization”

    This is the understatement of the century.
    Is there really not a single one of you among the team planning this who ever studied economics? Thats truly the only way you could have made such a grave mistake. Go to the damn library and pick up a copy of “Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One”, by Thomas Sowel. Then maybe you wont screw up with such predictable gusto.

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  747. Rick Says:

    Brainstorm and combine many of the ideas. Some really good ones are:
    1. Habib @ 2/7/12 2:12 pm
    2. Dylan Says 2/7/12 2:13 pm
    3. Rick @ 2/7/12 3:31 am

    Many ideas are “themed” about non-transferable, ID required, what has worked at other venues, etc. Seriously look at what works well elsewhere to stop scalpers. Have a 2 tier system: 5,000 tickets available for low income (must prove this), and the rest go onto
    an adequate server system like renting space from Amazon, etc.

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  748. MMburn Says:

    I haven’t received notification of my tickets shipping yet, so maybe its not too late for them to print names on tickets. It seems like the best way to prevent scalping, and to stop over registration by those who bought tickets “just in case”. Even if they did that system, it doesn’t seem like everyone is going to get to go this year, which totally sucks.
    Has anyone looked into allowing more people to come and hence more tickets? If it is a permit thing, couldn’t they just pay more money for more people? Don’t football stadiums hold like, 100,000 people or something! Seems like BRC could easily make room for more (sorry if this has already been addressed and I missed it).

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  749. IamAloha Says:

    You know, it is one thing that BMorg messed up this year… They tried something new and it didn’t work, it is disappointing and heartbreaking for me a veteran and for my girlfriend who was trying to go for her first year. However, what is more disappointing are some of the comments made on this board. The sense of entitlement that is running through this page is quite sickening. I understand you are upset, believe me I am right there with you, but the idea of burning man is that everyone has the chance to go, those who are new and old.
    I know it is important for theme camps to get their members there, but just because you are a 5 to 10 year burner does not mean you deserve to go. This event is for everyone and how many years you have gone does not dictate your importance to burning man itself. I think we must all settle ourselves, this has been a fucked up process and we all know it, but that doesn’t mean we have to act like spoiled children who didn’t get to go to the circus.
    I love burning man and I love the community it creates, but we need to remember that just because we are the ones who have gone before doesn’t mean we are the only burners, and we are all that matters.

    I will be hoping for a ticket and if anyone has any they could spare, my girlfriend and I would soooo greatly appreciate it. Much love and aloha Burning Man Org and Community.

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  750. Markymarky Says:

    I actually DID get a ticket (applied for only one, and got it). But, along with echoing most of the comments above, my concern is this: Am I going to show up this summer…only to discover that there is hardly anything to see?

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  751. Mike in SF Says:

    666isMONEY, I believe most people believe scalpers to be the problem because it seems that hardly any actual burners got tickets. Only about 25% by all accounts. It’s unreasonable to think that a natural spike in attendees caused this since it would correspond to over a 100% spike in just one year.

    To my knowledge last year was the first year BM sold out early. Scalping hasn’t been a substantial problem in past years because you could always get top tier tix from the organizers. So it’s natural that this year is the first year that BM is substantially targeted by scalpers. There’s finally a resale market that isn’t limited by the price being offered by the organizers.

    What happened to BM is what happens to every event. As soon as you have 5% more demand than supply (last year), the scalpers all show up and artificially increase demand by huge amounts (this year). You’re referring to Supply and Demand, but it’s pretty likely that the demand is artificial and substantially inflated due to scalpers finally having a market to exploit.

    There are dozens of guys at every sporting event and concert across the entire country that are willing to spend countless hours hawking tickets for $10 profit a piece. Why wouldn’t every single one of them flock to buy BM tickets when it only takes 10 minutes to sign up online and they stand to make hundreds.

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  752. henry Says:

    The ticketing system is a joke, favours the rich over the poor and is blatantly dysfunctional and ethically wrong. Profit over community. Burning Man is dead. D.E.A.D..

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  753. Tex Allen Says:

    At least none of this affected Juplaya ;)


    Enjoy and it’s all gonna work out!


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  754. MRE Says:

    Allot of good ideas here, are you taking note BMorg?
    #1. Name on the ticket. The problem with that, if some thing come’s up, and you can not attend. Is the ticket refundable? If so, who handles the refund? BMorg, and or what is a faire fee for that service?
    Small problem, checking all the ID’s at the gate. F. that. It takes to long to get in (AND OUT) now.

    #2. Can you sell more tickets, plenty of room,,, same as above.
    Add extra entry, and exit points. Still one lane in, and one lane out. You can only go as fast as the slowest vehicle.
    #3. Preregister at center camp,,, What about the 10 year plus burner that just could not make it this year?

    My thought,,, Pre-sell to theme campers, art car’s, there guest, and hardship. They are early ck.-in anyway, mostly. Sell the rest inline before the gate. One price for all tickets. There is plenty time in line for the transaction”s to take place. Have venders going out, RV to RV, car to car, bus to bus, whatever. Put a $5.00 fee/surcharge on each ticket. That will MORE then cover the cost for the venders. I will take business, if you don’t want it, THANK YOU.
    If more then 60.000 show up. Sell a few more tickets. Last year was a sell out, and there was plenty of extra camp sites.
    Rescind this year’s ticket sales. Start over. It could happen in a month. Burners that did get tickets, will understand. The only ones hurt, ARE the scalpers.

    The best way to get back at the scalpers, Is not to go, or wait to commit. They will have to eat the extra tickets, take a lost. Sell them cheep at the last minute. Or.
    I can miss one year. I don’t want to, but I can.

    Maybe it’s time for Burning Girl. A new location. Better roads in. No police. A lake would be nice. Ranger’s are there only to help, NOT bust you the (money).
    As I dream,,,,

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  755. Aijla Says:

    Hello, I just wanted to comment on the fact that this new ticketing system created a mass hysteria where there wasn’t any. I feel that this is what caused such problems. I wanted to share some of the comments and suggestions for the ticket process:

    1) STEP program – this sight needs to be extremely secure from scalpers. Since there are already tickets posted on sites such as StubHub, the scalpers have been doing there homework. With that being said, how will they be prevented from getting into the STEP program?

    2) For those who over purchased: allow these individuals the option the get a refund for the extra tickets. That way the tickets will go directly back to the BM organization for redistribution as needed. —From the news letter above, I can see that it is imperative that major contributors get tickets. The tickets can then by re-dispersed as needed.

    A. One example of redistribution would be to have a lottery for different long standing theme camps. Each camp drawn would be awards a certain number of tickets

    3) MULIGAN – refund everyone there money from the ticket sales and start over! ( i know this is drastic but drastic times call for drastic measures)

    Ideas for how to redistribute if you were to start over:

    1) do a general sale like has been done in the past years. In order to prevent too many people trying to buy at once, set it up so that only certain groups can by at a certain time/day. Example: all individuals with last names a-t can buy a ticket on Feb 2nd at 1pm. – prevents hysteria

    2) Put names on the tickets – prevents scalpers and over purchasing

    ** I know a lot of my ideas have probably already been thought off. I know that all of my ideas are not great, however I wanted to contribute my thoughts!

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  756. Heathen John Says:

    be careful about thinking that matching names to tickets will thwart scalpers! If there is a legit way to change the name on a ticket, and there almost has to be, scalpers will use that for their tickets as well. Match the credit card.

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  757. Greg Says:

    I think we all agree this is a mess. My suggestion to fix it follows:
    First recall all the tickets back. Null the previous sales.
    Make all the tickets the same price.
    Make the tickets non-transferable.
    If the ticket has to have your name on it, the vast majority of scalping goes away.
    It will be even more of a bitch to get in, but that is a price I’ll gladly pay.
    Thanks for listening,

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  758. Steve Sooter Says:

    I know “Radical Inclusion” is a Burning Man principle. Add “Radical Exclusion” to describe this year!! The best solution would be to increase the number of tickets. Since this seems not possible, upon entering Burning Man we each should be given a voucher for one ticket, which can be redeemed on a certain date. If the voucher is used, make the ticket non-transferable. The unused vouchers would become available tickets to sell to new people. Past Burners define the whole festival. We are the ones who have sacrificed to make the festival what it is today. Those of us who see Burning Man as a lifestyle, with substantial investments in theme camps, campers, trailers and Art Cars should not have to fret about not making it “home” this year!!!!

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  759. Deborah Eppstein Says:

    here is a proposal (would require a re-do of the whole sale but I think would be fair to everyone): Have burning man issue each ticket only to a specific person with thier name on the ticket, and only allow for exchanges/sales at face value to be done through burning man exchange site, who would then credit back the credit card for the person originally purchasing the ticket and re-issue it to the new person, charging their credit card. People would have to show thier ID’s on entering, matching the name on the ticket. This would only work by a full recall of all tickets and re-doing the lottery. But it should eliminate scalpers and give everyone a fairer shot at getting a ticket.

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  760. The Devil X) Says:

    Please every one we need to try and change scalper round two in March. They still have 10,000 tickets to give out. One ticket only to the named person buying. This could go a long way to correcting the lottery.

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  761. Terry Says:

    I am at a loss as to why there has to be tiered pricing. It’s the tiered pricing that caused the urgency to get on line the moment tickets went on sale and jammed up the ticketing system.

    There should be just one single price for tickets like all other events around the globe. If you must have have discounted price then offer ways to receive discount coupons to apply to your ticket price. You would have to earn the discount. One example would be $25 off your ticket for working X number of hours on an art project, regional event or BMHQ sponsored event. You would collect coupons all year to apply to your ticket purchase the following January. Theme camps or art projects doing fundraisers could be given a limited number of discount coupons as raffle prizes to give away.

    First come first served works so very well. One single ticket price for absolutely everyone works even better. Maybe if there was only one ticket price and no tiered pricing and no discounts there could be more scholarships given.

    Mostly people stop whining about tickets. I don’t know a single person last year who really wanted to go who didn’t get a ticket.

