14 Tips For Getting Burning Man Tickets in the Individual Sale

It seems to get harder every year for Burners to get tickets, so I thought I’d share some of my ideas. These aren’t official, so don’t blame me if you try everything and still don’t get tickets. If it works though, by all means you can send me a cheers!

This year tickets are selling for more than they ever have, and faster than they ever have. We have every reason to think that will continue, making this the biggest Burning Man in history. It jumped the shark, and now it is ready for the big leagues of mainstream success.


Too Many Names On The Guest List

From BMOrg’s point of view, last week’s Directed Group Sale went smoothly. 20,000 invitation-only tickets sold out in less than an hour (according to Megan Miller) and 45 minutes (according to Burners). There were the regular problems of people not having profiles or Ticketfly accounts, and credit cards being declined by their bank’s fraud protection. You’d think, after almost 30 years, banks would know what Burning Man is.

Image: Kristina Alexanderson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Image: Kristina Alexanderson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

This year, though, a new problem cropped up. People thought getting a code meant they had a ticket set aside for them, and were devastated when the codes didn’t work.

1400 selected groups were given codes to purchase a certain number of tickets. However, some camps report that only 50-60% of their people could actually get the tickets. One camp reported that 25% of the invites did not work – and all the people who couldn’t get the codes to work were outside the US. Was this because Ticketfly can’t process a non-US credit card address?

Burning Man’s response? “We always said it was first-come, first-serve”.

What does that mean? There seem to be only a small range of possibilities:

1. Burning Man sent out more invitations than there were tickets, the way airlines overbook flights.

2. BMOrg sent out 20,000 codes, but each could purchase more than 1 ticket (up until 20,000 were sold)

3. Camps sent out more codes to their campers, than Burning Man actually allocated to them

4. People used”Burner hacks” to buy more tickets with the codes than they were supposed to. For example, 2 people on 2 different computers and credit cards using the same code at the same time. Did the software anticipate such scenarios and block them, or let them through?

Probably, some combination of all of the above happened.

From burningman.com, ePlaya moderator Trilobyte says:

Burning Man does not publish statistics on invitations. There are always more invitations issued than there are tickets available, for a couple reasons. First, they want to help as many camps and projects as possible to get tickets for their core essential team members (as it is, they can’t help everyone). And second, not every camp or project uses every single invitation slot or has every participant purchase the maximum number of tickets.

Whatever the reason for it happening, there is no doubt that many people in camps who got sent codes, thought they would have more than 45 minutes to go to the web site and use them. Last year it took an entire day to sell 15,000.

Burning Man’s ticket page says:

The invitation-only, first-come, first-served Directed Group Sale starts at 12pm (noon) PST, Wednesday, February 4, 2015.

To  most people, if you received an invite to an invitation-only sale, you’d think that would mean you could get tickets. Alas, no – you have to get in quick.

Most Burners who logged in within the first 20 minutes seem to have got tickets. The general wait seemed to be around 6-8 minutes, some reported up to 20 minutes of waiting, some only a few. The countdown clock seems relatively meaningless compared to the time it takes to get into the system.


Coming soon: Tickets for Any Burner

Next up there are 40,000 tickets left to sell in the Individual Sale next Wednesday, February 18th at noon PST.

Last year tickets in the individual sale sold out in about 40 minutes (officially) and about 25 minutes (according to some Burners). You need to get there very close to 12 to get in the queue, everybody who did in the first 7 minutes last year seems like they got tickets.

I expect it to be quicker this year. We’ve never seen this level of promotion before – The Simpsons, Grover Norquist in the political press, Wall Street via the New York Times and Bloomberg, a 747 dominating the EDM press.

Whether you like it or not, Burning Man tickets are a great financial deal for those with no interest in even going to Burning Man. Tickets are $1122 each on Stubhub and Vehicle Passes are $190. For an investment of less than $850, you get yourself a highly liquid asset that can be rapidly transformed into $2500 – and may appreciate further from there. Hedge funds should start collaterizing this shit.

occupy comic shazam

“Mike’s Robot Nightmare”. Image: Occupy Comic Shazam/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Demand conditions have never been so favorable for the vendors – which means harder for Burners.


