Ticket Chaos: Vehicle Passes now $500+, Tickets $1500+ [Updates]

People Waiting In LineWant to go to Burning Man 2014, Caravansary? Well, sorry, you’re SOL. Today’s “Individual Sale”, of 38,000 tickets at $380 each, sold out in about 42 minutes (according to the Huffington Post), or perhaps 20 minutes (according to Burners). Many Burners report logging on at seconds or minutes after Noon PST when the sale began, trying for an hour, only to be told that there were no more tickets available. Other Burners logged in at the same time and had “no problems”, with the process taking about 20 minutes – which seems like a long time to complete a fairly basic e-commerce transaction, particularly given that they already had captured most of our details in the pre-registration.

scalping politicianTickets are now available on the secondary market, with individual tickets priced as high as $1545. As we predicted, Burning Man has created a whole new black market around vehicle passes, which are selling for more than $500. Expect these prices to drop closer to the event date, once insiders scalpers have exhausted the pool of suckers and are left holding a glut of tickets. Also, don’t be surprised if the population cap increases this year and there are more tickets issued, now that the growth-impeding issue of vehicles on the road has been neutralized.

Did Burning Man really sell 38,000 tickets in 20 minutes today? Or did they just say they did, with the expectation that they can keep selling tickets all year long through STEP? We’ll never know, but we do know for a fact that in the past they’ve claimed a sold out event and then attendance actually dropped from the previous year.

Here’s some of the viewpoints of Burners about the sale process:

Luke  I’m heartbroken my 2 best friends scored tickets. I didn’t and we all clicked the link at the same time. I gotta say even though I didn’t get lucky the process was heaps better than last year. Great work guys!

Monique I logged on at exactly noon and 24 minutes later was told no more tickets available at this time. Bummed.

Stacey  I was only able to buy one. Not two. My boyfriend did not get one. We are truly bummed

Scott Nice work! I got on right at 12 and had my tickets in ten minutes

Lynsey  Got tickets within 8 mins clicked on at one second past ! Excited to go home 

John I got tickets, but punched in exactly on time. I had two computers going, the other for a close friend. No dice with his  I know of others who punched in punctually but came up empty-handed. Luck of the draw…STILL, PLENTY of other opportunities and SALES to come!

So Not fantastic .. Got this “code not valid” with my confirmed code for about 10mins before getting a sale is closed  

Cassie I want tickets so bad.. How frustrating to wait in line and not get any for 1 hour. Now I’m on the search! I need 2 with 1 car camping pass.

Adam logged in right on time, had 2 tickets in cart, when I went to check out, would not take my credit card info – for THREE different cards. called my bank, they told me ticketfly was rejecting the charge, not the bank. 0 tickets. so frustrated.

Lawrence  They double charged my account, then the sale didn’t go through. Missing 900$ from my account and have no tickets.

Farrah My entire camp secured tickets within the first 20 minutes. Very smooth and so much better than last year. Super excited to be in the official planning phase again!

Robert Well, I clicked on within a few seconds of noon, waited over a half hour till my turn came only to be told all tickets were already in shopping carts. Oh well, went 14 times, perhaps time to try something else this year.

Soleo Horrible! Servers crashed, half of my camp(long time burners) all sitting waiting since exactly 12:00 didn’t get tickets and already see tuns of tickets all over stubhub and ebay.

Jen  Nooooooooo. Screen refreshed for 54 minutes and I didn’t get my ticket. So unbelievably disappointed

Liz Got tickets it was a breeze. Last year I was online for 4 hours to get a ticket.

Kevin Got on at 12:04. told to not refresh for 45 minutes, then told to refresh every 15 seconds. got shut out. I’d like to think that 38,000 people were in front of me and that it was not computer error….oh well hello STEP!

Megan Submitted payment and everything but never got confirmation and money wasn’t taken from bank acct 

Nicolette No tickets. Sat in the ‘auto 30 sec refresh’ for an hour until I got a message that said no more tickets available. Most of the people I know did not get tickets.

Justin I was in line & all registered when i got kicked off.. went back to the site with code to find that all tickets were sold out! This new system (ticketfly) was a terrible idea to try to handle all of the ticket influx! Next time use a system that worked properly.

