Rolling Out the STEP System

The Urban Stoop by Craig Cooper and James Dufour, Photo by Jay Faulconer

Burning Man’s Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) launches this week. STEP is an online system that facilitates the safe resale of tickets that have been purchased directly from Burning Man, and is designed to provide a hassle-free, secure way of buying and selling Burning Man tickets while avoiding scammers, counterfeits and scalpers.

We’ve created a comprehensive FAQ about STEP that will answer any questions you may have about the program … but we wanted to let you know how it’s going to roll out this week so you can plan accordingly. Here’s how it will go:

On Wednesday, February 29 at 12 noon PST, STEP will be opened to those who have tickets they want to sell. We’ll be emailing everybody who bought tickets through our Pre-Sale or Main Sale in the next two days, inviting you to sell your extra tickets into STEP. If you’re one of these people, watch your inbox for that email (if you don’t get an email by Thursday, visit http://tickets2.burningman.com/contact.php and select “Missing STEP email” from the drop down menu). People selling tickets into STEP will be credited the face value of the ticket and any delivery fees, but not the original service fees; Burning Man will cover the credit card merchant fees for the refund. You’ll be able to sell your tickets into STEP anytime until August 7, 2012 (if they are being held at Will Call), after which STEP will be closed.

On Friday, March 2 at 12 noon PST, we’ll open up STEP to those wanting tickets, inviting those who registered for the Pre-Sale and Main Sale but did not receive tickets to join the “want tickets” queue, on a first-come first-served basis. If you are one of those people, watch your inbox for an email containing sign up information in the next few days (if you don’t get an email by Thursday, visit http://tickets2.burningman.com/contact.php and select “Missing STEP email” from the drop down menu). When you opt to turn your original Pre-Sale or Main Sale registration into a sign up for the “want tickets” list, you will be signed up as requesting the same number of tickets through STEP as you originally requested.

When a ticket becomes available through STEP, the person at the front of the queue will be sent an email giving them an opportunity to purchase the ticket(s). Tickets will be sold at face value of the original ticket, plus service ($6/ticket + $1/order) and Will Call delivery fees ($12/order). You will only be offered the next ticket(s) available; unfortunately, we’re not able to maintain three queues for three separate ticket price points, so you will only have the option of whatever price point comes up next in the queue. If you decline the ticket(s) or don’t purchase them within 72 hours of their becoming available, the next person in the queue will be given the opportunity to purchase them. If you decline a ticket, you will lose your place in the queue and will not be able to sign up again.

All tickets purchased through STEP are non-transferable, and will be held at Will Call for pick up. If you purchase a ticket through STEP but then decide you cannot attend the event, you can sell it back into STEP for somebody else to purchase, as long as you do it before August 7, 2012.

If you have any questions, please review our FAQ.

Ticket Update: Rebuilding Black Rock City 2012

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

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

THE CHALLENGE WE FACE: DEMAND OUTSTRIPS SUPPLY

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

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

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

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

Ticket Update: Radical Inclusion, Meet the Other Nine

First things first:

For all the frustration, anxiety, stress, and heartache this year’s ticket lottery has caused, please accept another humble apology.

Photo by John Curley

This is no time for issuing statements or putting a spin on anything. The system may have worked, but the cultural outcome sure didn’t, and even though some of you saw that coming and said so, we didn’t, and for that we are sorry.

The current trajectory is not acceptable. Even people who did get tickets aren’t cheering right now, since so many of their camps and friends are standing out in the cold. Entire groups are worried they’ll have to scrap all their plans. Burning Man is a participatory and collaborative event, and many collaborations are perilously close to falling apart.

Clearly we must reevaluate, but first we want to say more about what we’ve heard, how we got here, and what our next steps will be.

(more…)

Ticket Thoughts (Part 3)

There is still much to be figured out. And much to be learned.
Tons has been written about in comments and blogs. In addition to the official statement, Maid Marian spoke with NPR on Feb 9.

For the record, my intention is not to offer solutions to the situation – only to help see positive aspects of any situation – just like the Playa taught me. If my optimism has upset you, my apologies.

