The Secret of Getting A Burning Man Ticket

2014 happiness by the Universe alvin gaela

Happiness by the Universe

Alvin Gaela was one of about 3000 people who showed up on the Facebook Group asking if anyone had a spare ticket, despite their express rule forbidding that. This was no problem for Alvin:

I’m just wondering if I can get some advice. I tried at every sale and had no luck so now I’ve flown in from Australia because I’m determined to finally make it this year. I’ve been treating this ticket hunt thing like a full-time job for the past week and I was wondering what my options would be, going forward.

I don’t have some sad story to shill. I’m just some dude who met a group of traveling burners 2 years ago and they changed how I looked at life. I owe part of my current state of happiness to them and I promised them that I’d see them there some day. They’ve planned their camp for me to be there and have frantically been searching for a ticket for me but now they’ve left to set up.

So I’ve decided that it isn’t a question of if I’m going, but when. Assuming I don’t find a ticket in time, how likely is it that some will pop up after it starts? I want to go, but can’t afford a $1000 ticket to show up late. Or should I just head to reno, and just actively search for tickets there?

I’m so close and it would be a shame if this just wasn’t the year, so I’m not ready to accept that until it’s actually too late.

Either way, have a wicked burn and thanks for any input.

On August 23rd, when he posted this, Burning Man had been sold out all year, and was just about to open. There were thousands of disappointed Burners, who had been waiting patiently in the STEP queue. Thousands more were disappointed when the OMG lottery was over in a few minutes, despite thousands more tickets mysteriously being added. Stubhub had stopped selling tickets, perhaps because their system wouldn’t accept sales so close to the event’s start time. The last ones I saw go were $1700 each. They went, being replaced with $1900 pair. And then even they weren’t available.

Alvin’s post raised some skeptical eyebrows.

Me: “There’s a sold out event and I want to go. What can I do?”

a) don’t go.
b) buy a ticket (you might have to pay more because it is sold out).
c) sneak in.

“but I don’t like those options! Isn’t there a way someone can just gift me a ticket because I am a total random from an alien country? Maybe I will go and beg on the street with a cardboard sign, and someone who paid for a ticket will think it’s better to give it to me than sell it for $1000”

If you were dumb enough to get a flight from Australia to Burning Man without a ticket, just pay the $600 stupid tax and buy one.

AG: Yeah, that’s a terrible read of the situation. I’m willing to pay if I have to and I’m not out there begging for someone to gift me a ticket.  I came here to see my friends but I also know how happy it would make them to see them in their element.

Me: There are major sound camp DJs and people who have been working on art cars for months looking for tickets right now. They are willing to pay too. This group has seen underage girls ready and willing to do naked photo shoots. So what makes you so special? Do you have any tricks that you can perform? What gifts do you have ready for the Playa?

AG: You’re making it sound like I’m saying I’m entitled to one… Which isn’t the case at all. My friend’s ticket got lost in the mail and I was going to gift her mine if I found one.

If you really want to know, though: I was planning to teach attraction psychology. A lot of people have such wonderful things to offer the world, but it often gets overlooked by unconsciously doing the wrong things before they get the chance to share it.

Anyway, I’d much rather not let this turn into a back-and-forth because that wasn’t the point of this thread. I get what you’re saying, I disagree with how you’re reading the situation (in your defence, I haven’t typed out my life story for you) but if you don’t have any better suggestions, I’m gonna continue looking for a ticket.

DG: don’t engage this dude, you’re just going to encourage him. He didn’t even bother to read the group header that says

AG: I asked for advice in the first post for a worst case scenario. The leads were just a bonus.

Me: the Law of Attraction should manifest a ticket for you any minute now

BK: I’m not supposed to tell you this cos it’s a Secret™, but have you tried visualizing what it is that you desire?

AG: The law of attraction that you’re referring to actually has nothing to do with the attraction psychology that I mentioned earlier. You might wanna try and add some more snark in your snark next time. Thanks again for everyone that had something useful to say. See you when I get there.

Me: We’re all watching with bated breath to see how your mastery of attraction psychology works out for you in this ticket quest. Personally, I think you’d have better luck using The Secret.

I can see why Alvin might have thought I was just being snarky. In fact, I’m all for magick. It happens, and it especially happens at Burning Man. It’s like they create a giant magickal field. I have noticed, though, that many Burners are against this idea. “Science doesn’t allow for magick”, they cry…obviously unaware that the word “scientist” has only been around since 1834, while the concept of powers and realms beyond the five senses exists in every single culture of humanity across time. What is time, anyway? Are space and time the same? Can Burning Man alter one’s perception of spacetime? But I digress…back to the story at hand.

By August 26, things were looking bleak. Alvin’s determination didn’t waver, even in the face of snark and discouraging facts.

So my friend leaves tomorrow and I have to decide if I’m going/where she’s dropping me off. Am I best off camping out at Reno or Gerlach? I won’t have a car so I’ll be hitching everywhere once I get off. My other option is that my other friend will loan me her van IF (and only if) I can lock down a ticket.So it’s either I stay here and try to wait for someone to release a ticket and wait for me to drive there. Or risk it at one of the towns/cities close by. I can’t forgive myself if I didn’t try until at least Friday. What would you recommend that I do?

CptSmashy: If you try to loiter in Gerlach without any kind of transportation, you run a good chance of getting arrested when the sheriff’s department tells you to hit the road.

You could feel his determination starting to falter a little bit, as information trickled in from the naysayers.

I’ve been reading up and it was only last year that it started selling out completely. And this year, I know that there’s more of a demand…so it makes me wonder if tickets will really be dropping last-minute from people realizing they can’t make it/things pop up.

I know that my chances are worse this year…but I still want to try. I just want to make sure I’m being realistic that there’s even a decent chance that I’ll find one.

