Burning Man’s Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) Policy Change

Photo by Gina Hansen

Last week we announced (in “Rebuilding Black Rock City 2012”) changes to the sales process for Burning Man 2012 tickets, including adjustments to the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP). At that time we announced a policy of allowing people to purchase only one (1) non-transferable ticket per person through STEP.

However, after further consideration and much feedback from you, we’ve decided that this policy is unfair to people who originally registered for two tickets in the Main Sale, one for themselves and one for their significant other, family member, friend, or campmate.

We hear you, and we’re listening. That’s why we’re adjusting this policy to allow people who originally registered for two tickets in the Main Sale to request a maximum of two tickets per person through STEP. (If our records show that you originally registered for only one ticket in the Main Sale, you can only request one ticket through STEP.) All tickets purchased through STEP are non-transferable, and will be held at Will Call only. These tickets should be for you (or you and an identified guest).

Also, it’s important to note that STEP will have only as many tickets available as there are people who sell their tickets into it. We believe that people will also be selling/giving tickets within their immediate circle of friends and local community- and we aren’t trying to change that. It’s likely that few will find themselves holding “extra” tickets without already having a friend or camp mate in need, so we don’t anticipate STEP will have a high, regular flow of tickets; we anticipate an early influx and then a trickle as people’s plans develop, though we’d be happy to be proven wrong on this. We also know that in any typical year, there is a fair amount of summertime turnover as the event gets closer and life events cause Burners’ plans to change. We encourage you to first seek out tickets from your immediate community of friends and cohorts, as well as any other avenues for acquiring face-value, legitimate tickets as you can find, without patronizing scalpers.

If you are eligible to participate in STEP, you’ll be receiving an email at the end of February with information about how to sign up. For more information about Burning Man tickets and STEP, please see our ticket page.

[UPDATED: 2/23/12] Burning Man will be staffing up the on-playa Box Office to accommodate however many tickets are being held at Will Call in order to keep wait times to a minimum.

About the author: Will Chase

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

253 thoughts on “Burning Man’s Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) Policy Change

  • I think it is wonderful that the BM Project is listening to community feedback, and this is a welcome change. The 10,000 ticket allocation to theme camps — while necessarily flawed, is a big step in the right direction for fixing the mess of the ticket lottery.

    As you admit here, STEP is likely to not have a large number of tickets since people are motivated to distribute tickets to friends or other folks they are connected with.

    If there are indeed many new people who decided to and did get tickets, chances are a fair proportion of these people bought tickets not knowing if they could go, but knowing that they could resell the ticket at a profit if things didn’t hash out.

    And despite all the encouragement of the BMorg not to buy tickets from scalpers, I don’t think this will have an effect. People will still buy the tickets from scalpers, they will come without as big of a contribution/art project etc for financial reasons.

    This problem can be solved by making existing tickets from the Main Sale non-transferrable. Give everyone a month to provide identities for tickets, or tell them the tickets are revoked and refunded and will be going into the STEP system. Create a system where if someone has their ticket revoked for not providing names and other ID, they may appeal up until June/July.

    This will certainly cause tickets to flood into STEP as anyone who bought tickets as a surrogate, or to possibly resell, will be treated to some serious admin overhead, and scalpers’ efforts will be squashed. Any existing tickets sold by scalpers will be revoked and these scalpers will lose money.

    I am not an attorney but a reading of BM ticketing’s terms of service says that the BMorg is, prima facie, allowed to do this.

    “17. This ticket is a revocable license that may be revoked by Burning Man for any reason, including without limitation assisting people with unauthorized or un-ticketed entry to the Event.”

    “or you receive a notice that your ticket purchase or selection to purchase tickets is rescinded, revoked, canceled, or made in error and your credit card payment is credited to your credit card account, you waive any claim against Burning Man and release Burning Man from any and all liability.”

    “If anyone purchases a Burning Man ticket with the express intention of reselling it for above face value, or attempts to sell or sells a ticket for above face value, Burning Man has the absolute right, in its sole discretion, to cancel any such ticket order cancelled without advance notice.”

    Someone might try to fight this on adhese “contract of adhesion” grounds, but it’s highly unlikely to win reliant on such an argument. I would be very interested hearing folks with a more substantial legal background comment on the same.

    I just do not think that tickets will enter STEP unless the folks have a commitment to Burning Man and their values. If what is being said about a large number of new people who watched a YouTube video buying tickets is true, then, it is likely that many of them do not find themselves bound to the principles of burning man, and rational self-interest prevails. Thus, they would greatly prefer eBay or Craigslist etc. People love talking about principles and abstract things, but the real test is when you get in between them and their dollars..and I don’t think it is reasonable to presume that thousands of ticket holders will choose principle over profit.
    I think that presumption is the same as the presumption that not enough burners will register for tickets in time in January or have their shit together, and where will be plenty of extra tickets. I’d like to visit folks who live in the dream world where these things are true, but in the real world..cash is king and people will trample promises and principles for profit. Especially if they can do so quasi-anonymously over the internet with no shame.

    In conclusion,
    ALL PRE SALE + MAIN SALE TICKETS = Non-transferrable = Success of STEP, and a flawed but given the circumstances, quite good solution to the ticketing crisis.

    Main Sale Tickets able to be sold at a profit by folks on-the-fence or not 100% serious about Burning Man = Failure of STEP

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  • BRAVO!!!

    At this moment, under all the circumstances, you did THE right thing.

    This radically increases the chance of getting our little groups’ projects to the playa.

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  • I think if your going to will call tickets for the step program you should dedicate one line of traffic ( clearly market will call only!) To will call attendees. Please!!

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  • Yayy!!! Two tickets. BUT——-Why do I have to pay for them and then wait in 3 to 5 hours at the main gate only to get in line again at the will call?? AND if my plans change in August (God forbid), I can’t sell my ticket or give it away to a camp mate? I legitimately registered for tickets just like the lucky people who got accepted, and THOSE people are going to get their tickets mailed to them. Right? If I am lucky enough to get a ticket through STEP, why can’t it be mailed to me also?!? Come on people. I’m a BURNER——-Not a SCALPER!! Please review the Will Call aspect of the STEP program. It seems truly unnecessary. Please mail the STEP tickets to the deserving few who have gone through this weird ticket issue. Please….Please….hmmmm…..Pahlease…….ummm….Pretty please w some Playa dust on top…..pahleeeeeeeeeease…..Whatever. :-)

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  • Kudos for realizing your mistake and making the STEP limit equal to the number of tickets requested in the Main Sale. But the Will Call issue still remains. All tickets, or non, should be required to be a part of Will Call. With the current method, people will avoid the STEP process and it will fail. People would rather pay a premium for a hard ticket in other forums vs having to wait in an extra Will Call line at the gate adding several hours to entry. Also, what happens if someone has every intention to go to BM but something like sickness or work interferes at the last minute? What happens to a ticket they ‘won’ through the STEP process? Is the ticket assignable to a friend or camp member? Or is the price of the ticket completely forfeited? The latter certainly doesn’t seem fair and adds yet another reason to pay more in other forums and avoid STEP. I know that this whole process has been tough for the BM organization to deal with and you deserve applause for listening and trying to mitigate at least some of the mess, but there are still huge holes that need to be plugged and questions to be answered.

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  • I attended the Burn in 2010 and have been aching to participate again, and after saving up for a year I finally have the cash needed for the ticket and travel from Europe. I am just ‘some guy’ there is no way I’m going to get through STEP, even though I will try. This is very sad for me; a year of expectation and then -no ticket.
    With this said, however, the process through which you guys have explained the challenges and possible solutions and the core of the problem have truly been impressive. The tough decision you have made to put veterans, camps etc. on the first line of receivers, instead of us newcomers have my full understanding. Knowing that you put so much effort in working this out and have the courage to make the hard choices, fully outweighs my sadness. I am confident that the flame will keep burning and that I will have another chance someday and that makes me happy. Good job.

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  • So the LLC is listening to people complaining about the STEP program, but remains quiet on the fact that they have betrayed their own principles by giving tickets to people who meet their four prerequisites, even though “No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.”

    So much for the little annual experiment in temporary community.

    Farewell Burning Man. It was nice knowing you.

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  • Thank you so much for listening to the feedback and adjusting your plan. I’m keeping my fingers crossed my fiance and I can get our tickets through STEP.

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  • Thank you for listening…and adjusting. I am more hopeful for my campmates who didn’t “win” tickets. I liked the input from Dr Shamus. Could some of that work? One more question to throw into the mix; how will Will Call work for those with early entry passes to build camp? Is it open early?

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  • Thank you so much for listening to the feedback on the boards. Even though I got my tickets in the lottery, I was very sad to read the comments from all those who played fair, and then would be unable to attend with their significant other. I think you made a good move, and the will call element will keep the scalpers out of the step program at least. I do believe that any burners who have attended in the past will refrain from buying from scalpers. I would never dream of selling a ticket for more than I bought it for – it goes against all the principles of BM. I also know that if you guys can figure out how to make the tickets identity based this year, then you will, and everyone should chill a little, and know that if it can be done you will make it so.

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  • This is a positive turn, but too late for me & my gf — we’ve already resigned ourselves to not going this year and have made other plans.

    The fact that it took more than a month for us to find out whether or not we’d be going — and that period would have been extended by several months if we were still interested — is unforgivable. Burning Man isn’t that large by festival standards, yet they’re the only event that seems unable to smoothly hold a ticket sale. It’s bizarre.

    Here’s hoping next year works out better for everyone, especially the die-hard burners who won’t get to go this year. Those people have my sympathy.

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  • The Rev. is well meaning but it will only take more tickets out of circulation. I have 2 tickets, my girlfriend won’t know if she can go to the last minute. If I register a ticket for her and she can’t go that’s one more ticket that can’t be distributed to a needy burner.

    Another thing, you notice how the feedback has become more positive and solution based since the apology and admission of mistakes by BM Org. I do, and I think the Burning Man spirit is back (at least for me).

    Radical Self Reliance….

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  • Thank you for the change in the STEP program. Now that we know that you are reading these posts, please pay attention to Rev Dr Shamus’ post above. He is absolutely right.

    I doubt there will be many tickets on STEP.
    It is also horrible to limit the STEP tickets to will call. The line will be a nightmare.


    People have been posting this suggestion for weeks. MAN UP AND DO IT!

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  • I’ve really been trying to stay positive about all of this but it just seems like this process has continued to be bungled by the staff.

    I personally believe they are an intelligent, caring group. That said, intelligent people would have conceived of/discussed the many problems and possible repercussions of the (now proven failed) lottery. I believe the pulling of the 10,000 tickets is a sign of their caring and a needed response to include the theme camps.

    It hurts me as it would have been a chance for me to get a ticket but I believe the theme camps are central to BMan and I would rather Opulent Temple, Thunderdome, and too many other places to mention get their people in then me going.

    I am nobody. I have mostly been a tourist/tour guide in my previous burns. This would have been my 4th burn but first since 2007. It is only important to me because I lost my best friend in December and I wanted to memorialize him at a place he loved. I took him in 2005 for his first burn and we went again in 2007. If I memorialize him next year instead of this year, the world will keep spinning.

    I guess what upsets me about this whole this is now they are saying STEP is going to be a crapshoot at best with few tickets and advised people to try every other source short of scalpers, even though previously they touted it as this wonderland where Burners could interact and swap tickets in one central location.

    Maybe other people can make plans for Burning Man without a ticket but I am more pragmatic. I like things important to me to be more certain. I did my best to play the game this year and now have to enter a second lottery (STEP) and hope. Again, life will continue just fine if I go next year and right now that is my plan.

    What disappoints me is now I have no faith in the intelligence and caring of the organization. Unless their goals were to cause upheaval in the Burning Man population and force people AWAY from the event, they failed. They haven’t stopped or reduced scalping. They had to come up with a parachute to preserve theme camps and can’t even be close to certain that will succeed. They haven’t kept up with the community, including doing anything to address increased demand. So what was the point of this system? Seems like it’s only goal could have been to get new people to Burning Man. Congrats.

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  • please listen BM… What was the whole idea behind this new lotto system and now STEP? It was to allow new people and old alike… Sadly, I am not eligible for a BM ticket each year until after I get my Tax Return… And I think many people are like me… This would have been my 13th year, but I don’t know if I can get a ticket… but there are probably a lot of people like me, who do not mind new people taking my place, yet are hoping a ticket down the road… how come I foresee that those that are going to use the STEP system could be scalpers or people that cant come… now offloading their tickets at the last moment – meaning JULY… I hope by then, you open it up to everyone… and saying publicly would mean a lot to those that could not afford to “opt in early” in January. Thanks for considering… and not to say like this comment, but if other burners are in the same problem, state it… I know I cannot afford a ticket until AFTER I get my tax returns, let alone who knows when – but true burners will always find a way. As I worry about BM, it is turning into a RICH guy’s event… something that I thought was against the BM principles… Just let us know that the STEP will be open to everyone come May or June? Thanks… BTW, whoever just read this rant – RAWR!!! Because you are sexy!!!

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  • I am very grateful for the change in the distribution of the Final Sale tickets to theme camps and art installers as I have spent several years aligning with several of these projects (Tetrion, Sacred Spaces Village, Overkill, Fractal Nation, etc.) and am feeling pretty sure I will be able to receive a crew ticket for myself from one of these camps.

    That said, I hope you realize that the STEP thing is not really a solution. People that have an extra or two and also enjoy Burner ethics are too surrounded by hungry and needy fellow Burners to shuttle their extras to a bureaucratic and time intensive re-allotment project like STEP. So, even if you make all STEP tickets Will-Call only, I think it will be a non issue because hardly any will be allocated that way…the lines at the gate are already horrendous…I was in line for over eight hours, ticket in hand, in 2011, and that was on Saturday night / early Sunday morning, mere hours after the gate opened…others in the day after me waited easily 12-16 hours in line, and exodus was even worse…wrecks on the highway made Monday morning exodus stretch into a 20 hour parking lot…anything you can do to not increase and complicate gate times is going to be an improvement…

    All in all though, I feel I will be there and enjoy my Burn like none other before, because I believe in the spirit of mama playa, and I believe in my own sense of self-reliance and resourcefulness….see you in the dust!

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  • One more quick note. I realize what a HUGE nightmare having identity based tickets would be. It could be close to impossible at this point, both in setting it all up, and in checking people in. That being said, you could announce the change and have ticketed people fill out and submit a form, and leave it at that. No one outside the org would be privvy to how you are following up, and it would certainly be enough to convince the scalpers to put their tickets into the step program which I assume is the main goal.