Blues Bob It sucked. An hour in line and all I got was the “sold-out” message”. I’ll try other avenues, but I hate the unpredictability of not having one. It’s fucked planning for a trip you’re uncertain you’re actually taking. And this was going to be my last year for awhile.

Simon No joy here, I’m just stuck with “We’re currently processing a high volume of orders” in a loop that goes round and round forever, for the last 17 minutes.

Holly I have 9 withdrawals from account of 399.00 for individual tickets starting at 301 pm transaction 2nd approved by bank then ticket fly kicked back I called them they say banks fault no they put money right back ticket fly blamed bank then burning man …. I can’t even begin to tell u how upset I am … After money being held by ticket fly for 22 minutes then getting look for confirmation email from us in 2 minutes or try again …. no email try again and same bs …. I held back in 2011 to give others chance to go and 2012 for personal reasons to deal with this …. I just want to know why the fuck it happened that I didn’t score a ticket when money was withdrawn and I have proof at 301 pm … wow

Sergent Pepper it was 34 minutes…22000 still in queue too. Just heard a news report about it

Seems like Ticketfly is maybe not so fly after all.

Last year we helped Burners deal with this with our story “Help! I Didn’t Get a Ticket – 7 Ways You Can Still Go”. Most of the information still applies. We don’t know yet when STEP opens, but the dates for the OMG sale are:

Thursday, July 31, 2014 12pm (noon) PDT: OMG Sale ($380) registration begins
Monday, August 4, 2014 12pm (noon) PDT: OMG Sale ($380) registration closes
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 12pm (noon) PDT: OMG Sale ($380) starts

(source: official Burning Man site).

[Updated 2/26/14 5:03pm]

So far 61,000 tickets have been sold (or reserved to be sold). Many tickets are gifted to volunteers and regionals. The 2013 Special Recreation Permit specified a maximum population of 68,000. According to Wikipedia, that’s exactly how many were there last year, no more, no less. Burning Man themselves disclosed the number as 69,613. The 4-year environmental assessment supported a population of 70,000. Bottom line: there are more tickets out there. In the past, the longer you waited, the less you paid – our prediction is that this year’s pattern will be the same.

Thanks to Burner Art LAescapist for this image – looks like some sucker paid $5000 for a ticket. Probably a stolen credit card!

5000 ticket

30 comments on “Ticket Chaos: Vehicle Passes now $500+, Tickets $1500+ [Updates]

  1. Sure maybe these ‘newbies’ don’t have the collectors edition of
    ‘Slapshot’ or know that ‘Brass Bonanza’ by the now defunct Hartford Whalers
    was the most epic sports song ever, but at
    least they are starting to get it. m at the end of that search today and I want to share with you, what has worked
    for me over the years. If so, then you are in the appropriate location buddy.

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  3. i have an EA pass and a ticket but didn’t get a parking pass and now they are not avail. this is stupid – I know ask around… right. I’m busy organizing the ride and the gear and the rentals… shouldn’t have to deal with this, ticket should include parking.
    i understand they have more tickets than vehicles but this is silly. an EA pass should include parking. anyone have one? i’m told not to pay more than face value.. okay…where ?

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  5. I’m glad I gave up on this carnival. It’s not worth the stress, work, and effort for an event that has become culturally insignificant despite the pretensions of its organizers or those whose egos are wrapped up in saying “I go to Burning Man!”.

  6. Guess if you want to go to Burning Man next year, you’ll have to PARTICIPATE and volunteer! They get tickets early and well, pretty much guaranteed. I like this… kind of makes more of the festival…

  7. Please don’t spend $1000 on a ticket or $300 on a vehicle pass on the secondary market this month. Take a breath and wait for the true secondary market (STEP, real burners whose plans change, etc) to build up over time. Everything that’s on sale right now is from shitty scalpers who knew it would sell out and are capitalizing on the panic of those who missed tickets. Supporting them will only make this problem worse in the future.

    Two years ago when the same thing happened, $1000 tickets right after the sale, and then they were selling *below* face value the week before the burn.

    Of course, this situation sucks for Burning Man in general. People who decide to go last minute are far less prepared and less invested doing the huge amount of work throughout the year that makes the event awesome. Glad the directed group sale exists.

