Burning Man Addresses 2012 Ticket Situation

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

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

Participants, friends, Burners, community:

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

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


All of us here at the Burning Man Organization

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.

1,151 thoughts on “Burning Man Addresses 2012 Ticket Situation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Spark,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Thanks for using my photo, BMORG.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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    It clearly didn’t work.

    Here’s another prediction:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Folks–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    major bummer

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

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

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

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

    This is NOT COMPLICATED!!!

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

    Lottery-unlucky and Pissed Off About It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • To fix this year:

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

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

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

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

    For next year:

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

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

    3) Party like rock stars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Please fix the system now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Three things:

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

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

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

    That is all.

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

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

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

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

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

    End. Of. Story.

    STEP will then take care of redistribution.

    From one of the lucky winners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    C’mon BMORG – do it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Again, thanks for the timely response.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • I hope BMORG is actually reading all of these comments.

    Here’s what I see:

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

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

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

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

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  • Wait…

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Hear Hear!! ATTN BMORG ! ! !

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

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

    What Kimo & nikolaus said !!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Or so it seems to me.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    The “fallow year”.

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

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

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

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

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

    good luck solving this horrible mess.

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

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

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

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


    I luv you guys, but you had this coming!

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  • The lottery did not work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • How to Save Burning Man:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • @Jon Fillmore +1

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

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

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

    Offer criticism, but keep it constructive :)

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

    Lets scalp the scalpers!!

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

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

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

    STEP will fail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So, again……. “sorry”?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It will make for a better Black Rock City.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Maybe Burning Man 2012 only looks broken.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cheese Simon, UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Make it right. Do it now.

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

    Welcome to Pepsi Cola’s “Burning Man”

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Greene Fyre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sorry for the growing pains, I know it sucks.

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

    Two ways to increase supply:

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

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

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

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

    Here are the issues for this year burn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    We can work this out!

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

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

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  • it’s easy folks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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  • Dear Burning Man organizers, Marion!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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  • You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    You are KILLING this event.

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

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

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

    You are killing this event

    and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

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

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  • Not that it wil happen…

    Here is a thought:

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


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

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  • BMOrg needs to:

    1) Offer the community a sincere apology.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cancel and refund all tickets distributed in the lottery fiasco.

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

    It’s the only way forward.

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  • Make tickets non-transferable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    but, neither of us got tickets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Do the Math!!!!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • I totally agree with what Tink said:

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

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

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

    very simple.

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

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

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

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

    UGH! Non-transferable tickets NOW, please!!

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  • Not sure why my last post got deleted…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Will no one speak of the elephant in the room?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • STEP is going to be fail part 2

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    NOW! – time is wasting.

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

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

    Good luck and Godspeed!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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  • Solution:


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

    Going forward in 2013 I’d suggest:

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

    Evolve or die.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Some observations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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  • There has been a lot of speculation.

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

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

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

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  • IMHO.

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

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

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

    We’re screwed.

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  • @Rob
    i wouldn’t mind pissing off scalpers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Capt. Lanky

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  • Would this solve the issue?

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

    Sorry I know its Brutal….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Comments & feedback welcome!

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

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  • Marian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Truelove out

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

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

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

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  • Dear BMorg,

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

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

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

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  • Lots of good suggestions here about NON-TRANSFERABLE TICKETS.

    A way to save money for the Borg:

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

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


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

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

    Let the scalpers have their tickets. Forget them.

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

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

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

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

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



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  • Two tickets tiers:

    One (cheaper, plentiful) for entry >Tuesday only

    Another ($pendy, limited) for entry <Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • hmmm. some of the above posts got me wondering …

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

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

    what if BMorg staged this to drive publicity?

    I *heart* transparency.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    oh yeah participate, don’t spectate!

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


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

    So WHY has Burning Man turned into this?

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

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

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


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

    So WHY has Burning Man turned into this?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • I say DO OVER! Save our camps, neighborhoods, families, and villages! For anyone interested, there is a Burning Man Lottery Recall petition that you can find if you google it.

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  • What’s our exposure if we refund the lottery?

    Say there’s a class action and the class prevails? What law would we be breaking, and what’s the penalty?

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  • Hoo Boy… I don’t envy the trolls who have to wade through all this and make a decision. I was think I would return to BM this year, but after reading all this it seems doubtful. I agree that if something drastic is not done then the event will suffer dramatically.

    Here’s what I like from what other people said:

    1. Cancel all lottery orders and refund the money and start fresh.
    2. Sell more tickets.

    IMHO…. 500,000 tickets at $25 each.

    If woodstock can do it so can we.

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  • WE NEED AN IMMEDIATE FIX FOR THIS YEAR. There is NO WAY that redistribution of any substantial amount will happen in two weeks- this is wishful thinking. Too many friends and family have too much personally invested in THIS YEAR’s event- so chalking this year up to an “experiment” would be simply callous.

    Here’s a proposal for immediate action that preserves the lottery result, will not impair revenue, involves no special judgements of deservedness, but should allow a pool of tickets to become QUICKLY available to legitimate participants with commitments to attend this year:

    -Allow all current lottery winners to exchange their current tickets for non-transferable (name-assigned) tickets, or elect to receive a full refund. The window for this exchange shall be ONE MONTH. those that have not elected for the exchange shall receive a full refund by default.

    -After the exchange period, hold an open sale for non-transferable tickets. Once all tickets are sold, buyers will be put on a WAIT LIST in order of purchase. Buyers will know where they are in the wait list.

    -Name-assigned tickets can be partially refunded, up to three weeks before the event. Spots arising from refunded tickets will be allocated to the wait list, in order.

    SAVE OUR CITY. This is a crisis, make no mistake. Quick, decisive, corrective action is needed to avoid dealing a death-blow to the collective morale. It can be done.

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  • Regarding the ticket fiasco…

    Here’s an idea. Why don’t all us veteran Burners (I guess eleven times qualifies me) give up our tickets to newbies only. Wait, before you jump all over me, hear me out…

    First, what makes us think we’ve got some sort of “right” to going to Burning Man simply because we’ve gone a whole bunch of times? I might argue the EXACT OPPOSITE, that it’s because so many of us now have a hold on the place it’s become STALE and PREDICTABLE. Same sound and theme camps year after year, getting larger and larger. Ever more elaborate parties, giant art installations, art cars that cost thousands and thousands of dollars to put together, everyone now cramped together and monitored by hundreds of cops from every municipal, state, and federal level, etc. I mean, people bitching because their favorite DJ didn’t come? Please. At what point did Burning Man transform from a funky happening in the desert based around giving to a giant organized party of pissed off people who can’t go? Here’s some “radical self reliance” ideas that might shake things up for the better…

    1. Give first crack at tickets to BRC to newbies ONLY and take it back old school. After all, the first Burners had no clue what to do or what they were getting into and seemed to figure it out just fine. There were no giant theme camps in 1991. No art cars. No bacon camps. And yet, if you talk to any really old timer, they’ll to a person say those were the BEST TIMES BURNING MAN EVER HAD! Transform the playa back into “testing ground,” so to speak, where people are thrown together to see what comes out. Get rid of the storage sheds for established camps and truly make attendees pack it in and pack it ALL out. This will insure not only that new blood will bring fresh perspectives and cool new ideas, but also take things back a notch in scale. Am I the only one who thinks it’s stupid that an art car has to undergo some judgement before it’s allowed to cruise around? They need to be FUNKIER, not carry more partiers and blind everyone with their lighting systems and make everyone go deaf from their woofers!

    2. Ban RV’s over a certain size limit or altogether. I admit to bringing an RV myself and it’s undoubtedly nice to have a cocoon into which we can retreat when the dust storms hit. However, they also encourage separation, suck down massive amounts of fuel to get there, run noisy generators for A/C and the like, and take up tons of SPACE (which means the city has to constantly be enlarged to accommodate all these vehicles). Let’s see how many people would show up if they have to build structures to withstand the elements or sleep in their cramped cars. Want to REALLY weed out the fakers and the takers? Remove the porta potties and see how many people can stick out a week in their own shit.

    3. Harness the power of veteran Burners and help us establish a more powerful regional presence. The DoLab model for LIB is a pretty damned good example of Burners taking the spirit and transferring it to the default world. 10,000 people only have to drive an hour or less from most SoCal locations to get to it and it really captures the spirit of Burning Man quite well. Shit, there’s a huge desert less than two hours from Los Angeles with all the land we need to put together events of virtually ANY size. Just up Highway 5 is some of the most beautiful mountain countryside no one here uses. Grab some tents, a good PA system, some food, and throw a party. My fellow Burning Man Veterans, what are we afraid of?

    4. Finally, since the panic over tickets seems to revolve around the scalpers and inefficient lottery system, put in a system next year that makes each ticket purchaser have to show ID to match a name on the ticket. Can’t make it? Well, it goes back into an exchange and the opportunity to buy it goes to a waiting list (if there is one). Right now, I’d argue there’s an ARTIFICIAL shortage that’s exaggerated due to everyone panicking. No matter what we do at this point, we can’t thwart the scalpers if BMORG doesn’t start the whole thing over, so treat this year’s fiasco as a learning experience and make changes. Throw money at this problem and it should be solved easily (heck, lots of Burners in the tech industry).

    Anyway, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and have already passed on my FOUR confirmations to some friends who haven’t gone yet (so no need to e-mail me begging for them). I’m going to head to the former Mayor of Kidsville’s (Lora Green and her husband, Gordy) Arizona property and try to get something cool going during that week you are all at TTITD. Want to join us? Send a message. Peace out!

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  • I agree with what all of you are saying. I am still a newbie to the MAN, and will be on my second year. But I attend with 50 other Sparrows that have been going for years and they didn’t get tickets…. Yet… I am trying to stay positive, hoping that the Org will make this better.
    I dont understand why names/non-transferable tickets weren’t put into action a long time ago. Especially with everyone talking about the server crashing and all. I have no problem putting my info and my spouses info on our plane tickets, whats the difference? I also think that there should be some sort of priority to those that need to keep their camps alive. If only 8-10 of us have gotten tickets so far how will the camp be a camp? This all being said, all of the chatter about F*** Burning man or petitions to return tickets and have no one actually go, is in my opinion the exact opposite of the symbolism of Burning Man. Stick together, heads high, optimism, voice your opinions, maybe having this little experiment fail, is what they need to get it right.

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  • Why not set tickets aside for artists and theme camps???
    Sorry, but the creativity/effort/time and -hey- money invested is the main thing that makes Burning Man such an amazing experience. Why NOT give priority here?! While some (not contributing in these areas) argue that this is entitlement and not ‘fair’, it seems viable that this, paired with the quest for tickets, could engender more creative contribution. More participation, less lip-service. I (and many other Playa artists) would love to see more of the attending community actively involved. Even for the ‘wrong’ reasons, an incentive to create and contribute.

    I echo the non-transferable tickets suggestion.

    Here’s a suggestion to deal with the RV plague – require each vehicle to have a ticket. Get folks to make a choice. Bring the tin can. Or a beloved/ friend, and come up with a more neighborhood-and-aesthetics-friendly living setup. Add a week of desert..voila, radical self-reliance.

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  • Funny the only thing that has changed pre and post lottery is people are more upset. The thread was eerily close to the same “Don’t do the lottery, do non-transferable tickets” Burners are trying to help you BMorg. We all know it was a bad call, apologize for it and take what we are saying seriously. Go with our suggestion and show us what it is going to take to implement it. We know non-transferrable tickets is not going to be an easy process but I am sure you will find more than enough people willing to help. I just don’t see the “Community” in ignoring awesome suggestions.


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  • On the Burning Man Terms and Conditions site:

    “17. This ticket is a revocable license that may be revoked by Burning Man for any reason.”

    Does this indemnify the Borg from litigation if they were to issue a recall or make sold tickets non-transferable?

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  • My thoughts on the ticket SNAFU

    My fiancé and I were “lucky” if you can call it that… My request for 2 tickets was granted at the $390.00 tier.

    This will be my thirteenth burn in a row, and my fiancé’s seventh in a row. We got engaged on the Playa (on the Man!) in 2007. I’m a participant, as opposed to a “spectator.” I’ve been a part of large scale music camps, small scale (but cool) art projects and several theme camps. I bring a small art car and give rides to anyone who asks. I’ve gifted literally thousands of dollars worth of custom made trinkets as a way of thanking my burner brethren for their participation. And every single day, I wear (proudly) one of the two burner necklaces I received in 2004 from Liquid Diet Lounge. (Gave the other one away, as instructed, to someone who “wasn’t an asshole”). I’ve been responsible for countless virgin burners deciding to go, getting there, and getting through the event. I truly cherish the core ethos of Burning Man, the freedom to express oneself without conventional boundaries. Being among those who appreciate and participate in such an event is awe inspiring and rejuvenating. That’s why I’ve been back every year since I first rang the bell in 2000.

    Its also why I’m heartbroken at what has happened this year with the ticketing situation and its probable impact on both the event and – more importantly – the community. There is a lot of confusion, anger and pain out there. Its palpable and its legitimate.

    Our core group of burner friends and camp-mates played by the rules, and of the 12 of us who applied, only 4 got tickets. I doubt any of the four of us that got them will actually go unless something miraculous happens for a majority of the other eight.

    What hurts isn’t that there hasn’t been some sort of profuse apology from the Org, as so many apparently demand. What hurts is that anyone who is smart enough to be in charge of such an event should have seen this coming a mile away. When the lottery was first announced, there was an almost universal antipathy from the community. Many people, presciently, pointed out that scammers and scalpers could and would easily game the system. I personally sent a letter to the LLC last November explaining numerous ways that the system could be gamed and provided several methods (legal and technical) to prevent them – including linking tickets to IDs. I never heard back. Others tried to warn them too, directly and through social media. But the Org decided they knew better and asked us all to trust them…we really had no choice….
    And so here we are.

    Its important to realize that this is not a virgins versus long time burners issue. Yes, its important that the large scale camps have sufficient manpower to build their projects. But I don’t think there is something that makes a long time burner more deserving of a ticket than a virgin. We were all virgins once. The event needs a constant flow of new people and fresh ideas to remain vibrant. So I hope my long time burner brethren will stop bashing the virgins simply because they were lucky enough to score a ticket.

    I do not think it particularly “burneresque” for people to cast personal aspersions. I don’t – for a second – believe there was any overt intention from the Org to screw over our community. They did what they thought was the right thing to do. Hindsight is always 20-20. I appreciate and believe Maid Marian’s statement that the Org is going to take a long hard look at their options. I’ve been fortunate to have met Marian and I am certain that she is as heartbroken and concerned as I am, if not more so. So I do not approve of people attacking her for her press release.

    I will say that I think it was incredibly naive of those who set up the lottery to believe that scalpers – who due to the supply/demand situation could potentially triple their money in just a few months – wouldn’t take out pre-paid debit cards which the “scrubbing software” couldn’t possibly catch. They do this for a living and know how to game far more complex systems than the one employed by the Org in running the lottery.