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  • dear BM,
    I think the ticketing system should all be personal but the tickets should not be issued till the last 3 weeks before the burn (or only be held at will call). If a person cannot come then they should be able to return them to STEP at any time where the next person in line of the queue can get a ticket. With today’s IT systems this shouldn’t be an issue. You would also save money on the ticketing issue and postage, which $12 seems excessive.

    my first burn was last year! it blew my mind way past expectations. It really was like coming home. I’ve said I will always return to burning man every year. As soon as I got back from the last burn I booked in my holidays at work for this year. I live in Europe and it’s not any easy task planning from here. Only about 10% from our group from last year of 85 friends from all over the world including many DJ’s have tickets. We’re a great group of friends spread out over several, mainly music camps or private camps, some contribute, some don’t — I still hope we can get tickets from somewhere, at best STEP – As much as I am a positive person I somehow feel we won’t be all re-united this year unfortunately. Big love

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  • Thank you!

    Hopefully my hubby and I will get the two tix we registered for, in the first place. If not, at least we know you guys tried to make it fair(for those of us who didn’t try to cheat the system). Hope to see you out on the Playa!

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  • Good start. Now let’s work on the “non-transferrable” mistake. Regular tickets are far more valuable than STEP tickets, precisely because they CAN be gifted and otherwise transferred. What is it about STEP participants that makes them second-class citizens, unable to send their friends if it turns out they can’t go themselves? It’s not reasonable to ask people to spend almost $800 for non-refundable, non-transferrable tickets six months in advance… not to mention subjecting them to the hell of “will call”.

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  • thanks for a moment of clarity from Branden. I’ve done some serious venom spewing over the past couple of weeks. misery loves company draws me to the negative postings and I still need to complain. I’m sick of people telling BMORG what a fine job they’ve done – tough decisions – now another change – keeping the flame alive – Step was to be a first come 1st serve -open when? – I have jury duty on the 29th -so another way to exclude me? no biggie finally bmorg admitted you have a snowball chance in hell for one of the hundreds of step ticket. 6 people have been paid more than 1 million $ with a year to plan, research, throw darts at a decision board, listen to the community and they have failed miserably unless this was their intent. They have tickets, all their friends have tickets, all their theme camp freinds have tickets. Volunteers have tickets -so what was the threshold for tickets for volunteers? 30 hours – more/ well half of the people at burning man have as many or more hours of volunteer work with their camps including me we just didn’t volunteer for you. 70,000 tickets would have probably done it for this year – but bmorg is 3 or 4 years behind. Don’t anyone expect to ever go again to the playa unless you were on the chosen list. With limited tickets – more tickets to “essential” people – more people requesting tickets our chances may have been 1 in 3 this year 1 in 9 next year say 1 in 81 in 2014. these people botched this year and I see very little hope that any meaningful planning will be done to make Burning Man anything other than an elistist club with a couple of thousand tickets to the rabble. burning man jumped the shark when the temple burned last year – although it (the shark) was circling near, incompetence by bmorg sealed the deal. its their game, their rules, and their party it sucks to be the uninvited.

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  • Good change, thank you.
    However: it has little practical meaning, because, as you finally admit yourselves, there will be very few tickets available on STEP in the first place.
    So, first, you were comforting people by saying “don’t worry about the big lottery! there’s an open sale and this wonderful STEP where you play safe and get tons of tickets!”
    Then, you say: “Welp, sorry, no main sale, but hey, still STEP!”
    And now you admit there will be a negligible amount of tickets there.
    I would’ve been a first time burner, dreaming of coming and *joining the community* from an ocean away, for years now. This year I finally saved some money and quit my job so I can travel and participate. But right now, I don’t know any burners personally. No one will sell to me on personal basis. I waited patiently for the lottery, main sale, and now STEP.
    So, you’re telling me I can’t join your community. No one will sell me tickets in the next year, either. And yet you were ok with selling thousands of expensive pre-sale tickets.

    Thanks guys. See you never.

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  • While I think the idea to limit STEP to only people who registered for the main sale is a smart attempt to make sure those who intended on going from the beginning are those given preference, it seems to me that this actually works against the whole idea which brought about STEP in the first place.

    STEP is meant to be a place where tickets can be exchanged without the possibility of paying $50-$200+ extra for a scalper ticket. But the only way this can work is if EVERYONE chooses to participate in STEP. The second you start excluding people from the system, you create a secondary market for the scalpers to once again take advantage of.

    It’s just like media companies trying to fight piracy with DRM – they keep putting all of these restrictions with the hope that people will be rule abiding and pay for their services while jumping through the hoops they setup, while the reality is that people who work outside of their system actually have an easier obtaining the services. Open STEP to everyone and make it not just the ONLY legitimate marketplace for BM tix, but also the EASIEST to access. That’s how you’re going to actually starve the scalper’s market, not by throwing a whole predefined group of possible patrons right into their waiting arms.

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  • So, this has some good ideas, including the ticket number max being the same as u already tried to order. However, it seems like this setup gimps the STEP sales with two fairly significant downsides for buyers:

    1. If you buy from STEP, you’ll have to go through Will Call. Not every line will be a will call. So, you’ll be adding extra time to your wait without gaining anything from it.

    2. The non-transferability – If most tickets are transferable, but STEP tickets are not, does this mean that people who buy through STEP are uniquely stuck with their tickets, even if they cannot go later or is there a way for them to get them back into the STEP cycle, at least?

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  • I’ve been a regular and beyond passionate participant for a decade, as well as a volunteer with one of the most honorary teams ever… DPW. In 2005, by chance, I meet the love of my life at the Opulent Temple. We’ve been inseperable ever since and together in 2011, we missed our 1st burn ever to bask in the glory of our newborn 1st child, a beautiful baby boy, who we learned we were expecting whilst celebrating our 5yr anniversary in Black Rock City in 2010. Understandably, Burning Man has a very special place in my heart, as it does for a variety of reasons for thousands of others so, as a veteran burner, it saddens me to say that, upon hearing about the ticket lottery plan I saw disaster written all over it, not to mention the fact that, as a result of the ticket lottery plan, I/we will now be missing our 2nd burn:-(

    Moving forward, I appreciate the fact that responsibility is being taken for this ticket mishap, commend the demonstrated consideration, and respect the efforts that are being made to lend some remedy. However, I firmly believe in the adage “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” That being said, there was NO need to amend the ticket sale process in the first place, except for (And I hate to say it.) greed-The almighty dollar-One of the primary “resources” that Burning Man has always strived to avoid being about. Yet I remain optimistic that this ticket sales experiment will be used as a lesson learned and find myself entirely hopeful that next year, ticket sales will return to the first come first serve basis as has always been the practice. When the tickets sell out, they sell out-“You snooze, you loose.”

    With that, to the valued team that dedicates their heart and soul to the conception, gestation and birth of our beloved Black Rock City year after year, fret not over $$$… “If you build it, they will come.”

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  • If your taking my money for the ticket I would like to have it instead of waiting in some other line at will call for it, we go as a group early and set up our theme camp and enjoy the welcome home together not waiting in line at a will call window for my ticket would be appreciated. I so enjoy looking at the marvelous ticket, it is so pretty and so awesome and a big part of getting there and having it in my hand when arriving at the gate (a sure thing) Please reconsider the will call stuff and mail out our tickets. Pleaseeeeeee!!!! Can’t wait to get there and see everyone and begin this years journey! And ticket in hand is a BIG part of that journey for us! thank you…

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  • Nils Says:


    STEP is meant to be a place where tickets can be exchanged without the possibility of paying $50-$200+ extra for a scalper ticket. But the only way this can work is if EVERYONE chooses to participate in STEP. The second you start excluding people from the system, you create a secondary market for the scalpers to once again take advantage of.”

    Well Said.

    This is such a joke…

    I hope I’ll be able to look back on this and laugh. Probably not though.

    If my friend can only get one ticket on step can she put someone elses name on the ticket? or just the name on the credit card? If my friend gets one but I don’t, she’s not going, but I would like to use her ticket…

    Can’t wait for the smallest Burn in a while.

    I seriously hope no one is dumb enough to buy a ticket for 1,000 dollars. but as Nils was hinting at if you don’t have any other choice and you have money, why not???

    BM you Bucknered us…

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  • I am glad to read about the change to 2 tickets through step. I still dont see any thing in place to prevent scalping of the step tickets. I still think scalpers go a lot more tickets then you think. scalped tickets on stub hub are crazy. Are you following that mess? The more they sell the more they have and the price is skyrocketing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • YES. This is my question, too:

    February 22nd, 2012 at 3:42 pm
    “…The non-transferability – If most tickets are transferable, but STEP tickets are not, does this mean that people who buy through STEP are uniquely stuck with their tickets, even if they cannot go later or is there a way for them to get them back into the STEP cycle, at least?”

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  • Hey BMorg, great decision. I don’t see anyone here disagreeing with it. But I have to agree with Dr. Shamus:

    “ALL PRE SALE + MAIN SALE TICKETS = Non-transferrable = Success of STEP, and a flawed but given the circumstances, quite good solution to the ticketing crisis.

    Main Sale Tickets able to be sold at a profit by folks on-the-fence or not 100% serious about Burning Man = Failure of STEP”

    I realise you’ve taken a big hit here. I realise identity based ticketing would impact the gifting culture, but the benefit would far outweigh the downside and is apparently what the community wants. You have almost 7 months to perfect an identity based ticketing solution, so it doesn’t seem like the problem is you can’t do it. If you don’t do it, it will be because you don’t want to. You might have good reasons for that and I suspect they’re nostalgic, but if you don’t have identity based ticketing STEP will be pointless and leed to furthur deterioration of the comunity.

    You made a mistake because you didn’t listen to the people telling you the lottery wouldn’t work. Please don’t repeat that mistake by ignoring those folks who are telling you STEP will fail if all tickets aren’t identity based. As has already been pointed out, the majority of tickets are in the hands of scalpers or first time burners. Neither has an incentive to participate in STEP if tickets aren’t identity based. Scalpers want to make money and first time burners aren’t yet part of the culture, so why wouldn’t they try to make a few extra bucks.

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  • Redundant yes, but I agree with those who wonder why will-call only for STEP tickets?

    Maybe only will-call if you haven’t purchased your STEP ticket by whatever date in June the rest of the tickets are being sent out?
    Nooooooooooooobody wants to wait even longer than they have to in that line. When you can SEE the lights RIGHT there. So close, yet so far away. Some of us drive 12 hours or more to get there, then wait in the regular line for who knows how long, then to add will-call on to that… ouch…

    Even though I’m highly doubting that I’ll be making it this year (getting two tickets through STEP brings to mind needles and haystacks), I’d hate for any of my fellow burners to have to go through that ordeal.

    Pretty please? No will-call for early STEP tickets?

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  • Let me see if I have this right….for the last ten years I have waited to buy my ticket so I could provide others with less funds the chance to have the cheaper tixs and now I won’t be able to buy one of the 10,000 tickets that were to be available after the lottery because some propane sprewing art car dude and three of his henchmen will get my opportunity and I won’t be able to go, just great!!!!!

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  • THE SOLID SOLUTION (for BM 2013)

    NOVEMBER 2012 – Preregistration Period begins
    1) Everyone creates a new account. Email account is verified.
    2) Everyone pre-registers by uploading a passport/mugshot quality photo, enters contact info and photo ID or Driver’s license state and number. Foreigners enter their passport number.
    3) After submitting this data the quality of the photo is verified and data is checked for duplicates to weed out people trying to better their odds. If all the data is good a unique registration number is assigned and activated in the system.

    JANUARY 2013 – Ticket Registration Period begins
    4) Everyone has one week to register for tickets. In order to filter out veteran burners from the lazy virgins who heard about BM at a frat party everyone must successfully complete a word puzzle. Vets will know the answers or where to find them. Virgins would have to read the survival guide, BM website, etc. There would be different puzzles to reduce cheating.
    5) All ticket holders needing to resale their tickets simply log in to their account and click a button to cancel ticket. Their ticket barcode number will go back into the ticket pool for resale to an unknown third party at face value. If it can be resold, the original ticket holder will be refunded a portion of the original price, minus a depreciation and processing fee. The depreciation fee gives incentive for people to not wait until the last minute to cancel the ticket.

    6) Everyone’s ticket is scanned and their photo ID number is compared with the database. If they do not have a photo ID the uploaded photo will be used to verify.

    Artists, theme camps, and volunteers would be able to skip the lottery process based on their size/involvement/MOOP from the previous year.

    This solution:
    Stops scalpers 100%.
    Makes it fair for all burners to have a shot at getting a ticket (not just the one’s with more credit cards, like commercial Plug-N-Play camps.)
    Filters out lazy virgins from buying a ticket.
    Encourages virgins to learn about the event before being able to buy a ticket.
    Encourages burners to participate by volunteering, having theme camps and art installations.
    Encourages theme camps and artist to clean up their MOOP.

    Radical inclusion requires radical fairness and radical education.

    Send comments to:

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  • OK so I can’t thank the BMOrg for changing the number of tickets available, because it should have very, very obviously been that way to start with. It is however a good decision.

    What I still can’t undestand is why these tickets are made non tranferable. By the BMOrg’s own admission there will be very few tickets on sale through STEP anyway. Given that there are already 43,000 tickets out there that are transferable (and hence scalpable), making the STEP tickets non tranferable has a negligible effect on the number being scalped. All you are do is penalising those of us unlucky enough to lose the lottery.

    In the ticket terms and conditions it reads:

    18. Refund and Cancellation Policy
    All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges will be issued for any reason. Fees are non-refundable.

    So these tickets are not refundable. This means that people buying tickets through STEP risk hundreds of dollars, because noone can guarantee their availablility 6 months in advance.

    Question to BMOrg: Why does STEP force people to buy a ticket which may be worth nothing to them, when the lottery and presale did not?

    The BMOrg needs to continue to listen to its citizens, and change this policy as well.


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  • You deserve a pat on the back, but that’s all.

    1) I don’t agree with the allocation of 10,000 tickets to theme camps. It’s not “fair”, which is what you CLAIMED this process was to begin with.

    2) You didn’t consider – or at least acknowledge – the magnitude of the ticket sales mistake until AFTER it was put into place, even though there was ample intelligent input from people worldwide.

    This is still a slippery slope.

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  • +1 for the rev

    All tickets should be identity based, get rid of mailed tickets(will call only),and the step program should accommodate peer to peer transference(gifting to a friend)

    While this creates more overhead(especially for will call at the gate)it prevents over priced ticket selling while still allowing people to keep tickets in their own communities if they wish.

    Love you! And hope to see you out there :)

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  • Thanks for listening. This may help. Please, keep refining this system…

    Create Idenity based tickets. While BMORG seems resistant to this, there is overwhelming support from the community to do this.

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  • The Flipside organization in Texas has been putting a name to the ticket for years with no problems. They also have will call wth no problems. Both these concepts will work fine if they are ‘properly’ implemented.

    Will call at BM will undoubtly take longer when compared to the usual unnamed ticket. But I think the BM org is smart enough to do the ‘math’. Figure out how many are being held at will call and how much extra time it will take to check in. Then allocate the additional lines and volunteers to will call.

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  • P.S. – I’m from Reno; I don’t have extra money after the holidays or until I receive my tax return; I have a very busy summer work schedule. This used to mean that I bought tickets at a local venue like “The Melting Pot”.