How can you maximize your chances to get tickets?

1. Create your Burner profile beforehand.

2. Create a Ticketfly account beforehand.

3. Register for the individual sale – opens this Wednesday, Feb 11 at noon. Registration is open for several days, so (theoretically) it doesn’t matter whether you are there right on the dot of 12:00:01.

4. On Feb 18th, the day the sale begins, log in as soon as possible after noon. Getting there before 12:00:00 to be in the queue early didn’t seem to help last year.

5. Instead of going through the web site, if you were emailed a link, click the link in the email, a few seconds after it turns noon.

6. If the link does not work, or the site crashes, don’t be disheartened. Keep trying. Even if it says “no” or “sold out”, try again a few minutes later.

7. Reboot your computer shortly before noon, and don’t have a whole bunch of other browser windows open – this may help avoid technical issues.

8. You could try using a few different browsers, if you have any technical issues. Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer – all seem to work fine.

9. Have the right debit or credit card. They accept only VISA and Mastercard, not Amex. They don’t accept PayPal or Bitcoin.

10. Make sure there is enough money in your account, or credit left on your card.

11. Notify your bank in advance of the transaction, in case it triggers a fraud warning (some Burners have reported this problem).

12. Use a US credit card if you have the luxury of choosing. Some Burners reported problems in earlier sales for overseas buyers

13. Don’t listen to Burners giving you advice on the ticketing system based on their past experiences. Ticketing changed last year to Ticketfly, so the current system is still new. What worked in the past, may have little bearing on your chances to get tickets today.

14. When asked how many times you’ve been to Burning Man, say “0”. Statistically, Virgins are the largest group who get tickets – for the last 3 years, somehow there have consistently been 40% Virgins. Whether this is a pure fluke (3 times in a row and always about the same ratio), or whether the system has been designed that way, the fact is the people who say they have been to Burning Man 0 times are in the group that gets the most tickets every year. Chance favors the Virgin, in this “random” distribution.


Other Ideas

trilobyte says:

Having not only participated in Burning Man for a few years now, but having had the great fortune of going to hundreds and hundreds of concerts, festivals, and events, I can say that for the most part it will always get more and more difficult every year. If the band keeps turning out solid albums, the fanbase continues to grow, then it occasionally explodes with a big hit or two, and it goes from never having trouble getting tickets, to shows selling out, to shows selling out really quickly, then the band needs to start working out pre-sales to ensure that fans have a shot because tickets sell out in hours (or minutes, or seconds). In this case, Burning Man is the band. They’ve been turning out solid albums every year for decades, the fanbase is huge and loyal (there may be a track or two you don’t like, but dammit it’s still a great album :) ), and tickets keep getting harder and harder to come by. Even when it’s a band or performer who takes steps to keep the scalpers at bay, you’ve got to be on the ball.

Sure, the ticket team will continue to work on their end to try and improve upon the experience and the ticket-buying process (as they have since Burning Man started selling tickets), but they can’t make scarcity go away. As long as demand continues to outstrip supply, it’s going to be important to stay on top of the posted information and dates and act quickly when those magic tickets go on sale.

trilobyte has also created his own Ticket Tips.

On Facebook, Burner Scott Sanders said:

The reality is that (in approximate numbers) 12,500 people will click in the first three seconds ( 12:00:03 – locking up all 25,000 tickets) and it’ll take 45 minutes for the computer system to process all the orders while we sit desperately waiting to get in to buy a ticket. About 12:45:01, all the whining and butthurt will start. People will complain that their Am Ex card wouldn’t work ( even though the directions said so), and they’ll blame Larry, or the fucked up system, or they’ll complain the don’t get paid till Friday ( even though they had a year to get their finances in order.). Probably by 1:30:00, the slacker hippies will start asking for free tickets ( because they’re awesome in the universe) since they can’t afford one or be prepared on time. By 2:00, folks will be pleading and begging for a ticket for their Virgin friend ( with a fucked up life) who’s so needs to go home, but doesn’t know it. By 12:00:01, the Scalpers (who don’t exist) will be posting tickets on Stub Hub and Ebay ( but they got their tickets in the Secret VIP sale by paying extra donation money to BMP.