    Since you could only register to purchase a max of 2 tickets in the lottery sale the thought that a single person is sitting there “hoarding” tickets is ridiculous. Making people who got tickets give them back is even more ridiculous.

    Many of the people who have commented here are suggesting that that tickets have a name assigned to them. The thought of assigning a name to a ticket adds so many extra unnecessary steps and puts a great deal of burden on the org. Less org involvement not more. What if you bought an extra ticket to gift to someone but you have no idea who that person is yet. What if you don’t decide on who that will be until after the BMHQ staff has gone out to the desert? What do you do then about transferring names? What if something changes in your life at the last minute and you can’t go and you give or sell your ticket to a total stranger, if you had to have your name on your ticket and the name had to match your ID then both parties would be screwed.

    All of the tickets haven’t been sold yet so people who haven’t gotten a ticket still have an opportunity. The reallocating of tickets hasn’t happened yet either so it’s a bit early to be in a panic about getting or not getting a ticket.

    To claim there will be no Burning Man without the theme camps is way out of line. The one thing you can absolutely count on is the man will burn. If there were no theme camps then it would be like turning back the hands of time to an earlier day in the history of Burning Man. Many of the theme camps could use a little stirring up. Several have become so elitist that they should be given an incentive to look for new people to participate with their camp. Think of the ticket lottery as this incentive. If person X who usually puts up the flags isn’t there then they will have to two choices: either look for a new person to put of the flags or don’t put of the flags at all. Maybe there would be room for new theme camps to form.

    If your regular ride didn’t get a ticket and you did think of what a great opportunity this is to find a new friend to ride to the desert with.

    To recap I still say:
    -1st come 1st serve
    -No tiered pricing – same base/starting price for everyone
    -Discounts that can be earned throughout the year and applied to next year’s ticket
    -No name assigned to tickets

    Good luck to my fellow burners who like I are waiting to see if we get tickets. If I’m meant to be there this year a ticket will come my way.

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  762. notorious Says:

    The first come first serve policy of the past worked, maybe not perfectly but it worked, because the event had never sold out. This year scalpers were going to buy tickets early and sell them for a profit after the vent sold out again. Something different had to be tried to solve that. Kudos to BMOrg for trying.

    Clearly, this wasn’t the right solution.

    The only soution I’ve seen posted so far that I think will work is non-transferrable tickets. Not my ideal way to go, but I have no time machine to the good old days, either. I’ll settle for something workable. I don’t see that checking ID’s will take any longer than it has taken them to check tickets and tramp dust through all my stuff in the past. A giant will-call sounds nightmarish, too, but at least I’d be on the playa with my new temporary family and a drink in my hand instead of at work.

    Maybe put laptops in the gate stations with the master list. If you are not on the list, you don’t get past the velvet rope.

    What to do with people who don’t have matching ID’s and tickets? Send them back to Reno, I guess.

    Ticket tiers may also be a thing of the past, unless they are tied to prior attendance and non-transferrable.

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  763. MonkeyGurl Says:

    Thank you for the apology for the understanding. deep breath…..fingers crossed for STEP…


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  764. Shade Says:



    1. No more than 3 RV’s per 10,000 sq ft block (100ft by 100ft). Everything else must be cars/tents

    2. RV’s moved to beyond H. (I hate RV’s… they just isolate people).

    3. Coupon handed out at gate, 1 per person, till Monday night. Gives priority for tickets (not a guarantee, just ups the odds). Used any time over next 3 years so people hang on to them.

    4. No ticket pricing tiers for main tickets. No mad scramble for a low price ticket.

    This is the other way to solve the problem longer term.

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  765. joshua jaygo ishkabibble goldberg1 Says:

    Jaygo here, longtime disorienter and manager of GonKiRin, Doyle and Teddy Lo’s giant steel fire-breathing dragon. We didn’t make it to the playa last year, but we have been planning for 2012 for a while. The grand total of tickets awarded to our possible 25+ person group was two. Our attendance is currently up in the air.

    I too believe that the logistics of ID checking at the gate are possible, even with the weather. I also believe that most of the tickets went to overzealous burners and not scalpers, although not making STEP mandatory will have the effect of truly empowering the aftermarket scalping economy. I think that blaming burners who overprepare- is that not one of the great virtues of camp planning?- is a shortsighted and hostile thing to do.

    I appreciate the Borg’s seeming willingness to work with camps to get tickets out there. I’m not sure how well it’s going to work. I do know that they had better move the theme camp and DMV application deadlines, that’s for sure.

    More than anything else on this day, I appreciate the Borg finally saying “I’m sorry.” It so rarely happens, and this is such a very horrible situation that I am truly thankful that they did include that after all.

    So we’ll see, right?

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  766. Shenanigans Says:

    In the future there could be two tiers:
    Tier one: Non transferable, non refundable. for the dedicated, no doubt that if I am alive I’m going, burner.
    Tier two: At twice the cost, transferable, non-refundable. Want a just in case ticket? Not sure you can make it? Raffling a ticket? Gifting a ticket to someone who might not go? professional scalper? This ticket is for you.

    For this year, put out a call for for people to design, build, and volunteer to work on, a ticket ID system to be in place by spring. Lots on Negative Nellies have been getting their rant on; Let us see if they put their community where their mouth is.

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  767. Jennifer Russell Says:

    We run a 120 person camp with 6000sqft temple structure, showers, and kitchen called CAMP MYSTIC (last year at 5A). We do speaking panels, throw dance parties, do rites of passage ceremonies (last year), provide an amazingly beautiful shade structure to congregate and get out of the sun at.

    So far less than 10% of our people got tickets (I’ve heard back from about 8 or 9 people with tickets). Many of our early arrivers, build crew, and leadership don’t have tickets.

    I hear there are only 10,000 tickets left. Is there anything or anyone I can talk to about this? Many of us are big contributors and long time burners. I know they reached out to some of the bigger camps and are working with them. Is there a process for being included in that group?

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  768. nevadaman Says:

    I’ve heard a lot of suggestions here for redistributing some of the tickets, for buying back the tickets from winners and scrapping the whole lottery thing, and for weighting the unsold tickets to veteran burners based upon a calculation about what is best for the “community” and for BM.

    Here’s the problem. The rules have already been set out. A number of individuals agreed to those rules and gave valuable consideration (my credit card has already been debited) for tickets they were told had been won. When you attempt to change the rules midstream (like horses) you invariably cause problems.

    When the henhouse burns down, you can cry, you can try to figure out whether you prefer fried chicken or broiled chicken or BBQ chicken, but no matter what, you cannot get a do-over because your chickens are all gone. Whatever the outcome after the 2 week dust settling period, this is going to end badly. As a long time Burner, I hope the festival is salvageable this year and in years to come, but for all the imaginative remedies suggested by well meaning people, there are few that would withstand legal challenge by or be even satisfactory to a small percentage of actual and potential ticket buyers.

    Some of you have posted on the forums. I have seen the arrogant way in which some of the posters who are evidently associated with BMORG have treated those others who expressed caution and skepticism. I hope that the pricks who have been saying that the concerned “would be” ticket-buyers didn’t know what they were talking about can now do a little introspection. I’d mention their screen names here but that wouldn’t be productive.

    In any event, it’s time a for a bit of cooperation and willingness to say “I was wrong” before this will be right again. Just sayin’….NM

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  769. Derringer Says:

    After seven years of calling BRC my home, I am one of the many who decided to skip this year. It wasn’t only the lottery nonsense that fueled my decision, mind you, but it certainly helped the choice a great deal. I see the entire “solution” as something out of far left field. It seems almost that the masterminds behind this plan skipped a few steps… What I liken it to is loading up a donkey with too much weight, so it can’t move, and then solving the problem by giving him a jetpack. Needlessly complicated and absurd.
    What I think this comes down to is that we need another donkey. Everyone should be encouraged and motivated to start their own regional burns and alternate festivals. Find some backers and organizers, secure the land and just do it. That’s how all of this madness began anyway. We are the reason the playa is special, plain and simple. We don’t need the desert to burn.

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  770. Mog Says:

    Agree with this comment from 2/3:
    T. Harris Says:
    I have my doubts about redistribution; most likely the legitimate people who received more than they need already have recipients in their immediate environs vying for them.

    And as I have been saying since the lotto was announced, tickets MUST be non-transferable and SHOULD be returnable with no fee. Returned tickets can simply be reentered into the pool of available tickets and sold again.

    Finally, as you must have been told hundreds of times, the Burner community is full of people who have the design and programming skills required to create a functional high-volume first-come first-serve ticketing solution – if you insist on not using a commercial vendor. We all remember 2011 didn’t sell out until July, right…?

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  771. Shrek Says:

    You people at BM ORG are soooooooooo stupid. There were tons and tons of better ideas posted and even more requests not to do the lottery. But nooOOOoooo you didn’t listen and now you care!!! Core theme camps are screwed and people didn’t know what the theme was so they could spend all year working on them. I bet the art and attitudes at BM this year are going to be less than happy. You shot all of the regular community in the foot and now you want our help. I spend enough each year going to BM, I could go anywhere in the world and not have to prep for weeks before and clean for months after. Maybe, just maybe you should go back to the old system. For some strange reason it worked, people were happy, camps knew there core group members had tickets, and incredible art will be given to the world to enjoy. Thanks for the un-needed stress!

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  772. Shrek Says:

    FYI my family are 8 years burners and this would have been our 9th.

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  773. KathieL Says:

    This all just makes me very sad. When I think of all the group camps and people who put so much time into bringing incredible art and experiences to the playa, I am disappointed for them. I was unable to go this year, so didn’t apply for a ticket, but have been tracking the news. I hope a better system can be worked out next year. I know it is a very difficult problem, but it looks like some of the risks weren’t mitigated ahead of time with the lottery. Good luck to all you who didn’t get a ticket, but really want one. I hope it comes your way.