    I also believe it naive (or at best wishful thinking) to assume that there are a significant number of actual burners who got more tickets than they need and who will now redistribute them through STEP. The sheer number of people who have discussed the ticketing problem on social networking sites, the e-Playa and here are ample evidence that simply didn’t happen. Thus far, I have not spoken to a single person who registered for more tickets than they needed, and got them. In fact, what I’ve heard is that a few registered for more than they needed, and got none at all.

    One additional concern I have, which I have not seen discussed, is that it reasonable to assume that if only a third or so of the burners who applied actually received tickets, then there is a strong probability that only a third of the scalper applications were granted as well. So simply giving those who applied and were turned down a better chance at the remaining ten thousand tickets will only put more (probably 60%) into the hands of the scalpers. Talk about pouring gasolene on a fire….

    Complaining isn’t going to fix the problem. It may be cathartic, but its not really productive. As I see it, the real question now is what can be done to try to fix the problem.

    Selling more tickets isn’t an option. The BLM permit has restrictions and – believe me – the government doesn’t care about the ticketing problem.

    Some are talking about “occupying” or rushing the gate or trying to sneak in. Please… It’s a federal crime to trespass on federal land. There are many in the government who frown upon our gathering, and would look at a huge number of arrests, be they for drugs or trespassing, as a golden opportunity to deny future permits. So unless you want to throw out the baby with the bath water, that isn’t the answer either. Perhaps the long term solution to the supply/demand problem may involve moving from our beloved Playa to another location that can accommodate more people, but that is a discussion for another time. But the man burns in 210 days…

    So what can the Org do to make this better now. Many have suggested linking IDs to tickets. I agree. (I suggested it in the letter I sent in November.) The Org should immediately undertake and implement a legal and secure system to do so. (I hereby volunteer to help.)

    I believe it can legally be done, even for the tickets they have already sold. I wanted to know for certain, so I went to the source… I have my ticket stubs going back to 2003. Each one bears the same warning; “This ticket is a revocable license and it may be revoked by Burning Man for any reason.” Any reason can now simply include that the ticket hasn’t been linked to an appropriate identification document as required.

    Burning Man has the e-mail and mailing addresses for every ticket sold. An e-mail (and a snail mail letter) should go out to each “winner” with a coded link to a database that allows them to identify the name(s) linked to each ticket reservation. If you won a single ticket, its your name. If you won two (like I did) you can identify the other person you are bringing. If you show up at the gate without an ID that matches your ticket, your license is revoked. (Yes, there will be a line for those to plead their case that they lost their ID on the way, or whatever, but it won’t be allowed to hold up the main entryway.)

    Each ticket must be linked to an ID within a short period of time, otherwise the license will be revoked, the ticket refunded, and the available ticket placed back into the pool. The time to link the names must be reasonable (perhaps 15-20 days) but must end long before the March 28th drawing. The Org should immediately publicize the new system to keep people from being duped into purchasing in the secondary market. Scalpers will not be able to collect hugely inflated prices – especially for tickets they don’t even have in hand – when people know they have to be quickly linked to a specific ID or be revoked.

    While it could be done, there is no need to actually print one’s name on a ticket. Each ticket is already bar coded, and they have been for years. It doesn’t take all that long to check a ticket’s bar code against the database to ascertain the correct holder. Yes it will take a bit more time. Yes, the Org will probably need more lanes to get people in without clogging up 447. But we have 8 months to work through the logistics.

    The programming for this system can not be all that hard. In fact, they may already have the system in place. The early arrival system already uses bar-coded PDFs which are checked upon arrival. If they need to improve that system to correlate to IDs and to handle the larger numbers, or even build a new one from scratch, I’m sure a good programmer could code the entire system in well under a week. The Org just took in a significant amount of money. I’ll bet they can afford to hire someone good.

    Anyone who needs to sell a ticket can do so, but only through STEP. A reasonable service charge may be appropriate, and may increase as the event gets closer, but it would be relatively easy – and fair – to restrict sales to the STEP program.

    People seeking tickets through STEP will be placed in line, first come first served. It would be easy to include a tracking feature for each reservation so that you could go on-line and see how many people there are in line in front of you. Tickets purchased through STEP tickets must be immediately linked to both an ID and the purchasing credit card, and the names on both must match. The printed tickets should now include a notice that it must be accompanied by the linked ID, and is non-transferable other than through STEP. Any tickets left over (if any) would be available – at a premium – at the gate.

    It’s clear that this will not be a simple task and that it may cost some money to implement. It may require some more on-Playa manpower, but I’ll bet that the Org wouldn’t have much trouble getting volunteers if it helps alleviate the problem we are all facing now. But it’s certainly doable in the time between now and the Burn. The Org have access to people with significant legal and technical expertise. If they don’t, then I can help them find some. This could all be solved next week if there is a will to do so. I hope there is, because I’m looking forward to my thirteenth burn and hope I don’t have to wait until next year to experience it.

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  • It’s going to cost them some real money; chargebacks on perhaps as many as three out of five credit card transactions in the main sale, increased administrative overhead, additional procedures/staffing at the gate.

    That, or, we all will eventually come to realize that last year really WAS the very best year, *ever*…mere months before the spirit of the event suddenly and surprisingly up and died.

    Twenty five years…what an incredible journey. Shame to see it end like this.

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    Folks, this shields them from frivolous scalper lawsuits VERY effectively.

    No name, no ticket. Deadline THIS MONTH. Refunded tickets go into STEP, first-come, first-served.

    They need to announce a resolution along these lines NOW.

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  • And then there are some insidious suggestions in other threads that this debacle was an INSIDE JOB, btw. Seems *insane*, but…this whole fiasco is unbelievable. EPIC FAIL.

    BMORG needs to restore their credibility and most importantly *SAVE OUR COMMUNITY*.

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  • Since hyperlinks posted here need to await a moderator’s approval (and apparently no one from BMORG is reading/moderating these posts over the weekend…interesting), folks wanting to read how the scalpers likely pulled this (along with MANY illuminating comments) should type this link into their browsers and remove the words “DOT” with actual periods:


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  • I still haven’t heard a rational explanation as to why checking identification at the gate would require a the need for extra staff.

    Reading two lines of text shouldn’t add more than a few seconds delay and can be done while the vehicles are searched.

    Give people ample warning to have IDs and tickets ready.

    Those who don’t comply get sent to the end of the line, which WILL give them plenty of time to get their IDS ready.

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  • Please take action!

    This is like when my husband is completely quiet and doesn’t say anything if I am slightly angry or upset!

    If you do not take any of the wise advice of the above comment…

    How I would proceed:

    Make all tickets that are sold in STEP and in the open sale on March 28th non-transferrable (a person who buys multiple tickets simply must enter with their guests.)

    The effect would be that the tickets that scalpers already have would go up in price but there is a way to what I might call lightly discourage scalping in the future…
    If you have proof of someone that is buying dozens of tickets for scalping report it and forward that info to the BORG. Perhaps those people can be banned for life. I would call that deterrence. Perhaps this might be severe and I don’t want McCarthyism on Black Rock. Also report it at the door so they can track the serial numbers back to the original buyers for potential investigation.

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  • I am just a two person camp at Burning Man – Mom and Pop……. I bring what I can to the community in the form of gifts, food, help for those who need it when I see the need, lost waywards, and most especially the heat exhausted. I am the block Mom on my street. I am not a big flashy theme camp…. but I contribute. I am radically bummed that I did not receive my tickets. I was barely able to attend at the price of $390.00 per ticket and with the higher prices due to scalping… and believe me, that is occurring right now, I have been priced out of Paradise and probably won’t be there.

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    BMORG as a whole is not even reading these posts. This comment section serves no purpose but to let burners vent, to try and let you calm down. Your comments here are wasted because they are easy to ignore.

    We should be flooding BMORGS personal email in boxes with these messages. Their phones should be ringing off the hook. Their VM boxes should be full with our outcry.

    We should organize protests. We need to get actual protesters outside of these peoples offices and homes. Someone needs to post all the contact information for the BMORG members. We need activism here.

    We need to deliver our outrage at how this was handled (and is being handled) to them directly. Because It’s too easy to just not look at the comments section. It’s too easy to keep for them to tell us what they are going to try next instead of listening to us about what we want them to do next.

    Activists… organize real protests… give us an event where we can be seen and heard… we need a day, and a time and a place to show up in force to show how pissed we are and make sure they start listening to what we are asking of them… We are Burning Man, and the people in charge need to know that we will not accept this.

    They are destroying our event.

    They have created a market that only the wealthy and dishonest can take advantage of.

    They have dissenfranchishes the poorer burners.

    They continue to look for an easy solution… instead of choosing one of the many options that actually put things right… that actually make whole the people who got screwed.

    Organize… organize… organize.

    Don’t wait two weeks!

    Each day more burners drop out just because of uncertainty.

    People are loosing hope and dropping out.

    Fight now… while while everyone is still mad enough to do something about it!

    Post these peoples addresses and phone numbers so people outside of SF and share their discontent directly…

    Post addresses to Everyone in SF… so that big groups of theme camps… and indie burners can organize to show up to a real protest.

    Come on People… Stop just venting online… DO SOMETHING!

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  • i am 10 and my stepdad has participated in 10 burns my mum is lucky that she got a ticket our friends john and bronwon have got one ticket beetween them and were hopping we can find john a ticket its now my forth burn and i am glad i dont need a ticket this lottery selling way sucks allot and i hope you burners reading get a ticket :)

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    Scroll up and read Lazlo’s post. He wrote a very good summary. Please add only new thoughts. If they don’t understand Lazlo, they will ignore us anyway :-(

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  • I wonder is they’re even taking any of these comments seriously? They didn’t take the thousands of concerned warnings, before the lottery even began seriously. They really need to junk this bad idea of “letting the dust settle”. By the time the dust settles, the people that make Burning Man what it is, will have booked their flights elsewhere…

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  • did everyone who entered the 2012 lottery have access to your 2003 ticket stub?

    did everyone who entered the 2012 lottery have access to the information that the tickets would be revokeable?

    where was the information posted for the 2012 lottery that said “tickets are revokeable”?

    where was the information posted for the 2012 lottery that said “tickets are non-transferable”?

    any lawyer would gladly take this case. and i’m betting a judge would have to hear it.

    even if the case turned out to be a win for BMORG, the time and expense of going through the court battle will likely keep them from going down that road.

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  • Every time a credit card is run, it costs money. Even a refund costs. so 3% of 100 is $9
    3 the first time, 3 for the refund, and 3 for the new person

    Make that a $300 ticket, and you are talking 27 dollars. Sure by running a few million, they can get the average down close to two percent, but business and rewards/ points cards are higher.

    *** tip for the future, resale not through the bmorg, must be approved by a theme camp or regional (contact or event). This eliminates the resale fees (going to big bankers) and eliminates scalping, as it keeps the resale within the community. These are people the bmorg knows and can hold accountable or lose there status as a theme camp or regional contact/event.

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  • BMorg has done more damage to the spirit of the event than anything else. Even if they do figure out a way to put lipstick on this pig the pig has already pissed all over the community. Newbies to the playa have always been able to get tickets via the “old” system. I return to the playa each year to reconnect with my old friends of the playa and to make new ones. If we go this year it will be like a reunion of disaster survivors.
    Wondering who made it and who didn’t.

    We should create a cemetery of headstones with the names of our fellow Burners that were eliminated from the playa by the monster “BMorg”

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  • already there is a bay area ticket company with 37 tickets available. they have event passes for 1700 bucks. isant there some kind of contract on the ticket stating this is not allowed (or am I just being naive?).

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  • Eliminate the greeters, that will make things move faster during entry, have ticket taker, take ticket, hand out literature, eliminate virgin bell…

    As far as ticket fisaco…..sheesh….

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  • BMORG needs to put this event back into the hands
    of its citizens ASAP.  Waiting 2 weeks may be too late.  
    There is a crisis of faith in the event right now.  
    It seems to me that the MORALE and INSPIRATION required to create art and participate 
    and plan for our journey home is at rock bottom.  

    As much as we need a workable and fair ticket system…
    We need to feel that our voices are being heard and that our ideas matter.  Is this a participant driven city or not?

    Scrapping this whole lottery thing, admitting the mistake and starting over would at least bring morale back and allow us to start seriously planning our art and theme camps.   We need to start planning our projects and camps NOW, 

    I fear that each day, more and more citizens will be pulling out of the event (whether they get a ticket or not) and the effect on the art and theme camp presence will be drastic and permanent. 

    I hear that David Best is considering doing the temple this year.    Will any of us even be there to see it? 

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  • I started reading these at 8 pm last night and have just finished reading every comment (yes I did some sleeping, and what a fantastic moon!)…

    If you only have time to read one, don’t read this – read LAZLO, February 4th, 2012 at 11:16 pm. Most astute, well thought out plan, and in the spirit of BM.

    A lot of the rest was a little like witnessing addicts being cut off from their main drug of choice. Or a stick being poked in an anthill. The level of vitriol was often unfortunate, and it was always good to hear from those who at least paid tribute to the spirit of the event.

    I have only Burned twice, and just happen to buy my 2011 ticket in mid-July on what turned out to be the very last day. Clearly I was a lucky late-comer, and appreciate that I got to come. I was part of a small creative camp, Muses of Prometheus, and NONE of us were ‘winners’ in the lottery.

    I feel badly for all those dedicated burners who need to be able to organize their art and camps, and for all those coming from long distances who must make timely and expensive arrangements. I also feel for those virgins who may have dreamed of joining in and now find 2012 rapidly becoming ‘the bad vibe year’.

    Maid Marian and BMorg: please take fast action! Forget about the torturous waiting ‘for the dust to settle’, requesting faith in STEP, and the seemingly random March 28 date.

    LAZLO and others have workable solutions. Burning Man 2012 teeters on becoming a sad has-been affair or could spring forth afresh with a quick, positive, intelligent response to the situation from YOU!!!

    As LeeLoo, February 5th at 12:45 am said:
    Please take action! This is like when my husband is completely quiet and doesn’t say anything if I am slightly angry or upset!

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  • It is not a crime to enter and camp on BLM land anywhere that I know of. The only restriction I know of is that you can’t camp in the same spot for more than 2 weeks. There are also restrictions on camping too close the road or too close to a water source, but that’s it.

    So… imagine a 2nd city… New Black Rock City a mile or so north east, shaped like a triangle with an Sphinx to burn and a temple in the shape of a pyramid.

    These are our public lands!! The feds have been trying to muck with our rights. We will not stand for it. Let’s dance and party for it!!!!

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  • Long term Burner, first time caller. Been every year since 2001 and think you do a kick ass job.

    I’m not going to tell you how to fix what’s happened but I would like to make two suggestions if I may.

    1. Please listen to the community. They have good ideas. Accept advise, don’t assume you are always right, and don’t cut yourself off – otherwise you run the risk of turning into a dictatorship (funny I know, but true).

    They were right about the lottery, they could be right about other things too.

    2. It’s incorrect (but convenient for you) to assume the discontent is limited to ticket losers. Ticket winners such as myself are also ticket losers when our camps are shut down, our art projects are canceled and our friends lose out. The discontent extends far beyond Facebook, this blog or the emails you are receiving. It’s touched most Burners.

