Did you get your tickets in the Individual Sale? Or did you miss out, like 60,000 other dejected Burners?
According to BMOrg, 80,000 Burners registered for the sale. It sold out in about 80 minutes.
I tried to log in from the email link, the moment that my network time-synched clock turned 12:00:00. It didn’t work, so I tried from profiles.burningman.org. Both finally worked, at 12:00:56. I was in, minute one! I thought maybe I had a chance.
The predicted queue was “more than an hour”. I hoped that only meant 61 minutes. Last year tickets sold out in about 40 minutes, so that wasn’t great news.
Next, “the ticket sale is paused”. Many Burners started to report getting the same message. It seems that Burning Man broke Ticketfly, at about 12:06.
They got it back up and running, then released the queue again.
Vehicle passes were the first to sell out. 12,000 were offered. They went in less than 49 minutes.
Then, before it even began, it was over.
Burner Gaurang reported tickets being sold out at 1pm.
At 1:21pm PST, @bmantickets tweeted:
At that time, I was in line, with “more than an hour” as my wait. Then, it reduced – only 50 minutes. Anyone would think that they still had a chance, since the line was reducing.
this is what my 3 windows said, 1:20pm PST
this message on ePlaya was 1:24pm PST
Things improving. Still looks like a chance 1:32pm PST, 11 minutes after sold out Tweet
It was not until 15 minutes later, that the Ticketing system delivered the bad news officially:
Bad news! 1:35pm PST, 14 minutes after they actually sold out
Then, the screen changed. Suddenly, although I could not buy tickets or vehicle passes, I was being asked to make a $40 donation to the Burning Man Project. As many of those as I want. No thank you.
Through at last! 1:43pm PST
Assuming that everyone bought 2 tickets, means 20,000 people today got through this system successfully. And even 40% of them faced disappointment and challenges ahead, when they could not buy a vehicle pass. Burning Man said that there were more than double the number of registrations, as there were tickets. 80,000 people chasing 160,000 tickets, from a pool of 40,000 tickets.
At least 60,000 people missed out today, an entire Burning Man’s worth. Not only did we miss out on getting tickets, but we all wasted between 81 minutes (when @bmantickets announced they were sold out) and 96 minutes (when the queue message changed from waiting to sold out) of our valuable time.
The 2014 Black Rock City Census estimates the median Burner income at $51,000. This means that an hour of time for the
average median Burner is worth $24.52 (based on a 40-hour work week). 96 minutes of time across 60,000 Burners adds up to a waste of $2,353,846 – in order for BMOrg to make $18,360,000, or $226,666 per minute.
96 minutes of 60,000 Burners’ time is the equivalent of 4000 days, or 11 years.
Just the 14 minutes between tickets selling out (1:21pm from Tweet) to the queue being updated (1:35pm for me), multiplied by the 60,000 people who waited in vain, is 840,000 minutes: 14,000 hours of Burner time were completely wasted, just in failing to shut down all the queues the moment that tickets were sold out.
It Creates So Much Negative Energy – Is That By Accident or Design?
There are many other events in the world that sell out quickly. Usually, that happens in just minutes. Burning Man is the only one with this incredibly convoluted system of Burner profiles and queuing. The system seems custom-made to create disappointment on a massive scale.
First, the $800 VIP tickets – which bring no benefits over regular tickets – remind many Burners that others have more money than them. Money to Burn. These used to be there as Christmas Gifts, and to enable lower income Burners to get tickets, but now they are released after the holidays are over and support far fewer low income Burners and art than they could. So disappointment is created around the holidays, not being able to Gift them at the main time of Gifting; and disappointment is created among the low income Burners, who have to beg for a ticket with essays and paperwork.
Next, the Directed Group Sale tells the vast majority of Burners that they’re nothing, not cool enough or “in” enough to be on the Guest List. And even people who are on the list, get disappointed when they can’t get tickets.
The process of registering for the sales before they start, creates a whole bunch of disappointed Burners who didn’t get the memo and logged in too late to register and are SOL.
Then the Individual Sale just created 3 disappointed Burners, for each one that is elated to get a ticket. It’s particularly frustrating because we all got there in the first minute, and before that did all the right things, jumped through all the right hoops, made the profiles and registered and made sure there was money in the bank and our credit cards were ready – and all of that was for nothing.
