A Wyrd Year

Photo: Chance

I think we can all sense it. It’s going to be a weird year.

 

Remember the day tickets went on sale? That was crazy. Servers went down in flames, people got bumped out of line, chaos ensued. That was in January. It’s August now. You know what else happens in August?

Yeah.

Tickets sold out for the first time. That’s wild. The streets of Black Rock City go all the way out to freaking L. They added :15 streets and :45 streets. We’re gonna need another airport, y’all.

Who got all these tickets, and who didn’t? Is it going to be more new folks? Mostly veterans? Or just the usual mix? We don’t really know how it’ll break down, but it sure is tempting to wonder. A weird year. Lots of uncertainty.

I’m not saying it doesn’t feel this way every year. Burning Man is always weird. But we don’t always use the proper reverence when we use the word “weird.” It has been diluted over time, and that’s a shame, because it’s a word Burners really need.

Wyrd used to be heavier, more profound. It used to be the exclusive purview of witches and warlocks; good folk were supposed to avoid it.

I’m not even doing it justice. Think about time way back before the universe was created. “Tohu va’vohu,” the Bible calls it: formless and void. That’s wyrd.

It’s going to be a wyrd year.

Tohu va’vohu. Formless and void. Like a prehistoric, dried-up lakebed, the flattest place in the world.

Photo: Chance

And, for good measure, it’s the middle of the night. Just the barest sliver of moon is cradled in the craggy mountains. Stars all over the place. Dead silence. Dust, rocks, nothing else.

Wyrd, man.

Now, start adding people one car at a time. Cars and people, some tents, some rickety lean-tos, stacking up like crooked little teeth, like defective Legos. Getting bigger now, getting closer together. More fires, more lanterns, more LEDs.

Photo: mkgraph

Now start hearing. Start at the lowest, thumping frequencies, lower than your heartbeat. Feel it in your feet. Feel it in your gut. Add in the mid-range now, some melody, some harmony, and now start turning up the gain.

We’re here. Welcome home.

Photo: ADLERPRODUCTIONS.COM

The playa is just a wyrd place. Anything that happens there feels more weighty and portentous, even if it would feel mundane in the default world. Think about trudging to the port-a-potties in the morning, the kinds of macabre, burlesque, perverted little scenes you pass right by in the light of a new day like it’s just your neighbor mowing the lawn. Or sitting in traffic on Exodus day, crawling along that Mosaic commute and thinking about the godforsaken mountains of laundry you have to do.

Burning Man is our annual encounter with the Very Most Weird. Even not getting to go at all is profound.

Photo: mkgraph

This year will be very weird, indeed, in the sense of “weird” that means “novel, peculiar, unprecedented.” The very theme commands it: We’re undergoing a transformation. Division, exclusion, scarcity, these are new and un-Burner-like words, and we have been using them weightily for the first time to describe our culture.

It’s been said on these very pages that Burner culture might need to be dispersed across the land to accommodate this new reality. That would be weird. But it would be really wyrd to think about thousands of Burners across thousands of miles sending up hundreds of remote burns into the same sky on the same night. Good? Bad? Something to think about.

We’ve also seen more sinister reactions to this weird year. People selling tickets at offensive prices, people incensed that celebrity DJs weren’t getting special treatment in the ticket shortage, people believing obviously satirical blog posts and freaking out…

Weird.

But we have our principles. We have to be self-reliant in our response to these wyrd circumstances. We’ve managed our weirdness for 25 years. We can do it again.

See you in a couple weeks, I hope.

And after that, we can start thinking about an even wyrder year:

2012.

Known Ticket Scams

Yeah, it’s like that.

Now that there’s a scarcity-based market for Burning Man tickets, the scammers are coming out of the woodwork. Be aware, be wary, get educated, and don’t get screwed. We’re hearing about these from a lot of people who are about to get nailed, so we thought we’d let you know about them.

Do NOT Wire Money

A lot of the known scams right now involve payments requested to “Ticketmaster Fan-protect exchange program”, which requires wiring money through Western Union to the UK. Moneygram/Western Union actually allows the seller to pick up the money without having sent anything first, no matter what they say in their fine print. REFUSE TO PAY FOR TICKETS THROUGH WESTERN UNION OR MONEYGRAM … PERIOD.

