Thanks a million to Anonymous Burner for sharing this timely evidence. BMOrg doesn’t want to explain how Commodification Camps got so many tickets to an event that was sold out in February, so it’s left to Burners.Me and our wonderful community of readers.
These tickets were offered secretly to some Theme Camps, as well as Commodification Camps – right up to the last minute. A special code was required to apply for them. Read the fine print: although they call it “Donation Ticket”, only $250 of the $650 is actually tax-deductible.
2500 tickets were sold back to STEP by Burners, but only 1500 Burners in the STEP queue got tickets. BMOrg held onto 1000 for some purpose – probably this one – before saying they would release another 1000 tickets into STEP, and an extra 2000 into their OMG sale. They closed the STEP queue early, and we have no way of knowing how many STEPpers got tickets, and how many were left wanting after 3 months of waiting patiently.
Here’s a copy of the original email from BMOrg staffer Steven Young, which was leaked to us by another source in June.
From: Steven Young <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Donation Ticket Introduction
Date: June XX, 2014 [snip]
[Update 10/13/14 10:24am]
A couple of Burners have wondered about the date and time on the screenshots above. It is midnight August 25 – that’s when the event started (yes, we know, technically it started at 10am Sunday 24th – blame BMOrg for being confused, not us).
However, this block of 10 tickets was sold after the OMG sale. Anonymous Burner tell us:
the order date isn’t on there. I do know for certain that the transaction occurred post OMG sale! Tickets were “sold” as part of a package deal to mates who flew into Bman, got picked up at the airport and checked into their cube. Each had a bike and or scooter waiting for them and a survival pack, with access to a “handicap registered” golfcart.…and a whole lot of expectation based on the price they paid. Expectations that no Real Burner would ever have and no Camp could have ever fulfilled without everyone pitching in.
These camps are not without their headaches! Many of those failed expectations have led to people wanting their money back or not paying and the dominoes fall from there. There are many who have not gotten paid as promised for their time and energy put in, cargo containers are being held hostage as payments haven’t been made to the trucking co. while the higher ups have taken their cut off the top.
The community pays the price, while the bosses bank whatever cash they can get their hands on. A familiar story.
This revelation highlights further
lies truth-stretching from BMOrg. Steven Young said in his email “this is a short-term initiative about which we’re being discreet” – that was in early June, and they were still selling the tickets right up to the start of the event at the end of August.
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@Nomad, when was the last time you attended TTITD? It seems like we are talking about different events… my experience is it’s a pretty free space with a lot of people doing really fantastical, wild stuff…
The minimal restrictions are basically the laws of the feds, state and county, nothing really new there. Lets see… other rules: park your car, no trash in the porta potties, leave no trace, bring water and everything else you need to survive and thrive, no fires on the unprotected playa, no fireworks or fire arms, no vending, no pets, no going outside of the perimeter fence… am I missing any here? Are any of these rules not equally applied to all?
Anyways, other than those basic rules, my experience is it’s a pretty radically free place to do anything my little heart desires, 24/8.
It seems what people are calling for is some sort of rules about how much a camp can charge in dues, no paid/hired workers, no pampering with costumes or segway scooters, no private privies and fancy private meal plans without actual participation. Basically, no for-profit donater theme/safari “comodification” camps allowed, with access to theme camp allotment, donation rate tickets… right?
If there were indeed no profits, and donations and gifting popsicles are not enough participation… what would be and how would that be judged?
That’s BMOrg’s line, alright – they’re all Turnkey camps, just somewhere on the same spectrum, and it’s unfair to discriminate based on price or number of paid workers. That’s not what Burners are calling for, read the thousands of comments on the petition and at burningman.com. It’s really not that hard to understand, and I don’t think this strategy of redefining the problem away with rhetoric is working.
I think what upsets the community most about Commodification Camps is they are selling us as a spectacle, and at the same time excluding us with wristbands and VIP areas. Nobody cares if people fly in or stay in a nice RV. We care about special tickets to this group, even after the OMG sale, and seemingly STEP tickets not immediately going to Burners in the queue. We care about different rules and standards being applied to these camps, justified “because radical inclusion”. Theme camps should have high standards of interaction to get placement, these camps are ignoring all that to make profit and getting treated like special snowflakes by the BMOrg.