 Matt Nelsen:

remember people the principles are just an ethos now. NOTHING IS UNBURNERY NOW!

Re-Cycling Bike MOOP

Last year we brought you news of a program to do something useful that alsoaddresses the problem of hundreds thousands of Burner bikes that get dumped on the Playa each year.

Well, good news, Burners: it worked. They sold 400 bikes to Burners and have shipped a container full of bikes to Africa. It’s great to hear about a Burner-generated initiative that is actually making a difference in the world.

With a little more support, something lasting can now be created to support the bikes and the lifestyle they enable.

Burner Lily says:

Last year we sold 400 bikes to Burners, and now we successfully have sent a container of pre-loved Burner Loop Bikes to Namibia which is a huge achievement! But to make this a real success story we need to complete our last stage of the project by offering crucial on ground support and empowerment over in Namibia next month.
We have launched a crowd funding campaign recently to raise money to achieve some awesome bike related projects like turning the shipping container into a bike workshop, building a BMX track, working with communities to understand their needs and improve the Loop Bike, and making a documentary to expose the need for mobility in places like this.

You can check out the campaign here:https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/loop-cycles-bikes-empowerment-to-people-in-need/x/9466290#home

LOOP LOGOLOOP LOGOLOOP LOGO

loop bike

LOOP LOGO

 

Dream Big, Or Go Home

So far the most exciting announcement about Burning Man 2015 is not the $800 VIP tickets, or the “chumps and suckers” circus theme…it’s Big Imagination, who are going to bring a 747 Jumbo Jet as their art car.

747 cad drawing

This is surely the most ambitious project ever on the Playa. As we were packing up at the end of Cargo Cult, I heard a rumor that there was a plan to bring an art car that required 100 crew. I dismissed it at the time as bullshit – “what art car needs 100 crew? A cruise ship?” – but some rumors are indeed true, and this is very real.

3 stories tall, 4 buses wide, half a football field long, on 18 squishy wheels, able to carry more than 300 people. And it moves.

747Ken is one of the main instigators of the vision, and he’s someone who knows what he’s doing. He designed the very popular Charlie the Unicorn art car, and was part of the Robot Heart team.

I’m the knucklehead who dreamed up this crazy idea.

My Playa background was being a workerbee on Robot Heart from 2008-11, then I designed and built Charlie the Unicorn (with a lot of help). In the default world I have a varied background but experience in managing large, complex projects from aerospace to film.

Charlie The Unicorn. Image: Jun/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Charlie The Unicorn. Image: Jun/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Big Imagination Foundation is a arts and education non-profit. Specifically, the mission is to incubate and support projects that bold, inspiring, and visionary. We’re purposely trying to stay flexible on our first project.

As for why this big thing? I sketched this out on the Playa dust in 2009. I swore I would never do another art car after Charlie unless it was truly epic. When I found out we could get our hands on a scrap 747, welllll, it was just too good of a chance to pass up. Once in a lifetime, right? I’m not necessarily shooting for the “biggest” just because. We could do a plane-oriented project much easier with a smaller fuselage. However, the 747 is iconic, and that upper deck is spectacular. When this baby rolls down the playa, peoples minds are going to melt. [Source: Reddit]

Truly epic is right – my mind has melted already. If you have the resources, better to do something like this and share it with everyone, than sell exclusive hotel rooms with porcelain toilets to VIP guests who hand out a few popsicles.

The top of the plane will be cut open to make an outdoor lounge.

The latest design...the "mohawk look" is gone

The latest design…the “mohawk look” is gone

Despite what some Internet armchair pundits have speculated, they will not actually be flying a 747 onto the Playa. The aircraft will be chopped up and moved by truck from the Mojave Desert airplane boneyard. The route has already been surveyed for the length they are considering.

A couple of years ago, I stopped to get gas in Inglewood, Los Angeles. If you’re familiar with LA, or hip-hop music, you know that Inglewood is not exactly Beverly Hills. “The hood” would be one way to describe it. So when I saw 3 helicopters hovering above me, I was somewhat concerned. A crazed shooter on the loose, perhaps? Then I noticed thousands of people lining the freeway overpasses. What was going on? As it turned out, the Space Shuttle had been retired, and Endeavour was being towed through the streets to its resting place at the California Science Center. How did they get the Space Shuttle to LA? On the back of a 747. That’s how big this aircraft is, Space Shuttles ride on top of it.