  8. Clicked the link at ten seconds after noon and got mine in a little less than half an hour. Had two browsers open with two separate profiles because I was concerned that an early vehicle pass purchase might prevent me from buying in this sale. It wasn’t a problem and I only bought one ticket with my real profile – but both browsers sent me to the purchase page at about the same time.

    Based on the comments I’ve seen, I feel like everybody who logged in was thrown into a random pool of purchasers who were arbitrarily given the ability to buy tickets whenever server space (or whatever) opened up…

    Anyway, life has prevented me from going since 2008 and I’m glad I don’t have to worry about this year.

  9. Either tie tickets to names/ID numbers/email addresses and require an official transfer to sell (at face value only), which removes gifting tickets as an option, OR get used to capitalism rearing it’s ugly head and tourists ruining the Event. My opinion: require some form of unique ID (state/passport). Not being able to easily gift tickets is better than allowing the tourists to wreck the event from the inside out.

    • The festival is all bloody tourists at present. The 2013 Gate Census had 42% newbies, three of four had two or fewer previous years on playa, and seven of eight had four or fewer years on playa. BMOrg says it is too much work for gate to possibly match tickets to name, but has no issues with gate volunteers being blitzkrieged with vehicles sans vehicle pass. Bloody hypocrites.

      I obtained our two tickets priorly, but 2014 will be identical to 2013. There will be 29,000 more spectating newbies who are doing nothing towards throwing this incredible party, replacing Burners who have contributed their souls towards it. The BMOrg could do much more towards getting tickets in the hands of the now-former Burner community, but that wouldn’t be as profitable as selling tickets to non-contributing tourists over the internet.

      And, people wonder why Burners turn jaded towards the very few in the BMOrg making these bloody, but extremely profitable, decisions. My heart goes out to all our contributing Burner mates who won’t be holidaying on the playa this year.

      • Please don’t assume first-timers are “tourists” who don’t participate. Almost every newbie I encountered in 2012 and 2013 was actively participating in theme camps and other ways. They served me tea in the Sarawati Tea House, brought motorized kite boards to the playa, designed very cool Burning Man pendants using horseshoe nails (worth keeping), helped build FractalPlanet’s massive infrastructure, and shared meals with neighbors. I’ve been inspired by how so many first-timers have embraced and embodied the Burning Man principles. Everyone thought newbies would ruin it when they started to show up in droves. That hasn’t been my experience. I understand the frustration of having to worry about tickets every year, but the only people who obviously deserve contempt are the scalpers.

      • Lorene, I, also, very much heart wide eyed newbies, many attempt to assist, I have zero quarrel with any individual newbie, most are very awesome people. My only quarrel is with two or three BRC LLC former share owners whom are doing rubbish decisions purposed towards them becoming minted, in place of doing decisions purposed towards the benefit of the existing Burner community.

        40% newbies each annum is way too huge, it has changed the culture on the playa. The 2013 Gate Census counted 42% newbies, 20.2% with one previous time on playa, 11.3% with two, 13.2% with three or four, and solely 13.2% with more than four previous times on playa. 2014 is to be more of the same maths.

        How does Burning Man avoid becoming a spectating tourist festival with these maths? It cannot do so. At present times, it’s second year students attempting to teach the culture towards first year students. The culture, within the city proper, has radically changed from even five annums prior. Burning Man was a nonconformist, counter cultural event, the entire BRC being an awesome Cacophony of individualized insanity pulsating of music and life at most hours of the daytime and nighttime with most Burners contributing towards the throwing of the party. The present day culture, within the city proper, has changed to be mainly of middle class conformity with cargo short attired attendees coming to view and experience the awesomeness of the Esplanade camps, the mutant vehicles, the art pieces, the man burn, the temple burn, 10 o’clock, and 2 o’clock rather than radically participating by attiring outlandishly, interacting warmly with most strangers, and contributing significant efforts towards the throwing of the party. On the individual newbie level, there is zero wrong with that. Even at the 10,000 newbie level, there is zero wrong. But, at the 40% newbie level, 29,000 newbies each annum, and less and less veteran Burners, the culture changes towards the culture of defaultia, the maths are too huge.

      • 1993: 1000 people. 1994: 2000 people. 1995: 4000 people. 1996: 8000 people. What was the percentage of newbies in those years? You can do the math yourself, but by my calculations, there had to be more than 40% newbies in those years.