Nomad has already laid it out quite well here: http://burners.me/2014/09/14/commodification-camps-and-the-tin-principles/
Also look at the contrast with how they treated Pee Funnel camp, who Gifted and Participated with Communal Effort and Responsibility for many years, over tickets. This is the Selective Rule Enforcement which is creating an Us vs Them mentality against Commodification Camps. http://burners.me/2014/08/03/burnier-than-thous-ruin-it-for-everyone/
I’m not saying there shouldn’t be rules for these issues, and have no idea how placed theme camps are evaluated now…
I’m a bit curious how these new rules may read…
Seems it is going to take some thoughtful, informed and creative rules to address this issue… this is one place where people can voice their ideas, that’s all I’m sayin’…
The only personal knowledge I have of Caravancicle is a friend exclaimed to me about a wonderful evening they had wandering into an opulent ballroom on the back edge of that side of the city, it was scantly populated and they got wined and dined in grand style. It must be the same place and I know they didn’t have wrist bands.
It’s clear that this camp wan’t set up to entertain a steady stream of masses through their gates, is there a number of people that a theme camp needs to facilitate to be acceptable? I just wonder if it’s always going to be a flawed system evaluating who gets how many theme camp allotted tickets and that the ultimate fix may be to up ticket prices to the point the event doesn’t sell out and theme camp allotment tickets wont be necessary. (Of course, again, higher ticket prices could allow for more low cost tickets to keep a balance of the income spectrum of participants). Then again, could raising ticket prices taint the spirit of the event and be a worse problem?
I just can’t see around that the root problem to solve here is the relatively recent issue of ticket scarcity.
Lastly, I don’t agree that anyone that attends the event is exploiting anyone else’s gifts more than anyone else. Is it not true that a gift can not be exploited by its very definition? The Gifting principle isn’t a rule that dictates that the giver or receiver do either, a gift is a gift, like a breath of air, the very essence of free-ness.
It makes me laugh a bit to think that the “Bleachers” art car is kind of Black Rock Cites version of the open roof double decker tour buses that have taken over other cities.
The root problem here is that for Commodification Camps, there doesn’t appear to have been ANY ticket scarcity.
Placed theme camps should have a public interaction component.
I have no idea if your friends lavish banquet was at Caravancicle or somewhere else.
The bleachers is a good example of an art car that is open to Burners.
Yes & yes!
That was my point, there is no ticket scarcity for ANY placed theme camps. There was a decision made to allot placed theme camps groups of tickets to buy at regular prices. These donation rate tickets are indeed a different sort of theme camp arrangement, but as Rosie from the org said, in some post somewhere on this topic, they were processed in the same way as all theme camps. Perhaps a gray area, but still a theme camp.
The perspective that I’m throwing into this discussion is that maybe the reason for having a donation rate ticket is to raise funds more in line with the market rate without moving all tickets up to the actual market value. I don’t agree that its commodification because it’s individual tickets, not from a corporation to sell their product, as in a corporate sponsor.
I do agree this particular theme camp had some serious problems that need to be scrutinized, again, as Rosie had referred.
Funny that I happened to off hand muse about the ultra fantastic Bleachers art car. I happened upon their indigogo fund-raising page and saw that they were offering perks to “buy” a seat to watch the burn. To me this is creative fund-raising via participation, a tad similar gray area perhaps, but still not commodification. Commodification would be if they got a corporate sponsor to fund them to put an advertisement on it.
The biggest of the many “gray areas” is BMOrg saying 2500 tickets have been sold to STEP, and a week later telling us 1500 were sold from STEP. That’s not how STEP is supposed to work, the E is for Exchange. Then STEP was closed early, but blocks of 10 Donation tickets were sold to VIPs after OMG was closed.
From what I hear there were many placed theme camps that still couldn’t get all the tickets they needed – including the requirement to get tickets for delivery drivers who weren’t even attending the event – and many publicly interactive theme camps that couldn’t get placed at all, or got a much smaller area than they requested.
I think everyone agrees that Art Cars get to choose who is on the car for burn night. You seem to be conflating BMOrg’s scalping, the World’s Biggest Guest List, and art car fundraising.
The idea that Art Cars are “public conveyances” also rankles me, and many other owners. If I own an art car, but my girlfriend can’t get a seat because randoms barged in, guess what…those randoms are gonna be walking. I do feel that people who contributed thousands of dollars and/or hours to an art car should get to go on it, before people who contributed nothing. BMOrg’s policy encouraging randoms to feel that being on any art car is their “right” proved fatal this year.
Dan, you are redefining Commodity, confusing it with Promotion.