    Myself and many aquaintences from northern Nevada, California and southern Oregon decided to go with the scalpers months ago, when the new ticket process was made public. For us, this whole thing just got too complicated and ironically unreliable.

    It needed to be said.

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  • For onece, I’ll be brief…

    Good call (seriously!) on REVERSING DIRECTION and distributing the last 10,000 tickets to core Burners.

    Good call (seriously!!!) on REVERSING DIRECTION and allowing couples to use STEP.

    But, I still believe that without making the previously sold 45000 tickets non-transferable (ID linked) and refundable only through STEP, its an academic exercize.

    Scalping is the problem! The math is as obvious as the solution.

    Just one more course correction and you may well save this year’s event….

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  • soooo many great points people are pointing here. BMorg, please listen. We all understand the reasons why you are avoiding name association with tickets, but unfortunately, things have morphed, and we have to morph with it. It is time to eliminate scalping once and for all, and assign names to tickets.

    also, with the main sale tickets all accounted for, you still have the final say to adjust how tickets are assigned to people. meaning, you can still have the people attach a name to each ticket, and then penalize the people trying to scalp by crediting back their credit card, and putting the ticket into the STEP. There’s gotta be a way for the only way to sell a ticket is through STEP. You have the power! That is why you put legal jargon on your tickets, etc.

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  • Great !!!

    Now the only thing left to do is ask for names on all tickets already ” sold “.

    Tickets from scalpers will come to the STEP program by the THOUSANDS!!

    I don’t believe for a minute that there are 25 or 30 thousand virgin burners holding tickets. No way ! They are in the hands of scalpers.

    My wife and I are virgins,and we’ll be driving down from Minnesota.
    After reading all the things on this blog and others , I know how much this thing you’ve built together means . I’ve been reading and watching vidieos for the last 3-4 years now and both of us have been deeply moved. That’s why we’re coming. The people not the theme camps. The artist not the dub. The art not the booze. Don’t get me wrong we are ready to party ,but we are really ready to meet Our People, and our peoples kids.

    So PLEASE ask for names and you will be golden.

    Thanks again to the burner community at large. We are 60 years old . It’s nice to be inspired in your old age . Skip&Carolyn

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  • I have the same question that many others have already stated here. If we are lucky enough to get a ticket through the STEP program, and later find out we can’t attend, can we put the ticket back into the STEP program? If not, I am afraid that I will not be able to take the risk of attempting to get a ticket through STEP. Like everyone else, I have responsibilities in my default life that occasionally result in a change of plans (I was going to say last minute, but I don’t consider several months to be last minute). And I couldn’t afford to eat the cost of the ticket.

    I have never posted in one of these forums before. Has anyone gotten an answer to this question? Does BMorg respond to questions like that in the forums? Do they respond to emails with questions like that? Or should I expect it to be answered when they send us the details of the program later this month?

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  • I like Adub’s idea of putting a name on the already sold tickets. If it is not too late. And if the computer programmers or who ever can figure out how to do that properly. It will put a bunch more tickets back into STEP. Of course there may be down sides like no gifting of tickets. And it does not favour people who are already networked with people who have tickets to sell. But it is fair to people who applied only once to the lottery drawing of tickets. I don’t have tickets so any chance of increasing my odds is fine with me … as long as it is fair and reasonable.

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  • It absolutely looks like folks at BM have, after a false start, gotten their shit together and are making the best decisions regarding a numbingly difficult situation.
    Thank you!

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  • So non-transferrable tickets are possible.
    This leaves no excuse for the dilemma that thousands of ticket will be sold for thousands of dollars on the black market.
    Of course the BMOrg thinks this will not happen; in fact they don’t need to think at all, that’s what principles are for.

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  • Stop complaining about the will call for STEP tickets! It will keep the speculators from buying tickets and get more into the hands of burners! So what if you have to stand in the party line for awhile, so long as you have a ticket to ride.

    THANK YOU BMORG for listening! THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the couples and people that did not try to game the system! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    Stay positive and…
    See you in the dust.

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  • BMORG could substantially mitigate this situation with a bluff. If BMORG simply *stated* they were going to implement an identify based system this year (print names on tickets, even if they intend not to check ID’s) along with amnesty/exemption to this policy for tickets submitted to STEP, the result would be that scalpers would be forced to liquidate their tickets through STEP. Scalpers will not risk holding onto a ticket that will be essentially useless to them.

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  • Sorry, I think you still suck! I have nothing positive to say about you anymore. After going to BM for years and seeing the steady decline of how you run things this is it for me. I’m sure I wont make a dent in making a diferance in the way you do things in the future…. but maybe if more people start reacting like me then maybe it will.

    You still suck!

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  • There aren’t thousands of tickets in the hands of scalpers. The best time for scalpers is right after tickets have been sold or sold out; a few days before the show, tickets drop in price.

    There’s no need for names on tickets.

    I’m sure BMorg knows the logistics of ticket scalping and weeded out many scalpers in the lottery — it’s not rocket science, there are many articles about it online (lotsa good info here: ticketeconomist(dot)com/prices-101/) no one (including scalpers) expected tickets to sell out this fast, it never happened before.

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  • There is still a lot of confusion about the first come, first serve nature of STEP. How is registration going to be accomplished other than receiving a link in our invitation email? If that is it, please give us clear direction so that we can camp on our email Inbox waiting for the message. And I hope you know that your email servers will be extremely hard pressed to send out all the emails simultaneously (that is probably a vast understatement; at best the emails will be spread over many hours), thus STRONGLY biasing STEP line position based on only-you-know-what ordering of your email sending. Please tell me you’ve considered this next ticketing hurtle and have something better. But if not, please give extremely clear direction so that those of us who really want a ticket, will be able to put in the extra effort to get ourselves placed higher in the queue.

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  • Here’s something I’m not seeing addressed.

    People are still complaining about the STEP program being a failure. But, by using STEP, won’t it assure you a REAL ticket and not a counterfeit one? If you are buying tix from Ebay, Craigslist or somewhere else how can you be sure you have a REAL ticket? In the past this has been an issue. What control is in place to keep it from happening this year? In this case, isn’t STEP offering you security in the fact that it’s the genuine article? To me, that’s a lot of money to gamble.

    Imagine buying a ticket off Ebay or Craigslist or scalper site and traveling for hours or days only to find you bought a fake. Now you’re into it for a lot of time and money for nothing.

    I’d be a little bummed about that since I end up spending well over a thousand dollars for this event by the time it’s all over.

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  • Not dead Skip,,,

    Nice to see the older crowd coming. I heard a stat last year that the largest age group is 40-70. I don’t know how true that is. My wife and I are not virgins and are in our 50s. It’s still unbelievable. Though this will be our last year.


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  • Yay

    Thank you for this wonderful news. We were a bit worried about this.
    All we can do again is wait & hopefully this time round some magic happens.

    Good Luck to you all :)

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  • Thanks for changing the ticket limitation with STEP. I signed up for me and my husband and we followed the rules that Burning Man was begging the community to do, in that we only registered once for ourselves and didn’t use family members names or credit cards to try and register more than once.

    I would love to be lucky enough to get tickets through STEP for me and my husband, but I am worried that we won’t be able to get tickets to go home this year for almost the 10th time. I am glad about the tickets being non-transferable and wish that all the tickets were.

    I really like the comments of Randy C.

    Please put names on all tickets and make them non-transferable to get rid of scalpers.

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  • A couple of things…

    I’ve yet to hear of any person who bought way to many tickets. Where are these tickets coming from. People who decide at the last second that they can’t go? Then I have to decide how I’m going to “participate?”

    I am so frightened that I will be selected for the STEP program. I am a 4 time burner and the thought of cleaning up moop for thousands of people scares me. I have a special place in my backpack that is allocated for all the little pieces of feathers, wrappers, and knick knacks. But if I go this year, I think I’m going to need a bigger backpack.

    I wonder if the BM org will rank in the top 5 biggest business flops. Kind of like Netflix. Or Eastern Airlines. Much love to the genius who came up with this new ticketing idea.

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  • Thanks, Will, for taking the first of the two remaining steps needed to fix STEP and save this event.

    You’ve fixed the problem of inequitable treatment of couples, but you haven’t yet done what’s needed to actually bring some tickets into STEP. Without taking the next and most critical step, then an enormous amount of work is going into a system that may only facilitate the transfer of a few dozen tickets.

    I was glad to hear on 2/15 that identity-based ticketing was still on the table and under very active consideration, and I hope and pray that is still the case. Yes, there are some difficulties and ill-will to be overcome, like making gifting more difficult, but there are solutions. Contrast those disappointments with the ill-will that will come from having to buy tickets on StubHub at outrageous prices because you did nothing to pull those tickets back into STEP.

    The current Stubhub price is $1200, but the average is more than double that, and the lowest-priced tickets have been selling quickly. You’ve told us that STEP will work, but you know that can’t possibly be the case without getting the Scalpers’ tickets back. What is your solution, if not identity-based ticketing?

    Please follow through on this good start.

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  • @ Rev Shamus

    You admit you are not an attorney and I applaud your ability to read, but as an attorney who won 2 tickets in the main sale lottery, I can assure you that any change to the Main Sale results at this point would likely bring a massive lawsuit for BMORG.

    Be guided accordingly and see you on the playa!

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  • I am glad Rev Dr Shamus’s Idea is at the top of the page, I hope BMORG sees it, and implements it.

    Like others, I have read a lot of comments to try to draw a rational solution to this progression. Dr Rev puts a good perspective on it, just one final step to close the deal. Make those tickets Non-transferable. If BMORG does this, I think the community will feel that BMORG redeemed the situation as best as they could, and did EVERYTHING possible. If those tickets stay transferable, people will think that BMORG didn’t do the glaringly obvious, despite what admin headaches they will have collection IDs and arguing with ticket holders that didn’t get the memo. The community has crowdsourced the non-transferable idea and it is a resounding YES. Just do a CTRL+F on all the forums. It is the most common solution being offered by the community.

    If non-transferable – Scalpers will drop their prices quick to get in before the name allocation time limit. The many media influenced scalpers have stockpiled, capitalising in these hard economic times – this is the only way to flush them out. Fencers need to get off the fence and make that ticket available to a burner who is dedicated to the cause.

    Start Step as planned on Feb 29th, get the ID confirmation email out now, and set the reply deadline for March 30th. STEP will get those tickets it needs to satisfy a good portion of the community. It is the only way to close off the question marks we all have, and get these last tickets into burners hands at legitimate prices before it is too late. Now is the right time to get this in motion.

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  • The requirement that STEP tickets be named/non-transferable places an unfair burden of organization on the people who did not win the lottery in the main sale: no matter what life throws at us, we cannot change our plans once we purchase our ticket, six months in advance of the event.
    I registered for two tickets, as did a few of my friends, hoping to maximize our chances of being able to return to our beloved Playa. However, now that the BMan organizers require tickets from STEP be named/non-transferable, I simply don’t know if I can participate: if I can’t make it to the event, I will essentially have thrown away a huge amount of money. I was hoping to re-sell my ticket at face value (like I did last year with two extra tickets I had), but now that that’s not an option I don’t know if I should even try to purchase a ticket… Please change this policy, perhaps by allowing original ticket purchasers to change the name on the ticket (once), or using any one of the other suggestions above!
    The Playa is my Home. Please help me come back to it!

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  • @ Burgin says: “You admit you are not an attorney and I APPLAUD YOUR ABILITY TO READ, but as an attorney who won 2 tickets in the main sale lottery, I can assure you that any change to the Main Sale results at this point would likely bring a massive lawsuit for BMORG”

    Burgin, Your condescending and dismissive remarks are illuminating; not about ticketing options but about you.

    BMorg, Large numbers of tickets must be directed into STEP. Like U2pilot says, if not identity-based, then what?

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  • I think STEP will only be successful if the magnatude of newbie ravers holding tickets, finally figure out this is not Coachella and are not ready, willing nor able to make the committment. These are the ones less likely to have friends/mates they’d pass their ticket on to.

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  • You can say they are learning from their mistakes, but Jesus that was one alltime Stupid mistake. To me the dumb ass ticket lottery was about as stupid as shooting your self in the foot. The people who run Burning Man are as out of touch with reality as our politicians! BRC must move to grow, or be allowed to grow there or it will DIE. This isn’t the Grand Canyon, people are not going to put in for a lottery just to see if they can go! I hoped I would not see the death of burning man in my life, and I sure as hell did not think the organizers would kill it! BRC is on life support, With 75% new people and drastically less art projects and art cars THIS YEARS BURNING MAN IS GOING TO SUCK! And I will not be going. Pull your heads out of your asses and work on fixing it for next year. You guys fucked up so badly that you have almost killed Burning Man. If you don’t make some DRASTIC changes you will have brought about the begging of the end!

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  • 666isMONEY Says:

    “February 22nd, 2012 at 9:56 pm
    There aren’t thousands of tickets in the hands of scalpers. The best time for scalpers is right after tickets have been sold or sold out; a few days before the show, tickets drop in price.

    There’s no need for names on tickets.

    I’m sure BMorg knows the logistics of ticket scalping and weeded out many scalpers in the lottery — it’s not rocket science, there are many articles about it online (lotsa good info here: ticketeconomist(dot)com/prices-101/) no one (including scalpers) expected tickets to sell out this fast, it never happened before.”

    The pattern on stubhub alone proves you are wrong. I don’t think a majority of the tickets out there are in the hands of scalpers, but clearly many are. A majority of the rest are in the hands of people who are not attached to Burning Man. They are not involved in the culture yet and therefore have no loyalty that would prevent them from trying to make a profit on a ticket they don’t need. If STEP is going to work, tickets have to be non-transferable.

    The comunity has spoken clearly on this issue. They are waiting to find out if BMorg is listening.

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  • Am I the only one who doesn’t like identity-based ticketing? Every year I’ve bought an extra ticket or two to gift to my friends who can’t afford a ticket or who I think would add to my enjoyment of the event. This year a lot of my friends and lovers didn’t get tickets, and I would like to wait to see who doesn’t end up with one (through other sources) before gifting my one extra.
    I expect that most of the “spare” tickets will be distributed within the community, and that the scalper problem is quite exaggerated. It is hard to believe that the burner community can sustain a market for $1000+ tickets when so many people were complaining about the injustice of $390 tickets just a few months ago.
    I do feel the lottery was a fail. It has created an artificial demand that has created a lot of vitriol, cruelty, fear and ill will in the community (as opposed to the normal delightful bitchiness). Seriously people take a breath, relax, and have some faith in the burner community (even if you are pissed at the BOrg). We will create a wonderful thing this year.

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  • @Don

    I don’t like the limitations identity based ticketing puts on gifting, but I hate what will happen if BMorg doesn’t adopt the system much more.

    Talking to our local community, there aren’t a lot of extra tickets in the hands of Burners. Statistically that makes sense. Everything points to about 25% of all tickets in the hands of Burners with 50% to 75% in the hands of scalpers and first-timers. Neither scalpers or first-timers have any incentive to return tickets to STEP if tickets aren’t non-transferable. The basic limitation non-transferable tickets puts on gifting is, you’d have to decide now who is going to get your extra tickets rather than wait until a worthy person appears closer to the event. That’s too bad, but not as bad as 1000s of uninitiated, dehydrated, rich people wondering the playa looking for the main stage and wondering who the headliners are.