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  774. Benny Says:

    Am I the only one who thinks this mess is fantastic? People who have become comfortable doing the same thing year after year might have to do something else this time. Fantastic! The population of this once special event might actually shrink for the first time ever. Fantastic! “Theme camps” of 150+ people might have to make some real and personal art with 10 or 20 people instead. Fantastic! (by the way, dancing all night to electronic music isn’t really a “theme”) I know many of you who didn’t get tickets are angry. I didn’t get tickets either but I’m going to use the time and money and resources to do something else entirely and have an extreme experience that you can’t have at an over-regulated, over-priced and over-populated event that no matter how many times you go will never have the same magic that it had the first one or two times you went. You have done it already. Now do something new. Evolution is good. Quit crying, make a new amazing plan and enjoy. Love the fantastic!

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  775. Soopiestar Says:

    Non-refundable tickets!!!
    Please put a limit on the number of rental RV’s. Only allow the elderly, disabled and families with kids to bring them. This would reduce the size of the city and bring it back to the ground.

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  776. Kurt S. Says:

    Ah, $1000+ Stubhub tickets.

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  777. Soopiestar Says:

    I’m with you Benny….cliques and comfort are definitely not what Burning Man was built on. Change is good and that is what this event is about….also curious if this is the beginning of a split? The egg divides and becomes two events….it fits the fertility idea. Wouldnt that be thrilling! Think BIG….think long term effects. The energy of this event may have its own life…the BMorg are just burners on a path…not all knowing gods.

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  778. FlashAK Says:

    Wow is about all I can say. I just completed attending 12 years in a row, am celebrating my 60th Birthday this year, and facing the prospect of not attending Burning Man because of the incredible lack of foresight shown by the ticket sales scheme!

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  779. Frank F. Says:

    Good comments from all, but the best are:

    1. Go back to the first come first serve method. It’s pure and fair. It rewards those who are willing to step up and make a decision. It has worked well for years. There are plenty of technologies to ensure that ticket resales go through an official Burning Man site at face value… and also to ensure that only the purchaser can enter the event. It would eliminate scalping which seemed to be the motivation to fix what was not really broken.

    2. The whole thing is so screwed up at this point that the following might be considered.
    a. Void all sales to date and refund the money
    b. Re-open sales on a first come first serve basis for returning burners… then for the general public. Announce the plan. Allow 30 days for the reserved sale. Plenty of time to react.
    c. Talk to some professional ticketing and document security specialists to implement a technology to guarantee that all resales happen through an authorized BM site.
    d. It’s not too late. The last thing BM needs is to lose the core supporters of the event.

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  780. Jacques the ripper Says:

    If you invite the wrong peeps to your party your party will suck and no one will want to come back to your next one.I didn t even entered your shitty lottery by principle,i knew it was going to be a problem and it obviously one.Guess i will NOT put on the same camp this year,22 djs,6 vjs,belly dancers,singers,cooks,volunteers and 30 + campmates will not be able to share their gifts to the playa because BMorg has its head up its ass.Looks like the DMV peeps took over the ticketing dept.10 year in a row burner

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  781. Benny Says:

    Yeah, Jacques! 22 DJs who will NOT be at burning man this year? That’s progress, my boy. Keep up the good work.

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  782. Dennis Funk Says:

    A critical aspect of each burn is the passing of the culture from veteran burners to virgin burners and that takes camps that have history and understand the values of the event. There is technology available to track tickets to specific individuals as well as specific camps. We must protect our culture and those that have been there 10 years in a row need an advantage over a person who gets all his relatives to sign up for 2 tickets each in hopes of getting at least one. Our camp is falling apart this year. We already have 8 who have stated they are going to sit out this burn. It makes me heartsick to think I am going to miss my family this year.

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  783. MayFly Says:

    Of all the ill-conceived and disconnected ideas, BMORG, this has got to be your worst.

    It is clear that even after all these years you don’t “get” that this event’s backbone is the Theme camps. This (would have been) my 8th year coming. Eight years of spending thousands of dollars of my own money, time, and energy to create and participate in this wonderful communal event.

    Do you know there are years where I don’t even go to the Man? That’s because the real joy, participation, and sharing are in the city with my fellows who contribute their time energy, and financial resources.

    Did it ever occur to you guys to follow, “Radical Self Responsibility”?

    It is the premise that if this is important to you, that you assure you are next to a computer when tickets go on sales and that you, BMORG, will invest adequate money in an online system capable of getting XX thousand hits in the first few minutes.

    The real irony is that in 2011 THE TICKETS ONLY SOLD OUT A MONTH BEFORE THE EVENT!!! I say with total sobriety, “Who cares if someone who decided to go in July did not get a ticket?!” It’s not like tickets sold out in 2 hours, minutes, days, or even months… What ever happened to radical self responsibility in letting those who really want to go (perhaps because they’ve created theme camps for the last decade) get the tickets when they are first offered?

    Now so as not to come across ineffectual, let me say that one only ever votes with your feet or your pocketbook. This year I am doing both. I am not going to chase around a ticket from some scalper or even “Looky-Loo” that decided to enter the lottery system on a whim. I am boycotting Burning Man 2012 in the sincere hopes that many, many other significant, contributing Burners do the same. Perhaps if you show up in Black Rock City and it is but a mere shade of it’s former glory you will once and for all stop assuming that the theme camps which make this event will be forgiving of your hubris.

    I’m sincerely sorry that it has come to this. Count me in in 2013 if you pull your heads out.

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  784. Benny Says:

    That is an interesting idea to limit the number of RVs. I was thinking the opposite. Every non refundable ticket must be accompanied by a valid US passport and a binding RV rental agreement. .. but your idea is probably better.

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  785. Space Vixen Says:

    It’s not a bad point that a shortage of tickets will cause many theme camps to implode, or combine forces. Think crossbreeding, and you get an idea of what maybe the “fertility” theme means.

    But with <1/3 of registered theme camp members getting tickets there will be a bit more than crossbreeding happening. Some camps may combine forces. Others will just be anihillated.

    Perhaps these year's theme is Apocalypse after all.

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  786. Dale Says:

    We have decided not to attend this year. Six in a row was apparently enough. We have friends that got their tickets, so we will hear how fertility 2.0 was. Maybe we will be more excited for 2013 and hopefully tickets will be matched to names by then.

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  787. DMT Says:

    Like a moth to a flame…I’m drawn back to post here one more time. An absolute MUST-READ blog post (written from a PR perspective)….especially for any BMORG that may be lurking here (and that’s one of the key points: STOP LURKING). Note that you will need to replace the words DOT with actual periods (posts with URLs are not being moderated, so this is the only way for this to be seen).


    “I don’t know if this is the end of Burning Man or a new beginning.”

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  788. Melancholy Says:

    Stubhub = 75 tickets
    Me + 10 burns = 0 tickets
    Camp mates + 10 burns = 0 tickets
    sad, sad, sad….totally defeated….
    If you reduced BM to a crappy wooden Man and burned him, I’d still go in my crappy little trailer

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  789. Victor Says:

    It is clear; not everyone that wants tickets will get them. that’s no reason to fret. We didn’t go home when the dust blew for days on end, we didn’t give up when Paul Addis tried to burn the man early. We didn’t run home when the toilet’s got rank after cooking in the sun after some poor soul blew Larry Harvey knows what all over the seat. What did we do? We stood on our car ports, built a new man and hovered over who knows what so we didn’t crap on sacred playa behind our tents. That’s what we did! This event has taught me about self reliance, and dang it, that’s just what we need to be.

    be logical: if you need more capacity, make some. if you do, scalpers won’t have a way to make money if there is room in the event (seriously, how many scalpers were there when you were fudging the population? not as much). if you have 2 events, even if you make them smaller, like 30k or 35k people, you increase intimacy and help more people. otherwise it’ll turn into a woodstock and people storm the perimeter in busses and BLM gets mad, you don’t get permits, yadda yadda. don’t make me storm the perimeter…..

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  790. Raymond Zwierzycki Says:

    It would have been my second year but I didn’t get tickets – didn’t have friends and family register.
    1. Is there any way legally that you can rescind the lottery results. If so do it and repeat ticket sales with non-transferable tickets. There is still time.
    2. Do everything possible to maintain the integrity of the event. Obviously theme camps, art cars, etc. are extremely important here.
    3. If the event disintegrates, as it might given the comments I have read, I would rather not attend.

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  791. John Says:

    Soooo, I’m hearing that only 10% to 25% of the applicants got tickets?

    With 40,000 tickets, available does that mean that there were 160,000 to 400,000 applicants? I don’t think so.

    Burningman should publish how many tickets were awarded at what tier.

    Something stinks, like dead fish!

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  792. DMT Says:

    LOL…this is the single biggest clusterf*ck I have EVER seen.

    The more time goes on, the more the community gets fractured and participants disenfranchised.


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  793. Beach Bum Says:

    Maid Marion,

    Thank you for the heartfelt apology in the JRS today, and saying that you and the BMORG feel the intense pain that exists in the community and that you’re reading the suggestions for this year and next, and doing what is possible to remedy the situation as best as possible at this point.

    Beside the necessary non-transferable tickets in whatever way it can be implemented to get the scalpers out of the system, another way to get supply-demand closer to balance that hasn’t been talked about much is to reduce demand.

    I think many of the newbies are signing up since it sounds like a cool festival and just put in for a ticket like they would for going to a concert. Without the understanding of distances that they would need to go to make it to the playa, that our very dry rainy season will lead to nasty dust problems on the playa this year, rental cars out of Reno airport are extremely hard to come by if at all, the big techno/dubstep sound camps probably won’t be there like normal, … It’s not just like going to a concert, it takes a significant commitment and many will be miserable from the dust, constant noise, and lack of sleep. It was just too easy to put in an entry for a ticket which shot up demand, which enticed many to do so without a true understanding of what is involved.

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  794. Texas (aka) The Diva Says:

    I have attended 8 . I got married there; and later brought my son who has attended for many years as well. My husband dispatched one year. This has been my home for one quarter of my life. I have participated in theme camps and twice as as an artist. My tiny installation was between Charon and Walkabout Woods in ’11. People participated in a second showing for one day on SIX continents ! I was so fired up to build a bigger project and started aquiring what was neccessary to build it. Then the lottery happened. And I stopped planning. I put away the drawings and did other things.

