More Tickets Mysteriously Appear [Updates]

And…what do you know! More tickets going into STEP. Quelle surprise. It was only yesterday that we were hypothesizing about this – seems like we guessed right.

Good news for Burners who’ve been waiting in the queue could be coming tomorrow. Check your email and your spam filter, because if you don’t respond within 72 hours, or you have a credit card problem, your chance is gone.


we’ve been able to free up some additional tickets for the community. In addition to the tickets sold back to participants, we’ve already put 1,500 tickets into STEP, and this week we’re adding 1,000 more. That means lots of people who have been in the queue for a long time will get tickets this week. Please note, however, the queue is quite long so signing up for STEP at this point is not advised.

We’re also placing 2,000 additional tickets in the OMG Sale, for a total of 3,000

Just over a week ago, on July 17, BMOrg informed us that they had received 2,500 tickets back from Burners through STEP:

Good news! The system is working! Over 2,500 tickets have been sold back through STEP, snapped up by eager Burners yearning for the playa. 

Some were snapped up by buyers, but it appears that BMOrg sat on thousands of tickets rather than putting them in the STEP queue. All of these should have gone straight back out to other Burners waiting in the queue to buy tickets. Instead, BMOrg “put 1,500 tickets into STEP”, and held onto 1,000 of them – by their own admission. Now they’re releasing the other 1,000, bringing them up to 2,500 total in STEP. Why would they do that? Well we have proof they were trying to sell tickets for $270 above face value, and didn’t want people to know about it:

From: Steven Young <>

Subject: Donation Ticket Introduction

Date: June XX, 2014 [snip]

bmp logo

We have a special opportunity to share with you. The Burning Man Founders have made a group of 2014 Burning Man tickets available as thank-you gifts for Burning Man Project to offer to our supporters.For a limited time, your $650 contribution includes a $250 tax-deductible donation to the non-profit Burning Man Project along with the gift of one ticket (valued at $400)

This is a short-term initiative about which we are being discreet; kindly do not post about it on social or traditional media

money-banking-loan-loanshark-loan_shark-debt-lender-rman15502lThis seems to prove my thesis. They held off on STEP tickets trying to scalp them for $650 in the name of “donation” – which was only ever partial anyway. Decommodification LLC got their royalty cut of the donation tickets, just like all the regular ones. Burning Man Project only got $250 of the inflated $650 price. How much of that $250 actually went back out to finance good deeds in the community? Stay tuned for that information (…and when Burners.Me says “coming soon”, it’s probably going to be faster than 7 years).

I can think of no other reason why ALL the tickets sold into STEP, weren’t immediately sold back out through STEP to all the Burners who got in the queue in April and have been eagerly waiting ever since. Isn’t that the entire fucking point of their STEP system? Perhaps not. Why weren’t these 3,000 “extra” tickets that they found stashed under the sofa listed in STEP from day one? ISN’T THIS EVENT SOLD OUT? Why would BMOrg suddenly discover 3,000 tickets (worth a cool $1,140,000), but only add a few of those to STEP at the very last minute? It’s not like they didn’t know the population cap, how many tickets they’d sold, or how many tickets Burners had sold back to the community. It was 2,500 a week ago, they told us.

People have been screaming for these tickets on an hourly basis on social media, and for an unknown reason they still haven’t mailed everyone’s tickets out. This is 2014, millions of tickets get sent by mail every day. Why does BMOrg have to do “a few here, a few there…”? And why do the people who got in early to the STEP queue get punished, just to make room for 3 times as many random chances in the OMG lottery?

For all we know, the extra 2,000 going into OMG also came from STEP – they could be the ones sold by Burners whose tickets arrived in the mail in the last week or two, after the “2,500” were counted. We have to take their word for it that it actually is only 3,000 extra tickets being released into the OMGSTEP pool. It could be 3,300, it could be 9,000. Only a very, very few people are in a position to know the true picture. Certainly, the event cannot claim to be sold out if there are 3000+ more tickets for sale, less than a month before it starts.

How sure can we be that 4,000 Burners (6% of the entire city) really did receive Low Income tickets? Not very. You would have to trust BMOrg, and quite clearly from the information above, ticketing has not been working the way we were told it would. If only 3% of the party got Low Income tickets instead of 6%, would anyone notice? It’s not like anyone runs around with a special wristband, “look at me I’m poor!”

Oh, and as for the commenters chastising us for “promoting scalping”…how big of a problem is scalping to the Burning Man community? How risky is it to buy tickets off the Internet? 9 tickets have been voided. That’s 0.01% of the population. Hope you feel proud of yourselves for the great difference you’ve made to our community, snitches.