    BTW I think Burning Man should remove “festival” from the name and add that great old 60’s word “happening”.

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  • Dear Shit for Brains

    Why would I use STEP when I can triple my ROI on Stubhub?

    Stubhub has tickets; STEP has zero

    Two weeks from now:
    Stubhub has tickets; STEP has zero

    Thank you for the never ending cornucopia of incompetence and for not implementing an effective anti-scalping policy.

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  • I understand that these tickets are non-transferable. However, as you all pointed out there can be a fair amount of summer turnover where work and other responsibilities may interfere as the date approaches. No one wants to spend $400 on a ticket that they may not be able to use or recoup the cost. Can we sell tickets bought through STEP back to STEP so those tickets can be put back into the system for people? It seems to me that would allow the greatest amount of flow through the system and increase trust within the community. Without this ability, the STEP system doesn’t help me personally with the ticket situation, or many others that I know. Thanks for your consideration.

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  • I think serious consideration should be given to canceling the low income ticket lottery this year and directing those tickets to the camps, projects, and vehicles which are the very heart and soul of Burning Man. I think the low income tickets are a worthwhile idea, but Burning Man is facing a very real existential crisis this year, and a few thousand low-income newbies are not going to help solve that problem.

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  • Borg,
    Thanks for that adjustment to the plan – and the acknowledgement that STEP will not provide a river of tickets.
    I don’t think there’s anything more you can do now.

    Unfortunately the result is that people should basically.. scramble around for whatever tix they can find at this point. Ugh, my heart’s just not in it any more.

    I sat in my garden this morning in the sunshine and looked at the large pile of BM material that lives there year-round; it used to be eternally full of potential for mad playa schemes, now it just makes me feel old.
    Do I have to grow up now?

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  • My wife and I both put into the lottery and both were denied. Considering not going – this would be our ninth year. The non-transferable STEP locks us in with no recourse in emergency. Guess I could give a friend my ID for the week if I couldn’t go. Maybe this is BM’s intent. Buy once through step – gift only if needed to a close friend you trust with your ID.

    I do appreciate the 2 ticket change.

    Have my doubts anyone will use step. Anyone who has ever been has friends who need tickets. If I was a newbie I would probably wait til summer and turn a profit to finance next year or supplies.

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  • Question for Bmorg: Because it is always possible that someone who buys a ticket though the SEPT program may in fact be unable to attend, can they resell the ticket through the SEPT program?

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  • Happy to see that you’ve reversed your decision on reducing STEP to a single ticket. This year has been such a mess. Please consider bringing in a professional ticketing organization to run things next year. Clearly, you guys are in way over your heads and your talents and time can be better spent focussing on the creative side of BM.

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  • This is only a minor comfort to those of us who are NOT in a one of the super duper awesome big legacy theme camps as we will STILL have to all scramble and fight for the few tix that make their way to STEP.
    Screw it.
    There are better things in life than this.
    Good job guys! You’ve lost another one.

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  • The don from February 23rd, 2012 at 9:51 am
    not the don from February 23rd, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I guess I should use a more distinctive name. :)

    @A It isn’t so much that people I love aren’t “worthy” of the tickets now. It is that they don’t know if they will be able to/want to go, if they might be able to get a ticket through another friend, or many other things that make me want to wait on my decision. I don’t like being forced to choose. And as to the “1000s of uninitiated, dehydrated, rich people” they will either choose to join us and create something wonderful, or pack up their RV after a couple of days and head home to tell their friend how horrible everything was. I’ll admit it may make for a lot of moop to clean up, but quite possibly a lot of spectacular new burners as well.
    @Don (the other one) The low income program has helped quite a few of my friends get tickets throughout the years. Not all burners are wealthy, but we all contribute to making this thing great. The program already selects for people who the BOrg thinks would be a good fit for the event, and eliminating it would make the event quite a bit less diverse and wonderful.
    @ everyone The burn is a wonderful beautiful thing. Thank you all for the delightful contributions you bring to the community, and the magical thing you bring about every year. Lets make this year the best year ever.

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  • i think it’s cool you listened and changed the policy about getting two tickets through STEP if you originally entered the lottery that way. I applied for two, but really only need one for myself, so i’ll just apply for STEP that way. But yay for couples! I know it helps a lot of my friends out…

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  • When I’m not being grumpy here I write (cloud-based) servers for iphone games.

    Yesterday on one title we had a peak of three thousand requests per second; we spend spend maybe four grand a month on (cloud) servers.

    Handling Burning Man scale first-come-first-served web ticketing is not rocket science, hell it’s not even hard or expensive nowadays, you could literally design a suitable cloud architecture on the back of an envelope.

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  • To Don…

    Wow. Cancel the Low Income Ticket allocation? You are really out of touch. I appreciate your previous comments immensely about waiting until the higher priced tickets go on sale. But to altogether cancel the Low Income Ticket lottery?

    I’m disppointed to see how much negativity is being spewed all over this blog. But not surprised. I feel patient about it, surprisingly. But your comment “camps, projects, and vehicles which are the very heart and soul of Burning Man…” is offensive to many of us who believe WE TOO are the very heart of the ‘Happening’ ( I like that ).

    Perhaps more Temple time this year, Don.


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  • Will Call only? Will Will Call be open earlier this year, last year I arrived the monday prior to the event opening and Will Call did not open until weds….. that meant I had to use a ticket intended for someone else and later go get the will call ticket and provide it to someone at the gate… what a Nightmare… not to mention a waste of valuable building time before the event even begins…..
    So will you be doing anything to accommodate those that participate in the build of the city?

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  • there seems to be a lot of relying on WillCall for ticket pickup. I hope the org is adjusting the capacity of will call to handle the increase in people waiting in line for their tickets. otherwise there’s going to be one hell of a bottleneck trying to get in that rivals exodus.

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  • @Don

    Sure a lot of the rich newbies might give up and go home after a couple of days and thus 1000s of Burners who could have contributed will be shut out. Basically if we stay with transferable tickets a few folks might get a really nice gift from a few very cool people and thousands of other deserving burners will be denied a chance to go home. Practically speaking the way to get the most Burners home is non-transferable tickets. It means those generous souls who gift tickets might be denied what I’m sure is an awesome experience, but I’m hoping you’re will to take one for the team and realise, for the greater good, gifted tickets need to be gifted now.

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  • Please reconsider the non-transferable/will-call aspect of STEP. This opens up a market for scalpers, as it is terrifying to spend so much money on tickets that are non-refundable or transferable if the purchaser cannot go for any of a million reasons. Thank you so much for listening to the community’s comments and concerns.

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  • Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Powers That Be!!!!

    I cannot tell you how awesome it is that you actually listened to us. It just never made sense that only ONE ticket would be available (if at all) through STEP, even though two were requested. As one of those who didn’t try to game the system for my two tickets, but didn’t get tickets in the “lottery,” I was resigned to just not going to Burning Man this year. I wasn’t even going to try, since one ticket wasn’t going to work. I wouldn’t go without my HunnyBunny, and vice versa.

    So, THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES for the change. We all know how difficult this year’s ticket sale fiasco hurt us…but you guys must have been sweating bullets. You did the right thing. I look forward to my STEP email! Even if I don’t get two tickets, I will be able to stay at my non-BM home knowing this, at least, was fair. You guys rock!

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  • Good change – I know a handful of folks who fall into the “didn’t cheat the system, and now only one of us can even hope to go?” category, and I’m sure they are very appreciative.

    But backing up – EVERYTHING about this years ticketing system has been a great big solution to an essentially nonexistent problem. The only real complaint I heard before was that yes, some people had to wait at their computer screens for a long time to get a ticket and it was frustrating and sometimes they would get bumped from their place in line etc. etc. Looking at how things turned out now – we all long for the days when a few frustrating hours at the computer screen were the worst of our woes.

    SOLUTION – ELIMINATE TIERED PRICING!!! that is all. Tickets still took months, not days, not minutes, but months to sell out last year – the only reason anybody had a frustrating wait at their computer screen on opening day was to get inexpensive tickets, not just to get tickets period. I agree tiered pricing is a nice way of being inclusive, but if access to the tiered prices are completely random – aka lottery – it really serves no purpose anyways – and prices might as well be averaged out.

    The other problem, scalpers, the scale of which we don’t know yet, has not been addressed at all by the switch to a lottery – the expectation of the event selling out, as it did last year, created scarcity. Identity based ticketing is a good solution, and I really don’t see why it is that difficult to implement, but again, scalpers are a secondary problem compared to the advent of the whole lottery.

    Rant Over – I love this community and this event. It has changed my life as it has so many others – and I do very much believe that BORG’s intentions have remained sound and with the best interest of the community at heart. I see lots of recommended solutions out here – presumably for implementation in 2013 – most of which make the process more complicated, not less. Just eliminate pricing tiers, let tickets sell out when they do. Consider identity based tickets for this year and the future if scalping continues.

    One Love. -Zizzi

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  • Here’s a thought in keeping w/my previous post…
    Since the ticket lottery has been a proven disaster and the “winners” of the ticket lottery (Or anyone else as far as I’m aware) have yet to receive an actual ticket, why not save face and cancel the spiraling out of control plan and, instead, keep with the tradition of selling the tickets on a first come, first serve basis at the usual ticket outlets, as well as Burning Man HQ on-line.

    Also, in an effort to better manage the issue of scalping, offer a By Burners For Burners STEP program of sorts that would still allow folks who have purchased more tickets than needed and/or had a change in attendance plans to post their unneeded ticket(s) for sale at face value via a site more secure than Craigslist, StubHub, EBay, etc…

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  • PS: @BurginMan (clever, wot?), let me guess. “As an attorney,” you probably used 4-5 of your high-limit credit cards to ensure you would get your two tickets. Maybe even your Black Amex? And the Firm’s business CC? Well, goody for you, Mr. and Mrs. Attorney. (Now I understand Shakespeare’s quote about you guys.) How many family members did you enlist to aid you in your little scam?

    Wow. You got your two tickets. You gamed the system, because “as an attorney,” that’s how you roll. Couple of questions though: (1) how are you going to live with yourself knowing that we all know what a schmuck you are? (2) What size Winnebago are you bringing for you and the little wifey? (3) Speaking of wifey, does she know there are no hair salons on the Playa? (At least the ones who do “big hair,” as I’m sure she has.) And, finally (but worth repeating, (4) HOW ARE YOU GOING TO LIVE WITH YOURSELF???

    While I hope to get my two tickets with STEP (I didn’t game the system), if I don’t, that’s OK because I won’t have to worry about running into you somewhere as you fry, dehydrate, and end up at the M.A.S.H. because you haven’t a clue as to what BM is about.

    That is all.

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  • Great news, that if you applied for two that you can try for two in the STEP program, but wondering why there is no mention of what you can do if you unfortunatley have to cancel. Will there be a way to sell tickets back through the program? if you are lucky enough to get one through STEP?

    Is this the only means of communication to burningman?

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  • The don from February 23rd, 2012 at 9:51 am
    not the don from February 23rd, 2012 at 11:04 am

    @A If the BOrg makes the decision to make tickets non-transferable I’m willing take one for the team (although I hope they make that decision later rather than sooner so it catches the scalpers off guard(owing thousands to clients), gives me an opportunity to figure things out, and gives the market a chance to cool down) , but I hate the idea flowing through the boards that new blood is bad. That we can’t take 1000s of virgins and make them part of us (which we do every year). That somehow one type of burner is superior to another. Everyone deserves a chance to get home. I hope you make it.

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  • @Don

    First, I agree new blood is awesome and Burning Man wouldn’t be the same if virgins were excluded. I’m not worried about virgins that played the game as it was set-up and attend with a face value ticket. No matter what, there are going to be more virgins than usual this year and I’m actually excited to see how that works out. But I don’t want the remaining tickets to go to the highest bidder and without non-transferable tickets that’s what you’re going to end up with. The experience of those newbies is going to be much better if the experienced folks know they played by the rules rather than suspecting they rewarded scalpers.

    As for waiting…people need to start making their plans now. It takes time and money to prepare and people aren’t going to make that investment if they only hope a bunch of tickets are available in July. Sure I’d love the scalpers to get screwed, but my priority is getting as many Burners home as possible and the only way to do that is anounce non-transferable tickets now.

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  • Just want to relate this: I have been invited to go to Burning Man with friends who attend every year, for the last five years. Finally, THIS year, I thought I would have the chance to attend, but, reading the jack-rabbit site, I would never even attempt to obtain a ticket, if even one of the “burners” who have made this what it is now, might, actually, not be able to get one. Wouldn’t feel right, somehow.

    Seems to me as if the people who have been attending should be given tickets before any “virgins”. Just my opinion, but it seems more fair.

    So: Good luck to you all. I love all of the photos, and I can feel the love from way down here…

    A Virgin Islands poet,

    K. Jones

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  • From Huffington post

    “According to Goodell, true Burners will neither buy nor sell tickets at a price above the standard $390, and as a result there’s little market for scalpers. “The expensive tickets are online, but they aren’t sold. They’re just sitting there,” she said. “We’ve found about 100 tickets available [at increased prices] so far, but Burners aren’t paying for them.””

    1. Tickets aren’t in the hands of true Burners, they are in the hands of scalpers and newbies who have no loyalty to Burning Man.
    2. Scalpers aren’t going to list all the tickets they have available at once. They want to make them seem scarce so they can charge more for them. The number of tickets out there now means nothing, other than to confirm scalpers have tickets.
    3. Of-course Burners are going to buy tickets from scalpers. What would you do to continue to do the thing you most loved in the world? They may not have done so yet because they are waiting for you to make a decision about non-transferable tickets. If you decide against non-transferable tickets the scalpers win.

    I know your heart is in the right place but you just can’t be this naive and have the power you have.

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  • I agree with Dr. Shamus and others, and hope my plan doesn’t seem too repetitive. I think it could be done RIGHT NOW.

    Here’s a solution to the ticket dilemma which could eliminate scalping and quiet the chaos: replace tickets with reservations. Think airline e-tickets. No paper tickets exist, but your name goes on file as the owner of a ticket. When you show up at Burning Man, you produce ID which is checked electronically, and you’re in. If you buy a reservation then decided not to use it, you receive a refund and Burning Man can resell your reservation. Tickets are not transferable, either for free or by selling, any more than an airline reservation would be.

    If the BM Ticket Gods really got smart, they could enact this plan for this year! In order to get in the gate, you need to show proof that your name matches one on the list of lottery winners, appointed buyers, buyers of resold reservations, etc. If you wish to gift a ticket, you cancel your reservation/ticket, get a refund, and give the cash to the giftee to buy a reservation.