    I have lived my life in a world of exclusions, of “you can attend if you do this” Burning Man was a place where I could feel real and authentic and participate without the “if you just….” The lottery process made me feel like Burning Man has become a place where I can participate “if I just…” It has become like the rest of the world. My project will continue, but it will probably not be at Burning Man this year.

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  795. The Mayans were right. Says:

    1) Get rid of the tier system, it’s no longer needed and causes that huge server slam on ticket day.

    2) Sell tickets for any year in advance. Next year will probably sell out, but those after? Likely not. 2018? No way. Then, just keep ticket sales open year round. Zero load on the system, and everybody gets the same shot.

    3) Full disclosure. Tell people how many tickets remain for each coming year so they know when they’re about to get shut out. No surprises means no complaining. Wanna go? Pick a year and buy a ticket.

    4) Bump up the population, if studies show it can be done well, and maybe make the event two weeks long. Making more Burning Man each year will make it go farther.

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  796. ic_eng Says:

    Now that BM tickets are loose HOW DO WE ASCERTAIN we are being scalped Real Tickets ??

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  797. ZP Says:

    I won a ticket, but Im sad to see everyone else who didn’t. Please make all tickets sold so far(if possible) non transferable, or all tickets sold in future ticket sales non transferable. Allow us to sell the tickets back to BMORG if we can’t go.

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  798. Paula Says:

    What if there was a Burning Man and no one came? Maybe that would awake, alert , open eyes, whatever… should all of us 50,ooo who have been there year after year, theme camp after theme camp, mutant vehicle after vehicle, and all of the loyal burners who have been there for years just not go????
    Hmmm something to think on. Can we do it for a statement of changing the way of ticketing for the betterment of the citizens of Black Rock City? I would pledge not to go, to make a statement.
    Am I over reacting?

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  799. Angel Says:

    OK, just read to the end. Print more tickets than you have room for humans. This issue is not due to real demand–it is due to scalpers holding onto huge numbers of tickets to create a feeding frenzy. As long as there are only as many tickets as there are legal spaces for humans, then they will win.

    Look what happened last year–in spite of the brief scare when it sold out, everyone who wanted to go, got tickets. There were so many tickets available in the last week prior that people could not even sell for face value–they were gifting them. Those who bought from scalpers felt pretty stupid when tickets were going begging.

    So print an extra 10,000. Sell at middle tier to the lists the verified camps & community resources give you. There are not 10,000 newbies just waiting to grab up scalped tickets for insane prices–it’ll be just like last year, when things shake out there will be us and the same newbies and tourists there always are (yes, I know we increase every year, but not by 10,000).

    The scalpers who are holding onto thousands of tickets won’t be able to sell them. If they lose money this year, they will jump out of the market. At least half of my friends have already decided not to go–so get tickets out there now for the theme camps, art installations, airport, greeters, etc. In the end you might be a thousand people over (so pay the fine to the BLM), but that is unlikely. You have created a lot of bad feelings in the community so anyone on the fence about going has already made other plans.

    Burn the scalpers. Support the community you inspired. Take the risk. Print 10,0o0 more tickets and make sure they go to the core community–or there won’t be anything for the rich to do this year.

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  800. BurnerForPresident Says:

    “It was better last year…”

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  801. Mahkah Says:

    because lots of my theme camp people do not have tickets, im guessing others don’t. if main core people in theme camps, art cars, art projects, DJs, music acts, ect. dont have tickets burning man is not going to be burning man. the whole reason to go to bm is for the beautiful experience that BRC is.

    if the art, music, theme camps, core people involved in BRC dont go, its going to suck, and no one will come back to our beautiful city.

    please fix this problem, get it done. maybe like this..

    -refund everyones money back on there cards. easy.
    - resell tickets..do first come first serve like you did last year. in tiers.
    -print peoples names on the tickets, photo ID and ticket required at gate.
    -say your sorry and move on.

    please do something.
    p.s. I have a ticket. and I still am pissed

    good luck


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  802. stephen dee Says:

    I posted here last year about how your ticket sales scenario would play out. And it went pretty much exactly as I predicted it would. You do not realize it, but this is an economics problem around scarcity. What you thought you knew about ticket sales when supply exceeds demand no longer applies. It didn’t apply last year, and it won’t apply next year. You need to completely rewrite the game. I explained this to you last year and if you continue to ignore me, I’m going to have to explain it to you again!

    Pretend Burning Man tickets are new Apple iPhones. When they first come out, they sell for 4x market value and there are queues for them. They run out .. there are new shipments and new lines (repeat) and then demand wanes at the 4x price. Next, Apple drops its price a bit and there’s a new wave of demand. (repeat) until the next model iPhone comes out. This model not only allows Apple to extract maximum economic returns from their sales, but the declining price model means that there’s essentially no secondary market for iPhones because there’s still supply but the price is going down.

    So .. sell Burning Man tickets on a declining price auction starting at some ridiculously high price that the very wealthy will not bat an eye at paying. Have the price decline *continuously*. At some point, tickets will sell out.

    Hold multiple ticket lotteries (as you did this year) for the discounted tickets. Charge people a relatively nominal fee (say $5/ticket) for the privilege of entering the lottery (this cuts down people entering multiple times – are you paying attention yet?). People can only enter the lottery for *two* tickets. Timing the lotteries is very important. They need to occur relatively shortly after declining price tickets go on sale, but cut off lottery tickets for them very shortly before the actual drawing. Give about two weeks between lotteries during which more people may register. Each lottery should offer a *lower* priced ticket than the previous lottery (people who won tickets are removed from subsequent lotteries).

    To allow burners to get a sense of how many tickets are available and how much they’re going to sell for, you could also implement a system that records a price at which a registered burner wants to buy a ticket. Charge $1 to register and take $1 of the purchased price. Non-purchasers gift their $1 to Burning Man’s art foundation. When the declining price ticket gets to the burner’s bid price, the ticket is automatically purchased on the credit card used to purchase the $1 registration.

    You will be able to chart how many tickets are available and the prices people have bid on them so that you know price and demand. Making this information public is actually critical to providing “complete information” to the buyers so that they can see approximately at what price tickets will run out. With that information, they will know whether their bid is “in the money” (i.e. will earn them a ticket or not).

    And give all the lottery people registrations and a $5 discount on their bid price.

    This system will distribute sales so that there is not a crushing rush to buy them all at the same time. It will discourage scalpers from buying because everyone who can afford to buy a more expensive ticket has already bought one and subsequent ticket sales are all at lower prices. It will create a massive welfare gain for Burning Man org that you should be able to channel into finding a larger space in which to hold the event.

    The only problem is the lottery, but I think that’s a necessary evil.

    The best scenario, of course, is to move to a space that doesn’t limit your ticket sales and create this scarcity issue. Then you could go back to doing things the way you did them in 2010.

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  803. Savvy Says:

    One thing that confuses me is why BMORG thinks that the scalpers will not buy up all the tickets in the STEP program?

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  804. Burning Man is better next year Says:

    We’re gonna need a bigger playa.

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  805. DMT Says:

    Stephen Dee’s suggestion is unique and very intriguing; no one else anywhere has suggested such a system. Open ticket sales at $1000 each and drop the price weekly or even daily. Two problems:

    1) It tends to make the event more accessible for the wealthier participants (although a large number of low income tix could be set aside)

    2) It doesn’t help us this year.

    But NO ONE else has suggested this idea…I think it’s quite compelling in some ways. Great feedback.

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  806. Three Cents Says:

    Killing off large scale theme camps by choking off the ticket supply to their members is A GOOD THING. Large camps are fun for a lot of people, but they insidiously destroy the spirit of Burning Man, which is all about self reliance and self expression and participation! When you spend all your time going to and from these destination camps, you’re not participating, you’re just on a passive joyride. Burning Man is becoming too much like a trip to Disneyland, full of gawkers who do nothing but consume.

    Theme camp members shouldn’t have priority over other people. It’s not about putting on a show for an audience. Everyone should have an equal chance to experience the magic of Burning Man and find their own source of creativity and originality and self expression.

    People think “self reliance” just means bringing your own food and water. But it’s a lot deeper than that. Instead of mapping out all the sights you want to see each night and looking to be entertained, make your own events, build your own art, play your own music, and make friends with the people right next to you. That’s what Burning Man is supposed to be. Sure it’s fun to check out all the crazy art cars and attend the all night raves, but that’s not participating, that’s spectating.

    Burning Man has too many large theme camps where people just sign up for chores and think they’re “participating”, when in fact they’re just grunt labor for some charismatic egomaniac who just wants their free labor to realize his grandiose vision or else spends his time getting it on with all the young newbie chicks who are fascinated by his power and prestige. That’s not Burning Man, that’s just Real World Redux. So forget the big theme camps, instead get out there and make your own Burning Man and grow from the experience. That’s what it’s all about!

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  807. DMT Says:

    Yep, kill off the large scale theme camps. Think of all the things we’ll be better off without by choking off ticket supply to the people that have made the event what it is (was):

    No airport (sorry skydivers)
    No Robot Heart
    No Trojan Horse (Anubis)
    No Opulent Temple
    No Charon
    No Thunderdome
    No Distrikt
    Heck, no Temple
    No Flaming Lotus Girls
    No cupcakes, no El Pulpo, hardly any art cars at all
    On and on and on


    Oh yeah, sounds great. Look at all those RVs!

    Party on, Garth.

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  808. fred Says:

    actually Stephen Dee’s idea of starting with a high ticket price and gradually dropping the price, and similar variations, was posted on http://eplaya.burningman.com/ a week or more ago. it was referred to as a “dutch auction”.

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  809. Funky Hops Says:

    Reading the comments of those who aren’t in favor of non-transferable tickets, it is clear that most of you don’t understand that non-transferable is NOT synonymous with NON-REFUNDABLE. It’s an important distinction. If you get sick or change your plans, you aren’t “stuck” with a ticket you can’t use. You still have the option to return your ticket directly to the Burning Man organization (hopefully not LLC in future years, after this debacle) for a full refund– most likely minus a reasonable re-stocking fee. What you WON’T have is the option to re-sell your ticket on eBay or StubHub, etc– which effectively eliminates scalping.