    Love, light and peace out.

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  • What we’re you thinking?!? If you want to solve the ticket problem, all you have to do is make them non transferrable. Plain and simple. No scalping and use the the STEP program if you need to exchange hands. Ebay is already selling tickets for $3000 each, pretty gross! I view burning man completely differently now. All good things must end…. I guess.

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  • Please make all lottery tickets that were won non-transferrable, with the option to get your money back if you were just trying to resell the tickets. This is the only solution.

    in loving service,


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  • AGAIN: Please read a few posts before you start repeating what’s already repeated.
    E.g. ‘LAZLO’ (posted February 4th, 2012 at 11:16 pm). He wrote a good summary of this thread.

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  • Kay Says:
    February 5th, 2012 at 8:40 am
    Eliminate the greeters, that will make things move faster during entry, have ticket taker, take ticket, hand out literature, eliminate virgin bell…
    As far as ticket fisaco…..sheesh….


    OUCH Kay, as a long time greeter, I assure you tons of people love the greeter shtick. If the greeters thing has affected you negatively in any way, would offering my personal apology help?
    Aaaaand, what does your posting have to do with the lottery???? There are Greeter threads on in Playa you could go to.

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  • I am searching the web in hopes of “moving” and finding a new “home” is there any others hoping and desiring to leave this mess to the money hungry people and move back to the true spirit of freedom that it was meant to be??

    Any thoughts or talk of those done with mess having something elsewhere and leave the money and motorhomes on the playa by themselves to clean up the moop they are creating!?

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  • I feel that we need to go to lottery for everything or nothing not just tickets,
    there will be a lottery on the porta-john usuage, and a somewhat connected lottery on single ply toilet paper.
    Lets put a lottery on the absurd this year.
    We are crazy folks.
    If we want to come accros as a community at a truly pivotal
    point, maybe its time to get rid of tickets all together.
    I vote on pay at the door.

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  • Not the way to create community. Sending a very corporate feeling letter instead of a heart felt apology. Why won’t the Borg stop being the ‘higher ups’ that know better. The community has been discussing and giving real answers to the ticket problem through out the year. How did a few in an office know better then the rich wealth and experience in the masses.

    – signed 11 year burner with ticket

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  • Thanks for sharing this. Reposting for thoes of you who only read the bottom 3 posts.

    Posted by DMT

    Since hyperlinks posted here need to await a moderator’s approval (and apparently no one from BMORG is reading/moderating these posts over the weekend…interesting), folks wanting to read how the scalpers likely pulled this (along with MANY illuminating comments) should type this link into their browsers and remove the words “DOT” with actual periods:


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  • So we all believe this mess is caused by some inner circle which is totally immune to all arguments and reactions? Regardless how may hundred times they got told, before or after? Totally unaware of all those concerns which turned into facts meanwhile? Absolutely unable to accept that simply everybody except them knows what the problem is? Really?

    We are probably nothing but naive.

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  • Names on tickets needing photo I’d at the gate – can only be sold back to burning man.

    Next 10000 tix made available to registered theme camps, performers and art projects based on last years registration numbers.


    Decadent Oasis. – we had the palm trees on the Esplanade last year. We had 100+ people in camp and this year less than 40% have tickets….. Many of the key players have yet to find tix… :-(

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  • I think you should refund everybody’s money and start over. Whoever came up with this idea needs to be tied up on the playa and everyone gets to spank them.

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  • You have squandered the goodwill of many burners. If I were you, I’d refund all of the proceeds so far. Then I’d open it up: charge whatever revenue goal divisor ticket price that does the job. Do another sign-up on April 1. Prepare for ugly computer messes, but 50K people signing on isn’t tough– it’s done all the time. Then apologize for such foolishness.

    Please take the lottery protagonists out back, spank them, and forgive them. Then we will. You’ve made a lot of people unhappy. May I suggest stemming the tide of the bad karma quickly, while it’s still easy to do. This is your “jump the shark” moment. Do the right thing.

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  • See Lazlo’s comment on Feb.4th at 11:16pm. We need a solution for this year. Just do it. Please Bmorg, get a clue! The lottery is foreclosing on our beloved ‘hoods. Save our camps, families, villages, and neighborhoods! Stand up for community and the continuity of culture at Burning Man. Thanks for all you do– now is the time to do the right thing.

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  • I think our community outnumbers scalpers many to one and that we’ve always taken care of each other. We will continue to do that this year and the outlook will improve if we just keep the faith for the next couple months. The fact that scarcity of tickets will be a permanent aspect of the event is something we’ll all have to evaluate personally and with our camps and the community at large. This year’s ticket situation however is surely not as grim as it appears right now. (No, I don’t have a ticket either, nor do any of the friends/campmates who might have had one for me. At this point we don’t have a camp either.) Keep burning friends!

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  • The lottery system obviously doesn’t work. But I also think non-transferable won’t work. Not everyone in our community has a credit card and camps tend to evolve over time. There needs to be some flexibility to accommodate the changing needs of people. Just beef-up your servers and sell them first come first serve. This is a technology problem, not a sales problem.

    I was lucky and got two tickets: one for me and one for my hubby. But my father and brother who I go to the Burn with, did not. We usually set up a family camp, including Aunts and Uncles and cousins, but this year, only me, one cousin and an uncle got tickets. I’m excited I get to go, but upset my family may not. I agree that it’s very hard to make plans and start building a camp when your larger group of almost 20 is down to just 4 people. What now?

    The lottery system doesn’t work. But I also think non-transferable doesn’t work. Not everyone in our community has a credit card and camps tend to evolve over time. There needs to be some flexibit

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  • I’m asking all Burners and everyone they know to boycott Stubhub, EBay and other sites that sell Burning Man tickets. Not just for those tickets, for everything they sell. The goal is to get them to remove Burning Man Tickets from their listings and ask the sellers to transfer them to STEP at face value.
    Email and call Chris Tsakalakis
    President of StubHub and General Manager of eBay Tickets
    try CTsakalakis@stubhub.com
    and Noah Goldberg that you’re boycotting stubhub for allowing scalpers to sell BM tickets.
    Senior Director of Customer Operations
    try ngoldberg@stubhub.com

    199 Fremont Street, Floor 4
    San Francisco, CA 94105

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  • No Kassandra I am sure they read it, they just let there ego in thinking that it will work cloud there judgement. Now we are re-stating that going the way of non-transferrable tickets is a better solution than the direction they are going. And as I have said before if going to that route creates more workload then ask the community for help. I guarantee that there will be more than enough people to volunteer time.

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  • All those calling for non transferable tix might want to consider that checking id’s would turn the already nearly torturous wait times at the gate , increase by about four times. 15 hour waits anyone?

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  • It’s as simple as this:

    – Only 10’000 to 15’000 tickets were in the first lottery, whatever they said. This is why only 20 to 40 % got one. Even two people who applied together got sometimes ‘seperated’. On purpose.

    – At the same time scalpers offer strangely large amounts of tickets in the internet. No wonder – the scalpers and BMOrg are one and the same.

    – The second lottery will be again about 15’000 tickets, at a higher price already. Still the rest is available on the black market at prices raising and raising.

    – After the second lottery about 70 to 80 % will have tickets – depending on the success of the scalping business. The others will be really greedy, because most of their friends have one. This giving ‘scalpers’ another boost.

    – Then all remaining tickets get labelled ‘given back’ and go into ‘main sale’, at the highest face value of all.

    This explanation is more probable than anything written above.

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  • June, that’s why you increase manpower at the gates to alleviate expected longer waits.

    Kassandra that is your “Theory” I can’t say that it is more probable than anything else. But to assume that BMorg is creating inflated markets by scalping their own tickets seems a bit far-fetched.

    Unfortunately we may never know exactly what happened during the main sale and it is going to be speculation for years to come. I am however going to hold faith that there are good people in the world. The folks at BMorg just made a bad call with the lottery. Hopefully they are going to come to a conclusion that the only way to fix this is by implementing non-transferrable.

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  • I agree with a great deal of the above except for all the blasting of our devoted B
    M group. I say ,just start over, cancel everything, credit all accounts, New rules but add some kind of a parking fee for the monster rigs and segregate them off by themselves. Maybe in the back behind 9, 10, 11 am where they can breath there own generator smoke.
    Say a fee of $ a foot for anything over 22 feet l, $100 for the first foot, $200 for the second. $300 for the 3rd. if it is and old rig, say over 20 years old doesn’t count, old school buses don’t count you get the idea.
    I did not get my tickets but am ever hopeful. This will be my 3rd visit home and for my 75th birthday I have to have a positive vote for all of you to fix this mess,

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  • Personally, I feel “Limits of Growth” is a more appropriate theme than “Fertility” for this year’s Burn. But speaking of Fertility, here’s one idea for this year: Those of us without tickets can get together with our communities and stage multiple events at different locations at the same time as the Burn.
    Maybe next year there should be two official Burns in different locations at the same time.
    I also liked the suggestion about getting the BLM to allow more participants by giving more funds to surrounding communities.

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  • Commentary from someone completely outside the “community” (i.e. never been to Burning Man, didn’t know what it was until today, didn’t know something like this existed as a “community” outside the event).

    1. $350 for a ticket to an art show? HOW is this different than any other societal gala affair?
    2. A lottery for tickets? Why not just let people come because they want to? If the community is into volunteering to create as little impact as possible, then shouldn’t there be enough people to clean up after the herds leave?
    3. I was reading the blog and looking at photos and thinking…”Man, I’d really like to go to this thing…” but since I’ve never been to a burn, I apparently now have NO chance of getting in…reminds me of wanting to be King of England…no chance unless you’re born in the line…how sadly in opposition to what your core values claim to be…

    Call me a purist, but it seems like the Burning Man community had something great going, but, like everything else, has fallen into somewhat disarray because of human greed and a sense of entitlement that prior Burners have.

    How can your community grow this way?

    Here’s one who considered it, but can’t find a way in…is that who you want your Burning Man to be? One that burns others?

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  • Sandra Kupper — canceling the lottery and starting over would be like telling the PowerBall winner that he isn’t going to get his money after all because all of the losers didn’t like the outcome. There are huge legal and financial issues that make this a non-starter.

    Registering tickets to individuals doesn’t hurt the Burners who played fair in the lottery and won, while bringing the scalpers’ tickets back into inventory. Many have suggested variations on: a) first-come-first-served going forward, b) names on tickets (or a database of names-to-barcodes), c) non-transferrable or with a fair way to transfer (or get a refund) if going isn’t an option. This may not be the best solution, but after reading thousands of posts, I’ve not seen any others that even get close.

    The vast majority of the 416 comments to Maid Marian’s post at the top of the page show the Borg has lost credibility, and there is zero confidence STEP is going to fix anything. The Borg only has one chance to fix this and regain trust. Screwing the 20% or so who say they did get tickets isn’t going do it. Taking action that renders the scalpers’ tickets worthless unless they are returned to inventory, and assuring that all tickets end up in the hands of actual Burners through a system perceived to be fair and transparent is their only hope to save the event from probable death.

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  • Sandra — Thanks for the creative suggestion regarding a steep tax on RVs. As a 8-year vet who has contributed on many levels, and someone who bought a 30-foot RV specifically to bring to Burning Man, I am thankful your massive tax-the-rich scheme will go no where. (It would be $3600 in my case, and $27,600/yr for a friend who bought a 40-foot RV that only gets used for Burning Man.)

    Maybe taking your suggestion a step further, why not just have everyone park immediately after clearing the gate and carry everything in a couple of miles. Think of all the fuel that could be saved. Or is maybe taking your plan to a level where it inconveniences YOU not such a good idea?

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  • there’s some good stuff going on in this thread. not to be a gung-ho burner pollyanna — well, fuck it, yeah i AM a gung-ho pollyanna burner — but i hope some of these conversations continue. in the meantime, i do hope the Borg just posts a brief, honest, non-corporate-PR-sounding “omg we fucked up, we’ll get back to you when we figure out what we’re doing, and we are SORRY!”

    conversations i hope we all continue: veterans vs. newbies; participants whose contributions to our city aren’t big and as someone said “flashy” vs. gigantic theme camps and grant-supported mega-art; RV’s and other stuff that represents luxury to some members of the community; and the huge, huge ticket price that’s currently happening regardless of the sales system’s technicalities.

    we really do need to branch out. some ideas couldn’t happen this year, but there could be two official BMan events — say one at Black Rock Desert, one at Alvord Desert or a similarly hostile desert location. or a 10- or 12-day festival where perhaps you select from your favorite burns to decide when to stay (if i couldn’t stay a full 12 days, for example, and the Temple was the last weekend and the Man the first weekend, i’d make sure i was there for the Temple).

    or we strike out on our own and make new events, attend 4th of Juplaya, take matters into our own hands. i remember paying $50-ish to get in. i remember a Man standing on top of hay bales before he burned. that less expensive Burn was great, too. if a new group starts organizing stuff, it might also involve more newer Burners and even virgins — i’d love to see what they came up with so we don’t just imitate the infrastructure of BRC.

    blah blah, i’m probably just trying to make this whole thing a Teachable Moment like at the end of a South Park episode…

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  • By my calculations, there are 53,000 tickets being allocated by lottery. I think that means that 2000 free tickets are being given to people who have an “in.” Now I’m wondering about the lucky 2000. Who are they? Is it the DPW, First camp, the Lamplighters, the Temple crew, the funded art projects? Does anyone know? There needs to be more transparency around ticket issues, especially at this point. What are the criteria to be exempt from the lottery? Who gets an automatic in? Who gets in free? TRANSPARENCY, please!

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  • Rico, many posts have pointed out what that’s neither feasable, nor fair to those who played by the rules and won tickets. You should read them. In the mean time, would you be saying the same if you had asked for a single $240 ticket and gotten it? Especially knowing you might not get anything the second time around?

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  • I told everyone this would happen and I was not proven wrong. Borg, what don’t you guys understand about supply and demand economics. You created this problem and now you need to fix it,,,,, FAST! You folks are killing the Golden Goose. If you sit around and don’t address within a week many of your hard core fans are going to make other plans this summer. Our Camp which is one of the OG of camps only received 20% of the tickets our 50+ members needs. Its going to to be a very boring place if many of these theme camps cant make it. BTW, a ‘SORRY’ would be nice to hear.

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  • “Finally, just to be a dissenting voice-I don’t see how “non-transferrable” can work out for many people. For example, let’s say you are dating someone and you bought him or her a ticket, and the whole relationship blows up in your face before Burning Man…”

    Simple. Make tickets non-transferable, EXCEPT through resale via STEP. The staff could require that the physical tickets be returned by mail prior to issuing refunds, and could then reissue returned tickets with new buyers’ names printed.

    I think it’s absolutely ridiculous to think demand for tickets suddenly grew to the point where so many camps are lacking 75-90% of their burners. Bottom line: the lottery provided scalpers the opportunity to make hundreds of dollars for nothing more than a 5-minute time investment. These are people who know how to manipulate these systems to their advantage, and it looks like there were virtually no basic safeguards to prevent them from doing so. Is it any surprise this happened?

