Ticket Hell [Updates]

Did you get your tickets in the Individual Sale? Or did you miss out, like 60,000 other dejected Burners?

According to BMOrg, 80,000 Burners registered for the sale. It sold out in about 80 minutes.

I tried to log in from the email link, the moment that my network time-synched clock turned 12:00:00. It didn’t work, so I tried from profiles.burningman.org. Both finally worked, at 12:00:56. I was in, minute one! I thought maybe I had a chance.

The predicted queue was “more than an hour”. I hoped that only meant 61 minutes. Last year tickets sold out in about 40 minutes, so that wasn’t great news.

Next, “the ticket sale is paused”. Many Burners started to report getting the same message. It seems that Burning Man broke Ticketfly, at about 12:06.

esteban hernandez screenshot

They got it back up and running, then released the queue again.

Vehicle passes were the first to sell out. 12,000 were offered. They went in less than 49 minutes.

Then, before it even began, it was over.

Burner Gaurang reported tickets being sold out at 1pm.

At 1:21pm PST, @bmantickets tweeted:

At that time, I was in line, with “more than an hour” as my wait. Then, it reduced – only 50 minutes. Anyone would think that they still had a chance, since the line was reducing.

this is what my 3 windows said, 1 minute before tickets sold out

this is what my 3 windows said, 1:20pm PST

Screenshot 2015-02-18 13.29.14

this message on ePlaya was 1:24pm PST

Screenshot 2015-02-18 13.32.23

Things improving. Still looks like a chance 1:32pm PST, 11 minutes after sold out Tweet

It was not until 15 minutes later, that the Ticketing system delivered the bad news officially:

Bad news! 1:35pm PST, 14 minutes after they actually sold out

Bad news! 1:35pm PST, 14 minutes after they actually sold out

Then, the screen changed. Suddenly, although I could not buy tickets or vehicle passes, I was being asked to make a $40 donation to the Burning Man Project. As many of those as I want. No thank you.

Through at last! 1:43pm PST

Through at last! 1:43pm PST

Assuming that everyone bought 2 tickets, means 20,000 people today got through this system successfully. And even 40% of them faced disappointment and challenges ahead, when they could not buy a vehicle pass. Burning Man said that there were more than double the number of registrations, as there were tickets. 80,000 people chasing 160,000 tickets, from a pool of 40,000 tickets.

At least 60,000 people missed out today, an entire Burning Man’s worth. Not only did we miss out on getting tickets, but we all wasted between 81 minutes (when @bmantickets announced they were sold out) and 96 minutes (when the queue message changed from waiting to sold out) of our valuable time.

The 2014 Black Rock City Census estimates the median Burner income at $51,000. This means that an hour of time for the average median Burner is worth $24.52 (based on a 40-hour work week). 96 minutes of time across 60,000 Burners adds up to a waste of $2,353,846 – in order for BMOrg to make $18,360,000, or $226,666 per minute.

96 minutes of 60,000 Burners’ time is the equivalent of 4000 days, or 11 years.

Just the 14 minutes between tickets selling out (1:21pm from Tweet) to the queue being updated (1:35pm for me), multiplied by the 60,000 people who waited in vain, is 840,000 minutes: 14,000 hours of Burner time were completely wasted, just in failing to shut down all the queues the moment that tickets were sold out.

It Creates So Much Negative Energy – Is That By Accident or Design?

There are many other events in the world that sell out quickly. Usually, that happens in just minutes. Burning Man is the only one with this incredibly convoluted system of Burner profiles and queuing. The system seems custom-made to create disappointment on a massive scale.

First, the $800 VIP tickets – which bring no benefits over regular tickets – remind many Burners that others have more money than them. Money to Burn. These used to be there as Christmas Gifts, and to enable lower income Burners to get tickets, but now they are released after the holidays are over and support far fewer low income Burners and art than they could. So disappointment is created around the holidays, not being able to Gift them at the main time of Gifting; and disappointment is created among the low income Burners, who have to beg for a ticket with essays and paperwork.

Next, the Directed Group Sale tells the vast majority of Burners that they’re nothing, not cool enough or “in” enough to be on the Guest List. And even people who are on the list, get disappointed when they can’t get tickets.

The process of registering for the sales before they start, creates a whole bunch of disappointed Burners who didn’t get the memo and logged in too late to register and are SOL.

Then the Individual Sale just created 3 disappointed Burners, for each one that is elated to get a ticket. It’s particularly frustrating because we all got there in the first minute, and before that did all the right things, jumped through all the right hoops, made the profiles and registered and made sure there was money in the bank and our credit cards were ready – and all of that was for nothing.

Many Burners who managed to get tickets today still missed out on getting a vehicle pass. There is now some confusion whether all 27,000 vehicle passes have been sold, or if there will be another 1250 in the OMG sale.