    It also eliminates the option of “gifting” your ticket to a friend. . . but that shouldn’t hinder a clever burner. If you have to give the friend cash to put a ticket on their credit card instead, it’s a very minor sacrifice– and I’m sure they won’t love you any less for it when they’re out on the playa.

    Non-transferable really is the way to go, and frankly should have been instituted this year. The Org should have access to MORE than enough bright, experienced people to figure out solutions to entrance/exit problems and the like. . . IF the Org wanted to walk it like they talk it, and draw on the resources of their own extended community. No excuses. Do it right next time.

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  810. Fish Says:

    I have been privileged to serve coffee to many burners as part of a theme camp the past six years. Like other camps, only 25% of our camp received a positive response from the lottery.
    I am very sorry that after four days of comments the BMOrg still replays the same limited “heartfelt” apology with only a last paragraph modification–giving no recognition to the many positive ideas put forward. YES, addressing this years so far fiasco might cost the BMOrg some money that they have had to build status by various altruistic grants for art and to the outside world projects, but it might actually preserve “the man” for the values it has shared with all of the past attendees for truly artistic creativity. This is the time for leadership to put their actions out where their mouth has been for years. Be creative. Take the risk of acknowledging truthfully the extent of ignoring the advice of many wise burners and thinking that all is perfect that goes out of the BM Headquarters office.
    I understand that the Google founder attends BM (or has if he didn’t get a ticket this year) I would think that they could be called upon to solve the computer programming problem if you can’t. Talk to your attorneys and find a way to put the names on tickets this year. Next year may be too late.

    Report comment

  811. DMT Says:

    Oh yeah, no coffee servers in 2012. And no ice, either.

    Still working for ya?


    Report comment

  812. DMT Says:

    Oh, and no Camp Envy; you won’t be able to sit at home and watch the live streaming video feed from the playa anymore. Looks like they didn’t get tickets, either…

    Report comment

  813. rachel Says:

    they are being resold on stub hub for $1000!!! fucked up…non transferrable tickets sounds like the way to go. i chose not to try to beat the lottery and was not “given” a ticket. hope all this works out! i believe in the power of this community and clearly a lot of people that have tickets have no idea what this community is really about. why do they have the power right now? HOME is what gives me hope in a brighter future, lets make it happen BM ORG!! GET ER DONE!! one love :)

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  814. Economics 101 Says:


    People will keep their tickets in the hope that one of their friends will to come along. They are not going to give their ticket to a stranger. Therefore, no one can really plan for the event.


    There was no risk to buy a ticket because they can always sell them later.


    #1 Refund or make tickets non-transferable
    #2 Increase cost of tickets to match the demand
    #3 Donate $1,000,000 to artists and camps

    #1 will end up with a lot of returned tickets. People that can’t afford the tickets can help with art or camps. People that can’t do art or participate can pay more. Everyone is happy.

    Oh, and please don’t play social experiment games on 50,000 people. It’s not very nice.

    Report comment

  815. jojo Says:

    What “Three Cents Says” wrote a little before this post is dead on (go up and read). Thank You. You’re right. That’s what “old school” burning man is all about. Not this LA fashion show theme park. The new bee’s who go this year may not have the time of their life that they were looking for, but good. We need some “bad weather” a couple of years to discourage some/lots and bring it back to the real burners. Who remembers when frat boys were starting to take hold?
    See ya next year

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  816. Sparkle Says:

    Our camp has 13 people. We “won”, as others call it, 4 tickets. How are we going to get 9 other tickets? There is no redistributing. 13 minus 4 equals 9 unless I flunked math. We are a tribe, have a theme camp and have no idea if the STEP program will truly help us get that many tickets. We only have tickets for 31% of our tribe…..

    Report comment

  817. Paige Says:

    This random selection really brought our entire camp down. never did i feel like i would be “rejected” from burning man. this is something that we look forward to all year and now the majority of our camp has decided not to go and not to try again because all of us were denied a ticket

    Report comment

  818. BNESS Says:

    I have read for several hours and there is no need to rehash all that has been said. I represent a 6 year camp with over 100 camp members each year (recently split in two) – only 20% of us have tickets and only 10% of camp leadership and build crew have tickets. I fortunately was one of the few who recieved two tickets.

    A few points FWIW:

    1. Where are all the tickets? The math is still not adding up – one of the factions is holding them. Maybe they will show up in STEP around June. My bets are on the scalpers. Unfortunately the lottery setup catered to this group.

    2. BMORG needs to eat their fucking words. This is their mess and to date, BMORG is relying on the resourceful nature of burners to solve the problem. How about the org pull their collective head from their ass and admit the mistake, shell out some cash and fix the problem. The community clearly spoke against the ticket changes month in advance and now it is our problem to fix?

    3. Kiss BLM ass. No one wants to see the future of Burning Man in jeopardy, including the BLM. Marian has stated that its too late for such a change. Burning Man gets more complicated each year and yet it still happens. I’m willing to bet that under certain conditions the BLM would authorize a larger increase in the number of participants (nevermind that last year was “sold out” yet 5,000 plus never showed…). Would this be difficult? Yes. Could it be achieved? Yes. Would it require vast amounts of additional work and infrastructure? Yes. Could the financial cost be recovered via selling more tickets? Yes. Would we all come together in Burning Man ethos to make it happen? Yes. Would it kill off the scalpers? Most likely. Is our camp ready to work hard toward this solution? Absolutely.

    You know where I stand.

    BTW- in the unlikely event of a “do-over” ticket issue, I am willing to give mine back.

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  819. DMT Says:

    “It’s clear that the theme camps and art projects are a significant part of the community, and this situation is causing problems for them,” she said. “That’s the part that will hurt us if we don’t take another look at this.”

    - Marian Goodell

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  820. Paul (silkscreen camp) Says:

    9 years at burningman, 200 hundred free, pre printed shirts for fellow burners a year, 800 to 1000 of your shirts printed for free in my camp each year, 4 core members in my camp, 0 tickets. If we dont get lucky and get tickets through the step program, we apologize to our brothers and sisters, but we will not buy from fucking scalpers and will not be there. (on the playa), I will however be in Gerlach selling 500 to 1000 LOVELY, you cant be a real burner without one, T-shirts for the low low price of just $30.00 a piece. Limit 2 per burner unless your are a T-shirt scalper you can buy as many as you want, I think you can sell them for $40.00 Just kidding, we wont be in Gerlach, sorry scalpers, but we’ll hope to see you next year. To those with actual tickets, have fun.

    Report comment

  821. Bar Bunny Says:

    Wow! Big Mess.
    Lots of good points have been made on this blog. I’ve been going to BM for 10
    years, 6 with a theme camp. Everyone in our camp is crutial and contribute in a special way. We too have only about 1/3 of our members getting tickets. It takes more than that just to set up our lounge. Without the theme camps I don’t believe that those safe and well designed shelters that people flock to in a wind storm will be available. As well as the well planned art and social events. Besides it won’t be the same without all my campmates. I guess this years theme should have been
    armageddon. All I can imagine is a bunch of inexperienced Yahoo’s running around
    stealing bikes, barfing and pissing on the Playa. I think the damage is beyond repair.

    -Bar Bunny

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  822. Ryan Says:

    I went last year for the first time and had an amazing time. I’m pretty heartbroken that I probably won’t attend this year because I can’t afford the higher ticket price combined with the uncertainty of when that charge will come out of my account. I also need time to plan.

    the organizers seem to make a big issue of helping lower-income burners but they’ve clearly failed in that respect. Meanwhile, how much are the organizers profiting? I don’t know but I have my suspicions.

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  823. Miss Fortune Says:

    I couldn’t get past the quiz (which I dutifully completed, five times) to actually enter my information into “the system” on the five different times I tried during the lottery, so I am among the “losers” this year. Oh well, I’d intended to enter my name only once, so the outcome would likely have been the same. That’s what happens to those who play fair in the realm of scarcity.

    Am I the only one who smells the irony, that the lesson of scarcity is being taught via the population explosion of “attendees” the same year the theme is “Fertility 2.0?” As an ecologist who studies man’s impact on our ecosystems, I know all too well that the solution is the problem. So, burners: welcome to the land of scarcity. Maybe you should have used a little (birth) control when placing your orders this year for 5, 8, even 12 tickets. I thought that BM was built on the idea of everyone getting one shot and standing back, playing fair, letting others have their turn. The first year that scarcity is mentioned, the first opportunity that any one of you can milk the system, even the best among you admit to having tried to weigh the odds more in your favor. That’s where the whole plan backfired, don’t you see? You say the problem is everyone else, but the problem is you. And you. And you. Anyone who bought more than 2 tickets: shame on you. Concepts of “fairness” fell apart, revealing what jackals people truly are.

    the more I read, and see, and intuit, the happier I am to stand without a ticket, especially when there are 27 tickets listed on StubHub, for $700 to $3100 per ticket. Have at them, my friends. I hope you get what you pay for.



    Black Rock Desert Tickets
    Black Rock Desert in Nevada is known as “The Playa” to those who attend events here. Probably the most popular annual event is the Burning Man festival, which has been growing exponentially in participation and attendance in the last two decades. There are also rocket propelled car exhibitions and other special events that take place here, so get your Burning Man tickets as soon as possible.
    Black Rock Desert Event Tickets
    Most travelers passing through Nevada might grab Grand Sierra Theatre tickets to catch a concert for entertainment. But the folks heading out over the sands aren’t looking for your usual entertainment experience. One of the most intriguing annual events in the United States is the Burning Man Festival, which takes place in the Black Rock Desert in the days leading up to Labor Day. The finale is the torching of a giant effigy of a man, but this is only one of the crazy things that goes on during this multiple-day extravaganza.
    Black Rock Desert Events
    The Black Rock Desert is famous for its distinctive geological phenomena, including the namesake black rocks, the many hot springs and geysers and the fact that it is considered to be one of the flattest places on earth. Since there are no formal buildings, and for most events any structures will be temporary.
    Black Rock Desert Schedule
    Let’s be honest – you’d have to be crazy to be looking at the schedule of upcoming events for a middle-of-nowhere spot like the Black Rock Desert. Of course, those who head out to Burning Man each year pride themselves in thinking a little differently than the norm. Check StubHub for Burning Man Festival tickets every year.

