Ticket Update: Rebuilding Black Rock City 2012

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

PARAGRAPH UPDATES (2) below: 2/15/12: 9:15 PM PST


We promised we would get back to you by February 15th with our plans to resolve the ticket situation for Burning Man 2012. We all know there aren’t enough tickets for everyone who wants to participate in Black Rock City. However, it’s clear that the current situation has created holes in our social fabric. Many of the core volunteers, major interactive camps, art car projects, performance groups, and funded and unfunded art projects do not have enough tickets to bring their works to the playa. Here’s how we will remedy these challenges as fairly as we believe possible:

  1. Burning Man organizers and staff will issue tickets to major theme camps and art projects using a process outlined below.
  2. We will launch the STEP program on February 29th. Only those who registered and did not receive confirmation of tickets will be given access to STEP.
  3. Low Income ticket applications will be accepted beginning February 29th.

There’s no way to sugarcoat this: the hard truth is that there are a lot of you who want to come to Black Rock City to celebrate your participation in the Burning Man culture this year, but not everyone will be able to attend. That sentence is about as painful to write as it is for you to read. We dearly wish we could just welcome everyone who feels drawn to Black Rock City. But, as we have explained in Andie Grace’s blog post: “Radical Inclusion, Meet the Other Nine,” it’s not possible to simply increase the number of tickets available for Burning Man 2012.

And unfortunately, the random draw of the Main Sale left inordinately large numbers of our core contributors — art teams, theme camp creators, mutant vehicle builders, performers, and Burning Man volunteers — without tickets. In fact, the ratio was so unexpectedly large it has punched significant holes in Black Rock City’s artistic, civic and functional infrastructure, putting the integrity of the event itself at risk. If we let market forces play out as they could with the remaining available tickets, it’s likely that Black Rock City would be functionally untenable for many of the collaborations that comprise our desert event.

There are indications that a large percentage of people attending Burning Man this year will be first-time Burners. As eager as we are to welcome our newest citizens into our community, it’s crucially important that we have a solid foundation of veteran Burners in Black Rock City to meet, greet and acculturate these eager new participants, ensuring that they not only survive the elements but also fully participate in the Burning Man culture.

And so we find ourselves now in a very difficult situation, one where there are no perfect solutions, only tradeoffs — and inevitably, significant disappointment for those who cannot obtain tickets. We believe that it’s critical that we attend to Black Rock City’s vital functions — ensuring that theme camps can assemble, art installations can be created, mutant vehicles can safely roam the playa, performance groups have their performers, and Burning Man’s volunteer crews are staffed to provide the vital community services that make our city work. We must shore up the collaborative infrastructure of our culture.


We have made the difficult decision to take the 10,000 tickets that were slated to be sold via the Secondary Open Sale and manually redirect them to some of the vital groups and collaborations that make up Black Rock City: volunteers, theme camps, mutant vehicles, art installations and performance groups. These groups already have a relationship and contact points within the organization. We’re in the process of proactively identifying and reaching out to the established groups that fall into each of these categories, and offering organizers access to purchase enough tickets to provide for essential crew members.

Because we know this number cannot possibly satisfy the entirety of that demand, we will use practical criteria to determine eligibility. These groups will be reviewed for:

  1. History – A camp, project or participatory work must be in our database from past years. (We have ways to track name changes for groups over time.)
  2. Demonstrated Community Benefit – A project has been interactive in a way that has been experienced as meaningful, provides support for Black Rock City’s infrastructure, or provides services for our community. Basically, how the project helps make the community and create its magic.
  3. LNT – A group has demonstrated adherence to and good practices around Leave No Trace and are committed to our community perpetuating the message of LNT.
  4. 10 Principles – A group or project fully embraces the 10 Principles in their entirety.

This analysis will consider a wide variety of projects rather than favoring just one type — large camps and small ones, self-funded as well as honorarium artists, Mutant Vehicles of all shapes and sizes, and performers of all kinds. The goal is to carefully and conscientiously reconstruct the rich tapestry of our community, based on information we’ve accumulated over years of facilitating our city around these key groups.

This process is not going to be perfect … it’s not always going to feel fair. And we’re well aware that there will be still be a great many deserving people who will be left out because we don’t have the means to welcome everyone. Again, there are no foolproof solutions for these remaining tickets, only tradeoffs. But we’re confident that through this process, we’ll be able to bolster some of the social, artistic and functional infrastructure of Black Rock City. This is by far one of the most difficult decisions we’ve ever had to make, and we do not make it lightly, but after much consultation and review of your feedback, we feel this approach has the widest base of support and is the best one to assure that we can build Black Rock City in 2012.


If you don’t fall into one of those categories and didn’t get a ticket in the Main Sale, you still have some hope of acquiring a ticket, and we encourage you not to give up. Although it’s bound to be more scarce than usual, there is always a brisk aftermarket for tickets leading right up to the event; people’s plans change, and tickets are sold on the secondary market every year. To assist this, we are launching the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) on February 29th to facilitate such transactions. STEP will provide a secure, hassle-free, and centralized tool for selling unused tickets or buying tickets being offered, while helping all of us avoid scammers, scalpers and counterfeiters.

People selling their tickets back via STEP will be refunded the face value of the ticket plus the delivery fee (but not the service fees $7 – as these fees cover services already rendered and are not refundable). In order to encourage the use of STEP as a central resource, Burning Man has decided to cover the $12 “restocking fee” which includes an InTicketing fee and merchant fees that the credit card companies charge to process this type of refund.

WHO: Only registrants who did not get tickets in the Main Sale will be eligible to register for tickets through STEP … if you fall into this category, you will receive an email inviting you to register. Registration will place you in a first-come first-served queue, and you will be offered a ticket when one becomes available through the system. You may only purchase one ticket through STEP; this ticket is non-transferable and can only be held at Will Call. A STEP ticket is only for you. [ADDED 2/15/12: 9:18 PM PST: We recognize the one-per person will dramatically effect the plans and intentions of those who originally ordered 2 tickets and didn’t scam the system with a back-up order and were then rejected. We WILL look at whether there is any breathing room to this policy before we engage the final implementation. However, this decision was reached with a significant number of dependent variables and won’t be easy to change.]

You will be offered a ticket at the value that the seller paid ($240, $320 or $390), plus the standard $7 per ticket service fee and a $12 Will Call delivery fee. If you’re in the front of the line, and a ticket becomes available, you will receive an email offering it to you. If you don’t respond within 72 hours, or decline the ticket, it will be made available to the next person in the queue, and you will lose your place in line. You can re-enter the queue if you wish, but your place in line will not be held.

Our ticket team will closely monitor the queue, and if/when the queue grows large beyond the reasonable likelihood for people at the end to get tickets, we’ll pause it until we determine it becomes viable again. It isn’t helpful or fair to have a lot of people waiting with no hope of getting a ticket.

It’s not required that you only buy or sell your tickets through STEP … you can still sell your tickets to your friends directly. As always, we ask that in keeping with the Burning Man ethos, tickets only be sold at or below face value (plus documented fees), or gifted.

Our Low Income Ticket Program will launch on February 29th, and will offer 4,000 tickets at $160, as was originally planned. These tickets are intended for people who can provide documented proof of financial hardship through an online application process.

More information about STEP and the Low Income Program can be found on our ticket page.


We’re obviously concerned with ticket sales for 2013 and beyond, and we’re looking at a variety of ways to ensure Burning Man’s future remains bright. Right now, everything is on the table, including many great suggestions from our community. This includes major potential overhauls of the ticket system, such as identity-based ticketing, non-transferable tickets, directed distribution ticket models, and more. This is a complex process of analysis, with lots of ramifications for internal logistics and the cultural dynamics of our community … this is far from a process of simply filling stadium seats. We are working with staff, external experts related to this field (including game theorists, sociologists, statisticians, festival producers, ticketing companies, software developers, widely-read bloggers, and more) and an advisory council made up of representative members of the community to determine what works best for Burning Man in the future.

We’re also exploring a number of options to increase the event’s capacity in the future, including ongoing negotiations with the BLM, extending the event timeframe, alternative event sites, and more. A key player in this scenario will be Burning Man’s Regional Network and the myriad events they offer. In fact, we’ve long been aware that the event in the desert would reach its limit. It’s part of why we have nurtured the Regional Network for more than 10 years, and why we’ve created the Burning Man Project, a global effort with year-round avenues to connect and support this cultural community. We expect they will play a very significant role in our future.

[ADDED paragraph 9:15 PM 2.15.12] We have heard the call very specifically about “identify-based ticketing”. There is a strong desire from the community to have us attach a name to each ticket that comes into the event. There are some options in that regard that are more feasible than others. Unfortunately, none are seamless and all options cause various levels of disruptions not just to the organization but to community values like “gifting” that are and have been clearly in play. We’d have to motivate all intended ticket-holders to enter into a new process or plan, and for some that’s seen as a violation of privacy, for others it’s distasteful to change plans in mid-stream. It’s also important to include the impact this would place upon the box office and the gate. There’s no point in doing this if we are not be able to close the loop and enforce the identity-based solution. We must have a more complete picture of what identify-based ticketing will do to internal processes and whether it’s possible to motivate current order-holders to identify ticket holders and what that would look like.  We weren’t able to reach a firm and confident conclusion by today. We have to carefully weigh the decision with the intended consequences and consider potential unintended consequences before we move forward on this option. [end added section]

We’ve always been involved in proactive acculturation in order to bring in new members of our community as seamlessly as possible. In that light, we’re spearheading a number of acculturation efforts for first-timers this year. We’ve started ePlaya discussion threads for connecting theme camps and other projects with new participants. We plan a video podcast series, improved and updated roll-ups of first-timer resources, a web page to crowd-source the best first-timer tips our community has to offer, and we plan to engage all returning Burners in this effort.

One thing we do know is this: our understanding of “Radical Inclusion” is evolving… we will always welcome the stranger, and all are welcome to participate in the culture of Burning Man. But that doesn’t necessarily mean we can all fit in one place at one time. We’re going to have to find new ways to include those who wish to be a part of this amazing experiment.


We are truly sorry about how this has all played out, and we want to thank you for your patience as we’ve worked through these difficult decisions … there are a lot of logistical and cultural moving parts that need to be considered, and it’s far from easy. We also want to thank you for your passion for this event and its culture, and for your suggestions and ideas about how to solve this problem … we’ve been listening to all of them.

It’s our goal to be honest, to be transparent, and to provide you updates as soon as we have solid information to offer. We’d rather it take extra time to get it right, than move too fast and get it wrong.

We hope to see you in Black Rock City this year, or in the future. And if not there, out in the world … wherever you’re manifesting Burning Man culture.

About the author: Maid Marian

Marian is Burning Man's CEO — Chief Engagement Officer. She first attended Burning Man in 1995, and in 1997 was a co-founder of the management organization that eventually became Black Rock City, LLC, which produces the Burning Man event. Throughout her leadership in the Burning Man organization, she has been the Director of Business and Communications, and also oversaw the Black Rock City Department of Public Works. She has steered the development of the Burning Man Regional Network, which is now on six continents, with more than 250 representatives in 30 countries. Marian is a founding board member of the Burning Man Project, the Black Rock Arts Foundation, and Black Rock Solar. She is currently leading the organization’s efforts to facilitate and extend the Burning Man ethos globally. Marian holds a BA in Creative Writing from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland and an MFA in photography from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

1,157 thoughts on “Ticket Update: Rebuilding Black Rock City 2012

  • So if I’m understanding this correctly the already sold tickets will not be personal – a name for each ticket will not be required before delivery – and all anyone without a ticket or an established camp can hope for is that the scalpers will be kind to us and use the STEP system…

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  • Glad you are giving tickets to key members of the Burning Man community. It will go a long way in ensuring 2012 is as good as previous years. I do think you should have had at least 3-5,000 on sale to the general public, because you said you would, but I guess we are beyond that now. Sorry to anyone who does not make it this year.

    But in happier news. Participants… re-commence planning!

    Pumped again for 2012!

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  • I was one of those people who registered for two tickets for me and the friend I would be going with. She did not register. Am I reading this that I will only be allowed one ticket. If that is true then I would be coming all alone and that is kind of sad, also as much as I love the Playa I guess coming all by myself doesn’t sound very good. What happens to couples, only one gets to come. Sounds like a radical singles party. If some how we get there we will do at least 4 hours each of volunteer work. That is in addition to our required 2 hours.

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  • You have the opportunity to do “identity-based” tickets THIS year and are choosing not to? You are going to HAND-PICK the people who get the last 10,000 tickets? I’m not even interested in going, but I don’t want to see Burning Man go to the scalpers and DIE. Surely some of the scalpers will be buying tickets through STEP as well?

    This is pretty FAIL.

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  • Thanks…but…I agree a lot of folks suggested taking the remaining 10,000 tickets and distributing them to core Burners, and I think that’s the right move, but it seems to me a lot more poeple suggested making tickets non-transferable THIS year. Without that I think the scalpers win. If it’s not possible, I think it’s important for you to explain why. This blog is a good start, but again, I feel ignored because the idea of non-transferable tickets this year wasn’t addressed at all.

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  • So I requested 2 tickets in the lottery for my wife and I, and she did not enter the lottery (because we only request what we needed rather than attempting to cheat the system). Now, even if my number comes up in STEP, I’ll only be able to buy one ticket… no ticket for the wife. This just rewards all those selfish bastards who entered the lottery multiple times and the honest people again won’t have the opportunity to buy the number of tickets that they need.

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  • I do not agree with this. I have many friends that do not have tickets and it sounds like STEP is a pipe dream. Now “the special people” will be choosen. This is just awful.

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  • Tricky situation. Imperfect plan but clearly well intended.

    I hope it gets better. I’m very sad for those who may be left out. But somehow still, I am holding a torch of hope.

    I long for the return of sarcasm and snark – and less rage and heartbreak.

    Good luck and playa hugs to all.


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  • I am curious to see how this plays out. While some people who did not register for the main sale and are not part of a project may grumble you still need the clowns to put on the circus. For those in the ‘new and/or not connected’ category, I hope that they can pick up a collaboration on e-playa. I will do my part to participate to see if we can draw folks into the Beacon that are new to the event or otherwise feel they have nowhere to put their talents. I’m rooting for us.

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  • Really? One ticket? Do the right thing, sign up for the number of tickets(2) I truly need then when the predictable mess actually happens the solution I’m offered is the a chance of getting a single ticket. What? Leave my partner at home? Naive me. Should’ve created multiple applications. Thanks! Thanks for changing the deal mid-stream.

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  • This is the hard, and correct call. It won’t be easy, but it has to be done. There are a TON of new people who got tickets in the lottery, and still a few more chances for more. But to keep Burning Man the remarkable participatory even that it is, we MUST make sure enough of the people (clearly not all, sadly ) who have woven the fabric year in /year out are there again this year.

    Yes, this will be really, really hard. No, everyone can’t go. But please please if this event means anything at all to you, think for a moment before you respond in a way that attacks people. It’s how we respond in these darkest of moments that will really tell they tale about who we are as a community. We’ve been through hard times before, we will do again. You can never go back to last year’s Burning Man. Let’s see what this year turns out like before we declare the sky fallen. Who knows, it just might turn out to be AWESOME. Fingers crossed..

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  • Black Rock City lives. This sounds like a radically different way to do things then ever before, but BM Org is at least responding and attempting to resolve. This is not usually true in the private sector of business and often life. I will wait until the end to hear and see how it plays out, but this distribution method will help mend the rip. I got a ticket (yay), I am always lucky, however so many key players in my camp did not that I haven’t been excited. We hope Christina can sail on the playa again this year.

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  • Beautifully recovered! When read these ticket blogs, I get a vision of a swan pedaling furiously beneath the surface, but appearing to glide gracefully and calmly to it’s destination…Thank you!!!

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  • I have been appreciative of all the updates you can give us. I do hope that I, as a 2 year burner (3 if I get to keep my ticket this year), wont be alone and that some of my friends and known camps will find a way to get there. Honestly, the fact that you are acknowledging the flawed aspects of the system and that you want to at least try and improve is something. Honestly, growing pains are hard for any event that is built on passion but that operates in the “Real World” where money and permits exist. Sure didnt expect you guys to get this right the first time.

    Ill see you guys on playa!

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  • This brings a happy tear to my eye (really)! I thank you all so much for making the best decision you could make. Our camp now has a chance to reconvene and bring our space cat back on the prowl. Love to you all, I know you need it after the last few weeks!

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  • So, my wife and I only entered the lottery once, trying to get two tickets, and now it looks like we’ll only be able to order ONE through STEP.

    It’s going to be that way with most couples who didn’t game the system by using separate credit cards. Which is to say, all of the core couples in our camp, but at least we know we played fair.

    I suppose that’s the only way, but, it’s imperfect. Hopefully this doesn’t turn out to be a giant singles event. I guess the Org did what it had to do.

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  • There is no perfect solution. But I think the event ethics and personality just hit a wall. WE MUST NOW ACCEPT RAMPANT ELITISM OVER RADICAL INCLUSION!!! It is too bad the Org. has gotten stuck in the past, and decided to favor their favorites. The event has always been great and spontaneous because of the unique contributions of everybody. Established Esplanade camps are great for somebodies first year, but afterwards, the real magic happens everywhere else, meeting people and enjoying unofficial camps which often have greater enthusiasm and hospitality. I was kinda looking forward to getting a ticket and seeing what would replace the stagnant regularity. Probably won’t be bothering now. I can see the event turning into a monotanous parade of regulars, developing an increasing exclusivity. NO THANKS! 11 years of a personal tradition will now be coming to an end.

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  • Thank you for laying this out for us.

    This was exactly as expected.

    10,000 tix to the community that makes BM what it is – absolutely the right choice

    As for STEP, I’m going to guess that a max of 180 tix may possibly find their way into that program. I mean seriously…. come on. Who is going to use STEP when there are literally thousands of people, relatives friends and camp mates who can benefit from a direct gift or sale?

    I hope all the best for the event. This was going to be my virgin year. I hope BM survives this. I would hate to think I missed my last chance to experience the burn.

    I saw a suggestion of east coast and west coast events. I love that idea. Being in Florida that drive was going to be a bitch anyway. It would be amazing to have an east coast event.

    Hugs and tugs

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  • I have gone for thirteen years, built two art cars and an art motorcycle along with many other art installations. I did not get a ticket this year and yet I fully endorse this decision. I had still hoped to go, now it’s pretty clear that it’s over…for this year. Like so many others who have posted – remember this: BMORG is not the enemy. They are doing their best with an extremely difficulty situation. Let’s try to help out anyway we can. (Personally, I’m going to try and pass the torch by enabling some virgin burners to rebuild our artcar so that it will go even it we don’t.)

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  • i understand this decision, but as multiple people have mentioned, you are breaking up friends, families, spouses by allowing only one person per ticket in STEP. also, how do you plan on keeping these theme camps/performers/artists honest? how are you sure they aren’t inflating the number of tickets they need on behalf of their ticketless friends who aren’t actually contributing to their projects?

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  • Agree with Whale. The people that successfully gamed the system now get additional opportunities for those id’s they used that didn’t get a ticket. An admission that your vaunted lottery was flawed from the start-as many noted as soon as it was announced-would help re-build your credibility. Your inability to say you made a mistake sounds more corporate than not.

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  • I love how you consistently talk about this “increased demand” as if your mismanagement had no hand in it. I get that we all need to accept what’s happened and moved on, but BMORG still needs to communicate a greater sense of ownership in this colossal blunder.

    As many of us who were screaming from the rafters beforehand predicted, the lottery was responsible for artificially inflating demand to DOUBLE last year. Please let’s not let this fact get lost in the consideration for next years burn, so BMORG doesn’t royally screw next year up too, eh?

    This announcement is exactly how I thought you’d handle the problem. It was basically your only choice. I commend you for finally doing something that makes sense. It doesn’t help me, but at least you’re making sure there will an event to show up for this year.

    Let’s repeat … LOTTERY = artificial demand


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  • We certainly live in interesting times! We hope that the direct ticket transfer can get a critical mass of excellent camps and artists into the apocalypse version of burning man. Have you considered changing the art theme to match these tough times? (tee hee hah)

    Making the STEP program non-transferable is a semi-bold move. Tough when 90% of my campmates don’t have tickets tho. The captain will still throw his hat in the lot, but others may not, without knowing who else from the academy will be coming. Quite a different event if the crew shows up in bits and munches.


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  • Sad. What I see is an elevation of the “professional” burners. The spectacle of huge art cars and theme camps as the “core” of burning man. So much for no spectators. Now there’s performers and audience. That’s a sad direction, the direction of a hip disneyland.

    I want to personally thank every one of the many brilliant souls who gave me riches of their honest, vibrant and wacky contact at Burning Man over the years. Your presence was what I value, not the big show. It was you, the unaffiliated and unthemed, who gave me the most, and I bless you for changing my life.

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  • So, since I decided it was a dickish move for both my husband and I to register for tickets (thus improving our chances of getting a scarce golden ticket, but possibly screwing someone else over) we now only qualify for ONE ticket via STEP rather than the two I had originally entered the lottery for? That’s pretty shit.

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    AND BURNINGMAN 2012 (and perhaps beyond) WILL SUFFER AS A RESULT

    The right decision was to allocate the 10,000 tickets as you have done above (well done)


    Making all lottery tickets (which are still to be distributed) linked to names/IDs. This would have flushed out scalpers and people hoarding tickets. These tickets would have been re-sold via STEP, which means that anyone who ‘won’ the lottery and who wanted the tickets could have them, which is fair, but anyone who played the lottery unfairly would have to either quickly find names for the tickets or sell them back via STEP (i.e. hoarders and scalpers).

    This would have put a lot more tickets into circulation and ensured that the Playa might POSSIBLY have looked as amazing as it did in 2011 (I am a 9yr Burner).

    And please don’t say it is impossible to make the lottery tickets non-transferable – you’ve just done it with the last 10,000, so it is possible. Or it would have been.

    So many contributors to this forum – including incredibly considered responses from people like Lazio – have only been part listened to. What a shame.

    Burningman 2012 will be better for this move, but will still be a shadow of its former self.

    I for one, who ‘won’ a ticket in the lottery, will be giving 2012 a pass and will sell my ticket at face value to one of the one-time burners who still want to go.

    What a shame. You could have saved this year’s event. This will help, but it will still be a shadow of its former self.

    Let’s hope those core participants who got passed over this year don’t just drift off in 2013.

    Good luck for this year. You are going to need it. For anyone who has been before, it is destined to underwhelm.

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  • Every year we have to jump through hoops in order to buy a stupid ticket. This year BMORG tried to re-invent the wheel, yet again. Problems arose. And, YET AGAIN, they are trying to re-invent the wheel…midstream. I am quickly losing what little faith I have left.

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  • Best response to the problem burning man!! it obviously isn’t possible to get everyone a ticket Who Wants to go out there, so this is the best solution. =)

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  • Awesome, awesome, awesome.

    Thank you for your hard work and for the hard work that is sure to come. Thank you for your patience with the community as many burners are still coming to terms with not going this year. Thank you for your continued love and support as many of us, myself included, have had moments of doubt and even anger that our camps will be divided and changed. And thank you for perpetuating BM culture even when we fell weak and could not.

    Thank you.

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  • So STEP is a nice way to redistribute more tickets at face value to scalpers…

    This response is perhaps the best you could have done, short of instituting an identity based ticket system this year. The confession of incompetence and seeming accumulation of clue is promising if too late for this year.

    No doubt if this year sucks, Burning Man will be back and strong in 2013. Every event has it’s dips.

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  • I also really agree that this punishes couples who followed the spirit and only registered one time for two tickets. I was lucky enough to get two, one for me and one for my spouse. We discussed both trying but ultimately only I registered because we agreed it would be unfair to pad by registering twice. Burning Man is our anniversary and we missed the last two years due to having a baby… it is sad to hear that if we had not been lucky attending might be off the table. There must be many people in this situation. Please reconsider and at least accommodate pairs.

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  • I agree with the comments that point out that those who did not try to game the ticketing system are — tragically — the ones being punished.

    For those that intentionally did not submit multiple registrations, this must be a tough, bitter pill to swallow (and not the good kind of bitter pill).

    I registered for my wife and I — one ticket each. By some miracle or curse we scored the two tickets but we are not without compassion. This is so difficult.

    Had we been declined like so many, many others and were then only allowed to try and get one ticket through STEP, we would have been crushed. More so than we already are about this whole mess. Just crushed — as I’m sure many a burner is tonight.

    I was pretty confident that some group was gonna get screwed, that’s just the nature of this beast at this juncture… but it is a shame that those who intentionally chose to play fair may be the ones being left out.

    It’s all very sad… That said, this announcement has it’s logic and it has it’s good intentions… I hope it works.

    Again, love to you all,

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  • I agree that this is not a perfect solution. But, it is a workable one. And, it puts my mind at ease about returning to the playa and finding a community that I at least somewhat recognize–not only through who is participating, but through the ethos that is demonstrated.

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  • I appreciate the effort to help out theme camps! Thank you. Please consider allowing truck drivers who make deliveries to theme camps during set up not have to have a ticket if they are not staying for the festival. that would help us a lot. We “burn” a ticket every year for our flatbed truck driver who drops off our huge shade structure and all the lumber for our bamboo dance floor. With the ticket shortage this year, it would be devastating to have to do that if it means that one of our camp builders does not get to participate.

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  • I have a suggestion for next year’s ticket sales. There are multiple commercial and /or bidding sites that handle thousands of requests instantly. i.e. ebay, quibids, amazon. Could you contract google and/or amazon to host the ticketing system for a couple of days to handle the inrush of requests?


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  • I have to agree that this punishes all of us who entered only once for two people. Now there is no way for both my wife and I to even attempt to get one through the much-vaunted STEP program. Way to punish me for not trying to cheat the system.

    Also, I’m completely baffled as to why you’re not just starting the STEP system right now. I have a friend who got a ticket but won’t go unless I’m going. Since I’ve just been told that I can’t get 2 tickets because I’m not part of a theme ticket and didn’t try to game the system with STEP, he’s left holding his ticket for 2 weeks – long enough for the interest to kick in on his credit card. Minor, but annoying, and it prolongs the process for everyone else.

    And I HATE that you’re taking all 10,000 tickets for theme camp people. Are you really telling me there are that many crucial theme camp members? It would have been much better if you at least attempted to honor your original scheme and gave some number out in a general sale.

    All in all, I’m unimpressed.

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  • My husband & I only put one entry into the lottery, since, well, that’s what you asked us to do. We didn’t receive tickets in the lottery. If I’m reading the above correctly, we can only buy one ticket through STEP, not the two that we need.

    Am I missing something?

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  • dave says: “remember this: BMORG is not the enemy. They are doing their best with an extremely difficulty situation” that THEY created! We can NOT let that fact get lost or overlooked. We TOLD you this would happen. You didn’t listen. But you’re listening now because your core, your infrastructure, is threatened. Way to go. If any of us, with tickets and without, had any balls, we’d all simply NOT GO.
    Ugh. The first year in 4 that I’m actually able to afford to go, and I’m screwed. I’m not with a theme camp, none of my friends who wanted to go got tickets. Thanks BMORG. By the way, it was infinitely easier to get Madonna tickets yesterday, two clicks and done.

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  • Interesting! At least we can know that all those scalpers that got notifications that they weren’t selected for tickets can get another chance at them. I hope they scoop them up, and then all my burner friends leave them holding them at the end by refusing to pay over face value, and they end up dumping them at a heavy loss so that we can attend for $100 or less.

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  • So what about my husband? We did the RIGHT thing and only registered once for both of us, and now he can’t even get a ticket through STEP because he didn’t try to jack the system? This was going to be my year to bring art and we aren’t a part of any registered theme camp. I’m just so sad and disheartened and it just keeps getting worse.

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  • Way to FUCK IT UP AGAIN.

    I’m in the same boat as many of the HONEST others who have already posted.

    My partner and I needed two tickets. I registered for two tickets. Now I dont even have the SLIM HOPE of getting them thru the BULLSHIT STEP program as I am only allowed one?!?!?!? WHAT THE FUCK??

    Obviously There are a few of us honest people – How about fixing this so we at least have a glimmer of going this year.

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  • in the interest of transparency, i think the BMORG should publish a list of the “vital groups and collaborations that make up Black Rock City” specifically, the theme camps, mutant vehicles, art installations and performance groups that they feel are so “vital” to burning man. i can’t think of a single vehicle, performance group, or camp (aside from the obvious must-haves of the Man, the Temple, Lamplighters, etc.) that isn’t expendable. i’d be interested to see the list of the ones that make the cut to this “golden circle” of 10,000 tickets handed to them.

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  • “You may only purchase one ticket through STEP” – this doesn’t make much sense for those who requested two tickets during the main sale (couples, friends, etc.) If the stars align and I’m offered the chance to buy only one ticket, am I expected to leave my partner at home? With so many Burners unable to attend, this policy creates the situation of folks literally traveling to BM completely alone without the expectation of knowing anyone when they get there. How does that make any sense? Please revise this portion of the STEP process.

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  • When I first skimmed this blog I liked that the tickets were going to burners, but after reading some comments I re-read the whole thing. It seems brutally unfair that people who were denied a ticket in the main sale, can only buy 1 ticket through “STEP”. I got my tickets for me and my girlfriend, but cant imagine if we got denide, and only she was able to get a ticket, because she used her card. That part is just wrong.

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  • While I agree with the redistribution of the tickets to theme camps, I’m deeply disappointed in the limitations that are being placed on the STEP program. Anyone who effectively played by the rules and registered for two tickets when all they needed were two tickets is now limited to just one.

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  • So does this mean that my art team now has a chance to buy a $400 ticket before the rest of the masses? Ha, right! Thanks for killing our festival with your extremely disappointing organizational skills. Its time to take our art somewhere else and start something new.

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  • booooooooooooooooooop booooooop boooooop boooooooop boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooop booooooooooooooop boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooop
    boooooooooooooooooop boop


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  • I will update the post to clarify some of the questions above:

    1) We are still looking at name-based ticketing. It’s not easy, very complicated, means participants have to jump through hoops, make transferring tickets more complicated for 2012. Not done with the question yet. STEP is Will Call only, as is Low Income so that’s a initially useful response to the “scalper” question. We have to weigh the issues and impact of each decision carefully.

    2) unfortunately, yes. the STEP program does not favor those who didn’t game the system and registered for a spouse, SO or sibling. We couldn’t resolve how to minimize hoarding with the second round so that’s the decision we made. We are hoping the BLM will make some decisions to help our population restrictions so we can open up more tickets in a few months, that’s the only hope I can lend in that regard. Also, there are some sympathetic ticket holders right now that seem to be helping people out.

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  • It’s vitally important that the producers of the major artworks and theme camps get tickets so I think you’re doing the right thing in ensuring they get tickets. I don’t happen to belong to this demographic so if I get left out this year, so be it. I do, however, feel that making tickets non-transferable would solve so many problems – both to inhibit the scalping and also for fair redistribution. Those who registered multiple times should give up their extra tickets to those of us who played fair and asked only once for what we needed.

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  • I don’t understand how this is any different than invalidating the lottery, you lied to us. You said tickets would be available now they aren’t. Give people their money back and start over. You haven’t mailed any tickets. If it costs you hundreds of thousands of dollars to redo the lottery you should do it. You have compromised the integrity of the event. I find this solution completely unacceptable. You had to either redo the whole thing or let it play out.

    That being said there needs to be some kind of volunteer requirement put in place for the first timers THIS YEAR. If it’s your first year and you don’t volunteer you CAN’T come next year. It really makes me sad to think about all those who have volunteered and will be at home this year. If it really is 40% first timers I do not even want to go. Maybe I’m just too mad right now.

    I find it hard to believe this is the best solution. I hope that more is being done to resolve this situation for this year.

    I was pretty optimistic about the whole thing until today. I don’t know what to think. I just can’t believe it’s been messed up this bad.

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  • What about the suggestion that the gates close for entry on Tuesday or Wednesday? That would result in many “weekenders” returning their tickets, and in those who plan to attend all of BM having more tickets.

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  • Good job on canceling the 10,000 and using them to shore up theme camps and mutant vehicles – a Sophie’s Choice but the right one.

    Terrible idea to chance from two tickets to one eligibility for STEP, as noted by many couples above. Penalized people who played by the rules.

    -50 points for being unable to admit a mistake. “We’re sorry about how all this played out” is passive, and is not the same as “We’re sorry we made a mistake with the lottery system, and we’re doing our best to fix it.”

    Anyway, thanks for doing the right thing with the 10,000 tickets. That must have been a hard choice but it’s the right one to salvage this year.

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  • Important question about the 1 ticket in step. My girlfriend registered her name and credit card for two tickets but got rejected. It’s likely that if only one of us goes it will be me. If we enter in step do we get to choose the name on will call or does it need to be the original registrant?

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  • The ‘couples question’ clearly needs to be addressed asap for people.

    That aside, this is… as the ‘clowns to put on a circus’ person said, a necessary and welcome move. It ensures the event will retain as much of its character as possible, and buy time to get next year’s event and tickets right.

    Let’s hope that the BLM will see sense and ramp up capacity faster than perhaps they planned or have committed. Could be a silly question but… what options to move the event elsewhere?

    All in all, a good response over the last few weeks to the problems, and a best of the worst solution today. Am not looking forward to STEP, but that’s all we got now.

    See you on the Playa… inshahala

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    “this ticket is non-transferable and can only be held at Will Call. A STEP ticket is only for you”

    then WHY CAN YOU NOT MAKE THE LOTTERY TICKETS LINKED TO IDs, to flush out hoarders and scalpers

    That would have flushed so many more tickets into the STEP system, eradicated scalping in one fell swoop, and ensured many many more core participants (theme camps, art, sounds camps) might have been able to secure a ticket

    The only argument against is the line in and at exodus, but it would just take more staff to check IDs to tickets at one of the many stops. I was in the queue on Monday 2011 and it would have been easy for those checking RVs/tickets to move into the line and check tickets and IDs. It would not take that long.

    And even if it did, better a (slightly) longer line than a hugely sub-par event.


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  • i requested 2 tickets in the lotto but didnt get any, if i am awarded one ticket, i will have to buy from scalper or hope for gift for the second. worse, if i am awarded a ticket its ‘will-call’ only, if i dont get the 2nd ticket, i cannot go. what are the options for a refund on a will-call ticket.
    will-call is the worst idea yet, i want a physical ticket that i can gift, if @ the last minute i cannot attend.

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  • It’s been said before, but I think it needs to be said again and again. The STEP program is screwing those who played fair the first time around. I registered for two tickets for myself and my wife. She did NOT try to game the system, thus she did not register for any tickets. Now, if we use STEP we only have a chance for one ticket. If I should win, am I supposed to go alone?
    I think those who originally registered for two tickets and lost should be able to register for two tickets in STEP.

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  • I think the reason that tickets that have already been issued can’t be made non-transferable and linked to a name is because that wasn’t built into the initial purchasing process or contract. They were sold under certain terms so those terms have to hold. Future sales can be made under different terms.

    Frankly though I am disappointed in the favoritism shown to established camps, acts and artists. I think this could have been a great opportunity to inject some new blood and ideas into Black Rock City. I have complete faith that the Burner community would have figured out ways to make it work without resorting to applications and favorites. That being said this took the Org by surprise and rather than ruffling feathers they’ve decided to try and preserve elements of the event since that’s what everyone was expecting. I do hope that 2013 doesn’t see this theme camp, artist, performer classism continue though.

    And, while I’m on the soap box I’d like to draw your attention over here;


    There’s a good chance that there’s a mini-Burning Man going on soon near you. Go get involved!

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  • I guess Cronyism pays with Goldman Sachs and with Burningman.org How nice of Burningman.org to allow people to pay for a ticket, work hard so you can sell more tickets. It would easier to accept if you were a non-profit acting like a non-profit and not a non-profit acting like a hedgefund. Please figure out the 2013 policy and stick with it and just be honest about it upfront. We knew last year we couldn’t go in 2012, but watching my friends and this process is heart breaking, our camp wasn’t official but it was home and not everyone was able to get tickets. Those who didn’t are upset and those who did are afraid to be excited, and that just sucks. Scott Gibson, Phoenix

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  • I don’t understand why they had to abandon the secondary open sale altogether. They could’ve distributed 8,000 tickets to core burners and still leave 2,000 in the open sale.

    I predict that there will be less than 100 tickets available on the STEP system and they’ll all be sold out within a few seconds… Probably to scalpers.

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  • I hail much respect for the Burning man organization’s decision to divert the 10,00 tickets set aside to become directed ticket sales. I understand that in such a situation there can and must only be forgiveness from both sides. Having acknowledged that this will in no way sate the demand necessary to bring round all previously successful installation and communities, nor that it will appease the outcry that came from the hole blasted through the community by the lottery; is the fist step to reconciliation.

    I, being a BM virgin with tickets, understand the great tension this will generate still. How can it be a tenet of radical inclusion if there is hierarchy in ticket priority? I really enjoyed the title of the previous blog. (Radical inclusion meets the other 9) But, I also understand that there has been a massive breach in how this year may unfold. I for one, understood, going into the ticketing process- especially after the sell-out last year- that the event was at dire risk of such a calamity. Of course, I know to never assume what will be had at any burn event- even at regionals as well; (hailing from Ohio, scorched nuts is my home base) therefore I will make the best out of it in any serious wake of confusion or even bitterness that may be brought about.

    It has been a long time coming for this, and if anything, it is exactly what the community needed. The only outcome I can discern from it all is that the regional networks will be come stronger and, if we plan accordingly, we will also see record attendance, participation, and cultural interest in all burn events, worldwide. There is still much room for growth in the international scene for burns; and this will stem a lot of international attendance to the main event. So this allows a clear gateway for those individuals to bring the spirit of burning to their country. And this will go the same for every state also.

    So in this time of rebuilding, we must allow forgiveness and love to fill the cracks, and be the best positive force we an be as an individual. I have no reservations about my brothers and sisters abilities to manifest such tidings.

    With love for all my burning family, we can make this positive. I just know it.

    J Question Master.

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  • Can someone from the BMORG PLEASE explain why the previously lottery-won tickets are not being converted to identity-based tickets, or refunded for those who do not wish to have their tickets converted? That is one part of a solution that many people have suggested that seems likely to increase the pool of tickets to those who lost out in the lottery.

