Ticket update: Still no decision, “we’re afraid of exceeding the population cap”

We asked what happened to the extra tickets, and Burning Man answered. Well, sort of. They answered in the vague, wishy washy language of politicians. Once again, BMOrg comes through with a spectacular display of indecision and confusion, that does nothing to help Burners and everything to help scalpers. Here’s the Jack Rabbit speaks:

While we’re currently evaluating ways we may be able to release a small number of additional tickets to relieve some of the stress in our community, please understand that we cannot sell an additional quantity of tickets that will risk exceeding our allowable population cap. Happily the new permit does give us a little bit of breathing room, though. Hang tight while we work to find the sweet spot between helping more folks get out to Black Rock City and being too precariously close to going over our allowable maximum.

Let’s dissect this a bit. They are currently 2,900 tickets away from their allowable maximum. However, Maid Marian has stated that they expect 6000 people to leave before the Man burns. So, that gives us 8,900 tickets breathing space – a margin of error that is around 15%. It is interesting that Will calls this situation “precarious”. Is it really that difficult for them to count the number of people they let in the gate, that they are afraid of being wrong by 9000 people? Why wouldn’t they just say “because of population concerns, we are going to have an auction for the remaining 2,900 tickets, and that’s it”.

There are a lot of grey areas in this ticket situation, and have been from the start. Grey areas and fuzzy numbers and different stories from different people, are usually indications of something afoot, someone cooking the books. Perhaps when all the insiders have sold out all their family and friends ticket allocations for $1000 each, then BMOrg will decide to sell a few thousand more tickets on the gate at the last minute – for cash, of course.

How the hell do they count this any way? What is the difference between the “population cap” in the permit, and the “number of tickets sold”? The BLM gets paid based on the money that gets generated, ie number of tickets sold. They get 3%. If the number of people there, is higher than the number of tickets sold, then the BLM is missing out on money. How can this happen, other than Burning Man letting friends and family in for free, or selling extra tickets at the gate?

I suspect that there will be a few more tickets finding their way to theme camps, art cars, art projects, key individuals and groups, and others on the secretive World’s Biggest Guest List.

5 comments on “Ticket update: Still no decision, “we’re afraid of exceeding the population cap”

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  4. “What is the difference between the “population cap” in the permit, and the “number of tickets sold”?”

    There are free tickets and there are people who (probably) don’t need tickets. Perhaps some of the free tickets are included in the 58k, but “sold” could well be literal, with only the reduced price volunteer tickets being counted above the 57k announced public and guest list tickets.

    At any rate, I’m sure the population cap the BLM is interested in includes everybody regardless of whether they have a ticket. From an environmental impact perspective, the BLM rangers have as much as an impact as any other participant, but I don’t think they need tickets. Nonticketed people counted towards the population cap could well include: law enforcement (BLM, sheriffs, health inspector), ambulance, DPW, BMORG members/employees, BMORG vendors*.

    That probably doesn’t account for 3900 people (although if free volunteer tickets aren’t included in “tickets sold” it may be getting close to 3900). But that’s why tickets sold doesn’t match the population cap, and why there aren’t necessarily 2900 extra tickets that will become available (note that Will Chase said “SOME additional tickets to become available”, not “2900 additional tickets”)

    *In case you haven’t figured it out yet, when BMORG talks about “vendors”, they don’t mean “people selling water and blinkies”. They mean “nonparticipants working at Burning Man”. The people who pump the portapotties, water the roads, deliver ice, the Green Tortoise drivers, the locksmith, other delivery drivers, and probably some heavy equipment operators are all “vendors”. Vendors working for theme camps need tickets. Vendors working directly for BMORG may very well not need tickets.

    **2900 tickets is 58,000 +5%. There are no missing 100 tickets, and the number isn’t that strange once you realize the math behind it.

  5. They are not sell outs and they are trying to do the best in a tough situation. They are caught in between the restrictions of the State agencies and the explosive growth of the event.

    The cap is mostly to do with the Traffic & Safety issues (Read use fear of safety and traffic as a cover to control and generate a $1,000,000 a year in revenue) and the trash left on the side of the road. Maybe if people were not such slobs and government wasn’t up our ass all the time, we would be able to party 200,000 strong.

    With 65,000 tix available and 125,000+ people wanting in there are likely to be some folks left out, upset, and crying.

    In the dirt!

    Not officially affiliated with BM in any way,

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