Space Shuttle Endeavour being carried to LA on a 747. Image: Nasa HQ / Flickr (Creative Commons)

Space Shuttle Endeavour being carried to LA on a 747. Image: Nasa HQ / Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Space Shuttle caused quite a scene on the streets of LA. Image: J Jakobson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Space Shuttle caused quite a scene on the streets of LA. Image: J Jakobson/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A full size Boeing 747 is 231 feet long, and its wings are 196 feet wide. Its fuselage is 32 feet high and the tail section reaches to 63.5 feet. The aircraft weighs just under 200 tons without fuel or passengers – more than enough to sink into the Playa.

This is not quite full size. They are not bringing the 4 engines, the wings, or the tail section – not to mention all the wiring, hydraulics and seats that will be removed. They will chop the Jumbo’s fuselage at 120 feet, about half the total length. In the future they may turn the tail section into another art car, able to move independently and perhaps “form like Voltron” when the 2 art cars get together at the same event. The cut-down Jumbo will weigh 55,000 lbs, which is about the same as a semi-trailer. The fuselage width is 21.3 feet, as opposed to a standard semi-trailer width of 8.5 feet and a road lane width of 12 feet. The 747 will take up 2 lanes of road for the nearly 500 mile journey between the Airplane Boneyard at the Mojave Air and Space Port (CA) to Black Rock City (NV). All care and consideration is being given to the necessary permits for transportation, and minimizing impact on the Playa. They have a moving company that has been “hauling big ass structures for years”.

A 747 dwarfs regular commercial airliners

A 747 dwarfs regular commercial airliners. Image: Airliners.Net (via Kampungkai)

Big Imagination are considering a variety of options for moving the thing around at Burning Man, including towing it behind an aircraft tug. One spokesperson for the DMV has said that the tug needs to be a mutant vehicle too, it can’t just be a stock airport vehicle. Safety third! It would be a shame if this wonderful project was green-lit by the BLM but got killed by BMOrg’s bureaucracy. Big Imagination have been speaking to the DMV and seem to have support at the right levels.

An airport tug is not exactly a small vehicle. Image: Christian Junker/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An airport tug is not exactly a small vehicle. Image: Christian Junker/Flickr (Creative Commons)

I have complete faith that these guys know what they’re doing and can pull this off. Hat’s off to Big Imagination: it will undoubtedly be the greatest thing Burning Man has ever seen, and will be the place to party at Carnival of Mirrors. Expect massive amounts of press coverage – it has started already, with stories in Mixmag, Gigwise, Bangin Beats,  Music Times, Cool Hunting, YourEDM, Dancing Astronaut, EDM Tunes, Less Than 3, EDM Nations, EDM SaucePulse RadioFestival Sherpa, Fest300…and skeptics at Airliners.Net and Yahoo Answers.

They are looking for volunteers in LA (and possiby Tucson) to help them out – that’s the “100 crew”. Get involved at bigimagination.org. Support the project with a donation.

The non-profit Big Imagination arts foundation has a broader vision than just a week’s partying in the desert:

YOU CAN CREATE ANYTHING IN YOUR MIND WITH YOUR IMAGINATION.  OUR QUESTION TO YOU IS WHAT HAVE YOU DREAMED OF?  WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BUILD?  HOW CAN YOU MAKE IT A REALITY?

WE BELIEVE YOU CAN. WE BELIEVE IN YOU! HUMANS ARE INCREDIBLE.

OUR MISSION IS TO INCUBATE AND SUPPORT PROJECTS THAT ARE BOLD, INSPIRING, AND VISIONARY. THESE PROJECTS INCLUDE A WIDE RANGE OF DISCIPLINES; FROM THE ARTS AND SCIENCES TO ENGINEERING AND HUMANITIES, AND SHOULD ALSO INCORPORATE COMPONENTS OF COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION AND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY.

