A Reasonable and Realistic Look at the Burning Man Ticket Fiasco

By Tony Tohono

By now we’ve all seen that the Burning Man organization keeps posting about how not everyone is going to get a ticket this year. We also hear a lot of people telling us to calm down and stop stressing out and being so negative. And yes, it’s usually a bunch of assholes that already have tickets telling us this. To the former I say, “Thanks for screwing this up so bad.’’ To the latter I say, “If you assholes would have stuck with ordering one pair of tickets this situation wouldn’t be so screwed up so why don’t you do us all a favor and shut the fuck up.’’

If you are one of the unfortunate many that do not have a ticket I’m here to alleviate some of your stress. The end of the world is not coming until December this year so you can still pull off going to Burning Man one more time. If you want to go, and you’re willing to be patient and put forth a little extra effort, you’re most likely going to be able to get your own golden ticket.

The more time that passes, the more I thoroughly believe this. Just remember, you’re going to have to work for it and/or shell out some extra bucks (like $390 and fees).

Step One: Be patient. Don’t jump the gun and start looking at ticket scalping sites. Looking at these sites is only going to cause undue stress. Remember; no one has tickets yet so the people listing them are just creating a false sense of panic. This is the way the speculators drive up prices. If we all remain calm and refuse to buy into this atmosphere of panic we can crush the bastards under our collective foot.

Step Two:  If you were in the lottery and did not get tickets, sign up for STEP (Secure Ticket Exchange Program). This starts the 29th of February. You are supposed to receive an email from Burning Man reminding you when this comes available if you were in the lottery. The chances this will work for you are slim to none, but what the hell; it can’t hurt.

Step Three: Get on eplaya.burningman.com, Facebook, or whatever social networking site you use and make it known you need a ticket. Also let it be known who you are and what contributions you have made to the community. Did you help so and so put up that huge-as-Texas art project a back in 1997 when people gave out tickets like candy bars? Tell everyone. Maybe someone out there will remember you and sell you an extra ticket when they divorce their husband in late May and end up with an extra. Maybe you will even get laid while you’re out on the Playa comforting your new benefactor.

Step Four: stay in touch with your friends and remind them that you still need a ticket. MANY people have tickets and many are not admitting that they have extras. Why do I say this? Because something like 40 percent were sold to newbies. Many of these newbies are people like mom and dad or sister and brother who do not go to Burning Man, but bought them for sibling/child that does go. Yes MANY Burners lined up multiple ticket purchases to make sure they got tickets and the more time that passes the more this is becoming apparent.

Chances are VERY likely you know someone who is sitting on more than one pair and they are not going to admit it. Some of these people are probably thinking about making an extra buck selling them on eBay when they get their greedy grubby hands on them in late June; others are probably too embarrassed to admit that they had seven family members order tickets for them and they ended up with three extra pair. The point is DO NOT buy scalped tickets and make these speculating pricks realize the error their ways. If we all do this they will eventually have to sell the tickets for something closer to face value.

Step Five: look to your past. Have you contributed to the Burning Man community:  Are you a part of a theme camp? Did you bring a Mutant Vehicle? Have you volunteered? Are you a performer? These people may have more opportunities to get tickets than those who have not contributed. But know that these tickets are going to cost $390 and fees. The point is to start looking into this. But most likely if you are one of these people you already know it because the Bmorg will likely contact you because your email is on the DMV list, the volunteer list or the placement list. If you’re not on any of these lists then start networking. If you were in the fire conclave get a hold of whoever your contact was and let them know you need a ticket. If you were part of a theme camp and you helped with setup, let whoever is in charge of your camp know you need a ticket. Stay in touch.

Step Six: Do not pay over face value for any ticket. These people who speculated and bought extras for the reason of profiting or just figured they may as well make an extra buck need to learn that is the time for them to fuck off. I don’t care who they are; if anyone deserves to go to Burning Man less it is these people.

Step Seven: If you already have tickets show a little patience and understanding. HELP your friends find tickets. Quit acting Burnier-than-thou and think how you would feel if the situation were reversed. Pretend your new Playa name is Jesus Burner and stop acting like the rest of us are so negative. Remember, you got your ticket because you were lucky (or you increased your luck by cheating); not because you are special or burnier than the next futz.

Step Eight: And this is probably most important of all. Friends don’t let friends buy scalped tickets. Friends constantly remind friends not to buy scalped tickets. Friends remind friends how unburnier-than-thou it is to buy scalped tickets. Remember; scalpers of Burning Man tickets are the worst of the worst. If you sell Burning Man tickets for more than face value you suck.

I don’t care if you are going to use the profits to bring your art project to Black Rock City. You still suck. If you have an extra ticket either sell it to another Burner for face value and make their day, or return it to Burning Man to be entered into the STEP program.

All hope is not lost. Yes there is a good chance that more people want to go than tickets are available, but a lot of these people may end up not being able to go and if you are patient and stay ready to take their place you can still make an opportunity to find your ticket back to the Playa. Let’s all hope they find a better way to deal with this next year.

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