Also, some are using a payment method called “Green Dot” and they’re routed through someone who isn’t the original owner of the ticket. If you’re buying a ticket from somebody who isn’t the original owner of the ticket, be especially careful.

Impersonating Real Tickets

There are also people getting ticket photos off of eBay, then gleaning ticket numbers through other means, and selling tickets they don’t have in their possession.

Always check the ticket number with us BEFORE you buy, by emailing us at partiserv here: partiserv (at) burningman.com. [UPDATE: Please note that we no longer verify ticket numbers because we cannot actually validate tickets in the hands of a third party.] None of these scammers will accept Paypal as a payment … never buy a ticket online unless you can do it through Paypal, which is the only way you can have possible recourse if you get scammed.

Counterfeits in LA, San Diego and Santa Barbara

There’s a guy selling counterfeit tickets in the LA area … the name on the tickets he’s selling is Cory O’Brien. THIS IS NOT THE NAME OF THE GUY DOING THE COUNTERFEITING … JUST THE NAME ON THE TICKETS. At least one of the people selling this ticket is going by the name “Ruben”. The ticket number is 03703 TWVTO53W … if you get offered these tickets, don’t buy them, call the cops. Learn how to spot a counterfeit ticket, and ideally bring a REAL ticket with you to compare them before you buy. If you encounter somebody selling counterfeit tickets, get all the information you can and CALL THE POLICE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Counterfeit Tickets from SF & Reno (click to enlarge)

Counterfeits in San Francisco and Reno

There’s a guy in San Francisco selling counterfeit tickets, and now those same tickets are being sold in Reno as well. Learn how to spot a counterfeit ticket, and ideally bring a REAL ticket with you to compare them before you buy.  The ticket numbers are JL853RJX 13682 and JL853RJX 13681. If you encounter somebody selling counterfeit tickets, get all the information you can and CALL THE POLICE.

More info about how to buy/sell more safely can be found on our ticket page.

Ticket Rites

It began with the first day of sales with “Ticket-tastrophy.”
And most recently we had “The Great Sell Out.” (If I’ve learned anything from “Carmageddon” it’s that inciting panic requires a catchy name.)

Yep, the rites of passage began long before we started packing this year. And just like a crazy dust storm, each of these challenges tests us and teaches us.

In these videos I address some of the fear and anger swirling around as well as highlight some of the lessons to be found in all this.

“Burning Man ‘News'” – Aug. 2, 2011

“Sellouts, Scalpers, & Surrender” July 26, 2011

As mentioned in the 1st video, it is important to resist the urge to focus on just the negative stories. The news wants to focus on the scalpers. But there are also amazing Burners who are selling their tickets at face value…even though the market value is much higher. Why? Because their values are more important than their wallets. THAT IS AWESOME. We will survive this social dust storm just fine.

These views are solely the views of Halcyon and do not represent the opinions of The Burning Man Organization or Major League Baseball.

Burning Man Tickets Have Sold Out: Your Questions Answered

Now that tickets for Burning Man have sold out for the first time in our 25-year history, we’ve been getting a lot of questions from folks in the community … here are the most common ones, answered:

Q. How many tickets have been sold?
A. We don’t release ticket sales data, which is annually a different number from the population that actually comes to BRC. We’ve cut off ticket sales early in order to manage our population count over the course of the event, as stipulated by our BLM permit.

Q. So how many people will be at the event?
A. A lot of variables affect who actually shows up each year on which day. We project that if the event is any larger than last year’s peak, it won’t be by much, and it’s our responsibility to try to keep it in line with that to comply this year’s permit. (more…)

What happens if you show up at the Gate with no ticket?

Not the Burning Man Gate

Since Burning Man tickets have sold out for the first time in our 25-year history (ticket sales were stopped in order to manage our population count over the course of the event, as stipulated by our BLM permit), it’s more important than ever that our community knows and understands Burning Man’s longstanding Gate policy. Here’s what you need to know:

– There are no tickets for sale at the Gate. You will be turned away and not allowed entry if you show up without a ticket.