        That’s OK though, I hear it sucked back then. Thank god BMORG took over in 1997 and reined in the 100% year over year growth rate that was ruining the event.

      • Seriously, can you people who bitch about 40% newbies point to a time when it was ever less than 40% newbies? I’m so sick of hearing this lame argument. Maybe the type of newbies who are coming now is different then the type of newbies who were coming back in the day, but there has ALWAYS been a huge percentage of newbies.

      • KGB, 90’s newbies didn’t displace Cacophony Society members and seasoned Burners, as is being done in present day. Newbies totaled solely 4,000, not 29,000 as in 2013. Even Christopher, of Soul Train mutant vehicle and Black Rock Roller Disco fame, an embodiment of Burner culture, failed to gain a ticket. Please have honour and converse with your mates laboring at organisation HQ to gain him a gratis ticket.

      • implicit in your well stated argument ABP, is the idea that there is some control over the “40% newbies” ratio by BMOrg. They specifically stated they were doing that in the past, when they had the ticket lottery system of 2012. The “Burner Profile” asks how many times you have been to Burning Man. Does Ticketfly’s software reference this database, and use this data to allocate priorities in the queue? Now that is an interesting question. How many of the 22,000 “still waiting in the queue” were long timers? Was the queue sorted based on number of burns, with 0 at the top?

      • Much obliged again, burnersxxx. By appearances, it was random luck, the organisation comprehends few long time burners venture to the playa. Of 2013, solely 13.2% ventured more than 4 previous times, the organisation can’t be desirous of reducing this numeral further. The organisation increased the 2014 directed sale from 10,000 to 15,000 for their city to be built for them, they comprehend the need for contributing long time Burners to venture to the playa.

        The organisation also must exhibit caring for long time Burners. Perchance, express empathy towards those who failed to gain tickets, while supplying tickets by the theatre door towards those who make contributions to Burner culture. But, not even stating the organisation HQ moved, whom is the chairman of the board of the Burning Man Project, whom is lead of the Burning Man LLC for profit fully owned subsidiary, no substantial dialog involving the Burner community towards the future of the event and of Burner culture, and, slapping us by the rubbish $40 vehicle levy, state pantloads.

        I comprehend the lack of information of the organisation transition during the political votes a few months previously, but, the present is the time for new leaders to emerge from the Burning Man Project board to lead the city and the culture into the future.

  10. Sigh. This has happened for the past few years – tickets sell out quickly. Then there’s a glut of tickets available right before at cost or less. Do you all have such bad memories?

    • The problem is, sane folks who like to plan ahead, are radically self-reliant and actual prepare things for participation on the Playa *can’t* just “wing it” and bank on getting a ticket a week before the event. They want to have a ticket in hand first. Makes sense, no?

      • Well any smart and sane folk will plan ahead knowing that they will find a ticket at face and not sweat it. The more involved one is, the higher possibility one shall fin a tix

  11. Having lost out due to computer gremlins in the past and conscious of Mercury being in retrograde, I schlepped my laptop down to the head office of my Internet service provider for a faster, stabler connection. Used the “copy link” method, set my clock to show seconds, and hit “Send” on the hour. I also pre-registered on TicketFly to streamline the process. Got in within 2 seconds and completed my transaction within 5 minutes. I’m grateful, but it’s difficult to celebrate when none of my closest friends got tickets.

  12. This sale really means nothing, the after market is always a surplus of tickets. if you want a ticket they are always available, no excuses. Come July/August, mark my words

    • Sparklepony speaks the truth, at least in my experience. I’m been attending since 2001 and every year someone offers me a ticket at face value or discount, a few weeks before the event. It’s gotten to the point I don’t even stress about the main sale, because I know tickets will be available in August. Patience and uncertainty are difficult, I know.

      • That works well if you live in a major burner community. If you live far away, or in a remote area, your chances of there being extras are much slimmer.

  13. yep. Signed in at noon. Waited till about 12:24, got a message that my registration number was invalid. Signed back in by 12:30 got told they were sold out.

  14. I got my ticket in 4 minutes. But given the chaos and scalping every year it really is time to print tickets with names on them and only allow re-selling via STEP

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