BMOrg’s whole approach to ticketing brings tens of thousands of people together at once. For an hour and a half they are waiting in hope, only for everyone to be devastated at the same moment. Only a select few are “lucky” enough that their connection got through at the right time. The luck trickles out over 80 minutes, but the vain hope lingers another 15 – then BOOM! Everyone gets the bad news at once. Sorry, you missed out – but hey, you can still donate to us!

Burners are made to suffer again in line at the Gate, and Will Crawl. Hours in the sun, with no shade. Lines that move ridiculously slowly, and don’t move fairly. Unreasonable requests made against people in wheelchairs.

WHY? Why make us go through this? Why make Burners suffer?

It’s positively Satanic.

hqdefaultWhich would be easy to laugh off, if this was “just a festival” or “just a rave”. Something where Satanism had no place. Instead, Satanism has played a major role in Burning Man’s history from the get-go. Satanists take delight in the suffering of others, it is one of many elements in their religion.

Burning Man has been created to take place inside a Pentagram, and is based on the rituals of ancient death cults. Danger Ranger said “we’re Satanists with guns” and Evil and the Devil featured prominently in the very first themes. Burning Man’s life as an LLC began with a takeover by Helco, a malevolent corporation. At the “Hell Yes! Hell No!” party, they handed out contracts to people to sell their souls to the Devil.

In Larry Harvey’s own words:

It’s one thing to laugh at the thought that something so old fashioned-sounding as a soul might be acquired through an act of purchase. Many modern comedies have used this plot. However, it is quite another thing to be accosted by a person who earnestly offers to buy it.

helco eplaya 1996Customers were offered contracts closely typed in nine-point font on legal-size sheets of paper. The font grew ever smaller as the text progressed. Entitled “Standard Short Form Contract For Purchase of Soul”, this legal handiwork appeared to cover every possible contingency. It was authored by an old friend of mine, Doug Holloway, an attorney. As a reward for parting with their souls, ‘sellers’ were allowed to ascend the steep stairs of a dark and sinister multi-tiered throne that projected a full three stories overhead. On a stage beneath its summit sat Satan, played by Flash. As part of our satiric scheme, Satan was understood to have lost his position in the midst of corporate reshuffling. No longer CEO of an underworld empire, he now served as a corporate spokesperson. He had become to Hell what Colonel Sanders is to chicken. Cheerfully bearing up in this role, Flash allowed each customer to sit on his lap. He invited them to whisper their most secret wishes and desires in his ear.

about this photoAfter receiving a bright red lollipop, they descended a second set of stairs on the opposite side of the platform. Near the base of these stairs, we stationed the Soul Sucker, a Rube-Godbergesque sculpture by Al Honig. It was purportedly designed to physically suck each soul from its human body (in reality, its seat vibrated) and deposit this commodity in a second and quite beautiful sculpture by Paul Windsor. Entitled The Stupa of Limbo, it was said to function as a kind of spiritual settling tank. (It was a very elegant piece, composed of opened books, lacquered and laid out in tiers surrounding a glass water tank. Later that year, it appeared in the desert.) One important fact that customers were never told was that, according to the terms of HELCO’s contract, the lollipop was their sole payment for their souls. We also left it up to them to realize that this sugared treat was saturated with cinnamon that would burn their tongues.

you still get the lollipop...

you still get the bright red lollipop/sugared treat…

Just like BMOrg’s “Minister of Propaganda” is supposedly an ironic title, and yet that’s exactly what they do…isn’t it ironic that Satanic elements played such a big part in the foundation of Burning Man, and particularly with the later creation of BMOrg. The unique systems they’ve designed for profiling, ticketing, and queueing fail to solve problems that have been solved many times over by the ticketing industry. Instead they have the side effect of creating mass suffering and disappointment.

It’s conceivable that this side effect is merely accidental, the result of poor design or a lack of empathy for the customer. There is no doubt that the other consequences of this system have been to deliver BMOrg tens of millions of dollars every year, allow them to keep pushing ticket prices up, and ensure there is the healthiest possible secondary market. Anyone gifted tickets, is gifted something that is worth a thousand dollars or more and easily tradeable. Insiders given half a dozen tickets and vehicle passes, therefore get a nice little bonus if they need some cash. The $800 pre-sale sets the after market price nicely.

The “Open Market”

BMOrg says:

keep an eye on the open market for them — they’ll be out there

Right now, on StubHub there are 380 tickets available, with the cheapest going for $1030. There are 112 vehicle passes, for $250 each. Burners who got tickets today but missed out on vehicle passes are basically forced to go to Stubhub and pay above face value for a vehicle pass. Either that, or carpool, Burner Express, or fly in.