Anonymous Burner sent us this through the Contact page:
“Just read your Oct 30 post on the “Donation Tickets” and it got me thinking. What if someone posed as a wealthy donor and called BMOrg offering to make a donation? Imagine doing this next year one week before the event.. Calling BMOrg and saying “I would like to make a donation… but I need 25 tickets for my camp. 10 for campers and 15 for our staff driving our RV’s in and preparing our meals beforehand.” Would they produce the tickets in exchange for your donation? Or would they tell you to fuck off because all the real burners have been waiting patiently and need those tickets? Would the response be different if they were called with more time before the event and more tickets as yet unreleased? What would be the amount of ‘donation’ that you would have to give in order to get those tickets? If it were the same as the “Donation Tickets” the “donation” price would be $16,250, a $6,250 markup over list price. Does donating for that many tickets in bulk reduce the donation price? I have so many questions here.
Then again, I kinda just don’t care. I have no intention to make a donation to BMOrg. Before I heard about the donation tickets, I did want to. I really believe in the principles and that Burning Man helps advance creativity and fellowship among people around the world. It has so much potential. But these fly by night different rules for rich and poor goes against the very things that I love about Burning Man.
It’s starting to smell a lot like the Red Cross. (http://national.deseretnews.com/article/1896/red-cross-asked-you-to-donate-to-hurricane-sandy-but-wont-tell-you-where-the-money-is-going.html)
Giving money to a charity that doesn’t in turn give the money to its stated cause is not a charity any more. It is just another business. I don’t donate money to Ikea, even though it is a non-profit. I exchange money for their goods at a fair price. I give, and I receive. It is the nature of business.
Occasionally Ikea has very popular furniture that sells out. When they sell out, they don’t re-release the same furniture at a higher price with a donation. They say “It’s sold out, come back when we have more”. All their customers are treated the same.
So I guess I’ve come to this about BMOrg: They are a business. With them, I will exchange money for goods and services. I am happy to do business with them. My camp is not a business, but we need the support of their business to do the things that our camp wants to do. I hope that we can maintain a friendly and beneficial business relationship over the years. I do not intend to donate to them in a charitable manner, even though there may be tax benefits to doing so.”
>>how they treated Pee Funnel camp
But to be fair, those broads had the worst case of penis-envy I have ever seen. They deserved to have their dicks kicked in the dirt.
The bottom line here is… well, the bottom line…
The org has attempted to artificially keep the ticket prices in line with what it costs to throw this shindig. Though, by reaching the ticket sell out point, the actual market value of a ticket is higher, that’s the way capitalism works. If they didn’t suppress the price, tickets wouldn’t sell out, there would be plenty of them for guess who? The wealthy. Of course that goes against the grain of the nature of this beast, that’s what’s ringing through the comments, no?
Should it be an open playing field and raise the ticket prices, to say a flat $650 or even more? Seems like that could be a risky experiment that might be good or might be bad… Could it help things go back to the good old days when tickets didn’t sell out. With higher priced tickets like this, there could be more lower income tickets opened up too.
A possible solution?
I wonder if this is where this is all heading…
It certainly wouldn’t surprise me to see yet another ticket price hike next year. We got a stealth one this year via the vehicle tax, which doesn’t seem to have done anything to reduce pollution from the event, but certainly generated at least $1.4 million of pure profit for BMOrg.
The Low Income tickets seem less necessary, now that there is plenty of Sherpa work available. I hear from Facebook that people are even getting paid to put up yurts now.
Actually, the limited car entry ticket thing may have helped with the remarkable improvement of wait times entering and exiting… the bottleneck this year was some problem at will-call.
One lesson I always observed was that Black Rock city was simply a distilled version of the outside world. The difference being that you could see the forest for the lack of trees… so to speak. In a city, say like San Francisco, all the systems that are in place are just as organically evolved, but you can’t see them so easily for being hidden over decades of past generations work… whereas on the playa, it’s a blank slate that everything that is there, we brought and setup… and take back down to start anew each annual cycle… a bit easier to feel connected to the process and to take some form of ownership.
I personally think the allure of gifting is a much more fun currency than money… though making money is fun too… paying it forward is kind of one of the best things about TTITD. A funny money world we live in for sure, hard to keep the stuff from confounding our sacred little “utopia’s” ideals as well.
Good economic analysis, but I doubt that is in the cards. I suspect the BOrg is very happy with what they are doing now, and is hoping to preserve the status quo. The current system feeds their NPD needs. I would instead expect more manipulative behavior, gaming of tickets, and rules for the burners that the in-crowd can ignore.
Or, both your and my comments combined…
I would expect a rise in price, but also more fees, rules and policies so they can orchestrate the actions of the burners. They want the burners “under control” so they can rationalize them as part of the faithful, to serve their needs.
Some comments also offered on FB….