As always, if anyone has any more information than this, please share. Work for BMOrg, and have proof that we’re wrong? Then show us, there’s no reason to keep it secret.

Next year, BMOrg, just sell all 68,000 69,613 tickets in one go for $650. Tell Ticketfly to sell them like it is Justin Bieber or Metallica or AC/DC, or almost any other event. Stop dicking our community around, and bank an extra $20 million for yourselves.

[Update 7/25/14 2:10pm]

Burner Marcin has shared his experience selling tickets via STEP, compared with in the past:

As a data point: when I sold my tickets via STEP last year, they were gone in a matter of hours. This year it’s been over 10 days already and still no sale.

If there’s a line, it’s being heavily throttled or really badly implemented.

Yet more proof: you sell a ticket through STEP, it goes to BMOrg who do [unknown] with it before they “choose” whether to sell it for $650 to secret insiders, release it back to the STEP queue, put it in the OMG sale, or do something else. I feel bad for this Burner who has had to wait 10 days to get money from BMOrg (and is still waiting – why?), when they could’ve sold it online and got $900 within 24 hours. They were obviously trying to do the right thing, as BMOrg had instructed them to, but it doesn’t appear that BMOrg is trying very hard to do the right thing by them.

Here’s what BMOrg tell us about STEP:

Tickets released into STEP are sold to participants registered in the program on a first-come, first-served basis. You are welcome to sell your ticket directly to a specific person yourself…

We are unable to tell you your place in the STEP queue. Since many people sign up and then find tickets through other channels, the numbers can be quite misleading and we want to avoid anyone to be needlessly discouraged because they may have had a higher number when in actuality they have a very strong possibility of getting a ticket.

In actuality, if the ticket sold to STEP is not even put in the STEP queue, I don’t think the possibility is very strong at all. In fact the possibility is nil: impossible.

I guess the meaning of “first come, first serve” is not specifically defined, and thus is in the eye of the beholder. To the eyes of BMOrg, it seems to mean “first you come, then we serve whoever we want…and maybe after that we’ll consider selling your ticket into the STEP queue to Burners who’ve been waiting there for months”.


14 comments on “More Tickets Mysteriously Appear [Updates]

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  5. This would have been my 15th year, in a row. But I got locked out. Entered STEP, but nothing. I’m not jumping through any hoops. I’ll sign up again next year calmly. But will not jump through any hoops.
    It’s obvious the old guard is not in te main office. It feels like everything else in the world again.

    • I know you would like to believe the problems are for want of the “old guard” in charge, but my experience is the opposite. It is the inner circle – the Larry LLC recurring board members – that have lost touch with the event. Rather than encouraging it they are exploiting it, not only without regard to the consequences of the hoops they present to those that would attend and contribute, but actively discouraging veterans. (It is evidence of a pattern of several key aspects of NPD, but that is another discussion.)

      By my assessment, the NV Burn is in a process of collapse. Instead of moving the venue each year – reincarnating the city and the man – they have institutionalized and calcified the event. The necessary rebirth and rediscovery is instead happening with the regional burns and other events like Night Market and Figment, based on the creativity of the volunteers. Instead of creating barriers, these other stone soup events respect those that contribute to the common kettle, and they don’t look to profit from the price of a bowl.

      I might return to “Burning Man” if they moved the venue, dropped the ticket price to $199 (still twice the price of a typical regional ticket), and radically include people by just letting people buy tickets online like I did for 5 years. But I doubt any of that will happen.

      Instead, the static NV burn will continue to deteriorate, with artists, theme camps and mutant vehicles finding better venues that encourage their participation rather than constrain it. In their place will be people who come to be entertained, or to exploit others, following the new BOrg spirit.

  6. I am curious as to the number of tickets that have been sold or directed towards volunteers? Within 2012, many thousands of tickets were not utilized. Thus, within 2013, the BMOrg sold more tickets than the stated limits, upon the estimate, from 2012, of many tickets not to be utilized, thusly, the number of people within Black Rock City was 1,613 more people than the stated limit of 68,000. Within 2014, what is the number of tickets more than the stated limits that are being sold or directed towards volunteer labourers? 2,000 tickets? 3,000 tickets? 4,000 tickets?

  7. Another comment from the official blog. Imagine having had to spend 6 months chasing down the tickets you bought at the $650 premium price for early tickets – and still not having them, less than a month away from the event.