    Downsides? Burning Man would have to invest in the necessary portable (dustproof) electronics, and train the greeters to use it. I truly don’t think it would slow down the entry line as it should be possible to scan ID’s while the car is being checked for stowaways.
    Other downsides? You couldn’t just buy a ticket from your buddy but would have to get in the queue for cancellations. But I feel CERTAIN that if tickets are made completely non-transferable, they’ll be canceled in droves, and there will be plenty for those of us actually planning to attend. Also, more office work for the BMO to process all of this, but I think we’d all be okay with a few dollars added to our ticket price to hire more employees.

    I’m seriously concerned that the epic SNAFU of ticket sales this year could mortally wound this wonderful event. My guess is that lots of tickets are in the hands of people who have no intention of going to it (I agree with A’s comment above), preventing the rest of us from being able to move ahead with plans. I hope someone will at least
    consider enacting this relatively simple idea NOW.

    I look forward to hearing your comments!
    Jeanette Mustacich, aka Mama Mia

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  • Bmorg should make all tickets named to flush out all the tickets from scalpers. After that we know how many people are going, and want to go.

    Sure named tickets are a minor inconvenience.

    Id also like to propose my friend Eddie’s advice: Just buy some land and hold the event on private property. Then you have full control over how many people can attend. Land out in the middle of nowhere, NV, is cheap, the money that bmorg is spending leasing the playa would easily be enough. Thinking about this its crazy bmorg is not already doing that. 50,000 x 400 = $20M / year. 1 or 2 M would buy a property big enough to hold the event…

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  • Things seem to be calming down. Most of those (myself included) who love this event and did not succede in the lottery are moving towards a decision to go elsewhere. There are a lot of good ideas out there and almost all of them are now centered around identity based tickets for all. A movement in that direction could change the direction many burners are headed in.

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  • @ Kerin Louisa Jones:
    February 23rd, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Don’t feel that way! You are as welcome as any returning burner. We’ve all been newbies before and we’ve all been accepted and included just like you would be. It may seem like a lot of people here are hating on all newbies, which isn’t the case. We’re just worried, because we’ve all seen the kind of newbs that we’re referring to at BM and THEY are the ones we’re concerned about. The ones that aren’t prepared for the climate or the actual event the ones that throw garbage around, aren’t respectful of people etc… If you are friends with returning burners, you probably already know the most important things (Water, MOOP, that it’s not a “concert”, 10 principles, etc…).

    So please, feel free to attend, you seem to have the right kind of attitude, just from what you posted. If you get the chance to get a ticket, take it and make sure you read the handbook & get prepared, go there and BE a burner. Don’t feel like you’re “taking” something from another burner, as long as you are taking that burner’s place by doing things the “burner way”(which pretty much means be respectful and be prepared).

    Written by a returner burner who’s hoping for a little playa magic to help me get my ticket again this year. I better go out to the burning man pile in the garage and sprinkle some dust over myself. Does it work that way?

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  • I can just barely read any of this… I am hesitant to get my hopes up… set myself up for further disappointment… It’s not just about me not being able to go home. It involves what I thought was a model for conscious evolution turning into the haves and the have nots… You got enough $ and you are in. Same old same old. Not that people aren’t trying their best. No blame. We’re just not where we thought we were…. yet.

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  • If the BLM, our government, won’t increase capacity, I say we move BM to another country! Most everyone who drives to BRC crosses thru the Paiute Nation. The big playa (as in dried lake bed) between Nixon and Empire is partially on the res. Don’t they have control over how to use it? Think about it. We would all go the same way, so nobody gets lost, but we get there over an hour sooner. And the most dangerous part of 447 is eliminated. Exodus would be a lot smoother. Nixon is less than 20 miles from I-80. BM brings money to the res, there is a good connection between the two communities. Indian Tacos anybody? They could approve any number needed so that everybody who wants to come can. No ticket shortage, no scalpers. What could go wrong?

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  • A few random thoughts:

    a) A few people have said identity-based ticketing kills gifting. Not true. Let two tickets in your name get you and a person accompanying you through the gate. Done! Solved! Might hurt a few people who would be arriving at a different time than giftee, but mostly it kills scalping. And if put to a vote, I think most would accept the range of gifting options being narrowed if it would bring the scalpers’ tickets into STEP.

    b) Hello, Borg — please explicitly state that tickets bought through STEP can be resold through STEP. So much needless consternation over getting stuck with expensive tickets that can’t be sold or gifted.

    c) As things stand, the change to allowing 2 tickets in STEP for some isn’t really going to make any difference. We’re talking about whether the dozen tix total coming into STEP go to 6 couples or 12 individuals. If someone is a Burner and does have extra tickets, it’ll go to one of his Burner friends. If someone doesn’t have Burner friends, then he probably doesn’t have a Burner ethic. His options are taking a loss and selling through STEP, or selling on StubHub at something north, maybe well north, of $1200. His likely choice isn’t hard to figure out.

    d) It looks like the scalpers are reading this blog and getting a little nervous about the potential for an identity requirement. In particular, Birgin Man is especially transparent when claims to be an attorney and is threatening a law suit (2/23 @6:41 AM).

    Please, Will, Marian, et. al. You are half there with the 2-ticket change. Finish the job so there will be more than a few dozen tickets to actually distribute. And sooner, rather than later, if you can. Too many are locking down plans that don’t include Black Rock City.

    The lottery is almost universally perceived to have been a failure, and while the decision to cancel the final sale may have been necessary, any support is extremely soft (even among the “winners” who will only have a chance for expensive tickets). Most think that option was necessitated by having so royally screwed the pooch with the lottery. Your last chance for redemption is STEP, but if you do nothing to go after the scalpers’ tickets (regardless of how many might actually be in the hands of scalpers), then you will get a chapter in a text book, right along side Netflix, in how to kill your brand by completely ignoring your customers.

    Here’s hoping and praying you take the second step and salvage your event and your reputation.

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  • @ Dr. Bungee

    Your suggestion of moving to Indian land sounds reasonable, but I’m guessing there are some big problems you and I aren’t seeing. Harley DuBois was asked about alternative locations in a meeting for theme camp organizers on 2/15. She said they have been looking for 10 years and not found anything that would work.

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  • Bmorg you are leaving everyone out to dry. make up your mind decide what you are going to do and do it. you are holding out the 10000+ tickets to be sold by whoever and are torturing 20000 burners being strung along by some pretty unfeeling people (BMORG) Print the damn tickets send them out so everyone can get on with their life. you are acting like some god drunk on the power contolling peoples lives with no idea of the devestation you have bestowed on your “customer”. remember you have told us there are no scalper tickets so get the tickets out now. Bmorg don’t you dare condemn burners for buying tickets you were suppose to provide and didn’t – you broke the fairness rule allotting 10000 tickets so all bets are off. everyone is avoiding the ugly truth – next year and beyond. BMORG are you making an exclusive event for your friends on the a-list? Can we expect a 50-50 chance for next year? and worse beyond? tell us your plans – its unlimited tickets or it will never be the same.

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  • I just hope nobody from a developing nation is catching wind of any of this. You’re all whiney privilidged bitches who have no clue what a real crisis is. Get over yourselves and travel to a place where people actually do understand radical self-reliance, participation, etc. Try anyplace but BRC apparently- I hear Aug 27th-Sept3 are good dates.

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  • Now, on to solving more problems — there’s been soooo many comments regarding ID, name on ticket, bar code, etc. and aside from that issue to deal with, the BMORG think tank ought to cull ideas from these blogs about solving the “will call ticket line back-up problem.” You will want to consider having several specially marked entry roads just to facilitate those crowds as well as a way to speed up entry . . . . if tickets were bar-coded, they could be “read” by hand held scanners at the entry gate and ID data matched.

    Last year I received a bar coded email pass for early entry and had to give that to someone at the gate before they even took my ticket. They obviously had some way to check to know if I was indeed allowed to enter early with my camp (on Friday), so why not do something similar to help speed up ticket entry this year? It seems that BMORG already has some technology for this. Hand held droid or ipad type scanners can pull up ID fast to confirm legitimate ticket holders. A benefit to this is also to cut down on scalpers.

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  • I don’t know where to go with this question. I have started a fire arts camp. We have a blacksmith, torch cutter, clay raku fire potters, and hope to get a glass furnace for glass blowing. I have experimented last year with a quick fire clay I made my self and people coming by the camp made little burning man disks. We had about 160 people make there own trinket with or with out using our little burning man mold. So this year I made about 100 lb. of this clay material thinking that everyone in our camp would get tickets. no one got a ticket. How do I connect up to get a few tickets for this small camp (6 people). If I don’t get a ticket I will have waisted a bunch of material resources as well as feeling like an outsider, small time person who didn’t know that being included required something. Some things are just not clear like last year I filled out a bunch of fire related forms only to be told I didn’t need to do any thing. This year I didn’t do anything and may not even get in the gate. How could I have become a theme camp organizer anyway.

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  • As many have already observed Bmorg already has the tech to verify entrance via bar codes. How difficult would it be to insist upon names, issue bar codes, verify id’s (need for driving on the road anyway), and scan upon entrance? Another question might be what benefit is obtained through the allowance of the scaming of the system by scalpers? Follow the money… who benefits?

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  • Good Morning;
    Both a restatement of an old post and a response to some current ones;
    1. To the BORG, get your head out of the liberal SF politics, privacy died a long time ago as to the acquisition of a license better known as a ticket, do not prove that your are truly brain dead, this is not an issue, it is a question of implementation;
    2. The person who suggested using indian reservation lands has clearly not dealt with that tribe or any other tribal group — you are dealing with an independent nation not a US government agency — imho if BM were to go to the ‘res’ I would not go As a side point they (Paiute) just allowed a group onto the res this year for the first time in many many years — personally let’s see how that small group (less than 10,000) fairs.
    3. Exodus is the long term issue; either change the burn from Saturday to Friday, or obtain permitting for an additional exit roads (not likely to happen) or be stuck at 50,000 to mayber 60,000 (if you can get a ticket sale to work)
    4. In the next few weeks the camps will be holding individual and group (more than 2 camps) meetings to see who got tickets, who can go, and who wants to go. IMHO in the next 30 days or so burners will look at what the burn was last year and what it will be or could be this year. The expectation currently is that many camps and mutant vehicles will not be there, and many faces will be absent.
    5. In all respects the STEP program is the last stand for the management team at the BORG; if it works then the angst existing right now can start to diminish, if it is as bad as the main sale, and the debacle on the now cancelled March sale then apologies will be nothing more than shallow statements and the event could (most likely will) be hollowed out.
    This will be my last post, this weekend the camps I play with on the playa meet to see who is going, and what can be done. I will most likely decide then to either keep my ticket and go, sell it on the open market, sell it to a local burner, or worst of all – keep it not go and let there be one less person on the playa.

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  • “Birgin Man” above, whose post above has angered people by insinuating that as a lottery-winner and attorney, Birgin Man or someone similarly situated could/would sue over changes to the terms and conditions of the lottery (e.g. making the tickets non-transferable), is being silly. 1) After you are refunded the face value of the ticket, what exactly would your damages be? 2) Do you expect us to believe that a court would certify a class for a class action lawsuit over this? 3) Wouldn’t each member of that class or any other potential litigant need to show that having his/her name on a ticket would cause him/her damages, and also that he/she does not intend to re-sell the ticket over face value?

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  • @Kerin Louisa Jones

    The event would be as pointless without virgins as it would be if everyone was a virgin. If you want to go and can get a ticket, by all means go. You will be welcome.

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  • At this point, I find myself feeling that any hope of attending the burn this year is a lost cause:-( It pains me to see what is becoming of our people and our beloved community-All this bickering back and forth is no good for any one. Though I stand by what I’ve said all along… There was no need to change the way to get our ticket to home. I wish BMORG would have just left well enough alone!

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  • Tangentially off topic, and repeating a post on one of these considerable threads . . . .
    For 2013, it would be nice if BMORG would try selling tickets at one price, identity specific, transferable only through the BMORG ticketing establishment, and sold first come first served in blocks of several thousands at different times of day and days of one week.
    Also consider closing the gate around Wednesday.
    Low income tickets program included, of course.
    Finally (really dreaming here) the Friday Man Burn and Saturday Temple Burn (to ease exodus) combined with BLM issuing an additional 10,000 BRC population limit might just work well too.

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  • Hi to all out there,

    we, me and my hubby, are brand new this year. We saw years ago a little exibition in Gerlach,NV about BM. At this time we have alreday heard about this but in this moment we know we want to go and share these experience.

    Know this year we can manage that we can travel at this time of year and know is really sad with this ticket situation. We try to get 2 ticket and play this lotterie and, what should i say, we had bad luck.

    We thought ” OK, let´s hope for the open sale!” … The rules are changes and the tickest go to the “Camp-Members”. We really understand this and we think that this is realy good while these camps are a big part of the soul from BM.

    At this time STEP said, there is only a change to get 1 ticket if you failled the lotterie and we thought ” Well, that´s it. We can´t make it this year.”

    Know there is a new hope for us to get 2 tickets, but there is also a sad side, what means, if we can get ticket as virgins, maybe some return Burnes get not ticket.

    Hope to see you at the playa and good luck to all for get tickets.


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  • I’ll try to be succinct –
    First – Thank you Burning Man organizers for all the tremendous effort and the success for all these years of producing such an event. And thank you for all your tremendous effort for the event this year.
    Second – Thank you for your well-thought well-considered replies to the fusillade of comments and recriminations that have come flying your way. Someone else here (Dusty?) also made the point – your (collective) response to the anger and condemnation has been nothing short of “poster child” representation of what you have been speaking of for all these many years. That is, soliciting information, listening, thinking, cooperating, problem-solving, and communicating and all in an open and non-charged environment. You have deflected attacks without attacking; no small feat.
    Third – I do have some comments to You and All regarding your defined “core contributors — art teams, theme camp creators, mutant vehicle builders, performers, and Burning Man volunteers”. I feel compelled to challenge a common theme that I have been reading that the large theme camp folks and large vehicle folks and such must and should be provided access to BrnMn. The idea seems to run along the lines that BrnMn is about creating and that therefore the theme camps and such make BrnMn. I think not so. BrnMn allowed the creation of theme camps and art cars and performances and all sorts of creative (and even not so creative) endeavors. The plethora of large and often overbearing (I show bias here) theme camps is not what makes Burning Man – they are simply a side effect of Burning Man; a possible but not inevitable or even necessary consequence. Quite honestly I have always found the individual/small group art or activity contributions to be far more appealing. I attended BrnMn for seven years, 1998 through 2005. Since it has gotten progressively larger and the projects progressively larger and more elaborate it seems to have taken on more of a “carnival” event rather than an art-appreciation-participation-seek-out-social-interactions event. Further, many of the “art car” inventions seemed to come with an infusion of “aggro” that added to the overbearing carnival atmosphere. In fact we stopped going because of the same large groups and cars dominating the space and the event. So to prioritize the large theme camps for any reason (ticketing) for instance seems to me to diminish some of the basic precepts of BrnMn – egalitarianism, for instance.
    Things will be as they will be. I had hoped to join my friends there this year. I have no ticket as yet. I hope to get a ticket, I hope to see the beauty of the playa the sky and the hills. I hope to be able to walk the playa and see people’s artistic and inventive art projects. If you want to prioritize ticketing do it for the volunteers, and for people who haven’t been before; see what that does for the evolution of the event. Theme camps do not own the event or the playa.
    Respectfully, Lyn

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  • What came first? The burner or the virgin?

