It’s been interesting to see the 2013 ticket process play out. Myself and some friends got tickets in less than 10 minutes, by getting in the queue in the first 20 seconds. From our point of view, yay Burning Man! Others who got into the queue between 12:00:20-12:00:59 (yup, the first minute) had a wait of hours, if they got tickets at all. There are many stories on the Internet of people waiting the entire day, only to get kicked out because the server accused them of using their unique code too many times. There was obviously no check between “unique code” and “ticket purchase”, only “unique code” and “did they get through to the next screen”. Weak, since the ability of their servers to actually deliver the next page proved to be relatively poor.
Today I’m hearing stories of veteran Burners who forgot about the whole “pre-register then block out an afternoon system” happening this week. Believe it or not, many Burners have real lives and do real things every day, Burning Man and the annual invention of the latest systems and processes by the BMOrg are not top of their minds.
We’ve also heard one horror story of a Burner in the UK, who has been waiting in the queue for more than 2 days. Give up my friend, the tickets have been sold already, they’re laughing at you.
Anyway, if you didn’t get tickets in the Individual Sale, all is not lost. Here’s some of the next steps you can do:
1. Register for STEP. This is a technology Burning Man have invented so that people can sell their tickets back to the BMOrg for slightly less than what they paid for them. Burners who want tickets register for STEP and sit in a queue for these recycled tickets. The number is unknown, and depends on how many Burners just bought tickets but are going to change their mind between now and the end of July (when STEP closes). It could be 10,000 tickets, or it could be 0 tickets. Registration opens noon PST on Feb 28 – another day to block aside to try to log onto their servers, although hopefully this is disconnected from a financial transaction and therefore the queues should be processed much faster. Given that the number of tickets is completely opaque, you’ll want to make sure you get in the queue as close to 12:00:00 as you possibly can. Last year, STEP was closed down 17 minutes after they opened it.
2. Try to get one of the 1000 tickets in the last minute “OMG” sale – you’ll need to double-register again:
For those who decide at the last minute that they Absolutely Must Go To Burning Man, and to further combat scalpers, we will sell 1000 tickets at $380 each, maximum of 2 tickets per person. In order to participate, you must pre-register between Friday, August 2 at 12pm (noon) PST and Monday, August 5, 2013 at 12pm (noon). Details for how to register will be available at http://tickets.burningman.com. This first-come first-served sale starts Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 12pm PST. Tickets purchased through the OMG sale are transferable but will not be shipped — they are held for pick up at Will Call only.
3. Look for a ticket on the secondary market. It’s the same as #1, except the people selling get all of their money back, and maybe even make a profit; Burning Man doesn’t get extra handling fees from these transactions, so they advocate #1 and try to discourage you from #3. The advantage of #3 is you’ll know straight away if you can get a ticket; the disadvantage is the tickets don’t get mailed out to June/July so you might have a nervous few months wondering if you got scammed. Up to you to decide if that’s better or worse than months of waiting in STEP and not being sure if you’re ever going to get a ticket or not. Right now Stubhub has 183 tickets starting at $600, eBay has 2 for $1500, and Craigslist has a bunch of people wanting to pay $400 for them, but no sellers.
4. Get involved in an art project or theme camp. Many of these have blocks of tickets, or access to other tickets. They might sell you one, or gift it to you if you provide enough volunteer labor or other resources.
5. Find someone with a spare. Given how convoluted this process was, once I got through, I bought 2 tickets, knowing it would be easy for me to gift or sell the other one. No, I don’t have a spare for you, sorry! I’ve already double booked this one and have close friends looking for more. But, many out there might be wondering who to give their spare to right now – and others, when they get dumped during the year by their Burning Man dream date, might end up with both tickets spare. Act fast on this one, while those spares your friends and acquaintances are holding don’t have a home yet.
6. Wait til the last minute. In 2012, the week before Burning Man tickets were going well below face value on Craigslist, eBay and Stubhub; and many were simply being given away. Burning Man tried desperately to stop this slide in value, by placing portable signs reading “sold out event” on the way to the party. This was clearly a lie, as attendance was substantially down on last year. This option requires a cool head, patience, and little planning for your Burn – but is likely to work for you, if you really want to go.
7. Sneak in! You wouldn’t be the first, and you probably won’t be the last. They make it difficult to do this, they come into your vehicle and search it, but they can’t search every inch of every RV and trailer. If you’re thinking about jumping the (admittedly massive) fence, be aware that there are all kinds of LEOs with all kinds of high-tech night-vision and other equipment. And one thing they are definitely looking for is skydivers.