“I’m past thinking that money and greed alone can explain their actions.” – Burners.xxx
I think they are NPD control freaks, a self-selecting group, with those who don’t share their dysfunctions leaving. Look at what they make people do that is entirely unnecessary. From my own interaction with Will Chase, initiated by him, he had an amazing level of arrogance. They are small people that are acting out. Imagine what people would do if they felt good about themselves and what they do – well, the BOrg does just the opposite. The ticket selection gauntlet is a perfect example of how they need to select their cadre so they can feel safe, just like when they were only willing to talk to me in person. They are a messed-up group, encouraging each other and ostracizing those that don’t fall in line. Pretty sad, actually.
“They want to start a social/religious movement and they think the best way to spread it is by having powerful people sign on.” – Zach Sperrow
They are sucking up to the powerful people to get “tax-free” donations, and to validate their weak egos. People with strong self-worth can work with anyone based on ideas. Those with weak self-worth need external indicators to triangulate an elevated personal value. And this lets the “powerful people” take advantage of them, like pissing on every one of their Tin Principles(tm) to be NV burn spectators.
“In this case there appears to be a contempt for the customer, an “us vs them” mentality, and a great deal of hypocrisy . My gut feeling is there’s also stuff going on behind the scenes that hasn’t come to light yet.” – Burners.xxx
That disrespect is entirely psychologically necessary since they refuse to acknowledge that “them” (us) are the ones that create the substance of the event. The two simply don’t go together by cognitive dissonance.
The key was the simple observation “money and greed alone can explain their actions.” As I posted on FB, their seemingly random arbitrary actions are explained by NPD:
1. Shamlessness. Inability to process shame in a healthy way.
2. Magical Thinking. See themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion, and dump shame on others.
3. Arrogance. Elevate selves by degrading others.
4. Envy. Use contempt to minimize others.
5. Entitlement. Consider themselves superior.
6. Exploitation. Using others without regard for their feelings or interests.
7. Bad Boundaries. Others are extensions of themselves, and exist only to serve their needs.
They get off on being able to arbitrarily manipulate others. While they seek direct narcissistic support from the faithful, they also feed their NPD needs by simply being able to manipulate others.
Extremely well put.
A few thoughts that I don’t see anyone bringing to the conversation here so far…
None of this was an issue till the ceiling was hit of the event selling out of tickets back in 2011. This created a supply and demand market that ups the value of a ticket… what is the true value of a ticket?… the bare funds needed to support the event or what the market will bear? If the ticket prices moved with what the market would bear, then tickets wouldn’t sell out. It all seems a delicate balance to manage.
I don’t see anyone complaining here that received a low income ticket. Maybe if there were more top dollar, “donation” tickets, there could be more low income tickets possible.
The ticket “lottery” system was pretty much considered a failure, but was actually the most fair way to divvy up the limited stock of tickets. It seemed unanimously agreed that chunks of tickets should be held for certain groups… this brings up the issue of who are these groups, who selects them and how many tickets are allotted for each… should the org not be able to use tickets to fundraise, that being the purpose of selling tickets in the first place? Is a higher priced ticket that funds the project really the same as scalping, which is an outside business that doesn’t fund the project?
I think an ethical solution that the org is actively moving forward with is spreading the event out to the regionals movement, really the only way to move outside of the ticket ceiling.
Would you prefer financial transparency, or for the BOrg to paint a facade that meets your criteria? My money is on them furiously working on the latter.
One simple thing would be for BMOrg to say “there’s no problem if you want to sell tickets on the secondary market, since we refuse to link tickets to IDs”. Then Burners who couldn’t go, could sell their tickets on Stubhub and pocket the $600 profit themselves – and get the money immediately. Burners who did want to go, could just buy tickets from online sellers, get the tickets immediately, and not feel guilty about it.
BMOrg saying “if you scalp tickets that’s against our values, please only use STEP to sell them back through the official channel” – and then selling them “discreetly” for $650, even after the last OMG tickets have been sold, and apparently diverting STEP tickets out of the queue and into the hands of Commodification Campers – is super-shady.
What this highlights is the Selective Rule Enforcement – Burners get told to do one thing “because principles”, to enable BMOrg to do the opposite “because money”.
We’ve been saying since the start of this blog “just scalp the tickets”, and even Larry has said “scalping isn’t a problem”. It has never made sense to me how selling tickets above face value *by anyone* somehow harms our community. They might as well just abandon STEP, if every ticket sold into it doesn’t immediately get sold back to the next Burner in the queue at face value.