Many Burners who managed to get tickets today still missed out on getting a vehicle pass. There is now some confusion whether all 27,000 vehicle passes have been sold, or if there will be another 1250 in the OMG sale.
BMOrg’s whole approach to ticketing brings tens of thousands of people together at once. For an hour and a half they are waiting in hope, only for everyone to be devastated at the same moment. Only a select few are “lucky” enough that their connection got through at the right time. The luck trickles out over 80 minutes, but the vain hope lingers another 15 – then BOOM! Everyone gets the bad news at once. Sorry, you missed out – but hey, you can still donate to us!
Burners are made to suffer again in line at the Gate, and Will Crawl. Hours in the sun, with no shade. Lines that move ridiculously slowly, and don’t move fairly. Unreasonable requests made against people in wheelchairs.
WHY? Why make us go through this? Why make Burners suffer?
It’s positively Satanic.
Which would be easy to laugh off, if this was “just a festival” or “just a rave”. Something where Satanism had no place. Instead, Satanism has played a major role in Burning Man’s history from the get-go. Satanists take delight in the suffering of others, it is one of many elements in their religion.
Burning Man has been created to take place inside a Pentagram, and is based on the rituals of ancient death cults. Danger Ranger said “we’re Satanists with guns” and Evil and the Devil featured prominently in the very first themes. Burning Man’s life as an LLC began with a takeover by Helco, a malevolent corporation. At the “Hell Yes! Hell No!” party, they handed out contracts to people to sell their souls to the Devil.
In Larry Harvey’s own words:
It’s one thing to laugh at the thought that something so old fashioned-sounding as a soul might be acquired through an act of purchase. Many modern comedies have used this plot. However, it is quite another thing to be accosted by a person who earnestly offers to buy it.
Customers were offered contracts closely typed in nine-point font on legal-size sheets of paper. The font grew ever smaller as the text progressed. Entitled “Standard Short Form Contract For Purchase of Soul”, this legal handiwork appeared to cover every possible contingency. It was authored by an old friend of mine, Doug Holloway, an attorney. As a reward for parting with their souls, ‘sellers’ were allowed to ascend the steep stairs of a dark and sinister multi-tiered throne that projected a full three stories overhead. On a stage beneath its summit sat Satan, played by Flash. As part of our satiric scheme, Satan was understood to have lost his position in the midst of corporate reshuffling. No longer CEO of an underworld empire, he now served as a corporate spokesperson. He had become to Hell what Colonel Sanders is to chicken. Cheerfully bearing up in this role, Flash allowed each customer to sit on his lap. He invited them to whisper their most secret wishes and desires in his ear.
After receiving a bright red lollipop, they descended a second set of stairs on the opposite side of the platform. Near the base of these stairs, we stationed the Soul Sucker, a Rube-Godbergesque sculpture by Al Honig. It was purportedly designed to physically suck each soul from its human body (in reality, its seat vibrated) and deposit this commodity in a second and quite beautiful sculpture by Paul Windsor. Entitled The Stupa of Limbo, it was said to function as a kind of spiritual settling tank. (It was a very elegant piece, composed of opened books, lacquered and laid out in tiers surrounding a glass water tank. Later that year, it appeared in the desert.) One important fact that customers were never told was that, according to the terms of HELCO’s contract, the lollipop was their sole payment for their souls. We also left it up to them to realize that this sugared treat was saturated with cinnamon that would burn their tongues.
you still get the bright red lollipop/sugared treat…
Just like BMOrg’s “Minister of Propaganda” is supposedly an ironic title, and yet that’s exactly what they do…isn’t it ironic that Satanic elements played such a big part in the foundation of Burning Man, and particularly with the later creation of BMOrg. The unique systems they’ve designed for profiling, ticketing, and queueing fail to solve problems that have been solved many times over by the ticketing industry. Instead they have the side effect of creating mass suffering and disappointment.
It’s conceivable that this side effect is merely accidental, the result of poor design or a lack of empathy for the customer. There is no doubt that the other consequences of this system have been to deliver BMOrg tens of millions of dollars every year, allow them to keep pushing ticket prices up, and ensure there is the healthiest possible secondary market. Anyone gifted tickets, is gifted something that is worth a thousand dollars or more and easily tradeable. Insiders given half a dozen tickets and vehicle passes, therefore get a nice little bonus if they need some cash. The $800 pre-sale sets the after market price nicely.
