February 12th, 2014  |  Filed under News

Directed Group Sale Update

February 12th, 2014  |  Filed under News
Ticket cuddle puddle!

Ticket cuddle puddle!

During the Directed Group ticket sale earlier today we encountered a technical issue on the Burning Man side of the operation. Our new ticket vendor, Ticketfly, worked with us to quickly identify and isolate the issue and then developed, tested and deployed a solution. The entire process took about 30 minutes.

During this time, inquiries to the Burning Man ticketing support desk skyrocketed with participants concerned they would not be able to purchase tickets. With the help of Ticketfly’s support team we were able to reply to and help all of those who contacted us.

We want to acknowledge and appreciate Ticketfly’s instant response to this situation. Their troubleshooting, quick thinking, and problem-solving allowed the sale to get back on track quickly and everything is now running smoothly.

Rebecca Throne
Ticket Operations Manager
Burning Man

49 Responses to “Directed Group Sale Update”

  1. Tikor Says:

    This is very interesting. I have a question perhaps you can help me with. Over the last few years, our camp made a decent profit from reselling tickets. This sort depended on things not running smoothly – what are the chances that Ticketfly is actually just ass, and things will be as normal this year?

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  2. Mud Says:

    Dat ass ^

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  3. carmen Says:

    What was the technical issue?

    Where should I have posted my inquiry when I needed help? I asked for help on the @bmantickets twitter and never received a response.


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  4. Sparkle Fn Heart Says:

    Just wanted to say thank you & great job!
    After last years ticket fiasco, my first thoughts were disappointment that it would be happening again and this time with a directed sale. But thanks to great communication and quick action, I was able to complete my sale in under an hour.

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  5. John Rainbow Says:

    I like pudding.

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  6. Maic Says:

    It would be interesting if the post included what went wrong. Was it a bug? Too much access to the site? Attacks? Please us with juicy details!

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  7. JoMamma Says:

    Tikor, if your camp has really been making a profit off reselling tickets for years, then I sincerely hope that neither you or anyone else from your asshole camp ever gets a ticket or comes to the playa ever again.

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  8. Byron Says:

    I did the preregistration so I could register to confirm that I want to buy tickets during the general sale registration period but I forgot to re-register for the group sales registration during the 3 days we had to pre-re-register for the general group ticket registration… anyways, this system is shit :(

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  9. Mosaic Says:

    Yes Byron, the system is shit because you couldn’t read and prepare accordingly.

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  10. InfosecPro Says:

    More like one hour to resolve. I started trying to access the ticket site a few seconds after 3:00 EST / 12:00 PST, finally got my purchase just a couple of minute before 4:00 EST. No campmates reported success before that timeframe, many succeeded within a few minutes of the same time. So please don’t bullshit us. It wasn’t fixed until it started working for the customers no matter what your vendor tells you. Vendors are known to have an interest in polishing the truth.

    A question that should be answered is why after years of practice you still have the same problems? Your vendor knew what to expect, why couldn’t they get it right? What will go wrong next year?

    Btw compliments to your customer service response, I appreciated the emails and understand you were swamped so it took a few hours to get to them, no problem there. Here’s hoping next year the compliments can be for problem avoidance not problem response.

    Thanks, and best wishes!

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  11. Byron Says:

    ….as long as we agree this system is shit.

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  12. joe Says:

    as a long time burner, not liking much how ticket sales work these days. first there’s the overpriced pre-sale so 3,000 rich people can be sure to get their tickets and vehicle passes. then there’s the directed group sale where 15,000 (15,000 !!!) people connected well enough can get their special codes and be sure of getting their tickets and vehicle passes. then there’s the individual sale where 38,000 of us have to fight online to try to get tickets and vehicle passes while trying to use a website that frequently crashes. and if that doesn’t work there’s STEP, but sadly STEP won’t offer any vehicle passes. So if I have to resort to STEP (as I did last year) I’m supposed to spend over $400 on a ticket and still not be able to attend unless I somehow stumble into a vehicle pass from the community?

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  13. Vic Shade Says:

    Joe I am one of those rich people. The same one who helped cover the cost of a low income ticket. Built art sine 1998. Contributed $1000s to kickstarter projects. And some of us rich people help build and fund the art cars. Sorry while I a busy making money to support that I don’t want risk the chance I couldn’t contribute again. Do you really think you won’t find a way to get burning man cause the vehicle passe?

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  14. Nurse_Jenie Says:

    Thank you for kindly informing us of the delay, you didn’t have to do that. The process of acquiring burning man tickets is never “easy” nor should it be, this isn’t a kanye west concert people, its an experience, a lifestyle, a cultural gathering. We are lucky to be able to take part in such an amazing community gathering. Big deal, some of us had to wait an hour, I’ve gone through way harder struggles to get tickets in the past. Suck it up people and be grateful you have tickets.