    Seems to me, reading comments from all the burner-nazis dissing anyone who haven’t been on the playa a gazillion times, that not a single one of them EVER was a virgin but instead trancended directly into a burner demi-god.

    I was looking forward to once again hit the playa this year but after reading the narrow-mindedness of these burner fascists I wouldn’t go even if I got paid for it.

    So go ahead, run around in your pink tutu or your fluffy boots like all the others and celebrate how “special” you are.

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  • It is nice to see in some small way BMorg listen at least to the STEP issue, but they in the same breath admitted very little action in ticket sales will occur there.

    When does the captain of the Titanic admit a problem or does he stand on the deck with the band players and try to keep face to help the moral of the screaming voices in the background of the death all around?

    PLEASE STEP back one more STEP and make ALL tickets non transferable with PHOTO ID for pickup before or at the gate with 2 weeks AT MOST to claim them from this date and any unclaimed by ID tickets will be refunded and put back into the STEP system and one last open sale for those who were not able to make for whatever reason or choice the lottery system.

    BUT we have ID in this world to insure that benefits and privileges do not get abused. USE THAT system since you are already using the economic system that is in play.

    ALL tickets require ID like the ability to drive a car, get on a plane, ect. SIMPLE it works and has worked for years across the world.

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  • Has anyone heard an explanation for why tickets aren’t being shipped until June for people whose credit cards have already been charged?

    send the tickets out asap. give people a chance to do what they need to sooner rather than later.

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  • PLEASE STEP back one more STEP and make ALL tickets non transferable with PHOTO ID for pickup before or at the gate with 2 weeks AT MOST to claim them from this date and any unclaimed by ID tickets will be refunded and put back into the STEP system and one last open sale for those who were not able to make for whatever reason or choice the lottery system.

    ALL tickets require ID like the ability to drive a car, get on a plane, ect. SIMPLE it works and has worked for years across the world.

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  • @Robert Furnback…
    I really like what you did with your camp as you described, not just making but TEACHING people to make things and work in a medium probably unfamilar to them. That’s what should be the spirit of bman (don’t really know what it actually is anymore). Good luck with your camp. Even if it doesn’t happen again, I hope you take that type of thought and endeavor to other places in the “real world” (I always hated that term, its all the real world). In any case, I hope your efforts/idea inspires others. thanks for what you did.

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  • BM, practically everyone commenting on the matter says NAME TICKETS NOW, yet we have heard practically no comment from you on why you continue to not implement it. It should be done BEFORE STEP OPENS (or at least the intention announced before) in order to give STEP any chance of success. Saying “lets wait and see” is another failed path avoidable even without hind sight.

    Here are some reasons you may have for no identity (only guesses, since no one actually gave a full explanation), and none of them are good:

    GIFTING: hardly needs explaining that under these circumstances, “gifting” has no meaning.

    ANONYMITY: some people don’t want to have IDs or be part of the system. Well, if you need to fly in then you need an ID anyway, so you are talking only about locals, and not ones driving (since they need a drivers license), and I can go on… again, might be a correct reason for 10 people, and under the circumstances – though luck for them.

    PROCEDURAL: probably the biggest issue. it will mean having identity checks setup at the gate. I’m sure this is a big problem, but the alternative is even worse. You can try and get volunteers (probably can get quite a lot), and you will need to spend some money, but given the increas price and ticket numbers from last year, I think it is reasonable to ask (or insist) that this is essential and not doing so will only show greed on someones part.

    LEGAL: There may be legal implications to naming tickets. I don’t know, but I would guess that there are ways around it, and many other posts have gone deeper into the legal aspects of it

    I really can’t think of any other reason, so WHY aren’t you implementing it? Or at least give us the REAL reason that none of us “commoners” could come up with.

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  • Some technical solutions:
    (again, if you said what the problems were you would get much more focused ideas for solutions)

    more than one name can be given for a ticket (say to a maximum of 10?). This would not work for scalpers, but would for people actually thinking of coming.

    if you show up at the gate with the actual credit card used to order the tickets (and one of the people is the credit card owner) that could also be good enough.

    encourage ticket refund sooner rather than later. If someone submits the ticket for refund within 3 weeks they get full refund including every fee they paid, otherwise refund fees start getting progressively higher.

    Send out “identity required” notices by e-mail and physical mail (if tickets were to be sent).

    tickets must be named by a specific date or they will be canceled and FULLY refunded.

    No name changes allowed.

    If you bought 2 tickets together AND show up together then only one of the tickets could be named (don’t know exactly why this would help, but it would still work).

    Essentially, all you need is to think “airline tickets” and you have most of the answers.

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  • Geez, this a prime example of incompetence leadership.
    1. From previous post regarding lottery system from BM: “we didn’t see this coming”(paraphrase). Really?!? I mean really?!? Nobody is that daft, just PR/excuses bullshit.
    2. “wow, we screwed up”(paraphrase, k you get it by now), let’s back pedal somewhat, can’t all the way, would cost us too much money (ticket fees).
    3. Ok from #2 above instead of the 10,000 open market tickets we will select the selected few that meet our criteria.
    4. Aaaah shit, screwed up the steps program by only allowing 1 ticket even though people would of paid for two, never mind we will change that too.
    5. What’s next in the bad decision and back pedaling game?

    ps. the only possible positive outcome of this is that this will be the crappiest, shittiest year at BM so most virgins will be turned off and next year will have not ticket issues.

    Seriously, the incompetence of the the leadership is blatant.

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  • @666isMONEY:

    Yes, another possible reason, but how would anyone know this? I see no way that BMorg could know how many tickets are scalped. If they do, by some means, have a good estimate, and its very low then update us, but all I hear from them on that matter is “please don’t buy from scalpers” – doesn’t sound like they believe there are few scalped tickets.

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  • Johnny, on eplaya there’s a good thread entitled “Why Are So Few Tickets Being Scalped”. (Board index ‹ ePlaya :: Burning Man for the other 51 weeks ‹ 2012 Event Tickets ‹ 2012 Tickets Discussion)

    BMorg and their ticketing agent weeded out many scalpers, which is why the lottery took so long to get results*. They also know there aren’t many scalpers (it’s easy to tell if there are, just look at the secondary market).

    The prime-time to scalp tickets would be now, right after the sale. Ticket scalping is a science, there is lotsa info on how it works google “ticketeconomist /prices-101/” for an example.

    *The reason for the lottery was the servers crashed last year and they wanted to end the long waits at the computer to obtain tickets . . . last year I waited on the computer for about 5-hours to get my ticket . . . I think I burned out the inverter my laptop because it was not ventilated while I waited in bed for the ticket queue.

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  • some where in the thread above some one had a pretty good guess on where the tickets are since bmorg knows groups have up to 33% then the rest are in the hands of non burners virgins and scalpers shoud be penty of $1000 tickets out there. Can bmorg be fired or recalled?

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  • I suspect that many scalpers are waiting for a) physical tickets to be distributed and b) to be sure that the org *doesn’t* implement non-transferable tickets. If they promise a ticket they don’t have in hand, and then it ends up they can’t transfer it, it’s bad for business.

    I have no idea how many tickets are in the hands of scalpers, but even if it’s only 1,000 (seems a reasonable lower limit to me anyway) that would be a nice chunk to get into STEP.

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  • @666isMONEY:

    just read the thread you mentioned, and I don’t think it can be concluded that there are few scalpers (it can’t be concluded the other way either).

    I have little chance of getting a ticket, but still wouldn’t buy from scalpers now, since I have SOME hope of getting a ticket. Four months from now I will be out of hope and then (if I didn’t also have to get a plane ticket from half way around the world) would be more inclined to pay scalpers. this would be obvious to scalpers as well, so selling later will get more profit. Besides, they don’t have the actual tickets yet.

    Another point is the definition of scalpers. Some could be just people who maybe even considered coming, but now are more after the profit than actually attending. BMorg may have some means to weed out a scalper trying to buy 1000 tickets, but have no way of weeding out 500 people buying 2 tickets each, that they just want to sell at some profit. They are not ‘big bad scalpers’, just people after a bit of easy money, and they got lucky. I don’t even have anything against them personally – its a reasonable plan, but not one we need, or should help support.

    What I want is to get tickets out of people who never planned to come, or even people who bought a ticket in the off chance they may decide to come and get it to the people who VERY VERY much want to go. And I want this to happen NOW, and not a week before the event – when it is too late for me personally and too late for anyone wanting to prepare something big.

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  • This year has become heart breaking to me. Burning man has shifted my life for the better each time I have participated. I without a doubt would not be where I am at this moment without having Burning man in my life. However, this years disaster of tickets sales has dimmed the light, anticipation, and excitement of burning man to that of stress, frustration, and disappointment. Only 10% of my family/camp members have received tickets. My boyfriend who has been 5 years in a row did not get a ticket, while I did. The excitement I had in finding out I had a ticket (which was purchased in the pre-sale), was cut short once I learned that everyone that is important to me and who I want to be there won’t be. I have to put all of my faith in STEP that they will receive tickets. But sadly I know it is not possible for everyone to get a ticket since I know there are MANY others in the same situation as we are. This has put a bad taste in many people’s mouth. Compared to other “festivals” burning man is no where near the size. It seems like there were much better solutions to the ticket selling than what was presented this year. I hope that Burning man will be able to recover from this and that the faithful burners will continue forward. This year may be a wash but hopefully this wont happen again. Something else needs to be done. I don’t see STEP as the final solution for what has gone terribly wrong so far with this years prep for burning man.

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  • Hmmm, methinks the folks that made the Dr. Suess Oh, the Places You Will Go Youtube that went viral and helped cause this influx of 180,000 or whatever ticket lottery love, should get priority tickets this year to do up another Suess favorite: The Star Bellied Sneetches.

    And to accentuate this and solve a multitude of problems all in one fell swoop, instead of tickets — chip implants! Think FasTrak gate entry, scalper annihilation, instant burner/birgen track record evaluation… your cost?… just one measly soul + a few extra dollars!

    Step right up and enter my machine…

    –Sylvester McMonkey McBean

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  • Johnny: The Org (including scalpers) never thought this would sell-out so quickly. Last year was the first year to sell out and that happened in June or July. However, scalpers could always make a tiny profit (they have to pay shipping and Stub-Hub too) buying at the lowest tier. However, the Lottery allowed The Org time to filter the results (multiple tix to same address or credit card). No doubt many Burners who bought quantities for their theme camp also got weeded out. I also wonder if my small donation to the BRAF helped me score my single ticket, maybe ordering one ticket also helped?

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  • Just want to put my two cents in here and hope it can help. Most of this has already been said but some has not.

    I think the pricing tiers and low income tickets need to stay. I have met many people that the low income tickets have helped to get to BM. The way the world goes a lot of people hit hard times in there lives. This system helps these folks to get home at a time when they may not be able to afford the regular ticket price. Price tiers should be offered but always ask if you can afford to go to the next tier to try to leave the lower tiers for those who need it. It seems that a lot burners main concern is getting the ticket in the first place and some might be able to go to a higher tier.

    I think that using the rest of the tickets for theme camps and art cars is a good idea. Last year there was a large camp that I loved to go to in past years that didn’t make it last year. While it was replaced with other big camps I really kind of missed it. That in its self is part of the point, what if all the camps and cars you love to see were replaced with nothing. Think back to your first year, how much were you able to do. My first year was a last minute plan and I stayed with a theme camp already set up by a group of burners from my area that I really had only met one or to of them. I helped break down the place when it was time and I had some costumes other burners really seemed to like. The second year I went was a disaster everything seemed to go wrong. I only just finished paying for they things that went wrong on the way, a couple of years later. My point is that there is a learning curve. If there really are that many tickets in the hands of virgins to BM ,even those with plans to build and expand that city, things can easily go very wrong.

    The ability to buy a second tickets in STEP is a great idea! Good call!

    I think the rest of the ticket system needs to be fixed right away. It seems like a vast majority of burners are up for names on tickets and aren’t these the same people who said the lottery would not work. If you are not a scalper I don’t see that there is a big issue but I tried to solve the one’s i could think of. If the current ticket can not be changed to include the name then make a second ticket with a matching bar code that you must bring with your ticket. If anyone has a problem with this being that it is a policy change that will be a help to say the event; I think you should refund the entire amount paid for the ticket fees and all. This should stop any case someone might try to bring up. Tickets should only be transferable through the BM site at the cost that was originally paid. Right now it seems that the power is in the hands of the scalper. Scalpers make their living cheating the system and people; who can say how many tickets they have. If some burners were able to put in on several credit cards to try to get tickets imagine how many a scalper could come up with. Changing the rules will take the power away from scalpers , people looking to make money , and those who are unsure that they really want to go.

    If tickets come flooding back in I think should hold off on starting STEP and still hold off sending out tickets until later in the year. With a great number of tickets back up for grabs perhaps hold another tier of ticket sales before STEP begins. If you had to recoup the cost of the full refund of the ticket fees this tier could be slightly higher to cover that. I am sure burners would not bitch to much paying the extra 7, 12, or 19 dollars, whatever the fees are,just for a chance to have their ticket. Holding off sending the tickets out will give time to put this in play and to tweak the system for when Step opens; and notify all the theme camps and artist the tickets they will get . Another ticket tier would be there first come first serve to burners waiting for STEP as well as burners who were waiting for the original final tier. After this tier then open STEP to those left who had signed up for any tier in the order they signed up. This hopefully will be a lot fewer then it is now.

    I think Step should have some changes made to it. Once Step is open tickets should always be able to go back into STEP. If the things I mentioned above worked tickets returned in STEP should just be from burners who have had to change there

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  • You could not add in the fees in STEP but it is better than getting stuck with a ticket you can’t use. If you got your ticket in STEP and can’t go, same story. STEP should have a Paypal options to sell your ticket to a friend if you have someone in mind ( that isn’t coming with you* I will explain*) and you don’t want to just put it in the system. This could make sure that all tickets are sold at the original price. I also think that tickets should be able to changed hands in STEP and still be sent a copy of the ticket as long as it is before the sending date of all the original tiers. After that when tickets are in hand they should be and cancelled and the new owner will have to go to will call. This I think would improve the line.

    I think gifting can be done with a gift certificate. Make it that only one gift certificate can be sold for each credit card with the same ticket limit in place. The gift certificate will include the bar code of the gift ticket as well as the bar code of the buyer. Anyone caught trying to sell a gift certificate will have their ticket revoked. The gift ticket should be able to go into STEP once redeemed if their plans change. The gift tickets should be held to a certain date so if the certificate is redeemed by a certain time you can have it sent to you and avoid will call. Will call if it is after the date.