Buying / Selling tickets above face value harms us because it tells scalpers, who have no interest in going to the event, that they can make a profit off those tickets. Now people who have no real interest in the event are rushing to buy tickets every year to make a buck. If no one was willing to pay above face value, scalpers would quickly lose interest, so maybe it’s better to say that BUYING tickets above face value does the most harm.
do you have any evidence to support your claim that “Now people who have no real interest in the event are rushing to buy tickets every year to make a buck”? I would think Larry Harvey would be in a position to know, and he says it ain’t so…
>”should the org not be able to use tickets to fundraise, that being the purpose of selling tickets in the first place?”
They already do, with the 1,000 Pre Sale tickets for $650. So throw more into Pre-Sale. Or add a Pre Pre Sale of even more expensive tickets. What they’re doing now is “fundraising” only with a select few, giving them no limits, not making them wait online, AND not requiring any interactivity of them. At least require their camps to obey the same rules as all. Or just have Pre Pre Sale where the tickets are $5,000 each, open to all, and BOrg can make it clear they they’re looking to raise funds from anyone rich.
Always remember that they are selling tickets to something they largely did not pay for. Time after time, the BOrg turns it’s back on the burners in favor of money.
“and a whole lot of expectation based on the price they paid. Expectations that no Real Burner would ever have and no Camp could have ever fulfilled without everyone pitching in.”
I would be interested in knowing the expectations that this Burner was promised by his comodification camp and how they weren’t met.
Why not fake a turnkey camp? You’ll get placement and early entry. I’m sure it’d be easier than trying to get a theme camp application approved where you have to beg for early entry passes. And you don’t even have to make your camp interactive, so you save money there. Just a nice choice peace of real estate! Easy.
Why fake it when the BMORG seems to be encouraging you to make a pretty penny off commodification of this event?
I’d fake it because I don’t like camping with strangers at any price. I do like having a nice 50×50 space out there reserved so people know where to find me. 5 or 10 people in that much space provides a lot of room to breathe and work on your art car. I also like arriving early to have a few days to appreciate the playa before the masses arrive.
I really don’t like busting my ass out there trying to make the camp interactive. I don’t mind making promises to BMorg that I don’t intend to keep. So when placement shows up wondering where the fuck is my lucrative turnkey camp, I’d just give them some line of BS about how everything fell apart at the last minute and the founder embezzled everyone’s money blah blah blah. Never use your real name.
How do you fake the generous up-front donation to BMP? …A donation that helps cover their expenses, like payments to Decommodification LLC for the rights to use the BM name and pictures.
Do you really think that they are enabling the Commodification Camps just to flaunt the Tin Principles(tm)? Follow the money: It is to get the “tax deductible” donations to the non-profit BMP, money that filters back into the pockets of the Larry LLC. That the Commodification Camp actually profits is irrelevant. It is the BMP donation that makes it happen. The high camp admission price tag is, as much as anything, to keep out the commoners. That these camps are against all the Tin Principles(tm) is the price the BOrg readily pays for the cash.
following the scent of the money, leads to the stink of “paid participants” as defined by the BLM Permit, and the ever-fluctuating “population cap” count…somehow, despite a 40% increase in population cap since the Lottery Debacle of 2012, and being sold out this year in 42 minutes, and 3000 extra tickets inexplicably materializing out of thin air in August and being snapped up in about 7 minutes…the size of the event dropped 5%.
Call me cynical, but I find that one a little hard to believe…
Why the absolute silence from BMOrg on this ticketing issue? Why the continued refusal to provide the transparency we’ve been promised? Hmmm…
The official number of tickets sold was 63,000, and the official population for 2014 was 65,992.
So I have a question, the letter states: “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.” and “Our generous community of donors continues to help us grow” who are the supporters and what are they doing that is so valuable that BMOrg feels that they need to thank them? Are they donating art? Funding major sound camps? Building some vital piece of the event? Seems like people who are doing these things are not getting access to these tickets… So what gives?
The “supporters” are donating a third of the VIP ticket price to the Burning Man Project…what the BMP then does with the money, is a mystery. “Coming soon”.
The latest JRS says:
“we’re working on a really really BIG project that will serve to tell the Burning Man story as it is today and into the future, and it’s gonna be RAD. You’ll know it when you see it.” …maybe all the donations are going into developing this.
It surely can’t cost very much to send Danger Ranger to San Mateo, Larry to Fort Mason, and Harley to Mission and 11th.
“we’re working on a really really BIG project that will serve to tell the Burning Man story as it is today and into the future”…
So it’s not even a cool project, it’s a fucking PR campaign. Like Burning Man needs more publicity. If this ‘RAD” project is another fucking documentary or something, then I don’t know, I’ll probably write another nasty comment on the internet. Ha.
probably some type of YouTube/MySpace thing where we can all upload our photos and videos, to make it easier for them to license them commercially
I’d really like to see the BMJ fund some actual art not directly related to spreading the BM brand (or even actual art in general). And maybe in a style not associated with “burning man art.” And maybe even in locales outside of the usual urban centers. Burners Without Borders has done some awesome stuff in this regard. Of course, that’s an organic community effort, not directly BMORG related, so again, the community is providing the value, the BMORG is absorbing the credit.