    It is anything but transparent to choose to avoid addressing this popular suggestion or not explaining your reasoning.

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  • welcome fellow burners that just got kicked to the curb. My guess 15000+ not lucky enough or impotant enough – or famous enough – and many like me weren’t smart enough to game the system. Pretty amazing job by BMORG if you got a ticket. pretty much sucks to be us for the rest. I feel insulted that bmorg claims to feel our pain, why don’t they give up their tickets to some important burner? So not much about the future – is it safe to assume tickets will be harder to come by unless your special? BMORG ineptness – changing the rules in midsream – leaves little hope for the future for the curb dwellers – so bmorg time to give yourselves big bonus

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  • I had been going over all the different ways BMORG could have responded to this crisis, and though I was scared of what might happen to the remaining 10,000 tickets, (which is what seems to BE happening), I am not giving up hope that my fiance & I will get to the playa in August. We didn’t register for the main sale due to lack of funds until our tax return came in, so STEP isn’t an option for us since it is only being offered to those who registered. We assumed we’d have a shot at the remaining open-sale tickets in March. With STEP & the open sale now closed-off to us, my initial reaction was dispair & hopelessness. However, I REFUSE to give up!! I also refuse to go the route of purchasing tickets thru scalpers. With this being our 1st burn, (and our honeymoon), we had originally planned to simply volunteer our time & talents to groups in need once we got to the playa, and to not join a theme camp so that we could feel them out & see which ones we would fit in with the best for years to follow. My thoughts have now changed on this. I see that we will need to collaborate w/ fellow established burners in order to even have a shot at making it out there. I foresee spending a shit-ton of time on Eplaya in the coming months… it’s not over til it’s over. I think BMORG did the best they could with the situation, and I am happy to hear that core projects, camps, and burners will be able to go home once again. I hope beyond hope that we’ll be among them <3

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  • Lame! My brother and I were going to come down from BC for this one. We were both registered on one credit card i guess it means only one can get a ticket through step. This memebrs only COSTCO style Secondary “OPEN” sale is a far cry from Radical Inclusion. I knew the rest of America was selling out but I thought BRC would be able to rise above it.
    I guess its Shambhala for these two.

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  • As someone who will not make the cut for the 10,000 it seems unfair that we can only hope to get one ticket through STEP. We only signed up for two tickets, the two tickets my husband and I would need. Now because only one of us signed up we’ll be limited to one ticket for the two of us. Who gets to go? I’m very sad.

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  • Absolutely, there should be some sort of organized facilitation of the recruiting of virgins to volunteer in any sort of capacity. I have a hunch many of them already understand the participation ethos and will join in with gusto.
    Years ago the realization hit me just how vital fresh faces are.
    Marion! Hello, good to see your feedback here 15 minutes ago. Awesome.

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  • If all the newbies would volunteer to help with 1 or 2 other Camps (getting to know them and helping before leaving home too) who need extra members because their regular members did not get a ticket then the newbie would learn more, have a better experience and help some of the Camps materialize that maybe would not have. Additionally, all newbies should volunteer in Black Rock City to help the event overall.That is what I am doing and I am challenging every newbie to do the same.

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    Most people who registered for 2 tickets (most of my theme camp and I imagine lost of the participants) registered in good faith for themselves and their girlfriends/boyfriends/wives/husbands/best friends etc

    Most of them were – at least – planning on going as a ‘couple – now what? This is lunacy. Having split everyone in the main sale, you are now splitting every single couple who applied for 2 tickets on one card rather than 4 tickets on 2 cards (i.e. those following the indicated rules)

    That is just crazy

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    This, from someone who already had a ticket from pre-sale and was planning on giving it away…I’m going now. Thank you.

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  • Since I didnt get one first time around and most I know MIGHT get to go and I for sure will not get a ticket now ……


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  • Sadly, those who didn’t game the system are fucked yet again. Welcome to the Burning Man way. Our last chance at a ticket have now vanished. It’s up to an unproven STEP mechanism (which can and will be shutdown by BMOrg when they choose) or scalpers.

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  • This is my first year attending BM and I was fortunate enough to get a ticket. I am beyond excited for the experience because it’s something I feel I need in life at this time. All politics aside, it seems that the reason BM exists is because people looking for alternative ways of being need it. With that said, wouldn’t it benefit the majority of people going to NOT experience something that has been planned and experienced by many others in the past? I mean it makes sense for some core people to be there but it also makes just as much sense to do things completely different than how they were done before. Thats the point of BM, right??

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  • InTicketing, merchant and credit card fees are $12 per ticket? That’s almost $1 million dollars just to hand over a ticket!!! You guys are SERIOUSLY GETTING RAPED! (and by “you guys” I mean US burners!)
    Seriously consider other vendors or renegotiate your terms!!! That’s outrageous those vultures suck our Playa Blood dry!!

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  • To the people complaining about only having the option to get one ticket through STEP, the reality is your odds of getting a ticket through STEP will be orders of magnitude worse than what you faced in the general lottery. There just aren’t going to be any tickets in there compared to demand.

    This announcement is pretty much exactly what I expected, and the new plan will go a long way towards getting the right camps to the Burn to make sure it can actually happen. I’m not talking about your average theme camps. I’m talking about volunteer camps that must be there; Rangers, DPW, Gate, Medical – and THEN theme camps, art cars, art projects.

    I hope it all works out. I hope I get to go Home, and hope you do too, and hope Home still feels like Home when we get there…

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  • Limiting STEP to 1 per person is ridiculous, we played by the rules….
    2 people registered for 4 tkts & we got none.
    Now BM will only allow us a slight chance at 2 via STEP?!? That’s BS!!!!

    Already laid down $1000 deposit for an RV as we were coming from Ireland….heartbroken!!

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  • not to put too fine a point on it, but a LOT of burners warned you ahead of time that the new ticket lottery was a mistake. So what I’m wondering is if this will be enough to make BMORG a little more receptive to general burner consensus in the future? Add me to the list of veterans who are very disappointed, but who, bottom line, just wants this all fixed so we can continue with the magic.

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  • Like many others, I entered the lottery seeking two tickets for my girlfriend and myself. She did not enter as we did not try to game the system, and like others, naive though we may have been, genuinely believed there would be enough to go around, or at least close to it. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that, and I appreciate the thought behind “reserving” the 10k intended for public sale for the folks that make things happen – HOWEVER, I really don’t understand and take serious issue with the fact that STEP only allows for the lottery entrant to receive a single ticket, even when two were in the initial request. Doesn’t that seem like a way to pretty much ensure any couples in my position aren’t going to attend? Especially since the final 10k are now off the table? Honestly I hadn’t given up until I saw this. What are my options; hope for one through STEP, then support the scalpers to get another?? Wow. Sort of feels like a slap in the face for trying to do the right thing in the first place. I know it’s a tough situation without a great solution, sure, but limiting the STEP program to a single ticket per original lottery entrant is beyond unfortunate. Maybe this was intentional in order to reduce the amount of people (i.e. couples) seeking tickets… But either way, I don’t see a way to stay true and “win”. Unfortunate indeed. In the words of Joshua: “A strange game… The only winning move is not to play.”

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  • I understand the need to have established theme camps soak up a good amount of available tickets. However, the decision not to force current ticket holders to register an ID is inexcusable. This gets rid of the scalping problem and ensures that people will actually use STEP to redistribute tickets. You have to realize that the days of gifting tickets to friends in a loose way is gone. Your approach is a half-measure, handling civic infrastructure without dealing with scalping. It disenfranchises solid burners, and makes me less likely to attend in the future.

    While this response is the closest the BMORG that has come to an apology and transparency, without an explanation for eschewing ID registration for this year, it is still a slap in the face.

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  • Jim, I think you are being presumptuous when you say that “as many of us predicted” the lottery would radically increase demand. I think what increased demand is CLEARLY the sellout from last year. Although there is obviously no way to “prove” it now, I believe that if there had been an open sale as in previous years, there STILL would have been a sell-out in the first few days if not hours (assuming the ticketing system could have handled that load) and we would be in roughly the same spot we are now, possibly worse, because I think the scalpers would have had an even WORSE impact (assuming that what the BMORG says is true and that the biggest part of the extra demand are newbs who are really coming/going home this year for the first time). A lot of assumptions, of course, but I just don’t buy the idea that the lottery was the principal cause of all this. It was a valiant effort to equalize the luck of Internet sales that backfired, I believe, for other reasons. Burning Man has just become “too popular” LOL.

    I appreciate BM’s attempt to make more tickets available to people who tried hard to get them and while I sympathize with the “radical inclusionists” who see this as elitism, I also sympathize with both the serious theme camps’ pain and BMORG’s concern that leaving many of those camps out in the cold literally overnight will impact BM (as well as the newbs who come this year assuming they will see “greatness”) even more. Something had to give and it obviously was the notion of egalitarianism. I assume it was considered egalitarian “enough” that the lottery distributed 40,000 tickets, probably 30,000+ to people who have never been. Do we need to be even MORE egalitarian than that? Can you imagine a BM with 40,000 newbs there and only 10,000 people who had any experience whatsoever?

    I also echo the concern that they will only give ONE ticket to STEP applicants. That is one BAD thing in all of this for precisely the reasons outlined. If you asked for 2 tickets in the lottery, you should be able to get two tickets from STEP. Period. Not that I think it will mean that much because as noted in another post, I think about 180 tickets (maybe 200) will be available in STEP. So while I have the concern for folks, I think it isn’t all that important.

    My BIGGEST FEAR is MOOP CHAOS! Newbs are traditionally bad (for the most part) in doing their LNT share, even when surrounded by lots of veterans (our camp last year had about 85% veterans and getting the newbs to clean up and do MOOP patrol before taking off at the end of the week was excruciatingly painful. Now imagine 50% newbs or even more. Only a colorblind person is going to enjoy the site of the 2012 MOOP map, I fear. If anything will destroy BM, even worse than the ticketing fiasco, it will be a MOOP disaster in 2012.

    Anyway, times are a’changing as Bobbie Dylan once said, and it will be an adventure. As always!

    See you in the dust (at least some of you!)

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  • BURNINGMAN 2012:



    AND 40,000 RVs



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  • No matter what you do 2012 will go down as the year of mass disappointments. In order to save the ethos of the event, future years should aim to distribute tickets fairly and evenly, as follows. 1) All tickets should be first come first serve 2) Only 2 tickets per purchase 3) Tickets should be imprinted with name of admitted 4) All tickets should be priced the same, with a small number reduced price for the verifiable needy 5) A progressive surcharge on larger campers and RV’s 6) Anybody who registered but did not receive a ticket one year should get first in line for the following year. I don’t think distributing tickets to the ‘IN’ crowd, while understandable in a panic, does anything to promote the egalitarian values system. The event is likely to remain too small, with too much demand, for everybody who wants to to go every year. But at least people should be able to count on some sort of regularity of return.

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  • ” Burning Man organizers and staff will issue tickets to major theme camps and art projects…”

    Wow, really? Now I have a reason to be *actually* pissed off about this whole situation. I definitely understand reserving tickets for “Critical Infrastructure”, like DPW and other teams that are vital to setting the stage for the event. Theme camps, though? What gives you all the right to decide what theme camps and art installations are more important than others? I am extremely disappointed with this decision.

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  • (including game theorists, sociologists, statisticians, festival producers, ticketing companies, software developers, widely-read bloggers, and more)

    If you want to know how to thwart scalpers, ask a scalper!

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  • Start canvassing now! We can keep going on and on about the rules and all, or how manipulated or screwed we feel, but we need our tribe leaders to rise. Encourage every newbie to bring there most fierce passion for creative involvement to the playa. If anything, the city could be filled with a lot more intimate atmosphered installations than ever, creating a massive wave of intimate interaction with every new experience on the playa.

    Video played a huge role in educating the newbies prior to BM 2011, though I didn’t attend, that didn’t stop me from seeing the flood of personal vlogs educating even those who never heard of the event. There is so much we can do, so much that can be new and exciting, as long as we push ourselves out of this initial slump.

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  • Yes & No . . .there are still many questions and concerns —

    1. Please answer why you won’t put names / bar codes on tickets.
    2. There have been many suggestions, ideas and such for ways to thwart scalpers.
    Why haven’t you addressed this?
    3. Have a booth, area, etc. this year at BM where people can write, share, meet and talk
    about and tell you ideas for ways to improve ticketing for 2013.
    4. Use the BRC census forms to ask for ideas about future ticketing improvement.

    I am still waiting to find out if all my theme camp mates really do get tickets before I invest another $2,500 for this year, and yes, I do have a ticket and want to be there . . but will wait to celebrate on the playa only if, when my camp is all there !

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  • Wish I would have been unfair and had my fiancee put in for two tickets as well… now I might be able to go, but without her.. Does she have to be present for us to be married out there?

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  • Thanks for this latest JRS, I think you are on the right track now and I’m still hoping to get a ticket. With out the art to me there is no reson to go. Thanks for trying to take care of them and the camps.

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  • You wanted Burners to respect the lottery system, and not have multiple people register for the same tickets. This means many people did the right thing, and put in for 2 tickets – for them and a friend/spouse/loved one/family member, instead of all registering for more than they needed. Now those respectable Burners are getting punished, and having to face the difficult choice to accept ONE ticket, or none at all?

    You guys created this mess, when you try to resolve it…don’t go changing the rules half way through the game! If you’re not allowing people to buy those 10,000 open sale tickets, AT LEAST allow them to get as many tickets as they originally asked for if they’re even Lucky enough to get selected for the STEP program. Why would you think separating couples & families & friends would solve any problem?!

    Thanks to all this hype over ticket sales, anybody who was lucky enough to get a ticket knows how valuable their ticket is for other people. This is simply encouraging scalping now. Maybe all of these virgins who got awarded tickets through the lottery don’t have the passion for BRC yet. Who’s to say they’re not all going to go out and sell their tickets to event they don’t care about? Especially if they know they can make more for them than what they paid! Besides, they’ve never been to Burning Man, what do they care about honoring a STEP program?

    The thing about the ticket system before, was it gave time for people to think about it, plan, form camps, create art project ideas. This year, everyone was forced to make a decision in January – including newcomers. I’ve been to Burning Man for 5 years, and every year people tell me “I’m getting a ticket this year” or “I’m going to Burning Man!” And every year my response is, “Great! I’ll see you out there!” What have I learned? Most of the newcomers don’t end up making it out there – they realize how much work it is, realize they have other plans, realize it costs too much. Lots of things can change your desire to go to the playa from January to August. What doesn’t change is the desire from those who have already been. It’s the retuning Burners who learn how to do it better every year, who learn how to get involved, learn how to build a camp, learn how to clean up. I can say, I am truly scared to see the outcome of this year’s ticket DISASTER on the playa.

    Yes, I did get a ticket. Am I happy about that? I wish I could be. Instead, I am shaking my head at Burning Man Org, and questioning the people with “power” in this community. What once felt like a family, now feels like a money hungry corporation.

    What should have happened, is admitting your crazy-new-ticket-selling-lottery-system was wrong. Don’t put the blame on ticket buyers for taking the extra precautions to secure tickets, when it was your system that made everyone feel desperate. Many of us predicted this when the lottery was announced. Did you listen then? No. So, take the hit from BLM, and pay the fine of exceeding capacity in Black Rock with the extra tickets that are sold. But no, that wouldn’t happen, cause that would mean your corporation would lose money instead of make it this year….

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  • STEP programme now equals one ticket. Thanks BMORG, but like others I used one credit card for two tickets in the original lottery. One ticket at will-call does not allow me AND my husband to go. Thus, no plans can be made, no flights booked, no theme worked on for our unregistered camp. I’m very disappointed. The Man burns in 199 days and we will not be there. What a loss for us and Burning Man. We were terrific Burners.

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  • So many critics!! There is clearly no perfect solution… From a non ticket holding burner….. I think you guys are doing a good job handling the situation and everyone telling you otherwise needs to chill the fuck out.

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  • I am SO PISSED about one thing! My fiance and I played by the rules! We played fairly as per the organization’s request! If this was ANY other lottery system (aka I KNEW everyone would play the odds of personal interest over group fairness) I would have too! But because this was Burning Man, I couldn’t let him talk me into registering with every credit card we have!…I now know of five couples who did this and were granted a cumulative total of 18 tickets! NOW, the new rules COMPLETELY eliminate my chances of getting a ticket without succumbing to scalping because we entered with his card!

    I know that BMORG had to make some very hard post-lottery decisions, I understand why some tickets need to be reserved for people who have given so much over the years, but PLEASE BMORG…do not punish those of us who did not act in total self-interest! Please make one more modification to be fair to the fair!

    Maybe it could be limited to two tickets per billing address? Or maybe per name?

    I don’t have a perfect solution to propose, but I do hope with all of my heart to get dusty this year and for many to come…best of luck to all!

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  • My girlfriend was the only one registered to buy tickets because that is what we we’re told do… To not over register. Now we can’t go because I didn’t register for a ticket. So we were trying to be good Black Rock citizens and this is what we get? This is very upsetting.

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  • There have been many poor decisions in hindsight, I’ll deal with it the same way I always will; forgiveness. Forgiveness, then action my brothers and sisters.

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  • Okay….enough! Stop with the complaining. It’s not who we are. BMOrg admits it…It was a fiasco. They are doing the best they can to remedy the situation. There are no good answers, just answers that are less painful than others. Let’s move on and be the people we say we are…

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  • Thanks for the update. While my tickets are secured, I know many of my fellow villagers in the French Quarter were distressed because of the initial situation. Hopefully this eases some of the chaos. It’s not a perfect solution, but it is something. FYI I’ll be volunteering to tend bar daily again this year in the Golden Cafe. Come by for a Playa Sunrise! Be well, beautiful burners. <3

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  • I think we all have to just suck it up and realize this was a social “experiment ” and this is the outcome. BM is now mirrors mainstream society in that it’s not radically inclusive , and its meaning is not accessible to anyone as stated in the mission statement. Politics and a BM hierarchy are a part of the system now.BM has evolved as society’s do and just as in life we have to live with what we have or find other options.

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  • Good idea!!!!! If only you guys had a way to refund and redact the tickets sold to scalpers. i.e. Every ticket has a serial number. Burners report tickets for sale on ebay that have an selfish price. Tickets sold to that profiteer are refunded and not delivered. New sale for all those tickets as a will call….required to attach a name to each ticket.

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  • Burning Man is NOT a membership as listed above, it is a community. The only fear I had about this over demand for tickets is that some of my burning man family wouldn’t get to make it home this year. I just wanted to say I know you have done your best and it is impossible to accomidate everyone. I will pause this year to finish up my degree, but Burning Man 2013, I cannot wait to come home again. Thank you for being so response and caring about your COMMUNITY. I love and apperciate you all! XOXOXOXO

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  • Honey Badger that is an idiotic comment

    People are upset because there were so many 1000s of the same suggestion – i.e. distribute the 10,000 tickets as they have done (well done) + make the lottery tickets linked to ID

    They ignored the second and arguably the most important part, which would have a) allowed anyone who ‘won’ the lottery fair and square to go and b) forced to scalpers and hoarders to sell back through STEP

    Don’t tell people to ‘chill the fuck out’ when they are taking time to make detailed sensible suggestions, only to be ignored

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  • Dear family (since burning man is no less to me).

    I hear your concerns. What makes one art camp more important than another? How does a person become crucial? Lets continue the practice of being transparent.
    Not all camps get to canp on esplanade. There are criteria that factor into that decision as to which camps will be allowed to be placed there. That statement already says thst does camps provide something that is felt to be a greater good to the community. Not all camps are equal. Thats not diminishing how much joy others give, how greatful I am for DISTRIKT which is placed everything but central ;)
    along those lines not all burners invest in burning man to similar degree. I arrived a week early to help built, stayed days later to help with break down. I had commitments to my theme camp during the burn as well. 6h of volunteering seems like nothing in comparison to the effots most of my camp mates (DISORIENT) put in. And my labour of love seemed nothing but a bit of sweat in comparison to all that it took to make it all happen. There are leaders within each group. The leaders are needed to make the major projects happen.

    I heat you. Its not treating everyone equal. Reality is that not all camps get placed on esplanade, not all burners of a camp are equally invested and involved.
    I’m grateful for the research that goes into identifying the key members of a camp.
    I doubt that I could have given as much as I learned to give as a virgin burner who just got to understand, who was well prepared and still nit prepared for the emotional impact it would have on me.

    I would love to welcome our new citizens with the keyelements burning man is famoys for: art work, sculptures with fire, art cars, workshops, healing spaces and amazing sound camps. I want to welcome my new family to the best ever burn- since so far every year just got better. I’d want to make sure they’re looked after, and offer them ways to get involved that are more planned out since I know I would have been swamped as a virgin. I did not arrive in a tank that I had redecorated as a giant flower power elephant. god knows. maybe our new family members will surprise us.

    but either way, just as any community should respect their elders, I feel we should not minimize the impotance of those people who made burning man what it is today.

    And in my ideal world,2013 will find a space that could hold ten times as many, as our community will continue to grow :)

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  • If you adopt name based ticketing you will definitely flush out the scalpers. You know who you sold the tickets to so they can come or they can give back their tickets back to STEP.

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  • Since when did going back on one’s principles become a good thing; whether they be cultural, institutional, or personal?! They are called PRINCIPLES for a reason, they should be the guide to our behavior in good times and in bad; but specially when things are tough.

    I am deeply disappointed to see that your solution to the problem your board created by ignoring the warnings of the community, translates into nothing less than turning your back on the very principles the project was founded on. The principles that YOU based this amazing creation on.

    For years I’ve tried to educate those, who claim that the project is nothing short of elitist. However, I must now reluctantly concede their point since your actions have just made it official, Burning Man is truly for the Elite; those with the money to buy a ticket at any cost, and the privileged ones rubbing elbows with those holding the power.

    Burning Ban is now nothing more than another membership club. BMORG has not only betrayed the project but the entire community as well; from the lucky and influential few who will make it to BRC this year to the Regional organizers, and the newbies who will never get to experience the way Burning Man was when it was pure.

    Sad… so very sad.

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  • At least allow people to re-submit for a second ticket, splitting up husbands and wives fathers and sons, brothers and camp-mates, when they entered the lottery together in GOOD FAITH is no the best solution to hoarding.

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  • I don’t agree with this. Its quite sad that so many of us really don’t have a chance to come now. A lot of us are in unregistered theme camps. If you can pick who gets the last 10,000 tickets, then you should have picked who got the first 50,000. I want to make it to burning man, and i’m trying to stay positive, but I just don’t see it happening….

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  • I know for a fact that theme camps — no matter their history, their leave no trace adherence, nor their overall impact on the community interaction — inflate their numbers. Yet another way to “cheat the system” that I have not been in favor of, but admittedly, have benefitted from.

    On the other hand, I am one of the unlucky +1’s who let her partner use his credit card to register for the both of us. Yes, I am in favor of honesty, so we only registered for two tickets. Hmmm…. I’m sensing a theme here……

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  • First things first. I love the Burning Man spirit, and have since my first trip out in 2000, as part of Camp Goatrodeo. I also went in 2002, with the Black Rock City Coast Guard, and 2003 with the Irrational Geographic Society. My best friend since high school, Trademark Gunderson, has been with Burning Man Information Radio for years.

    I have worked tirelessly, since that first outing, to embody the spirit of Burning Man in what I do with my life. That has been a non-negotiable aspect of my life and timeline, ever since then.

    Now, time for a little truth that I need to share with this community.

    I’m insanely pissed off about this ticket situation.

    I had hoped to score a ticket in the 3rd round at full price. I didn’t register for the 2nd round, because I wanted to let my friends, who make a lot less money than I do, get first shot. Now that the 3rd round is going away, I cannot go to the event this year, as planned.

    Why on earth would I, at the age of 45, weighing 450 pounds, want to try to get back home this year?

    My 77-year-old uncle, a Burning Man virgin, scored a ticket in the 2nd round. I wanted to be with my uncle for one last time in this life, to hear his stories in an unimaginably cool way.

    Because the 3rd round is now unavailable to me, I cannot fulfill this dream.

    Thank you, that is all.

    Mark Welch (bezoar at gmail dot com)

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  • Only obvious solution. Nice recovery.

    In the future, with the hoards descending on this classic event .. KEEP NEWBIES AT 10% or THE ENTIRE BM CULTURE WILL BE LOST

    Seriously, a BM registry should be created with people submitting applications based on past experience and then tickets awarded based on seniority .. 10 years or more guaranteed ticket, 5 years or more first lottery, those who don’t make it get passed on to the next lottery which includes 3 years or more and down the line ….

    “Radical Inclusion” is fantastic in theory, but with the insane weather conditions out there 2012 could very possibly be a nightmare and Radical Experience perhaps more desirable

    The only people that saved me the first few years were Veteran burners, in more ways than one, I can’t imagine 40% newbies .. terrifying lol

    Anyhow, in one fell swoop BM has changed forever, though it remains heaven on earth still … let’s see what happens, can’t wait, thank you BURNING MAN

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  • This sounds like a step to remedy the situation. After reading the Ticket Update, I have one question. When I registered during the main sale, I registered for 2 tickets for my husband and I. From what I gathered from the Ticket Update, I will only be allowed to register for 1 ticket. I understand I will get preference because of my rejection in the main sale, but how will we get the other ticket if my husband didn’t register for the main sale?

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  • Ha, if they didn’t do this all the newbies would arrive to an empty desert and say ‘wtf, bman sucks’.

    I’m still holding out hope that the newbie-to-initiated ratio doesn’t ding this year’s burn.

    The description of the STEP system is excellent: non-transferable, will-call tickets. THIS IS HOW THE MAIN SALE SHOULD HAVE BEEN!!! And I think we could still make more of the existing tickets non-transferable.

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  • Whew! What a ride!

    Thank you for the update… now for a lighthearted take on the situation ;-)

    The STEP program is now officially the DUB STEP program:



    Heck, given the brevity of the situation, we may need a 10 STEP program!

    Good luck to all of you in your efforts to secure tickets. It is my sincere hope I can see you there for my “lucky” 7th burn!

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  • I for one am glad that you are taking care of the key members of the Burning Man community. It wouldn’t be the same without them. I do belong to a camp but not a major one. I still hope to obtain tickets using the STEP system. This year is crucial because my girlfriend might not be unable to attend in future years due to her working situation. We still have hopes of getting tickets but have come to terms if we don’t. Life will continue. The man will burn albeit without us. Oh woe is us…. Sorry, I digress. BMorg.. difficult situation this year and no easy way to handle it. Thanks for the post.

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  • Sooo… my wife who’s been for twelve years, and myself who’s been eight are now only eligible for ONE TICKET?! Basically if your a scalper, single and you helped build Opulent Temple or some other Las Vegas night club in the desert, you’re good. The rest of us?

    I guess I’ll just pitch a tent in my back yard, get shit faced and walk around with no pants on while I spin some mind blowing breaks for my wife hoping some stranger wearing a zebra mask and a snorkel will walk past and offer me some bacon… wait that sound like fun.


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  • this sucks, i agree with a comment below that you should list the theme camps that were considered too important to be expendable.
    some of the theme camps are wonderful and selfless in the sharing of their vision, but so many theme camps over the years have become snobbish and so exclusive that you need secret necklaces to freaking walk through them even if you are just trying to find a porta-potty, or invite you to camp with them only later to tell you about the huge fee you’ll have to pay to do so. less and less with the many camps no one wants to co-mingle or welcome anyone in from the heart, even events open “to the public” at these camps often feel unwelcoming and fragmented by hierarchy. certainly it would not be the same if there were no temple, no man, no elders to welcome and acclimate new burners into home, so setting aside some tickets for some very dedicated burners does seem fair, but all 10,000 remaining tickets? everyone else should have been left with a glimmer of hope too. (including the couples who were fair and only tried on one credit card; i have burned for 4 years and did not attempt to get tickets this year but i feel empathetic for those who tried to be fair and now suffer for it)

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  • BTW, I do not believe that the theme camps they are talking about to get the 10,000 tickets are the essential infrastructure groups like DPW, Lamplighters, DMV, Gate, Center Camp, etc. Those groups have pre-established ticket allocations (mostly for their volunteers from previous years). I am pretty sure they are talking about non-BM-related theme camps like Silicon Village, Death Guild (can anybody imagine Burning Man without Thunderdome?!!), the Black Rock Beacon and many others…

    I do have some hope that the one REALLY bad thing in this latest decision (the decision to limit STEP participants to one ticket) will be reversed when the BMORG understands what the impact is to people who clearly followed the rules. Obviously people who oversubscribed and still didn’t get tickets will continue to be disproportionately represented in STEP (as they were in the lotto) but there is little that can be done about that unless people honorably and voluntarily withdraw extra registrations in STEP that they might be entitled to from multiple registrations in the lotto. However, there is one thing I have always noticed is that couples make up a large percentage of the BM population. I don’t know the numbers, but I expect that about 1/2 of the population is coupled. So BM would do a huge disservice to that part of the population by favoring singles with their current plan. Rather than rant more (I have done a lot of that) I am going to throw positive vibes their way and hope they see the error and fix it. As others have said, there are no perfect solutions, just imperfect ones. However there are imperfect solutions that are MORE imperfect than others, and this is clearly one of those.

    We could have hoped for ID-based tickets this year, it was the right thing to do, but for whatever reasons, that just doesn’t look like it is going to happen. Sigh… We can only hope that the 30,000 birgins who got lotto tickets will do what most birgins do as the week of the burn approaches and just decide they have better things to do. Unfortunately that will be too late to plan theme camps and art cars, but many of us who want to go will still be able to go. At least I hope so…

    (Full disclosure: I applied for ONE ticket in the lotto and didn’t get it. However, I already have a discount volunteer ticket that I am entitled to from working the DMV last year, so I didn’t have to worry about my own ticket this year, just a prospective partners’ ticket. And since I don’t have a partner right now, its not a huge deal. I just don’t like what has happened to our community and I hope that this ship gets righted before it sinks.)


    Bleurose Jon

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  • This is what I said should happen, and they did it.


    Theme camps, mutant vehicles, volunteers, etc. should be able to submit applications – possibly as a group submitted by the leader of whatever project – for guaranteed tickets – enough to create a social fabric. The applications must be reviewed to make sure these folks are going to actually contribute something and they can follow the same criteria they are using to allocate these last 10,000 tickets. So they do that first, and then the rest go towards a main sale.

    And you know what else? Since there are so many new people: Maybe there should be some way of forcing people to read the survival guide, and other guides when they buy their tickets. Perhaps a quiz, that you can test out of very quickly if you’ve been there but if not, makes sure you are less likely to do something totally stupid like not bring water or whatever totally dumb thing that’s likely to summon the authorities, which as we all know, occasionally happens.

    Does it suck that veterans, volunteers, and the “elite” would generally get a guaranteed spot and the rest would have to possibly scramble? Yes, but if one is motivated enough as a first timer, one could get one of the guaranteed spots. Maybe the project leader has to decide who gets those spots. Does it reward those who participate more, work harder, plan in advance, and take the time to care and build relationships? Yes. Just like life. There are some things even Utopia can’t change.

    (I’ve been 5 times. No ticket this year. Hope to see you all on the playa!)

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  • Well I’m glad to hear so many positive responses to this problem; also nice to hear everyone is happy with the response. I on the onther hand just want to tear out my eyes and scream FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU.

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  • looking forward to seeing everyone who could make it there in 2012. life goes on – keep the spirit alive and hold down the hostility. for all those that are being hypercritical – let’s see you do better. go for it.

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  • It is a tough one, I went from ’03 to ’06 and waited for 2012 because of the Mayan Calender etc. and didn’t even think that a shortage of tickets would be an issue. Now I see that if 50,000 new burners showed up there would be nothing to see except 50,000 new burners. There does need to be a infrastructure but maybe it can be outside the ticket sales? Say 25,000 infrastructure and 25,000 new/returning burners (lottery fine here) and see what happens. Or my preferred option: The Whole World Becomes Burning Man and we all do what feels good and right and we turn the default world into a full time burn!

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  • “That sentence is about as painful to write as it is for you to read” well maybe you wouldn’t mind giving me your ticket then. No? Well then it’s not as painful for you is it?

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  • You never said it directly, but I take it there will be no Open Sale at $390 as planned. Legacies get those tickets instead.

    And somehow STEP will have a queue. So people will need to sign up starting at what time of day on 2/29? How precise will this queue of lottery losers be? Will people who registered for two tickets, but ‘won’ one only one, be counted as eligible losers?

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  • So if my boyfriend and I registered together under one credit card for two tickets, does that mean that we can only register for one ticket under the STEP Program?

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  • I am concerned about the STEP system 72 hour response period. It is fine for tickets that are posted early on, but will be a problem for last minute tickets that are turned in. Fire drums did the same system last year and a lot of people got screwed. We got stuck with 2 tickets that noone could use because they were stuck in the system when the event started and the person with the option to buy did not pay for them. Is there a way to make the applicant for the ticket put in their credit card number to be charged immediately when the ticket is available?


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  • My brother and I just went out to the playa this past weekend (ten hour drive each way) and brought back a bucket of dust. We didn’t get tix and anticipated this to be the likely decision that the 10,000 would be targeted (but not to us, even though we have a combined 17 years and have built several art cars/installations). No complaints, just reality. So we’re hosting a smaller burn for campmates and friends and will dump the playa dust on a carpet for an appropriate greeting, then drive our art car around the back roads, firing off bursts of flames for the wide-eyed neighbors. Should be a good time.
    Hope to see you all next year… stay dusty.

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  • BMORG, nice job fucking over all the people whose lottery requests for two tickets were denied, by now only allowing them to get one ticket through STEP.

    Also, who’s pocketing all the money from the “standard $7 per ticket service fee and a $12 Will Call delivery fee”?? Seriously, $12 to put each person’s ticket at Will Call? Sounds pretty viciously Capitalist; I guess Decommodification is being removed from the ten principles.

    In past years I was excited to attend Burning Man, but this year I’m pretty excited about not going.

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  • My spouse and I registered for two tickets under one name to be fair and also because we were assured we could register for STEP. We failed. This is the first place I really ever felt at home. My husband has been waiting to go home to mourn his mother’s death (a year). Now we find out one of us can’t come home, not even a chance. I know I can’t make my husband go without me, and I won’t go if he can’t. I just want the chance for both of us to have the possibility to go home. I really, really want to come home.

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  • Great to hear your bad organisational skills, have prevented me even trying for a ticket to see Burning Man. You have now created a biased art community at Black Rock. “If you are not Family, bugger off” The organisers should have contact previous paticipants in the 2011 event, and organised separate ticketing for them. Most disapointed in this outcome.

    Very POOR effort! Most disapointing! Social experiment gone wrong.

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  • “Legacies get those tickets instead.” Says it all welcome to the good ol boy network. Nice going guys, way to fark this up further…

    Next time follow our advice and sell the next years tickets AT THE BURN!!!!

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  • This is a necessary way to do it. Too bad more tickets weren’t saved out for the theme camps and experienced burners. That was short sighted, but hopefully this will redress the best it can. How to communicate to newbies how to participate?

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  • For STEP to process even a couple of thousand tickets seems improbable – it’s asking people to give money (and a ticket to ‘fun’) away to a stranger – why not sell to their friend? – the numbers will be pitiful, so don’t get too bent out of shape about the 1-person thing.

    Even if there is a major late-summer change of heart by a big chunk of newbies it invites the last-minute casual attendee; hell if I picked up a ticket in August I wouldn’t even be able to rent a van to take my camp equip up; I’d just turn up on playa with a six pack and a smile.

    So ever since I got that “no” email my BM has been screwed, basically, even if I get two tix now it’ll be me+the missus squeezed in our city car, and all the camp stuff and multi-year projects stay at home filling up the garage year round, asking to be taken to the dump.

    …Dammit Borg! WTF. Did you just un-friend me?

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  • Maid Marion,

    I would like to thank you for the clarifying message that you put in the blog ( at 7:22 pm) tonight. I don’t think a lot of bloggers here saw it. I am glad to hear that you are still looking into the possibility of putting names on the tickets. You are in a difficult position. People are understandably upset and would be no matter what action you took on this matter.

    As far as radical inclusion vrs non-transferable tickets: A compromise solution might be to make the tickets semi-transferable. Put the name of the ticket purchaser on each of the tickets said person bought. That person is now responsible for all of his/her tickets. The purchaser has to be at the gate, entering (or already inside) Burning Man with the people holding his/her tickets. So a person could gift tickets as long as they were willing to carpool or coordinate with their giftee. It’s not a perfect solution, but I believe it would significantly cut back scalping. Would it create delays at the gate…yes but not much worse than the current ones and less than matching each and every human with a ticket.
    Just my 50 cents worth (used to be two cents but under the inflation over the last eleven years…)

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  • I figured this is how it would go. I totally understand it as well.

    Sadly, I am one of those folks who must choose their Vacation time one year in advance(Oct. 2011) due to work conditions and will not have the opportunity to get those weeks off for probably another 3 years do to rotating holiday system at my job. I missed last years Burn and had planned on going this year to the point of saving money and purchasing theme camp and other supplies. I too was one of the “honest folks” though who entered only one email address in the lottery and subsequently did not get chosen.

    I will wait and see how things pan out via the STEP program though not a fan of Will Call due to super delays in getting in but we’ll see how it goes and I will be happy to find a ticket regardless. I’m putting my feelers out to my community and i guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

    A cluster fuck indeed but here’s hoping many of us can still make it. Cheers

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  • I still believe that killing the event, refunding tickets, then relaunching (maybe start an hour or two later?) with a revamped ticketing solution was the much better move. This is a band aid, nothing more; another decision that’s obviously going to alienate a huge cross-section of the community. The comments tell the tale.

    On the plus side, you made it super easy for my crew to stick to our guns of skipping the event this year. It’s not a huge theme camp but we sure bring it. Or we used to anyway.

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  • So if I can only get one ticket thru STEP, what do I do about my wife? I think we should be able to buy at least two tickets per. I just hate having to go thru anymore crap to get tickets.

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  • I did want to say that $7 or $9 or even $12 per ticket for processing/handling/merchant fees is not that high for a $240-$390 ticket. It roughly 3% (give or take a percent depending on which combination of those numbers you are dealing with) and that is VERY VERY close to reality, folks. I worked for one of the largest corporations on earth (maybe the largest) which did billions of dollars in on-line revenue and our merchant credit card fees (possibly the lowest anywhere) were still 1.9% or over $7/ $390 ticket. Burning Man, which only does a few tens of millions of dollars in ticket sales a year I am sure is paying between 2.5 and 3.5% for its credit card transactions, which means over $10 a ticket.