For a system that we’re supposed to believe has been designed to prevent scalping – which isn’t a problem anyway – it sure is amazing how this system really seems to facilitate scalping.

Perhaps there is nothing sinister to any of this, it’s all just accident and coincidence. Maybe the wasting of 11 years of Burners’ time this year was necessary to enable 16,000 virgins to have a transformational experience. We are saving the world with Burning Man, leave no trace, the waste of 100,000 hours of Burner time is a small sacrifice to make in the name of (non-)profit. And if you don’t like it, start your own!

Next, is 60,000 disappointed Burners trying their luck with STEP (4000 tickets last year) and OMG (1000 tickets this year).  Your odds are 1 in 12 – in other words, there is a 92% chance that you won’t get tickets in those sales. Good luck, Burners.

[Update 2/18/15 5:50pm]

I wrote about the ticketing system and the algorithms behind it last year: 60% Veterans.

It appears some Burners figured out a clever “hack” to circumvent the system.

ticketfly tip

There is more discussion of this at Reddit.

It wasn’t even as complicated as that. Clicking the emailed ticket link several times would sometimes get to the real ticket ordering page. If you can jump straight to the ordering page by clicking the link they told you to click on, then I wouldn’t call it a cheat, just a really dumb issue with TicketFly. It sounds like some camps took advantage of this to get tickets before people who trusted the queue system (protip: don’t), which is distasteful.

Other Burners used Javascript hacks to get into the queue before everyone else.

One determined Burner, when told that tickets weren’t available, decided to try again and make a donation…which then worked.

donation tickets lead to more

[Update 2/18/15 6:40pm]

The Voices of Burning Man discusses the vehicle passes:

fewer VPs were made available (12,000) in the Individual Sale than tickets (40,000) and some of you were able to purchase a ticket (or two) but not a VP. But the good news is that the ratio of purchases of VPs to tickets was actually really good today — 36,000 tickets were sold before the 12,000 VPs sold out.

If you didn’t get one, please know that you’ve still got options:

  1. Vehicle Passes will be sold in the OMG Sale. In fact, there will be more VPs available than tickets. For those who have not purchased a VP from us yet, there will be an option to register to purchase just a VP — so if you didn’t get a VP in the Individual Sale, you’ll be able to register to purchase one in the OMG Sale.
  2. A lot of folks bought a VP not knowing if they need it or not, and will be looking to offload theirs. Ask around, and keep an eye on the open market for them — they’ll be out there.

So there you have it, Burners. BMOrg are now encouraging you to participate in the “open market”.

Some Burners were not impressed.

  • Avalanche

    You can’t take an art exhibit, a hexayurt, a sizable enough tent, a slushie maker, a shade structure, a bar, or booze on an bus.

    Presumably this is why last year there was more taking and less gifting, more RVs, more PnP camps, bro hackers, sparkle ponies, and party children.


  • RW

    Oh yay,
    Those of us with tickets and no VP may have to wait until just DAYS before we go to know if we are going to have our own transportation, sleeping area, food, water, bathroom, for those with medical issues, and the ability to leave earlier than most do, due to work schedule.
    This just seems to get worse and worse every year. Soon all the planners and responsible burners will just give up and stop attending, and the playa will be left with the thieves and beggars, because that is all that are going to be interested in this type of situation.

  • Highland Walker:

This type of decision ensures that: 1) Burning Man gets less money; 2) scalpers get more money; 3) Burners have to pay more and/or go through more hassle to get there; and, 4) there will be no fewer vehicles at the Burn than last year. Brilliant.

[Update 2/18/15 6:50pm]

Burner Dave posted this screen shot to our Facebook page.

20 donation

It appears that there is some kind of selection going on. Not all Burners are the same, according to this process. Some Burners were asked to make a $20 Donation, and others (like myself) were asked for $40. Was this based on number of prior burns? Country?

40 donation

[Update 2/18/15 7:42pm]

Vivid Seats has tickets from $760, and plenty of ’em:

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.42.39Stubhub has plenty, Vehicle Passes are skyrocketing:

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.44.37

There are hundreds on eBay as well, where tickets start at $1100 and car passes are now $350. An arbitrage opportunity, for any Burners chasing paper…

Screenshot 2015-02-18 19.46.29

Monty Python sold out the 20,000 capacity O2 arena in 43 seconds

This is Why Concert Tickets Sell Out In Seconds – looks at insider scalping by Bieber’s management

Why Your Favorite Concerts Sell Out – looks at Ticketmaster and the bots that make money from it

[Update 2/18/15 8:02pm]

Coverage of the sale in SFist

The Rolling Stones scalp their own tickets

[Update 2/18/15 8:42pm]

Here’s another hack Burners used today, thanks to Burner Gaurang:

Replace tickets.burningman.org with ticketfly.com in the email link they sent and you bypass the queue

(wait in BM queue)
(by entering this you bypass the queue)

[Update 2/18/15 10:34pm]

LiveForLiveMusic says Burning Man sold out in less than an hour and people are pissed.