By this time, I was starting to root for the guy. He sure was determined.

Well, I’m pleased to say the magick worked. On September 5, Alvin reported back:

Well, guys…I waited at will call and eventually found a ticket. Here’s my album in case anyone’s interested:…

Thanks for all the encouragement & have a great life.

At least two of us were happy for him:

BK: Well done. Glad to hear you got in, even if flying all the way from oz without a ticket was a fucking stupid idea. Sometimes we gotta do the stupid-looking thing.

Me: It’s not stupid…if you’re a Master. Well done, proof the model works.


Hat’s off to Alvin, for demonstrating the power of The Secret. Or Attraction Psychology, whatever you want to call it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Cultivate good karma and fierce determination, and never, never, never give up. Dreams can come true, and your actions and attitude and intentions can help them to.

As Calvin Coolidge said in my all-time favorite quote:

persistenace 2


I contacted Alvin and asked him if he’d share his story. I offered to publicly apologize for suggesting he pay the stupid tax, but he wouldn’t hear of it. Looking back on our dialog, I’m not so sure that I ever completely doubted him. I gave him some options, tried to give him some of the background on the current situation so he could make an informed decision, and told him we were all interested in the outcome. He chose to follow his heart over his head, and it worked out for him. Usually, such things do, and it helps to be clear about them. Set your heart on something, and the Universe will immediately present you with obstacles. With persistence and determination, you can get past any obstacle. Once the obstacle is passed, you get confronted with another obstacle. Sooner or later, the Universe runs out of obstacles to put in your way, and hey presto! Your dream comes true.


This book should be required reading in grade school

Thanks Alvin, great story, good effort, and I hope Burners can learn a lesson from your persistence,  attitude, gratitude, and most of all…humility. These are the type of once-were-Virgins we want to add to the population of our Veterans club.


By Alvin Gaela:

2014 alvin gaelaI’m a Canadian who met a group of about 6 American women (and their friends) while traveling through Thailand. I was an impressionable 21 year old who was on my first extended trip (with no plan). They didn’t know it, but through the conversations that I had with them, they changed the way that I looked at life. They talked about Burning Man quite a lot and it seemed like such a positive place…so I promised them that I’d make it some day.
Australians will get this

Australians will get this

2 years passed and after countless countries, I ended up living in Australia for a little bit. A bunch of things happened and after 7 months of living there, I decided it was time to move on again. It was about that time, so I messaged one of the girls that I became closest with. I told her that I finally want to try and make it this year, but it wouldn’t make sense to head to the other side of the world if I couldn’t work there. She lined it up and I bought a plane ticket there. Before even getting here, I tried for every single sale, but with no luck.

I finally touched down and treated ticket-hunting like a full-time job, but still with no luck. When the first group of people left to set up camp, one of them told me, “I wouldn’t hold my breath, but I know that if a ticket can be found, you’ll find it. Here’s the key to my van; take it if that’s what it takes to get you over there”. A couple of days passed and I still couldn’t find a ticket. I even came so close that this chick hit a deer and was selling her ticket down the street – unfortunately, I called a minute too late and she sold it to some guy that was willing to drive 8 hours to come pick it up.
 Finally, my last friend left for Burning man on the Wednesday and I decided to risk it. I had to get in and I wasn’t giving up until the man actually burned. Ironically, it was one of these women that taught me to stop worrying about things; the old me would never have gone into the desert with no ticket and willing to wait for the small chance that I’d find one. 
2014 alvin gaela maskWe got there and I asked around for a couple of hours. Eventually, I told my friend to go in without meI gave her all of my stuff and told her that I wouldn’t need it because I wasn’t staying outside of this gate. Eventually, I sat down beside the line at will call because I’d been on my feet all day and I needed a break. A guy got out of his car and offered to sell a ticket at face value! I was even luckier because another person that I met earlier on that day stepped down to let me have the ticket.
I hitched a ride into the city with these 2 women and the rest was history.
I could never ask the universe for a ticket as I feel like that would be asking for too much. But I did ask it to help me be patient until I found one.
Anyway, I’m happy that I got in. It was everything that I expected it to be, and more. I met some great people and got to see the old friends who changed my life while they were in their own element…so I’m grateful. They were catalysts for me becoming the traveling hippie that I am today (not in the freeloading sense, but just in how I see things)…so a big shout out goes to PermaGrin camp at 5:15 and Cinnamon
2014 canadian acculturation alivn gaela2014 barbie death camp alvin gaela2014 hippie hunger games alvin gaela
2014 camel alvin gaela

8 comments on “The Secret of Getting A Burning Man Ticket

  1. So going forward, the will call line is gonna be like a Dead show parking lot, people milling about looking for “miracles.” Lovely.

  2. Really great post. I love reading stuff like this. Kudos to Alvin for hanging there, the blogger and the universe for delivering 😉

    ps. Literally read the alchemist for first time over the weekend. So some of this resonated with me particularly well. cheers x

  3. Whoops. It’s 5:30 and Cinnamon. My bad, guys.

    Thanks again for all the love. And I should really give a massive thank you to the chick who suggested waiting at will call. It didn’t even cross my mind.

  4. Glad to see you made it in.
    I was the guy parked next to you with my 4 year old son. We spent the night in the willcall parking lot and finally gave up the next morning. Maybe we’ll see you next year.

  5. Your annoying back and forth with him was just that, annoying! Were you bored or something? Why waste your time being an asshole to someone who’s just looking for advice on something?

    • the context of that is how many people were on that group – and crashing mine – asking for tickets. Seriously, hundreds. Each one got trolled to various degrees, for not reading the clear statement at the top asking them not to post for tickets. By the time Alvin got to it, even the trolls were exhausted.

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