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  • How about an “Occupy BRC” movement. :-) I’ve not been to BRC in 10 years, it was my plan to go this year at it’s my celebration of 50 years on this planet.

    But I now see that a lot of the general community who have made BRC what it is have been screwed over because BMORG can’t come up with a simple ticket sale system.

    I can afford to get a ticket anywhere, yea it means that much to me this year. Problem is that with the current fiasco, not much sense in going if the community that I came to love has been removed by this crap.

    I so hope that this gets resolved… I’d like to revisit the playa this year, but better yet, I hope the community is not disrupted by this insanity.

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  • The starting point to my mind is to remember that the cap on tix is from the BLM not BMORG. Just as the event moved from a beach to a playa, it may be time to move again or consider consecutive events or multiple events and adopt the mindset that if not this year, then next year. If we are to honor the principle of radical inclusion, then we have to admit that the “community” is way larger than the available pool of tix this year.

    The non-transferable, ID-linked idea is seductive and is something that Glastonbury does (along w/a set-aside of some tix for purchase by those who’ve gone before). The objection I have is what if someone w/a ticket has to drop out? Why shouldn’t that person be able to give that ticket to someone else who can then be in their camp? I have an extra ticket and I am offering it first to a friend who first brought me to the playa and was not allocated (so far) a ticket this year (her husband still needs one). If I go through STEP as currently conceived the ticket will go to someone else as deserving, but my camp will still have a gap.

    A separate draw for theme camps would make some sense too. Either all in the theme camp go, or none go, would take care of the fragmentation.

    The old sit-and-click system was how pretty much all event tix are sold and is a system for which scalpers are set up to take maximum advantage of. The registration system allowed for checking for duplicate credit card numbers, names, addresses etc. Burners bringing in friends and family allows for “crowding out” scalpers. Frankly, it likely should have been suggested explicitly rather than left for people to realize or not. Perhaps the March sale should also be a “lottery” or converted into a sale for some number of already-registered theme camps.

    I proposed to BMORG that a smartphone app be developed so that potential purchasers could scan and validate a ticket and enter the price offered that would cancel the ticket if being offered for more than what it sold for (or the max price for that year). If it was a valid ticket being scalped, then the app would alert the potential purchaser and that ticket would be canceled and reissued through STEP.

    I think Burners should start boycotts of StubHub and eBay and CL and such for offering tickets for more than the max price. These sites should pledge to respect the cap (as I believe CL is endeavoring to do). A broad boycott (petition on Change.org) would apply the necessary pressure.

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  • “Cancel/recall the lottery.

    Non-transferable tickets, first come first serve.

    ONE ticket per purchase. (Radical self-reliance)


    Seconded. All in favor?

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  • You “CANNOT” recall the lottery……I don’t get how this keeps coming up.

    You can still impliment non-transferrable under the current perdicament.

    We wouldn’t need to boycot, protest, occupy or anything because every ticket out there is linked to a person going.

    ‘LAZLO’ (posted February 4th, 2012 at 11:16 pm).

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  • You guys fucked up. You have all but admittted. This year is fucked, no matter what the outcome. If it is no too late. Re-do the entire ticket process. Refund everyones cash; re-do the ticket sale in March. One ticket per person.

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  • A FEW burners (BMORG) have little chance to outsmart 40.000 burners making up the community, nor professional scalpers.
    PLEASE do not let the dust settle and try to solve the problem BY YOURSELF …Using the same people that created the problem in the first place has a very high likelyhood to be a disaster again.
    ASK FOR HELP from some of the real super pros and super minds that exist in the community. Many of them have created super complex business processes supported computers systems handling millions of transaction per hour.
    MANY OF THEM are sitting on the sidelines, sorry for all of us and ready to help. This is your best chance to fix up the mess.

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  • Noodel, you are right — the lottery can’t be canceled, and all of the people making that suggestion should read a few comments first to see all of the reasons. I still wonder if they would be making that suggestion if they had won a $240 ticket in the lottery and knew they might pay more or even get nothing in a do-over. It seems roughly 20-30% of the tickets went to real Burners who played by the rules, and it is not fair to screw them by unilaterally rescinding their sale.

    The goal should be to return the scalpers’ tickets to inventory for distribution without screwing real Burners in the process.

    Those who suggest a boycott of Stubhub unless they cooperate in ending scalping are probably not thinking this through. Providing a safe marketplace for buying and selling scalped tickets is StubHub’s very reason for existence. Probably the promoters of 90% of the events on Stubhub would prefer their event to not be listed, so why would anyone think they would be especially sympathetic to Burning Man?

    I’m convinced the only solution is to eliminate the resellability of the tickets allocated to scalpers, which is to say names go on tickets. This only requires a way for scalpers to back out and be made whole for their purchase.

    With names on tickets, there are still simple solutions when necessary by changing situations. One is to allow multiple tickets in a person’s name to get that number of guests through the gate, as long as they are all in the same vehicle. Another option is to allow transfer to a new name if photo-id of original buyer (matching credit card name) is faxed to Borg.

    Or perhaps the bigger problem is the Borg’s loss of trust and faith, along with the widespread beliefs the system was neither fair nor transparent, and STEP will completely fail. Waiting 2 weeks to see how things work themselves out, as Maid Marian seems to be suggesting at the top of the page, with the next ticket sale 2 months off, are not responses that inspire confidence. And a comment I made on a prior blog that remains unmoderated after nearly 3 days (because it contained a URL) doesn’t leave me believing they are even looking at what we are saying.

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  • “Following phone conversations with major theme camp and art group organizers, we determined that only 20%-25% of the key people needed to bring those projects to the playa had received notifications for tickets.”

    If folks here with contact numbers for the BMORG pick up the phone and flood them with calls saying “NON-TRANSFERABLE TICKETS” maybe that will get their attention.

    My comments with URLs are also STILL awaiting moderation. Clearly, they are not reading this thread.

    Sad. Very sad.

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  • I am hoping that in these 2 weeks of blackout they do something. If they come back with “We are still confident that STEP will alleviate the ticket issue” people are gonna flip shit. I understand that demand has risen for BM. And if this is truely a sold out event the least they can do is take the tickets out of the scalpers hands and get them to a few (not all) of the people that want to go. So atleast they can say scalpers are not the reason you cant go.

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  • As someone said earlier, BMorg has access to the best logistical minds and systems in the world. What could possibly have been the reasoning behind NOT doing something non-transferable? Any other system creates the incentive for people to scalp, over purchase and hoard.

    Please save this event. Refund all the existing lottery won tickets and resell them as non transferable, first come first serve tickets with an at cost STEP system that is also non transferable. Tried and true, fair and transparent.

    I’m saying this as one of the lucky few who successfully got a ticket in the lottery…

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  • Last year was my first burn. It changed my life.

    I showed up with the RV looking for a party and by the end of it, left with the drive to return some of what was gifted to me.

    Since everyone under the sun has summed up what a shame this lotto was, the only thing I can add is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE require names on ALL of the 40k tickets that have been sold off. So few people I know got their tickets that I have to wonder where they all went?!

    Regardless, what really matters is that BM doesn’t end up a dust bowl parking lot because none of the regulars got tickets.

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    Every person who will be aged 13 or over on Wed 26th June 2013 who intends to purchase a ticket for Glastonbury Festival must have a valid registration number. Children aged 12 and under do not require tickets and do not need to register.

    Each ticket for the Festival features the photograph of the registered ticket holder and is non-transferable. Security checks will be carried out to ensure that only the person in the photograph will be admitted to the Festival.

    Seetickets are the only company permitted to sell tickets for Glastonbury Festival. No other site or agency will be allocated tickets. Any other company or individual claiming to sell Glastonbury Festival tickets is bogus. 

    You can register online at http://www.glastonburyregistration.co.uk or visit http://www.seetickets.com/see/getglas.asp, to check whether you have an existing valid registration.

    Seetickets aim to respond to all registrations within 24 hours during the working week. If you have not had a response from them within in that time frame we would suggest the following 3 courses of action:

    1) Check your spam/junk email folder, in case your email has been rejected by your service provider
    2) Check online at http://www.seetickets.com/see/getglas.asp to see if your registration has been approved
    3) Re-register at http://www.glastonburyregistration.co.uk


    Online registration only takes a few minutes, but needs to be completed at least 48 hours before you intend to buy a ticket. You will need to provide basic contact details and to upload a passport-standard photo, which should be of portrait orientation and in jpeg format. You will receive an email when your registration is received, and once your photo has been approved, you will receive a second email with your unique registration number that you will need to quote to book your ticket. At peak times Seetickets aim to process registrations within 24 hours during the working week, however during the Festival’s fallow year registrations may take longer to process. If you have not received a confirmation email within 48 hours (Monday-Friday) of having made an online application, please check your spam folder. If your registration is rejected or you do not receive a registration number, please re-register.

    Once registered you will be eligible to buy a ticket for the Festival when they go on sale. Please note that registration does not guarantee you a ticket. If you plan to buy tickets for other people, they all need to be registered. When tickets go on sale you will need the registration number and registered postcode for each person for whom you are booking a ticket.

    Your chance of buying tickets is not influenced in any way by the number of times you register, or the information you provide during registration.

    Hmm…….seems like a good solution to me! Plug and play baby.

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  • Eight years … not nine.
    I loved the burn; hate to see it die.
    The core is gone, the soul has spirited away.
    A burn-for-the-highest-bidder is a different city; GoldRock is not BlackRock.
    This year please don’t burn the man, bury him.
    Goodbye friends, Weedseed Willie won’t be back. I wouldn’t be able to find the place if i tried.

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  • I can’t believe people are complaining about the cost of tickets. I’ve burned twice and it’s by far the best value I’ve ever ever found. A movie is $9+ for a hour and a half. A concert, $45-$100 for an hour and a half. This is $300+ for 7 full days of non-stop entertainment. That’s too much? Really? Price per hour, it’s the best deal I can think of. I entered the very first lottery for the highest tier and paid over $400 per ticket. I’m fine with it. The event is expensive regardless…travel, food, accessories. Does $20 or $40 make such a difference? I’d skip one night out a year and go to BM but maybe that’s just me.

    As for the ticketing, I very much support the non-transferable option. It will eliminate scalping ndjeken

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  • Another vote for “don’t try to fix this yourself”. Seek help, bring in the people you need.

    Anything else goes wrong here and Burning Man 2012 is going to become “Alternate Plan 2012” for a lot of us..

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  • Marian Goodell acknowledges that it doesn’t appear there are as many tickets available within those established burner networks as she had hoped would be the case. So BMorg was planning all along to allow participants go into the drawing, over order (scarcity model) and then basically let all of us scramble to figure out how to get tickets into our friends, family and camp mates hands? Does anybody else feel like we were sold out?

    BTW, I earned a staff priced ticket via massive amounts of volunteering ~ given this fiasco and the amount of bad energy out there towards the event, I’m not sure I’ll be going this year.

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  • I don’t think the “missing” tickets went to scalpers.
    I think it went to newbs that heard about the sellout last year, and wanted some.

    I don’t think personalized or non-transferable tickets will solve the problem of
    something that has become vastly more mainstream in a single year, and hence
    more popular. I think the “cures” to this problem could easily be as bad as the
    problem itself.

    Welcome the newbs. Enlist them in your camps, as helpers and participants,
    because camp life greatly enhances the whole dust/wind/fire thing.
    Teach them what they need to know, and try not to teach them our bad habits.

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  • (there’s so many comments, I’m sorry if I repeat anything already said….)

    I’m a 13 year burner and have run a theme camp for 10 of those years. And like many, I feared the lottery would be an unplanned disaster but was willing to hope I was wrong. I even encouraged my campmates to only ask for actual tickets needed, hopeing that 80% of ticket requests would be filled.

    Unfortunately even the BMORG has admitted those # are closer to 25% which means 10,000-20,000 tickets are in the hands of people who plan to sell them for whatever it will bring, which puts the continuence of BM as anything but a springbreak style event at serious risk.

    My opinion:
    1- the BMORG did not do this as some evil plan- as Burners they truely believed a minor tweak and good will would solve it. They were wrong.

    2- You can’t just invalidate the lottery – some Burners won fair and square and branding them cheaters just further fractures the community. The lottery stands.

    3- The only people who will use STEP are people who bought tickets and didn’t plan on selling them at a profit – OR who CAN’T sell them at a profit. That # is likely to be very small with the current system.

    4- At the March sale EVERYONE, (including my camp) and any scalper will order the maximum # of tickets. The % of tickets per camp wont improve.

    My suggestion:
    Since we’re trying to minimize an unfixable problem for this year, I have 2 suggestions –

    1- Theme camps:
    All Theme camps in 2011 justified their early passes as minimium core staff needed – before gaming the system became tantamount. Offer them 1st chance at that # of the 10,000 March tickets, which will get core camp builders there and do more to help restore good feelings than a “sorry, we value you, but” platitude. All left over tickets are 1st come 1st serve.

    2- Scalped tickets:
    This may be too late for this year, but non-transferable tickets are the only solution to scalpers, especially individual scalpers.

    a) For this year, all lottery winners are given 45 days to assign a name to their tickets, which allows them time to gift or resell them to campmates. The ticket barcodes are already scanned to prove they aren’t counterfeit, so assigning a name to display would be relativly easy and could be checked during the vehicle search. Requiring someone in the vehicle to provide that ID would allow you to have a limited # of multiple tickets assigned to the same name in the same vehicle while making non-attendees tickets worthless.

    b) After 45 days any tickets without assigned names will be refunded and added to the STEP program. (trust me, we will buy them.)

    c) After 45 days no name changes will be allowed. Tickets can ONLY be re-sold to STEP.

    We’ve long known that success could distroy BurningMan, and I fear if the BMORG doesn’t take steps to address this problem now, this unique event could very well die the way so many popular theme camps have – abruptly and irrecoverably.

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  • I am a 12 consecutive year Burner, part of a placed theme camp that dearly loves to contribute significantly to the Burning Man (BM) experience, for the benefit of the Black Rock City (BRC) community, including ourselves. BM is an extremely important part of our lives, and we care deeply about it, meet and talk about it all year. Participating fully in this year’s lottery on day 1, only one third of our committed campmates who tried got tickets, even playing games to increase our odds. (Apparently, other committed, long term Burners had similar outcomes under the new process, since many other theme camps are reporting similar results.) Those of our camp who got tickets paid significantly more for them, on average, than ever before.

    This places our contribution to the Playa at serious risk. Without an adequate tribe to share costs and do the real work we do to build our camp, create our art, and provide the interactive experiences and hosted bar we offer, we seriously question whether we can do what we want to to help create the Black Rock City we love. This is seriously demotivating, discouraging and even frightening. The ticket situation this year is the most significant problem we have ever contemplated for Black Rock City and the Burning Man way, ethos, code and gorgeous alternative vision for what our civilization should include.

    Some respectful suggestions:

    Recognize the gravity of this situation:

    Most large events are created by their organizers. The event team provides the venue, builds the stage, offers the entertainment and experience, collects and spends the money needed to create the event. Attendees are mostly just spectators, although true fans contribute an energy that is a key factor for event success and entertainer satisfaction.