    And trust me, those fees get paid NOT to Burning Man, but to the banks/processing companies, ticket companies, etc. who do the “processing and handling”. As someone who has also sold tickets (to theatrical events) they may very well pay an ADDITIONAL fee out of the ticket price itself in addition ot the processing fees.

    I am not defending the actual ticket prices or whether or not BMORG makes a profit or loss (there isn’t enough transparency to know the answers to those questions) but the nonrefundable fees are real and at the prices we are charged, its not all that bad.

    As a comparison, I just bought two tickets for a Broadway show from Telecharge and they charged me $9 a ticket for $120 ticket, that is 7.5%.

    At that rate, the processing/handling charge for a $390 BM ticket would be almost $30!

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  • The telepathy worked. This is essentially the solution I would have chosen assuming that identity-based tickets weren’t possible. For next year there is no reason on earth not to have non-transferable identity based ticketing (with something like the STEP program and some way to gift tickets). Well done and thank you.

    For people who didn’t get tickets and aren’t already connected to a performance troupe, theme camp, or art project… JOIN ONE!!! Large art projects in particular always need lots of volunteer help to get to the playa and the people who lead these projects often pour tons of their own money (not to mention blood, sweat, and tears) into making their amazing art happen. I know this is going to be much harder for people in regions of the country without a well developed Burning Man culture and people whose lives don’t allow for much free time, but I hope it can be a solution for many people who are really dedicated to participating at Burning Man.

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  • Print “Not to be sold above face value” on ticket? Would that make it illegal to resell at higher prices? ::wonders:: What about Non-transferable? Name on ticket must match for gate entry? ~This will be the first year it won’t be my own fault for not getting to go home. :( My self accountability hurts.

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  • ******* WHY ARE YOU **STILL** NOT LISTENING?!?!?!?!?! *********



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  • 14 years attending, participating, giving, feeding, loving, building art all year to share with all of the family on the Playa. Dealing with the confusingly super bad attitude of the “Core” burners and wondering why they would enjoy being so sour. Finding joy in the wide eyed wonder of the new born burner.
    What am I to think at this stage. Some of the camp has tickets, some, including my artist costume in camp sewing partner do not.
    and now those super bad attitude sour Core burners are going to get the majority of whats left and foist there burned out attitudes on the fresh faced newbies.
    whaaaa………Hope for a better Burn.

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  • THANK YOU For making a right choise. Let the universal vibrations of wisdom assist you in finding the answers. Look ahead and dont look back, but dont wait for things to sort itself out without involvement and effort. (you got this part) Looks like you are on the right way!

    One additional suggestion is to bring noobs (like me) and art camps who need volunteers on the event to a common forum online. Perhaps utilize Anybeat or somthing. The idea is to have a volunteer job board and encouradge participation of new burners.

    Thank you for awording tickets who make the even what it is! (it is awesome)

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  • BOOOOO!!!! That’s a horrible decision! So now Burning Man is a good old boys club! It’s not enough to buy a ticket? You have to have an in with one of the established camps? That was not a “tough” decision. You chose your friends over fairness.
    A tough decision would be to admit that this is royally fucked and that you should just call off the event entirely for 2012 and get your shit together for 2013.

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  • Good solution but the near perfect solution is to issue those already sold as non-transferrable. I can’t figure out why this in not an option now before they are mailed…BMorg must be affraid of getting sued….should have called lawers for burners. Scalpers win for now but Karma is a bitch. See you at Sharkey’s Bar if we get tickets or meet us in the parking lot at the Wal-Mart in Sparks and we will hold our own regional burn right on the spot.

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  • as part of an unregistered theme camp, it’s tough. We aren’t cool enough to know people from the BMORG, so where does that leave us? looking in from outside the perimeter. The spoon return will return another year i guess……

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  • I’m fine with all of this except the STEP program. I registered for 2 tickets in the main sale, and now am only eligible for 1 in STEP?!? What kind of f-d up logic is that?!?! Don’t get it, don’t agree with it.

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  • I have decided that I shall now refer to it this year as Elitist Man! Tough choices had to be made, yes I understand that, but selected preference to “key” people obviously brings up thoughts of an elite class at BM.

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  • I believe is clear that no everybody can get tickets, period!
    Now the demand is bigger than the amount of people the state of Nevada allows you.
    I suggest to go to the original way to sell tickets, it’s not your problem how people deal with that.
    If sells out, well we didn’t act fast enough.
    Believe me, camp people, mutant vehicles people will try early.
    Low income people, they have special sale doesn’t matter what.
    Think about it.
    I really believe that you shouldn’t make any changes to the original way of selling the tickets.
    Good luck.

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  • Sintine, that would NOT make it “illegal” at least not in California or Nevada. Scalping tickets in those states is not against the law at all, and a private party who puts that on their ticket doesn’t create a “crime”. It may create a contract between the ticket purchaser and the seller, which would permit the seller to cancel the purchaser’s rights because of breach of contract. Burning Man already has that term and condition in its “small print” when buying a ticket and in fact they have the right to cancel your ticket if you scalp and they find out and have enough evidence that they are willing to risk you suing them if they are wrong. Whether they will actually do that or not remains to be seen. Since the person BUYING the overpriced ticket is probably not likely to inform on their seller, there isn’t much you can do without identity-based ticketing (which of course is the only real solution to this mess despite what BMORG has been saying over and over again, they are just wrong on that one, sigh).

    But always keep in mind that “illegal” means a crime, and only the government can create a crime (by law) and prosecute it (by the police and D.A.s). Breaking the terms of a contract is almost NEVER a “crime” or “illegal”, it is just a breach of contract that permits the other party to sue you.

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  • A tough decision !!
    But probably the best one to preserve the integrity and Vital framework of the City .
    see you there if I can manage one on the secondary market :-)
    12YR vet and not giving up yet ;-)

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  • People, this is not “rampant elitism.” Its is reality. BM cannot exist, cannot function, without the core burners, camps, and vounteers. Period. it would be a disaster without those folks. This is really the only choice that makes sense for this year.

    Don’t you realize its not the scalpers who are the problem? they probably have on a few thousand between them all. its all the virgins. Period. Virgins cannot run Burning Man. Virgins are going to be busy staying coherant. They aren’t going to build art cars and infrastructure and art and watch out for others and be rangers.

    Yes, it is exclusion. but its necessary exclusion. they can’t take back the lottery tickets-because then the same 50,000 new Virgins will try to get those too. And its illegal. So this really is their only choice.

    It sucks, but it sucks a lot less now.

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  • how does one become part of the super cool club and get a ticket now? who are these inner circle illuminati and who decides these things? this is going to turn into a rubber stamp really quick….

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  • This would have been my 1st year at Burning Man if I had been awarded a ticket. I am bummed but at the same time was only attracted to going to BM for the art, the people, and the performers. I think the decision to give the tickets to the core groups is the best because that’s what the trip is about ( in my virgin eyes). I will say this, the reason BM is so over saturated this year is because of the huge EDM scene and the countless festivals that have been highly successful. Give it a few years and the hubub will slow down again. Most EDM kids are looking for bragging credits on which festivals they have attended. Burning Man is number 2 on everyones list ( for bragging) behind the Sensation concerts in Europe. So take it as a compliment and make it bigger next year or over a 2 week period like Cochella did this year. Good luck and I can’t wait to experience the burn ( even if it takes me a few years)

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  • Bass Donkey has the right idea. As egalitarian as we’d like to be ticket opportunities should be prioritized but with assurances that all will have some chance. Perhaps prioritized groups like:
    Membership in current theme camps, work groups and art projects.
    Past participation in theme camps, work groups, and art projects.
    Past attendance.
    Burning Man evolves. I have an image of an elastic inchworm, backend in the past and frontend stretching towards the future. If we allow too little of the new it stalls and stagnates. Too much of the new and the elastic inchworm stretches to its breaking point.

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  • It looked from the last update that this was the direction they were going, but I think it’s a very disappointing solution.

    In effect, the ORG is hand picking the “ENTERTAINMENT” – let the lobbying begin. That’s a VERY different philosophy from a “participant driven” event. Hopefully this is a hasty fix for 2012 only.

    In the demand is greater than supply era, Radical Inclusion doesn’t mean that anyone who wants a ticket can get one … but it must mean that anyone who wants a ticket has as good and fair a chance as anyone else.

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  • I know this is going to sound cynical, but the best thing burning man could have done was keep the open sale and just face the fact that the would be the worst burning man ever. Let all those virgins come to the desert realize they don’t belong there and we would never have a ticket problem ever again.

    Too all those people that think that 20,000 first timers “understand” or can get involved in such a way as to replicate a real burning man; What planet do you live on? 75% of those first timers are just ravers that are coming for sound camps that probably won’t be there.

    Virgins beware Burning Man has been cancelled this year. Don’t get too excited if you have your ticket.

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  • Well done on what must have been a very tough decision. Our camp was a theme camp for the first time last year, and were still figuring out exactly how best to contribute, so I assume we will not get many tickets as a camp, but…it’s a tough situation, and it makes sense. I trust it will all work out…

    I do echo the many others that it shouldn’t be too late to require non-transferable tickets this year. There have been several ideas about ways to do this — if it’s not possible for some legal reason, let us know, but otherwise, that would be the one last thing y’all could do to address concerns. Good luck, and thank you!

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  • “BURNINGMAN 2012:



    AND 40,000 RVs


    HAVE FUN!”

    I was thinking the same thing. Im bummed I didn’t make it last year. I hope the event can recover from this as I have yet to experience it.

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  • Why not two Burning Mans (Burning Men…?) next year? There’s the whole ‘there can only be one BM’ thing, but dozens of Burning Man variations happen all around the world to address an issue as practical as geographical limitations, surely a one-after-the-other Burning Man in BRC would do nothing other than address a practical issue like capacity?

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  • Wow, seriously? So let me get this straight, my husband and I do the right thing and just register once for two tickets and now even through the STEP process only I can get a ticket since he did not register for tickets as well? So all we have hope for is one ticket? Gee, thanks BM, we do the right thing and this is what we get. You have clearly demonstrated throughout this half assed process that the almighty dollar is the bottom line…you said it yourself, you are worried about ticket sales for 2013. Good thing all of the shiny new people can go this year. I am sure they will all be on board for next year too, good thing because we won’t. You clearly state you are concerned about the experience of all the newcomers. What about the people that go year after year and now can’t so you can make room for the newcomers and ensure they have a great experience? I realize this is nothing but a business decision for you but instead of taking care of the people that have made Burning Man what it is by attending every year you have essentially said “screw all of you, we have new people that are coming instead”. Good luck with that. We are done, after 7 years BM is no more for us. No matter what you do you will never make it what it was because it is gone now. You’re nothing but a for profit business. You think that hand picking the chosen few is really the answer? Wow, BM is worse than the most exclusive country club. Really glad we made it last year. 2011 will become the last great year of Burning Man. So sad it is over, fun while it lasted before the BORG destroyed it with one epically bad decision piled on an even worse decision. Nice job guys.

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  • Under the circumstances, I think this is the only way to partially salvage Burning Man for this year, before a major revamp of the ticketing system for next year. But, just ONE ticket per registered email?? I registered just once, for two tickets for me and my wife (burners since 1998). I’m not going to buy one ticket and leave her home (or stay home while she goes). Registered users who didn’t get a ticket should be able to buy TWO tickets.

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  • (sigh)
    OK, kudo’s for trying. Gotta honor the effort, the conscience and the intention. Trying to make the best of a bad situation is the human condition. We would feel this even more if we were OrgPlayer’s. Sadly, we’re not. We happily volunteer doing something Org-based every year. And we jump in whenever an opportunity presents. We love the dance. Apparently none of that now counts. Trying to make the best of a bad situation. Still …..

    * If somebody followed the guidelines and requested 2 tickets in the lottery they should win 2 tickets if they are lucky enough to win any other newly re-defined lottery later. (Unless of course the scalpers & the players are able to do business 2 tickets at a time. If a 1 ticket maximum is the only way to protect against scalpers so be it.)

    * While I admit I appreciate your effort to right a sinking ship – I too was concerned about the rendering of the fabric of the culture and how that might manifest @ Fertility 2.0 – I also question tinkering so cavalierly with the fundamental principles. BM is what it is. That’s what makes it BM. Isn’t that part of the mystery if not the magic? Or are the principles only guidelines? (to quote Capt Jack Sparrow) I wonder what might have become if the process was allowed to run its course? Yeah, it probably would have been different. But isn’t that what BM is? Are we now trying to hold on to something of the past? Evolution works in interesting (and often dumbfounding) ways. I wonder what might have been. OK, yeah, 2012 might have been an aberration. Evolution is full of aberrations. That’s how it works. Duh! Can’t help but think BM is now grasping to hold on to the past. Woulda been better to ride the wave and see what happens.

    Still, I appreciate your efforts at damage control. That too is part of organic process. Should be interesting.


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  • @Thomas, yes I agree that a $12 fee for Will Call seems excessive, especially since everyone usually makes Will Call their “zero” price option since it involved the least advance work (although it does take work too). Personally, I think tickets should always be priced to include the base costs of delivery at some low-cost approach (my theater never charged for Will Call because that didn’t cost us “anything” except to have someone at the box office on the night of the show, everything else cost us processing time and fees for mailing, etc.) Plus, the $12 fee for Will Call IS refundable, it is only the processing/handling charges per ticket that aren’t (because Burning Man has to pay those fees even if the ticket is refunded or exchanged). Burning Man may even have to pay an ADDITIONAL fee on a refund, because there is a fee for that too paid to the banks. Yup, they charge you for buying AND for refunding LOL.

    I also have been saying for several weeks since this all happened that the only reasonable solution is to require id for ALL tickets sold this year, and to offer full refunds to anyone who doesn’t want to register their ID for their tickets (probably even the processing fees to completely avoid a lawsuit, although the terms and conditions permit Burning Man to pretty much do anything they want, EVEN CANCEL THE ENTIRE EVENT AND NOT REFUND ANY MONEY!!! YUP that is in the terms and conditions, they have the right to do that if they need to, although I expect there would be a HUGE class action lawsuit in that case regardless of their terms and conditions).

    I also concurred with several other posts that they should permit any ONE person who bought a group of tickets (i.e., 4 in the pre-sale or 2 in the lottery) to register their ID and to have their other ticket linked to the registered one as long as both tickets arrive on playa at the same time with the registered person showing the proper id (I actually like the idea of registering a picture of the person into a database even better… along with their ID so at the gate you just pop up the picture that is linked with the ticket and that better be the person who is showing up.)

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  • While 2012 will be “different” to say the least, I’m glad there is already planning going forward for 2013 and beyond. The Burning Man phenomenon will only grow and gain momentum so I’m glad there will be some foresight to solve the supply/demand problems so everyone can experience BM in the future.

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  • STEP “tickets will be one per person…, will be non-transferable, and held at Will Call.” Flawed on 2 serious counts.

    1. Apparently ONLY tickets bought via STEP will be non-transferable, and held at Will Call. Why? Explain your rationale for punishing the few who end up with tickets via STEP. Tickets bought for the highest price in the Pre-sale and via the Main Sale are all transferable. (You are welcome, scalpers.) Yet anyone can have an EMERGENCY or a relative last minute INABILITY TO GO. But ONLY those who purchase via STEP will thereby lose their $ and be unable to transfer the ticket to a friend. Besides which, that TICKET WILL GO UNUSED, sitting at Will Call for nobody. Institute an ability to change the name under which the ticket is being held, as it has been in prior years.

    No tickets have been sent out. Either they should all be transferable or all not (apparently you have the capability to make them non-transferable). Any other way is discriminatory to those using STEP, making them the only ones who must be absolutely certain RIGHT NOW that they can go in August, or lose their $.

    2. Those who registered with one card for two actual people, honest Burners who did not game the system, will only be eligible for 1 ticket. Which means they will not go. Nor will they likely try via STEP for 1 ticket, hoping to get another for their partner somehow, especially if #1 above (non-transferability) remains. Because if they never get a 2d ticket, and therefore choose not to go without their partner, they still could not re-introduce the one ticket they got via STEP to others, AND would lose their $. Punishing the followers of the core principles. It is fairer/ better for the system to let those who registered for 2 to still get 2 in STEP.

    3. You state that STEP will start of Feb. 29 and will be first come, first served as to registration and getting in line for tickets. (So we are back to the old system in this limited forum… irony) You fail to mention what time on Feb. 29 that registration will open. Since it is first-come, first served, it seems like that is an important detail to know.

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  • Congratulations to BMOG for making a tough decision that can keep the major camps and art projects intact. Now its up to those of us who got tickets to seek out a camp and volunteer and contribute if we don’t already have a commitment. I know when I went to my first burn in 1999 that I felt pretty nervous approaching an existing camp and asking to be part of it. But it was my best burn and taught me a lot about radical inclusion. I hope that BMOG makes inclusion of new burners a major priority once the current theme camp ticket distribution is complete.

    At first when I realized that thousands of burners would not be on the playa this year I considered selling my 2 tickets. But not now. I plan to seriously contribute to life on the playa.

    For those that didn`t get tickets there has got to be some way to include them — live video links and an opportunity to have another burner put their messages in the temple would be a cool way to expand the circle beyond the physical boundaries of BRC.

    In the meantime I intend to practice gratitude.

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  • Also! Way to keep changing the fucking rules. You suck!
    FUCK! I’m pissed about this.
    And what get’s me even more angry are all the smug “veterans” who are all sitting on their hands right now saying, “well, this is the right decision. We must protect the core burners.” So is this really the future of Burning Man? In order to participate, you have to work your way into somebody else’s artistic expression??? Bullshit! Not only is the principal of of radical inclusion “evolving”, It seems as though the principal of radical self expression is on it’s way out the window too.
    Good luck to all you virgins who are going out there this year. I really do hope you have an AWESOME time. But, I really would hate to be you and have to deal with all the shit you’re going to be getting from the “Core Elite”.

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  • Last year, we were all part of a larger theme camp on the Esplanade, so it’s not like we were never part of some “essential camp”. But we wanted to keep things simple this year and strike out on our own.

    This year, my family (me, my partner, and my little sister) were planning on debuting our tiny little spa camp and contribute our part, our way, on the playa. Just a wee little theme camp with the three of us, with nice smelling things and our bedouin tent. My kid sister is too poor to have entered the main sale anyway, and even if she managed to get a low-income ticket out of what is sure to be a mad rush, she wouldn’t be able to go anyway because me and my partner are now locked out.

    We’ll see you all next year. :-(

    PS. @ “DUB STEP” program…. Lol, LOVE IT.

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  • Add on to my previous post: but the registration idea doesn’t help matters if indeed (as BMORG contends) the large majority of the over-subscription went to newbies who REALLY intend to go to burning man. Those newbies will register their tickets and they will go. Or if they decide to back out, they will sell their tickets back to STEP and that will help resolve the shortage.

    The only thing the registration does is step on the scalpers. If you believe there are really far more scalpers out there holding tickets than BM wants to believe, then this is the best solution. If you don’t, then there IS NO SOLUTION, it is just a bad situation for long-time burners who got burned.

    As one who has gone 6 times in the past 10 years (’02, ’03, ’07, ’09, ’10 and ’11) I have (as you can see) missed several burns, so I know that life doesn’t end by not being on the playa. ’08 was especially a tough one, because my ex-spouse and I were supposed to go that year for the first time since ’03 (she was very sick in ’07 and I went with a male then-friend) and we broke up in ’08 just before burning man when she decided to leave me for said former friend. We had all planned to go together in ’08 and needless to say that didn’t happen. None of us went. Yet, still life went on, and I got home in ’09 and putting the remains of my previous relationship into the temple helped me to heal.

    I plan on being there in ’12 as a DMV volunteer from last year and again this year, so my ticket is already handled. I had hoped for an extra ticket for a potential partner, but I don’t have one right now, so not getting a ticket wasn’t a disaster and I am hopeful that if I need a ticket in July or August for someone, they will be available, although I may have to pay a premium. BTW although I would NEVER charge a premium for selling my tickets and I never have (I sold tickets in ’04, ’05 and ’06 all years we planned to go and couldn’t), I am NOT so wedded to “principals” that I would refuse to BUY a ticket at a premium if I could afford it and if I needed it and if I could be assured that it was legit (other than the price). Why? Because what would that accomplish? I wouldn’t be able to go (or my friend wouldn’t) and someone else would pay the premium. That doesn’t solve anything. Yes, I know people will say that if EVERYONE refuses, the scalpers lose, and that’s true, but not everyone WILL refuse, and so in the end, the people who are willing to buy at a premium get to go. Its not a great thing, but it is reality.

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  • Last year I celebrated my lucky 13th year at Burningman. Our first camp constisted of a giant plexiglass holographic star on a c-stand and grew to include a geo-mushroom dome, teepee, a yellow submarine and blue meanie art cars, and a circus of Aerial performances on silk and trapeze. Our troupe is still hoping for a ticket miracle, but if not, I feel blessed for the years of magic the playa has provided me. Thanks for trying to hold it together and showing us grace under pressure.

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  • I registered for two tickets (one for my wife and one for me). My wife and I have been attending Burning Man for 7 years and view it as a way to recconnect in our relationship. I only registered for what I needed. Now we are being penalized for not trying to cheating the system. Is BMORG purposely trying to make the event exclusive and reward the scalpers and cheaters! It seems BMORG is constantly making decisions in a vaccum and can’t seem to consider the ramifications of it decisions. I agree with the decision to distribute the 10,000 tickets to the core groups, but why take away any chance of couples attending the event this year?

    Make people submit applications for the STEP tickets. We have date stamped pics from all 7 years that prove we are dedicated Burners that have been and want to continue to be part of the community.

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  • By the way, I don’t think that tickets bought through STEP will be nonrefundable through STEP. They just can’t be sold to anyone else or gifted. So if you buy through STEP and then can’t go, I expect they will let you sell back your ticket (why wouldn’t they, they will have hundreds, possibly thousands of people waiting for a STEP ticket even at the last minute). So I think people are misunderstanding this.

    What you CAN’T do is sell the ticket or transfer it to someone else yourself. That is reasonable, it is what should be in place for ALL tickets. RIGHT NOW.

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  • Wow…so I was all for this (as much as one can be at this point) until I read the part about STEP where only people who registered and lost the lotto can register (ok, great idea) and that the tickets are non-transferrable…THERE ARE PEOPLE OUT HERE WHO REGISTERED FOR TWO PEOPLE BECAUSE THERE ARE ACTUALLY TWO PEOPLE IN NEED OF TICKETS AND THE OTHER WASN’T ABLE TO REGISTER FOR FINANCIAL REASONS….SO NOW ONE OF US IS SHIT OUT OF LUCK SINCE ONE CAN’T REGISTER FOR STEP AND TICKETS AREN’T TRANSFERRABLE. Good one guys.

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  • I can accept the remaining 10,000 tickets to go to (re)build BRC … 10,000 tickets SHOULD have been sold to core contributors / offered to those who submitted plans FIRST. But, too late till next year.

    OUTSTANDING that the “restocking” fee is no longer a road block. BUT, offering them only to people who entered the main sale will promote scalping since that market is open to everyone for any amount of tickets they can find/afford. IF NOTHING ELSE AND FOR THE SAKE OF LOVING BURNER COUPLES, AT LEAST allow people to buy up to as many tickets as they originally put in for during the lotto!!! (I put in for one ticket btw)

    Making tickets non-transferable seems like it could work. HOWEVER, it eliminates gifting tickets and legitimate transfers between friends. Ultimately taking the distribution of tickets out of the hands of the people even more. Taking the power away from scalpers is important, but is it worth preventing transfers between friends? Not only does it remove a certain element of fate, it is also reminiscent the actions of the US government striping our civil liberties to defend against terrorism.

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  • Yep, keep it in mind folks, the long term fully pledged burners that have been supporting this event for years are the ones that did not try and ‘game’ the lottery system. That said good luck to all! 7 of our large and theme camps are pulling chalks this and will sitting this one out. I hope it’s not going to be a skeleton of an event this year, we require core folks to make this happen. We’ll wait for the Borg to get it together for next year (hopefully we see a well thought out 180 turn around) instead of this patchwork of solutions this year. Hopefully see you all in 2013!!!

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  • My 2¢: Burning Man is something I would very much like to do, but something I’ve never done, and I’m unlikely to be able to go in 2012 even if tickets are available. So I don’t have a dog in this years’ fight. However, please know that what draws me to Burning Man is not being in the desert for a week; I can do that by myself. What draws me is the idea of the community, and for that community to have continuity, it is necessary that a strong majority of the folks who are there are people who have been there before.

    I therefore recommend that in 2013, you make most of the tickets (like 80%) available only to people who have been before, print names on the tickets, and require ID. You could even give preference in accordance with how many burns a person has participated in. Even though this would decrease my own ability to go, I think it would improve the authenticity of the experience for everyone who was able to attend.

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  • Oh c’mon L! ROTFLMAO!

    “Reminiscent the actions of the US government striping our civil liberties to defend against terrorism”???

    It’s a freakin’ party out in the middle of the desert for crying out loud!!! It hardly manages to reach the scale of governmental intrusion on civil liberties!

    And while I agree that it creates a slight hardship for people who want to gift a ticket, there is a greater good, which is making sure that people can’t profiteer off the event. In the future, a gifting program could be made to work (you have to provide the name of the person who will receive the gift in advance when you purchase). But we can’t have it all ways. If we want free movement of tickets, we end up with people who will take advantage of the community and even make it almost impossible to hold the event. In the end, the event has to “win” or there is no reason. As someone else said quoting the computer Joshua from the movie War Game: “Interesting game… the only way to win is to not play.” Unfortunately, in the real world, that is just not an alternative.

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  • Glad to see the 10,000 go to volunteers and participants above others.

    Pissed off beyond words that lottery losers are only allowed to get one ticket through STEP.

    Add me and my partner to the list of people who followed the rules, registered for exactly two tickets on one credit card, and are now screwed because we listened to BM organizers and followed the rules. Even if we get one ticket on STEP, we can’t get two (if I am reading this right). One won’t go without the other, and the one we do get is non-transferable so we can’t put it back on STEP if we don’t score a second through friends (who only have an extra because they *didn’t* play fair)?

    I tried to do what you asked. Now I am going to register for STEP and have to buy the second ticket through a non-STEP system. And next year you can bet — if I am not too pissed off to attend — that I will do everything I can think of to cheat the system.

    It’s basic: don’t punish people who follow the rules; punish people who don’t. The least you could do is allow people who registered for 2 and got 0 to register for 2 through STEP. If I still didn’t get tickets after that I would be sad, but it would at least be fair.

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  • I CAN’T BELIEVE that no one in the org realized that the raffle was only going to drive up demand. Scalpers are merely a symptom, and will remain a problem until there is some kind of ID link. With tickets being transferable, and only in limited amounts, it’s difficult to blame any (non scalping) burner for grabbing more than they need…

    . I agree with everyone about the STEP program, that just doesn’t seem fair. Changing the policy in midstream was really bad form.

    I don’t think it was ever going to be possible to keep Burning Man the way it was. Things that get this big always change. You can build a city, but can’t control who lives there… Giving the last 10,000 tickets to established camps seems like a hedge against an inevitable sea change in clientele, and also flies in the face of “radical inclusion” . Again they have changed policies in midstream, and this makes trusting what they say harder to do . Next year there is going to be even more of a barrage, so I hope the ORG has a much better plan. Sad to not be going this year, but sadder that this could have EASILY been avoided.

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  • If the LLC really believes in keeping tickets from being commoditized and implements policies (STEP) that depend on face-value ticket sales to be effective, it is their responsibility to make that happen. The only feasible way to do that is to require names on tickets, or register a picture to each ticket as some people have been suggesting. In today’s day of cheap and powerful technology, it’d be dead easy to set up a database for the gate people to use. You’d have no trouble finding volunteers to code it, and for a few thousand dollars total you could equip every lane at the gate with a cheap netbook / Android tablet or something equivalent. A drop in the bucket considering the tens of millions of dollars the LLC just made in the main sale, and you could verify someone’s ticket in just a few seconds.

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  • One last thought before I go to bed… You can still go camping OITD without buying even a single ticket to Burning Man. Many people from my group do it every Fourth of JuPlaya (as it is commonly called). Last year over 1,000 people showed up, including several major villages with their stages and bars (just like Burning Man) and a number of large art cars including one of the big ships. It was pretty fuckin’ awesome and unlike Burning Man, we could drive anywhere and use the hot springs… Oh right, I’m not supposed to say anything about this on a public forum because a lot more people will show up… Well, honestly I think they SHOULD show up if they really want to go. It is REAL radical self-reliance. There isn’t even any ice or porto-potties, so be prepared with a lot of jugs to haul the pee and poop out, and bring either enough dry ice or be ready to go and drive to Fernley when you need to (a REALLY long drive!)

    And what I have been thinking of is that there is NOTHING that prevents anyone from camping out there even during the week of Burning Man as long as you are far enough away from the perimeter of the event. So it is possible (probably even likely) that there will be quite a few “villages” that pull up stakes from the main event but put down stakes a mile away (the playa is pretty damn big, remember, Burning Man only covers about 2% of its surface). And they won’t pay a thing for the privilege, because the Black Rock Desert is open camping with no fees (except for an “event” like Burning Man).

    See you all out in the dust…. Somewhere!

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  • “The Burning Man Festival decreased fairy shrimp egg abundance in Black Rock City roads and camping areas but had little effect on water flea egg abundance Approximately 30 percent fewer fairy shrimp eggs were found in Black Rock
    City roads following the Festival, and approximately 50 percent fewer
    fairy shrimp eggs were found in camping areas following the Festival.
    Although there were differences in egg abundance before and following
    the Festival, the differences were statistically significant only for eggs in
    camp areas. Differences in water flea egg abundance before and following
    the Festival were minor in camp areas and roads”. (Adams and Sada, 2010)
    And I thought I had problems! Good thing fairy shrimp are fecund and ready to role into this year’s theme!

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  • This is another comment restating some of the comments I have read. We too only registered for 2 tickets one for the hubby and I. We didn’t have our relatives & friends register for us & now we can only buy one ticket. Splitting couples…..? Why only one ticket? We should have access to 2 tix! We need to return to the playa together to make our rainbow!!! Dear universe please send us to the playa together!

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  • WOW……..BM you have really screwed this years event up…….WHO thought up this fiasco……..I wouldn’t listen to them again……1 ticket……per person if your lucky to be registered…….what were you thinking……..2 I can see, it’s that type of event……..very sad!!!!!!!!

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  • My husband and I are out of luck as well, as I only applied for the 2 tickets we needed. Although we participate in many ways, we are not an integral part of a theme camp. As much as we love Burning Man and are saddened by this whole turn of events, we’ve come to peace with the fact that we probably won’t make it home this year. I think the BMORG made the right decision in allowing those who were lucky enough to get tickets the chance to experience as much of the culture as possible, considering the circumstances.

    We have abandoned any plans to try to purchase tickets. However, we are looking on the bright side and have decided to plan a honeymoon! We’d been putting it off because of the Burn. Now, instead of chasing tickets that would make 2 other deserving Burners extremely happy, we will use the time and money to do some traveling together this year. It’s a win-win, and we will certainly be back home in all our dusty glory in 2013.

    Good luck to all in your quest for tickets!!

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  • Good lord people. Chill. The unbridled anger on display by some of the commenters here is shameful. I did not get tickets, I agree the system failed, the solution is imperfect, etc., but if there is this much anger from people who call or want to consider themselves burners, I’m not sure if I’d want you there if I was going. It’s an event that happens every year. This isn’t like being told you can’t see your son being born or your daughter getting married. Those are once (well maybe twice) in a lifetime events. Seriously. Please chill. And peace to you all.

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  • With names on the tickets, you could have the named person with the tickets bring anyone they want through gate with their other ticket. Most scalpers aren’t going to want to come through gate with the people they sold to. Anyone who couldn’t agree could cancel and get a refund.

    Believing that newbies have more tickets than profiteers seems like fantasy to me.

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  • Easy there Jooky, everyone is welcome to speak their ideas and frustrations and emotions too, we are humans with emotions, and when we get hooked on something we really like getting involved with, well, yep, it does cut to the core for a lot of folks. This is an open forum for all, say it loud and however you want.

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  • When I first went to BM in 1998 there were very few “veterans”. We camped with a few other folks in a loose camp that since has became one of the biggest on the Playa. But then, BM was raw, real and magical.

    How many members of the establishment are required to maintain “community”? For my village, maybe a dozen. Or the same number as get early entry passes. Not 10,000. Especially considering the thousands of passess already set aside for the project and infrastructure staffs. Get new volunteers each year. And maintain the newness. Instead of the same camps in the same places, many entrenched and frankly not welcoming to outsiders. With their generators, showers, RV corrals, growing larger and more exclusive each year.

    A question about the sound camps. My understanding is they aren’t supported by BM. Will they also get ticket set asides like other camps?- its only fair. But as much as I love the music on playa and party with many of the crews in the default world, it wouldn’t hurt to have some turnover- just like theme camps in general. If anything, guarranteeing existing camps just encourages ossification. What would have happened to newbies like the crew that built the “belgian waffle” some years ago? Sorry, you’re not regulars.

    Setaside extremely limited tickets for theme camps in equal numbers as the early passes. Guarrantee limited tickets to art projects /mutant vehicles. Make them find new volunteers each year. Yes, that means newbies. Keep Burning Man radically inclusive, not an enclave for the establishment.

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  • When approached by friends with an idea to register for more tickets than we needed in order to increase our chances, we declined. We needed 2 tickets, we applied for 2 tickets, and we said we’ll go with what the universe provides. It seems that the universe is telling us not to go to burning man this year.

    I hope others will have the same response, rather than buying from scalpers. I can’t help but wonder about the people who DO buy from scalpers, and bring that energy to the playa… I wonder if the landscape is doomed to be trashed… literally. We won’t be there to pick it up as we have in years past. I hope those who go in our place will.

    Most of all I hope that all who need a home to return to, are able to go home, and that it feels like home when you get there. Sending much love to you all.

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  • You guys have to read Atlas Unshrugged. It is the most read book, excepting the bible, in the history of the world.

    This is a replica of that event described in the book, a bureaucracy mad on power and control, with only the best intentions in mind. Manipulate and control. What fun it will be for those in control now to sit down and decide who shall go and who shall not.

    But wait, the evil that they were so resolute in resolving from taking all this control over the distribution of tickets can only be imagined now. Scalpers in the drivers seat from here on in.

    The aspiration of living, if just for a week, in a world that is not confined to the worldly dictates of survival has been shattered, probably for good. Now it can truly become a nice place to view art and party on.

    We live in America where competition is worshipped. Is there any one willing or capable of starting an event to compete with this one so we can jump ship and vote on this with our feet?

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  • DavdH:
    “And what get’s me even more angry are all the smug ‘veterans’ who are all sitting on their hands right now saying, ‘well, this is the right decision. We must protect the core burners.’ So is this really the future of Burning Man? In order to participate, you have to work your way into somebody else’s artistic expression??? Bullshit! Not only is the principal of of radical inclusion “evolving”, It seems as though the principal of radical self expression is on it’s way out the window too.”

    No truer words have ever been uttered.

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  • I just wanted to add to the comments about STEP only making one ticket available per registrant. I registered for two tickets for my fiance and I, so he did not register. Unless there’s another way to get a ticket that I’m missing, if we get lucky through STEP, we’ll just have one ticket for the two of us. Doesn’t make sense…

    I am pleased to hear about the directed ticket distribution. I’ve never been to Burning Man before, and I wouldn’t want my first time to be with a bunch of other first-timers floundering around. We need the veterans showing us what it’s all about! :-)

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  • Like many have already stated I too only requested 2 tickets in the lottery for my camp mate and I, and she did not enter the lottery like others we only request what we needed rather than attempting to cheat the system. Even if my number comes up in STEP, I’ll only be able to buy one ticket. This just rewards all those who tried to work the system and entered the lottery multiple times and the honest people again won’t have the opportunity to buy the number of tickets that they need. In Marian Goodell’s update she stated that they are still looking at community feedback. Tonight an update was posted that Burning Man LLC will look at if they can change the 1 ticket only in the STEP program there has been a lot of talk about “fair” (I so hate that word) but to panelize those of us that did the right thing the first time around does not seem right how does allowing registered people sign up for 2 tickets through STEP effect what Marian said “this decision was reached with a significant number of dependent variables and won’t be easy to change.” Tickets will be non-transferable and can only be held at Will Call this should element a great number of the “scalpers” because they will not have a name for the ticket. (I am not naïve to think some will get around this but it will take more effort). Please rethink only one ticket through STEP now that the open sale has been canceled.

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  • Our two camps will be sitting this one out till next year. BMORG
    has made the difficult decision not to go an easy one- by now offering
    exclusive tickets to a handpicked group going to a ‘radically inclusive’ event.
    Now… what should we spend that $10,000 that we all saved for tickets on?

    One thing that i have not seen here, is a lottery process used by ticketing
    agents in which you enter a lottery initially to get (something like) a wristband,
    which then gives you the ability to get in queue for a non-transferable ticket. Excellent
    filtering process…

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  • My wife and I want to go again. I applied for both of us, two tickets. We didn’t win. STEP gives us the option to get one ticket.

    Think my wife will let me go alone?

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  • I’ve been reviewing the Farmers Almanac and the Mayan Calendar. From what I’ve referenced its predicted to be a hell of a hot and dusty year for 2012.

    Good luck out there.

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  • as a previous Burner of several years – is impressed, given the latest JRS newsletter and the abysmal failure of this year’s ticket lottery, that the BORG is still holding onto the fantasy of “Radical Inclusion” as a tenet of Burning Man . . . y’all have messed up basic ticket sales that enable access to those of us Burners who really want to be there (and aren’t connected to the Powers-That-Be and/or a Big Fancy Theme Camp), and now that that pooch has been screwed, you’re focusing the remaining tickets on the Burning Man insiders (i.e., the popular Theme Camps and party people who are Friends of the BORG).

    Great job and nice way to stick it to us just plain schmoe Burners.