747 pic 3

Here are some further comments from Big Imagination about the project:

Zero wristbands…We are focused on “radically inclusive exclusivity”. Everything will be First Class and top shelf, and everyone is invited. No private events, no “hot chicks only”, no “we don’t know you”. Hey, we WANT to know you. As long as we’re safe and not too full, everyone is welcome. And we should have plenty of space…

I spoke with the BLM this morning.  They said there are zero restrictions on weight and as long as the DMV/BORG give us the green light, we’re fine…this plane has been completely gutted.  No seats, no hydraulics, lots of wiring out, I could go on and on.  The heaviest parts left are the wingbox and and the rear landing gear.  I’d be stunned if we tip the scales over 70,000 lbs. Just to give you an idea, when the front 80′ are scrapped (section 1200 forward, I believe), it comes out to about 30,000 lbs of aluminum and such.  We’re going to section 1480, which includes the wing box and gear.  

We won’t be leaving marks any more than anyone else…

We’re aiming to drive around deep playa but could come into closer to the space between center camp and the man if a single spire of each 3,6&9 o clock trail is removed. That way, we could have a path to drive into the circle…

The 747 is a substantial upgrade to previous aviation-themed art cars.

Black Rock Air Force F-15. Image: Fest300

Black Rock Air Force F-15. Image: Ranger Twilight/Fest300

 

Playa One. Image: Sick Dog/Facebook

Playa One. Image: Sick Dog/Facebook

Playa One at sunset. Image: James Santos/Facebook

Playa One at sunset. Image: James Santos/Facebook

Video

Awaken: A Story of Dreams [Update]

A new video documentary of Burning Man. Spot your friends!

We covered Project Dreambox earlier: St Art Ups Posing As Playa Art

You can read more about their Dreamus venture in Ever Widening Circles:

what if your “dream” isn’t that of an item to be sold or…put out into the world free of charge? That’s where Dreamus comes in. Dreamus.com allows their users to follow dreams they feel are important, add fellow dreamers to friendship lists for private communication, and comment on a users dream. On your own dream page you can also add any number of goals you hope to attain and check them off as they’re completed, giving viewers a clear of where you are in terms of your overall goal.

The Dreambox was the vision of Teddy Saunders, who created the popular “Oh The Places You’ll Go” Dr Seuss-themed viral video, which was blamed by BMOrg for causing the ticket lottery debacle. Saunders was happy to use the Burning Man connection to promote his startup in the media, saying this year to Daily Dot:

 “I think we’re one of the first art installations that gave birth to an online Web platform that reaches beyond the borders of the playa and connects Burning Man participants to the outside world in a timeless way that lasts after Burning Man.”

The Dreambox has been going to Burning Man since 2012, when it raised an initial $29,277 from Burners in a successful Kickstarter campaign. It has now been to Burning Man 3 times.  This year it received further funding in the form of an Art Honorarium grant from Burning Man Arts.

Despite all this, there are no dreams from Burning Man on their web site. Perhaps because these days even dreams need a license from Decommodification LLC…

You think I’m kidding, or being snarky? From Daily Dot:

“Our plan with DreamBox 3.0 was to put a satellite on the DreamBox so that people could immediately share dreams,” Saunders recalls. “However, at the last minute Burning Man’s media department put the brakes on us after their art department already gave us full support as an honorarium project. It’s pretty embarrassing actually. We’re saddened that they are hesitant to allow their participants to share such beautiful intentions.”

Saunders also says there are 12 short films he created about the Dreambox project that the media team won’t allow him to release because Dreamus features a donations option—and that this is an act of “commodifying” the festival.  

Is it really commodifying Burning Man, by sharing Burners’ dreams and helping them come true? Maybe the competition for donation dollars that might otherwise go to the Burning Man Project is the real reason for BMOrg’s media department putting the brakes on something their art department fully supported.