    Burning Man is different. BM organizers provide basic infrastructure for Black Rock City and basic essential services, like getting a permit, managing event access, laying out streets, building and burning the Man, providing port-a-potties, ice and coffee, cleaning up… The rest of BRC and the Burning Man event experience is created by committed BRC citizens. BRC’s citizens build most of the city and provide the vast majority of the experiences that make Burning Man absolutely unique on earth.

    If the committed, long-term citizens of BRC, those who understand and cherish BM values, goals and visions and contribute money, effort, spirit and love to creating BRC, cannot get in to the city, because of a broken ticketing process, BRC and the Burning Man experience will suffer through, at least, much less impressive infrastructure, less art, fewer theme camps, less entertainment and a clueless and noncontributing population. Profoundly and negatively affecting who can attend Burning Man profoundly and negatively affects and threatens the Burning Man experience at every level. The very nature and essence of what Burning Man is is at risk, unless something radical happens to change what is happening right now. Burning Man may be irreparably destroyed if something big does not happen now to fix this badly broken situation. This needs to be managed aggressively and thoughtfully.

    Short-term Possibilities:

    Cancel Burning Man This Year – Acknowledge the ticket system failure and very real possibility that Burning Man would be destroyed if allowed to happen as it will have to without radical changes. Say having the nature of the event so severely degraded is unacceptable to this community, and we would rather skip a year than see Burning Man destroyed. Use that as leverage with the BLM to secure more permit admissions than before. Gerlach, Nixon, police, BLM and others will suffer serious financial harm without having Burning Man, and their pressure will help with negotiations. Nobody likes this idea, but it may be better than witnessing BRC collapse tragically under invading hordes and demons of greed.

    Cancel All Current Tickets and Start Over – Acknowledge the gravity of the situation, explain the gravity of the situation, apologize, declare the current system void, cancel all ticket sales under the current system, and initiate a new process that addresses the situation proactively and adequately (see long-term possibilities below). This causes BM to have egg on its face, but BM already has egg on its face. It at least prevents the destruction of BM as we know and love it.

    Issue Remaining Tickets Preferentially – At least make sure the rest of the tickets go to known contributors to creating BRC, check historical contributions and save at least some major BRC theme camps, art and efforts. Tie remaining tickets to theme camp applications and verify camp histories. Save the theme camps and major art projects, so at least the most committed core of BRC can survive.

    Ban RVs – This sounds unfair. However, part of what has helped manage BRC’s population in the past, and conserved many other natural treasures, is the harshness of its environment and difficulties in getting there. That alienates the uncommitted and causes many of them not to come. The proliferation of RVs is a problem at BRC independent of the current ticket debacle. Utterly uninteresting RVs isolate and insulate people from the Burning Man experience. Part of what we escape in BRC is the isolated box paradigm of default reality. Issue a statement ASAP that RVs will not be allowed at Burning Man this year. That will cause many of those who do not understand and appreciate Burning Man adequately, those unwilling to at least create an appropriate camp for the environment, to decide not to come, releasing tickets for those who really cherish, embrace and create the Burning Man culture.

    Sting Scalpers – Issue a statement or add to the buyer agreement, if it is not already there, that ticketholders agree not to resell tickets at greater than face value, or they lose their right to a ticket. State explicitly that Burning Man views both buyers and sellers of BM tickets at more than face value as rotten douchebags unworthy of our community. Disparage motivating greed. Have a team of BM volunteers investigate all posted offers for tickets over face value. Identify the sellers in that process. No tickets have yet been issued, so scalpers cannot hand over tickets. Just before tickets are released, void all tickets for people trying to scalp them. Release all of those tickets in the STEP program and refund the scalpers so they have no loss.

    Occupy Black Rock City – To BRC citizens: If this situation is not fixed, and Black Rock City is going to be invaded and destroyed anyway, it might as well be BRC’s true citizens that are the invading hordes. Organize a concerted citizen attack on the perimeter, take it down and have one last big bash on the Playa, even without the great theme camps, art and giving we cherish.

    Longer-term Possibilities:

    Tie Tickets to Individual Human Beings, Like Airline Tickets – Ticket buyers have to show ID on admission that matches information submitted with the ticket purchase from Burning Man or they don’t get in. That cuts most scalpers out.

    File a Class-Action Lawsuit Against Scalper Organizations – Scalping is a plague, not just in the Burning Man community. Having profiteers scoop up all of the tickets not acquired in the first few minutes of electronic ticket sales and maximize the price remaining attendees pay for events discriminates against those who cannot afford to pay more than the event organizers offer the event for. That makes these experiences only available to the rich, which is inherently unfair, undemocratic and un-American.

    Ban RVs – Same reasons as above.

    Issue Tickets Preferentially – Same reasons as above. Make sure BRC’s proven, most devoted, contributing citizens can attend the event.

    Change Burning Man Management and Decision-Making Processes – Clearly something is broken within the Burning Man organization. If the ticket situation were not adequate demonstration of that, then not releasing this year’s Burning Man theme until well after Christmas should help support the argument. That takes half a year of visioneering and production time away from serious artists hoping to create art consistent with the theme. It contributed to people’s anxiety about the event and the collective dysfunction that was part of the ticket problem. Reorganize and improve management and decisionmaking at BM HQ.


    We recognize our limited abilities to fix or influence this situation. We are genuinely concerned, though. These thoughts and suggestions are offered with respect and only the best intentions. We continue to be committed members of the BM community and just want the very best for all.

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  • I’m a new burner and understand the frustrations of the community with the lottery. I want to present another side of the picture. I was never able to buy tickets until this year because of distance and a hectic life schedule. I’m thankful for the lottery and will do what I can to contribute to the event with positive energy. There are many of us who are ready, willing, and able to become active participants, the community only need to ask.

    By the way, I only count about 100 tickets for resale on stubhub as of today. I hope STEP keeps the scalpers out, perhaps by allowing sellers to commuinicate with and verify the counterparty.

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  • You fools, wake up. There are no scalpers. It’s BMOrg themselves who make black market prices go up and it’s BMOrg themselves who is selling on Ebay. Do you really believe in such an extraterrestrial ignorance? Read what I wrote earlier.

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  • Lets be honest for once. Please. Hit reset. People withoit tickets suggest non transferable. People who have tickets still want to be entertained so they want the people putting on the show to be shown preferantial treatment. The fact of the matter is thaf everybody, from the doe eyes virgins to the wisest and most jaded veteran are important to the success of the event. I’m tired of hearing oh I am so much more important than, or those are just “regular burners” . The community needs to stop clawing at eachothers throats. Look at all the comments here. Most commented post in bm history. We need you to address us again. This is a think tank of some of the brightest lights that ever existed. So now you need to think of a way to fix this. You work for forty hours a week. If you cannot come up with a solution when all these people who don’t even get paid to think up solutions are helping you with many good solutions, then you prove yourself as inept at your position as you are being accused.

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  • They fool you.

    Do your maths, please. Due to rising numbers maybe 50k people took part in the lottery, not more. They may have applied as 100k, because few people go to BMF alone, so couples applied double with their individual credit cards, but this is of no importance. After all only a 1/4 or 1/3 got tickets and this clearly shows that only a third of the tickets were in the lottery. Read my lines again. Calculate. A third only.

    At the same time large amounts of scalper tickets showed up online and everybody keeps wondering how the scalpers got them. Come on, folks, 1 plus 1 still equals 2. It’s BMOrg themselves selling on the black market, making an easy extra million. Who else?

    I know few people believe my words. Most people prefer to believe in a BMOrg which is travelling in a spaceship with all communication lines to earth interrupted. But you will learn that I am right, latest when they do not change the lottery system until gate opening.

    You may stop posting advices to the BMOrg now. They don’t read it, because they don’t need it. They not even moderate this thread. Instead they yawn. Your reactions come as no surprise to them. The plan is made and working. You burners are too late.

    You heard Kassandra’s word. Now keep on riding for your fall.

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  • “Kassandra Says:
    …..I know few people believe my words. Most people prefer to believe in a BMOrg which is travelling in a spaceship with all communication lines to earth interrupted. But you will learn that I am right, latest when they do not change the lottery system until gate opening…..”

    Huh?? this makes as much sense as that email from the African Banker promising me $30.2 million if I respond right away….

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  • They will not listen. They will not change. As last year, most people will get tickets – but overpriced ones, bought from a scalper which is in fact BMOrg.
    Have fun. Feel the spirit ;-)

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  • I got a golden ticket. I am very happy I have my name put on it.

    Anyone I know w extra tickets will hold them until after the next round. All of our friends will try for tickets and the ones that don’t get them will then ask the friends who have them for a ticket. I had an extra ticket last year and it sucked. I was stuck in a bad situation where I had to play god. Professor or Maria or dr jones who would I select? Not fun at all.

    Camp registration is coming up. People don’t have tickets. How do we plan. Extend registration.

    The change in CFO a few years ago and BMORG getting more professional is good and bad. Cleaner books. More art grants. Better resources. Night vission. Less free tickets for people who come and help for a week pre burn. Still little money for hard working paid position individuals. Higher ticket prices. Fatter cats. BM staff drinking the cool-aid on why books should be closed.

    Like it or not Here comes BM 2.0. Or Whatever you want to call it. Wthin 2 years BM will not be the only game in town. On the current BMORG path there will be fertility 2.0 and the best talent may go where there are open books, transparency, democracy
    and an org that listens before doing something w good intentions but stupid.

    If the server is the issue and there are a real 60,000 that want tickets then lotto them off. One ticket per applicant w name on it. You can only return to BM. While I have gone 10 y and started a theam camp years 6 y ago and volunteer for BM, I don’t feel I am more important than anyone else.

    Your PAID to do a great job with peoples salvation. Peoples life. Peoples dreams. The way people are able to be happy in this crazy world. How you deal w this is not a ticket issue. Your dealing w peoples salvation. It is a hope for a better world. A calling. Default world is where we have to be because some hits the default button on laborday and it takes us a year get back to where we were. It is what we live for. It is why we know illegal immigrants that won’t leave cuz they can’t get back to BM. It is not a ticket it is why we have dreams. It is Our food. Our water. Our air. This situation is starving people and suffocating people all at the some time. Take it serious and dont be afraid to let go of your position if it is too much. Let ego go. I consider myself a share holder and feel someone should step aside for the better meant of the whole.

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  • This year was going to be my first burn, as well as the first burn of my niece, nephew, and girlfriend. It’s heartbreaking to see the organisers take the spirit of BM and do… this to it. I don’t even know what to call it; I don’t have words for something like this. It does send a very mixed and very hypocritical message, however, to give large amounts of tickets to scalpers for an anti-capitalist event.

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  • My $ 0.02 (yes I received tickets in the lottery):

    1. All pre-sale, lottery, final first-come-first-serve, and STEP tickets must be accompanied by the purchaser of those tickets at the gate. ID required. No exceptions.

    2. Pre-sale and lottery tickets may be turned in to bmorg for a full refund up to April 1, after which the refund discounts 10% per month. Once physical tickets are sent they cannot be refunded. If you can’t make it, your tickets are worthless, like many other situations in the default world. Sad but true.

    3. Transparency on all tickets that were dispensed without the recipient having to jump through the hoops that the rest of us have to.

    4. All RVs must remain outside of H. (I admit this is personal bias but whatever.)

    I think it’s inevitable that the burn will be very different this year. If (1) and (2) are implemented there’s a good chance that a large number (60%) of non-tourists will find their way. That’s sad, but better than the current 20-25%.

    It might be a year of less art, less theme, and more zen with yourself in the desert. Who knows?

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  • Obviously the system failed all in the community. The numbers just aren’t adding up, almost everyone I know if the NW who has been going – did not get tickets. Where are they? Recall the lottery, try again. Everyone can forgive the mistake, if a real attempt to fix it is made. If not – In a single year – We could lose it all.

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  • Despite being a small camp,we bring a mutant vehicle, metal sculpture, and are part of a new (As of last year) theme camp. It appears we got 3 out of 18 tickets needed to go, but truthfully not all of those applied as many people were put off by the lottery and already feeling unsure about our camp going … presuming they could get in on the last 10k. It is unlikely we will go this year. Sure, it isn’t the loss of a big, well known camp, but that is minus mutant vehicle, metal artwork, and our theme camp activities.

    The only solution I see for this year is to null and void the the lottery results. Server load is BS … welcome to the cloud age. Jesus. How many burners, myself included, are tech and software experts who would love to help.

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  • Noodle, use your noodle. You cant just manifest more workers. We already have HUNDREDS of people at the gate working constantly. Also the turn off from the highway is a big part of the problem al. There is NO WAY to make the wait shorter. Only longer. Checking on Ids at the gate will create ENORMOUS waits.

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  • Fuck tickets. Fuck gates. Fuck lines. Fuck scalpers.

    Either we boycott BM for a year, or we take it back from the 1% who profit from the event.


    Bring a tent.
    Expect us.

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  • i believe scalpers are the issue. I feel like I am missing something. why isn’t more being done to punish them. you can already go on any ticketing website and see tickets are for sale for more than double the face value. I don’t have a stub from past years, but after reading some of these postings it sounds like there are stipulations about reselling tickets at more than face value. IF so, why doesn’t BM take action? Does anyone know if these stipulations are true? Sincerely asking….

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  • I just browsed around and counted the tickets available at scalper sites.

    Stub Hub 78
    Vivid seats 39
    ticket nest 36
    tickets more 37
    tickets.oak web works 37
    Ticket liq. 37
    excite 18
    bargain seats 37
    super tix 37
    ticket luck 37
    tix mate 24
    game stub 19

    The (37) is interesting several sites have the same amount of tickets. Is that because they have more that (37) tickets and are only showing a smaller number ti keep prices high? Or is that they all used the same method of obtaining these tickets? Not trying to be all “Rain Man” on you guys but this may be worth a look.

    I still say DON’T BUY SCALPER TICKETS!!! If we dont get a ticket through burning man then we just dont go. If we make a stand for this one year and burn the scalpers they will be less likely to do this again next year.

    Average cost scalper paid lets say $250.00 x 37 tickets = $9,250.00

    That might send a message!

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  • I have been a Burner since my first trip home in 2001. I am involved locally with my regional community. Yay SOAK!!! I co-run a theme camp, volunteer, provide art, love, compassion and have a kick ass game of Go Fish?, fish in our pond, full of loving fish and catch some hand made wearable art!! None of my camp got tickets. Out of 10+ people. 3 of us are going ahead, and trying the STEP program, as well as going for the 10,000 in March. We are a small camp, but we love BRC, and smalls matter too!!

    Just thought I would throw it out there:

    All of us would be happy to have names on our tickets, and be required to have to show ID at the gate…..

    Not that if would fix the problem… but we may have better luck in the end making it home!!