    And for those of you selling tickets to make a profit, you are supposed to be putti g the tickets into the STEP program, so that those that couldn’t get tickets can eventually get some for a fair straight exchange. How shameful for you to call yourself a burner, it’s fake burners like you that put a damper on our otherwise kind, caring, equitable community.

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  15. Tig Playafied Says:

    would someone please let me know who is going to revoke “Tikor Says” and his/her campmates tickets. I for one call BS on the making of money on the resale of tickets tasteless and shameful. I would hope that people would take the time to read the BM website front to back and understand what is is to be a burner, so they know not to sell tickets that way or buy one that way.

    I understand that there are some who dislike the two earlier sales but this is truly one of the few ways to ensure BM happens in the way we have all come to love. If the camp I’m with didn’t get a batch of direct sales tickets we would not be able to make it to the playa. People need to plan many months out for time off, building projects and just getting ready in many ways like fund raising to ensure we can provide to the city.

    With this said I believe the system this year turned out to be better after the hiccup got our two tickets in less than a hour. Now looking forward to going home and sharing the BRC )’(

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  16. Karma Says:

    I’m a bit astounded that so many of you couldn’t see Tikor’s post for the sarcasm it was. Come on ppl, lighten up ^_^

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  17. robert kowal Says:

    THIS is EXACTLY the substance and tone and promoter should take when they make an error. They apologized, took responsibility, and not only exonerated their vendor (who was not at fault but could have been conveniently scapegoated) but praised them.

    That they didn’t give us every gory detail is sometimes better because it minimizes the opportunity for nitpicking, trolling etc. and perhaps gives a bit of cover to an individual in the company who made the error in question. That PERSON should not be publicly held accountable, only the organization, and they have done that. Wisely.

    This kind of communication ends controversy and builds trust in a community. Hopefully this will be the rule moving forward. Any time something like this happens, it is ALWAYS the promoter’s fault (as a fellow promoter, I can say this from personal bitter experience). See more on this at: http://bit.ly/1exij30

    The key is recognizing your mistakes, fixing them, and humbly asking for forgiveness from your community.


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  18. Paulie Bell Camp Says:

    I immediately hit up the tcikets support email, and within the hour I got not one response from Frog, but 4. Thanks for that quick thinking!

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  19. Ted Says:

    Can we all get together and sign a thank you card for Vic, who apparently made Burning Man possible for the little people with his largesse? Clearly, he is a hero and deserves our praise and congratulations.

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  20. James Keeler Says:

    Desperation for a ticket? ……….eh why? If your cool you’ll go.

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  21. bob shafty Says:

    Another ticket fiasco! … and now charging for parking. I’m thinking more and more that Burning Man has run it’s course. At least I’m done with the annual drama!

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  22. Debbie Does Says:

    I wanted to say it was a frustrating experience but in the end it all worked out.

    To Vic Shade,
    Thank you. 2 years ago someone like you helped make my 20 year dream come true. I volunteered at the cafe painting & amusing people & cashiering until i had no voice, with greaters,at the French Quarter and because was adopted by a camp of AMAZING people locally, that brings me to this discussion. Last year things had changed and I didn’t need the low income ticket anymore. Working in the cafe (mostly yelling at people till they smiled and laughed) I was able to donate my tips to ART Projects and the travel fund for center camp cafe, to help fellow volunteer staff get to the next stop after monday. My amazing camp provides a volunteer service that gets us all home. So thank you Vic Shade, it was the 1st time I had accepted a hand instead of always giving one, and it was a lesson I needed to get me where I wanted to go. May your blessings always outweigh your sorrow!

    As for Joe, my camp provides a service to about 500 people and some core art projects. Last year 10-15 of us attended over a 2 week period, getting in before and leaving after. We rely on our self-reliance, amazing planning efforts, thankless hour of prep campmates put in and filtering behind the scenes that even I dont think i truly appreciate to do for the community and their participation. Most of my camp mates have been doing this for 10 years or more, additionally they ALL volunteer outside of our camp as well, doing everything from greeting to nonstop wranger shifts. My priority is that they can get in and get out as their schedules demand in this default world. Once we figure out who is car-pooling, driving the truck and taking busses(BTW-they run all week), our additional car passes if any will go back to the community through STEP. Directed sales are there to ensure that camps working hard to make the experience for EVERYONE can have a fighting chance to do that. 10k tickets were sold, 15k were registered. I wish you luck. I will not apologize for supporting a bigger picture rather than just ourselves.