    I might be rambling on but I think a lot of these things would help this year and any other year. I put in for one ticket in the lottery and did not get it. I still, from what I here have a hope to get a ticket. The system how it is is really going to hurt your most faithful burners. No matter what you hear on this site about not coming this year there will be many burners that cannot keep away from their home this year. They will go to the after market if STEP fails and buy an overpriced ticket. If not from a scalper then they might jump at the chance to pay just 500 from a virgin or someone who just would rather make a buck.

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  • Ok, I’m still going on. If my post above cannot or even if it can be put into place and there still is a great demand for tickets here is an idea:

    Do everything you can to increase the amount of burners that can go. With more burners coming you could probably get more volunteers. Have multiple gates in which to enter BRC. Find ways to cut down the traffic. If not this year then next use money from BM to improve and add to the roads into BRC and in the near by towns. If they really do not want to work with you and they do not enjoy the revenue it creates for them and the surrounding area; the move BM altogether. There has got to be somewhere at least in NV. I drive from St.louis through a ton of flat dry land. Just another thought.

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  • All this is completely superfluous.

    This change was obvious, but won’t change the fact that very few tickets will come back via STEP. So a good move in principle, but in practice the event will change little.

    STEP tickets are linked to ID. So are the theme camp tickets. So it is possible.

    The only way to get all the hoarders and scalpers tickets back into the system is to require the lottery winners to register names to tickets – ID LINKED TO TICKETS.

    Without this, BM 2012 will be a cycling holiday for 25,000 newbies looking at 25% of the art/camps/sound/amazingness of 2011, which was incredible (as every year has been, but particularly last year).

    I have two tickets and am a 9yr Burner but going this year is a waste of time if you’ve been before as it is destined to severely underwhelm.

    I will be selling my tickets to friend of mine who has been once, and who wants to go again.

    Most people who have been many times before know that even with the 10,000 tickets going to theme camps (which was the right thing to do), this year will be a shadow of previous burns.

    See you all in 2013, hopefully.

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  • One more baby step – but still far short of fixed.

    I am amazed at how conservative, wimpy and unimaginative (let alone tone deaf) Borg has proven to be during this process. The roaring, fire breathing beast that created magic in the desert has become a blithering victim who has lost control of the power it created.

    However it’s still not too late. 6 months is easily enough time if you start now.
    Ticketing is not done, but it has been simplified into making Step work.
    It will only work if there are tickets in STEP. Your job is to use all the resources at your disposal to drive tickets to STEP. It is also time to stop telling the community it is up to them to work it out amongst ourselves. We have no resources to make this happen.

    1)Borg has ability to change the rules (just like canceling the open sale).
    2)Borg has a giant bank account filled with cash ($18,240,000.00) not counting prior year profits.

    Using these two tools, you can turn the tide and go from being a passive victim of the ticketing disaster into an ass-kicking super hero. It is time for BOLD action.

    Registering tickets to ID’s is a minimum step at this point. Anything less is irresponsible. Everyone who should have a ticket, will comply. There are many ways to do this outlined above. Choose the best and move forward. The tradition of free form gifting of tickets died this year in the fireball of the lottery. This should be way easier to swallow than cancelling an open sale of 10,000 tickets.

    Buy back tickets.

    I agree that there is friction in the system now and that there are many tickets that eventually will end up changing hand in Step, on CL, etc. This, plus speculators and scalpers surely accounts for a significant number of tickets. They will eventually find their way home. But it has and will create demoralizing anguish in the process. These comments and the thousands on earlier announcements is the sound of the community in pain. A community taught that as big and satisfying as the event is, the preparation is an equally delicious dish. But we are in preparation limbo. Yes – you can do something about it. You have to.

    BE BOLD. Tell the accountants and lawyers to fuck off. They don’t know how to fix anything.

    CREATE A TICKET BUYBACK PROGRAM and offer $100 over purchase for the first 5,000 tickets. $50 over for the next 5,000. Total exposure $750,000. That’s just 4% of your gross. I’m certain you have a contingency line on that budget. USE IT NOW. Break the glass. This is an emergency.

    An incentive combined with a tough registration program will drive tickets to Step now instead of in July.

    All of us have faced brutal financial conditions for several years. Yet we have found ways to pay for huge BM ticket increases. BORG seems to have created a recession proof business. Congratulations. If you really believe in this community – GIVE BACK. Make it right.


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  • Major Ruckus: road improvement to the site? That is a LONG WAY from the main highway all the up to the site (I forget the exact number of miles). There is NO way that the entire length could be widened to four lanes, which is what you seem to be suggesting, and which is what would be required to make any difference. Logistically or financially… The entire length goes through Indian property, rancher property, BLM land, cities, etc. There is NO WAY to widen it the entire length. Even if there were, do you know HOW LONG that would take? And what a nightmare for all the residents. You would have to get all the landowners and residents to agree, acquire the land, conduct environmental impact assessments, get the money, and actually improve the road. That would take one long ass time. IF you had the money and IF you got everyone to agree. I’m guessing none of that would ever happen. All that just so more people can go party in the desert for ONE WEEK. Totally illogical and unreasonable.

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  • re: road improvements…. Everyone would be better off if that money were spent on better things that would actually make a difference in the world other than improve 447 for a one-week party. And my apologies for my previous post, that should have been “Native American” land.

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  • “New shit has come to light” as the Dude so eloquently said in the Big Lebowski. Apparently, Marian Goodell gave an interview to the Huffington Post on 02/23/12 and said:

    “We aren’t selling Lady Gaga tickets,” festival spokeswoman Marian Goodell told HuffPost. “We’re a different beast.” According to Goodell, true Burners will neither buy nor sell tickets at a price above the standard $390, and as a result there’s little market for scalpers. “The expensive tickets are online, but they aren’t sold. They’re just sitting there,” she said. “We’ve found about 100 tickets available [at increased prices] so far, but Burners aren’t paying for them.”

    The article also gives us *an official* number of lottery registers: 80,000. So, let’s do the math here. If only 25% of vets won, then 20,000 of the 80K were vets. Wow, 60,000 newbs and scalpers! 75% of 30,000 winners is 22,500 tickets awarded to newbs and scalpers. Now with the last 10,000 going to vets, we’ll have a 50/50 ratio of vets/newbs. I agree with Goodell that vets will not buy from scalpers but what about the newbs? I also agree that “true Burners” will not scalp tickets but what about the newbs? Just to be clear, I’m not anti-virgin. I was once one too. But let me be frank, first timers do not yet have the connection and thus the loyalty to our community.

    The article also says “Burning Man organizers, for their part, are less worried about the threat of scalpers.” What what?? Do you NOT remember last summer with multiple bidders pushing the price pass the $1K mark on eBay? How can you be so myopic? Even a handful of scalpers diminish the event. You have the power to completely arrest scalping, but you choose not to use it! WHY???

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  • I just don’t get it. You say are sorry. You say you didn’t know. But you were warned by the community. Again you say you are sorry you didn’t listen. But if you are really sorry wouldn’t you start listening to the community now? The community is telling you STEP won’t work without non-transferable tickets and instead of listening you ask for patients. Why should the community believe your apology when you continue the same behavior you’re apologizing for.

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  • You keep apologizing for the problems that happened because you ignored the community and you continue to ignore the community. The majority of the community is willing to sacrifice some gifting to make STEP as successful as possible, but once again you are substituting your own wisdom and desires for that of the community. Why should they believe your apology?

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  • That was not Marian Goodell. There was even a spelling mistake in it.

    The idea of not doing ID ticketing is a nonsense. 100% of burners would prefer a proper event this year if all they had to do is give up the ability to gift tickets in the old way.

    Either 2012 will be a flop (with tickets gifted) or 2012 can be saved (without the old gifting system) with IDs linked to tickets. IDs are already required to drive, for drinks at bars in BRC, for flights. No big deal. Just get more staff at entry.

    SO OBVIOUS. Everyone would happily give up the former. This gifting thing is a sideshow compared to the potential for the decimation of the event.

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  • In the Huffington Post article referenced by Lazlo above, Marian Goodell is attributed as saying ‘true’ Burners will not purchase tickets above face value. It’s not a direct quote. I don’t know if she said it.

    How about the Burner who is dying of cancer and wants one final trip home? I’ve read about such a person in the blog comments.

    How about the dying Burner’s friends and family who want to celebrate one last homecoming?

    How about Burners from all parts of the globe who have purchased plane tickets?

    How about Burners who have spend hundreds of hours on art projects?

    How about new Burners (yes, we are inclusive) who have arranged their lives so they can participate and experience?

    How about all the Burners who just want to come home?

    Again, I don’t know if the term ‘true Burner’ was actually used by Goodell. I hope not. Surely BMorg wants a united community; not a divided one.

    The community is overwhelmingly united . . on . . .

    Identity-based ticketing.

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  • Maybe ID based tickets will get rid of those annoying people at the gate asking for money so they can “buy” a ticket. True burners, serious burners, are planning for their playa trip all year. If ID tickets will free up more chances in STEP, DO IT! We have the technology. LIT are ID based, STEP tickets are ID based, the 10,000 “corë burner” tickets are??? Why not DO IT for all tickets???
    There is a group of burners every year on burn night staging a “Save the Man” protest. It has taken on a whole new meaning this year.

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  • Come on BMORG. Idenity Based Tickets Please !

    If this does not have the desired effect, what is the anticipated harm ? Can it possibly be worse than this ? Lets bring the community back together now.

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  • Why already do sellers on Stub Hub have many as 48 . . . 48 tickets to sell ? ? ? ?

    BMorg please get your head out of the Playa sand box and realize that scalpers are already showing their face card and as most do and hold out for the last moment to sell you are going to see the cockroaches climbing out of the cracks mid July.

    Scalpers dont realize the heart and soul and TIME it takes to plan for this even for most and they just saw a sell out event that they could try to earn a good dollar in.

    Take SIMPLE action to save this year give all winning ticket holders 2 weeks to claim their tickets with ID and only one ticket per ID.

    Those unclaimed tickets will go into the step program under the current guidelines, all that registered for the lottery get first dibs in the STEP program for TWO tickets with ID!!!!

    Once again 48 tickets under ONE seller on Stub Hub some with 8 tickets each ? ? ?

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  • Saw an add on Craigslist for Titanium Sporkestra looking for brass players. I asked if they were going to BM this year….for those of you that haven’t heard them play, well…..they won the battle of the bands at BM last year and are the best fucking marching band…..ever! They will be greatly missed on the playa this year. Makes me want to shred my tickets! Just shows you how the lottery ticket thing is excluding those that made BM what it was….not what it is now. Thanks Borg!
    Begin forwarded message:

    From: Punk Marching Band <titaniumsporkestra@gmail.com

    negative. working on another tour instead.

    Are you guys gonna make it to Burning Man this year?

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  • Of course, the Extra Action Marching Band was excluded from BM when the Borg banned La Contessa, then reversed their decision only to ban specific members (including Cheffins), and then only to see La Contessa the victim of arson.

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  • BTW, I was just looking at concert tickets for this summer, major band, major amphitheater, and major ticket site (LiveNation). They have “paperless” non-transferrable tickets, and they require the ticket purchaser to attend the event, with a valid ID and the credit card used to buy the tickets. Name on credit card must match ID, entire party must enter at same time.
    The site also has a ticket return policy.
    Um, all that trouble for one (super awesome) rock band, why not for BM.

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  • 1) Two weeks notice to all winners of lottery, to provide ID for each ticket with the name and ID to be checked at the gate.

    2) All non claimed lottery tickets after two weeks will be refunded and placed back into the STEP program.

    3) All STEP tickets available first to registered non winning lottery applicants

    4) All STEP tickets will require ID to be checked at the gate too

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  • This is a great improvement. However, My mom entered the lottery for 1 ticket as a gift for me & will be not attending. Is there anyway (If she gets a ticket through STEP) that I can pick it up through will call?

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  • bm will outwait everyone and by the time they decide it will be too late for many. I am the only active ticket seeker in a group of 50 not sure how many applied but 0 tickets received – bmorg we just have to outwait everyone

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  • @ Zembo

    In Re: to your words of wisdom directed to BMORG, “If you really believe in this community – GIVE BACK. Make it right.” I LOVE IT!!! Giving and participation to making magic happen is a vital part of the Burning Man Project! If only the powers that be would practice what they preach. Recall of this greedy lottery would be a start. Maybe then Burning Man has a chance to survive and continue to thrive in years to come!

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  • No new news from last week! Just a change in the photo above. At this point the die has been cast for this year. Time to move forward with plans for next year.

    Wonder if next year will be any different?

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  • It looks like the comment attributed to Marian was removed. Either the comment wasn’t actually from Marian, or the BMorg has changed its mind/is reevaluating its position after seeing the negative reaction. That would seem to be a good sign that BMorg is finally, seriously, considering identity based tickets (HOPE, HOPE, HOPE) …or possibly that my eyesight is going. Please all you good folks at BMorg, please, please, please listen and let us know what’s going on.

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  • Two random ideas to free up more tickets:

    1. Educate newbies on the fact that a weirdly large percentage of first timers do not come back for another burn. Doesn’t mean that BM is bad, just underscrores that it is not for everyone.

    2. Make an offer to those that return extra tickets THIS year that they get guaranteed tickets next year. (If I was a newbie that wasn’t quite sure, that would be compelling…)

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  • Since many people won’t even find out til very late in the game if they will get a ticket, it certainly many will not attend or give up on attending for at least this year? so:

    Does this mean more effort will go towards regionals? Maybe precomps will be the equivalent of the event for many?

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  • At this point my hopes are for the following:

    1 – That controlled burn does their pre-compression event.
    2 – That this years temple is again built here in Reno.
    3 – That the Borg has learned from this year and does not screw the pooch again next year! Though, I suspect they have accomplished that which was intended: to globalize the event and maximize profits.

    I plan on contributing again to 1 & 2 and just going to 4th of JuPlaya as the Grand Event is a Non Event for this year!

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  • Dear BMT,

    With only 50% of the BM community attending so far how are you going to sort out this ticket fiasco? My tickets have been gifted already, anyone who is serious about BM will have already made the commitment. For goodness sake, turn all tickets into ID only by the end of March, watch the tickets roll back in during april and re-allocate to the real Burners, why are you being so flexible for the original purchasers when half the community that make the festival what it is have been denied? I fear this festival is going to be a let down. I will follow the forums and make an informed decision about weather or not to come later, obviously. If it becomes a scalpers frenzy over the next 4 months will I be angry enough to do the same? Perhaps.

    I sincerely hope you take some wise decisions and take them quickly.