    I hope to see you on the Playa!!!! <3

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  • Guys let the dust settle… you will get tickets if your really really want to go and you keep your ears and eyes open..the demand pressure was too intense for a conventional distribution system… so now that they have gently placed this fractal fern supply channel onto the population ….. do not look to burningman to provide, look to your networks…. put out the word and the ticket will come to you…

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  • Glastonbury Festival takes “Fallow” years as a matter of policy every 5 or so years. Honestly, cancelling the event for this year might not be a bad thing.

    This is seriously looking to potentially be a really disastrous event. Calls for gate crashing and protests in this and other threads are giving me the chills.

    Then one has to consider what sort of spontaneous gathering would occur if there was a cancellation. This possibility is mentioned in BLM’s online permit review. Juplaya on steroids, and how that might or might not be its own disaster.

    Or is this the BMORG’s way of twisting the BLM’s arm for lifting the population cap?

    Hey BMORG!, this event is made up of a core community, and the next few weeks are critical in how it affects this community’s attitudes and feelings, as reflected by the comments here and on ePlaya. The event is nothing without the community, and the lottery has for now blown that to smithereens. I hope Humpty Dumpty can be put back together again.

    Rumors were going around last year that 2011 was the last Burning Man.
    All things pass. Is this RIP Burning Man? If so, so be it. Impermanence.
    It could be creative destruction however.

    This just gets more and more fascinating. I have a ticket, and yet am seriously considering if this is not the year for an alternate vacation, Europe, here I come??

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  • I still think APOCALYPSE would have been a much more appropiate theme for BURNINGMAN 2012. The current ticket devastation, I fear is the beginning of the end. I strongly hope I am wrong. This will be a learning experience for all. I hope we will survive and come back stronger then ever. Good luck to BMorg.

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  • burning man is just a place that is HOT by day and COLD at night governed by rules and GREED of the 3 creators that change the event for their personal gain. who cares if the event sold out. you made 50,000 people happy(2011) and most of those were long time burners. i will NEVER go again. too much DRAMA. you are ruining burning man. way to go. i applaud you!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Lazlo’s post of 2/4 makes good sense to me. Perhaps there is a job opening at BMorg for someone with good sense. If we were voting, I would vote to respect Lazlos perspective. I would also vote to make tix available to some of the longtime established Camps and those who have applied for art Projects through the ARTery who’s applications time limit has already expired, thus no rushing the art project gate, so to speak.

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  • CampMaster – you got it right! I love your idea and totally think it would work. Hopefully BMorg will be responsive also. One can only hope. Thank you for your insight and much needed knowledge.

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  • Some posters say the lottery should be canceled, but that is a non-starter, and all of the people making that suggestion should read a few comments first to see the long list of reasons. I still wonder if they would be making that suggestion if they had won a $240 ticket in the lottery and knew they might pay more or even get nothing in a do-over. It seems roughly 20-30% of the tickets went to real Burners who played by the rules, and it is not fair to screw them by unilaterally rescinding their sale.

    A few posters say “Occupy,” which is ludicrous. Any serious attempt at that would result in the immediate (and probably permanent) shutdown of Burning Man. The 57-page plan submitted by the LLC to the BLM for Burning Man actually has detailed plans for shutting down and evacuating the event in case of an emergency. In short, the road gets shut down to incoming traffic, starting at the I-80 offramp. Think about it — a single-file line of cars, in the midst of a massive law-enforcement presence, is about the worst possible scenario for gate crashing.

    Bradley B says boycott scalpers and don’t go if you can’t get a ticket through the Borg. Easy to say, unless you’ve already put money down on air fare and/or an RV, or have hundreds of hours in an art project. Maybe made plans to get married at BM. Dozens of tickets have already moved on StubHub, and the minimum has moved from $615 to $649 in just 2 days. I suspect those are the people already buying at StubHub, and have no faith the Borg is going to fix the problem. A few hundred dollars extra may be a small fraction of their budget for the event, and spending it now buys peace-of-mind as the minimum price rapidly climbs. There are now just 8 tickets available under $695.

    stephmopho, scalping is legal in Nevada, and I don’t think the Borg can legally set a maximum price at which you can resell your property. I definitely don’t recall seeing anything like that, nor has the Borg ever said legitimate tickets bought from a third-party could be invalidated. (They only warn of the danger of counterfeits.)

    The only viable solution seems to be some variation on registering tickets to individuals, with a near-term deadline for that to take place. That will get the scalpers’ tickets back into inventory, and then the demand will probably get much closer to matching supply.

    Let’s hope the Borg has something to say very soon and that it makes sense. As it stands, they have clearly lost credibility, and they are doing little to recover from that problem. If they spend another 2 weeks just watching, all they are going to see is the death of their baby.

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  • “Hbaker Says:
    February 3rd, 2012 at 5:10 pm
    Worst ticketing system EVER! Thought I would make this my 5th year anniversary after years of a break, but I’m over it. I’ve officially given up on this festival. It’s a Rich Man’s festival now.
    Good luck!”

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  • Also…. invision and ticket and it will come to you….good vibes blah blah blah….burning man is what you make of it man! …. LOL WHAT … no it wont and I do not care anyways… its overrun by hipsters a this point

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  • Fellow burners, I think we are to eager to assume that what happened with the tickets this year was entirely due to the new system. I think the same, if not worse, would’ve happened with the old system. And the reason for this is simple – last year was the first one when tickets sold out. There were no scalpers before because there were always tickets available. This is the first year when it makes sense for scalpers to grab as many tickets as possible. Considering this fact, I think the lottery system might have actually mitigated this problem somewhat better than the first-come-first-served would. Think about how all the tickets for popular concerts, such as Radiohead, are sold out the next second they go on sale on ticketmaster. The only way to deal with this situation, in my opinion, is to use airlines’ ticket system, with names printed on tickets. If you need to transfer your ticket, you could only do it through STEP at the face value. Unfortunately, as it stands now, I don’t see any reasons why scalpers could not use STEP system to grab those extra tickets the real burners would want to exchange among themselves.

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  • It is sad that BMorg had to change the stratigy for buying a ticket. Because of the first come first serve it made it possible to get the camps organized buy buying their tickets the first day they went on sale,only the true burningman people were so intent on making it.
    With putting the lottery togetherit gave the more money motivated people time to get there act together and submit. I am afraid that with this system we are destened to season of lookie loose’s.
    I believe if we just went back to the original type of ticket sales the event would come off sooo smooth. I don’t think the non transferable ticket is a good idea ethier as last year I was unable to go at the last minute so I was able to get it to someone else (at face value) so they could enjoy the experience.
    I do hope some how that BMorg can get the remaining tickets to the people that make the event work. The Theme camp are so a part of the city.It is just a scary situationthis year. Fingers crossed

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  • Home is where the heart is and this year it will sadly not be at Burning Man. After 7 years my family has decided not to attend our reunion on the playa. First, the recycled theme lacks creativity and inspiration for us. Second, we were not awarded tickets in the lotto. We will miss all our friends and lovers and hope that when we return in the future it won’t be taken over by “celebrities” and their private RV camps.

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  • The online petition has now been removed after the originator was contacted by the BMORG, in order to give them “space”. From the explanation email this morning:

    “Just wanted to say thank you for signing the petition and give you a status update.

    I have been contacted by BM representatives, and they have indicated that they are aware of the petition. They have heard the community, and are working on potential solutions to the issue. I believe we have brought the right amount of attention to the issue, and it’s time to give the BM team some space to work out an appropriate solution for the community.

    In less than a week we brought over 4000 signers to bear on the issue. I am turning off the petition at this time, I hope that I get the chance to see all of you rolling in the dust this year.”

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  • I hope that the BMorg doesn’t try to “fix” their mistake by giving preferential treatment to theme camps to cover THEIR own asses so their event isn’t ruined.

    Individuals and small art projects are just as important part of the Burning Man experience as the big theme camps (in some cases even more so), IMO.

    Giving theme camp members preferential treatment by making it easier for them to procure tickets seems unfair to the rest of the community.

    Just my two cents.

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  • ==========
    Lazlo and U2pilot, you two should connect and put your articles into a single one, which can be posted here over and over again, so dreamers don’t disturb the discussion.

    Maybe I can add something to the legal situation. I am not American, but such laws are the same almost everywhere: A contract is by definition a ‘declaration of mutual agreement’. E.g. person 1 puts a price tag on something and person 2 says ‘I take it’ – thats already a valid contract, even before money or product(service) has changed hands. For the BMF tickets this means that the tickets for the lottery winners were offered as transferable tickets and that’s what they are, even if they are not shipped yet. You cannot change them into non-transferable ones anymore. Especially you cannot suddenly put a time limit on them for registring or the like.

    Luckily a maximum of a third of the tickets were in the first lottery, so at least the other two thirds could be sold connected to an ID/name. You may contradict, but you won’t change my mind. I strongly believe BMORG is not honest with us. I can smell it.

    By the way: All foreigners always (at least since 1998) got their tickets not shipped, but on hold at will call. We got a number emailed and together with our passport we got our (non-transferable!) tickets. So it is not impossible at all, BMORG is even used to this procedure. Of course this needs a very large box office area, but this can be managed. If necessairy, I help, I have done this before. But I won’t put my language skills in a greeter job. I’ll cancel it within the next days and before ‘the dust settles’. BMORG already messed it up too much, I simply don’t want to lie when saying ‘Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome to Burning Man’.

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  • And if that is, in fact, legally correct, maybe that’s why the petition was pulled. And why they are stalling for time. And making no further public comment/reaction to suggestions (not even bothering to “moderate” the comments with URLs here).

    The situation is likely much worse than it seems.


    Stick a fork in the Man. He’s cooked.

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  • You want feedback, so I felt compelled.

    I have always failed to understand why the ticketing system is set in place “prior” to the placement of art and theme camps. This has NEVER made sense to me.

    Imagine if you will:

    First things first. Deadlines for art submissions and theme camps by December 31. Tickets are made available for sale to those people that are participating and building the city. Even if your art or theme camp doesnt get placed, it can still be eligible for tickets prior to the general sale. This would probably account for 20-30,000 tickets sold. All sold to people actually building and participating. This will also encourage people (even first time burners) to be involved with a project. More people would come out of woodwork to help and be involved early. These tickets can be distributed to the project leads for distribution to their teams. Less spectators. GREATER participation. Tickets to general public would then go on sale in May.

    Right now the timing is reversed. Ticket sales seem to be the first order of things. Ticket sales to an event that asks its participants to participate radically could be distributed first to those who are radically participating. It would be cohesive with the intent that is commonly referred to as “a responsibility to the community”.

    I personally do not begrudge anyone within BRC, LLC for wrong doing. We are all making this up as we go along, as you are as well. Every one of us are doing absolutely the best we can within our lives.

    The scenario I have explained above, I believe, would solve so many of the issues that are if front you now. The most important being , saving the integrity of the event.

    I love you all, and hope you will consider this idea for the future.


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  • Printed on all tickets:


    Can any attorneys reading this thread comment further on the implications of linking already sold tickets to names, or (worst case) voiding the entire lottery?

    The legal ramifications must surely be at the core of BMORG discussions.

    This is bad bad bad.

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  • It seems impossible to resolve the issues of this years tciket fiasco as there are only 10,000 tickets left and many thousands of true burners needing them. Those that were lucky to get more than for themselves are sure to know others that are needing them and the resale on BM site will be ovwhelming with only a few available and so many needing. ANd I agree that scalpers will also, as we do, have first priority for the 10,000 remaining. This is an issue to be figured out for next year. Unfortunately, many theme camp and true veteran burners will not be attending this year. This would have been our 11th year as a theme camp, but with only 3 of the 20+ Burners in our theme camp having tickets, and we’re only one camp of hundreds, we understand that the odds are not good. Many of our camp have already resolved to not going and are attempting to get tickets. The overall atmosphere at BM this year and possibly in the future will change as many theme camp, art cars, costumes, and scheduled events will not be going.

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  • Greetings from Gerlach BM Community!

    Hi Marian, Hope that this short note finds you well and happy!

    I am wondering if you would be willing to discuss or address how this new BM lottery policy will effect the purchase of local tix for Gerlach residents?

    Last year the town of Gerlach made a request to BM that Gerlach local residents be allowed, as they always had been in the past, to go out to the gate pre event when BM Theme Camps, Artists ect.. gain early entry to pick up their tix.

    Last year for the very first time ever, locals were forced to stand in line with 50,000 participants when the gate opened in order to pick up the BM tix that they had already paid for.

    This took anywhere from 8-12 hours wasting a tank of gas and was a huge and unnecessary inconvenience for the Gerlach locals. Most of the local folks in Gerlach are either employed supporting the event, volunteering with the town water and trash sales or in their 70’s and 80’s so sitting in the heat and dust was not only an unnecessary waste of volunteer and employment time and hours , but not very good for the health or well being of the elders of our community.

    The town sent a petition to ask that BM reinstate the prior BM policy which allowed locals early entry in order to pick up their Tix or at the very least that they be allowed to pick them up at the Gerlach BM office when the event opens so they can avoid burning up a tank of gas and waiting in the heat and dust for the better part of a valuable day on Gate RD.

    We received a short and very corporate speak response assuring the local Gerlach residents that BM would look into this revised policy and get back to us.To date we had not heard a word.

    Marion , I am wondering if the board has made a decision on the town of Gerlach’s request and if local tix will even be offered this year? Many of us have friends and family who would like to support the event with their attendance however making plans to do so is difficult if the Local Tix situation remains uncertain.

    I look forward to your response.

    Warmest wishes,

    Elizabeth Jackson
    Gerlach Resident

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  • IMHO- The ticketing train wreck was no mistake. For years the people running the big show have been messing with our minds. I personally have seen several attempts at “experiments” in personal behavior at this event. I truly believe the intent is to break up all of the theme camps and go back to the roots of what the event is all about. The balance in prior years has shifted into what some people call a 7 day rave, no longer focused on community building. It’s become a spectator sport. Will BM survive? Survive what? IMHO it died years ago. BUT… I still love it, love everything about it, and I want to come home just as much as the next guy. BTW, I got my “rejection” letter- 2 in fact, and I know I will be attending this year one way or another. But I digress, do you remember the “survey” that was filled out at the beginning or the tix process? I know it played a way bigger part than they will ever admit. BORG is fucking with you!!!! It’s time somebody admits the truth.

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  • Well… Looks like BMORG really screwed the pooch on this one. (if the responses here are any gauge) No, I didn’t get a ticket for the tier(s) I was hoping for. Which begs the question? How could any of us possibly know for certain that we weren’t “bumped” off the list simply because we didn’t pick a high enough dollar amount? All we have is your word that the ticketing lottery was done fairly and without bias. Where is the proof? It is also obvious that your “system” can, and has been manipulated when even you state that theme camps are now “considering” how to redistribute tickets acquired using multiple credit cards and accounts.

    Marian, that Burning Man pony is beginning to lose it’s sparkle for a lot of us and the way the ORG deals with this kind of situation is getting really old and tiresome. If you want to put on an “exclusive” high dollar event then please, do everyone a favor and take it elsewhere and give the BLM land a rest. And oh yeah this is still PUBLIC land I might add regardless of what your permits might read and some of the public is really gettin more than a little fed up with the event and it’s organizers.