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  23. Dr Quark Says:

    This problem may have been solved relatively quickly, but not quick enough to salvage my lost work hours and a day of black humors. I did finally get back to the computer and get tickets 12 hours later, but I have resolved that if Burning Man uses a commercial ticket agency again, this will be my last burn. I was charged $28 for the “service” provided by Ticketfly. This is a scam. Show me how this service fee could be justified in the marketplace. Further, if there is no possibility of buying a ticket at the advertised price ($380), say at a kiosk in the desert, then that’s not really the price of the ticket. It is a lie. The Ticketfly fee is nothing in the total scheme of things, in the $1000+ that it takes to attend Burning Man. But it is a small theft that is magnified many times over because it can’t be justified within the Burner ethic. If Burning Man went to Ticketfly to get professional, competent service, both Burning Man and Ticketfly failed. I have no idea what Ticketfly will earn for their “service,” but it must be around $1,000,000. It is incredible the black eye that this has earned for the Burner community, yet Ticketfly will still get the money.

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  24. Big Josh Says:

    Quit your whining and fuck your burn! Or do you need some lotion applied to your delicate genitals by a gloved expert? Be happy it’s not tickets by pigeon carrier you salty fedora cheese butts. Now get back to designing your fantastic new take on a half nude prehistoric bunny bar with day glow fuzzy nips.

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  25. Random Task Says:

    This was a great effort. I was one of the ones with the invalid code. To fix something like this on the fly is extraordinary. Thank somebody that Burning Man finally got a professional ticket vendor.

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  26. Random Task Says:

    Wait a minute, what’s the address for the bunny bar?

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  27. jacko Says:

    I would just like to say, looking back to how and why burningman came into existence, it may be time to say it again and to move on.Its seems like a lot of people have their hands out and are getting rich.In this age of technology, how in the world could things be soooo bad.The ticket fee is not $ 380.00 as offered, its about 460.00 with fees.And please, none of your ding bat resposes.If you have something worth saying, thats fine, otherwise just save it.

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  28. Big Josh Says:

    Random – the Half Nude Prehistoric Bunny Bar will make is inaugural appearance at Camp Ding Bat. That’s where all of the people getting rich off Burningman will be hanging out. You know, because the staff, data throughput, programing, scripting, designing, printing, mailing, database management, scanning staff, scanning tools, and all the other shit required to defeat SCALPING and execute a perfect, instant, flawless ticket sale to 20,000 people – is pretty much dirt cheap.

    Did anyone NOT get tickets who was supposed to?

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  29. Hedmekanik Says:

    The only good system is a sound system.

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  30. Sara Says:

    Yes there was a minor glitch but BM and Ticketfly responded quickly. Well done. This year has been the best since tickets started selling out. It’s a process of trial and error.

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  31. Bosco Says:

    For those of you asking about the ticket problem…
    All the camp leads immeditaly got tickets.
    People within the camps were reporting a “Invalid Code” response to their efforts to receive tickets. There were talks of trying a new browser, clearing the browser history and clearing the cashe.
    What the problem was, ultimately, is a slight problem with the code.
    The ‘Parent’ tickets were released, but the ‘children’ tickets weren’t.
    In other words, the level 1 tickets were available (camp leads) but the level 2 tickets weren’t being seen by the system.
    Ticketfly probably had to reset the system, and then all was working as it should’ve been.
    This is why people who reset their browser/cashe or did a “incognito” window started receiving tickets before others because your computer kept taking you to the ‘same place’ after Ticketfly changed the ‘place’.
    I don’t know if this makes any sense, but its the best explanation I have for y’all
    See you in the dust.

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  32. doubleBag Says:

    Why is this article congratulating Tickefly and BMORG for their efforts to “quickly identify and isolate the issue and then developed, tested and deployed a solution” when they are the ones responsible for the problem in the first place? It’s not like this was a meteor headed for the earth that they deflected, this was a flawed system that they put in place and apparently did not test or troubleshoot until after it went live.

    Obviously if we want to go to the Playa, we are forced to once again be the pawn in this ridiculous system. I will save my my applause for the year when the ticket sale process goes smoothly because someone has implemented AND TESTED a system that works properly out of the gate, and does not require nearly an hour of real-time panic to finally deliver. This will be my 10th Burn and and I can’t remember many times where I have had a positive ticket purchasing experience.

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  33. Pink Says:

    I’ve had easy experiences buying tickets, like the first two years when I went to a walk up vendor, and the years before the sell-out when I was fairly flush and I could either splurge for a pre-sale (AKA holiday) ticket or simply wait until the first day frenzy was over, and my worst in the 2010 sale when I was broke and tried for a cheaper ticket and the process took 7.5 hours of sheer hell. And yes, I was at work at the time and just refused to leave until my place in the queue came up.