    Burner Victoria says:

    “Back in January, after being online all day, I was able to purchase 2 Pre-sale BMan tickets and a Vehicle pass for the Burn this year, but because Ticketfly screwed up the process, I had to do it in two orders. About a month ago, I received 1 ticket in the mail. I emailed Ticketfly, telling them that I was missing 1 ticket and a vehicle pass and they sent back a form email saying, “Don’t worry, be happy! Burning Man tickets are going out!” which didn’t address my problem at all. I emailed the BMan ticket support people and got an immediate form email saying that someone would get back to me within 48 hours, which was a week ago and I haven’t heard anything else from them. I called the BMan hotline, which they say they never check, and left a message. So I am still missing 1 ticket and my Vehicle pass. Ticketfly is a horrible fulfillment company: they screwed up the buying process and now they’ve fucked up the delivery process. I am very anxious that I will not get my missing ticket and pass at all. Help!!”

  8. I like this comment at the official Tin Principles blog from Rocky:

    “Possibly I could invite you to consider contacting Mutant Vehicle owners to see if they need tickets?

    That special breed of Burners has already passed the muster of the Mutant Vehicle application process with the May 15th deadline, which is really just another cool form of invitation and acceptance to Caravansary from the DMV Hotties.

    Yet so many of us didn’t get tickets in the first round.
    I may get an early arrival passes through DMV, but not a ticket? HUH?

    There is no questioning the Mutant Vehicle owner’s commitment, so would it not be an appropriate gesture to offer them the newly released tickets through the DMV mailing list as a sign of appreciation and acknowledgement?

    My Mutant vehicle has cost me twice as much as our Esplanade Placed theme camps.

    My work to keep the vehicle running and out servicing the transportation desires of the participants is a full time job all week.

    Also consider the liability I carry for the mandatory acceptance of riders I do not know, and then, the behavior of my new rider on my vehicle can then get me arrested.

    But here I sit, flagging scammers on Craigslist trying to get the ticket that will allow me to get in the gate so that I can work all day to present my Vehicle to to DMV Hotties for inspection with the letter I received from them back on May 29th.

    And I love every minute of it.

    Just saying….
    Rocky-14th year”

    The least they could do is make sure all their Mutant Vehicle people have tickets. They could double the OMG and still have 1000 tickets available to sell to their public conveyance operators.

    • The BMOrg must do more than solely sell tickets towards the awesome owners of Mutant Vehicles, of which, at present, they are not even making attempts. The BMOrg should gift free tickets towards the owners of Mutant Vehicles, one ticket for golf buggie MVs, and a bigger number of tickets for bigger MVs. Perchance, 1000 tickets total, the awesome MV constructors and owners are deserving of this, they provide entertainment, art, and public conveyance, towards the purchasers of tickets, it is fair. But, the profit from the event would be lower, so this will not occur.

      But, might the owners of Mutant Vehicles be gifted tickets towards them, the BMOrg would then attempt to pen the contract and rules with the MV owners even more favourable towards the BMOrg than at present.

      • ABP, you clearly don’t understand Burning Man. It is an event created entirely and wholly by the genius of the BOrg. Ticket sales to use porta-potties in the desert for a week is the core. Art, theme camps and mutant vehicles are of no consequence to the event. They are only an unavoidable consequence, and have to be discouraged by punitive contracts and stipulations. A fast-track to tickets, let alone free admission would only encourage these aberrations, and the contentious veteran Burners that come with them. In an ideal BOrg world, BRC will be filled with passive, accepting newbies in RVs, buying ice, coffee and fuel, and forming orderly lines using the little green huts.

        Try to get with the program! Jeebus!!

  9. Again, the BOrg has amazingly worked AGAINST the Burner community. Playing games and keeping the tix out of the hands out of Burners prevents theme camps and others from making plans – less veterans and more virgins. Will they ever achieve their goal of 100% newbies?

    These actions are truly disgusting. It specifically violates Community and Decommodification in the Tin Principles(tm). The weak premium ticket market perhaps shows to the BOrg the impact of their duplicity in all things. At some point they may fall prey to a class-action tort lawsuit, if they make enough enemies. Theft by willful deception and conspiracy also comes to mind as criminal charges. But I suppose as part of the aspiring 1% corporate America, they may be safe. After cutting their teeth on manipulating ticket prices, time to launder some drug money and pursue more popular privilidged default world crimes.

    • Ah, you make me laugh Nomad. The Tin Principles indeed. Not to worry, it’s all in the name of “non-profit” so that makes it great. We’re saving the world!

      It’s amazing how many of the hardcore Burners I know are taking a break this year, or have tickets in hand but are still on the fence about going less than 30 days out. They might well get their goal of 100% newbies soon. Who will all be told “Burners.Me is a disinformation site” 😉

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