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  • whelp. here we go again. please pass the popcorn. great show this has been so far, can’t wait until the next scene. it now seems as though first camp has become first camps. hope they have some good walls with barbed-wire. How in the world can you decide which camps are more valuable and deserving than others? How can you change the system in the middle of the process and make it one where elite-ness is the way. Completely goes against the true spirit of the event. 100%. It is in my opinion disgusting. Once this process began it should have been followed through with and the consequences should have played out. Now there are going to be people who are deemed more worthy by some supposedly “transparent” process which will not be transparent in the least. People who played by the rules are being punished even further(although i doubt if there will be more then a few hundred, if that tickets through the step program) now all hope is lost for those that participate but not in a bmorg recognized way. what about that camp that plays retro music all week, but isn’t registered. what about that small bar that is packed all week but just sets up and isn’t on the radar. before you announced that you were giving 10,000 tickets to those you deem worthy, i would accept that they wouldn’t be there or they might be there. now however you are saying that they aren’t worthy. maybe they could have gotten tickets in the 10.000 gen sale that you said was going to happen maybe not. now there is no way. I am so glad that there are regional events that aren’t tied to this elitism. I know i won’t be back to BRC until this elitism reward system is gone, or maybe not at all. wow. i never thought i would be saying that. BM is now something that you can’t plan on going to until June. If you want to put together a camp, most likely you will have to do it with strangers. Infrastructure can’t be bought over many years. there are so many things that have changed. If you want to have a big camp you have to pay for it up front which now makes it ok if you have $$$. It really has become something different. I guess i have to let go, and keep on flying with the spirit all over this country and not in that dusty desert. seriously people get involved regionally the core values are still alive and well there, they seem to be slipping at the big burn!

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  • Since my wife and I played fair and only registered once for the lottery there is no way for us both to get a ticket through STEP?

    So much for Burning Man 2012. Next year we will cheat I guess.

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  • This seems like the best move in terms of getting known theme camp participants to the playa. The NEXT move AFTER that, IMHO, is to now put names on the 40,000 tickets that were sold via the lottery to nail the scalpers and open up those tix to burners new and old. Give everyone who won the lottery the next 3 weeks to register a DIFFERENT NAME FOR EACH TICKET THEY RECEIVED, to be double checked with an ID at the gate. Everyone who is unable to do so is entitled to a refund. Otherwise, tough noogies for the scalper parasites! This is the best way (given a screwed up situation that the BMorg is now doing its best to solve *thanks guys, no matter what some haters say, you f’ing ROCK and there wouldn’t BE any BM if not for your efforts*) to proceed, if you were to ask the PlayaBee! Buzzing of now….. ;)

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  • I am utterly dumfounded as to why non-transferrable tickets is not being implemented this year. Losing gifting and a little more hassle at the gate is a small price to pay to get a back all of the scalped & hoarded tickets to the rest of us who have build the city in past years.


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  • Is there a way to only resell STEP tickets to past Burners? Or must you have an “insider” in BMORG in order to get tickets? There are probably a lot people who camp / participate with Theme Camps that may not be considered “vital” to the BMORG who are still out tickets.

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  • I see lots of complaining about the couples situation (rightly so), but few solutions being presented.

    Here’s my suggestion: Convert everything to name based, and for those who ordered two tickets they both have to show up at the gate in the same vehicle and one of them has to have name used to order the ticket.

    Oh, and the list of the 10k people who receive tickets because they are special needs to be transparently published, even though it will result in more grumbling fuel.

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  • DavdH:
    “And what get’s me even more angry are all the smug ‘veterans’ who are all sitting on their hands right now saying, ‘well, this is the right decision. We must protect the core burners.’ So is this really the future of Burning Man? In order to participate, you have to work your way into somebody else’s artistic expression??? Bullshit! Not only is the principal of of radical inclusion “evolving”, It seems as though the principal of radical self expression is on it’s way out the window too.”


    Last year was my first time on the playa. I’m glad I got to experience the burn before all this shit hit the fan. I feel like my unregistered theme camp of about 35 had a lot to offer the community and now feel like we are shot down because we are not part of the “core group”

    Who’s to say which burner/camp/art etc… is more entitled, or make the burn better? Whoever is given this task, have fun choosing your elite group of the “core fabric of burning man”

    At first I was mad, then I had a small glimmer of hope for the open sale, and now my heart has been crushed into a million pieces. I don’t even know if I want to go this year….. or ever again.

    NON TRANSFERRABLE TICKETS WITH REGISTERED NAMES!!! If you have to pay a large cost to make this happen you deserve to.

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  • I didn’t get a ticket, and I am willing to get a ticket through STEP. However, I was also told there is a possibility that I might get a ticket for performing at an art project. I suppose that’s probably holding my breath at this point, but if the STEP tickets are non-transferable, what if I end up getting a ticket through the other avenue? I would love to be able to hook a friend up but its non-transferable.

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  • It was smart to not mail the tickets out right away, so that changes can be made like going name based. I haven’t heard anyone saying that name based is a bad idea, and the only argument against it is the logistical hassle for BMORG, but that pales in comparison with, well, every alternative.

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  • “Only registrants who did not get tickets in the Main Sale will be eligible to register for tickets through STEP”

    Radical inclusion my ass! I wasn’t even a nay-sayer; I defended the actions as a natural response to scarcity. But there’s absolutely no reason to restrict access to the STEP to only those who entered the lottery.

    What about people who pooled their money together on one lottery entry? What about people who trusted y’all when you said that we’d have an open crack at tickets after the lottery?

    Good luck on finding a new site for the event, that’s the only reality I’m behind. It’s devastating to read that a bunch of people will be assessing adherence to the ten principles, in clear violation of them. You say your understanding of inclusion has evolved, but that’s purely Orwellian.

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  • If I were a management consultant advising a for-profit company, this is exactly the solution I would have proposed. Least chance of getting sued, takes care of your customers that are the most profitable (theme camp participants), ensures the people you know well won’t be pissed. Very corporate America. Very sad.

    Clearly solving the “theme camp” problem was important and solving the scalper problem wasn’t.

    The one ticket per step participant is perhaps the most brutally unfair Part of this whole thing, although with fully transferable tickets, it seems clear that very few tickets will make it into STEP.

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  • More than 4000 people signed an online petition for non transferable tickets. I’ve only seen one person out of 100s of posts say they need transferable tickets so they can gift a ticket.

    Solution for gifted tickets: allow a person who purchased two tickets to assign the same name to two tickets, and require them to enter the event with their gift recipient.

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  • Can we get past “gifting” as a reason for not putting names on tickets? Give your lucky friend $400 and let them purchase their gift for the sake of the event.

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  • This would have been my first time and I didn’t get a ticket – very disappointed, but I understand the solution. I was expecting something along that line, but was hoping you might do 5000 for camps and the rest to people who registered for first round.

    Anyway, the one thing missing from your post is an explanation of other possible solutions you considered, and why they were disqualified. This will avoid the feeling that you are ignoring some suggestion (which I expect you aren’t, but would be nice to have it mentioned clearly).

    Like having all tickets named immediately – which might get some more tickets NOW to people instead of having everyone wait till the very last minute for scalpers to make a fortune. I am very eager to go, and willing to pay more than list price, and it won’t be easy to avoid the temptation to buy from scalpers. And even harder if I know that they will simply go to someone else who didn’t resist the temptation. Avoid this temptation by squashing the scalpers, otherwise it is quite clear there won’t be a single ticket in the STEP system. This is the main point you totally ignored, and it is not clear why.

    Another point that many people raised: If I registered for 2 tickets (for my brother and me), then I can only hope to get one? It seems like I should be allowed to try for 2 as long as I can give a specific name per ticket (which means I will not just be ordering extra tickets). If you do it this way then obviously more couples will lose out entirely but those who go will go with their intended partner – seems reasonable to me. I don’t see the point of breaking up couples in favor of having more individuals go (or am I missing a hidden motive to get singles).

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  • This is really really heartbreaking. Utterly. My Husband and I only registered under one name.. Because, well the rules even stated something about same house hold registering..

    So now we can only hope for one. We both really want to go back home. Last yr was the 1st yr for my husband.. And he absolutely shined out there. I will be going on my 3rd… It’s felt like home ever since I hit the dirt in 2010.

    I feel like crying.

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  • Too little too late. The fabric is ruined and it’ll be ruined for years to come. Shut out burners will find other interests now that long time camps have been disbanded. Many of us have decided to boycott not only the scalpers but the search for remaining tickets so the organization feels the full impact of loosing its soul. This year will not be burning man. This year will be a extreamly large group of scattered, clueless, misinformed newbies looking for a party. Word to the wise… Hire more cops. When you fail miserably well be watchin and rejoicing. Get it right next year.

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  • I applaud the Org for trying to do the best they can while facing a horrible situation with no perfect solutions. I’m certain that none of you have had much sleep of late and that tensions are high. I commend you for your efforts. I think some of what you have done makes good sense. I also believe that some of it does not.

    First, as to cancelling the remaining open sale and directing those tickets to core participants through long time groups, I applaud your decision. I believe that – while not everyone will agree – it was a gutsy, difficult and ultimately necessary call. It will help.

    I know that there are shouts of “elitism” and “cronyism” flying about which, while understandable, are simply short sighted. The very social fabric of our community is in jeopardy here. Without the core participants who provide the art and music and art cars and theme camps, Burning Man could be reduced to just another (all be it bigger) desert camping trip. And don’t forget there is a significant danger element out there as well. (Yes, I know, safety third!… You could DIE… etc, etc…) But pragmatically, if we all head out to the Playa and 40-50% of the participants are unfamiliar with and/or unprepared for what it takes to survive a bad patch of weather, and we have the winds of 2000, or the cold and rain of 2001, or the extended white outs of 2008, things could go sideways very quickly. A LOT of people could get hurt and the event would be finished. Making sure there are a sufficient number of core participants who are familiar with survival techniques and can help out the newbies helps alleviate that risk.

    So on that point, I say well done!

    Second, I think that Marian’s statement later in the blog (2/15 7:22pm) that they continue to evaluate the possibility of linking tickets to IDs holds real promise. I continue to believe (and I’m not alone) that linking tickets to names and making them transferrable only through STEP is the ONLY way to eliminate the scalper problem. (I think the Org’s restricting STEP tickets that way is a tacit acknowledgment of that fact.) I hope – sincerely – that you decide to implement that for all the tickets. It’s the only way (especially in light of my final contention below) to get the tickets out of scalpers’ hands.

    Third; I think that linking STEP tickets to names, making them non-transferrable and will call only, is an excellent call. There are some who – correctly – believe that scalpers will be in line for STEP tickets too. It seems clear that of only 25-30% (assuming your numbers are correct) of core participants got tickets, then only 25-30% of scalper requests were also granted which leaves a significant number of them already in line. But if they can’t resell them, they won’t buy them! It will be very interesting to see how many of the people offered a chance to purchase name-linked, non-refundable, will call only tickets don’t buy them. Certainly, there will be some burners who – for whatever reason – have decided not to go this year even if offered a ticket. But I predict that – if there are any significant numbers available – a large number will not purchase and that will be the best evidence yet of the percentage grabbed up by scalpers.

    Finally, I am very disturbed by – and absolutely against – the decision to only allow single tickets to be purchased through STEP. By not listening to our community, you went through with a lottery system that – as you were warned it would – broke theme camps and art projects apart. You are now doing that exact same thing to committed couples. Of all the things you decided to do here, I find this the least well reasoned. In fact, it actually exacerbates the scalping problem. Let me explain…

    Consider this (very common!) scenario: A couple wants to go. They were ethical burners and registered for two tickets with one credit card. They are now in line for STEP to get only a single ticket. They can’t even register for another. If they are (miraculously) picked to buy a single ticket, they have only three unpleasant choices: 1) decline and neither of them gets to go; or, 2) accept and only one of them gets to go, leaving their love in the default world; or 3) accept and BUY THE SECOND ONE FROM A SCALPER! (Sorry about shouting . . . )

    So you see by limiting STEP tickets to a single purchase for those who signed up to buy two, you are driving up the number of people who will – in an effort to preserve their relationships on the Playa – be forced to purchase scalped tickets. Worse yet, as increased demand leads to increased price, you will drive up the cost of scalped tickets and the profit made by scalpers. They can, therefore, hold them longer and sell less of their inventory. Perhaps you failed to consider this unintended consequence?

    Clearly there were people who signed up in the lottery to purchase single tickets. I see no reason to allow them to purchase more at this point. But you asked us not to try to game the system. So many many couples – newbies and core burners alike – did what they were asked. While I sincerely doubt there will be a significant number available through STEP, and while accordingly I feel this largely an academic discussion, to now tell them that they can purchase only a single ticket through STEP is horribly – and unforgivably – unfair. I urge you to reconsider.

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  • I got my tickets and yet, after reading your post, all I can say is: “ASSHOLES! You were warned by numerous burners what would happen with your dumbass lottery and you disrespected us. Now you injure a lot of people depending on the secondary lottery. Shame shame shame. Feel free to flame me as you will but the elemental fact DO … NOT … CHANGE. Arf.

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  • I support the decision to distribute the remaining tickets to theme camps and other persons who contribute the most to make this event happen.

    Free up their energy to CREATE and BUILD and leave the ticket searching for the rest of us who just show up and party.

    Most people who want to go will find a way to get a ticket.

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  • I agree with the distribution of the remaining tickets to established camps/art/mutant vehicles etc.

    I think that all lottery tickets should have names on.

    I wanted to implement these 2 rules on the ticketing system that I think would have helped immensely.

    1. Only 1 ticket purchase per name/address/ID. Stops duplication of attendees. You can still buy a gift ticket but you have to provide the name/address/id of that person so someone else doesn;t end up buying the same person another gift ticket.
    2. No first entry after Wednesday at Noon. Stops all the casual weekend burners.
    Those people coming on friday afternoon are not contributing anything to the event. They are merely Spectators, not Participants.

    I always aim for Sunday at midnight. I’ve achieved it once out of 6 burns. Getting to the playa is almost always an ordeal of mishaps and breakdowns and often results in arrival sometime late monday or tuesday but Wednesday at noon is surely achievable for anyone that really really wants to be there.

    I also want to repeat an earlier comment about MOOP. There was significantly more MOOP year on year each year for the last 3. Especially last year. A number of large bars instituted a policy of charging MOOP for drinks on the weekend last year in order to educate Virgins about MOOP. I was tending bar all day Saturday, it was amazing how many people came to the bar who didn’t even know what MOOP was! If the playa isn’t immaculate when we leave, the BLM won’t let us return. So, Virgins, please read your Survival Guide, especially the section on Leave No Trace.

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  • for all the couples who are distraught at the thought that your Burn is shot…..

    look, you submit to STEP. you get one ticket. then, you get another ticket, via Stubhub. yes, the second ticket will cost 1200 bucks. is this a problem? suck it up and fork it out. this is a win/win. you get a ticket and the two of you get to shirtcock on the playa. the seller makes some excellent jack. jeez, the whining…….

    time for some old school power play. that is, get some serious cash into the palms of the BLM. fast. get the feds to ok a top end of 60,000 THIS YEAR. they’ll do it. they like money. a lot. and there’s a lot of money in the BMORG piggy bank. and there’s room in BRC to absorb more people. the last two years, i’ve been in the outer part of town, at about I and 730. and on each saturday of the Burn in these last two years, you could’ve driven up in a monster RV and camped next to me without any problem. nothing but space around me. so the city can handle 7,000 more burners.

    i’ve been to 19 of these little tea parties on the playa. they’ve been more than fun. they’ve been joyous. and now, it appears that this will be a fine year for me to live up to my playa name, and vanish. have a ball, y’all. and may the weather in ’12 be as nice as it was in ’11. god, it was a blast out there!

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  • I think the BMORG came up with as good a solution to this difficult situation as reasonably possible, although it would be wise for them to revisit the STEP one ticket approach.

    I truly believe from experience that karma and perseverence will result in most burners getting the tickets they need. Keep the faith.

    Veteran of 5 Burns since 2003 (with advance Tix only once)

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  • Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! vOccupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man! Occupy Burning Man!

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  • Please DON’T use this as an opportunity to discriminate against sound camps. There has always been a pronounced ambivalence at BMorg for the contributions of the camps at 10 and 2 that bring the night alive. Please do award tickets to sound camps big and small, not just Opulent Temple or Root Society, etc.

    And, what about people who aren’t affiliated with a big camp this year, or a formal theme camp, but nonetheless are core to the community? Give people the chance to interview for a ticket. If you can articulate key facts about experiences and art installations from years past, you get a ticket. Volunteers could conduct the interviews. People could sign up to be interviewed and assigned a volunteer randomly.

    It all sucks but hell, this is where we’re at now. Try to be a little creative but fair about how these remaining tickets get handed out. Bring in the community. Let go of the need for top down control, skillfully. Set the terms and invite people into the tent to help. Don’t just turn to the dorks who sit around talking about being the founders of the lamplighters and shit. Reach beyond your comfort zone.

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    or, not only will they go to the highest bidder, but also in the last minute, insuring that they will not reach someone with any time to prepare.

    I haven’t heard a single reasonable point against this (maybe there are, but I can’t think of it, and none has been given). Gifting is the only thing floated, and it simply doesn’t make any sense. This ‘gift’ is simply taking from someone who really wants to go and giving it to another person who was less eager to buy. in the past, and in different circumstances it would make perfect sense, but now, the only beneficiaries are the scalpers, and in the name of ‘gifting’ you are making people pay more, having people left in an uncertain state and annoyed. If there is another reason, PLEASE let us know, and if its ‘gifting’ then please wake up to the change you are so eloquently asking people to understand.

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  • i have a theme camp. it’s been active for years. we are always listed in the WWW. we have a fully interactive theme that runs about 18 hours a day. 24 if you don’t need music or lights (just can’t afford to run that much juice 24/7). we open monday morning and don’t close until sunday morning. we produce a mid size event with a really small crew. we always come back green on our lnt. i feel like we stand a relatively good chance of being allocated some tickets.

    i’m not happy about this.

    i find it totally unacceptable.

    when a system like this breaks this badly, a course correction midstream just makes it worse. the only acceptable solution is to take your knocks and start over. i wouldn’t be surprised to find out that what the org has done with ticketing is illegal. as a business owner i know for a fact that electronic transactions can be reversed…or even voided.

    Listen BM, you’re ticketing system is screwed up because you screwed it up. trying to blame this problem on increased demand when you INCREASED the demand is asinine. don’t kid yourself. you’re not fooling anyone.

    this business about theme camps being the core of BM isn’t true. the event existed long before there were any theme camps.

    i for one didn’t enter the main sale or the pre-sale because i’m poor this year. i lost my job and i had to close my business. i couldn’t leave that much money siting arround on a credit card. i was disenfranchised by the ticketing requirements. but i was still going to rock BM. i was going to apply for a low income ticket. to get one of those i was RESTRICTED FROM ENTERING ANY FORM OF TICKET SALE.

    now you tell me that because i didnt’ enter into a sale i’m prevented from utilizing the STEP program.

    you also mention that if i apply for theme camp tickets, I’M DISALLOWED FROM APPLYING FOR A LOW INCOME TICKET. this is yet another way in which you screw over an entire class of people.

    don’t get me started about how badly all the people THAT DIDN’T CHEAT are being shafted.

    you’re ticketing situation is SCREWED. you made it. it happed because of your CRAPPY IDEAS AND KNOW IT ALL ATTITUDE. and now you’ve gone and made it worse.

    i want to go. i love Burning Man. but i don’t know if i can associate with this level of corruption and cronyism. and mark my words this is exactly what corruption looks like.

    right now you’re no better than the TSA. every senator that waltzs through an airport without getting their balls gropped is just as corrupt as every theme camp member that get’s a ticket allocated.

    it’s all just one line for the riff-raff and one line for elites. i didn’t mind feeling elite when our theme was popular and fun and lots of people did it, because i knew that EVERYONE HAD THE SAME OPPORTUNITY. i knew that me and my people were doing something special when we didn’t have to. so i felt good about that.

    how can i ever feel good about anything that i might put on this year when i know that it was AT THE EXPENSE OF SOMEONE ELSE.

    compromise is the way to corruption. you all already look like jerks. you should just own it and make it right.

    for better or worse, if i end up with tickets for me and my camp i’ll try and treat my newly received responsibility better than you did.

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  • Seems to me if you made all tickets non-transferable you could let people get two tickets through STEP. There is plenty of know how in the community to make non-transferable happen. Remember the clock? I know you folks have been working hard and you generally care. Just need a bit more work.

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  • Nice job BMORG, give the main sail tickets to established camps. I’m sure they won’t expect preferential treatment again next year. I’m sure you will spread the tickets to the small camps as well. This still smells very much like a scramble to protect your investment to me. You created the madness yourselves with the lottery “BUZZ” and you blame it on the scalpers. Now you walk on thin ice creating a sense of elitist camps based on your criteria. Good fucking luck with that one. Like it or not your plan to justify ticket price hikes (way above the increase you probably actually incurred) and insure a sold out event have backfired. This is another attempt to quiet the disgruntled masses, while ensuring you have a PROFITABLE event. No rain this year, driest playa in decades, and we are due for a hotter than hell summer. Better hope all the spectators stock up on masks, and are ready to spend six hours at a time stuck in their tent ( I mean luxurious motor home). Remember those are a reality just like sitting in line for a ticket used to be. Hope you figure it out for next year, and I sure as hell hope you get it done before March. One ticket for STEP program is a stupid idea. Most couples use one card for two tickets. At least give the people that really want to go that much . You can have the one I was going to try and get.

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  • I have never been to burning man, a Burner friend told me about this years ticket debacle. Since then I have read many articles and this blog and I feel the need to say that I think you have dealt with the situation phenomenally and there is no doubt that you truly care about the integrity of your event. No doubt, there has been a major screw up, but since then it seems that you all have put everything into making it right, with the true values of Burning Man at the forefront of every decision.

    I’ve never seen or read anything like this story and as an event manager I’m gripped. I hope all your hard work pays off and I’m sure major lessons will have been learnt.

    See you in in the desert sometime, don’t forget to let a few newbies in next year :)

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  • I’m new, and reading all that is said here, and a small point that I think hasn’t been noted:

    An important part of burning man (correct me if I’m wrong) is to spread the word, so that the culture can get into everyday life. In order to spread the word, you need people to have a good experience (probably more due to big and established theme camps, and veterans), but you also need the word to go to NEW people, otherwise you are staying in the same circle of friends. Which makes it nice for that circle, but aren’t you missing the point? Someone who has gone to 10 BM, has probably spread the word to anyone he knows. you want more – you need new people to come. And, yes, they (I) will probably contribute less the first time round, but they will spread the word faster than 10 year veterans who have been spreading the word for years.

    Now, if you don’t want more people (so there is enough room for the existing?) then that’s a different matter, but if you do then stop mentioning only the need for veterans, and balance it out a bit – both are needed.

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  • Virgin Burner who thought of going for the low-income tickets.

    This is a travesty. The soul of this event is adrift, with attempts to gain the reigns in vain. To salvage such a loss is really grasping at thin air.

    I never knew the energy of Burning Man, but it is plain to see it has disseminated into our own, with or without the forces that have created this scenario. The physical representation of that energy doesn’t need to exist specifically at Black Rock anymore.

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  • BMORG is the enemy. Everything I loved about the event is going down the drain. Anonymity, peaceful-consensual-Anarchy, more-freedom-than-other-places –these are no longer reality at the Burning Man Event. One must be a willing participant in the global creditcard scam system to buy a ticket. One must have gov-issued ID to get in the gate. One must kiss BMORG ass to have an Art Car. Citations for public sex. Citations for smoking pot. Undercover narcs everywhere. BMORG has a published policy against drugs. Burning Man has become more red tape than other aspects of my life. I quit.

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  • It’s unfortunate there’s no plan for what I imagine is a very small category of people like me: those of us who won tickets in the lottery but were unable to purchase them bc our credit card got stolen a few days before and therefore the number had to be canceled. Had the lottery website allowed for modifications to our entry after it was submitted, my partner and I would have tickets. Perhaps this is a revision you could consider making for next year.

    Since this is only our second year, I’m not sure our theme camp will consider us essential to their operations. It sounds like there will be a lot of new burners and well-seasoned burners this year, with just sprinkling of the in-betweens. It’s unfortunate that those of us who were ready to take the next step in participation will be left out, but I suppose there’s always next year. For now, we’ll put ourselves in the category of those for whom things seem unfair.

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  • There are only two ways to get any significant number of tickets into the STEP program:

    1. Print a lot more tickets than planned. Tens of thousands more…

    2. Associate all of the tickets with names and make them non-transferable except through STEP, just like the new plan for STEP tickets. This would force anyone who was planning to turn a ticket into a cash cow (scalpers) into selling it the only way left to them – back to BM, where it would go into STEP, and then to a Burner.

    Oh, and the STEP one-ticket limit thing is a PR problem, as you can see from the messages here. Allow people who registered for more than one ticket in the lottery to buy up to two tickets. If 1 and/or 2 above don’t happen there won’t be any tickets in STEP anyway, but the couples giving you feedback here have a valid point.

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  • two more longtime queer burners (since ’99) who are now screwed because we didn’t try to work the main sale. 1 credit card entry now means only 1 possible ticket thru step? why????

    and why no application process for the 10,000 artist and theme camp tickets? there are many new and returning artists and camps who weren’t officially placed in past years, but have plenty more to offer than some of the jaded, cooler than thou, esplanade camps. now your favorites get to come back every year? i know bmorg has a long history of gifting free and discount tickets to their “inside cronies,” but now 20% of all tickets? legacy favortism is a terrible choice…

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  • The proliferation of facebook and twitter and all the other social media probably made more people “apply” for tickets. Even the Dr. Suess video that went viral on You Tube increased demand, as did word-of-mouth from all the previous years’ burners. Even in 2005, the most recent year I attended, I was dismayed to see how many people came in big assed RVs. You could spot them in a second – they were so squeaky clean. Kind of foreign to the spirit of the event. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying everyone has to wallow in dust and sleep under the stars to be authentic. I’m just saying “camping” does not equal a house on wheels. Come on.

    Anyway, I was there from 1996 through 2005. Every year like clockwork. For some reason on a “wild hair” I applied for one ticket this year and got one ticket. So it kind of amused me that the first year I went the tickets were $35. Life goes on. That first year I bought 2 tickets thinking I could convince some other adventurous soul to come with me. I still have that second ticket. Go figure.

    Anyway, my sincere condolences to those left out. You can always go out there and camp 1000 yards outside the trash fence. Bring good binoculars.

    And I am a little freaked out about the predictions of as many as a third of the people attending being virgins. Geez, long time burners are going to have to patient and teach the newbies well.

    And BMORG – hang in there. This too shall pass gas. Er, this too shall pass.

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  • I’ve been to BM 8 out of the past 10 years. I’ve built art cars numerous. I’ve changed a clutch on the playa for a group of strangers that were stranded with no tools or skills. I’ve worked on 2 different temple crews. I’m going to help out the fiasco this year by opting out of the BS this “problem” and the even better “solution” has become. I’m out. Too much drama and bs to deal with. Chances are it won’t be better next year only some new form or crap to deal with. I probably won’t be back. But don’t worry the Bmorg will make their quota and their pocket lining will not suffer. There will always be suckers will to put up with the BS for the “experience” to be able to say they went to BM.

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  • Maybe all the elite theme camp members can form a coup for 2012 and conglomerate into one big SuperCamp! They can throw big parties that they only allow each other into and this will serve to ensure the newbies have a terrible time riding around in the dust with nothing to do, and as such perhaps they will never return. If that works, SuperCamp can grow and rest assured no one new will ever want to experience their exclusivity, and all their friends will always get tickets to the private desert experience they love so much.
    (insert evil laughter here)
    PLEASE PLEASE burning man don’t turn into this! sending some love so things get better not worse

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  • After reading the statements (updates) from Marian and BMORG that they are worried that “Many of the core volunteers, major interactive camps, art car projects, performance groups, and funded and unfunded art projects do not have enough tickets to bring their works to the playa” “the random draw of the Main Sale left inordinately large numbers of our core contributors — art teams, theme camp creators, mutant vehicle builders, performers, and Burning Man volunteers — without tickets. In fact, the ratio was so unexpectedly large it has punched significant holes in Black Rock City’s artistic, civic and functional infrastructure, putting the integrity of the event itself at risk. If we let market forces play out as they could with the remaining available tickets, it’s likely that Black Rock City would be functionally untenable for many of the collaborations that comprise our desert event”. And reading the comments above a thought came to mind. Why not have a “sign up” or posting area for all the “newbie’s” with tickets that are expected to attend can sign up for a “core camp” or art car project something like help wanted and help offered they can connect up in their home area to help do the prep work and these people can fill the vacant number that are needed and will give the “newbie” a place to feel at home this may help fill the much needed numbers for the larger camps so there will not be the “significant holes in Black Rock City’s artistic, civic and functional infrastructure, putting the integrity of the event itself at risk”. It keeps being said that newbie’s are the life blood of the event let’s see if that is true.

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  • Me and my partner travel from the other side of the world to come to Burning Man each year. We’ve camped with theme camps and art projects, and put in a lot of money, time and effort from thousands of miles away (and during our “holiday time” once we arrive). We were early arrival for our crew last year to get layout and initial set up done before our US contingent arrived on playa.

    This year, because we did the right thing, we are left with ONE chance at ONE ticket. There are absolutely no spares in our friend circle, and we haven’t yet registered our camp because we don’t know if we have enough people who can get tickets. I guess the consolation is, I haven’t booked plane tickets yet and it’s an opportunity to go travelling elsewhere this year, but the disappointment levels are running pretty high.

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  • Thanks B’org for keeping us updated. I know you’ve faced some tough choices in the past weeks and there is no possible way to make everyone happy. I do wish you would allow couples who only registered once to get 2 tickets through STEP. I only registered once for 2 tickets for my partner and I. We were prepared to take a vacation somewhere else this year, but we turned out to be lucky winners. I don’t envy the couples who weren’t so lucky. : (

    I think it’s a bit naive of commenters to think that first come, first served would’ve yielded different results than the lottery. If 120K+ people are trying to get tickets, it doesn’t matter which way you do it, your odds are about the same. Scalpers use systems that can get multiple spots in the queue and they have servers/connections faster than most of us have at home.

    Many of the folks getting in on the 10K “hand picked” tickets are key people like Rangers, Cafe, Ice, Lamplighters, Greeters, DMV etc. Most Gate/Perimeter, DPW and Medical get in free on staff tickets, based on the number of shifts they worked last year and likely aren’t included in the 10K. Hopefully the B’org will try to be fair with handing out the rest.

    What can we, as veteran participants, do? If your theme camp isn’t coming, Volunteer for something you haven’t tried before. It sounds like the box office (will call) is going to need a ton of help. I’m going to sign up for that.

    If your best friend isn’t coming (several of mine don’t have tickets yet), make some new friends. There are tons of cool people who will be on playa this year that you haven’t met. Making a new friend will make up for those pesky douche-bags that we all encounter every year.

    If you are surrounded by annoying moopy newbies who don’t have a clue, adopt a virgin! Our humble and hopelessly disorganized themeless camp, KLUSTERFUCK, always adopts a newbie or two. Next thing you know, they’re marrying someone in camp!

    Ha ha! I love how many people have shouted KLUSTERFUCK on these forums, now everyone will have heard of us, 5:25G. We might not have a sign…..but visit us anyway for year 12. At least a couple of us will be there, or sleeping.

    My cat is trying to submit this comment for me……ow!

    Love and good luck to all!

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  • I would think people with extra tickets are not as many as burners hope, and the ones with tickets would either be burners who (if I were them) would be more likely to bring a friend/cousin/etc. than do the STEP, or scalpers who will not use the STEP for obvious reasons.

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  • Tough choices in strange times, but the BMORG has made the only decision they could.

    I do have a STEP question. If someone buys through STEP, but then needs to change their plans, can the sell it back to STEP? This would be very helpful.

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  • Festivals much bigger than this have been able to keep their tickets out of the hands of scalpers.

    Perhaps next should look into the ticketing process at Glastonbury.

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  • First, I want to say Thank You. Thank you for caring so deeply.

    We all remember the first time we made our way to the playa. No amount of photos, videos or stories were able to prepare you for what you were about to experience. It was like being hit by a freight train that was so fantastically amazing and beautifully overwhelming you couldn’t stop talking about what you were going to offer the Playa the next year.

    New eyes and creativity will breed inspiration… we do love to welcome new members to our community.

    … And, most often, Those who have been before are better equipped to share their inspirations.

    What a difficult decision. Thank you for your compassionate Blog posts. Thank you for investing so much into this community. And foremost, I appreciate feeling that you truly care about keeping our community intact.

    Some of our fabulous members will be left without a ticket this year… but that was sadly inevitable.

    With compassion, appreciation, and a warm hug… Thank You.

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  • Great! I played the game and registered only once for my son and I because he doesn’t have any credit card and I thought it was the best way to do it… Now I’m screwed! Thank you, really…

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  • You know those times when you couldn’t think you could be happier, and sooner or later you get that little voice that says it will eventually end, it won’t be as meaningful as you think it is. Well, for six years straight I’ve won out over that little voice, proving it wrong. Until now.

    I think this is it, I think this is the end. Time to move on to something else.

    I only hope I find something else that’s comparable before I die.

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  • Well by NOT redirecting the 10,000 tickets to the ones that bring art installations, play music and bring their art cars and perhaps the man hisself that would in itself be radical thinking and by not having the “core” people there the stories brought back by the disappointed non-participants participants would probably help drive ticket sales back into a reasonable number. Scare off the tailgaters and this giant BM will be more manageable in a year or two. It really wasn’t that bad when there were only approximately 7,000 out there. In fact, it was AWESOME!!

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  • Somebody just brought this up, and it actually has me a bit concerned. The bmorg hasn’t really had the best history of appreciating sound camps. The bmorg has made it clear that sound camps were not really viewed as a priority in the past. These sound camps (small and large) are a big part of the Black Rock City magic, and should not be overlooked at all in this ticket distribution.

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  • I just want to make a couple comments/pose a few questions that I haven’t seen here so far.

    It appears that BMORG does not believe that there has been a serious scalping issue at all, and instead believes that interest in BM has actually increased 4-fold. If that is the case, then why is it necessary to make the remaining tix only available at will-call? Why bother, if there are not many scalpers anyway?

    And maybe BMORG is right that there isn’t a big scalping issue, but if so, I would like them to explain their logic/proof. This issue has not been addressed at all.

    Also, after the registration period for the lottery closed and they saw that a badillion people had applied for tickets, why didn’t they take a moment and say, “Hold the phone, this is going to be an issue..We should rethink this before announcing winners.” They could have taken a step back then and required people to re-register under new guidelines.

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  • :-( ONe ticket is as useless as no tickets for me my wife and family.

    Oh well, next year i’ll just sign up to the lottery 4 times under each of our credit cards, kids names, maybe get my neighbours to sign up as well and all my cousins and brothers and sisters.

    Maybe if you registered for 2 tickets previously, and were doing the right thing, you can get 2 tickets this time round through step?

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  • “We couldn’t resolve how to minimize hoarding with the second round so that’s the decision we made. ”


    The decision to do the lottery was naive and would have been fine except for the predators, gamers and cheaters. This decision, however, DELIBERATELY AND ADMITTEDLY screws honest people in favor of cheaters and fresh blood.

    This is about preserving the Org rather than respecting the community. How can you expect the community to respect you in return?

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  • Another couple here with a chance to only get ONE ticket because we played by the rules and registered only once for two tickets. We have 5 and 7 years under our belts, met at the Burn, and every anniversary the Burn brings a reinvigoration of our love for each other and our friends. We’ve worked hard with a number of small theme camps over the years and we participate on and off the playa. This year we moved to Germany (from Seattle) and were looking forward to a reunion with our friends this year! I’m sad to see it go this way. The vibe is all disappointment. We’ll either Occupy the Burn or start something on our own….

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  • In my experience (11 years or so), the BmORG has pretty much ALWAYS been stupid and aggressively unhelpful; Burningman is worthwhile DESPITE them, not because of them.

    The latest news, BTW, is that the BORG has pretty much already decided which theme camps are going to get in on those 10k tickets, but the only way to find out if your camp is on that secret list is to register your theme camp. Kind of like how the only way to find out if you’re on a no-fly list is by trying to fly somewhere…

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  • BM used to be my only motivation to make the effort of crossing the united states border (I have issues with the USA!). I am not even going to register in the STEP, I dont even believe it is going to work. If I dont buy my flight ticket over to north america within one month, i will not be able to afford it anymore anyway. and you know what, if anyway I would have to go alone and leave my husband at home i wouldnt really be up for spening my yearly holiday and my savings on going over there! I had hope in you guys, but I realize that you are just as ignorant, selfish and narrow-minded as your government. sorry, I gave up on you!

    I’m going to nowhere in Spain… european, more relaxed (and less double-moral and husshhh husshhh about smoking a joint for ex… ), more cultural exchange and… oh yeah, almost forgot: a very intelligent ticket-system!

    bye-bye BM!

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  • The “1-STEP-ticket” thing is the cherry on today’s cake.

    I think that people are holding out waay too much hope for STEP to provide real numbers of tickets.

    BUT.. At least if the rules had remained the same the {x} STEP tix would have gone out and those who didn’t get them would’ve been “oh well..”, the minority who did get tix would’ve been happy.

    The casual flick in the tail of the announcement above ( after the ‘those 10k tix you were still hoping to get one of; they’re off the table’ ) was the 1-person-STEP thing.

    Borg; I know the 1-person thing seemed like a harmless way to moderate a very limited secondary trickle of tix, but did ANYONE EVEN THINK ABOUT COUPLES? At least let them cross fingers and hope in STEP; don’t just casually f’k them in advance right now.

    Seems plain that new scheme is at least as divisive as the last solution, plus annoying to boot.
    Gah. If there is a next year… bring it on.

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  • Thank you. I recognize that you tried to improve upon an imperfect system and it did not work. I appreciate all your careful consideration of how to move forward. We are all trapped between a rock and a hard place, and I thank you for doing the very best that you can to support the community.

    I’m sorry that so many people feel slighted and are left out of what is intended as one of the world’s most inclusive events, and I realize that there is no way to make everyone happy this year. I wish everyone were more understanding about the position that BM Org is in and were better able to put themselves in your shoes and realize there is not one perfect solution.

    Thank you for your efforts, for doing the best you can.