I listened to a bit of Larry’s talk to the Long Now Foundation. I’ve always admired his ability to connect and articulate the spiritual/metaphysical to the logistics of Burning Man, and how the event satisfies certain human needs. He’s really great at that, and the stuff I initially read and heard from him years ago was a big factor in my interest in BM. And, I think his guidance in that aspect have played a huge part in the event adapting to changes through the years while keeping something of its sprit alive. But, the past 3-4 years, either he’s just thrown in the towel or the lure of big money/personalities since BM entered mainstream consciousness was too strong to ignore, or something. Anyhoo, lunch time.
By appearances, they have a brace of projects occurring, they are redoing the website to tell their story, and their flyranchproject site states exciting news to occur in the near future. I am curious of the cash making attempts towards funding the second project, a joint venture betwixt the Burning Man Project, a founder or a brace of founders, and a corporation, perchance? Might the second project occur, votes must have occurred upon the BMP board, and, might any person not have voted, it might be in due of prohibitions in regards towards self-dealing.
I hope they re-do their web site soon to update the information there – the 2014 event has been over for months, they should be talking about the 2015 one.
Picky, picky, picky. Do you work for the IRS or something? Seems you have had too much to think. Just enjoy the party and take anything the BOrg says at face value, because that’s what they want you to do. I mean, really, why would they lie to you?
i just read this in a middle of a hectic day, so maybe I’m not getting something here but why leave it so late? Why not sell batches of tickets to the VIP camps in July or something?
Also if Burning Man is doing this, what bothers me first and foremost is the lack of transparency – I don’t have to agree with every decision BMan makes but I do wish there was radical transparency in place so those who want to know can know whats going on without being a CPA or Edward Dustden
They were selling these VIP Tickets in July, and in June, and in May – and probably earlier
Great comment from Rio at the official blog:
“Let’s get back to tickets for PnP Kamps:
The issue of how they get their ticket supply has been raised 44 times in the three posts from Will, Answergirl and Rosie.
The issue has been addressed by these folk 0 times.”
I was totally stoked to buy 10 tickets and sell them on ebay for $1,400 each!
It’s Larry’s party. He can invite who he wants.
Not if Larry wants Burners to keep donating their time, money, art, skills, etc to it. And if Burners don’t, he has no party. Special rules for rich camps and special tickets for rich people is a terrible way to treat the 99% that are making BM happen.
There is a sucker born every minute, and enough of them want to go to the NV burn, so the event will continue. The quality of the event and people will suffer, and you will have to lock up everything from the professional thiefs, but it will be there as long as there is a VIP market to see the hippies in the desert.
I said this in a comment on the recent Censorship post:
I see it as crowd-sourcing a party, saying “you guys bring the art, the music, the chicks, the booze, and the food… I’ll rent the hall and keep all the ticket money”…and then saying “wasn’t my party great, because of everything I did…you were all so lucky I let you come”.
Were you at GratitudeNYC? You should have told us you were coming.
However, you left out promoting all the things that did not happen. Of course the BOrg does that with all their promises of spreading the burner word through vague efforts.
Seriously….the state’s Attorney General or the IRS should investigate this organization and it’s shenanigans; at some point what they are doing might be illegal especially with the non-profit status and filling of federal permits with potentially misleading information.
There’s nothing in the BLM permits that prevents Commodification Camps. Vendors, including Camp Service Vendors, have to register with the Feds and pay them a 3% cut. This year there were 44 licensed vendors. Commodification Camps might be able to skirt around these regulations because the transactions take place off-Playa, before the event begins.
Wrong. If there’s any party in the world that is not supposed to ‘belong’ to the organizers and founders, it is Burning Man.
Burner Mark has followed this up with BMOrg. From our Facebook page:
You may be the face catching the flak but this goes much higher than you and everyone knows it. How can BM, in good conscience, provide
special, seemingly unlimited, tickets to a select few camps? How can you in good conscience sign your name to it?
While many friends willing to build their own camps/costumes/bikes/art under true radical self reliance are stiffed from going due to limited supply,
you sell the soul of the festival to yuppies who could give two shits about relying on themselves, participating outside of their luxury, or including a
broader community which they clearly differentiate from and lack connection to.
Radical selective inclusion is apparently the new principle for the BM leadership.