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  • So just what the f… is wrong with “scalping” anyway? Does not BMOrg itself engage in something similar in its reliance on “key personnel”, “volunteers” and “theme camps” to provide corp features of their annual party in the desert?
    And I have absolutely no intention of allowing any tickets I have control of to be a part of BMOrg’s mea culpae.
    To quote the venerable JD, I can be “a capitalist, and damn proud of it.” although to be truthful, my goal is not profit per se but rather a reduction in the unjustly high cost of this year’s tickets due to BMOrg’s mistaken idea of a “more equitable” mode of ticket distribution. I for one, believe that those who can afford the time and patience to endure the insufferable vicissitudes of the previously employed queue system, were and are entitltled to the least expensive ducats available. Therefore, it is my intention to offer for sale on eBay to the highest bidder any surplus tickets that may arrive at my door, so to speak.
    That said, I do extend kudos and condolences to Maid Marian, Andie Grace and the others involved who have exhibited the frankness and courage to admit that this year’s ticket distribution “solution” has been an abysmal failure and wish them the best in their attempts to ameliorate matters.

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  • @ penny kweder – even tho you got the email, STEP doesn’t open until Friday 3/1 at noon. Link won’t work until then, so yes, that means logging on at the same time as thousands of other ticket-less souls and hoping for the best.

    I’m bugged by the initial “have faith in STEP followed by the ahemmm, we don’t think STEP will generate that many tickets. Oh and yes, even though you most likely won’t get a ticket via STEP please don’t pay over face value.

    What a colossal mess.

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  • I am just another person, to you another $ sign, I live everyday the principles I had the wonderful life changing opportunity to experience on the playa, and I thank you for that gift.

    Its very sad to see the disaster this ticket situation has created. With All the intelligence and creativity accessible in the Burner community I hope next time you could circumvent a ticket situation that is more helpful than hazardous. Watching people stress and scammer, is not funny, and leaves a less than desirable taste on my tongue.

    Why dont you figure out a win/win situation. I understand business and making money, and really I encourage it, respect it, and admire it, and I realize the success comes from failure. Please learn from it.

    I may or may not get a ticket. My friends may or may not get a ticket, but I hope that maybe one day it wont be so difficult and stressful to do for everyones sake.

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  • Reading the info that the bmorg has presented so far as to their logic, here is my summery…

    First come first serve ticket sales were a mess and unfair because of inevitable system overloads and crashes and they believed that this year would be worse given the sell out last year. The lottery idea totally solved this problem and would block high volume scalper-bot activity. What they didn’t anticipate was the extra high demand. They say that they don’t believe there are that many scalper tickets out there and like last year despite the sell out, tickets would be shuffled around and get in the hands of those that really wanted them, either through direct community connections or STEP.

    In the ensuing fray, the bmorg, in their careful and methodical way has so far offered two fixes that have brought great relief to the communities most pressing concerns… redirecting the remaining 10k tickets into a curated veteran art/mutant vehicle/vounteer/theme camp allotment process and allowing STEP couples to remain intact. They have implied that they may opt for ID linked tickets, but want to let the dust settle more before making that call, though they’re hoping to avoid this due to it creating a bureaucratic nightmare of managing ticket redistribution, hampering free flowing gifting of tickets as well as extra taxing to the already overloaded entry gate (though of course they wouldn’t need to check every ID).

    So, it’s a bit of a gamble as to how many tickets scalpers control (or maybe just the “communities” perceived fear of their numbers) vs. unnecessarily taking on the burden of micro-managing every ticket holder. I can see both sides.

    The lot of 48 tickets on StubHub is clearly a scam; pay them $2,500 now and they’ll send you your tickets 3 days before the event, right. That’s not scalping, it’s an absurdly overpriced procurement service, anyhow, not an indicator that the sky has fallen… yet.

    We shall soon see if the STEP program brings anymore relief.

    Chicken Little says a good source of information is the bmorg ticket faq.

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  • There are many perspectives and suggestions and it’s hard to know what to think about all of this.

    Chicken Little: Unfortunately the ticket FAQ does not have the answers to the most pertinent questions. You wrote that BMorg “implied that they may opt for ID linked tickets, but want to let the dust settle more before making that call…”

    I’m guessing/hoping that “the dust will settle” when BMorg see the paucity of tickets directed into STEP and then wisely and courageously moves forward with:

    1. The widely-supported ID-LINKED TICKETING, having had a chance to work out the logistics.

    2. Removal of disincentives (i.e. fees) for using STEP

    We’d all sleep better knowing that even if we don’t get tickets, BMorg did all they could do to include the 50% of burners currently shut out and didn’t let a little logistical challenge get in their way.

    I really miss the FCFS from last year. Early bird gets the worm and all that. Seemed fair, affordable, predictable and not nearly as energy sucking and uncertain as this year’s experience.

    Much love to BMorg and everyone involved. Looking forward to your next blog post detailing how ID-BASED TICKETING is going to be implemented and how STEP IS INCENTIVIZED over alternatives.

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  • The whole ticketing fiasco will all be forgotten IF BMorg figures out how to sift through the noise and make sure those people actually contributing to the larger scale art projects, theme camps and truly special mutant vehicles are able to attend. The longer this remains a mystery, the more of this creative energy dissipates.

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  • As of 12:30 PST:

    Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP)

    We’re sorry, but the STEP queue is now closed. You should have received an email from Burning Man with information about the limitations of the queue including if and/or when it will be reopened.

    Already? Or is it just server overload? Do I keep trying, or is it really all over? I certainly don’t have an email explaining when it will be reopened.

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  • Hmmm. Not much chance of step working for me since I tried to get on right at noon and kept getting errors. Then I find the que is closed. Check my inbox after reading the above post to see that the que Was limited to 2000 and the say to just keep trying back to see if thhe que has dropped below 2000 from tickets being which through it, which will reopen the que. Sorry i do have a life. What was the point of that, so only those that can sit at a computer all day choking to see if it reopens can get a chance at getting a ticket.
    I am not one to use whine about stuff but this is dumb

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  • Burning man for me is done- I am a Multiple year participant and have been in Nevada camp for the my entire Burner Existance. My Art car is now up for sale since I cannot get a ticket. I have a 4 person custom Rhoades car pedal car that has come to the Burn Under the title of “THE GREEN DEMON”. I am seeing tickets on Tix.com for $5000 dollars. It is a very SAD day when my life must take a different direction due to matters completely out of my control. STEP did me nothing, I logged in only to find that the Step Que is full. As a true to heart Burner I hope all of my 60,000 friends enjoy themselves. I will miss them all dearly. ~MonkeyBone~

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  • Wow, this continues to be a fiasco…why is it so difficult for bmorg to make change happen. It feels like every time a significant change gets implemented the borg nearly fumbles it. I think even releasing 10k tickets to large theme camps misses a whole other sizable segment of the community -those of us who aren’t connected to large camps, but do produce art, that do volunteer (not 40 hrs though) & have a long history of participating…Now, the STEP queued out & fraught with false hopes…

    Here’s an interesting dilemna that is probably affecting a number of folks…my wife is a ranger who gets a volunteer tkt…me, no tkt…sorry charlie…

    your heart is in the right place, but the execution is killing us…(no pun intended)

    good luck to everyone…

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  • As a first time wannabe burner, I am sad that my inclusion as a stranger to a strange land may not be possible at this present time. My enthusiasm and excitement and hopes have waned off and on through this new process. Admittedly, it has been difficult. However, after disclosing BM’s honest appraisal of the situation, I accept and appreciate that. If I do not recieve a ticket to BM I will continue to support and participate in other activities throughout the year. BM to me Has been a fun, colorful, expressive way of living throughout this year ” Oh, the places I have gone ” already and haven’t yet been to Black Rock ! Onward soldiers I say ! Thank you on what has been and on to what will be. I am looking forward to Burning Man II “The next 50,000” down the street a few miles ! Sincerley Bonejoaquin

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  • Ticket ID is needed. Hello Borg?!!? What seems to be the complication?
    Money? You got it.
    Volunteers? You got it.

    If they dont do the ticket ID, I will not be going and will offer my tickets up to the STEP program. That way, instead of 6 people getting tickets through STEP, there will now be 8 going.
    Sad not to go home, but I rather have a good memory of it from the last several years than come into something this year that already holds a heavy weight around its neck.

    I salute Rev Dr Shamus oh his post also.

    And the one by Chilla Burns about Will Call – yeah, give me several more hours to get home.

    February 22nd, 2012 at 1:38 pm
    Yayy!!! Two tickets. BUT——-Why do I have to pay for them and then wait in 3 to 5 hours at the main gate only to get in line again at the will call?? AND if my plans change in August (God forbid), I can’t sell my ticket or give it away to a camp mate? I legitimately registered for tickets just like the lucky people who got accepted, and THOSE people are going to get their tickets mailed to them. Right? If I am lucky enough to get a ticket through STEP, why can’t it be mailed to me also?!? Come on people. I’m a BURNER——-Not a SCALPER!! Please review the Will Call aspect of the STEP program. It seems truly unnecessary. Please mail the STEP tickets to the deserving few who have gone through this weird ticket issue. Please….Please….hmmmm…..Pahlease…….ummm….Pretty please w some Playa dust on top…..pahleeeeeeeeeease…..Whatever. :-)

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  • Just checked StubHub (March 3 – 9:45AM mountain)

    150 tickets available from 23 vendors

    One single vendor is selling 48 tickets at $2,499 each

    I bet he sells them all

    I got my tix from the lottery (first and only try) and have survivor guilt

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  • sell tickets in person at regional burns?

    i have gone twice to my regional burn, apogaea, and was extremely excited for the opportunity to go to burning man for the first time this year.

    i am working poor and it would be hard for me to afford a 390$ ticket. i need to pay rent so i can have a place to live. i’ve been planning for months to apply for a low-income ticket.

    now i am depressed about the whole event. my friends, burners with less chance of getting a low-income ticket, now have no opportunity whatsoever to go. people who didn’t put their names in the lottery at first have no way to get tickets through STEP. i don’t even know if i have a chance of being awarded a low-income ticket, since the 10,000 tickets that were reserved for “open sale” are now being given away in a fashion that is definitely not inclusive, and so anyone and everyone without a ticket at this point is dropping a low-income application because those are the only ones available.

    even on the chance that i might get awarded a low-income ticket, i can’t share this experience with the people i love.

    even if i end up going, my experience will be colored by the fact that burning man is supposed to be an open, inclusive community, and that the people who i love, who want to be there, who want to share the experience with me, who i want to share it with, can’t go. they don’t even have the option.

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  • Still waiting for ID BASED TICKETING and an INCENTIVIZED STEP program.

    Neither of these are rocket science. Maybe more troublesome and costly to implement, but would go a long way to repairing everyone’s trust that this has been handled as well as possible. If these steps don’t happen, my partner and I have decided to not participate this year despite having tickets.

    Burners new and old will no doubt still do their best to delight each other and have a great time, but we won’t be a part of it. We’ll miss volunteering as Temple Guardians and tending fires and all the rest, but this energy-sucking mess has soured our vibe beyond repair for 2012.

    So we’re waiting to see BMorg announce ID BASED TICKETING and INCENTIVIZED STEP. If not, we’ll just sell our tickets to the highest bidder (yay for unfettered capitalism!) and see all you sexy bitches in 2013.

    Much love.

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  • Burning Man doesn’t sell out right away. Last year ticket sales didn’t stop until almost August. Tickets were onsale for seven months before selling out! Why create a sellout market now where 160 tickets have sold on StubHub for an average of $900 per ticket. Now, they are at $1200 minimum. You’ll see more cashing in when the price continues to rise. It all doesn’t make sense. If some procrastinate for seven months or can’t raise the cash in that amount of time, then maybe they just shouldn’t go, plain and simple. It’s clear that tickets should just go onsale to the public because they would sure still be available at face value this very moment. It’s not like it sells out within minutes or days. We are talking months, and almost up to the actual Burning Man Festival.

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  • I couldn’t agree more Steve. It appears they made a mountain out of a molehill. The better approach would have been a simple disclaimer to purchase tickets early because ticket sales were stopped July 24th, 2011 last year, and you may be forced to pay a premium if tickets aren’t secured in a timely manner. Anyone who is serious about Burning Man has more than enough time to procure tickets, and everyone else will be forced to pay a premium. And, I doubt the vast majority that don’t procure tickets within the several month timeframe before selling out will be paying the exorbitant prices that you are seeing now.

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  • Looks like STEP totally backfired. Half of my camp doesn’t have tickets, the other half has survivor guilt, and NOBODY has 2400 bucks for a ticket on Stubhub.
    Nice job folks.. looks like this will be my 10th and final year.
    If they wanna do something, why dont’ they figure out a way to get those tickets off of Stubhub or Tix.com???

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  • Don’t worry…the universe will straighten the situation out. As this system has failed.. so will the experience when you have some many new people out of control not knowing the limits of how to survive. That is why much of the world has mentors…to pass the information along. If you have not given out all the tickets, maybe a 2 chance to pass a quiz is in order for those who have bought but not received their tickets. If they don’t get it now, they certiainly won’t understand what to do to recover when they have done something fatally stupid. Now is your chance to save some people from getting hurt (or dead).

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  • I was just trying to remember the sequence on pricing for the tickets. First there was what 10,000 for more money than they had ever charged? and then an array of tickets at different prices including 390, and then tickets available to art cars and theme camps to try to get some of the culture, infrastructure, continuity back but at 390 a pop, and now in the step program they charge the person giving the ticket and they charge 390 a ticket? Please help me understand the totals involved from the perspective of just how much extra did burning man charge and make from all of this heart break? This is not a rhetorical question. The tickets were scalped in the first round. Then what? Thanks for any help with this, sincerely, the Goat God

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  • Feeling the need to rant here…

    I design games for a living. I don’t want to fucking play this endless hide and seek just trying to get a fucking ticket this year because some idiots have decided to fuck the whole process up. Yes, you are fucking idiots. Apparently, your heads are buried too deeply up your ass to fucking get a clue and figure out how to get simple again. When you clean it up and make it straight forward and not a convoluted clusterfuck for those dipshits willing to tolerate your bs… then i’ll start attending again (yeah, i know, you could give a shit). Still, as of now… i have abandoned attempting to keep up with this incompetent bullshit being managed by dipshits. You’ve offered zero guarentees for people loyal to the event. This would have been my 12th year in attending. Instead, you’re causing people to invest a large amount of completely wasted time, with no guarentees they will ever be able to get a ticket. Fuck that, and fuck you.

    Sorry, i may have forgotten to mention… FUCK YOU VERY MUCH (incompetent dipshits)

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  • A suggestion for the STEP program:

    I signed up about 15 minutes after the program went live, and haven’t yet been able to purchase a ticket yet.

    It would be nice if Burning Man would occasionally report how many ticket have been made available for sale thru STEP. As it is right now, I have no idea whether I’m first in line for a ticket or 1,000th in line!

    It would go a long wait to help re-establish damaged credibility if Burning Man would be a bit more transparent about the status of STEP tickets.

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  • Scott I’ll buy it :) I have to agree with Steve D – why aren’t we being updated, if I can’t go to burning man I would love to use the money I’m saving to go away, but can’t. It’s just adding to the frustration and inconsideration that this years system has already brought.

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  • STEP update: I just received 2 tix through STEP at the $240 level. The time stamp on my notification email for entrance into STEP was 12:10pm……keeping the faith for everyone else.

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