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  • Bottom Line…. This is a business. It’s really all about the money that the bMorg is bringing in, not about us. They push back on our request to attach ID on tickets to prevent scalping and say that it’s not possible. FALSE – it’s entirely possible according to InTicketing’s website (bMorg’s ticketing vendor and credit card processor).

    The new non profit is all about setting up fat pensions for the board members. They could do this if they elected to, but that would cut into their profit margins and require these greedy bastards to actually get off their asses and do something that made sense for a change.

    Fuck Maid Marion and the bMorg and what they’ve done to Burning Man. R.I.P.

    From the InTicketing website:

    per event export of customer data to Excel or CSV file
    viewable for entire event or per different ticket price/type in event
    shows per order, date/time stamp, customer first name, last name, rcpt #,
    also shows unique ticket #’s per customer
    shows street address, apt/suite#, city, state, zip, country, email , phone per customer

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  • Good call on distribution of the 10K to the core. But only one ticket via STEP???!!!! So, those of us who put our faith in the system and only registered for the tickets we actually needed are absolutely screwed. Way to go!! Let’s be sure to reward the people who worked the system or single folk!! My spouse and I could possibly agree (right about when hell freezes over) on one of us going, but wait! Only I can go because I filled out the form!! Take a chance if a ticket is miraculously available via STEP and buy it hoping for a second somewhere else? Great idea, but if it does not work out, seems like no way to even GIVE it to another burner (unlike the other main sale tickets with no restrictions) – the result being a precious unused ticket when the burn finally happens! Tickets available up until the last minute?? Fantastic! We live in freaking England…

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  • Quote from the official announcement above: “it’s distasteful to change plans in mid-stream”

    WTF! What do you call taking the last 10,000 tickets and deciding who you’re gonna sell them too. And only 1 ticket per STEP?

    Fucking hypocrites! Slap us in the face again why don’t you.

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  • Requiring proof of hierarchy and order for entry to anarchists’ heaven?? BM requires big art, theme camp to sustain its attraction to weekend warriors??

    The tickets are not sent out, the Org have two far better choices to actually serve its community:

    1. Refund money to tickets sold, suck up the transaction cost as a mistake learned, re-open the old ticket sale system on the old machine, require checking ID at the gate.

    2. Or, don’t refund ticket, instead, go with the new hoops to jump through, but print ticket with name on it. Require ID checking at the gate. Suffer a loss of attendance but financially punish the scalpers.

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  • Why are non-virgins, core vets, expressing so much fucking entitlement? So much emphasis on “virgins don’t build art cars…” oh please. BM isn’t about art cars. It’s about immersing the self in a radically inclusive culture.

    So you didn’t get a ticket and you’re pissed and foaming at the mouth, maybe it’s good you aren’t going.

    Get over yourselves.

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  • The tickets are not sent out, the Org have two far better choices to actually serve its community:

    1. Refund money to tickets sold, suck up the transaction cost as a mistake learned, re-open the old ticket sale system on the old machine, require checking ID at the gate.

    2. Or, don’t refund ticket, instead, go with the new hoops to jump through, but print ticket with name on it. Require ID checking at the gate. Suffer a loss of attendance but financially punish the scalpers.

    I hate it that “radical inclusive” has become “hand selecting theme camps”.

    I have a ticket, but I’d rather having my ticket refund (option 1), so everyone gets a chance to go, instead of the elite.

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  • Make it 2 tickets per person on step.

    Now email the lucky winners of the lottery asking for the names on the tickets. 2 tickets 2 names. They don’t have to be the credit card name. That takes care of giffting. Give everyone 1 week to email back the names ,or their money will be refunded . I believe that 5to10 thousand tickets in the hands of scalpers will come back. It’s the time allowed to submit names that does in the scalpers , so the names just need to match the person who shows up with the ticket.

    I’ll bet there will be plenty of people to man the gate.

    Last thing… When the tic’s come back ,sell them for the original prices. Please.
    Random drawing says tickets from each price coming back should be about one third each.

    Thanks for all your work. I have one thing to add but on the phone. Edward Frake

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  • OK, I dig the addition regarding “identity-based ticketing” that you made to the blog, I wish would’ve just included that information in the first place, but whatever.

    Unfortunately, this humpty dumpty is still far from fixed. I agree with “The Truth” above:

    BMORG: “it’s distasteful to change plans in mid-stream”

    The Truth: “WTF! What do you call taking the last 10,000 tickets and deciding who you’re gonna sell them too. And only 1 ticket per STEP?”

    I bet there are a good many people who never entered the lottery because they knew they could afford the later “open sale” and were willing to queue as in the old system and potentially even risk not many tickets. Now they have to hope to find one locally or in some kind of secondary market.

    And finally, speaking of unintended consequences, 1 ticket per couple does seem kind of unfair, when they are the ones who registered the way they were supposed to.

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  • How many responses did I just read from people pissed about the single ticket?

    We entered the lottery once, for two tickets. WE FOLLOWED THE RULES! Psych! You MIGHT get one. Just how happy do you think my fiancee is going to be when I tell her we have to do Rock/Paper/Scissors/Lizard/Spock to see who gets to go?

    Well, at least it will reduce the number of people who hold the illusion that they might get to go…

    The assholes who gamed the system WIN AGAIN! Yay!

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  • Some friends pointed out: the scalpers can’t charge a huge premium AND admit that they have thousands for sale. I certainly imagine that more tickets will be put up for sale later in the year.
    If there really are THAT many first timers flocking because they want dance-music-festival bragging rights, maybe some of them will drop out when they find out that their favorite DJ won’t be there?
    Definitely hoping that the scalper’s prices don’t get paid & they are forced to sell for face or less in July or August!
    FWIW, I’m a ten-year participant & will go this year if ‘the stars align’–a little sorry that I didn’t get to see the awesome weather last year, but it was more than worth it to skip a year–husband & I had to save the time & money for our honeymoon! ;D

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  • BMORG had the opportunity to correct things, but stopped only half-way, by instituting their ‘Directed Ticket Distribution’ program (manually allocating up to 10,000 tickets to vital groups and registered theme camps).

    But people here were expecting a lot more.

    What we didn’t get was aggressive action to curb the reselling of tickets in the open market, classifieds, through social networking, and scalping.

    If organizers truly wanted to address scalping problems, they would institute the non-transferable / ticket registration process. It’s feasable for them to still do it, since the lottery tickets haven’t been distributed yet.

    One can only assume that the decision not to do so, is financially motivated, and to avoid the added administration of matching ID’s / tickets.

    The STEP program will likely fail because there is no real incentive or requirement for anyone to return tickets. Face it. the tickets are like gold now, even if individuals don’t plan on making large profits from them.

    Should it bother us that tickets from the Lottery are at least perhaps going to other burners out there somewhere?


    That’s because most of the tickets were ‘spares’. Purchased ‘just-in-case’. Now they’ll evaporate.

    Instead of going to anxious, fair-playing applicants and couples, it’s clear that a lot of tickets will end up in the hands of people that never even entered the Lottery. It’s as if they jumped the line. And surely tickets will end up in the hands of scalpers too.

    BMORG’s stance on scalpers is just rhetoric.

    So organizers have taken drastic measures on one hand to save the 2012 event by directing 10,000 tickets to vital groups, but for everyone else there’s the lame-wad STEP program.

    Of the 25,000 spares, how many do you think will be returned into the ‘we- encourage-you-to-use-STEP’ pool? 500? 2,000?

    BMORG could’ve ensured that tickets FLOOD into STEP by mandating registration. But they’ve chosen not to do that.

    Anyone that thought that they had entered a fair Lottery is screwed.

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  • At this point the hole just seems to keep digging deeper. Refunding sold tickets or requiring names on every ticket is really the only way to truly solve this and keep the milk from getting sour.

    The ORG stated in the previous blog that refunding tickets or changing the policy is out of the question as it might “even be illegal”. The terms of service state otherwise…

    “Burning Man retains the right to cancel, rescind or revoke any ticket purchases at any time prior to delivery of the actual tickets to the purchaser, for any reason whatsoever at Burning Man’s sole discretion. If anyone purchases a Burning Man ticket with the express intention of reselling it for above face value, or attempts to sell or sells a ticket for above face value, Burning Man has the absolute right, in its sole discretion, to cancel any such ticket order cancelled without advance notice.”

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  • I’m just glad I got to stand on the Temple of Transition and hear the earth harp play while hundreds of people gathered to do yoga while the sun set. Black Rock City will live in my memory as the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, and to all of you who helped create it, thank you.

    I got a ticket, but my girlfriend didn’t, and most of my friends didn’t. I will probably sell my ticket at face value to one of my friends who otherwise could’t go. I don’t have much hope for the event this year.

    I hope the newbies are able to create something beautiful, though. I’ve only been twice, and I still wouldn’t want the pressure of a bunch of “established” veteran burners sneering at me and asking what *my* contribution is. My first year, I thought I was going to starve out there. And if I hadn’t met my current burner family, I probably would have.

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  • I think BMORG is making the best of a bad situation.
    But two recurring criticisms do carry weight;

    1] Most obvious – it does seem very unfair that those few STEP tickets that do become available are only singles. OK you’re trying to help as many people get to BM as possible but this totally works against and is biased against those [the majority?] who go as couples/pairs.

    2] Making lottery tickets non-transferable would surely remove most scalpers and speculators?? OK there are some people who pass on tickets to friends at the last minute but the percentage must really be very small!
    If you institute some method of BMORG authorising ticket transfers to others [maybe sending in the ticket and requiring copies of both drivers licenses etc?], that would take care of transfers to friends. Plus, the hassle of going through a transfer procedure would then deter MOST scalpers.

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  • “making tickets non-transferable THIS year” per aBOVE-are there any legal obstacles to that, as I suspect-if not maybe it should be considered seriously!

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  • This makes a lie of the common greeting to returning burners, “Welcome home!” For years, we were encouraged to look at the Burning Man experience as our “real” home, and the “default world” as our alternate existence. No longer can we look at Burning Man as coming home. Many of us long time burners (for me, it was 12 straight last year) the message this year is, “you are not welcome, we are so sorry,” left unsaid in all the “official” burning man responses is, “w are so sorry that we have screwed up a wonderful experience.” All I hear from them is, “it was inevitable, it’s really not our fault we set up a system that would stamped burners (and scalpers) to the ticket sale.” Now the solution is to reward the last 10,000 tickets we were promised would be available on a first come/first served process to the privileged few, chosen by the same group that came up with the lottery system that screwed everything up in the first place. How many others have very little faith in whatever they come up with? The professed Burning Man spirit is no where in evidence in this fiasco. Basically, it’s if you’re favored, you have a ticket. If you’re not, fuck off!

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  • Another thought: the RV thing.
    There’s too many of them and most people use them to avoid the ‘nasty’ realities of BRC that the rest of us are familiar with – they can’t survive without their private toilet, A/C and shower.
    There should be a limit -500? 1000? 1500?
    People in core camps/core jobs who stay a week or longer get preference for a permit [sorry but this is the new reality].
    This may be bad news for some wealthy visitors, but it would work against a bunch of voyeuristic newbies.

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  • My boyfriend and I have a wedding to attend this year at burning man… We obviously never anticated any of this mess. I registered under my name for two tickets. There for he is not eligible for the re sale? What do I do now…

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  • It kind of saddens me to hear so many people say Burning Man is dead, and 2012 will suck.. Yes there will probably be a lot more “virgins” this year and yes there will probably be less theme camps overall, but it will still be Burning Man.. There will still be 50,000 people in that desert for a week, the Man will still be a guiding waypoint during the week and burn on Saturday.. the Temple will still be a awe inspiring place and will burn on Sunday. You will still meet amazing people everywhere you turn and experience things that you will take with you for the rest of your life.

    We can’t get to the point where we “expect” Burning Man to be a certain way because then it’s just like the default world.. expectations, requirements, disappointments when things don’t go right. Don’t give up on it yet guys, even though this ticketing thing was utterly stressful and frustrating it is just one more thing us Burners will overcome and grow stronger because of it. I hope to see you guys on the playa this year and just remember think positively and you’ll attract positive things.

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  • Well, I guess that’s it then. I do understand the decisions made in respect to burners who have contributed in the past and hope as many as possible can get a ticket. It does decrease our chances as an eager virgin Burner group, but then.. there’s still STEP right?

    Well no, because the decision to limit the number of tickets to 1 in the STEP program makes every hope in being able to attend disappear. Over here in Holland, only a limited number of people have credit cards. And so, I myself ‘ordered’ 2 tickets for me and my girlfriend and one other person in the group ordered 2 for him and a creditcardless friend. We’re not going to leave people behind and this is exactly what this decision does. A radical exclusion of those who have ordered 2 tickets.

    Being able to order 2 tickets in STEP would of course mean that there are going to be people again who book 2 just in case their friends don’t get one. But in my opinion, that’s a smaller problem than we have now. The ‘second’ tickets will still go to people who are part of groups or some burner who is going to have a good time or go into the STEP program to be resold. No problem there in the long run.

    Splitting up groups this way is madness. There is no way people could have known they should have all had their own credit cards to subscribe to the lottery…

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  • ====================

    Remember 1:
    We applied for two tickets per credit card, without knowing that those two single tickets will be chosen or rejected separatedly – not the credit card as a one-for-two. So many couples applied once (thinking 1 credit card is for 2 people) just to find out that the lottery system had seperated them.

    Remember 2:
    BMOrg was told before. Hundreds of times.
    Not even a twelve year old would have made such a treacherous mistake. (I tried this out, it took them seconds to understand – not weeks.)

    Remember 3 and forever:
    There is no, absolutely no guarantee they will do anything better. Not now, not in the future. It’s run by the same people and unless management changes substantially, they will keep struggling like the fly in the spider web – while destroying it. Even if the fly gets free – it flies in the next spider web. Flies don’t learn.


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  • BORG…. thank you for all of the hard work you are putting into solving this very difficult situation….. you will never make everyone happy but at least you are trying

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  • I think it is somewhat arrogant of the BMorg and “core participants,” as they say, to think there are “significant holes in Black Rock City’s artistic, civic and functional infrastructure, putting the integrity of the event itself at risk.” Some of the most amazing art and involved camps that I’ve met were FIRST TIME BURNERS. As a 12-year veteran of the playa (who was not a winner in this year’s lottery) I can understand the perspective of: “I’m a burner, I’ve been every year since ____, I built ________, I volunteered with __________, and I need a ticket to save burning man!” But, I don’t agree with this perspective. Really, I don’t understand what the big deal is… This ticket issue will simply re-configure the social structure of burning man for 2012 and possibly the future. The event will change this year, just as it has evolved over the last 12 years that I have been attending. Its not a negative thing, its just a thing… it happens and it will happen again.

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  • We need some transparency in this new process. It sounds much like “Friends of the organization don’t want to recruit virgins holding tickets to participate in their build so we will make the event more exclusive.”

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  • Well just woke up and remembered last night, wanted to cry a bit, thought about my week off in september that I have already been approved for and thought what the fuck else is there to do in september? Guess I’ll hang out at the rib fest woooooooo hooooooooo. You guys suck so bad

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  • So let me see, you came up with a plan for selling tickets this year that isn’t going the way you want it to, so you are changing the way you are going to do it. Why? Change it next year if you like but you have already published the how, when, how many etc. How can you go back on what you have stated you were going to do this year? Why don’t you take back all of the tickets you have already sold and start over? Just because it isn’t going the way you want it to doesn’t or shouldn’t give you the right to change it midstream of the process you have already set up. If this years show isn’t as good as years passed, so what? You have now lost my fate in the people who run this event. You have joined the the little hoard of people in the world who want it their way or no way and I’m going to take my ball back and go play somewhere else be cause I don’t like the way the game is going. Congrats. Very lame.

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  • My compliments on the write-up trying to address the ticket problem. The problem is a difficult challenge and it is obvious that there has been a great deal of serious thought and genuine concern for a fair solution. The event cap on attendance is not unique to the main Burning Man event, but is also true for some regional burn events. The possibility of unlimited radical inclusion is difficult now and could become even more of a problem in years to come. No one wants to hear the word ‘entitlement’, but the truth is many are deserving of the ‘gift’ of priority for a ticket. Infrastructure, major art features, seasoned volunteers of all kinds all come together. It just does not work for those who really contribute to making the event great to be welcomed to do more of the same or better, but only if they have a ticket. There are theme camps that should not only be given some degree of ticket priority for their members, but also truly deserve a stipend, given certain well-defined criteria. Burners who have been loyal for years should be granted frequent playa miles. So, to some extent, citizenship for BRC ought to be earned and a really good virgin immigration policy developed that does not limit the growth of our awesome burner culture.

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  • I totally appreciate that you need to do what you can to preserve the theme/art camps but limiting the number of tickets available via STEP is a huge mistake. It’s really unfair to those of us who didn’t try and play the system (because we couldn’t afford 4 tickets between us). So my boyfriend can now go without me but I have zero chance of getting a ticket? Rubbish, near sighted and completely irrational. People applied together more often than not, what you’re proposing is useless to all of us.

    And yes, I would have been a first timer, everyone was once, remember? A first timer who has been involved with London decompression whenever possible, who is planning on taking a project to Nowhere, who loves to participate, but has been shut down by this hypocritical system.

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  • BMORG/Marian,

    If stating that there’s a ticket limit of 1 per person in the STEP program is a way for you to find out if most people were just getting an extra ticket just in case by reading these comments: please don’t wait too long to tell us that we can for example order the same number of tickets as we did in the lottery. This is kinda depressing people, since they suddenly have zero chance.

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  • Having just last night “endorsed” this decision, with this mornings coffee only now did I pick up on the one ticket per order decision. Wow, that’s really too bad. I didn’t get tix, don’t expect to either way, believe it was the right thing to target the mass of the 10,000, but you just effectively took away all hope for those who honored the one ticket per person intent by disallowing their respective partners and friends who purchased two tix on one credit card. That was poorly thought out and not too late to change. I don’t think it will matter in the end as the odds are still slight that anyone will “win” this next one, but still, hope you rethink that.

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  • A Parable for all First-Time ticket holders:

    I first stumbled upon burningman in mid-september, 1999.
    I had to wait 3 YEARS until I could experience it in first person.

    a) the 36 hour drive alone was the first hurdle.
    b) after describing the environmental/cultural aspects
    of Black Rock Desert & BRC as best I could from reading
    everything I could find about bm,
    95% of my ‘regular/long-tem’ friends passed on the idea.
    c) as a first-timer, I felt obligated to prepare, and be able to gift
    to any stranger I may happen upon (e.g. thirsty?, hungry?, tired?,
    dewalt & drywall screws?, et al). This took some time..
    d) Ahh..! The smell of drywall alone upon approach was worth the wait!

    all you First-Time ticket holders might want to peruse bm’s faq’s & stuff
    about how to actually survive in a desert environment
    (i.e. 100 degree heat w/ 0% humidity, alkali dust storms (and their
    ensuing contamination of everything you thought was ‘dust proof’
    (not to mention playa foot (note to self: bag balm good)), freezing nights, etc.)
    not to mention the cultural/sexual nature of BRC that can
    reek havok on any pre-existing relationships.

    Are you Truly Prepared for this THIS Year??

    If Not,
    May I suggest that you gift/sell (if you must) your tix
    back to this amazingly innovative community so it will
    be there when You are Really ready to be ready for it.

    to this STEP program, right??

    p.s. I bought 7 tix @ full price (in advance, on purpose,
    cuz I could afford it at that time)
    and only used 5. The other 2 I gifted back to the
    main gate when we finally made it!


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  • You BORG folks could fuck up a wet dream.

    Take away any hope of getting one of the last 10,000

    Then limit STEP to ONE FUCKING ticket.

    Screw all the honest couples out there…..

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  • The Winners:

    (1) Theme camps who know someone at BMorg
    (2) Scalpers

    The Losers:

    (1) Theme camps who don’t know someone at BMorg
    (2) Everyone else who played by the rules

    I understand the need to help out some theme camps, but c’mon, let’s solve the whole problem.


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  • Lmao at voyuristic newbies, supposing this person goes into an art gallery blind folded!
    The problem is Old rabbits and jack rabbit, there inability to get there hand in the cookie jar as far as regional burns that actually burn the Man. I thought this culture and artists had the idea that Love made the world go round NOT MONEY yet my assumptions have made an asz outta me again, being simple minded and all.
    Im assuming BMorg is a corporation, Im sure a wealthy one, Yet as a corp, they seemm to be unable to even get 2012 event off the ground , im sure they will though, yet because they cant figure out if demand is just because of 2012 and everyone wanting a last hoora before the maya calendar ends or If they really have an event or club thats growing exponentially, we have this grand cluster frakk. Yet as an org and corp they sould really just be involved with the overseeing of the main event at bloack rock but they choose to be the one that through the event.
    If BMorg stepped back away and dedicated its resources to and letting each region example black rock would be south west coast, then there would be a northwest coast, then a midwest or central states, then great lakes, then south central, then east coast or north east coast and south east coast, to all have there main events the same week as the old origional burn of the man would solve all the problems.
    Going the way they are I hope they have settled on 2013 topic and devised a way for tickets to be sold because seems that its all to much to plan a year at a time the way they have been. Or some people who make those final decisions are complacent and stuck in a rut of the way it was done.
    This way the old BMorg becomes a conglomerate and open up oppertunities for others to make money off of this week of being footloose and fancy free. instead of who the old rabbits deemed fit to make money off having it in black rock. I dont understand why you think the white powder of the playa is IT. You dont think it would be just as difficult having a pontilla of boats or barges floating in the middle of lake michigan for a week, or being in alaska for a week. Who decided that the desert was the IT of IT? Seems pretty selfish when put in the context of all of the above.

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  • I totally understand the need for directed distribution of remaining tickets. I think it was, realistically, the only thing left that could be done. I doubt i’ll be pursuing a ticket myself for this year; the rest of my theme camp is secured.

    That does not, however, negate the fact that the system was poorly planned. With the rate of growth of BRC, I am still surprised that you were surprised at the amount of demand – and that there was not more done to stop scalpers. Non-transferable tickets next year, or something comparable, please! :)

    Missing home, but confident i’ll be there again some day. Enjoy everyone! )'(

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  • Smoke on the water, fire in the sky
    Well the BORG admit they made a policy that not only failed, but now must be ‘fixed’ by alienating more people . . . . this is what happens when there is too much old blood on a board. I have a bad feeling that the SF burners will do well, and the rest of community – – oh well. Maybe the BORG should consider stating who got the tickets Hmmmmm?
    This action by the BORG last night caused the minimum price of a ticket from the ‘scalper’, ticket re-sellers jumping to $1,000.00, and the most expensive over $3,000.00 (top price over $5,000.00).
    Later this month the camps (all registered theme camps) I camp with will hold a meeting to see who has tickets, and what can or cannot be done. While it should have been a happy happy meeting I believe it probably will be happy but somewhat subdued and sad.

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  • one misstep after another. BMorg doesn’t deserve to lead BM in the future. if i was your employee, i would quit. if you were a stock, i would sell. if you were a neighborhood i would move…. ah, i guess that’s what i’ll do.

    moving on from BM. At least i can say I knew you when…

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  • I understand you’re trying to do the best you can in a bad situation, but screwing over couples who played by the rules is going to cause worse problems next year when everybody decides the only way to succeed is to cheat.

    What exactly is wrong with letting me buy two tickets through STEP, both of which are available only to me at Will Call? Then my wife and I can just show up together and get our tickets. I’m hardly going to be able to scalp the second one on-playa.

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  • This sounds like a recipe for cultural and artistic stagnation by only supporting existing theme camps. Plus the idea of deeming some burners more deserving than others is profoundly disturbing and turns BM into a high school clique.

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  • Doesn’t sound like a good solution to me. A big band aid on a compound fracture.

    The Borg has completely fucked this whole ticketing scheme up. There would be NO problem if they had done nothing. Newbies could always get tickets in the past. All one needed to do was read the website and then wait for the moment to push “send”.
    Now we have this….
    To all of you that are kissing the feet of the Borg and thanking them for hatching this skam from beginning to end….you are behaving like “the battered spouse syndrome”.

    The Borg fucked you over and you are thanking them for it! Wake Up!

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  • We know a lot of the “big” theme camps produce their own events over 4th of July weekend, Memorial Day, random weeks in the summer. Some of these events hosts thousands of people and are quite profitable.

    I wonder if BMorg was “influenced” by some of these groups who, realizing they didn’t have enough tickets to staff their 200 person camps at Burning Man, suggested that they might hold competing events.

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  • Thank you BMORG peeps. It does feel as though many of our comments were listened to……although it does come a little late, but it is time to move on. I want to add to the prior comments which I beileve are being resonated by some on this blog and hope they are given consideration in your process;

    1) Giving tickets to the pre registered theme camps and how they are being judged: This is clearly the best option to do a dramatic course correction. Its not perfect , but it is the best option for this year…. and this year only. The process doesn’t feel great,and tat includes the theme camps which will ‘win’ tickets.

    2) Demand outweighs supply: True and this trend will continue. However, the rumors of the death of burning man ticket availablitly have been greatly exagerrated. I can imagine it becomes difficult to see the forest for the tree when you are in the organization. For all of out of the organization, the main problem with getting tickets had more to do with hassle, technical glitches, and yes some very limited inflated demand broguht on by scalpers. The inflated demand only became an issue this year after last year sold out and suddenly you have this ticket ‘commodity’ value that now needs ‘managing’. In my opinion, the solutions for managing ticket sales are in large part a bunch of B.S….game theory etc etc….all signs of an organization that has become beaurocratic and a bit inefficient.

    3) Future ticket sales and changes: Please stop trying to come up with fantastical solutions to a problem that was greatly self induced. All you need to do is stand for your principals of not selling the tickets for an inflated price…in fact put a disclaimer right on the ticket in bold letters that says “if you sell this ticket for more than face value then you are an A**hole”(sounds more like a true statement and everyone will now where the organization stands, without your needing to micromanage the whole process. Provide something like the STEP program that allows for internal trading and then send tickets out after there has been a little time for people to work out any trading that needs to happen. You won’t get rid of all scalpers etc, but you will limit it. Finally, just stay the course with previous ticket sales, other than work on the technical glitches…the main issue that I ever encounered (along with many firends) was being ‘bumped’ off of the queue after waiting for hours to buy tickets the day they went on sale……Seriously, it does not require an army of protocal and beaurocratic policy to sell the tickets, just speak to your principals on the ticket and provide a good paltform for trading and let people do what they want….less control is simpler and better.

    4) Groing burning man: the more you grow the less you will be able to keep intact. Only those of you that have been part of urning man for decades really know the cultural price that is paid by the growth that has been part of the success. At some point you will loose your core. Trying to have burning man year round is like trying to have christmas year round. There is an undeniable human trait that allows people to SHOW UP mind, body, and soul to events that have a limited existence. I believe one of the options is to grow the ‘duration’ of the burn……maybe that will work, but you will cerainly be dilluting the energy and conviviality that happens now. Other regional events etc…good call for sure….but KEEP the CORE of burning man intact….even if it means that it has hit a growth limit. Growth is a concept that works well in business, it is part of our american culture whether you are on the left or the right, its inescapable. Try for a moment to think of limited growth as a good thing. I already dislike seeing fences, the playa had more magic when it actually felt endless, not bounded.

    All that, with a BIG THANK YOU for trying your hardest to keep it all together and going…..Its not easy and there are many factors that those of us outside BMORG can scarsely grasp. Be well.

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  • OK so the “step” program now says that if YOU registered and did not win a ticket you will be automatically invited to get on the list for getting a ticket. Only YOU. One ticket. Not the second ticket you also entered the lottery for. You know, the one for your friend, wife, lover, kid, etc…
    So now my partner is S.O.L because they didn’t individually enter the lottery? that’s why I originally entered for two tickets, for both of us, one doesn’t go without the other!

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  • FOR SALE: One slightly used Mutant vehicle and trailer to carry it on. Has a reputation for the friendliest mv on the playa. Flame effects included. Always a hit with the families in Kidsville. Since there will not be a Kidsville this year…what’s the point?

    Cashiers check or cash only…..

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  • BMorg really fucked this one up, one dysfunctional step after another. I’ve been going since 93, only missed one year. Didn’t get a ticket through lottery, not camping with a ‘vital’ theme camp. Have volunteered in virtually every dept except DPW (ew) and brought many, many people who have gone on to found their own ‘vital’ camps. Will I get a ticket in STEP? Ha! highly unlikely. Will the camp I stay with, FULL of volunteers, get any tickets to support our infrastructure ? Doubtful, as we’re not ‘flashy’ or have a high profile. We have stayed totally true to the spirit of Burning Man’s 11 principles, to the spirit of the event, the core meanings (even when it didn’t have any meanings) and WE ARE SO FUCKED. BMorg has made any scalpers who got tix in the first round so ecstatic… *sigh* We shall see what happens. we shall see.

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  • Congrats on determining a way to save the integrity of the event. I’m sure it’ll be another great one.

    However, first line of business for next year – Ticket sales in the first round, should only be Open for 3 (to 5) days! That was the most foolish mistake that could have ever been made. None of these problems would exist, as all the speciality art people, etc. we’re all signed up, like me … On Day One – or within 2 more days! This mess falls on those that made the decision to keep the tickets sales open for two weeks! Shame on you!

    I’m hurt and disappointed that being a first responder had no merit. Will prob attempt to get a ticket, but have little faith I’ll be getting one. Have fun… I’m sure you all will.

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  • Good job producing an amazing event and thanks for your hard work.

    You guys need to fix the one ticket thru STEP detail and here’s a solution how.

    There should be 2 separate STEP lines, one for single tickets and one for a pair of tickets. When a ticket comes back for sale to STEP it goes into the single line and immediately goes up for sale, then the next ticket that comes back for sale goes into the two ticket line. This second ticket back does not immediately go up for sale as it is waiting for another ticket to be paired with before it can be sold.

    The third ticket back goes into the single ticket line and immediately goes up for sale. When the fourth ticket comes back it get’s paired up with another ticket (the 2nd ticket back) and goes into the two ticket line.

    This means for every 4 tickets, 2 would go to singles and 2 would go to a couple or pair. Which is much more fair than saying for every 4 tickets back, 4 will go to singles and NONE will go to couples or pairs.

    This is just a minor detail, but a BIG one that you guys can easily remedy now.
    … and besides who want’s to go to Burning Bachelor Man anyways?

    The Man in 2012 will be just as burnt as it was in previous years! Don’t forget it

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  • The exodus would be a great time and place to sell tickets for the next burn. The tickets would only go to those that want to return to the event. That would keep those tickets out of the hands of the scalpers. I know…..too simple of an idea for the geniuses in the crystal palace of the Borg.

    I don’t feel like thanking them for fucking up the burn.

    Tickets for the theme camps? Most theme camps suck. Now they are country clubs.

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  • Let’s put all this creative energy into transforming daily life for greater justice, not just a once a year party when people take off work form their 9-5 for some time… (I know some do.)

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  • I live in England and rely on my American friends getting tickets as well as me, and then I fly over and join them and their camp. They provide a tent, bikes and food and I pay them what they need to cover these costs, as I can’t really lug a tent and bikes on a plane with me can I……. I was hoping to come to BM in 2013 but if I get a ticket and my friends don’t, I’d have to either cancel or try to get in with another camp, which may not necessarily be easy. I now wonder if I will ever get to return to the Playa :(

    I’ve never had problems with the auto web ticket queue, I thought it was a genius idea as I’m so used to ticket websites crashing over here whenever gig tickets go on sale for a big concert, I wondered why they didn’t adopt the same queueing system as BM did. Surely in this age of constantly evolving web technology, the queueing system can be improved to handle more people hitting the site to buy tickets.

    What about having several country-specific websites all selling tickets using the queue system, ie East coast, West coast of America, Europe, Australasia – you pre-register your card details which will provide solid proof of your address, and then when the time comes you log onto the relevant country website and join the electric queue, and buy as before. If you try to register on ALL the country websites you will be rejected due to your credit card address not being relevant. This must be do-able in todays technological age?

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  • I feel that this is a complete capitulation on the core values of this event. It is by definition creating an elite class of burners who have special access to the organization and are now literally hand picked to attend. If this is the future of Burning Man, my 10 year love affair is officially over.

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  • Question?…….

    How many burners on this thread have given or are planning to give tickets up to the STEP program?
    I know, unscientific, unreliable, but this is burning man.

    How many?

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  • So when do the camps get notified about the tickets? Not sure if I should buy STEP tickets and wait to find out if my small, non placement, camp gets any tickets. Very confused and unsure of what to do next. Maybe we’ll have to organize an AlternaBurn at Lahontan Reservoir (24 miles south of Fernely). Anybody interested?

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  • Well, Once again BMORG comes out and tells it like it is! Sorry to everyone that is still BITCHING but what can be done? BM recognized there is a core group of people who make this event, and yes there is some favoritism there. These core burners have been donating there services, money & time for many years now and to overlook them now would be a slap in the face from THE MAN himself!
    I still feel that most of the already sold tickets are in burners hands and we’ll see on the 24th how many of them are going to make those tickets available in the STEP program ( I hope all) And then all of the pissing and moaning will have been for nothing! So wipe your tears, un-clinch your fist and show some respect for the only event in the WORLD that would even communicate with it’s community the way BMORG has done!!!!

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  • These presale tickets are looking better and better every day! STEP should have allowed 2 tickets per order, and they should have only allowed 5000 tickets in the open sale, and the remaining 6-7000 tickets to be allocated to theme camps/artist. (I say 6-7000 because there are bound to be a couple thousand tickets left from ppl’s cc that got denied, and the tickets they are still currently pulling from multiple enteries that were initially missed, scalpers, etc.)

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  • How do you think the bulk of the conversations will be going on the playa this year?

    Tickets, tickets, tickets……

    “How did you get yours?” “How many of your friends didn’t?” “Will you come next year?” “Heres what they should of done”

    I’m sick of it already.

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  • I have gone to bm for the last 13 years building art and being part of camps and in the last few years I was always next to my computer buying tickets as soon as I could. This year I registered but didn’t get lucky and now it seems I will only be able to get some through a themecamp. I am disappointed that bm shows no solidarity with long time burners who have made it to what it is now. Bm is where my husband (17 year burner) and I kissed first and where our son was conceived. We were planning to bring cougar red now he is turning 4 but I guess we need to consider ourselves ex-burners.

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  • I do think that hand-picking the remaining 10k tickets is the best thing to do, but I am in awe that BMorg has painted themselves into such a corner that that’s true. When Marion says, “preserving the fabric of our culture,” all I hear is, “playing favorites”. I have no doubt that the people involved will do their best to be fair and impartial, but there is no way that they can possibly truly judge the worth of each participant’s contribution to the burn. What it is going to boil down to is, if you volunteer for official teams, or if you bring a big, registered theme camp, or if you have been a sponsored artist, or any number of such things, then you get offered a ticket. In other words, the chances of you getting a ticket directly relate to your degree of engagement with BMorg. Anybody who contributes to the burn in a way that does not directly relate to BMorg is SOL, because BMorg doesn’t have that person’s name on a list. This is an example of the kind of top-down, “because-Larry-Harvey-says-that’s-why,” organization that I would like to think burns eschew. But like I said, this is probably the best solution given the situation. I just wonder how would a bottom-up, do-ocracy have solved or avoided this problem in the first place?

    “You get to go because BMorg picked you.” Do you see the damage that sentence is going to do to people’s relationship with and view of the event? I hope you realize how serious this decision is. You can’t take this kind of thing back.

    Here’s another thought that I had. The narrative that is being constructed is that “important people” didn’t get tickets because scalpers abused the lottery. Maybe that’s true. But what if the truth is that demand simply outstripped supply by a much greater margin than expected. It’s one thing if the Org says, “Scalpers abused the system, and in response to that, we are going to take the radical step of hand-picking some important people to get tickets.” It’s another thing entirely if the truth is, “There are too many new people coming to the event, and we are going to artificially reduce their numbers.”

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  • Hooray to the BMORG for providing recognition (and 10,000 tickets) ito the experienced veterans who are generous with their time and creativity. They provide much of the infrastructure and continuity.

    An idea about named tickets: Not every ticket needs to have a separate name attached. Let a number of tickets be attached to the name of the buyer.

    Ticket verification would then be by vehicle rather than by individual ticket. This would encourage mentoring along with the gifting of tickets.

    Camp tickets could be distributed as access codes or in some other way that entitles a participant to buy a personalized ticket. Participants in a project could then arrive separately.

    I thank the organizers for hearing all of the ideas and sifting for those that work with all the other constraints that are in place. In working actively to preserve the wonderfully extravagant infrastructure that the volunteers, theme camps, art and art cars provide, I have faith again that Burning Man will carry on.

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  • As I clearly can see from the latest lack of thought out decision, I cant even join the STEP program as you suggested, since we played fair and followed the suggested guidelines this whole time and ONLY requested two tickets in ONE registration, now my soul mate is the only one who can apply and who can get ONE ticket, can you explain how unity can come from issuing only ONE nontransferable ticket to a couple who only registered ONCE and FAIRLY?

    I think it is truly a naive and blinded assumption to have a warm mushy feeling and think that since by all acknowledgement 1 out of 4 tickets in the 40000 was to old burners, that 30000 NEW never been before burners decided last min without thinking about it that 350 bucks to go sleep in the dessert for a week was a realistic mindset. How many people without truly knowing would dish out that kind of money time and future expense to do such a thing, certainly not the people I am sure burning man is hoping to create such an environment. I fear you have just created the worst environment so far from the true meaning if you believe and hope those are the people you call family and want to come home too. The hole that is being dug is growing deeper and deeper with every decision that is being made that I honestly fear now for what will become of this whole event.

    I am so heartbroken and spirit within me is so broken I am at a loss for words and my spirit is so broken at this point, one wonders, how or why do we even bother to follow the suggestions when it is apparent that there is a deeper desire for this event then to try and rectify and save home.

    We had planned this year to arrive earlier and leave later to help and give back more and more each year, saving my time off just for this event. I wonder if your “30,000 new burners” will do that for you, or if 90% of them will show up Thurs leave Sunday and let you all clean up the mess after they are done partying and consuming all your gifts, like greedy little toddlers not aware the responsibility and commitment that it requires to create what so many have come to love, in the end you all may be setting up and cleaning up one big party for a bunch of people that see a sweet fun party land right out of a kids Dr Suess book and wanted to go visit, and leave the work to you all.