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  824. Kali Kayei Says:

    I still want to know— who gets a guaranteed ticket? or even a FREE ticket? I’ve had friends get in for free due to some service they rendered or some heavy equipment they brought. Who decides who gets in the back door? TRANSPARENCY, please. I don’t mind people getting in this way, but I’d like to know the criteria that determines who is of such value. By my calculations, 2000 people will get in without having to be part of the lottery. That is, if our limit is 55,000 for 2012 since the lottery tiers were 3000, 40,000,10,000. Anybody know what’s up with the lucky 2000?

    I say, license the RVs so that the only RVs that get in are for health reasons. We need to go back to the desert way of living, not bring air-conditioning to the playa. Really!

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  825. Dusty Rusty Says:

    BLM has no motivation to expand The event. BLM believes they are protecting the site by putting restrictions on the event. No one at BLM gets a promotion, bonus or any other reward for bringing in greater revenues from Burning Man. They are a government agency. Again, very little motivation to expand the event attendance on the part of BLM.

    A lot of people are asking why tickets were awarded in the pricing order of highest to lowest. Go back and read the lottery instructions. The details and process were laid out there.

    The Burning Man community is diverse and worldwide. The only thing that everyone has in common is that they want tickets and they want them at a reasonable price (a definition that varies widely.). Some people can buy tickets a year in advance, some want them simultaneous with their flight plans, some after their tax refund shows up, some when the playa provides, some at the last minute because their life/job/whatever doesn’t allow for planning ahead. In designing the ticketing process for this year the BMan org was likely trying to satisfy a lot of people with differing needs and give everyone an equal chance at getting a ticket. you got 2 weeks to enter the lottery so that everyone had plenty of time to sign up…but that gave scalpers a longer time to sign up, too. I suspect every decision point along the way to the final lottery process had the same benefit/problem issue. Clearly, things didn’t go as planned (despite the large number of conspiracy theories posted, I don’t believe it was screwed up just to fuck with your Burn.)

    Also, how are you going to figure out who got all the tickets? There’s no huge database with the names of everyone who has ever gone to the event, what years they went, which theme camp, who they camped with, etc. So some guy named Vinny who lives in NY got tickets in the lottery. how do you know if he’s a Scalper or a “real Burner”. it’s almost impossible to analyze a database of the sold tickets if you don’t have a database to compare it to. By the way, Vinny’s been to Burning Man twice, he was gifted a ticket once, his girlfriend bought him a ticket once and he bought his ticket this year. In a credit card database (if one existed) he would only show up once.

    The only way the event organizers know who did or didn’t get tickets is through this feedback. it’s stunning that the figures are a pretty consistent 20%. and yet, in a lottery system that actually makes sense that everyone would report a consistent win/loss percentage in a random system with greater demand than supply.

    So in summary: I didn’t get a ticket and only about 20% of my planned camp mates did. This wasn’t the best system, but it’s what the org decided to do. And whatever the org decides to do with the remaining tickets will piss a bunch of people off no end.

    Will I attend my local regional? probably not. I went to Decomp one year and it just wasn’t my thing for whatever reason….and I’m ok with that. maybe I’ll start a micro region. I live in a Burner heavy neighborhood. could get interesting.

    Or maybe STEP will work, the BLM will expand the event population, more tickets will become available, the entrance and exodus delays will miraculously be solved and DMV won’t shit on my mutant vehicle and deny me a license (nah, I’m not bitter, much). ( I have got to stop writing now…the hallucinogenics are kicking in…clearly.)

    That’s my feedback. Thanks for the memories. Glad I’m not the object of all the wrath. Thanks for trying.

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  826. Gary Says:

    I think that Angel’s idea about selling more tickets than the BLM limit has some merit – but only if the sales are to returning burners & others who agree to agree to accept non-transferable tickets. Why not? Airlines overbook all the time! It looks like about 2/3 of the tickets wound up in the hands of scalpers, so 15,000 more tickets would be in the ballpark. Scalpers will see the asking price of their tickets plummet. With the money from the sales of the extra tickets, if the scalpers complain and threaten to sue, BORG can then just say to them “Take your refund and shut the f**k up!” Then the would be scalpers would have to go back to installing credit card skimmers in gas pumps or stealing copper wire from vacant houses. :)

    In the long term, some form of ticket rationing is inevitable. Perhaps two ticket pools should be created: one for returning or “legacy” burners and another strictly for first-timers, with maybe a 4 or 5 to 1 ratio. Tickets would then be sold on a non-transferable basis with a refund policy to discourage scalpers, while being fair to people who have to cancel out for good reasons. A lottery might work if there was a point system for the legacy pool should be implemented so that people who contribute most can have a higher probability of winning tickets.

    Last year, I got my ticket at will call. Yeah – it was a hassle standing in line at 3 in the morning, but beats getting gouged for a ticket or having no ticket at all.

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  827. Kali Kayei Says:

    p.s. why did the BMorg ask to have the lottery recall petition taken off the web? This petition might have shed some light on this situation, and it had a comment board too. What harm was it doing? The petition had only been on the web for a few days, and now it’s gone? Seriously???

    Report comment

  828. DMT Says:

    They needed “space” according to the originator of the petition.

    Report comment

  829. Dusty Rusty Says:

    Oh, and every Burner knows: Dust doesn’t settle….it clings.

    Hey, I don’t know what that means but it sounded good in my head. (nighty night)

    Report comment

  830. dDub Says:

    I went to BRC in 2011 as a virgin. I helped with a CORE project and was part of a ~12 person theme camp in AEZ. I was awestruck by the volume of air moved by the sound camps/cars. My two favorite memories are: 1) watching the policewoman directing traffic at 6:30 and F and 2) the 2 minutes of sandstorm I ‘endured’ on Tuesday. Or was it Monday? I liked the vagina tent w/penis slide. The owls. The dude who stopped by our camp and handed out $135 cash. The penis and shark RC cars. And the dude on the fringe with the homebrew. I did LNT for our CORE project – carrying shovel and rake to the site, I was heckled as the playa gardener, which identity I eagerly assumed and subsequently declared the playa ‘weed-free’ to anyone within earshot. Heh. Well, the 2-minute sandstorm contained more volume for me than the entire week of dubstep. Tho the ghetto blaster bus was neat. This year, I ‘appplied’ for 2 tickets, the max, at the lowest price tier, throwing my BM fate to the winds. I won. I have two tickets. To me, that means I was correct in my enjoyment. I had two tix last year, too…I was SORELY tempted to make $$ on the extra one, but I held true and sold it at face value to a local burner, made their day and some friends with the only metal music camp on playa. Priceless. I can take or leave the giant theme camps. RVs suck everywhere (pussies, unless you have health concerns). I’ll take 2012 as it comes. You can bet I’ll distribute my extra ticket(s?) within my local community. I’m not sure I’ll be going this year; this frenzy tastes sour, but is still alluring for its potential. I’m a realist, so I believe that the people who want to participate, will. Those who don’t, won’t. Maybe this is all just us rearranging our furniture.

    BMOrg: when I blow it, which is often, I find the best recourse is to apologize and present a plan for improvement. Then follow through. I’m no veteran of BM, but I’ll stand on this: scalping is the antithesis of BM. There are only two ways to prevent scalping: 1) make supply infinite and 2) nontransferable-ize the tix. Infinity is unreal…

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  831. Rob Says:

    It’s upsetting that people who genuinely wanted to go to Burning Man saw their chances evaporate, and their tickets instead re-directed into the hands of scalpers.

    I went in 2010 for the first time, and was really looking forward to experiencing it again. Vacation time was booked, and art plans underway. Now????…..

    I simply won’t go if it’s too difficult to try to scavange tickets somewhere at face value.

    I’m really disappointed that the organizers chose this odd method of ticket sales. The gamble didn’t pay off. Why does someone always have to mess with success?

    Whether I can ever make it to BM again, I’d suggest that they go back to the old way of selling tickets: single price, ticket limit, first come first served.

    I like the non-transferable idea.

    How about classifying them as ‘non-transferable’ unless they are transferred only through an official BM website, and with the condition that transfers are at face value only.

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  832. Ed Says:

    A few ways this may play out:

    1) fewer cliques. is it just me or has the playa been getting more and more like a high school cafeteria? breaking up established groups somewhat could have some upside.

    2) more people meeting each other? maybe.

    3) less big art/theme/dance camps. unless STEP is cancelled and the tickets are allocated to art/theme/music camps, a major scaling down of projects seems likely, which would be a bummer.

    For next year,

    What about the glastonbury method?


    Glastonbury requires you register for a ticket and upload a photo which get’s printed on your ticket that you present at the gate with your ID. The tickets are non transferable. Its a very difficult system to game.

    The method described by Dylan on February 7th, 2012 at 2:13 pm also seems to have merit.

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  833. Electric Jed Says:

    So much of what people love about this event is the joy on everyone’s face as we ride around the city. It comes after months of anticipation, planning and preparation. The lottery has damaged all of this. What we anticipate is months of bad feelings and desperate attempts to get tickets. The uncertainty created making planning all but impossible and what we have to prepare for is a likely a week without our friends, camp mates and countless art projects decrying this avoidable chaos. Avoidable because thousands of smart people predicted all this mayhem but it went ahead anyway, treating the burner community like we weren’t smart enough to fathom a simple ticket sale. We were, and that’s why we’re so upset. Can you understand that? We knew and told you. There was a firestorm of opposition. Why didn’t you listen? You didn’t listen to your customers. Now a patch is being planned. The step program will fail just as miserably as the lottery. Why? It’s simple. So few real burners who weren’t scalpers got tickets that they have already redistributed their extra tickets to their friends and camp mates and there still aren’t enough to go around. We had to decide which of our friends would get the tickets and which wouldn’t. It was an awful position to put us in. A Sophie’s Choice. So if we don’t have any extra, who will bother sending them back for some aftermarket sale? Our only hope is to cancel the whole ticket sale and start over with a real ticketing company with enough server capacity and sell them 1st come 1st served. I wake up every morning and still can’t believe you did this. It’s just terrible.