The “Open Market”
keep an eye on the open market for them — they’ll be out there
Right now, on StubHub there are 380 tickets available, with the cheapest going for $1030. There are 112 vehicle passes, for $250 each. Burners who got tickets today but missed out on vehicle passes are basically forced to go to Stubhub and pay above face value for a vehicle pass. Either that, or carpool, Burner Express, or fly in.
For a system that we’re supposed to believe has been designed to prevent scalping – which isn’t a problem anyway – it sure is amazing how this system really seems to facilitate scalping.
Perhaps there is nothing sinister to any of this, it’s all just accident and coincidence. Maybe the wasting of 11 years of Burners’ time this year was necessary to enable 16,000 virgins to have a transformational experience. We are saving the world with Burning Man, leave no trace, the waste of 100,000 hours of Burner time is a small sacrifice to make in the name of (non-)profit. And if you don’t like it, start your own!
Next, is 60,000 disappointed Burners trying their luck with STEP (4000 tickets last year) and OMG (1000 tickets this year). Your odds are 1 in 12 – in other words, there is a 92% chance that you won’t get tickets in those sales. Good luck, Burners.
[Update 2/18/15 5:50pm]
I wrote about the ticketing system and the algorithms behind it last year: 60% Veterans.
It appears some Burners figured out a clever “hack” to circumvent the system.
There is more discussion of this at Reddit.
It wasn’t even as complicated as that. Clicking the emailed ticket link several times would sometimes get to the real ticket ordering page. If you can jump straight to the ordering page by clicking the link they told you to click on, then I wouldn’t call it a cheat, just a really dumb issue with TicketFly. It sounds like some camps took advantage of this to get tickets before people who trusted the queue system (protip: don’t), which is distasteful.
One determined Burner, when told that tickets weren’t available, decided to try again and make a donation…which then worked.
[Update 2/18/15 6:40pm]
The Voices of Burning Man discusses the vehicle passes:
fewer VPs were made available (12,000) in the Individual Sale than tickets (40,000) and some of you were able to purchase a ticket (or two) but not a VP. But the good news is that the ratio of purchases of VPs to tickets was actually really good today — 36,000 tickets were sold before the 12,000 VPs sold out.
If you didn’t get one, please know that you’ve still got options:
- Vehicle Passes will be sold in the OMG Sale. In fact, there will be more VPs available than tickets. For those who have not purchased a VP from us yet, there will be an option to register to purchase just a VP — so if you didn’t get a VP in the Individual Sale, you’ll be able to register to purchase one in the OMG Sale.
- A lot of folks bought a VP not knowing if they need it or not, and will be looking to offload theirs. Ask around, and keep an eye on the open market for them — they’ll be out there.
So there you have it, Burners. BMOrg are now encouraging you to participate in the “open market”.
Some Burners were not impressed.
[Update 2/18/15 6:50pm]
Burner Dave posted this screen shot to our Facebook page.
It appears that there is some kind of selection going on. Not all Burners are the same, according to this process. Some Burners were asked to make a $20 Donation, and others (like myself) were asked for $40. Was this based on number of prior burns? Country?
[Update 2/18/15 7:42pm]
Vivid Seats has tickets from $760, and plenty of ‘em:
Stubhub has plenty, Vehicle Passes are skyrocketing:
There are hundreds on eBay as well, where tickets start at $1100 and car passes are now $350. An arbitrage opportunity, for any Burners chasing paper…
Monty Python sold out the 20,000 capacity O2 arena in 43 seconds
This is Why Concert Tickets Sell Out In Seconds – looks at insider scalping by Bieber’s management
Why Your Favorite Concerts Sell Out – looks at Ticketmaster and the bots that make money from it
[Update 2/18/15 8:02pm]
Coverage of the sale in SFist
The Rolling Stones scalp their own tickets
[Update 2/18/15 8:42pm]
Here’s another hack Burners used today, thanks to Burner Gaurang:
Replace tickets.burningman.org with ticketfly.com in the email link they sent and you bypass the queue
(wait in BM queue)
(by entering this you bypass the queue)
[Update 2/18/15 10:34pm]
LiveForLiveMusic says Burning Man sold out in less than an hour and people are pissed.
Thanks to reader delicious for sending this in.
For $750, you can get a bot that will buy tickets for you at TicketFly. As many as you want.