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  • The most important part of Burning Man – the core that makes it more than just a great party – is its radical re-visioning of community and politics.

    The 50,000 ticket limit imposed by the BLM has killed that part of Burning Man – not least by making us all competitors for scarce tickets rather than cooperators in a great social experiment. I’m sure a decent party can still be had this August, but the radically positive alternative vision of how humans can co-exist is dead.

    Clearly, the federal government does not want our vision to grow and spread. The 50,000 ticket limit is not the BORG’s fault, but collaborating with and being co-opted by, the BLM by accepting that limit is unacceptable. The idea that the Black Rock Desert cannot handle more people, with Bman’s record of environmental stewardship, is false.

    The only way to revive the true spirit of Burningman it is to throw off the 50,000 limit. There are options: e.g., buy or lease private land for the event; cancel it to get more bargaining power with the BLM; “Occupy BRC”; take a page from the Rainbow Gathering and exercise our First Amendment right to peaceably assemble on public land, etc.

    All we stand to lose at this point is a decent party that most of our friends can’t make anyway, and the BORG’s power, privileges and prestige. We’ve already lost the most important part.

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  • Those three possibilities come to my mind:

    1 – BMORG is stupid, deaf and ignorant. Unlikely, but they act as if they were.

    2 – BMORG became dishonest, greedy and corrupted. Unfortunately somehow likely.

    3 – BMORG is having talks with BLM and other officials and cannot communicate at this moment in order not to mess up those talks. Unlikely too, but our only hope.

    If someone can add a forth possibility, which is not already included in these three, please do so and post it.

    If not, let’s discuss which of the three it is.

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  • I agree that without many of the theme camps, art, and events, that BM will be much different this year. It would be nice to have them all be able to attend but very unrealistic and unfair to think that they should have priority and not let new or veterans burners that arent associated with a theme camp have a chance to go. Though not fair, in trying to preserve some of BMs atmosphere of camps, art, and events, instead of giving them priorities for tickets, giving ony priority of maybe 10-20% of how many people they registered for in the past. Many of the campers in theme camps aren’t actual vital participants, i.e of the 3 that already have tickets in ours none were active participants. Also, looking at each theme camp and see if they actually contributed. We’ve seen many registered camps in the past that registered but didn’t offer anything for the community, they only wanted to be placed in the middle of theme camps. Again, giving priority to anyone would be unfair and not in line with the spirit of the event. I don’t feel that we should have priority, but only say this in the case the BM org does decide to give some priorities to theme camps for the remiaining tickets – in that case, then limit the amount of tickets given priority to theme camps and allow for individuals to attend.

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  • 4 – BMORG is deep in meetings with their attorneys right this very moment, but will likely not be able to do anything about the tickets sold so far. The big decision for them is how to handle the remaining 10,000 and ensure that STEP is (relatively) successful.

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  • Wow! Good to hear others are feeling the same as me (we really are not alone!!) I am disgusted and hugely disappointed in Bmorg for their ignorance and blatant disregard for the quality people that make the event what it has become and for also slapping all of these same fine folks in the face for not believing, or accepting, their failed system. Our feedback was forthright and forefront from the start that the “random selection” system would not work and they blatantly ignored all the professional advice and went ahead with it anyway. They then have the gall to inform us we were not successful in obtaining tickets in the main sale. We told them it would not work and they had to confirm with us it did not. Who is doing the listening here?? I have really lost my enthusiasm to go, as well as most of our theme camp who never got tickets. Who do they think will build the theme camp and run the great services we offer?? I wholeheartedly support the concept of registering ID for each ticket sold (over the next two weeks), and if no registration is received then no tickets sold to you. All unsold tix can then go on sale late Feb, first-come, first-served with registered ID. Bmorg needs to LISTEN and make this right. Start with an apology and then a dedicated plan. Stop flying by the seat of your pants and insulting the very people who support your livelihood.

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  • I am happy that I got the two tickets we need.

    My concern is how the lottery affects long-time Burners. Friends with whom I camp have been coming for years with camps as big as 250 people and in later years broken up into several smaller camps. These groups look forward all year to re-uniting on the Playa.

    But there is no reward in the system, as far as I can tell, for people who have been long-time attenders. Unless there is something I don’t know, a newbie or scalper has the same chance of getting a ticket as someone who has supported the Burn since it moved to the Playa.

    I realize there was a pre-sale, but for some regulars, the higer price wasn’t affordable.

    I wonder if there is a way that you could track previous people who bought tickets directly from Burning Man over the past several years, by name or credit card number, and then give those people a lottery for the 3 price ranges.

    After those “Real Burners” get their tickets, you could then open a general public lottery that would include people who bought tickets from other people plus the newbies.

    I have a lot of respect for what I call the “Real Burners” as they are people (at least those that I have known over the years) who really care about the Playa. They pick up Moop, they help others, they participate in art projects or entertainment, they bring art cars, they leave nothing behind, they don’t dump waste water or cooking grease, they respect other Burners, and they fully participate in the Burn experience.

    To me, they are to be honored in some way over the “Johny-come-lately’s”, some of which are not as respectful of the traditions and rules of the Burn.

    I realize that you have a capacity limit and an excess demand for tickets. That’s a good thing in business. But in many businesses, when supply is short, the long term clients get shipped first since they are who helped make the business a success in the first place. How can that practice be included in the ticketing process?

    Re: Scalpers, I don’t know anything about the law and resale, but could purchasers sign an agreement that if they can not use the tickets they purchase, they must be returned. And if so, would that be inforceable against the blatant anti-burn practice of inflated price resale via the internet?

    Thanks for doing the best that you can do.

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  • NAMES ON TICKETS…I LOVE THE IDEA!!! Wouldnt be a big deal..I work in the box office and we deal with transferd tickets all the time. Im sure some will buy a ticket not be able to go and sell it to a friend, all they have to do is follow the ticket transfer procedure on BM website. This will keep the scalpers out for sure!!!

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  • The mistake burningman made this year will leave a bitter taste for years to come. This years burningman is not burningman too me. they need to publicly fire the Person that made this choice and admit to the burningman community they made a big mistake!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • I think that there is a lot going on here that we don’t/won’t know about, and the situation is actually much WORSE than it appears.

    The people thinking “Yay this year will be refreshingly different without the big camps!” (I know of three personally) are going to get their wish in spades.

    Best of luck with your burn, everyone. I’m done with this thread; it’s not going to change a damn thing.

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  • Merman, any attempt to “Occupy” will fail. If a significant number of people arrive without tickets, the entrance will be blocked by police cars so no one without a ticket gets in, and you will get ticket-checked at the 447 exit off I-80. Contingency plans for shutting down the event were part of the plan the Borg had to submit to the BLM. Plus, the cops will start working backwards through cars already in line. No tickets, and you get turned around. Or they just shut the event down, probably permanently.

    You can’t gate crash where the only way in a single 2-lane road, and there is already a massive police presence in place. (Sure, it might be possible to crash the trash fence, but all other entrances to the playa will also be blocked.)

    Habibi, if you think Lazlo and I are repeating ourselves, I appologize. It’s just that the frustration becomes hard to take when some of the same unworkable ideas (a- cancel the lottery, b- cancel the event, c- occupy) get repeated over and over and over. None of those posters seem to have noticed they had already been posted, and shown to be unworkable by many others here.

    For what it’s worth, I have some strong opinions on the virgins vs. vets topic that I’ve kept to myself. Those discussions are about values, and I respect people to have diverging opinions. On the other hand, the viability of an “Occupy” movement at the end of a 70-mile, 2-lane highway — not a lot of question about that. And perhaps it gets into the area of values, but everyone who calls for a complete do-over seems ready to throw those who played fair and got cheap tickets under the bus.

    Under full disclosure, I got the FU letter (2 actually) on my lottery entry, but a friend with 2 tix has promised one for me.

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  • On the contrary. I am serious about about you, DMT and U2pilot, to repeat and repeat what you have to say. Obviously people only read the last 10 postings before they post themselves.

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  • Very simple solution for tickets n participants, IF BM LLC makes everyone go through so much paperwork to register art cars, art, and theme camps, well then you should automatically be able to apply for the needed amount of tickets attached to the registration of such projects. I will be quite frank that after 14 years of attendance, i feel strongly that BM organization forgets who actually brings this city and builds it and PAYS FOR IT< US THE PEOPLE NOT BM, yes your ticket pays for the city grid, porta potties, medical and even pays for you to be arrested but it does not pay for the camps or art cars and very little of the ticket proceeds goto art. SO figure it out quick cuz its not cool that so many of us have invested huge time and personal funds into infrastructure, creativity, and getting that huge pile of junk there and back, we should be your first priority!

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  • Please keep in mind, that the following is not a discussion point, but a fact:

    BMORG had set up a feedback link. They were told in advance about everything which is found in this endless thread. Their only reaction was making the lottery system more complicated.

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  • Best way to fix this situation for next year:

    1) Non-Transferrable but fully refundable tickets (minus shipping and service) . This should root out most scalpers, and it will make it so that you are the sole source of the tickets. Also if a participant has something come up and they cannot go, they have recourse.

    2) Priority based on past participation. This will take a few years to implement, but you should keep track of who pays you and reward those who have come back year after year. This insures that long time supporters do not get lost in the shuffle

    3) Radically include everyone in on the same price. Drop the Tiered bull$#!T. It causes a feeding frenzy on your lower tiered tickets.

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  • I have been to Burning Man five times, and the experiences I’ve had there have altered the course of my life. I’ve been part of the Burning Man community in both New York and San Francisco — and I also did receive two tickets in the pre-sale.

    However, of the folks I am connected with, 20% is an optimistic over-estimate of how many received tickets — sentiment echoed in the above posts.

    I agree with the sentiment that tickets should be made non-transferrable, but I’d also like to add a point that seems to be implied but not explicitly stated by the above posts: Distributing tickets using an “Ambassador” system like BOOM Festival, and allocating a certain number of tickets to registered theme camps that have already been to the playa and placed previously (so new camps don’t register in order to just get tickets).

    Burning Man already has the framework to create ticket Ambassadors, with the Regional Contacts, whom are often elected by some means by regional community members. These folks can be given guidelines and asked to distribute tickets to the community, and can help abate issues with non-transferable tickets; and can help handle making sure tickets get distributed throughout the community — perhaps 30,000 or so — to handle the “core” burners. This system could potentially be combined with the tickets allocated to established theme camps. You can google “Boom Ambassadors” to see how the festival most comparable to Burning Man (although with vast differences..) in Europe does it. These tickets could still remain transferable because there’d be some process to make sure this person is in fact a member of the Burner community, or at least a real person and not a scalper.

    Non-transferable tickets can be sold by the BMorg in limited quantities, let’s say 10k, to handle Radical Inclusion so people don’t have to know regional contacts or be part of an established camp. This would be the necessary trade-off to keep Burning Man open, but give some preference to those who have historically made sacrifices and contributions.

    Finally, an apology to the community should be given. Marian, you sent out numerous e-mails on JRS claiming this system would work, there were posts on ePlaya etc saying “Don’t fret, 40k burners will not have their shit together by January to sell out the tickets!’ It is clear you were blindsided by the situation and a little bit of honesty will go a long way with the community. And Please, “engaging the community” doesn’t mean calling up known and established community leaders that you are connected to. It means honest dialogue on places like this blog and the internet at large.

    Everyone knows STEP will be a complete failure. There simply aren’t these burners with all these extra tickets to distribute. The tickets went to scalpers. Something needs to be done and FAST.

    Right now, the community gets the sense you are taking the Ostrich head-burying solution, and sticking to your guns about STEP. Regardless of your declarations, the entire system of lottery and STEP is and will continue to be an abject failure.

    This is the largest controversy I have witnessed affect the Burning Man Community. Something radical needs to be done to save Burning Man. That is not hyperbole..that is the plain truth right now.

    People look to the BMORG/BM Project staff for one thing: Institutions. Street Signs. Port-o Potties. Setting the stage for the event and facilitating the experiences of Burners. Obviously, this year, you have flatly failed on your one directive and reason for existence! It’s time to come up with a new institutional model of ticket distribution that actually works for your community, not cheap cop-outs leveraging third party vendors (InTicketing) whose sales people lie through their teeth to you about the effectiveness of their scalper-filtering mechanisms, which clearly do not work.

    Please come up with better institutions for ticketing and make radical moves to implement them ASAP.

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  • U2Pilot – no doubt the logistics of an Occupy BRC effort are daunting. Another question is how to define “success” vs “failure” of that effort.

    Re logistics, I don’t pretrend to have a “PLAN” worked out. But I would observe that there are more roads than 447, there is a lot of terrain where people can be dropped off to hike, and people that have tickets can bring water and food for those who “occupy.”

    Re “success” vs “failure” – is it a failure if the whole thing gets shut down and people spend 48 hours being herded down 447 by a massive police presence? That depends on your perspective. If all you want is another year of partying, I guess so. If you want the entire community to particpate or no one gets to, then maybe its a success.

    My main thought is that Burning Man is no longer Burning Man right now. So shutting down what happens this August is not shutting down Burning Man.

    But when I think about “Occupy BRC” I also can’t help but think that there are probably better ways to use that much energy for positive social change. Like the next national election cycle.

    I have tickets. How good am I going to feel about partying when 60% of my camp and 60% of my community are excluded?

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  • Hey guys,

    We are reading and watching and having hundreds of conversations a day with Burners as we work to sort out a solution. It’s a very fast paced, very busy time right now and we’re trying hard to keep up with all the forums and compile feedback, real numbers, and responses. We are 100% listening and sorting out all the information as we figure out how to proceed.

    I’m not going to point by point dissect everyone’s suggestions in my response here, but I wanted to make sure you know that human beings (Burners ourselves, all of us, and all of us also deeply affected by what’s going on) are paying attention & appreciate your feedback, suggestions and ideas.

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  • My first burn was in 1996. The theme was Hell. It was more like Heaven to me. I’ve been going every year since. ( I am 16, going on 17 ?). There were less than 6000 people there.
    My second year on the Playa, I attended a talk by Larry Harvey. He spoke on the future of BM, and how large the community could grow. How many people could come together, in the spirit of sharing, and build the most outrageous city on earth, where nothing existed before? He imagined numbers of 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 or more. Who knew what the limit would be? With large numbers of creative, dedicated, hard working people, joining together to build a totally unique experience, life changing to most who attend, well, that’s how legends are born. I am very grateful to have been a part of this. The answer to Larry’s pondering back then, seems to be 53,000. It’s ironic that the limit comes from the “default” world, and not the community itself.
    BM is like a religion to a lot of longtime burners. I pray (for lack of a better term) that it doesn’t end like this. Please help us to continue creating this awesome event, and the enlightenment it brings to so many lives.
    One last thought. Did Larry, Maid Marion, and other “First Campers”, have to enter the lottery? And if so, did they get tickets?

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  • From the FAQs in support, prior to this ticket fiasco, there was already the question,

    Q: Why not just register each ticket with a name and require ID at the Gate to use the ticket?