If you ever allow plug and play camps to skirt the rules and pay for “VIP” treatment again, you’ll lose the spirit of burning man and you will lose my spirit of being there (6 years and counting). By January I’ll make my choice and am content to carry the principles outside the desert debacle now transpiring. I can’t believe you would cheapen our home to $300 in order to provide preferential treatment and unlimited access to a select few.
This is blowing up in BM’s face and you cannot stop the blowback. The just thing to do would be to take in all this feedback, own up to the mistake and admit how this unfair process is out of integrity with a number of burning man principles. A community apology from the board and a promise to be fair and to learn from these mistakes is the right thing to do and the only thing that may salvage the spirit of the burn.
We cannot control the actions of mutli-millionaire virgins who don’t want to work to enjoy the fruits of the playa. We can’t control
whether they imagine their own costume or Segway decorations and create. We cannot control whether they participate and give. We can however, avoid giving anyone special treatment for more money. If we are truly equals it starts with equality from BM leadership and you Steven.”
“Radical selective inclusion” I like that. It seems like decommodification is watered down to mean almost nothing while at the same time radical inclusion is inflated to mean that every effort should be made to make it easy for people to come.
If they were really concerned about radical inclusion they should reach out to the poorly represented minority communities and bring them to the party. Instead it is used to justify selling safari’s.
Radical inclusion: “Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.” to me this means that if you show up and are looking to participate you are welcome and respected. This does not mean working to make you stay as much like what you expect and want in the default world.
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great posters, thanks, I’ll do a post on them
Because Burning Man only exists due to the donations of it’s attendees…volunteers doing much of the staffing, attendees donating their art, time, awesomeness, mutant vehicles, stages, sound systems, performing shows, teaching classes, etc…BOrg owes MORE to its attendees than the average event/festival. Like a level, open, honest, transparent playing field. Or else why should we keep making Burning Man for the BOrg for free? If BM were, say, Coachella, and wanted an un-level playing field, special tickets for rich people, special rules for rich people, etc…well, whatever. But BM is not Coachella. Special rules for rich camps and special tickets for rich people is a terrible way to treat the 99% that are making BM happen. And that’s the least of what BOrg owes Burners. Paying more of their volunteers, & feeding them during BM, should also be at the top of the list.
agreed on all points. They keep telling us they’re going to give us transparency “soon”. It’s been 8 months now since Larry specifically said that, and 4 years since they started this non-profit course. How complicated is their accounting, and why? How frightening are the skeletons in their closet(s)?
Interesting thing about that receipt there-it’s dated August 25th. Would the non-VIP class burner (see? now we haz classes) be able to call up Burning Man and plunk down $650 each to get a grundle of tickets basically at the gate (Aug 25th was the first monday of the event)? I think not– we were all scouring Craigslist and sending out appeals on the “need tickets” list, and scrounging them up one at a time. Boy, talk about showing up at the gate and expecting a miracle! Noticing that makes this suck about 10x more. This gets added to the list of things that we need to have Org-splained to us. (credit for noticing this does not go to me, but another commenter on the Burning Man facebook page)
note the date and time in both screen grabs is midnight August 25 – when the event started. So I don’t think that in itself proves anything, but I do think you’re on the right track. I can’t say for sure, but the source who leaked it believed that these tickets were sold after the OMG sale.
It’s deeply unfortunate that, unlike burners.me, the main stream press refuses to ask hard questions to those in power.
Just a bit off topic, they do this ever EVERYONE in power, not just the BMORG
Unfortunately the creator of that petition offers no way to contact him, and Googling him yields nothing useful, but his wiki for defining commodification seems to not work. I joined it, but there is nothing at his URL, the content is private, with no way to apply to view it.
I’ve passed your comment on to him on our Facebook page, if you go to Posts By Others you can reach him.
The way I see it, there are a couple of ways for this to play out.
1) Burning Man Organizers can continue to ignore Burners.Me and the discussions taking place in the conscientious community, further widening the divide between those Burners who are committed to the original Principles which have created such a robust, loving, and ultimately prosperous community, and those who consider Burning Man their own personal accomplishment and think others should feel blessed to be allowed to be a part of it,
2) Burning Man Organizers can acknowledge the ways they’ve departed from the original values and recognize the patent self-interest exhibited in these departures (as opposed to a productive adaptability for the sake of the community), apologize, and strengthen their commitment to spread the values of Burning Man worldwide, as they originally committed to (and claim they are still) doing.
I’m inclined to think #1 is the case based on the trajectory of the past handful of years. Burning Man hasn’t jumped the shark; the organizers have. Thankfully the creative spark for this event may have come from the organizers, but it does not belong to them; it is the property of humankind and our collective evolution. If they refuse to honor the values they originally set out to promote and defend, all there is to do is to pick up the dropped torch and carry on.