[Update 1/12/15 11:49am Australia]

Paola Baldion, who previously had spoken to us in relation to the Dreambox but asked for her comments to be confidential, has contacted us with this information:

Although (as my previous message states) I am not part of DreamBox anymore, Teddy and I were the creators of it. It was actually my original idea and vision and then Teddy joined me in the project… We both worked together really hard for a month and raised 29k on Kickstarted. Even in the Awaken video Teddy says that we created the Dreambox together. Just so in the future you can say that it was ‘teddy saunders and Paola Baldion’s vision’.

image: Ian Kennedy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

image: Ian Kennedy/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Gerlach School Community Garden

This Kickstarter seems like a good way for Burners to support our local community. Some of us might take fresh food for granted, but in Gerlach it’s 100 miles to the nearest school. All they want is water to get their garden back. There are 5 days to go and so far there’s been very little help – where’s the Burning Man Project when they’re needed?

Thanks to Burner MLewis for bringing this to our attention. Click here to support the project.

 


 

re-blogged from Kickstarter.com:

About this project

Gerlach Community School garden project.

Gerlach, Nevada is a small village situated next to the Black Rock desert (well known because of the Burning Man festival). At the turn of the century the town still inhabited up to 900 people, but when the nearby gypsum plant closed down in 2011 and economy went down in the region and people started to move away and presently the town inhabits 100 people. Eight years ago schoolteacher Elizabeth Jackson and her colleagues started an educational community school garden and greenhouse project in this barren environment. The management of the school acknowledged the importance and adopted the project as fresh vegetables are not widely available in this desert environment. The start of the project was promising and the school garden was so successful that even the town’s elderly benefited from the project as they were served the freshly grown vegetables from the garden during the town’s daily community center senior’s lunch.

Presently the number of children attending the Gerlach school is reduced down to only fourteen in 2014. As the number of kids reduced rapidly, the school board had to take the unfortunate decision to terminate the community garden project as funds were lacking and the water supply was cut off. Now the garden project has been abandoned and people have to travel over 90 miles in order to buy fresh produce at the nearest supermarket.


Why does the Gerlach School community garden need your help?
Fresh vegetables are becoming more and more important as part of our daily nutrition, especially for children and senior citizens. Through school gardens children are educated in how their food grows and what is needed to produce and maintain healthy fresh food on a small scale. But the project is not just educational, it’s also fun to see things grow from a tiny seed to something delicious and tasteful. In order to keep children healthy it’s essential to teach them that fresh vegetables are essential in your daily meals.

Role of the Laboratory for Microclimates:
Next to raising funds for the re-development of the school garden the Laboratory for Microclimates wants to explore alternative solutions concerning the collection of dew and rainwater. Nowadays there are different systems to collect dew water, however, the production process is expensive and can be done in a more sustainable way. Our water collection system consists of recycled PET bottles, grouped circle wise around a plant; the ‘Desert Flower’. A simple and gentle way to capture the maximum dew in the night and make it useful for irrigation of plants in dry regions like Black Rock Desert.
Goal: The Laboratory for Microclimates wants to raise enough money to revitalize the project and supply them with enough water to continue the project for the next five years. To increase the sustainability the Laboratory for Microclimates install desert-flower irrigation system to reduce the use of water.

Risks and challenges

The only risk in this project is that we don’t succeed in raising the money to fund the project, in that case people who invested in this project won’t be charged.
As we speak about the financial part, here’s what’s needed:
1: us$ 800 to jump-start the project the garden and greenhouse by having the gardens reconnected to the town’s water system.
2: US$ 100 for a period of 5 years for the payment of the monthly water bill.
3: US$ 800 to install a sustainable desert-flower hydration system by artist Annechien Meier of the Laboratory through which water-use will be reduced.
4: an additional 8% for the Kickstarter organization (5% to host this campaign and 3% for payment and processing fees).
In total this comes down to an amount of US$ 8,208.00
What will happen to your contribution?
1: Both connections to the town’s watersystem and desertflower irrigation system will be installed.
2: Through the Gerlach School a trust/bank account will be opened to facilitate the monthly payment for the water delivery.
3: A Facebook account will be initiated through which you can watch the progress of the project.
Initiative:
The project is initiated by the Laboratory for Microclimates, an art collective from the Netherlands. Through art and film projects they encourage people to change their own social and ecological environment; www.microclimates.nl. One of its members, filmmaker Gert-Jan Gerlach, visited the town of Gerlach this summer and decided that help was needed to revitalize the school’s project.