    This is not to say I didn’t panic for the 57 minutes it took to finally have my code approved. But it was only 57 minutes, and unlike the former ticket vendor, the system didn’t crash, I didn’t get bumped to #26000 in the queue, and once the codes were released, ticketing appeared to be instantaneous for all of my camp members and those I was communicating with on eplaya. So yes, there was a glitch, but not insurmountable. Put on yer big girl panties & quit whining. Or whine and quit going.

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  34. Tikor Says:


    So much for radical inclusion.

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  35. Wade Wiggins Says:

    please refer to Nurse_Jenie’s first paragraph

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  36. Rhino Says:

    I personally am of the opinion that ticket sales went really well once Ticketfly corrected their small error.

    What’s more, I think that Trilo over on eplaya needs to be commended for getting everyone the RIGHT information to get tickets. I got caught in the glitch, went to eplaya, had my problem solved by Trilo, and went back and got right in and got my ticket.

    I had already emailed ticketsupport here: ticketsupport (at) burningman.com with my question. Though they sent me a nice reply, I already had purchased my ticket. So I sent them a second reply of ‘please close case……problem solved.”

    I think eplaya is a very valuable tool in this process.

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  37. cyan.whelan Says:

    So much anger! I saw the Facebook post and got in, and out right a way. It worked for me. Sorry you are all so mad. Hugs to all those who are trying to pull things together.

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  38. tigermama Says:

    @ doubleBag as I read it it wasn’t Ticketfly’s fault and BMORG isn’t congratulating themselves, but rather owning the error and acknowledging the help Ticketfly provided to fix things…maybe I’m reading it wrong?

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  39. Parable Says:

    Burners tell me Cinderella is one of the best art cars and I can not get directed ticket. What to do, I will try to get there

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  40. Mud Says:

    Dear Tikor –
    Please copy and paste this link into your browser window before purchasing your BM tickets -

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  41. Skahl Per Says:

    15,000 tickets to the “in crowd” who get them for their friends, and YES, they sell the remainders for a profit to pay for costs. This fact is widely known.

    For those that weren’t in a fraternity or sorority in college, now you are. BMORG, DPW, DMV – how does it feel to be popular? Make sure all your friends get in (the ones that aren’t on the highly paid BMORG payroll), then let us little people clamor for what is left.

    In reading BMORG’s response, I learned that there is paid Ticket Director and that has been the same person for years. Why have they not been fired?! Oh, ya, forgot….they are all friends, and the only ticket problems are for those of us not in with the popular people.

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  42. Tigger Says:

    “The 2014 edition of Belgian dance festival Tomorrowland went on sale this morning and sold out its 360,000 available tickets in under an hour, according to its organizers.”

    How is it possible they can do this and yet BM still has issues with 15000 tickets. I know two or three friends who would be happy to write a program to run the ticket sales and have no issues, and they would be able to help cut dow the numb of scalper tickets out there as well.

    Come on it’s time to reach out to those who can really do this and not do it just to make money from the sales of said tickets.

    Just my two cents.

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  43. Pooh Bear Says:


    You realize the phrase “and YES they sell the remainder for profit to pay for costs” makes no sense. If it is paying for costs…it’s not profit.

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  44. JV Says:

    So Ticketfly is just InTicketing, redux? Only now, with new and improved “service” fees? Hahahahahahaha!!!!

    I’ll stick to buying my tickets on Craigslist.

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  45. BomBom Says:

    Excuse my naive question, but I am wondering how do people get chosen for the Directed Group Sale? Does Burning Man give the unique codes to the Camp leader and the Camp leader decides who to give it to? or Does Burning Man distribute it directly to camp individuals?

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  46. RnoRenee Says:

    I think it’s amusing that this blog is still open and it is from 2/12/14 (14 days old) but the Individual Ticket blog which is only one day old got shut down when all the comments started going bad due to the blundering ticket sale set up. Another fiasco! Yeah, I got through after 38 mins but there were only vehicle passes left so this year (unless I can find a friendly scalper) my vehicles will be going without me. Oh Burning Man Burning Man, why do you hate us when we love you so much? :)

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  47. Lou LaGrange Says:

    What about those of us who thought tickets sold out and didn’t leave a response ? But now are locked out ?

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  48. unitivity Says:

    community is a train wreck of love, reminds me of my favorite cowboy song, i will let you next to my wallet again. All is well that gets you out of hell. my ticket went through by 12:05pm. No shit. i was stoked. now all i have to do is sell the house buy an rv, spend everyday thinking about lip balm, how gay i could be, but want a girl friend, what not to eat, exercise, how kale can be softened up, a girl friend and maybe googles, and my amazon bill. I can’t wait to go to this hell in the desert to get away from all this.

    when the have nots have enough not to kill the haves and haves have enough to share with the have nots earth will be heaven and love is all we need. unit

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  49. Greeneyes Says:

    a little bit stressed, but it all worked out and response from BM team was quick and effective, got ticket and car pass.

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