Burning Man isn’t some magic elixir that makes you forever immune to the sirens of capitalistic society. People are people and leaders are leaders. Power corrupts. Unlimited physical comfort is alluring. Let’s all acknowledge this without dichotomizing it into an irresistible power or one that ought to be quite easily resisted.
If they don’t resist the allure of power and comfort: that makes sense. The festival exits. Point for all of humanity!
If they do resist capitalizing on something so innately beautiful and anti-capitalistic: Double points for all of humanity!
Either way, humanity: good job!
“Burning Man hasn’t jumped the shark; the organizers have”…Well said.
That you define #2 as a possibility is all they need to keep the faithful coming.
Odd that the presale tickets were also $650, but didn’t have a ‘donation’ to the BRAF as part of the incentive to buy presale. Just that the extra would help support the low income tickets. Also, a 10 ticket order?! All of us peons were limited to either 4 presale or two any other sale.
According to the IRS if you receive anything back from a “Donation” you are not allowed to write your donation off on your taxes. They are receiving a ticket right? Legally they can’t do this with their taxes.
I think only the portion above the ticket value (and handling fees) is classed as the donation.
This is correct. The amount paid for the item less the fair value of the item is the amount that is deductible as a charitable contribution. It is similar to when the boy scouts sell hats for $25 that are worth $5. You get a to take a $20 charitable deduction if you buy the hat.
This is an IRS rule not a burning man rule.
calling it a “$650 Donation Ticket” when only about a third of it is actually donation is kinda shady though. They could call it a “BMP Supporter Ticket” or something.
You miss the point: this lets the buyer take 100% as deductible as an innocent mistake. Hey, the FMV might be $99, or $10, depending on what a port-a-potty rents for. After all, they are all-volunteer non-profit, right?
Smoking gun?? Makes you scratch your head, especially with all the spin coming from the command central. The losers in the process are the STEP children. They get strung along with their hopes and are the last consideration. Just ask about timestamps….. its sad.
When they visited Soho house in LA they offered everyone in attendance the same thing. Posted this on Reddit last May. It was 50/50 people who gave a shit and people, like me, who were disappointed. http://www.reddit.com/r/BurningMan/comments/25h3xa/burning_man_vip_tickets/
Im wondering if it is even worse than it appears? When someone buys 200 tickets – god knows what they paid — it’s possible it’s even more than $650. BM- don’t think for a second this isn’t going to affect people’s integrity around the re-sale of tickets. I have sold A LOT of tickets in the past, always face value or gifted even. This was based on a system of trust with your organization/event (which I helped to create for past 20 years). But now…I feel far less loyal. And Im one of the good ones who takes this stuff seriously. I think you are going to see very few tickets sold at face value next year. When the organization sets the integrity bar, shames others for not holding up to it, and then is caught scalping themselves..well now all bets are off. BM needs to be honest and fix this mess – before they loose the community’s loyalty. People will still go for a few years at least – but the spirit of this event is being tainted. And not by plug and play camps. By BM themselves. BurnrsXXX- you are the press. Do you ever call Larry, Crimson, etc for a Quote on the record? Appear at an even where they are speaking to be a part of Q&A at the end? Seems this is what will be needed.
I’ve reached out to them from time to time for comments, with mixed success. Most of the organization has been specifically told not to talk to us.
just want to go back to the playa & find my wild irish rose & tell her I love her & always have & always will :)i(:
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“Burning Man Project initiatives are helping more people around the world gain access to transformative experiences and manifesting expression and inclusion in the arts, education, and civic participation.”
Since the verb tense is the present, not future, anyone have a link to a nifty list of all the experiences and such the BMP is doing with all these scalping donations?
Sure do. I went through everything they’ve ever done since they started BMP here (it’s not much):
I also broke down how much of a donor’s dollar actually goes to the cause they’re supporting. It was about 25c for BRAF, and 6c for BMP. Almost all of the cash they just keep or spend on overheads, rather than passing through to causes.
I guess panel discussions are don’t require much in the way of donations, but do consume massive amounts of overhead, rent, and legal fees.
Aren’t they suing groups who try to put on similar events around the world (Canada, previous BurnersME post, I think)?
In the Canadian case, the argument was the words “Burning Man” have been in the public domain there for 20 years, and the locals have been throwing Burning Man events there for all that time. They registered the trademark to keep it in the public domain, available to the Burner community, and out of the hands of corporations who just want to exploit it for themselves to make money. The corporation (BMOrg) sued…