    The arrogant presumption in the BMORG reply tells much:

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

    It’s not too late to send out the message that only the credit card holder’s name matched to ticket and ID at the gate (plus the one extra assigned likewise in advance) will be valid, and duplicates won’t work. Scalpers with multiple tickets will be stuck, so they should be offered the opportunity to sell back to BMORG and only BMORG directly.

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  • There are a massive number of people very disappointed in the approach to solve the simple problem of this event becoming popular. Everyone who has been introduced to this event has received advice on what to bring and how to prepare. Adding to that list the advice to buy your ticket early is the best solution. Our camp received 4 tickets out of 25. None of our group would have objected to putting a name to their ticket to ensure their participation this year. We still believe in the kind of BM community this event helps foster but the lottery system has definatly shaken our belief in the Bm org.

    I hope I get to go this year but I doubt it will happen at this point and most of our camp mates have already decided not to attend. I guess this yearly be the first of many that I won’t be welcomed home…

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  • It’s obvious that the future of the event is threatened if the most creative, committed and loyal burners can’t even get tickets anymore. This looks like the most existential threat I’ve seen since I first started attending in ’98. Something very clearly needs to be done about ticketing to ensure that tickets go to those who follow the rules, buy tickets only that they need for themselves, never sell at more than face value, and don’t hoard tickets. I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m sure something better than this lottery can be figured out.

    Here’s one idea, if a lottery system is deemed necessary: If demand remains this high, when they run a lottery or some other system where many people don’t get tickets, the people who don’t get tickets are automatically put first in line for next year’s tickets. So you’d get a confirmation saying you have 2 tickets reserved for you for next year, then in January of that year you get another email asking you to provide payment at that time to secure the tickets, or decline it if you don’t plan to go. In that way, people would at least know they can go every other year. Any tickets left over after that go into the open sale.

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  • Like the 1 percenters sitting in the 50 capitols nationwide, BMORG sits in San Francisco, apparently oblivious to the wants and needs of its constituency, the 99 percent. So very sad. After years of attendance, I will be finding a new festival. Best of luck. I’ll miss you all — oh no, wait! You didn’t get tickets either! I guess I won’t see you ANYWAY!!!

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  • @andie grace…..hey Andie…I’d LOVE to talk to you about all this. This will be my ninth burn (maybe) and i’ve worked with a camp thats really hard to find, the Purple Palace and brcesd. I have good perspective.

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  • Obviously, the truth to all this is that demand outways supply. So scalping is inevitable. But It’s hard to understand how StubHub, an EBAY company, had 80 tickets up for sale Jan. 31st! And the price ranged from $700 to over $1000 a ticket. How does this happen? Everyone needs an I.D. at bars on the playa to drink now. So I agree with non transferable tickets. Otherwise, only the rich will be attending in the future and the people who make the event what it is will be left out. It’s sad that our only recourse is to give up on this event, but don’t think for a second that you’ll make a difference in doing so. There will still be 50,000 people attending regardless!

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  • The MOST infuriating thig is that this entire clusterfuck occurred because BMORG insisted on staying with the rinky-dink InTicketing outfit. They couldn’t keep up last year and rather than just shit-canning them, they came up with the current nonsense.
    Way to go, BMORG

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  • I’m looking forward to Burning Man this year. (like I don’t every year) because it is going to be very interesting to see what burners do when we are jolted out of our routines.

    So the regular party on X night and your favourite art tour on Y night won’t happen, because the camps that do them aren’t there and we won’t find our soul-mate at cosco and beat on them in thunderdome.

    But we’ll meet a lot of people who will touch our souls, and the art will be amazing, and the burgers at thunder-ninjas will be awesome, because theme camp mashups will be the best thing to come out the year the world ended.

    Oh, and 2013 tickets will only be available at centre camp cafe, and Prince and Daftpunk will be playing Thursday night after the CORE burn. Just like every other year.

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  • If there is the limited number of tickets, scalpels will be always in line, no matter how or what method will be used to sell the tickets. The only way to fix it is to talk to BLM about it.

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  • Why were there no extra servers bought or rented for the purchase? I mean…if the servers crashed the last time with the abundant requests…….servers are cheap. Renting them is cheaper. Lottery system has way to many flaws. Read the posts.

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  • Stop this nonsense about killing the open sale. Small groups of individuals provide a lot of what makes Black Rock what it is as well. Funnel some tickets to the big camps if you must, but give the rest of us a chance to return. Not every ticketless individual is a etard virgin trustafarian.

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  • 1.) Non-transferable tickets are the only way to get a handle on scalping.

    2.) Pricing tiers aren’t helping anyone, and the lottery just makes it that more arbitrary.

    $75 just isn’t going to make the difference between whether or not you can take a week off work, get your ass to the playa, enjoy yourself, not die and still pay rent for most folks. I know that tiered pricing sounds all warm-and-fuzzy, but it doesn’t really serve a purpose.

    Want a real feel-good discount program? Participate in XX hours of community outreach with your regional burn this year, and get on a list for cheap tickets when registration opens for the following year.

    Awesome, resourceful people that truly can’t afford to go will still get there. You can volunteer for the ORG, a large-scale art project, or for a group/camp that sponsors their ticket.

    3.) The simplest answer is usually the right one.

    4.) An RV ban would be nice. It really negates the naturally-occurring social filter. I don’t trust clean people on the playa.

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  • It would seem from this blog to the BMORG “what we have here is a failure to communicate” !!! Many at this point as upset enough and see no reply to fix this that plans are being made to try and may a trip elsewhere regardless, plans are made in advance with jobs, transportation and finances, to sit and wait when no reply this this outcry alone makes you wonder what the playa will even be like this year. Does not feel like a welcome HOME.:(

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  • This has been an interesting experience in watching the veneer of burning man community love fall straight into angry vitriol in the name of protecting the burning man community. Makes you wonder if its not that the ticket situation broke something or if it exposed something that was already quite broken.

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  • As humans we are all broken. It is only natural that people respond in such a way, when the dearest and most precious moments with friends is seemingly snatched out of their reach.

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  • Overwhelming opinions seems to indicate that named tickets distributed at the gate is the simplest way to completely undercut any scalper activity. What is perhaps not fully understood is that maybe not as many tickets are in scalpers hands as might be assumed.
    There does become a tipping point where maybe there are 25,000+ brand new people that want to go to Burningman. They registered for the lottery just like everybody else and they got tickets.
    The Dr Seuss inspired “Oh the places you’ll go has over 1.3 MILLION views. That is only one piece out there. There are thousands of galleries, articles, coverage on major networks, and all of us vets telling all of our friends how amazing it is. Really with all the hype, who wouldn’t want to go. It is after all dubbed “The Greatest Party on Earth”

    This is not the first time the event has outgrown the venue. It is dissapointing that the BMOrg did not see this coming or have a larger growth plan in place.
    Given the loss in revenue to the surrounding community, and the approximate 1.5 million dollar land use fee, does the BLM really want to cap it at 55k and lose the event?

    Forget about complicated ticket systems, priority for veterans, or any of the hundreds of divisive schemes proposed here.
    In the true spirit of radical inclusion, what really needs to happen is that with 7 months until the event, the real million dollar question is :
    “Where else can the event be held?”
    Last time i was in an airplane, I saw no shortage of vast areas of desert. Anyone out there know of a private piece of land or a municipality interested in 1.5 million dollars in revenue?

    Time to grow into a new location or strong arm the BLM for higher numbers this year.

    There is still time!

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  • @Habibi

    You’ve complained about posts that repeat the same information and sentiments. In fact, you’ve done so to the point of becoming repetitive yourself.

    Why not practice what you preach, lest you come off as a hypocrite.

    People have a right to add their voice to the discussion. And if their words join the chorus, so much more power for the chorus.

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  • is anyone looking into the places where getting tickets RIGHT NOW is possible and cracking down on how exactly so many tickets are available on www dot excite dot com at double. triple and quadrupedal the cost?

    if so many actual burners are ticket-less in the community, somebody’s got some ‘splainin to do…

    and soon!

    thanks for all the hard work that i am sure is going into all this and here’s hoping for the best!

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

    and she’s in WAY over her head…

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  • I believe a concern the BMorg would have that’s been overlooked here is that if the gate were to have to check IDs, and there was significant weather, the delay would increase in a major way.

    It’s like that dumb joke where you add ‘in my pants’ to graffiti. When talking about any added responsibility for any crew, you need to add ‘…in a whiteout!’. Like hey, the greeters have to do xyz …in a whiteout! The lamplighters now must replace the lamps at 3am …in a whiteout! The gate now has to check IDs …in a whiteout! DPW now has to build a second trash fence while drinking beer …in a whiteout.

    Always assume the weather will be bad. (And never mention that four letter word that starts with ‘w’… the correct term that does not offend the Gods is ‘weather’.)

    We haven’t had to check IDs in bad weather, have we? It doesn’t have to be shutting down weather, it can be pissy sideways in your face but still some visibility weather.

    My point is you have to take into account that every .30 seconds longer it takes Gate; people fumbling to pull it out, someone checking a PDA with the ticket bar code/number against it, etc.. and that times 50,000 is 17 man days more and change. (I’ve done the math twice now, I think it’s correct. 30 seconds times 50,000 is 25,000 minutes is 17.36 days)

    I don’t want to think about the scraps of driven over ID cards we’ll be finding after the event either.

    It’s not workable at all, if you think about it. I haven’t seen anyone discuss this anywhere and it’s worth noting. Believe me, I’m discussing the ticket situation among friends as I’m sure most burners are, but add this burden and you’d need to add a large number of people to handle things, considering that Gate really is operating full steam for the first two days. Gate had more people than ever last year working, and all lanes open for a while, too. Checking IDs at the Gate probably won’t work on a practical level.

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  • Registration for art and theme camps should be included in the ticket purchasing process. After the initial presale sell nontransferable tickets to individuals. Prioritize participation.

    I hope everything works out this year.

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  • I think Sammy B has a good point. Being that scalpers already have tickets, how does anyone know that members of the BMORG are not the one’s selling the tickets already? Do they get a number of free tickets?

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  • Marian,

    Thanks for dropping us a line on the blog. Wow, some people have a lot of time to write a comment. I for one have been before and will go again this year. It seems that most of my friends have tickets and the rest of us are not worried about getting them. People are running around all over talking about how the latest rumor they’ve heard about what or what is not going to happen this year at BRC. My best answer is do what you can to pay what you want for a ticket, and see how it shakes out. Blasting the people who make it happen in the first place is not going to get you anywhere. If you don’t get a ticket and cannot attend That is unfortunate but not the end of the world.

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  • I said it once and once again , I say it, BMan has become an elitist sort of club. IF that is what is becoming, I want no part. Adios amigos/amiga. Sad sort of situation it has become. I agree with someone farther up the line, with all the technology that is available, this sort of stupid ticket sales is totally unacceptable. Sad day.

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  • HK….. Maid Marian has done a great job with communication throughout the years. I remember when she first came to Reno as a guest to visit small clubs….on her own time, to share photos and stories to those of us that did not know much about the event.
    She has been there for all of us, and even though we don’t see her, she is listening, reading and probably sick to her stomach that this has happened. This has got to be the toughest pr job in the world right now. How and what do you say to thousands of people venting. Let it go……it is what it is now. Move on, there is nothing…. that can changed now, but there will be change in the future and even than people will be dissapointed.

    I keep reminding myself how I feel when I come home from Burning Man and what it does for me. That’s when I realize to breath, reflect, there is nothing I can do but try for the next step…and if it does not happen, I’m lucky to have had the experience of attending before. I for one vented but with a reminder of what it does for me, I hope to spread the good feelings on a daily basis. If I don’t, than I’m right back to where I was 12 years ago before I attended

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  • But it’s NOT too late to change. There is significant consensus among the community that we can have a workable solution now. All that it requires is open communication.

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  • RE: Tomcat. Since we’re taking this conversation mobile, I’ll post my reddit response here too:

    Lets see:

    17.36 days = 417 hours
    417 hours = 69 volunteer shifts (six hour shifts)
    69 shifts over the first 4 days = 17.25 extra gate shifts total per day for the first 4 days.
    17.25 shifts per day split into four shifts = 4.3 extra volunteers needed per shift during the first four days.

    That’s it.. Round it up to FIVE extra volunteers needed per gate shift who’s sole duty would be to check ID’s. The car is ALREADY stopped for inspection, if there is a dedicated ID checker who does that concurrently with the rest of the gate inspection, the whole deal will be done with negligible impact to the actual car line.
    Of course this won’t have a zero impact, there will be complications but to try and honestly state that adding an ID check will add 17.36 days of hard wait time to everyone getting just doesn’t make sense.
    The process can be optimized and the extra man power required isn’t that terrible and we have over 8 months to figure it out.

    This is solvable.

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  • Checking ID’s would not need to be that big a problem. They have to check that everyone has a ticket anyway, all that needs to happen is that ID is passed over with it. Match the name on the ticket to the ID and viola, they can go in. This would take almost no extra time. If people are worried about common named tickets being passed around easily (John Smith or such) then add an initial and a DOB. Camps serving alcohol now require you to have an ID on the playa. I don’t see why having one at the door would make things more complicated. Name the tickets and end the scalping!

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  • The lines getting in were 6 hours at some point. Checking id’s is a good idea but how much more does that add on blocking the highway for the hunters, emergency service and ranchers.. It is bow season at that time.

    Since we’re working on ticket ideas what about shortening the time to get in too. Do you give up the greeter station or do you start a new line for newbies only and let the burners go straight through after checking in at the gate?

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  • Well its very upsetting this this whole mess with the tickets.Most of my theme camp did not get tickets(80%) !! captn jim, one of the founding fathers of tuna guys died this year(Went down with the boat off oregon) so now are camp is up in the air!! So now what to do.No memorial at home this year.At this time?( So you know what this means)NO TUNA at home this year.unless something change’s.best wishes and good luck to you all.(please forgive my spelling and grammar)

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  • I was sorry to hear about Captain Jim. Most of our camp did not get tickets either. Is your camp close to the Bay area? If it does not work out to bring him home this year, what about celebrating his life with friends on the beach in SF where the first burn was? Same weekend, just your camp for a few beers and potluck on the beach. Not the same but a way to get together, have a good time and tell stories. Who knows a tradition might start from this in memory of Jim.

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  • One third of our theme camp got tickets. It’s our sixth year – or was – and needless to say, there’s max uncertainty going forward. We were a winner of Green Camp of the day a couple years ago, and last year, we scheduled and executed 45 hours of excellent programming for the masses (Cartoon Commune).

    Considering the total debacle in ticketing this year, I propose a TOTAL REDO. JUST START OVER.
    Make ’em all NON-TRANSFERABLE. There’s still time to do it right.

    My only other question/confusion is why BM capacity has been set at 54K? Why not add a street or two? More tickets = more money. Make it enough to buy off BLM, and just proceed. Black Rock Canyon is a very big place, y’know.

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  • I have already sent an email to the wonderful gate team to volunteer there this year. It would be fabulous if everyone that wants ID’s on tickets pledges (AND SHOWS UP!) to work at least 5 hours at gate. Put your body where your mouth is.

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