Here is yet another installment of my thoughts on the 2012 Ticket Situation – including the story – & lessons – of “The Fall of Xara” at Burning Man 2000.

And an extra video with a message for Burning Man Virgins:

**NOTE: I AM NOT AN OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF BURNING MAN. I am merely a Participant with a passion for the event, people, and Principles of Burning Man. **

NOTE:
Feb 22 – Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) opens
March 28th – Open Sale (10,000 additional tickets)

2012 Ticket Trials 2.0

Whoa. Yep, it seems worse than expected.
“Radical Inclusion” + Awesome Experience + [Supply < Demand] = The reality of our current situation.
And ya know what? This may not be a bad thing.

**NOTE: I AM NOT AN OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF BURNING MAN. I am merely a Participant with a passion for the event, people, and Principles of Burning Man. **

NOTE:
Feb 22 – Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) opens
March 28th – Open Sale (10,000 additional tickets)

Burning Man Addresses 2012 Ticket Situation

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

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

Participants, friends, Burners, community:

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

Black Rock City 2011, Photo by Luke Szczepanski

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

All of us here at the Burning Man Organization

Happy Ticket Day!

Did you not get tickets? End up with more than you need?
Here are some rose-tinted thoughts on the 2012 situation:

NOTE:
Feb 22 – Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP) opens
March 28th – Open Sale (10,000 additional tickets)


**NOTE: I AM NOT AN OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF BURNING MAN. I am merely a Participant with a passion for the event, people, and Principles of Burning Man. **

Burning Man 2012 Tickets: After the Main Sale

The registration period for the Burning Man 2012 ticket Main Sale wrapped up last Sunday night, and our ticket vendor is currently de-duping and cleaning up the registrant database (including removing known scammers), before we do the drawing for the three pricing tiers on January 31 and February 1.

And guess what? Turns out, people are VERY EAGER to go to Burning Man this year. So much so, in fact, that they found creative ways to increase their odds of getting tickets in the Main Sale. As a result, there are a lot more tickets being requested than there are tickets available — an inordinately large number, in fact, and far more than we projected even after last year’s sold-out event. It seems that people a) likely got their friends, family and campmates to order tickets as well, and/or b) requested more tickets than they actually need.

So the unfortunate net result is that there will be a lot of people who aren’t awarded tickets from the Main Sale … BUT DO NOT FEAR!! Because this means that there will be a large number of tickets in circulation within the existing community, tickets that simply need to be redistributed to those who need them. Based on our analysis, we hold a strong belief that things will settle out over the course of time, once that redistribution takes place, such that most everybody who wants a ticket will find their way to one.

In order to facilitate the redistribution of those extra tickets now in circulation, we have set up the Secure Ticket Exchange Program (STEP). The STEP is a web-based system that will allow Burners to sell their unneeded tickets, and Burners wanting tickets to access them. This will allow for safe and secure transactions in a central place for community-monitored, face-value resales. This is in addition to 10,000 tickets going on sale on a first-come first-served basis in our March 28th Open Sale.

We would like to reinforce that we all share responsibility for preventing the scalping of Burning Man tickets. Burners can commit to only selling their tickets at face value, and to never buying tickets above face value. Friends don’t let friends buy from scalpers! We can work together by using STEP, keeping a vigilant eye out for scams and inflated-price vending, and reporting known scammers on our ePlaya ticketing thread.

Burning Man actively discourages the use of secondary resources (eBay, Craigslist, StubHub, etc.) for the resale of tickets, and we encourage those who do not obtain tickets from the Main Sale/Open Sale to utilize community-centric sources to keep a handle on this process together. Please use STEP and/or direct local connections to known Burners to find the tickets you seek. We will post information on how to access and use STEP next week.

So, folks, it’s up to all of us to decide how this all plays out … we can work together in our communities to ensure that most everybody who wants a ticket to Burning Man can get one, and avoid falling prey to third-party price gouging. Just as we’re able to create the world’s largest Leave No Trace event — against all odds, in the middle of the remote desert — we can see this challenge through together as well.

As always, you can find full ticket information on the Burning Man tickets page, and you can be sure to stay informed by subscribing to the Jackrabbit Speaks email newsletter.