    I will continue to follow the suggestions and hope that karma will bless me in the end somehow but it looks very unlikely at this point. But I am open to more suggestions, if anyone wants to suggest anything we are very willing to try!!!

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  • Thank you for addressing this so well. However dont you think that the first round of tickets should have been offered to those who really make up the treads of burning man. Excuse me but this is like the pot calling the kettle black. Last year when tickets sold out the artist and people who did not get tickets were asked the question, who plans going spends money and doesn’t get q ticket first. Well who sells tickets to an event that has no artist and basically the have no threads. The lack of concern BM has takin for the community that has supported it a is mind blowing. I am a 12 year vet, I didn’t even play this lottery. I did want to feel like I was getting kicked out or not choosen to be good enough if you will. I have receive artist gift tickets for the last few years. I don’t even know if I want one this year, or to be part of an art project at all. That hurts, last year we were a part of the temple. I guess it was the Temple of transition, more than most of us even knew. Like I said I do like how you intend to fix this, but I don’t know if I will get this shit sandwich, minus the playa dust taste out of my mouth.

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  • Silly idea silly rabbit oh whatever!
    Since they, the BORG, are selling the ‘390’ tickets and there appears to be an issue with ‘couples’ and since this has been a cluster from the start, why not sell 1 ticket for 390 and 2 tickets for 320/each, or will this impair the ‘cash out’ budget of the BORG?
    Maybe there should be a blog on eplaya naming the camps, vehicles, persons who will NOT be at the 2012 burn – this might convince other burners to toss in their tickets (or seek a profit for the financing of the 2013 event)
    Like I have said in prior posts, it is better to start planning for 2013, this year just maybe the year to take a break or to break from the event.

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  • Marian and Crew,

    What an incredible fuck up.

    Thank You for ruining the best thing I have ever been involved in.

    P.S. – Will Titanium Sporkastra be performing on the playa this year? No. The brass section didn’t get tickets.

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  • The man burns in 198 days. Tick, tick, tick…

    Normally this time of year we are busy planning, gathering, and building for BRC. This year, even the core groups don’t know what to do.
    Saving the last tickets for people who make it happen is the ONLY viable solution for BM to be worth attending this year. Sorry newbies or spectators. Lets face it, if you’ve been going for a while, you probably have a huge pile of Playa stuff just waiting for a return engagement. Little pieces of BRC piled in garages, storage units or back yards, wondering if they’ll see the playa this year. Virgins or casual burners just don’t have that stuff ready to go. 190 days until the city opens. Not much time if your starting from scratch. This is not entitlement or eletism. THIS IS REALITY.
    Last year, there were many more requests for theme camps than there were spaces. Many camps got turned down. This year, who knows? What a mess. The BORG has quite a task deciding who goes and who doesn’t. We all know not all theme camps are as open to burner participation as others. Some definitely leave more of a trace then others. Some are just a bunch of friends camping together, with not much to offer the city as a whole. Big camps have a core group that actually make the camp happen, and lots of people who really are not vital. Some small unregistered groups are way more fun and interactive than placed camps. How to sort this all out? I’m just glad I’m not the one doing that. Good luck BMORG. You guys have done a remarkable job over the years, and now it’s your biggest challenge yet. Whatever you do, someone is going to be pissed off. Keep BRC the most magical place on earth.
    Thank you!!

    Looking over the placement questionnaire, it says you will notify camps by JULY? How are we supposed to proceed without knowing even who is getting a ticket, and camp placement until JULY? I hope there will be some feedback on this before then.

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  • Still a tough situation for BMORG. How can you possibly make everyone happy. How tough is it to negotiate with BLM for more space? Well they are your government at work. So much for “our land”, the truth is it is the federal government’s land, and when dealing with government agencies things don’t get done quickly or rationally. I would think that the folks in Fernley, Nixon, Empire and Gerlach have a bit to lose here too. They get a financial shot in the arm welcoming burners every year. The fact is BM has become a media event and is so amazing that you can’t keep it from growing exponentially. I would be curious to know the actual number of applicants. Is there any private land on the playa available?

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  • Last year the event was sold out, too, so people were excluded.

    This year, people will be excluded as well, but BORG made the entire process a *huge* headache for *everyone* by trying to mix up the ticketing process.

    The fact that they are handpicking attendees now makes their distribution process much less defendable, and makes people much angrier. Better have the old system where you’d just wait in line online for 8 hours, but then have your decision if you can go or not.

    BORG screwed it up so badly. Are we past peak-Burningman?

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  • Oh god please! just do a mail order, detailed specific, first come, first served, two tickets per mail order. any mistakes causes you to be eliminated…just like the grateful dead did it for years. If u cant follow instructions to the letter, and you are not timely,you cannot get a ticket, how basic, how fair.
    core groups……ok who gets to decide that one? And how would you like to end up number 10,001 on that list?….
    burning man, everything you learn from there, is already in your heart, and you sure dont need to wander around in dust for three days to get the message…and you sure dont need to be judged by the people in charge who get to decide who the elite are. And you def dontneed to spend hundreds and hundreds and thousands of dolars to lie around in dirt, do you know how silly this is? u know alot of people just go there to look at breasts?
    Anywayhaving done my over 75 dead shows, done the mass campouts, done the mass dancing, sweating, tripping etc, i can tell you, the message is already inside of you……stay home this year and enjoy the fresh air. Even better, why dont some of these core groups branch off and start their own event???? and while you are all partying, think about what all this good brain power could do if put into effect in The REAL WORLD KIDS!

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  • Thanks BMORG! I agree this evolution of the system is the best of many imperfect solutions.

    +1 for please allowing those that tried to purchase two tickets in the main sale to acquire two tickets in step. Current process only hurts those that did _not_ game the system.

    Hope you see you all at home!

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  • OK, I’ve had enough. Reading all of this is really depressing.

    One last thought:
    This period before the burn is supposed to be a time of joy and creativity. We connect with our burner friends and family sharing the eager anticipation of the upcoming burn. We pull out our wardrobe, try things on, get the mutant vehicle ready for whatever the playa throws at it. We all have what was our own joyful rituals preparing for our next experience on the playa.

    Sadly gone. Thanks Marian

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  • So the squeaky wheels get the grease? Friends and myself who have participated, displayed, performed, and given for years (but don’t know anybody high within the organization) all got snubbed in the general sale, had a glimmer of hope left, but now have had all hopes extinguished. If we knew ‘somebody importaint’ and whined enough, I guess we would have been OK.

    Conversely, I’m not sure why those tickets BM has left to give out are such a big deal. Anybody that got left out of the big lottery sale can still buy tickets in the aftermarket for (what’s the going price now?) about $1,600 each

    BM sold out, and somebody’s making bank – so much for the ethics and culture of BM

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  • Home is not what it use to be, I am ready to move and find a new home, how can those left out or desire to be out of this mess complicated and see if we can all meet up somewhere same, time NEW PLACE ? :) any suggestions?

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  • I marvel at the Org’s ability to absorb this information. Almost 400 comments, 48,000 words. Over 150 pages if printed.

    For those are looking for a new HOME; I recommend your regional Burning Man community. One problem with that is that if you live in the Bay Area, the regional BM org is the same as the national one. There is no regional burn event for the Bay Area; you all have to go out to Gerlach.

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  • Are all 10,000 tickets that are yet to be sold going to theme camps? It doesn’t sound like there is any other way besides STEP and Scalpers for someone not attached to a major theme camp to get a ticket this year.

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  • It seems to me that the root of the problem is the scalpers. There is a very simple economic solution. Supply and demand.

    If EVERYONE in the BM community only pays “face value” for the aftermarket tickets, and refuses to pay anything over face value, there will no longer be any business incentive for scalpers. In that case, all unwanted tickets will be either gifted to friends, or returned through STEP.

    The MB community is in charge of their own destiny on this one.

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  • Taking care of major people is good, but my wife and I are only eligible for ONE TICKET!!
    We played by the rules (instead of both registering for tickets) – now only one of us might (just might) get a ticket at best !!
    Are you trying to breakup my marriage!!
    We were planning our best ART project ever – the love shack. The independent artist playing by the rules gets the SHAFT again…..

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  • While I agree that making sure the core of Burningman will have a better shot at forming this year with this new plan, the one-ticket-per-person approach to STEP will essentially bump me out from going. I was one of those silly folks who played by the rules, and just registered once for two tickets for me and my wife. Only being able to purchase one ticket through STEP would essentially force me to go to scalpers or hope for something miraculous to enable both of us to attend. =|

    Hope the rest of you have a great burn, though!

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  • Well this sucks.

    Big hug to the people at BM. While I don’t agree with the process, lottery, etc (actually a lot of things), I do believe that you have done the best you can given the information & abilities you have to maintain BR City & its culture. Thanks.

    Shame on all the (insert expletive here) who call yourselves burners and feel the need to lash out at those that over the years have created the very thing we all know & love. You need to ask yourself if you really deserve a ticket to the event or if you are actually part of the community if that is the reaction you have. We’re all disappointed – deal with it constructively.

    For me this year was going to be special. I gave up my ticket last year due to the birth of my son (born two weeks after the man burned) & was hoping for a re-birth of my own back on the playa this year. I have a picture of him ready to post at the temple. Doesn’t look hopeful for me but I’m going do my damn-dest to get back.

    Hopefully all this can be resolved over time because I do hope to take my boy to burningman & show him the joy & wonder (ok – we’ll leave out some of the wonder) that my girlfriend & I have experienced over the years. It would truly be a shame if our community can not overcome this adversity.

    Burn on my friends …

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  • Some arguments in favor of identity-based ticketing:

    1) At this point, the vast majority of the community could not give a damn about “gifting” a ticket, or anonymity (at least before coming through the gate. :-) They are much more concerned about simply getting in, or getting in and finding their friends and favorite haunts.

    2) Nobody likes the wait at the gate, but at this point the vast majority of the community would gladly have the wait twice as long (certainly an overestimate) in order the keep the social fabric of the event intact.

    3) “whether it’s possible to motivate current order-holders to identify ticket holders”. Yes, this would be a change in sale terms, and certainly it’s un-ideal. All we have to do is offer, for a limited time, to accept returns of ticket allocations for full refunds including fees. The only people who will raise a fuss are scalpers. Others will not be bothered in the slightest.

    4) Additional expenses and difficulties at the gate. Yes, these would be real with identity-based ticketing, but these are logistical/financial problems that CAN BE SOLVED dispassionately. What will be much harder to handle is the ripping up of the social fabric that will result when:
    * some people got lucky and got a ticket in the lottery
    * some people were chosen by you (via their theme camps or art cars)
    * some people paid $700-$1200 to a scalper to get in
    How can anyone possibly feel that lovely, egalitarian “welcome home” state under such conditions?

    By my calculations, scalpers hold about 20,000 tickets. But no one really knows. Even if I’m wrong and there are only 10,000, identity-based ticketing will flush them out and you’ll have twice as many tickets with which to bless various art cars and theme camps. Say there are only 5,000. This number would STILL be a great help to those waiting on STEP.

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  • I hate to say this but – epic fail.
    how was this not anticipated? with so many great minds put together in making these decisions.
    many mixed feelings. changing the process midstream and harming many playa friends that were just unlucky – while i understand why the remaining tickets will be directed to established camps, i fear this has turned into a sort of “good old burner club” inhibiting free minds and open evolution to happen organically. while established camps provide so much that makes up the experience (art, performances, art cars), which everyone benefits from, i believe there is also a role for virgins as the people who will take on these roles next or make up their own roles and guide BM into new directions. but what about those burners who just don’t have the “connections”?
    more than anything, this just runs against the idea of equal opportunity. which is an understandable route to take, but BM needs to own up to it – now an institution instead of a progressive project.


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  • Count me as another honest, naive burner who registered for 2 tickets for myself and my husband on one card.

    Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard on this issue. I know it’s a bitch.

    Sad to see so many ppl refer to themselves as “ex-burners” or “burner-no-more” – To Burn is a life, not an event. I’ve never attended This Thing in the Desert, but have been to regionals and have lived to burn for years and years. Not going to BM doesn’t make me not a burner.

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  • @ASHAY: “Shame on all the (insert expletive here) who call yourselves burners and feel the need to lash out at those that over the years have created the very thing we all know & love.”

    This line of thinking, IMO, is part of the problem. Who is it who has “created the very thing we all know and love”? WE DO. And BMorg is a part of that. But they do not “create the burn.” If you doubt that, imagine what would happen if BMorg showed up, and nobody else.

    The anger that people are feeling over how fucked up the ticketing process is, is legitimate. Don’t trivialize it by calling it “lashing out.”

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  • I read a lot of the comments last night before going to bed and the rest this morning. It’s clear that BM as we knew it is dead. For those that loved the old Burning Man the next stage is the coax the phoenix out of the ashes so it can fly.

    With the potential split between the long standing camps and the crowds that are there to be entertained (virgins) we need to go back to the inclusion principle I first encountered at BM — which is “no spectators.” I remember a time at BM when the occasional “spectators” in golf shirts and bermuda shorts cruised the playa — camera in hand. Everywhere they went they were greeted with calls of “Spectator … Spectator … no spectators at Burning Man.” This year for the first time ever there is the very real possibility that the majority of those who come through the gate will be spectators. They may not dress in bermuda shorts but unless the ticket debacle can be put to rest for now the playa could become an “us” and “them” world in August.

    So at the risk of offending “Burners Without Tickets” even more — job #1 is now to make this year’s burn into a rebirth and not a funeral. That’s going to be hard for all those without tickets to swallow and some have already said they can’t and they are moving on. The messages on the blog so far are a lot like the “Five Stage of Accepting Death.” Denial … Anger …Bargaining … Depression and Acceptance. But for BM there can be a sixth stage — Rebirth. It’s sort of like reincarnation. Only the whole time frame has to be enormously compressed.

    But the energy of the thousands who will not be inside the fence in August needs to be blended with the energy and expectations of the thousands of first time burners. This is a gigantic social experiment and there is no assurance it will be successful. But the focus of everyone now needs to shift to ways to make Burn 2012 the platform on which future festivals — perhaps around the world — can build. Too grand a scheme — I think not!

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  • I agree with the distribution of the tickets to theme camps but with only one ticket through the STEP program leaves out the plan to get married at BM this year. Please reconsider!

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  • The ticket FAQ says:

    Q: Can I register multiple times or with different credit cards?
    A: No. Only one registration is allowed per person. This isn’t fair to others. If you’re trying to help your camp acquire tickets we urge you to look at the various purchasing options as additional opportunities and to utilize the approved environment that we’ll be creating.”

    From: http://blog.burningman.com/2012/02/news/burning-man-addresses-2012-ticket-situation/

    “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.”

    These are the people unaffected by the STEP single ticket restriction, while those that followed the rules get fucked.

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  • I said it before and I will say it again.

    This whole situation is just a call for everyone to participate. Join a camp, work on a project, volunteer in a meaningful way. Don’t be a spectator this year. Throw yourself into the community and help make it a great burn.

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  • Good to see that Goodell & Co. picked up an economics book…

    Now, when faced with Radical Scarcity, how do we answer the three fundamental questions of economics:
    1. What is produced?
    2. How is it produced?
    3. On what basis is it distributed?

    At first glance, this “Directed Ticket Distribution” seems like a great concept, although central planning by a governing body hasn’t worked yet… maybe BM HQ will get the secret sauce right this time and invite the perfect combination of contributors.

    What has made BM so great thus far is the same force that drive innovation in free markets – the de-centralization and democratization of planning for question 1 and 2 to the individual.

    So then, how do we keep BM, arguable the cutting edge of human creativity, vibrant with innovation when the tickets are deliberately distributed with the intention of fabricating awesomeness??? Well… some would say that the opposite will happen, as the pressure mounts for the recipients of these tickets to deliver the goods, it may just hinder creativity.

    I don’t propose to have the right answer… obviously free markets have their limitations and downfalls… I guess there really is no way to have our cake and eat it too.

    Thank you to everyone at HQ for all their hard work. Attending BM has added a color and flavor to my life that I will cherish. I look forward to participating in the community again in the near future.


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  • Everybody! Everybody! Please IGNORE the incredibly negative attitudes of some who claim to be “core” Burners! Don’t let their (understandable) bad vibes bring you down, or make you think the Burn won’t happen or will be somehow diminished just because THEY won’t be present. They are flushing something bad out of their system.

    I have faith that the BMORG will figure out a better solution in 2013 and those disappointed not to go this year will be able to go the next year. (I even have a glimmer of hope that the STEP process will be a success and a relatively small number of burners will truly be “left out” this year.)

    If your first instinct in this situation is to rant about how BMORG sucks and the event is over and will never be the same and you never want to go again and everybody should boycott it and make sure it sucks for all the virgins and “rich folks,” please take a deep breath and remember that the only constant in life is change.

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  • Reading all of these comments is heart aching, stressful and above all, disappointing. The usual pre-burning man excitement and rituals have indeed been replaced with these emotions.

    Though I see the logic in issuing the last 10,000 tickets selectively in order to salvage BM 2012 after BMorg’s colossal fuckup of their ridiculous lottery system, I think giving the rest of us absolutely no other chances beyond the STEP system is hugely unjust.

    BMorg- so many questions.

    When we registered for our tickets initially and were asked to indicate our previous BM involvement, why were these statistics not used to issue the tickets instead of a completely random lottery? This is how I assumed it was going to work and that’s why we were asked those questions, rather than just for your stastical records.

    The overwhelming response you received this year was BECAUSE of the lottery system. If you put the tickets up for open sale as usual, the people who really wanted and deserved to be there would have been diligent enough to get the tickets in time. Instead leaving the registering system open for that length of time allowed too much time for conversation and encouragement to spread amongst friends of friends who have never attended and only want to because of how much their friends have been talking it up.

    Who exactly won these 40,000 tickets? Certainly no burners I know, or that any of my burner friends know. Do you guys even know????? I am all for new blood being introduced into BM, I think that is of crucial importance, but come on guys, you should have predicted there would be an influx of newbies after last year’s sellout and worked out a way of making sure a fair number went to the right hands. Now it looks like you’re going to have a festival with over 50% new blood. Massively unfair to the rest of us.

    With the huge team of “professionals” and associates that you have working on this, which you have listed in your long and frustrating deliveries, I can’t believe this is the best solution you could come up with. I sincerely hope you come up with a solution for next year – it sounds like you have already lost the hearts of more than a few members of your family.

    The rest of you who aren’t ready to give up, like myself, keep your spirits high, it’s not over yet. Let’s hope this STEP system works, and that enough tickets will find their way into the hands of those who can keep balance on the playa. I think it’s a concern of many of us who might miss out this year that we will hear reports from our friends who do make it that things just weren’t the same, and it’s over. But I think that is still far from happening, so long as we don’t get too negative and keep the dream alive, despite the near-impossible difficulties that have been placed on us this year.

    BMorg, please listen to us when we say we want names on the tickets. You are trying to reduce scalpers but this year it seems the number of tickets being sold for ridiculous prices will go through the roof. I know you discourage it, but sorry, if it means paying $1000 + for a ticket this year, then I will, because it is worth it to me, and you have left us with no other choice.

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  • I empathize with all the couples who only registered once for two tickets– that is me too. But as people have pointed out, the chance of getting a ticket in STEP is probably infinitesimal anyway. The best thing is that the show will go on and we’ll all have better luck next year. I am afraid that Bradley, above, is right. The Borg made mistakes and is imperfect, but its communication and interaction with its constituency is better than what any other organization on the planet would have done.

    Reading the descriptions of art from last year makes me pray and want to cry at the same time!! (http://www.burningman.com/installations/11_art_brc.html). Only someone who has been there understands what these little ideas mean; how they come to life on the playa and become unforgettable pieces of the collective unconscious and our own past. I wasn’t there last year, but I was there in ’05, ’06, ’07, and ’09, and I understand the language these art pieces speak. Burning Man is the most important cultural movement of our generation, and it has also produced the best art to date in human history– I don’t think that is even subject to debate. Even if I cannot go this year… I want to know that this well will not dry up.

    I know a lot of people would like to believe that the seeds that are scattered this year will grow into epic regional burns and eventually reshape default reality… That is a nice ideal and I hope it comes true, but there is something about the Black Rock Desert, the playa ringed by ancient mountains, that will never be replaced. The electric-ant-colony-on-acid that appears there is a manifestation of a consensus that THIS is where we shall all go with our best ideas and visions! The one and only Burning Man must always be the mother, home, sacred, irreplaceable. There must be this heart, and by definition it must be singular.

    I am infinitely thankful for the burns I got to attend, falling in love on the playa, fighting with my brother and friends on the playa, always somehow making it out alive, waking up afterwards in a motel in the middle of nowhere, thinking the street lights outside are moonglow along the Esplanade. Those days are all among the best, most life-changing days of my life. Giving the last 10,000 tickets to people we know for a fact are Core/Bones was a good move. I was only in a theme camp once and I won’t get a ticket through one, but at least I know the event will retain a measure of its dreamlike beauty. I do think that some of the permanent aspects of the Esplanade don’t have the same impact after a couple years (and that sort of predictability is at odds with the spirit of the event), but the new people deserve to jam at the Root Society and Opulent Temple and the other dependable fixtures that sit between them.

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  • Why does everyone assume that virgins are only there to be entertained, and that none of them will be prepared? Obviously long time burners that have never been to any other festival are the only one’s assuming this. As a burgin this year, I’ve been working on art since before xmas (ya, presale ticket!,) and my burgin Calgary camp has some great ideas that you old farts probably never thought about. Not only this, but it’s not the first time my crew has been camping in extreme weather conditions (lets just say i’m not worried about 100+ degree weather, dust storms so think you cant even see your own nose and playa dust that gets everywhere.. infact, i’m looking forward to these things), and not our first time to a festival. You must be nuts thinking the majority of burgins will just pack a tent and drive down for a fun weekend in the sun. I only speak for my burgin crew, but we’re not fuckin stupid little newbies. Our camp is going to be more epic then a tonne of you ‘burnier then thou’ folks set up.. so why don’t you just shut your mouth and worry about yourself, and we’ll make sure we hold up our end of the bargin.

    We do not plan to spectate.. we will participate.

    My appologies for the grammer and spelling mistakes.

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  • We all come from the garden
    And to her we shall return
    Like a drop of rain
    Flowing to the ocean
    or to the desert for that matter and sucked up into that incredibly dry sky along with all those swirling sulphur particles…
    your turn

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  • Radical Random Selection followed by Radically Entitled Appointment. Glad I am neither a virgin or someone who just can’t live without a trip to the playa. So happy to have made other plans this year…I wish all attending good luck and good times. It’s going to be interesting for sure.

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  • this was a tough call, but ultimately i think the org did the right thing. if you’re going to host an event where the attendees build and create the magic themselves, it is critical to engage the people who have an established history of doing so. i’m sorry if this sounds self-righteous, but we’ve earned it.

    virgins: i welcome you with open arms but in all honesty you will be too busy getting your minds blown to participate at the level we need to bring this city to life. and that’s the way it should be. next year we’ll really put your asses to work ;)

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  • How are BMOrg STILL not making the connection that “a lot of Virgins won tickets” to “a lot of Scalpers won tickets?” Figure it out!

    You’re a scalper. You’ve NEVER been to Burning Man. But to get tickets, you have to answer this bizarre questionnaire. The simplest response is “I’ve never been to Burning Man”. SO OF COURSE THEY PICKED THAT!

    We won’t really KNOW how many “Virgins” are actually SCALPERS who have no intention of going until the tickets are physically distributed (at which point it’ll be too late) OR you guys MAN UP and put NAMES ON TICKETS. Shit, you don’t even have to check the bloody names at the gate. Just SAY you are! Same effect. Then get it right for next year. All this “it makes gifting hard” is nonsense. WHO has extra tickets to GIFT?! NOBODY!


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  • I have been considering 4th of Juplaya or even camping on the perimeter way north of the event as with many that I have talked to already do. There is no grip on those that are radically self reliant outside the perimeter of the event. Freedom may be obtained once again by the people, the ‘self reliant’ and our monies will be redirected to better uses to support us in this manner.

    I would be able to use my wind sail vehicle without restriction… could this be the answer to the rebirth.

    People all over the desert have the right to be there. I’m not implying a 99% occupy movement, however the BLM land is public land. We can pay the base fee and have much more territory.

    The biggest issue is the Self Reliants would have to make damn sure they clean up even more than ever before. Human nature is a bitch to try and harness with an overall discipline regarding the ‘pack it in pack it out’ mindset and actions executed effectively at 100%

    Just some thoughts though. All veterans, virgins, and BMorg staff are welcome to chime in on this. I’d be interested to hear benefits and downfalls.

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  • Re: the ‘spouse can’t come’ situation because I can only receive one ticket:

    I am glad some people’s spouses can’t come due to the fact that now a registeree can only be awarded one ticket.

    I have witnessed jealous husbands and wives who come out to Burning Man but they actually hate the burn in their hearts. They only do it to keep tabs on their Mrs / Mr. They bring drama-drama-drama because of their fear. And now those insecure people have to stay home. HOORAY! See, this poop situation has birthed a positive effect.

    But I’m genuinely sorry for those whose spouses aren’t jealous idiots. They – through no fault of their own – have been put in a situation now where only one part of the couple may be able to participate.

    I hope those of us who really want to be there can find their way to tickets. And I hope that we all get to burn with the beloved people we really want to be with.

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  • Number 4. should read:

    4. 10 Principles – A group or project fully embraces the 10 Principles in their entirety, even though the LLC clearly no longer cares about them.

    The VERY FIRST principle states, “No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.” Are not those four things being treated as prerequisites to include some and exclude others?

    We are in a sell-out situation and now Radical Inclusion is finally being tested. It turns out the LLC thinks it was contrived all along. In this situation, when you radically include someone as they are doing, you radically exclude someone else. I remember when there was no Temple, no Thunderdome, etc. and Burning Man was great. Then wonderful things came along like the Temple and Thunderdome, etc. and Burning Man was great. If they never return, Burning Man likely will be. . . great.

    Now to go you have to have been there, be part of a group deemed worthy, and be deemed worthy as being integral to the group. So who gets left out? Probably the next David Best. The LLC is supposed to provide the infrastructure and let the participants create the experience. Now the LLC is ‘booking’ groups to appear.

    The best solution would have been to leave it alone. Let it be organic. Let it be. . . Fertile. Do we really need the same wonderful camps and art doing basically the same wonderful thing every year for the last decade? Maybe the more supporting players in those groups who ARE holding tickets would have stepped up to new creative and leadership positions and give us something we wondered how the event ever survived without. Or maybe those things would have come from someone who had never been there.

    Or maybe this approach would lead to a massively bad year that is necessary in the event’s evolution. Or maybe it would lead to its downfall, but if sticking to your principles leads to your downfall, then maybe the event needs to fall.

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  • You Said “[ADDED paragraph 9:15 PM 2.15.12] We have heard the call very specifically about “identify-based ticketing”. There is a strong desire from the community to have us attach a name to each ticket that comes into the event. There are some options in that regard that are more feasible than others. Unfortunately, none are seamless and all options cause various levels of disruptions not just to the organization but to community values like “gifting” that are and have been clearly in play. We’d have to motivate all intended ticket-holders to enter into a new process or plan, and for some that’s seen as a violation of privacy, for others it’s distasteful to change plans in mid-stream. It’s also important to include the impact this would place upon the box office and the gate. There’s no point in doing this if we are not be able to close the loop and enforce the identity-based solution. We must have a more complete picture of what identify-based ticketing will do to internal processes and whether it’s possible to motivate current order-holders to identify ticket holders and what that would look like. We weren’t able to reach a firm and confident conclusion by today. We have to carefully weigh the decision with the intended consequences and consider potential unintended consequences before we move forward on this option. [end added section]”

    I appreciate your clarifying your thinking on this topic. I guess my thinking would be the way to motivate the community would be to say “This is how we’re doing it”. I have been reading these responses pretty carefully. I have seen lots of folks asking for non-transferable tickets, and i can’t recall seeing anyone complaining about the loss of ananimity. If all tickets have to come back through STEP, that would eliminate the scalpers. Giving your ticket back to STEP is still giving. You are giving others a chance to come. You just aren’t giving to someone in particular. Anyone who has an extra ticket now can register their name for that ticket before the STEP program begins.

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  • Like all great empires, this one has fallen because people had poor insight and vision, and saw value in choosing to favor some over others. BM has become an elitist event, ridden with cliques, exclusionary principles, and divisiveness. The “Man” statue has been reduced to a totem pole that celebrates hierarchy, social standing, class, and profits. So much for your hopes of a “new world”.

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  • A suggestion for next year-
    BMORG should declare similar rights on tickets as they do on photographs. All tickets remain the property of BMORG, and as such can only be advertised for resale through the STEP program (excluding personal 1:1 sales between friends and such). This would give BMORG the legal power to establish policy with sites like Stubhub, Craigslist and eBay and effectively block the scalpers from wide-range access to potential buyers. This wouldn’t end scalping, but it would be a definate hinderance.

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  • I’m truly shocked that BMOrg isn’t giving people who played by the rules and only registered for 2 tickets the opportunity to purchase 2 tickets in STEP. The “hoarding” has already taken place, so why punish those who didn’t try to game the system? Just imagine the negative impact this will have if the lottery system takes place again next year.

    At the same time, you’re encouraging people not to buy tickets over face value/from scalpers – but by making STEP so prohibitive, you’re effectively encouraging the black market sale of tickets. Those who need 2 and can afford it will probably pay extra rather than risk not going or leaving their partner at home.

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  • this is a major blunder. my group wont be able to make it. they had a year to figure this out and all they did was jerk it in the wrong direction. its time to goddamn well occupy black rock city.

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  • No matter what the BORG does, there are going to be a lot of unhappy people. I’m happy with the BORGs decision on this. They dropped the ball– they know it, and this is one of the best remedys for the given situation.

    I’m personally excited to see all the new faces on the playa! We just have to make sure we do a superb job of making sure that those coming in understand and experience the Burning Man culture. I’d hate to see what happened to the EDM scene in the last year happen to the Burner scene.

    I see a lot of people feeling like they are entitled to go to Burning Man. The fact is, there aren’t enough tickets to satisfy the demand and some people just are not going to be able to go. It was alright to be upset with the BORG over the ticketing issues, but now is time to accept it and move on. The BORG is trying to make the best of their mistakes, and we should all applaud them for that. I think it’s extremely important that we keep or entitlement issues in check going forward. I’m extremely thankful for every year I get to participate in Burning Man– and if there is a year I’m not… there are other great adventures and new territory to explore!

    Every community has it’s trials and tribulations. To constantly whine and say: “I’m packing up my toys and never going ‘home’ again” is childish in the worst of ways.

    I hope the BORG chooses to go with names on tickets next year. I’d gladly volunteer to help check IDs at the gate. There was mention in a previous post by the BORG that a lot of people wouldn’t be okay with showing their IDs at the gate– personally I think that is a stretch. We have to have our IDs on us throughout the week to participate in certain events and to get drinks– so why would anyone care about showing them at the gate?

    We will survive. This year is going to be an AMAZING burn. It’s going to be different (isn’t every year?!) but it’s still going to be an amazing mind-expanding week of community and fun filled with positive energy.

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  • is it only super obvious to me that this whole new lottery system was created to try to avoid scalpers.. i.e. Larry, and the powers that be didn’t want anyone to profit off his invention except for him? and what a huge mess this caused.. and for what? to try to control people? which is exactly as anti burning man as you can get. I say boycott, and make BM realize how important the die hard burners are.. and next year, once everyone doesn’t have a good time this year, staring at each other, lookign for fun and is pissed, can BM start anew, with the scab peeled off.

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  • I registered for, and requested two tickets, because I needed two tickets..one for my husband and one for me. Doesn’t quite seem right that four people who registered four times for four tickets are going to be able to apply for four tickets…while the people who just registered once for two tickets will only get a chance at one ticket. Didn’t “hoarders” probably all registered for more than two tickets? Wouldn’t having folks give the names for the tickets they want from the STEP program effectively discourage hoarding, with out the penalty for those following the rules?

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  • I agree with you Manny, it ain’t what it used to be. It was over for me when that one kid burned the man early, and BM got so pissed.. hilarious if you think about it.

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  • As a first time Burner in 2011 I left BRC in the highest spirits and with a sense of belonging the likes of which I did not think I would ever feel. During the long drive back to Canada with members of our camp it seemed as if our van would explode at the seams with all of the love, excitement, MOOP, gear, and jubilance that was bursting out from the inside. We started making plans to make a Bar, develop an art installation, improve our Dome, and spread the Camp Quaan love much further than our 6:45 H neighbours. It seems that the high which we rode all the way home lingered for months, and we never thought that a group of people who were already such close firneds would consider eachother brothers and sisters after a trek in the desert.

    Now as this speed bump in the ticketing system has reached mountainous proportions we are faced with a great deal of sadness. only 2 of our Family has recieved tickets.

    This had me feeling quite sad at first, then optimistic, then sad again. I realize now the chances of us all getting tickets to attend our second Burn is pretty slim. But the realization is humbling as well. Yes, we would have returned for round two of our new familial legacy with a vengance. We were beginning talks about art projects and theme camp improvements and the possibly we saw for what we could bring to BRC were endless. But i also realize that what makes this community and this event what it is, is the numerous Veterans who have means of extravagance, and experience, which we are not ready to rival or replace just yet.

    have i given up my hope in finding tickets for my Camp Quaan Family and our numerous neighbours at 6:45 and H who are ticketless? No. I have simply come to recognize that if I cannot make it this year, BRC will live on and next year, and when 2013 comes our Camp will be equip to provide and contribute to the culture of BM with full force and sincerity. There are groups here that have lived and contributed to BM for years and years. I know that even if i do not get a chance to go this year, it is still in my heart and i will continue to represent the good nature and genuinity of our community in my home away from Home, here in Canada

    Thanks Burning Man. 2011 changed my life. I haven’t forgotten about you all, and i never will. When the time is right, i will be reunited with you all. Until then, Burn on and extend your love all the way North, South, East and West. We are Everywhere.

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  • I have my ticket, already. I am part of a long established village and theme camp, and also contribute time and money to help several projects, with a plan again this year, to help with Airport customs (if my EA pass works, this time!) ;-). I’d love to volunteer some support to the ongoing resolution.

    You have already provided a solution for the biggest issue for this year, which appeared to be an imbalance between newer energy and established energy. Scalpers seems to be an inflated issue with less than 1 or 2% of tickets appearing on scalping sites. Please do not make the tickets non-transferable. If for some reason the ticket holder is unable to go, that would prevent one from gifting a ticket to anyone. I don’t think an increased wait to enter the playa for set up, etc., while ID’s are checked is the right way to go at all. 50,000 ID checks… Yikes!

    A great deal of potential scalping issues of STEP ticket have been prevented by limiting STEP access to those that were denied in the first round (and to the best of your knowledge non-scalpers) and by making that set non-transferable. I understand that not everything can be solved this year. However, I do believe a new issue may be created with only allowing 1 ticket per STEP registration. I’m pretty sure you considered this already…

    I certainly recognize that not everyone will ever be happy this year, but it might help quell some grief, if a process was established to support prior unregistered theme camps. If a unregistered theme camp can show an established history of attendance and contribution, then perhaps 1000 of the 9000 should be set aside for those applications. I’m not sure how difficult creating a ticket application process for the previously unreg’d camps would be, but I’m willing to volunteer my help, if needed. I’m pretty sure you’ll get my email with this post…

    Just some thoughts and an offer to help.

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  • Echoing the frustration of STEP program only allowing for 1 ticket purchase. My SO and I were planning to go this year, and correctly applied for two lottery-based tickets on one credit card. It would have been our first time, though we have wanted to attend for many many years. Now I am only able to apply for 1 ticket through the STEP program. We wanted this to be a shared experience for the two of us. I am not connected enough to get in with a theme camp, nor do I have trusted connections to buy a ticket on the “friends” market. If the STEP program were transferable, I could apply for one ticket, and hope we find another one. But since I can’t commit without knowing if SO will go, I can’t even apply for one on the STEP program. Oh well, hopefully it works out better next year. Pretty disappointed though. :(

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  • if BORG wanted to grow the event.. they could, they just don’t want to, because it would be too big and lose its small town appeal, which i totally get. Again, its time for the cool folks to create their own once again, their vision for a new excuse to rock the house, get naked, eat stale corn chips and feel their eyes burn.

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  • I’ve been thinking and fuming over this too much. I’m angry for being RADICALLY EXCLUDED from Burning Man. Will no one say the lottery was a mistake to start with? It is perfectly legal to scrap that and start over because it didn’t fucking work. Instead of trying something better the problem is being compounded with hand picked theme camps and one ticket per credit card submitted leaving good burner couples who didn’t want to game the system out in the cold. This isn’t what I thought Burning Man was about. I’m disappointed and pissed.

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  • So, my husband and I each registered for 2 tickets. I didn’t realize that this was considered “scamming the system”, as we had plans to give the extra tickets to friends in case we both won tickets. I won tickets, he didn’t. In order to even qualify for STEP, you had to have registered. It didn’t seem like an option to only register for one ticket each because we both needed tickets. Now you’re calling US the scammers? We didn’t do anything underhanded. We had a clear plan. We’re not scalpers. We just wanted to be able to be together.
    I’m sorry if we misunderstood how this process worked, but it’s a pretty convoluted process. I’d appreciate not being labeled a scammer.

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  • In the official statement above, Marian says:

    “…We recognize the one-per person will dramatically effect the plans and intentions of those who originally ordered 2 tickets and didn’t scam the system with a back-up order and were then rejected. We WILL look at whether there is any breathing room to this policy before we engage the final implementation. However, this decision was reached with a significant number of dependent variables and won’t be easy to change…”

    That sounds like Phase 2 of a PR program.

    Phase 1 was to have the blogs begrudgingly accept the decision to change the rules of the game and re-direct 10,000 lottery tickets to registered theme camps (vital groups).

    Phase 2 of the PR program will probably be a ‘reconsideration’ of the single-ticket policy in STEP, leading to a reversal of the decision.

    It mitigates criticism.

    The obvious tradeoff for allowing couples to go is that fewer tickets will be available in the pool (ummm. more like a sink)

    Overall, it shifts the decision-making, repair, and acceptance of the ticketing fiasco onto the bloggers. Which takes the heat off of them.

    And when they announce the changes, we can trip over each other thanking them for it.