– If you are giving someone a ride to Burning Man, including ride shares and hitchhikers, please be sure they have a ticket or you may end up driving back to Reno to drop them off. Leaving them at the Gate or in Gerlach is not an option. Washoe County Sheriff will be watching out for people loitering in or around Gerlach.

– Harboring stowaways or assisting people sneaking in is as bad as sneaking in yourself. Any vehicle with stowaways or assisting people sneaking in will have the whole vehicle refused entry with no refund of tickets.

– Anyone caught trying to sneak in to the event or causing a disruption at the Gate or Box Office is subject to citation, fine, and arrest by the BLM.

Finally, we expect long lines coming into the event and going out during Exodus, so arriving or leaving at non-peak times — and exercising patience — is advised.

If you have further questions about the Gate and Exodus, see our Gate FAQ.

Can the regionals pick up the ticket sale slack – and transform Burning Man?

Burning Man is still sold out.

To the extent that you learn about a community during a crisis, I wonder what our reaction so far says about us.

Many are mocking the ticket seekers, suggesting this is a kind of Darwinian victory:  if you can’t get your ticket you don’t deserve to get there.  The Onion parodied Burning Man with a similar conceit about eight years ago.  It was funny then, but it still wasn’t original.

It’s less funny now, because it’s become apparent that some very good people are being left on the outside:  people who clearly have a lot to offer.  People who would be a benefit to the entire community – and I don’t just mean “big name DJs.”  In fact, I’m not talking about them at all.  However few tickets there are, Burning Man will never run out of DJs.

But we have run out of space.  In my previous post I suggested that 21st century Burning Man was a culture of abundance, and this is our first meaningful encounter with scarcity.  I made a few suggestions about what to do about it.

Many people writing in the comments section had much better ideas than I did.  But by far the most trenchant idea proposed was this:  the future of Burning Man belongs to the regionals.

They got what I’d missed:   the ticket limit is potentially a catalyst turning the regionals from followers to co-conspirators.  “Burning Man” itself would become a kind of pilgrimage site that the faithful try to get to once in a while, but “Burning Man” culture would be led by dozens of regional events around the globe.

How you feel about that might depend on your experiences with the regionals.  It does for me.  Would you mind sticking around while I explain this? (more…)

Tickets For Burning Man 2011 Sold Out

Tickets for Burning Man 2011 have sold out. For the first time in 25 years of holding the Burning Man event, we have had to cut off ticket sales before the event. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which oversees the Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area, requires us to manage growth in line with the previous year’s population in order to comply with our use permit. As a result, Burning Man has exercised its oft-stated right to cap ticket sales.

Tickets will NOT be sold at the Burning Man Gate, nor at Walk-In Outlets. If you don’t have a ticket, do NOT show up at the Gate. If you choose to purchase tickets from a third party, please take precautions to ensure their authenticity before you purchase them to avoid counterfeits and scams. If you are selling your ticket, we strongly encourage you to sell it at face value, or better yet, gift it! Information on how to buy and sell third-party tickets more safely can be found here on our tickets page.

For those considering venturing out to Black Rock City without a ticket to “try your luck” purchasing one at or near the entrance to Burning Man, we ask that you do NOT do so, for your own safety and the well-being of the surrounding communities. The Black Rock Desert is an extremely remote, inhospitable environment with limited resources, minimal facilities, and few camping opportunities in the vicinity. You will NOT be allowed to camp overnight anywhere near the event site, and the nearest campgrounds are over an hour’s drive away.

Burning Man’s New Revenue Streams

People have complained about the cost of Burning Man tickets for years, and we’ve listened.

So we’ve spent the last couple months investigating new revenue streams that would allow us to reduce ticket prices (which are our only major source of revenue) while maintaining the operational budget necessary to produce the Burning Man event and continue growing our culture around the world. After much discussion and deliberation at Burning Man Headquarters, we’ve decided to move forward with the first of these initiatives.

You’ll notice some of these changes reflected on the Burning Man website homepage starting today, and you’ll see them in Black Rock City as well at this year.

We realize that this change represents a significant evolution of Burning Man’s cultural ethos, and as such, we welcome your feedback about it at revenue here: revenue (at) burningman.com.

UPDATE: Happy April Fools’ Day everybody!