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  834. Frank Says:

    We have been hoping to join this amazing event since 2010, and didn’t think we were prepared enough for it. This year, with enough interests, we tried to enter the lottery system. With 5 of us entering the lottery system, none of us get any ticket. What is the winning ratio that others are experiencing?

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  835. O.J. Says:

    You can base your tickets selling on whoever been to BM before. If I try to purchase a ticket and I can prove I’m NOT a solicited – it’s a perfect situation for you and me.

    Have a small booth who check ID and to prove I’m the one who bought it and with this information I

    New comers could have their name printed on a ticket. If they can’t come, they can cancel the ticket for a certain fee and you have more ticket for reselling.

    Report comment

  836. Dan (Hunter S Johnson) Says:

    Last year only sold out in June/July. A massive overeaction to selling out for the first time has landed everyone in this mess. There is still time to admit a massive failing, say sorry, cancel the lottery, and have another attempt.

    Burning Man is an experiment in community living. The time and effort that people put into camps, art, mutant vehicles, and travel from all corners of the globe are what make BM. Without a commitment from the organisers to the people that make the festival what it is then there is no community. It will become just a bunch of ‘day trippers’ turning up to oggle breasts, drink free booze and leave moop.

    Sorry to be so negative but the orgnaisers need to recognise what is special about BM and make it sancrosanct. Protect it. Once it is gone, then it’ll be very hard to get back.

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  837. Zig Says:

    After reading more comments, the ratio of burners (or theme camp groups) that entered the lottery vs those that managed to ‘win’ tickets, is astoundingly low.

    Curious if something else wasn’t going on — someone with connections to an outside group or agency, and looking for a cut of the ticket re-sales?

    Can’t remember if the ticket distribution and lottery was handled internally by BM organizers, or if it was contracted out?

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  838. Rick C Says:

    For a festival of this calibre that has been running for so long, this is a monumental screw up. How the organisers could not see that this would happen is beyond me. As usual greed has taken over!

    All those people that have been loyal and contributed so much to Burning Man have been cut off.

    Where it goes from here will have a huge impact on Burning Man’s future.


    Report comment

  839. Rick C Says:




    Report comment

  840. Mark Says:


    It appears from you newsletter above that the resale and general sale of the remaining 10,000 tickets will in someway be favoring the camps?, I think this is unfair. Obviously everyone is aware of the importance the camps bring to Burning Man but you really should of thought of that prior to creating this lottery system.

    All the Camps seem to have got their tickets no problem other years and all of my friends, including myself, got tickets in the usual way with the old system sp why change it?

    The new lottery system appears to have caused a great deal of frustration for many and I ask why fix something that is not broke?

    I do not think the resale or the general sale should favour anybody as you have already committed to the lotto system so the rest of it should just go ahead as planned and hopefully some of us will actually get a ticket to go this year.

    Its been a complete disaster in my opinion.

    Yours Sincerely,


    Report comment

  841. Habibi Says:

    So far scalpers offer 78 tickets, not 15’000. I strongly doubt they keep the other 14’922 tickets back.

    Still only 20% of those who applied got tickets, even if they applied for 2 tickets each and even if their Mum and Dad applied for 2 each as well.

    So the numbers are wrong, can’t you see? There are not 40’000 tickets given away and only 10’000 left. Definitely not.

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  842. freeatlast Says:

    There is only one solution to the ticketing problem. We need to have more than one burning man. Tickets have sold out three years in a row; there will always be not enough tickets, and too many scalpers. How can we have an alternate burning man? is there a regional afterburn group that can step up this year and set up an event for 5-25000 people? June in Arizona? July in Florida? or can burning man do two festivals in nevada this year?
    When there are more festivals that are: gift economy and no stars/spectators– then and only then will the scalping problem and the over-demand for tickets be minimized. How about a Moist Woman festival, in Mississippi? A Peace and Mangoes festival in Spain? Definitely, the Burning Man community should set up at least two Burning Man festivals for 2013: it’s time for us to evolve to the next step. Eventually we should become like Carnival in Brazil: millions of people, with lots of pre partying happening for months.

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  843. pedromiguel Says:

    Non-tranferable tickets unless you sell back to STEP for full refund minus fees.Ticket can then be redirected to annother purchaser by Burning Man on first come first serve basis (I.e. original purchaser should in no way be able to direct the ticket to another individual).

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  844. Fabs Says:

    I know people who will have the tickets just to sell them at the right price…
    This lottery was a complete failure.

    Report comment

  845. Space Vixen Says:

    Stephen Dee’s suggestion above is actually very clever. Start selling tickets at the HIGHEST tier, not the lowest. Charge $1000, $1500 a ticket. Scalpers won’t be able to make a profit at those prices and won’t buy. After you run out of people willing to buy at those prices, cut the price and let the next round of people buy. Scalpers know that everyone willing to pay $1500 already has a ticket and they still can’t make a proft. Repeat. As you get closer to the event, tickets will sell out at the lower tiers, but the secondary market will be relatively small.

    If you want to prevent it entirely, put the lower tier tickets into a scholarship type program where everyone hs to write an original essay. Cross check matierial for plagiarism and boot anyone cutting and pasting text. THAT would be pretty fucking hard to game.

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  846. Peter Says:

    I hope someone reads this… you want to clear up the mess we have this year, well for one year only, find a way to increase the permit for how many people can attend and occupy the playa. If it was capped at 55k, try and make it 70k. Why? Scalpers will have no market for high prices if everyone who wants to go can get a normally priced ticket. The Playa can handle that many people for one year, and it will save face for BMorg, and keep all our fellow burners happy. Then next year you obviously make the switch to non-transferable tickets…

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  847. Peter Says:

    Oh yeah, and next year, phase one of selling tickets should ONLY be for theme camps and their organizers, and only camps that have been a camp before (no frauds that way). New camps have to struggle for a year before they qualify the next year. No limit to phase one ticket sales either, although BMorg can be choosy about which camps and how many tickets each one gets for early entry, etc. The core of BM is the art, the theme camps, and the true burners… the vets. Priority number one should be to make sure they are on the Playa if they want to be there.

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  848. stephmopho Says:

    Name on tickets yes!!!! Make it a hassle to transfer so only those who REALLY intend on going will buy. I know lots of folks who registered “just in case they felt like going!”

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  849. Habibi Says:

    Again (I keep repeating until being told to shut up ;-)

    They already have e-tickets, since 1998 (at least).
    E-tickets are personalized, not-transferable, refundable.
    An e-ticket is basically a code number which has to match with your ID.
    There is no need to print a name.

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  850. sasquatchpatch Says:

    To those ‘demanding an apology’: you should rtfa. We all got one.

    To BMorg: Thank you for acknowledging that this was an epic fail and apologizing. It means a lot to admit fault. Now we can see about STEP and taking whatever real steps we can towards making this burn successful and positive. I’m eager to hear your next wave of ideas and with that I would like to echo Fatemeh’s remarks. Try including the community more before taking drastic action. We all give it our best out there and we are all spending our hard earned money to make it the best out there. We deserve real input and real conversation….hell you might even find some great future employees. You have a wellspring of experience out here, use it.


    a crusty Yetinsiny

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  851. Ashad DeSharif Says:

    No tickets. No fences. Decentralize. Deconstruct.

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  852. Thomas Gaito Says:

    I am sure it would not be difficult with the assets and resources that this event generates to fix this short and long term.

    1.Send out a Receipt to all lottery “winners” that requests a Name be applied to each ticket currently being held. Once collected apply the name to the tickets that are being mailed in June ad require ID to use the ticket. Period.

    2.Require name for the addition tickets being sold later this year. With the same rule.

    3. Ticket holders who do not know who is going to use their extra tickets or cant provide a name by a given date like March 1st (IE: scalpers and other opportunist ticket holders) will find their tickets Null and Void unless they are sold on STEP with a nae attached by the buyer.

    This will flush out weak ticket holders and those looking for after market sale. It will create an immediate liquid market for tickets on STEP and can once the infrastructure is in place and the burning community sees how it works, will be easy to do going forward in future years.

    You have the ticket Number and emails for all “Winners” getting those names and applying them to a Data Base of ticket numbers i will cost a little money but there are hundreds of data managing services in San Francisco alone. And YOU ALREADY HAVE THE MONEY.

    Hire some one to untie this knot and manage it. Restore confidence in a broad community and we can all move on together.


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  853. Lalo Perez Says:

    Thank you for the apology.

    I come to bm from mexico. For the last 3 years in a row. This are may main vacations and my best tríp planning in my life.

    Now i dont have ticket and can not plan in time.
    And that is a shame

    You should have ley the ole ticket system, and save some to sell at the door. That is it. People will but tickets on the Right time if they are interested.

    I can see there will be a rare vibe on the playa thinking of the people that could not get a tickets just by no chance. .

    Some people register on time for the tríp of their life. And thanks to chance they can’t make it.

    I’ll try and get ticket by all options available but i say this might be the last time i go to burningman.

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  854. serpentine Says:

    This ticketing disaster is a slap at the long time supporters of Burning Man. What seems to be most important to the organizers is the latest “redistribution” scheme that is rejecting many long time supporters who used to reserve early and make plans for months for participation. This has resulted in more people than ever “gaming” the system. We are told not to buy from large resellers. Why should we have confidence in the STEP program after this huge malfunction? The bigger question is, why is BM burning their bridges, or why go at all? This is a mess.

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  855. DrTune Says:

    It’s gonna be interesting this year b/c even if tickets trickle onto the market over the next few months, many camps are disheartened/sour enough at this point not to go chasing after them one by one.