    And we’ll forget about all those tickets floating around that don’t go back into the STEP pool because it’s too costly for BMORG to make them non-transferable.

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  • I’d like to add my voice to the call out hoping that we will be able to purchase the 2 tickets we registered for through step. We also just registered once, for the two tickets we needed. Leaving my husband at home when we were both planning to go is unthinkable. If we were to get my ticket, then hold out to try to find a last minute “personal” ticket resell for him, it would leave us pretty up in the air for such a major planning event. And would I get stuck with a ticket in the end that no one could use if we don’t find anything for him?

    I think the solution proposed is the best possible – up until this part.

    Thank you for listening – thank you for all of the work that is going in to this.

    Hope to see you in the dust.

    Willow & Draque
    Burnin’ since the turn of the century

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  • Way to go Borg, you just crossed over from Burn to Bonnaroo. You care more about protecting your brand’s image than you do about the participants.

    So you’re going to give 10,000 tickets to the “core people”? You have no clue who those people are. I’ll use myself as an example, but I would bet a sizable sum it’s indicative of lots of other “non-essential” burners per your definitions. I’ve been a part of larger theme camps every year I’ve attended, but a different one each year (I like variety) so I’m not a “core” guy in any of them. I’ve volunteered for a critical infrastructure team each year too, but I’m not one of the “core” folks in those cliques either, so when those two groups get a bare minimum I doubt I’ll be one of the lucky ones.

    If all the tickets were distributed at random, and I just wasn’t lucky enough to win the lottery, so be it. It would suck, but it would be fair. But that’s no longer what’s happening here. Now, you’re playing favorites. Worse yet, you’re playing favorites without even knowing who your favorites are… How can you possibly know how much each individual contributes to a burn? The burner who made incredibly thoughtful gifts and gave them away for the last five years will never be on your “special” list. The burner who didn’t build a big sound stage, but fed hundreds every day from their un-registered theme camp will never be on your “special” list. And the list of examples can easily go on.

    If you read this blog and thought BMorg actually tried to do what was best for the burner community as a whole, let me tell you what really happened. All of the West Coast large theme camp organizers got together, along with the Borg. In that meeting the TCOs bitched and complained that they didn’t get enough tickets (and they should, they are not at fault here). BMorg listened, and then thought about their options:

    1) Continue to distribute at random: Choosing this option would mean that no burner would be considered special above any other, living up to our first principle as best they could. However, it would also mean some of the larger camps might not come, or might have to do something scaled down.

    2) Give the last 10k to the TCOs: A complete sell-out of the principles, but would ensure that many of the larger camps could continue to come and do their thing.

    In the end, it came down to a simple choice. Protect the brand of “Burning Man” by ensuring that the entertainment value remains as high as possible, or protect the principles of Burning Man and run the risk of a very different year.

    So congrats BORG, you chose the capitalist route (decommodification), created minimum membership requirements (radical inclusion), sent the very clear message that only certain types of participation are of any value to you (radical self-expression and participation), shunned entire subsets of your community (civic responsibility), changed the rules of the STEP program so anyone who played by the rules and entered the lotto for only what they needed is now fucked (also civic responsibility and gifting), forced lots of great burners to wait until next year to get fucked again (immediacy), made it impossible for burners not already in one of your “special cliques” to join the theme camps that are since they only get bare minimum tickets as well (communal effort), and even managed to give special treatment and coddling to another group so they wouldn’t have to struggle for tickets like the rest of us (radical self reliance) all in one giant cluster-fucking swoop.

    If you have managed to declare this the year you completely destroy the playa and not fix it (LNT), you would have managed to take a big steaming shit on all ten at once.

    Burning Man is now just another festival. What made you unique was that there was no “main stage” or group of stages where the headliners were found, and everything else was just camping. BRC was a place where every block had the promise of amazing adventure, of a random theme camp waiting for your participation or an art project lurking strangely on H & 5:00… What you’ve done here is ensure that all the “main stages” are taken care of, that the headliners have their places to play, and that everything else can be shantytowns of random tents and domes. It’s no longer a city with adventure on every corner. It’s a festival with main stages at 2:00 and 10:00, and everything else will just be camping. It’s Bonnaroo.

    You should just start selling coffee and other luxuries and get it over with… Oh wait….

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  • my significant lover and i just went to plan B. we’re gonna go spend labor day weekend in an over the water bungalow on the polynesian island of bora bora, and spend 5 nights there for about the same budget as a trip to the playa. it won’t be the same, for sure. nothing is like B Man. nothing.

    but…..five days and nights of snorkeling, swimming, laughing, drinking, and fucking in bora bora…..heck, we’ll suffer through it ok. and on Burn Night, we’ll dial up the scene via the internet, and raise our mai tai filled coconut shells in a toast to all our brothers and sisters goin’ crazy to that massive fiya on the playa…..

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    all tickets are will call!

    you can check ID or a bill with name and address to verify

    that eliminates scalpers / hoarders

    it reduces that amount of people who buy a ticket and figure they can resell if they don’t go

    you can set up more will call booths also at reno and the airport

    this will eliminate so many people buying tickets to resell, scalpers, etc that there will be enough tickets for everyone.

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  • you know, for years now, BMORG has been encouraging us to seriously consider the regional burns. perhaps now, they’ve stumbled upon a way to provide some real motivation in this area?

    also….last year….there was some talk about an alternate festival on the smoke creek desert. that sucker got squashed pretty fast. but will that little movement pick up some steam here in ’12, amidst all this craziness?

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  • its interesting to me that they seem so sure that a lot of first timers are going when they could be statically wrong and delusional and really just be scalpers or friends or family increasing odds who will all get the STEP email also if not originally picked.BMORG’s thought that tickets will be redistributed through the community is a bit far fetched and being in the reno/tahoe full of burners and those who applied very few people have tickets and same goes for the SF bay area also and much gifting or buying is going on thats for sure.

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  • I’m one of the many people who followed the rules and registered for two tickets on one credit card for me and my wife. Now under the STEP program we’d be eligible for one ticket? But if we had hedged our bets and registered for four tickets, we’d be eligible for the two we’d need to attend.

    This does nothing but reward the people that over-registered. I cannot fathom the reasoning behind this policy. Make the tickets non transferable and print names on them. Then the couple that registered for two tickets and is made up of two physical people can get two tickets. The couple that registered for four tickets will only have two identities to attach to tickets.

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  • Marian …………You have FUBAR this event to say then least. Resign NOW !!!
    I’m not going to sugar coat this the way you SPIN your marketing BS on everyone. Pond your skills somewhere else. Burningman 2012 will ” SUCK “.
    I feel sorry for the all people that will be disappointed.

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  • A bunch of poeple are acting very un-burner and emulating negative emotions. I didn’t get a ticket. If I do, awesome. If not, oh well. If you really want a ticket then think positively about getting one.

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  • Hey I got a great idea lets git a buncha chump charge em 410 bucks a head then let em breath noxious fumes for a week and see how they fare? survey em all to see how many weeks after the man burned they are still crappin white playa dust. Wanna? ok letz

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  • Silly burners; should have joined a big camp last year.

    There is a DIRTY LITTLE SECRET. A friend from a popular camp told me last week that they had been in constant contact with BORG Hq and no worries, they were going to get tickets. Of course they were getting tickets…..it pays to be popular.

    I know for a fact that many in the camp are non-essential to the large art car, but they will get tickets because they are part of the “party”. We all know that camps are going to pad their numbers. I was even told, “don’t worry there will be tickets for you”.

    If BMORG only gave out 3000 tickets to camps, it would be enough. I live in an actual town of 3000, and we manage just fine!

    So much for the principles….so much for fairness. BMORG didn’t listen and did the stupid lottery, now they changed their rules, and are giving 10,000 tickets to their “special camps”, are screwing the couples in STEP, and alienating the many burners who do not belong to the elite. Not sure that I will go, even if I get those tickets….it just doesn’t feel right.


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  • So a fair question . . . STEP is ONLY for those who entered the lottery and NON transferable AND only at WILL CALL at the gate? The first round of these tickets which now seems to have only been granted to 1 out 4 that applied was NOT able to be sold this way for various “reasons” they have given, then why can they NOW find it a good way to sell them?

    Is it because they only expect maybe 1000 tickets to be sold through the STEP system and so the havoc and process of checking those FEW ID’s and stating nonrefundable wont take them much time if that is the case, stop telling us to hang strong for this amazing next STEP to get out tickets!! If you really expect maybe 2 out of the 3 left out of the first lottery to have a chance in the STEP system then how can you possibly see it working NOW when you claimed it would not work in the first round where only 1 of 4 people got tickets they wanted.

    If the facts are true then you are hopeful THOUSANDS of tickets can go out through the STEP process? You REALLY think that will work NOW for thousands of tickets? THEN WHY NOT BEFORE? Or face facts and there is no hope for those not “chosen” as the special contributors and dont make it worse by only giving us now HALF a chance when we played by the rules the first time.

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  • What is the point of the STEP if i can only get ONE ticket??

    What am I going to do with ONE ticket if I am unable to secure a SECOND ticket on EBay?? Oh I know …BMORG just going to keep my money when I don’t show up at the gate.

    Will Call is such a horrible idea, BMORG are you really so desperate for money?

    This is a very sad circus.

    I’ m just going to enjoy Hawaii this year, I heard it’s nice.

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  • Wow. Just wow.

    When I first heard of the new ticket distribution system, I had a bad feeling about the lottery. In our group of five, the three who had credit cards registered for a total of five tickets. No more than we needed, no less. We received none.

    The strange thing was that I was extremely hopeful with regards to our chances in STEP or the secondary sale. For the record: yes, we’re a group of those pesky virgin burners who hoped (and still hope against hope) to add our energy and participation to the amazing maelstrom that is Burning Man.

    Unfortunately, the new outline for STEP seems to have crushed these chances. As it stands, two of us won’t be able to get a ticket through official channels. As we categorically refuse to feed the scalpers, we’re left with the remote possibility of acquiring these tickets directly from benevolent Burners. To say this is not an optimal solution is putting it rather mildly.

    Still, what saddens me most is seeing the fallout and emotional turmoil this new system has caused in the community. For an outsider like me, BM always seems to have that rare, spirited vibe – and the reverberations I’ve witnessed seem to have damaged that. Here’s hoping the damage is only superficial.

    Anyway, I hope the groups that fall outside the cover of the redistribution solution stick together and keep the feeling strong until next year. As for the more fortunate rest of you, I wish you the best of luck in doing your thing and supporting the community at BM this time ’round.

    I still hope to see you all out on the Playa – if not this year, then surely one of those that come after.

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  • ??? So basically because I’ve registered in the main sale for 2 tickets – one for myself and one for my boyfriend – if I get “lucky” in the STEP process I will only be able to get 1 ticket??!!! What the hell is the point?! Where’s the logic behind this idea? In my case my boyfriend did not register because we did it using only my card – obviously we did not think that BMorg would have made things so bad :(
    I’m glad that those who have been participating for years and actively contributing to the success of BM have been prioritised – they surely deserve it and I am genuinely happy about that.
    But this “only one ticket per person and non-transferable” is absolutely ridiculous! It should have been said / done from the beginning so we would have registered two cards for 1 ticket each!
    For a second I thought there was still hope – either through the STEP or through the final sale of 10000 tickets – at least here it would have been “first come first serve” rather than “bad luck connected to bad lottery system” but nope!

    Can I ask you a question BMorg: how are we supposed to do now? I did not registered for 2 tickets because I am a scammer but because I wanted to take my boyfriend with me. Unfortunately with you system scalper got away with it while those like me are simply f****d :( You’re saying “don’t give up hope” but really with your idea you’re saying exactly the opposite..

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  • Btw just a couple of ideas for next year:

    1) all tickets should be non-transferable (ID + card required).
    2) if someone wants to gift a ticket to someone else then he / she can add the name, surname, date of birth, etc of the receiver when they purchase the ticket (so unless scalpers already know who they are planning to scam this should help those who are buying tickets as gifts).
    3) Use the STEP programme for those who are not able to go to BM any more and would like to sell the ticket not to make a profit but simply to recover the original cost; this way even though the ticket is registered with their name by using the STEP system you can officially transfer the ticket to a second-hand buyer.

    Hope to see you next year dear BM, although this year ticketing system has left me a little bit sad :(

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  • Ok it is official This Is The Last Year for Burning Man Borg has given up they feel they havent gotten good enough salaries and no pension no medical and they feel the art deco desert will fall second to DMT. Therefore, If you have not been to a burn and dont have a ticket this year. Stike a match and watch it burn. Now your included and burning man dies a white dusty playa death. Its Official!

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  • How do you quantify core burners? I have been going nine years now and have been a conscientious neighbor, volunteer for my fair share of theme camps, spent thousands of dollars to bring my all. True, I’m not in deep with the main organizers. I don’t know them personally, I’m not very wealthy and so I haven’t been able to orchestrate the art I wish I could, but I have given a great deal. I think others are in this boat too. Unofficially dedicated participants. Be careful your aim of quantification doesn’t turn this event into some kind of elitist club of self congratulating blowhards. Remember your roots.

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  • Eric, Meshuggeneh and numbers are right.

    Favoring theme camps etc. marks the end of this experiment in living the principles. It is now an event with curated entertainment.

    BMorg has not only abandoned the principles that make our community what it is in favor of making sure the “entertainment” is there. With the lottery, they’ve also created disincentives to planning ahead and personal initiative. By failing to attach names to all tickets (which would potentially drive many tickets back into the STEP program), instead they’ve chosen to value anonymous scalpers over real people who would be happy to show ID.

    I work events. I also burn. Those used to be very different things. I don’t burn because of the pre-booked entertainment with their cliques in tow. I usually avoid most of the bigger camps in favor of meeting people in smaller camps and just randomly on the playa. That’s my burn, and I burn because of the principles. Uniquely, the burn creates chances to meet and entertain other humans who also burn because of the principles. The principles bring us together. The principles *are* the burn. Abandon them and you’ve proven the experiment a failure and planted a poison seed among us.

    Much love.

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  • If the NDOT “traffic limitations” are significant enough to effect preset BLM capacity limit*:

    CARPOOL TICKETS: Associated w/ an already-issued ticket only.
    No lottery- Open sale. Ticket-holder & hobo must be present. period.

    Carpool ticket-holders must arrive w/ another vehicle, or on-foot**

    *BLM approval for a higher capacity based upon NO additional traffic/vehicles.
    **Foot-traffic attendees must provide evidence of Black Rock Survival.

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  • If they cared about any of what you said Sas…. dont youd think it would be diffrent from the get go? Its because there all over the place because of lack of qualified organisers, they be in a state of caos so they want the caos to spread, caos makes caos but because some beautiful arts been created in the past they think the hoop jumpers will pull it off this year, but a lil bird told me that there is gonna be a piss pond party this year and that they are gonna create an oasis by everyone crapping in a big pile so mushrooms grow, Ive even heard that a rancher has brought his cows out there to dump for the shroom of it all. amazing

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  • Sunny– I agree. Names should be assigned to all tickets. If someone has a problem with showing their ID at the gate– they can give their ticket to the STEP program. ;)

    I’m 100% willing to volunteer (and I’m sure tons are) to help check IDs at the gate.

    I’m not giving up faith yet. They are at least TRYING to fix the mess they have before them.

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  • IMO: Let’s face it folks. Get a grip. The only constant is that the Man must Burn. The Man Burns, and will always be Burning, so long as a single heart remains that yearns to be free. If you look for the Man to burn in time or space, then you will never find Him. His very existence is impermanent and ephemeral. Where else but spontaneity can you expect His revel to be free? If you are a Burner (whatever that is…?) like me, then as long as I remind myself, the Man burns all year wherever we may go for Burning Man, like all good things, is a heart fire deep inside us.
    So, I may not be chosen this year, to join other Burners like me, on the Playa. I will take my chances again next year. I won’t whine. I can live with that, just knowing that new Burners will be born on the Playa this year for their first year; which year they will never ever forget. Then, the fire will truly burn long past that time when I will be gone. I am grateful knowing, that all essential infrastructure will be there to take care- that the newbies survive and thrive. I am thankful too that all the volunteers like Gate and Café and Theme Camps will get their shit together. They always do—for the Man must Burn. And it always will @:-)

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  • Since BMorg thinks it’s OK to keep changing the rules and has chosen favoritism over fairness, I’ve taken the liberty of updating the 10 principals to better reflect the new face of Burning Man. Please redistribute as needed.

    The NEW 10 Principals of Burning Man:

    RADICAL INCLUSION of an elite core group of theme camps and art cars whose value has determined by the powers that be at BMorg LLC.
    I for one welcome our new Black Rock City high society overloads.

    (Oh, and limited number of you Newbies can come along too. Just don’t forget that your applications and 300 word essays on “Why I deserve to go to Burning Man” are due at the end of the month. Good luck!)
    Welcome All!!!

    GIFTING tickets to your bros in your elite art car camp before the newbies have a chance to buy them. You’re TOTALLY going to one-up that mechanical octopus this year.

    DECOMMODIFICATION of tickets so that the RIGHT people go to Burning Man because we all know that there is a right and a wrong kind of person who should go to Burning man. I’m looking at you trust fund burners!

    RADICAL SELF RELIANCE on your friend at the Center Camp café to get you a ticket. I hope you’re skills as an electrolyte drink mixer don’t get overlooked!

    RADICAL SELF EXPRESSION of feeling humiliated because you are the unlucky newbie tasked with buying the lube for Comfort and Joy. Bet you wish you were chosen to be in the Pee Funnel camp instead!

    COMMUNAL EFFORT of elite veterans to NEVER let the newbies forget that they are doing Burning Man wrong.

    CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY to ensure that legacy burners get to come home for the 15th year in a row and that nobody else has a chance to experience Burning Man for the first time like they once did.

    LEAVING NO TRACE of what the principals of Burning Man once were.

    PARTICIPATION in other people’s art projects. Don’t worry. You’ll get your chance to build something cool… some other year… maybe.

    IMMEDIACY…………. Well…. When they feel like get around to this last one… they’ll let us know.

    You really should have stuck with the STEP ticking as it was already planned. Giving tickets to the big camps and leaving the rest of us dogs to fight for scraps is the SUCK. I understand that some of the big camps need critical mass in order for them to happen. But you should have left it up to them to figure out how to make it happen. That’s what Communal effort truly means. If a camps have a deficit of people, maybe they should combine forces and share resources. Instead, you think it’s better to unfairly administer the last remaining tickets and make the decisions for the rest of us.
    It sounds like you still don’t even have a handle on what the resale ticket situation is. SO many people have said that you should make all of the tickets that have been awarded so far registered tickets. Why don’t you do this? It’s a good idea! It would make reselling tickets outside of the STEP system very difficult. But, I guess that’s too sensible. You obviously would rather do things in the most convoluted unfair way possible. It’s up to you I guess! you guys are in charge. :-/

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  • Extra tickets through STEP will be non-transferable, but tickets sold through stub hub, ebay, etc won’t be. Aren’t you encouragiung people to keep tickets out of the STEP system?

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  • Thank You BMORG for attempting to preserve the community at large. It will be effective and make a HUGE difference. We will continue to burn as always and as if we had never skipped a beat. We regret and are saddened by those of us who will not attend. However, this is the year of fertility and the BM community will be spawning new life now due to the consistency of our luscious, essential, cosmic goop of theme camps and participants that create the EGG that is our community. THANK YOU.

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  • I just read a radical idea above and wanted to extrapolate.

    Why is the BLM really limiting the attendance? Cars? Added police and medical resources? Trash service?
    Obviously the Playa can handle many many more burners than just the 50k. It’s huge.

    I suspect quite a bit of it is the traffic. I really like the idea of busing or carpooling in attendees to the event from an external spot.
    Obviously towing gear in from longer distances would be a pain, I’ve driven to the burn 5 times from Kansas with trailers full of gear. But, I’ve known plenty a burner who has flown into Reno and rented a car to drive to the burn. If we consolidate those burners into a much larger bus system it would help alleviate the exodus. And there’s no way people will volunteer for this added bus-in hassle without financial rewards. Perhaps there is an additional charge for all non-mutant vehicles INCLUDING RVs? A cheaper ticket for those who bus in?

    I can hear you thinking reader: “but I LOVE packing the giant Pensky full of junk and cruising out to the burn myself!” (Several of my beloved campmates are quite guilty of this). This will help encourage groups to consolidate their junk into larger shipping units driven by 2-3 people while the rest of the camp takes the bus from Reno.

    I also echo the oft posted statement about adding names to tickets ASAP. And good lord, rule makers, you’ve broken all the rule-following couple’s hearts. I’m surprised it’s been a day without that getting fixed or acknowledged.

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  • Me tinks dat um errr aaah some a dem der down yonder umm uhhh borgs need er ahh take em heads and uhh err aaahhh pull em aut der azzes annnnd der er ahhh ummmm wipe daaaa crapppp errr ummm outtterr umm ahhh eyes.

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  • Hello Guys;

    I got the e-mail yesterday describing the higher demand than supply issue. It occurs to me that if you offer people a guarantee of a ticket next year in exchange for their ticket for this year, you may get a couple of extra thousand tickets to distribute at your discretion among those who make things happen at burning man. I did get tickets, so I am among the lucky ones. I hope you get to solve the problem, I wanted to drop you a line and make a tiny contribution. You may also want to think of increasing the reward for those who return tickets, as in offering them a place for next year, and a second ticket at the same price they paid this year, and so on.

    One last thought, your situation may not be as bad as it seems, since among those “burners” who did get tickets there is probably a proportion who were not going to attend but now faced with the prospect of uncertainty about the chance of attending in the future given the new raffle system, they will end up attending when they would otherwise not have.

    I would be glad to elaborate further and help you figure out the riddle if you find this helpful, I have done much work in the field of economic psychology -this is what this is all about – you can reach me through my email.



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  • Ok it is official This Is The Last Year for Burning Man Borg has given up they feel they havent gotten good enough salaries and no pension no medical and they feel the art deco desert will fall second to DMT. Therefore, If you have not been to a burn and dont have a ticket this year. Stike a match and watch it burn. Now your included and burning man dies a white dusty playa death. Its Official!

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  • I have read all of the posts since this fiasco started….What really stands out is the silence from the big SF based camps. Now I know why…THEY KNEW THEY WERE GETTING TICKETS BECAUSE THEY ARE PART OF THE ELITE.
    BMORG is now just another business that feels they are “Too big to fail”.
    They did not listen when it came to the lottery, they change the rules when it suits them, they only care about their friends, and they are making a ton of money.
    It would have been interesting to see how 2012 evolved without this bailout. Sad end to a great event.

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  • Bummer for the people who didn’t cheat the system the first time around. Now even if I do get a ticket through STEP my partner won’t be able to go because we did the right thing and only requested what we needed (2) on one application. Way to punish the people who did it right.
    Why hand select the remaining 10,000 tickets at all? You don’t think that the 40,000 ticket holders out there won’t participate? How you you think it got to this size in the first place?

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  • Well with all those empty containers that arent getting shipped back to china all you cali trust funders see we could wall out the burning man burn and have a oasis in the desert party make our own city from the one thats already there cut them outta the hand in the cookie jar and make millions. We could call it OrgasmicUniverse.com my web page under struction or Playa of Oasis Orgasmic and have tree hugging events instead of burning green wood, so not 2012

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  • awesome, making a terrible decision worse, then overwhelming the community with words as hollow as the decision to ensure that all BM’s pals would be there for sure at the expense of the community. sad sad SAD performance, really arrogant choices all down the line and, as usual, putting on the community to accept.

    we’ll be thinking of burning man this year, whilst in costa rica……enjoying the warm sun and cool water with friends who mean more than the money they represent. whether you own it or not, it has been a shameful year and a dismal performance by the extreme egos at the top of 995 market.

    ride on!

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  • Has anyone ever proposed a ticket system where preference is given to “renewing” attendees? I.E. people who came the previous year(s). Kind of like at a symphony or opera, where you get the chance to “renew your same seats next season!” You could set a certain number aside for newbies. But it would make it very unlikely that a huge chunk of tickets end up with hoarders or scalpers. I know it’s hard to figure out exactly who those “renewing” people would be, but you could tie it to credit cards I guess… I dunno. Seems like a better, less exclusionary solution than random chance (lottery) or hand-picking “core” attendees.

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  • somehow it makes me really sad to read so many negative comments.. it was predictable that not everyone would get a ticket this year, it was predictable that this makes a lot of people disapointed..

    BUT look it from the other side… it is also a new chance… Burning man this year get back to its roots and need to refind itself.. all what was seen as defined last years, now needs to be refind itself and evolve to the new situation.. SO Dont sit back in grieve you didnt get a ticket, create a new local event, create new energy.. Dont sit back in grieve that you are one of a few of your camp that got tickets, get in touch with new people, make new plans how you can make a great camp with amazing totally unknown people … that is what it is all about… create, adapt to radical situations, survive and express your self… why should BMORG organize a second event, why not do it your self? You learned to adapt to the radical environment of burning man, now the BM community needs to adapt to this radical situation

    i have thought about it… what would i do when i am organizer of such a big event and have more ticket requests as tickets.. that really made a huge respect for the organizers… it really is a big package on their shoulders..

    i am a newbe to burning man, not to burner events, i experienced several european ones and I never felt so much positive energy in my self… from going to the first event almost alone, having after an hour already 20 new friends and after the week over 200 where i have still an amazing regular contact with.. and full with ideas and energy for the upcoming events…giving my love, ideas, my energy , massages and much more ….

    yes, i am one of those lucky people gathered a ticket.. and I must agree that after having felt all those negative energy i didnt felt lucky at all and was thinking not to go anymore… but now after having thought about it for a while… i will go.. i will catch up with new people, help them build up a camp that is worth it to be at burning man for… show other new-bees that BM is about participation and sharing, giving my love… and when things do not go as they go … then it is like that… i got a big angel above me (and a big devil inside of me ;-) ) showing me the right path through live and showing me in all bad things that happen again the positive… and i love it…. you cant change that what happened… but you can change all what is coming… Of course when i would have not been able to come to one of the european events and not meet up with my friends there i would have also felt realy sad, but i also would have found other ways to meet new great people… Life is all about dealing with change..

    and i really am looking forward now to go the the america regional event.. !!! Who says BM is the mother of all events… the mother is in our hearts and in our soules

    a send a really big HUG to everyone…

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  • Thumbs up for giving your best estimate on everything that has transpired from theorizing on the lottery system, taking steps to adjust for the mis-calculations, and being completely transparent about it. We are all human, and I have faith that you gave it/are giving it your best shot. I also appreciate knowing that you are utilizing every possible resource in moving forward. A humble attitude can take the organization far.

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  • A lawsuit might have been possible if they had changed the rules after people had registered, but before tickets were distributed. But they have the right to change the rules in periods where tickets are not for sale.

    There weren’t any rules yet on STEP anyway, so hard to make that claim.

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  • How can you say it is too late to change and fix the original ticketing process when you are in the middle of changing the process for all those who did not get tickets in the first round?

    Its not too late. You can do it.

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  • Borg: can you take some time to clear up a lot of confusion? please? It’s time to practice some transparency that you keep professing in each of your blog entries. I have seen a lot of comments regarding just who is/might be/was a member of this select group you are going to manually distribute tickets to.
    Please define which groups of “core” members already have tickets set aside for them. I’ve read previous posts stating that people like DMV already have tix reserved. Is this true and if so, which groups are included? Rangers? Lamplighters? It’s not that they don’t deserve them but please be honest with the community.
    Is it true that any camp would not be considered for the last 10K tickets distribution if they have not previously been ‘granted’ theme camp status in previous burns? Can you describe more accurately the process for evaluation and selection of the last 10K tickets? example: i have had a registered art car for the past 6 burns. Do I wait for you to contact me? or do I contact you and how?

    When all of the remaining 10K tix are manually distributed, I think you owe it to the community to publish which organizations received tix and how many they received.
    this is a comment posted on Allysa Royce’s blog. Can BORG comment as to accuracy?

    rocketgirl permalink
    February 9, 2012 9:14 am

    Hi, here’s another reason why BMorg has a real problem on their hands in relation to theme camps:

    (originally I posted this in the comments of SFBG’s article)

    Last year Burning Man solicited business from theme camps and sold shipping containers to them which are stored on Burning Man’s “80 acres” property north of Gerlach. My camp now owns our own container in Gerlach, in which we store all the building blocks of our camp. We pay for storage and delivery to the playa each year. It’s a great boon for us, as it eliminates stakebed truck rentals and saves us time and energy packing and unpacking the truck and storage units. Some theme camps rent storage units in Empire. Therefore theme camps have somewhat of a stakeholder investment in returning to the playa each year, which has been explicitly encouraged by the Burning Man organization. If theme camps who own/rent these units cannot get their membership in to be present as a camp, they lose dues and possibly cannot pay for the annual storage bills.

    As Burning Man actively solicited purchases from theme camp groups, either by phone call or emails, I feel that there should be some responsibility on the part of the event to make sure we can build our camps by allowing enough tickets for our core members to buy and get into the event. As a kind of “hedge fund investor” in the Burning Man business side of things, and also in the local economy of Gerlach and Empire, we have become more than merely participants, clients or visitors to the event. We are financially invested in the future of the event and the organization. I assume that Burning Man did not foresee this outcome, but now they are in a position somewhat akin to corporate responsibility to investors, which are theme camps, whether people want to admit it or not.

    If BORG has sold shipping containers or is renting storage space to any of the theme camps that are awarded tix, i think it needs to be disclosed to the community.
    Please more info and transparency to the community

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  • I am not crazy about this solution, but it is done, now I believe in the interest of full faith and disclosure, not to mention transparency, a list of exactly who got the remaining tickets is incumbent upon the BMORG, and sooner than later. I still want to come home, but fear it is a lost cause after 11 years in a row, sad. Live it up )'(

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  • “…A lawsuit might have been possible if they had changed the rules after people had registered, but before tickets were distributed. But they have the right to change the rules in periods where tickets are not for sale…”

    I don’t know. It’s an interesting legal question. I’m sure a cause of action could be brought. It would be interesting to see what would come out of the discovery process about the behind the scenes shenanigans that resulted in this situation.

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  • Paul Simon said it best:

    “Why don’t we stop fooling ourselves?
    The game is over, over, over.
    No good times, no bad times.
    There’s no times at all–just the New York Times.
    But there’s no laughs left
    ‘Cause we laughed them all.
    And we laughed them all
    In a very short time.”

    Perhaps a cruise instead? Paris is always a good idea. One thing is certain–it won’t be the same old BM. Instead, it looks like all new shit. NVMan

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  • I am stunned you do not have enough room to accommodate the amount of people that would like to attend! Are you not in the middle of a desert? How can you not accommodate or let people help each other make it possible! Very disappointed I think this is a huge turn off especially for people who have been saving just to go to their 1st Burning Man Event and could not because it was a lottery! Turned a lot of people here in Hawaii off to ever trying… thanks guys…really sucks

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  • .As individuals, we all grow and evolve as we move through life. We mourn the loss of our innocent childhood and revel in the invincibility of our teens. We long for the carefree mindlessness of our teens and marvel at the sophistication of our young adulthood. We long for the seemed sophistication of young adulthood and cuddle up to the warmth of middle age. The evolution continues and all the while, we remain child-like at heart. This is our spirit. Through this, we have all created (and are) Burning Man. It is a child after our own. Our darling child is only evolving into a new form and we are mourning the loss of its previous stage of life. While we are cognizant of this concept, we should take this time to celebrate its growth and evolution. We need to be the better parents – we need to love our child through their growth.

    Yes, many of us will not get to go home this year and be a part of our child’s growth this way. This is our time to work with the people who make this possible and find a way to resolve the issues for next year. This is how we contribute to the continued development of our child. We can cast all the aspersions and ill will at whoever we would like but in the end, our child will continue to grow with or without us. I would rather be a loving part of their existence.

    Yes, people saw this coming and didn’t do enough to preemptively handle it. Yes, last minute decisions were made. Yes, it’s not making people happy. Yes, BMOrg is trying to figure it out and yes, many of us stand with them. Again, this is merely an evolution. We need to be patient and help this entity that we brought into the world grow and continue to evolve.

    I don’t get to go home this year, but I am happy for every single one of you that does, veteran or newbie, theme camper or transient, MOOPer or Playa ghost. Burning Man is for all of us and you can bet, even if I’m not reveling at the breathtaking expanse of the city, caked in alkaline dust for 7 days, I’m going to be here, enjoying the company of my fellow burners, dancing my ass off around fire the night that the Man gets lit. On the following evening, as Temple burns, I will be thinking of all of you out (or not) on the Playa, those of you who will immediately surround me, and a little boy who is no longer with me. I could be sad and despondent if I wanted to, but I know that all I will truly feel is love

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  • I agree that STEP is separating/punishing couples and those who did it correctly. Please change it to allowing the purchase of the amount of tickets originally requested.

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  • Well said .hitchcock! :D

    While the BORG may have made mistakes– there is no way they did it intentionally. They are trying to fix the problem the best way they can agree on, and for that I’m thankful.

    I’m disheartened by all the negativity. We’re not a negative community at our core. The BORG needs to hear the complaints, and suggestions from the community to fix the situation– but doing it in an extremely negative fashion isn’t constructive in the least.

    Much love to all of you who are keeping your heads up and doing whatever you can do to get on the playa instead of trolling this thread. If you want to be there bad enough– I’m confident you’ll find a way.

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  • BMorg:

    There are a lot of us on hold . . .

    Do I continue working on my art project, or not?

    Do I continue making plans for my contribution, or not?

    Do I purchase a plane ticket, or not?

    PLEEEEEZE . . .

    Release the tickets that have been sold and let the chips fall as they may.

    Holding on to them benefits no one EXCEPT those who will profit by scarcity


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  • in a way, aren’t you relieved its over? and something new can start in its place. It was a fascinating social experiment, which in the end, goes the way of most societal experiments (cue lord of the flies), could Larry Harvey show us his tax returns for the last ten years? then i wouldn’t feel so jaded. . and Maid Marion, “can’t we just all get along, can’t you see how earnest i’m being” off with your head! jus kidding, you need it to still suck Larry’s dick.

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  • Well with all those empty containers that arent getting shipped back to china all you cali trust funders see we could wall out the burning man burn and have a oasis in the desert party make our own city from the one thats already there cut them outta the hand in the cookie jar and make millions. We could call it OrgasmicUniverse.com my web page under struction or Playa of Oasis Orgasmic and have tree hugging events instead of burning green wood, so not 2012

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  • “TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;
    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
    Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
    Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
    The darkness drops again; but now I know
    That twenty centuries of stony sleep
    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”- WBY

    Can’t stop thinking about this now that we know how its all going down.

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  • burning man exists in its current state because of the dot com boom.. in other words, its funded/built by a few mega rich people who don’t want to be bored because they don’t have/want a real job anymore, and who are more than happy to shell out a few sheckles so they don’t have to be lonely holed up in the mansions wondering what the meaning of life is. and life is no fun unless you have someone to share it with, artists have ALWAYS been funded by cool benefactors.. period.. next question.. lets rememeber this as the next ” cool thing” is founded.. and be true to the real core values of burning man, and not stray from that INCLUSION. The day they sold coffee it was over. We looked the other way for a while, but there is no denying we’ve been cuckoled for the last several years.

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  • Waaaah! Burning Man is ruined! Pffft Every year something is “ruined” Some peoples view of BMan utopia is ruined. It was always better last decade. Morphing Happens, evolution is inevitable. Blinkier, Glowier, Burnier. Worldlier?

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  • samsa.. yes.. everything changes.. and it will be up to the people to determine if it sucks or not.. true dat. The bloom is off the rose for me, its like going back to high school prom to try and get laid and relive the glory days. complete with cliques and bad hair do’s.

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  • LMFAO no one has even commented yet about the fact they call this an experiment turgid. take your experiment a shove it cause your charging for it But if you ever flip it over to be clinical trial and pay me Let me know.

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  • Wow! I really feel bad for the people that aren’t going because of this stupid lottery snafu. I volunteered last year and was offered a $390 ticket if I work this year too. I am very grateful for this offer. The theme camp that I’m a member of stands to get some tickets too, so maybe my wife will be able to get a ticket also. We both entered the lottery but got no tickets. I guess she can enter the step program too. I really don’t think Burning Man will be the same this year, and maybe never again! Hope it’s not going to be a bunch of pissed off people arguing about what has happened!

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  • Wow, lots of sour grapes in these comments about the “special” or “professional” burners being given priority.

    I understand, it’s disappointing to not get a ticket, and that there are many ways to contribute and participate in the event even if you are not with a theme camp, art car, or art project, but lemme ask you…

    How fun would Burning Man be without any theme camps, art projects, or art cars? What if it was just a bunch of tents and RV’s out in the desert… just waiting all week for The Man to Burn?

    That’s what BM 2012 was shaping up to be unless BMorg did something drastic.

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  • and really.. if you really really want to go.. you just sneak in! go two miles up and start trotting in and 3 am. the only solution is to release all the tickets at once.. but.. oh… wait!.. then that will negate the scarcity buzz, like a line in front of a discotheque that would be empty if it weren’t for the early arriving dorks.

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  • I wanted to buy a ticket for my nephew as his christmas present this year. I only asked for one ticket. I only used one credit card. Now, if I get the chance to buy a ticket through step I can’t give it to my nephew.

    I understand that you have problems you are trying to fix. I understand this is not about me but about the community you create each year on the playa. But your solution which you claim is best changes the rules mid stream for those who played fair while keeping the rules now deemed faulty at best for those who gamed the system and contributed greatly to the problem you now face.

    Start over. Why not?

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  • ashay, if your new baby were a girl, and 18, of course when you bring her, i don’t think you’d be so excited to bring her there for her first acid trip to have sex in a tent with a dread-locked unemployed mechanic from Susanville. we don’t owe the founders of this event anything.. they owe it all to the people.

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  • I want to not be sad, but this kind of management is worse than if you did nothing. Burning Man has more miraculous achievements than anywhere I have ever seen and you can’t figure out tickets? This depression is going to spill right into the playa’s consciousness. It will be a vacant, reflective, and dimly glowing Burning Man. This is a case where a few made decisions that effect us all.

    First we have a lottery which forces us to gamble our attendance and sparks a panic through the community. Now we are giving the remaining tickets away to well established camps, which goes against what we were told from day one. Does any one else remember, “Don’t worry, there are still 10,000 tickets available after the lottery”.

    I love you all and want to see you in 2013. But I am going to accept that we failed this year. It’s OK.

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  • ebene wrote the following, but it has been expressed by others as well:

    “It’s really too bad that so many people think Burning Man is “over” simply because it will happen this year without THEM.”

    Let me just state for myself that I didn’t even try for a ticket. I have no intention of going this year. My comments are not ‘sour grapes’. Still, I care about the event past, present and future.

    The reason we see the event as “over”, is because the LLC has blatantly thrown out their own guiding principles. It is akin to the U.S. doing away with that pesky ‘voting’ thing or Catholics doing away with Jesus. When you attack your own house’s foundation with a pick ax, expect your house to crumble.

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  • thank you eric for your succinctness. you are dead on.. but we all REALLY want to know why they implemented this new system? “did the earth move for you Nancy”.. lyrics from simply red (lamenting Reagonomics and his ego.. in case you don’t know or remember the song).. in other words.. somebodys stupid ass idea that was taken seriously.. all to spite some micro group of scalpers. Admi it… let us heal.. and let us know you got sucked up in the money.. be real.. but then the curtain would be pulled back on Oz, wouldn’t it.. but this is worse.. Dorothy is hopping mad and she is taking her red shoes and friends and going somewhere else.

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  • “We are working with staff, external experts related to this field (including game theorists, sociologists, statisticians, festival producers, ticketing companies, software developers, widely-read bloggers, and more) and an advisory council made up of representative members of the community to determine what works best for Burning Man in the future.”

    Wow – just think: Had you done this to begin with, the lottery would never have happened and you wouldn’t have any of these problems.

    Congratulations on realizing you utter lack of forethought (and screw your cheerleaders on ePlaya — like Trilobyte and Lemur. They, like you, insisted against all logic up to the day of the lottery that it was a FABULOUS idea.

    BM is dead. Thanks for that.

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  • Chance, I loved what you said. “We failed this year” I too feel responsible
    I helped make this community what it is, as we all did, and clearly
    it’s now failing. I now see conspiracy theories on here on eplaya, and thoughts of
    grudge and bribery, and it makes me sooooo sad. I already hear people saying I did burning man before 2012, as if the departure has started.

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  • the org made the right decision in allocating the last batch of tickets to theme camps. maybe my camp will get tickets now, maybe we won’t. but now, enough camps *will* get them to actually make the event go off.

    what a lot of people who haven’t been before aren’t seeing here, is that many of the old timers are doing it *for you*. they’ve been and lived it and know the drill, and they remember how inspired they got the first time and want to share that experience and inspire others. without all those people experienced enough to pull off really amazing projects, you don’t get those amazing projects.

    lots and lots of new people got tickets in the lottery. in a shortage situation, allocating < 20% of tickets to returning attendees who have demonstrated their ability to make things happen is a really reasonable allotment. in any case, if you really want to guarantee yourself a ticket: volunteer. join a big camp. make art. hedge your bets and participate. you'll be happier and everyone else will have a better time too.

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  • I applaud the decision to give the 10k tix to the infrastructure. (I’m sure that will cause another backlash from those not judged “worthy”, but that’s a problem for another day.)

    However, I want to add some volume to the concern over the number of tickets that will be available on STEP.

    Humans are tribal. We hang out with like minded people. If we are the sort who relish the Burn, chances are that we are the only ones of that persuasion in our social circle. And the more closely entwined we are with the event, the the higher the likelihood that most-to-all of our close others share that love and really, really want to be there.

    Let’s say you won in the lottery, and now have an extra ticket. Either you got more than you needed, or you now find out you can’t go. Let’s say you even want to do the right thing and sell it for face value.

    If you are like most of the people who are truly interested in going to this event, you know TONS of people who might want that ticket. Old-timers, newbies, wannabes, whatever, if you live in SF, LA or other Burner-friendly places, just about EVERYONE you know socially has been in the past and would LOVE to get their hands on that ticket if they knew you had one, and would make a special place in their hearts for you forever if you sell it to them at face value.

    SO WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU SELL IT ON STEP? When you could make someone you know happy, rather than a stranger whose identity you will never discern? How are you going to face that person you know who is devastated that she can’t round up a ticket for her significant other or key camp member, when you know you had one and gave it away to a stranger?

    I registered and didn’t get a ticket, and even if I get one on STEP we’ll have to scrape up another for my husband, since we, too, did the right thing and registered only for the tix we needed.

    So of course what are we doing? We’re polling our friends, and planning to lean awfully hard on them to cough up any extras they might have. In other words, we’re trying to convince them NOT to sell them on STEP. I don’t think we’re alone in that strategy.

    And this is why – even though it isn’t in my personal best interest – there needs to be an incentive to use STEP – not just as an alternative to scalping, but as an alternative to reselling to the vast number of people in your own social circle who would really like to have it. Otherwise, there will a tiny handful of tickets available on STEP and absolutely no “official” way to get your spouse a ticket if you did the right thing, except to go to the scalpers.

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  • I am back to more than sad, there is no way that the fellow camper that was coming with me can get a ticket because she did not register for one, we did this together. We are willing to jump through hoops to come again, this will be my 75th birthday and spending it at home on the Playa was the plan. So even if I get a ticket she can’t and there is no way I am planning, packing and driving all that way all by myself. I can not believe that all those people who asked for two tickets will come alone. They can’t all be part of a group that thinks maybe some will luck out. I truly appreciate all the thinking and planning you have done but if this was caused by thousands of newbys asking for tickets do you think they will all come alone?.

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  • Your update regarding identity based ticketing indicates you’d rather support community values like “gifting” rather than taking care of the people who want to pay to attend. Tickets that can be gifted is not a higher priority than continuing to encourage ticket scarcity.

    In your comments post, you clearly say that minimizing hoarding was more important to you than “favoring” those who didn’t game the system and registered for a spouse, SO or sibling. As one of those people, I disagree vehemently. Further hoarding “might” keep us from getting tickets where your decision means we absolutely will not.

    I’m sorry, I tried really hard to be supportive during this fiasco but everything I see points to there being very little concern for people who aren’t in the “in crowd” so when you say, “We WILL look at whether there is any breathing room to this policy…” I don’t get a warm fuzzy that you’re going to look very hard…examples like the two above show you don’t think about this stuff from anyone’s perspective but your own.

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  • Oopsie, third paragraph is missing a very important NOT.

    “Humans are tribal. We hang out with like minded people. If we are the sort who relish the Burn, chances are that we are NOT the only ones of that persuasion in our social circle. And the more closely entwined we are with the event, the the higher the likelihood that most-to-all of our close others share that love and really, really want to be there.”

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  • BMORG, the people at BM HQ, and others helping out: Thank you for doing your best to respond to a very difficult situation for so many of us.

    I like the InTicketing Apple iPhone/iPad app, which handles check in a of ticket by snapping a photo of it. http://itunes.apple.com/app/in-ticketing/id405619838?mt=8# As shown in the photo on this page, InTicketing is able to print the ticket number, a QR code, and other information on the ticket. Instead of the other information being printed as “Front Balcony, Right, Row, 3″ it could be printed as ” “, and checked to an ID at the gate.

    Probably 10K more tickets available in STEP this way, and you may be able to oversell a few thousand more tickets due to the lack of last minute transfers.

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  • for the past 7 years, i have had my tickets ordered a within a few hours after they went up for sale (one time, in a record 20 minutes :-)). it was the highlight of my YEAR, and nothing put me off that date and time. everyone in my life understood that, even my clients.

    the relief i felt to have those in my hand, while plugging away at my day to day job and darkness of winter months… was beyond generous. nothing could get me down when i looked at those tickets! the reminder of pure possibility!

    while i’m trying to be a bigger person and accept these changes–how is it possible you didn’t see this coming!? what used to be the best day of the winter, turned into irritating annoying stress–wringing hands waiting to see if my ticket would come. down to the heart wrenching moment when a small handful of my friends received theirs… and for the first time in 7 years, no ticket for me.

    i’m sorry for all the camps and all the “infrastructure” that lost out in the lottery. but i’m just as sorry for those of us who have been coming for years and years, have thrived off it, and have given heart and soul to that playa for a long time. caring for strangers, loving passerby’s, holding delightful space…

    we are all paying a hefty price. thanks for trying to make it better. i just wish it made me feel better! this ridiculous process took the control out of our hands, for our own destiny, our own choice. and that is the part that sucks the most.

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  • Whoops, the blog software didn’t let my previous comment come all the way through. It should read: … Instead of the other information being printed as “Front Balcony, Right, Row, 3″ it could be printed as – name address city state email telephone, and checked to an ID at the gate. …


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  • In the time I needed to read all 536 comments thusfar, the minimum StubHub price has climbed from $750 to $999.

    Couple of observations:

    1) Lots of people here saying the Directed Disbursement favors “Large” theme camps. In fact, Maid Marian says: “… a wide variety of projects rather than favoring just one type — large camps and small ones”. As an organizer for a very small Registered Theme Camp, I have seen no reason to not believe this is true.

    2) Universal hatred in most comments for 1 ticket limit in STEP. Not one single supporting comment that I could find. Marian, please fix this. It can’t be that hard, and it will help salvage some good will.

    3) What many do not understand is that moderate to large camps have 2 types of members — a small core that has the experience and/or owns the equipment / art car, etc. needed for the camp’s public activities, and a much larger group that provides labor (and money through dues). 1:4 core to support is typical. While core members remain relatively stable, there can be a significant change from year-to-year in the supporting population. Meaning, those camps chosen to receive tickets will probably have the room and extra tickets needed for new members. Joining a registered camp is another way to get Burning Man tix.

    4) It’s encouraging that “identity-based-ticketing” is still on the table. Hard to tell the difference between a professional scalper with 200 tickets, and 100 newbies looking at ticket prices north of $1000 and thinking, “Clearly, there are people who want to go more than I do, so I’ll help them out and pocket some extra change in the process.” Associating names with tickets will pull those tickets back into STEP because getting $240-$390 back is a lot better than holding worthless tickets.

    5) At an on-line and BMHQ meeting last night for Theme Camp Organizers, the percentage of 50% was thrown out for the number of camps from last year that will be getting tickets this year. Mutant Vehicles will be judged on similar criteria for tickets as theme camps (which ones get photographed, which ones give rides freely, past participation, etc.). No percentage given, but 50% wouldn’t be inconsistent with the letter sent to Mutant Vehicle Owners.

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  • What were BMorg’s other options?

    What if they had handled ticketing the exact same way as they did last year? You go on at 9am PST on April 1, or whatever, and queue up for a ticket.

    Would the demand have been less than for the lottery? Maybe a little bit, but not much! Let’s say 100,000 people registered for the lottery, who’s to say the same wouldn’t have happened during an on-sale day. Scalpers would have had a field day, and we would probably be in the exact same situation. And people would come to this blog and harsh on everyone and post melodramatic laments about how BM is “officially dead” and how BMorg is a bunch of idiots and so on, because they “should have learned” from last year’s sell out.

    So what if BMorg had come up with some other complicated solution? Allocating 10K for this set of people, 10K for that set of people, 5K for newbies, etc etc. They could have designed some horrendously impenetrable system for distributing all of the tickets. And there would STILL be huge demand and there would STILL be thousands of people who can’t get tickets, and we would be here complaining about their incompetence.

    What if they took a huge step and explicitly privileged past attendees and artists and camps and so on? People would come freak out about how BMorg is abandoning its principles, and how it’s not radically inclusive anymore, and it’s an old boys club, and so on.

    So basically, every solution I can think of would have led to pretty much the same situation, i.e. deserving folks without tickets and a bunch of people complaining about how much Burning Man will “suck” this year and how it’s “over.”

    Say what you will about Marian’s posts, but she is dead right about one thing: THE ultimate problem is that demand outstrips supply. That is not a quickly fixable situation. Frankly, if the BLM gave permission to have 100,000 people at the Burn, you all would be coming on here complaining that the growth itself is a sign that BM is “officially dead” and how much it will suck and what a stupid decision it was and how incompetent BMorg is and you’re never going again.

    You all may think you know better than BMorg, but they haven’t helped make BM what it is by being stupid. BM doesn’t thrive “in spite” of the organization that actually runs it. They know darn well this is a lose-lose situation, and they aren’t spending any time worrying about how to make YOU happy if your first instinct is to come on this blog and scream about how much BM 2012 will suck and how BMorg has abandoned their principles. BMorg is only concerned about making the best of a bad situation and ensuring that this year’s Burn is the best it can be.


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  • BMORG once said : Volume 15 issue # 10 (Newsletter)

    ” it’s important to be careful about how the event grows. The rate of ticket sales affects not only infrastructure and population, but has more nuanced implications to newbie acculturation, community intimacy, and an overall cultural balance. ”

    ALL THAT newbie aculturation , community intimacy, and overall cultural balance is going out the WINDOW this year. IT is completely unbalanced. And Instead of scrapping the LOTTERY and STARTING ALL OVER , YOu Still decide to go through with this even if it’s COSTING you TO BETRAY YOUR 10 PRINCIPLES… NO INTEGRITY it seems…

    Worst of all this situation is punishing those that played by the rules as so many of the posts in this blog demonstrate. And how do you evaluate who are the core participants? just because they are in a big camp ?

    In the end, it came down to a simple choice. Protect the brand of “Burning Man” by ensuring that the entertainment value remains as high as possible, or protect the principles of Burning Man and run the risk of a very different year.” As a blogger pointed out ….

    Whatever it costs BEGIN AGAIN …. Concerts get canceled, postponed, how come it has been dealt with in the past with other events. ESPECIALLY WHEN it says on the TIcket that it is a “revokable license” for ” ANY REASON”.

    IF YOU DO THIS RIGHT , AND START AGAIN you will learn so much and you will get rid of so many problems. IF you continue i assure You will fill the ripples of your actions even when picking up the MOOP and BEYOND. Don’t Scar the playa and don’t Scar the community !


    I love Burning Man and it has giving me so much, i hope it is able to recover from this.

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  • This is an excellent opportunity to ask more of registered theme camps, and to lay the ground for continuous improvement in future years, with dedicated camp tickets ongoing. A bar and a DJ is no longer enough. The standard should be camps like the Black Rock Boutique, Mobility Camp, Heebeejeebes, AEZ, Kidsville, live music stages, Thunderdome, circus tents and the like. Every placed camp should be visited and evaluated for future placement/tickets.

    Continuous improvement and amazement can be applied to art projects and skilled or hard to fill volunteer positions too. They pass on the culture and keep the BRC working.

    Large sound camps seem to be economically self supporting and plentiful, doubt they need special ticket treatment.

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  • I have to agree with Lighter. This was a lose lose situation from the start. Trying to honor radical inclusion with scacity is putting a round peg in a square hole. I’ve offered some criticisms since this problem started, but they weren’t personal and they didn’t question the good intentions of the folks at BMorg. When I see people bitching or whining or personally attacking people, I pretty much ignore them because they don’t sound like Burners to me anyway. I do think the BMorg has made mistakes and I think their instinct is to rely a little too much on those who want tickets following the principles. I think they want to keep things as simple as possible and some potential solutions aren’t that simple. They appear to be open to suggestion and willing to keep adjusting the solution to get the best result possible. You can’t ask for more than that. If they come up with the perfect solution, lots of people will be left out and angry. That’s not something they can control right now.

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  • I have had a pull to go to the BM for years , but for various reasons the time and finances have never been right .
    I applied for 2 tickets this year , My girlfriend didn`t, if I do manage get one Its a very long way to come on my own….and now my expenses are double !!.
    I`m from England , Glastonbury festival has for years had named and photo ID tickets , over 100,0000 of them why not BM?
    The goal posts have now been changed mid game and now i`m really not sure what to think
    London UK

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  • I seriously hope people lose their jobs for this. If this were ANY other organization the people in charge would be forced to resign for being completely incompetent. Burners need to realize that we are at a critical point in our history and if we don’t get an official say in how Burning Man is run in the future then it’s all a lie and people will become victims of the same type of bullshit that runs their default lives.

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  • When looking at the theme camps can you at least try to cut out the Dubstep? I swear BM looks increasingly like more of the same every year. And not just because of the music. Is this the beginning of the end? A degenerate society that has stopped innovating, retrenched on the same old camps? The fall of the Roman empire?

    Guys, can you at least explain what bothers your with a non-transferrable ticket system? This blog post is just reams and reams of self-flagellation that completely ignores what everyone sees as an evidence: it is those who want to go most who should. Gifting can be done nominally too, you know…

    I look forward to BM 2013.

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  • These so called scalpers that are put forth as the root of the ticket problem are BMORG’s version of the Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iran. I doubt that they really exist. This mantra is clealry a subterfuge to misdirect the attention of the masses around the ridiculous execution of tickets’ sales this year. An experience in radical incompetence.

    Now, the 10,000 tickets will be selectively given through a completely opaque process to those deemed essential to the BM event. It seems more like the cool kids table was infiltrated by kids that are deemed un-cool, so the cool kids change the game to fill their table in their image.

    I cannot help but think of George Orwell’s quote from ‘Animal Farm’ (with apologies to Mr. Orwell) — “ALL BURNERS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”

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  • Awesome, very, very happy to hear this and so glad to know that the BMORG really listened to the community and have responded to the feedback. THANK YOU! I was feeling so depressed last week thinking the event and community was just unraveling and hemorrhaging. I read over at least 550 comments from the last blog and it was clear that there were many, along with myself, who feared the event could collapse if the core theme camps, artists and teams, mutant vehicles and teams and volunteers were not able to attend. Of course, the performers too.

    I really don’t think the newbies would be satisfied with an event that potentially lost half or more of it’s foundational infrastructure, activities and art. What would be the point of going then, really? The man is only interesting for so long people, you want a full experience which the whole community provides, it’s not just the BMORG who creates Burning Man, it’s every person that attends and although there are many newbies who create awesome things, I really think you need a large percentage of veterans who not only know what they are doing but really can provide the “bang for your buck” experience. Besides, those who have invested so much into this event and community deserve to be there as far as I am concerned and all should be measured on merit and contribution moving forward.

    Sounds like you are doing the best you can at this point to “save” the event and repair the shredding of the culture and community as much as possible. It is heartbreaking to think of all those who cannot attend who dearly want to (I am likely one of them but have been blessed with 11 times participating at the event and have many fond memories). But, it is very important that new folks realize that this is more than just about an event in the desert, it is a culture, a community, a paradigm, a way of life, a message to the world, a state of mind, a shared consciousness that can be created and embodied in it’s own unique way all over the world in your own backyard. The regional events have so wonderfully proven this and hopefully more will be generated from this overpopulation problem for the playa. I hope to attend some of these other events and participate further bringing the Burning Man ethos, culture and principles into my life and the communities I am part of and will co-create in the future.

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  • Wow, i’m really struggling to get a comment through to this blog post, i guess the previous one is held up because i included a hypertext link. So, the comment below without the htt:

    BMORG, the people at BM HQ, and others helping out: Thank you for doing your best to respond to a very difficult situation for so many of us.

    I like the InTicketing Apple iPhone/iPad app, which handles check in a of ticket by snapping a photo of it. itunes.apple.com/app/in-ticketing/id405619838?mt=8# As shown in the photo on this page, InTicketing is able to print the ticket number, a QR code, and other information on the ticket. Instead of the other information being printed on the ticket as -Front Balcony, Right, Row A, 3, it could be printed as -name, address, city, state, email, telephone, and checked to an ID at the gate.

    Probably 10K more tickets available in STEP this way, and you may be able to oversell a few thousand more tickets due to the lack of last minute transfers.

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  • The Bmorg are very thoughtful, caring people who work very hard at this all year round – No sarcasm.

    I dearly wish that things didn’t look as horribly fucked as they do right now.. but I’m certain Marion, Andie, Will, Larry and the crew wish it even more fervently than I do.

    Never have they had the abuse they’re getting this year; even though I’m mad as hell I don’t want them to quit (or be ‘fired’.. to be replaced with…? these people are year-round rockstars)

    BMORG, if you’re still reading this after hundreds of thousands of harsh words; you did great in the past, we appreciate the effort, please take your (about 5% deserved) tongue-lashings and hold on for better times.

    You know why we’re all _so_ passionate about this; it’s not really personal.

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  • ok, now I’m not sure what to say… I was coming on here to state that this arrangement feels a bit like the “default world” where the elite and the poor are given help and those in the middle are to fend for themselves. Or in this case miss a year of BM.

    Then I see because I am also an honest person and didn’t try to cheat the system I get punished by only being able to get ONE ticket even though I requested TWO. Should my husband and I know flip a coin to see who gets to go.

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  • ok, now I’m not sure what to say… I was coming on here to state that this arrangement feels a bit like the “default world” where the elite and the poor are given help and those in the middle are to fend for themselves. Or in this case miss a year of BM.

    Then I see because I am also an honest person and didn’t try to cheat the system I get punished by only being able to get ONE ticket even though I requested TWO. Should my husband and I now flip a coin to see who gets to go.

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  • @ Lighter — In saying that any alternative would have produced a similar outcome, you ignore the most-widely suggested solution — identity-based ticketing, possibly non-transferable. Preferably first-come-first-served to reward those most motivated.

    @Hopeful Burner — starting over hurts those who played by the rules and won tickets. You are punishing them, and a similar outcome would probably result for any system that didn’t have names tied to tickets (which doesn’t take a do-over).

    @ Hopeful Burner — Why are you perpetuating the myth that “just because they are in a big camp ?” someone has an advantage over a small theme camp? Maid Marian’s words are “large camps and small ones”

    @ Call the Doctor Says: “Every placed camp should be visited and evaluated for future placement/tickets.” At a large meeting last night for Theme Camp Organizers, Hep Kitten (one of the placers) said they already do that, and past-year’s performance vs. what-was-promised in app will be a factor in whether or not tickets are available this year.

    @ Jackalope Says: “I seriously hope people lose their jobs for this.” Not likely. The Burning Man management model is “consensus.” All 6 board members had to agree this was the best plan before going forward. Ditto any changes. Part of why it takes them a long time to reach decisions. And there are no stockholders to call management to task for some bad decisions — they are all on the board.

    @ Dave in Denver — Actually, the Borg has been downplaying the extent of the scalpers as the problem, instead saying it’s mostly new people. Consider that 1,300,000 people watched the Seuss video just before ticketing. If that 2% bought tickets, that’s half of what’s available.

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  • I have a team of people that can literally SOLVE this problem. Have ALL attendants send in a photo (all burners would be willing to do this). There is face recognition software out there that is simple and works without fail… I know because i use it! Link ALL attendants with their faces to an I-pad when the attendant arrives at the gate the gate keeper takes their photo and it says this person their ticket is accounted for checks them off the list and problem solved… A contact list of 55,000 with that attached is not very difficult.

    I don’t understand how to apply for the remaining tickets that are being sold. Do i have to know a registered theme camper? I have done lamplighting several years and volunteered at various theme camps over my 8 year history. I am a fire artist and performer. I have run large unregistered theme camps with 60+ people in them. Does that mean that the organization is going to contact me about selling me that ticket that i need? That part was vague to me…

    This year my camp was going to be with my family (my immediate family) and we were going to be a small but interactive camp. Serving breakfast waffles coffee and what not everyday. They are all virgins who got their tickets and i the “veteran” that they are looking for direction to did not get a ticket. I am confused on how to proceed???

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  • I can’t be the only long-time burner that’s going to sell their single ticket. None in my camp got tix, and I don’t see much changing with this recent announcement since we aren’t a registered camp. Five of us in our household attend TTITD and entered the lottery for tix, and now I’m guessing that having the same street address and the same IP address caused our tickets to be refused as possible ticket scalpers and so I got the only ticket in our house.

    So I was thinking I would put my ticket into STEP. But now, I see it’s slanted towards singles and discriminates against couples that played fairly. Combined with the requirement to fetch their tix from Will-Call, it seems like STEP is purposely designed to frustrate ticket owners and sellers.

    I have never attended every year. I tend to go for a few years, then take a break for a few years. It won’t hurt to miss a year or two. It hurts that we’ve already spent quite a bit of money on this year’s camp and on our playa art, but it will be here when we’re ready to return.

    The best I can hope for right now is that people actually refuse to pay over face value for their tix, and that scalpers are left holding thousands of them and then dump them below cost before the burn. That will punish them and keep them out of our hair in future years.

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  • STEP up and get screwed.BMorg has no integrity.BMorg has more tickets, they just want to jack up the prices some more or get a goverment bail out from BLM. For the those who are not in the elite class theme camp or clique you are screwed.
    Its all about money. BM is dead lets move on and grow up. Hawaii for 2 is cheaper than a ticket to a hot, dusty and inconsiderate host.

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  • I just want to add my voice to the throngs of disgruntled couples… My girl and I requested 2 tickets on one credit card, getting a single ticket through STEP doesn’t really work if we can’t get another… If you requested 2 tickets originally then you should have a chance to obtain 2 via STEP.

    Also… chill out everybody. So Burning Man is self-destructing… who the hell didn’t see that coming? Use this as a chance to spread out, make Burning Man into a year round culture with multiple event around the world. Attend Flipside, or Preheat, or Figment, or start your own Burning Man spin-off… we are a cultural phenomena and are not inherently tied to a single location in the Nevada desert, as much as we all love it out there.If we’ve really got 120,000 people who want to attend BM then let’s have over a dozen 10,000 person fests, one per month. Take a cue from Rainbow Gathering.

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  • @ U2 Pilot : Sorry for that, I didn’t mean Big camps but Registered ones. There is preference given to registered camps and there is so much magic that happens from Burners who contribute through unregistered camps.

    Also your right, we will be punishing those that played fair and won tickets,which doesn’t seem like its a huge percentage. Most people that played by the rules didn’t win as they had less chances and also many people who have won have shared their sentiment that they wouldn’t mind a do-over. No system will be able to accommodate everyone but at least no one will feel they were cheated if we use a fair distribution method of tickets, were everyone has the same chances.

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  • I have to credit some commenter up above who said the theme camps are TOO BIG TO FAIL–because it sparked a maelstrom in my mind that led me to this conclusion:


    Seriously. Like, seriously. I’m so upset about the 10,000 tickets going to theme camps. I think it would be brilliant for a group of us to occupy the man. Set up our tents right at his base. We’re the 99% and we don’t get Esplanade placement. We don’t get a bail out. We barely get tickets.

    Hi. This will be my 14th burn. Been coming since 1997 (only missed 2 years since then). I did win tickets in the lottery, but since this latest decision I am really questioning whether or not I want to go. I feel that this decision to hand 10k tickets to the theme camp has destroyed the spirit of the event, period. I’m still dying to know how it all shakes out, so I’ll be there this summer. Maybe. But the attraction to going is more like the inability to stop looking at a car crash when I drive by or (more sincerely) the desire to be at a loved one’s bedside when they’re dying. I’d hate to miss the last gasps of an event that I truly love with all my heart.

    It’s been said up-thread, but let me add my voice to the clamor. This decision to hand-pick an elite group of theme camps to provide the “entertainment” is abhorrent. Yes, the Opulent Temple and the whatever-giant-dance-clubs are impressive and eye-opening for virgins or media who weren’t expecting such ingenuity and such an obvious outlay of cash on the playa. But for me, as others have said, the magic of burning man is the community spirit: the neighbor who lends you his mallet when you’re hammering down your rebar. The silver-painted acrobat who shares her story and her water. The weird, obscure sculpture that you find way out in the deep playa that didn’t require a huge budget–just a cool idea and the desire to put it there.

    There weren’t any theme camps–in today’s sense of the word–my first year. My camp threw up a dome and put Christmas lights on it & attracted guests from all over the city. The bar was low, I guess. But it was no less magical–there was a lot less money spent, but the people still made the event.

    I’ve watched over the past 15 years as theme camps have grown. How some of them–many of them–have become elite clubs behind their perimeter of RV’s throwing private parties. How they’ve recruited campers to join their ranks–not because they were friends, or because these campers shared their vision, but because they needed the funds from these campers that are provided in the name of “camp dues.”

    This is a sweeping generalization of the negative side of theme camps. I don’t mean to imply that they are all like that. But a LOT of them are.

    I have met so many people over the years who said “hi, this is my first year. I’m camped with [GIANT THEME CAMP]. I paid them $500 to get my meals made for me and to park my RV within their area.” Or somesuch. And you know what? fuck that. I’d rather have a city full of bright-eyed happy virgins sleeping in tents who might make something spontaneous and wonderful happen. That might start a game, or a conversation, or blow something up, or a group of strangers who might gather around a fire at 4am and decide that YES, now is the time to bust out the banjo and the trombone.

    This decision to hand the 10k tickets to the theme camps is a rubicon. Once this really happens, we cannot go back. We will have codified the cronyism that probably already exists. We will reward those groups that spend the most money. We will leave the intrepid solo traveler in the dust. Or, actually, sadly, NOT in the dust. They’ll be stuck at home. Their real home, not BRC, where they are unfortunately not welcome.

    We cannot abandon our ideals. If we do, this event is just a party in the desert. It’s just Coachella with mutant vehicles. It’s a theme park, full of sponsored attractions and lottery-lucky spectators. It’s bullshit.

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  • ATTENTION ALL NEWBIES! Pay no attention to these grumpy old-timers! Don’t be distracted by the prosaic vitriol of left-out virgin burners who have never been there and know not what they speak. Don’t trouble yourself with the back-door politics and passionate hand-wringing of the old guard. For you are the new! You, now, will carry the torch. It is what you make of it, so make the most of it so that the rest of us have something to return to!
    We are a passionate lot, us burners, and, if you can’t tell, care deeply about what’s going down right now. But blogging tends to bring out the worst sometimes…(often, it seems)… so just remember that the vast majority of us are truly good folks and are just pretty bummed that we can’t go. That’s a first, and it’s a tough pill to swallow. This would have been my fourteenth year and now I truly have to wonder… well… there it is.
    So it’s up to you. And to us, the old-timers, to help with this transition. Hopefully we’ll all spill our anger and frustration over the next couple of weeks and then turn to the task at hand: to help those who will be going make it one of the best years ever (I know, I know, very unlikely, but it’s the attitude we have to take. Or if you can’t muster that, let’s help them to at least keep the fire alive so we can stoke it in the years to come.)
    Stay dusty and keep wigglin’.
    Newbies – go slow, be kind, be generous, and tell us what you need. We’re here to help. Have a great burn.

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  • The identity ticketing ideas seem so plentiful and there are so many solutions for all of the problems I have heard so far.

    Like put the person’s name you want to gift to on the ticket when you purchase, or put your name on two tickets and bring the other person through gate with you. An extra body with an iPad for each gate line could handle a name list, or whatever your chosen technology method is.

    What are the real reasons BMORG doesn’t want identity based ticketing? Until you clearly articulate the reasons you don’t want to follow these suggestions, many are not going to believe you are being realistic or honest or something else. Greater transparency will help, share more information about the perceived problems and the trade off’s they could bring. You have a great brainstorming community available to suggest solutions for any problem you can describe.

    Unless you have some evidence that 20,000 birgens have registrations for tickets, most folks are going to continue to believe that those ticket registrations are with individuals that plan to resell at some level of profit

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  • This was the right thing to do. Though from my soapbox, I’ll say when it was seen that 40% of applications were from newbies, and the lottery was so oversubscribed, the lottery idea should have been scrapped then – before the draw. Even with this new move, God knows what the playa will be like with so many newbies.

    In the future, I think only like 10% of tickets should be available for newcomers. 90% dedicated to vets. That’s to maintain the integrity of the event. It’s like a pot of boiling water. If you add a little new water, the pot keeps boiling and all’s honky dory. But if you add too much new water at once, it’s not boiling anymore and changes everything.

    Too many newbies too fast and BM won’t be BM.

    I went to a regional event recently where it was almost all newbies. Oh, they had the costumes, but the vibe was off. They acted how they “thought” they should, and they were dead wrong. It was just basically a drug-fest rave with costumes. I hated every second. I never want that on the playa.

    Tough love, better for all. It happens to be help my self interest, but that doesn’t make it wrong, nor is it why I’m suggesting it.

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  • Dear Marian,
    “Without ensuring the city’s art, entertainment, and infrastructure gets build, Burning Man could suffer a fatal blow to its reputation, she said, making the theme camp decision a tough but necessary one.”
    Which reputation are you most concerned about? The worldwide reputation that this is a “fun and safe” place to go and play? or the reputation (among burners) that this is an organic social experiment, created by participants, without spectators? I know it is a minority opinion, but I don’t agree with the new policy. I happen to know a lot of Rangers, medical volunteers, and G&P who earned their tickets by working hard the year before, and they will work hard again this year. I suspect (but do not know) that the infrastructure being preserved by this act is largely the entertainment. Let the lucky ones bring the entertainment. Let the theme camps recruit the supposed 30,000 newcomers who got tickets. That seems an appropriate welcome.
    “If we don’t fill the holes in the social fabric, who cares about the scalpers, because then we’ve got nothing,” If you’ve got nothing, the scalpers will stop caring about this event.

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  • I’ve gone every year since 1997. I’d like to set up an alternate “Burn” somewhere else at the same time as the 2013 Burn. It will take a LOT of work. Who’s interested in helping? -Jim Rubus.discolor at gmail dot com

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  • GET ME BLM ON THE PHONE! Surely, they can ONE TIME up the ante to 75,000 people, look like GODS to the unwashed masses, and observe the results for future consideration of increases in population for the burn. Does NO ONE at BMORG have any negotiating skills? Caress, cajole, be persistent, and when nothing happens, HIT ‘EM WITH A LAWSUIT! It’s OUR parkland, our bureau, and this should be the obvious solution to ALL.
    C’mon folks- get some cajones! The logical solution.

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  • So I have flights booked from New Zealand to BM, for our 3rd time, we were hoping to get two tickets in the next round… now we discover we might only get one… it makes me want to cry, how do we organise anything! sob! one ticket per registration makes no sense, the honest and registered partnered people need to be rewarded!

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  • Hey Jessea,
    you are right on the mark. I still hope that we may salvage this year by trying to instill some collective elder responsiblity to help the new folks keep it going, but as Filiipovic said a few posts later, two many newbies will spoil the event. So many red flags over the previous years (like you, I have been coming since ’97 -or ’98, can’t remember now) and would love to see it go back to something more organic, celebrating the small, random sculptures placed in the deep desert instead of these massive theme camps that the dotcom dollars spawned. And yet –
    This is happening. I kinda think it’s a done deal and we’ll all have to let this go and start something new. I dunno, none of us will know for a few years from now, I suspect, how it will all play out. But I gotta say, I don’t envy you having a ticket, cuz that seems like a more difficult dilemma then being able to simply sit this one out and see what happens.

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  • A somewhat large group of faithfull burners from all over the world have met at BM for many years. Not one of us got a ticket this year and as we have to book flights from as far as New Zealand and Europe we have all cancelled. We have helped fund BM over the years with our tickets and have developed a large family that only meets each year at BM. Why would do this to the faithfull. How can anyone orginaze there life and flights from arround the world with this mess. Thank you BM, you have distroyed our home coming and family.

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  • @ Fuzzy says “I don’t understand how to apply for the remaining tickets”. Answer is, there is no application process. If you were part of a registered theme camp that is returning, your camp has about a 50% chance of being allocated tickets. The camps have already been chosen, but it takes a camp application to find out if you are on the ticket list. Your non-registered camp would not qualify, regardless of the size and merit, and there seems to be no appeal process.

    Ditto art cars. If your vehicle has a good history for being on-playa, and it is a vehicle they think stands out, an application this year will let you find out if you (and the required crew) have been selected for ticket availability.

    Your status as a performer might help. Volunteers and performers are at the top of the list, ahead of theme camps and mutant vehicles, but I haven’t seen the process for getting a ticket that way.

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  • Coachella keeps a record of ppl who have been there before and offers them a VIP pass if they want to buy one. BMORG could do the same with tickets and award maybe 20% to birgins.

    Bonnaroo checks generators at the gate (they don’t allow gens over a certain size), BMORG could check to make sure they have baffles for the noise the gens make.

    Bonnaroo requires a permit (extra $$$) for large RV’s: BMORG should charge more too. Last year I was wondering where the dust storm began so I walked around to the front entry-road and saw huge RV’s churning up dust that became huge dust clouds.

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  • Hi Burning Man,

    Wow, we’re in the middle of a massive dust storm.
    I just wanted to thank the burning man organizations for the time and effort put in to find a coherent solution to this situation. I can’t imagine how much work is put in to coordinate with all of the different theme camps, organizers, individuals and attempting to respect the Burning man community and principle. So thank you!

    Regarding the ticket, I read that you will be distributing tickets to major theme camps, volunteers, art car creators, who are all vital to the social network of the community. I definitely agree with this.

    I had a recent idea for either this year or years to come. As virgins provide a new energy, enthusiasm to the society and their virgin eyes, which we all had at one point, they are key to the burning man society. However, it is also important to consider all the major camps who are the skeleton of it all, as burning man would not be anything like it is if they weren’t there. That is why I wanted to propose the idea of issuing tickets to a certain percentage of virgins, let’s say arbitrarily 15% of the total amount of tickets. That way it would ensure for the core groups bringing the infrastructure and the building blocks of the burner society to attend yearly and continue to provide their beautiful art, maintaining the social network of it all. And the set percentage of virgins would ensure the constant evolution of the community.
    The only downfall to this idea is that it would rely on virgins being completely honest in the survey, which I would hope we can count on. We were all virgins at one point and our first time would not have been as amazing if it wasn’t for the all the main camps and major groups who came together. We definitely all want to share the incredible magical experience burning man is and thus should respect and understand the measures needed to preserve it the way it is.

    Any thoughts on this?

    Much love and light to all the burners out there!

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  • The Winter Classic NHL hockey game will be held Jan. 1 at Michigan Stadium:
    (A) They are expecting 115,000 people in a space that is a fraction of the size of Black Rock City
    (B) These 115,000 people will be driving to and from this event through a populated area where a large existing population live and work – unlike the area surrounding Black Rock City where high traffic volumes affect very few.
    ….. and the problem with expanding the capacity of Burning Man is………?

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  • I tried to buy two tickets now the STEP scheme means I have a chance at ONE ticket. If you think you have an unworkable system, wait until 2013 when the scamers will have a field day. So much for following the rules.

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  • “We don’t see the lottery as a failure,” said Marian Goodell, director of business and communications for Black Rock Cit