    Still, the tix bought by all the double-and-triple-application folks will get picked up over the coming months, by people who kinda always wanted to go and have heard something about this Burning Man thing.

    So come august, it’s a largely virgin event, with many of the classic camps entirely missing.

    Still, lots of people will turn up, and I have no doubt there will always be at LEAST two soundsystems playing loud dubstep, so.. maybe that’s all BM will be in future. Time to open a T-shirt stall in Gerlach?

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  856. Linda Says:

    We are welcomed with ‘welcome home” when we arrive at the burn. So tickets should first be available to those who have attended for years. First week of sales for people who attended 10 years or more .. second week of sales 9 years … next week 8 years.. Use the records of who you mailed tickets to and any other proof people can offer. I want to be able to go home.

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  857. tyrus Says:

    I wonder how many flagged legitimate buyers were flagged as scalpers for padding there chances, vs true scalpers who either just bought the limit, or commercial rackets who know typical triggers, and have honed there skills at avoiding the triggers.

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  858. G Says:

    Can’t resist a few more random comments.
    1. I love the anti RV sentiment, but don’t think that would work. Face it, when the organizer’s camp is all RV’s in a circle . . . .
    2. Ultimately the whole Burning Man thing is experimental and temporary each year. At this time 2012 is looking to be a bland and sterile place & experience by past standards. For me, this hints of 2008 when the playa was unridable and the city layout so huge that getting anywhere was a pain in the ass. I pretty much just stayed in or near camp and made it more of a social thing rather than a spectacle gawker thing.
    3. In the long run this is just another bump in the road in the event’s evolution. IMHO the Burner culture and community is not fragile. It is agile, smart, and adaptable.
    4. I am beginning to hope that all those who are expressing bitter bile do indeed not attend this year. No one knows what it will be like out there this year, but IMHO bringing negativity and grudges would be useless.
    5. If the conceivable mix of 20% veterans vs 80% virgins occurs, or even a 50/50 split occurs. Wow. The Burner vs Virgin dynamic will be complex indeed. Radical inclusion!

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  859. tyrus Says:

    Or even just friends and roommates who share a network, address, it even a computer. How many purchasers at internet cafe’s were successfull

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  860. DangerMouse Says:

    Call a re-do… no one has actual tickets yet. Dump the current list, refund all the money, and either do it like before, or switch to a name/picture on ticket, no transfer system, but do it friggin’ quickly! Before all of us long time Burners say to hell with it and do something else than be shat on by the org.

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  861. Wendy Says:

    As a burner who does not participate in large art instillations and theme camps, but instead brings personal and individual sharing out into the community (fresh baked cookies, water to people in the open playa, pizzas delivered randomly, hugs, smiles, conversations), I think its imperative that you consider the varying aspects of who makes burning man –Burning Man– when deciding the fate of the remaining tickets. I started going in 2000, and after a hiatus of 8 years while living off the continent, I went last year…burning man gave me the chance to go again (literally)…it wanted me back, it opened me to the community that I love again and the community loved me back. I am saddened that there is so much turmoil now, but I do have faith in the community. Please consider us all when weighing the options to redistribute and sell remaining tickets. We are all a part of the family (except for the lame scalpers, of course). HUGs

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  862. Sparkyroc Says:

    As for this years ticket sales, what a load of horseshit. Burning Man is now in the sell-out category. Did you enter the data from our questions and eliminate us if we’d attended before? I’ve been a die-hard burner for ten years!!! That’s why burners like me plan accordingly and prepare for the day of ticket sales. I stay online patiently waiting in line for 8 or 9 hours just to purchase my ticket TO GO HOME FOR ONE WEEK A YEAR!!!!!! Now all of us are suffering the consequences for those that didn’t plan appropriately last year. All the whiners and cry babies who waited too long to look for a ticket! It used to be an event that a seasoned burner would invite a newby, bring them, and show them the ropes. Teach new attendees about the open caring and freedom allowed without judgment. This year is gonna be a lot of first-timers with their own idea of how things should be. There will be violence and chaos from new people unaware of or careless of the freedom usually allowed!!! Out of the 270 people I know and see every year not one was “selected” in your rigged lottery. Maybe the true burners should convene at an undisclosed location for the real burn!!! I’ll buy the land and all the family is welcome at my place!!!!

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  863. Dan AKA Tailwind Says:

    To the BM Managmant… you really stubed your toe on this one…

    Sugestion: Sell tickets at the gate only (no scalpers) or at least 50% down and 50% at the gate

    Limit ticket sales for the first three days only. This to limit participants to meet the BLM requirements.

    Or have your silly lottery but have a specific numeric/alpha code tied to a I.D to discourage over buying and again pay at the gate (no scalping).
    Weight the lottery in favor to the number of years a participent has attended to keep the sense of community.

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  864. hey hey hey Says:

    Let’s go easy on BMORG here.

    We have no entitlement whatsoever to be guests at their event.

    If they wanted to try something different this year, that’s up to them.

    Any of us who feel “Burning Man is broken” can go start our own events, and run those as we please.

    We all *want* to go, but maybe this year just didn’t work out. No need for an online venting or temper tantrum. We can go next time. I have a hunch there will be no lottery in 2013.

    Let’s be the bigger burners here, and just take things as they come.

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  865. FunkMaster Says:

    I appreciate this response to our concerns, but I can’t help but say … Well what did you expect? I think it was extremely short sighted of the organization to not foresee the obvious problems of a lottery system.

    First of all, a lottery system will automatically drastically increase demand. That is just basic economics. I am not surprised at all that people applied for way more tickets than they need.

    More importantly, Burning Man is not an event that lends itself it a lottery system. It is not like a music festival where the people who actually make it happen will show up no matter who the participants are. The participants are the creators, and if creators cannot guarantee a spot, they are going to be extremely discouraged, even prevented, from creating, and the quality of event is going to plummet.

    I hope that in future years the lottery system will not be used again. I think it would even be acceptable to go to the other extreme and award tickets to individuals based on their level of participation. I would even support the idea that the remaining tickets for the open sale in march instead be distributed to the camp organizers and major artists who make the event happen that did not get tickets this year.

    Please note that I am saying this as someone who is *not* part of a major theme camp or art project.

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  866. GirlNextDoorSF Says:

    Dear BMORG: please ignore the entitled “veterans” who believe they are more deserving of a ticket than someone who’s never attended or *gasp* not built an art installation, DJ’d a party, or brought an art car. It’s truly sad that so many of these folk (not all!) are behaving like spoiled children, who flatter themselves that Bman will cease to exist if not graced with their irreplaceable contributions. Distributing the limited tickets was bound to be a shitstorm and no matter how you approached it, Bmorg would have been the a scorn of these same whiny people. I look forward to the new blood. Shake it up Bman!

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  867. fred Says:

    @hey hey hey:
    Either you got a ticket, don’t care if you go or are willing to pay $1000 for a scalped ticket. Your post is ignorant. Most of what is at BM is made by participants. The infrastructure belongs to the org. Everything else belongs to the participants. They can keep center camp cafe and ice sales, we don’t need it.
    BM is not BM without theme camps and art.

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  868. fred Says:

    freds comment applies to Girlnextdoorsf too. only scalpers benefit from current situation. Virgins: if there is little art and little theme camps BM will be BORING for YOU! Riding around the playa filled with nothing but center camp, the man and RVs will get dull quick!

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  869. Gary Says:

    As a short term solution less drastic than cancelling the lottery outright, why not announce a change to the policy to the effect that tickets sold in the lottery will not be mailed out and must be claimed by the purchaser (with photo ID) at the gate – in other words, make them all “will call”? While it does introduce some inconvenience, I think that most people who actually want to attend will not mind too much. Offer refunds or sales on STEP to anyone who does not agree to this change. This would make the logistics of checking people in more complicated, but it make more tickets available at reasonable prices & will also ensure a greater degree of continuity so 2012 won’t be the year of “Burning Man Lite”.

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  870. Boxer The Horse Says:

    Just wondering if the lottery was truly fair for all or if it was more akin to Animal Farm?! The reason I ask is, my 10 year old camp was awarded no tickets, yet, I ran into a young person who had never been…they asked if I was going, I said, “Don’t know, haven’t gotten tickets”…they said, “I’m so excited, a friend runs a big camp and told me he has lots of extra tickets so he’s gonna score me one”….good for them, bad for the rest of us….shame on you if there was a pig in the mansion

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  871. mimosa Says:

    “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” from Animal Farm by Orwell

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  872. Amanda Stevens Says:

    I feel like this whole situation could have been avoided if the BM org had listened to the people before they implemented this ridiculous lottery system! There was ample time to listen and review comments and feedback from people that have been attending BM for years and years; instead you didn’t listen, you made it really difficult for people to get tickets and you raised the prices to ridiculous rates! It should tell you a lot when only 20-25% of key people that are part of major art installations and theme camps got the tickets they applied for and they are Burning Man, these people make it happen for everyone else. My suggestion: Do away with tier levels, make it one price to go, and those that are prepared and truly dedicate to going and participating in the event we all call Burning Man will get their tickets as they always do, and those that aren’t really committed… won’t. At this point, in order to right this situation BM should lower the prices, eat any administrative costs that arise from dealing with this issue, and implement the old system so people can get their tickets. If not, what a sad, lame burn it will be without the key people making it happen!

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  873. Joe Says:

    Dear Marion –

    This is not rocket science, but it seems that every year you get worse at the ticket thing and never better. Shame on you.

    I think Eileen Law still lives in Marin. Find her. She ran ticket sales for GDTS, handling sales of a million or more tickets annually, for the 75 or so shows and multiple venues the Dead performed in. All we had was a telephone hotline and the USPS. I can’t tell you how many shows I bought tickets for – definitely over 100 and probably over 150. I don’t think I was shut out once.

    One more thought: forget the STUPID (I can’t say that loud enough) multi-tier pricing structure. Its causing most of your headaches. Set the price, put all the tickets up for sale at once and stop screwing around.