[Update 2/19/15]

Thanks to reader delicious for sending this in.

For $750, you can get a bot that will buy tickets for you at TicketFly. As many as you want.

Screenshot 2015-02-19 12.19.33

79 comments on “Ticket Hell [Updates]

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  5. The sad reality of this is why is BMORG messing w us? Why are they making it harder for people to participate and encouraging fly ins? As long time bringers of theme camps I guess this fiasco of fighting for tickets in round two as we were all part of directed group sales yet half didn’t get tickets then I ask what are we doing? Stressing out, ape ding our own time and resources to facilitate an event that does not seem to want to even allow us there in an rv or truck. Fighting for vehicle passes which merely is a low handed way for bmorg to pay it’s entire permit fee to blm and still profit.really? What is going on at bm hq? Who is making credible decisions cuz I’m feeling done and all the years of contribution seem to only haveworth asprofiteering for bmorg not any to myself anymore. Our camp is stressed n struggling, our abilities are already maxxed and honestly my respect for the founders is almost none these days. The arbitrary reducing of vehicle passes shows no respect for the supporters and if it’s really coming down to just profiting off our camps and art cars and energy well I hope the class action lawsuits start cuz everything about the new burn is a game about greed and selling something that really is not there’s to sell, yes bmorg negotiates a location and has bent over to allow law enforcement to shoot it ducks for yet more profit but they do not provide one single creative form to this party, the unpaid attendees provide the camps, art, booze and sound and all the creativeness. They don’t even realize that once the core campers start to give up then who’s gonna bring the party? Infected mushroom at 10 o’clock point or is it a light show produced by edm at 2 o’clock points and the city will be ez ups and cpack garages, creativity will be what you can buy at wall Mart and the individual s who long past built true subjugator and operah will be you tube relics to what now is just another ticketed event. Good luck

    • As Bruce Willis said in Die Hard, “Welcome to the party pal.”

      Look at the makeup of the BMP BoD. Look at the byzantine way they structure their interaction with the burners that make the event. You are correct on the greed, but they also have organizational Narcissistic Personality Disorder, as identified in Vaknin’s work. At every opportunity they look for a way to garner unearned homage to them, apparently out of jealousy for the very uncreative and minor role in the substance of the event as you cite.


      According to Vaknin’s “DSM” approach in the link above, five (or more) of the following criteria must be met, where the group as a whole, or members of the group – acting as such and by virtue of their association and affiliation with the group:

      1. Feel grandiose and self-important (e.g., they exaggerate the group’s achievements and talents to the point of lying, demand to be recognized as superior – simply for belonging to the group and without commensurate achievement).

      2. Are obsessed with group fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance, bodily beauty or performance, or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering ideals or political theories.

      3. Are firmly convinced that the group is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status groups (or institutions).

      4. Require excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wish to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).

      5. Feel entitled. They expect unreasonable or special and favourable priority treatment. They demand automatic and full compliance with expectations. They rarely accept responsibility for their actions (“alloplastic defences”). This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      6. Are “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., use others to achieve their own ends. This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      7. Are devoid of empathy. They are unable or unwilling to identify with or acknowledge the feelings and needs of other groups. This often leads to anti- social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      8. Are constantly envious of others or believes that they feel the same about them. This often leads to anti-social behaviour, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      9. Are arrogant and sport haughty behaviors or attitudes coupled with rage when frustrated, contradicted, punished, limited, or confronted. This often leads to anti-social behavior, cover-ups, and criminal activities on a mass scale.

      These are the TRUE principles that govern the actions of the BOrg, and can be used to explain their otherwise bizarre behavior.

      This is also why I have taken my theme camp work elsewhere. Be gratified that the NV burn draws the lemmings and Davos-wannabees so they don’t bother us at the other burns.

      • And Burners are, not so unwittingly, suppliers of BMorg’s narcissistic demand. Aside from the bucket-listers, most Burners know the game – or at a minimum are willfully ignorant of the game they’re playing. It’s like letting a guy on a train rub up against you all the while thinking ‘that’s gross’.

        So what’s the point of even saying to people, ‘You can walk away, don’t play the game.’ when they are essentially willingly half of the problem? So let them have each other.

        • That’s one of the good points about Vaknin’s work, understanding that the abused person is the one who is at fault for seeking and maintaining the relationship. It is the abused who must a) identify the dysfunctionality, b) understand what they do to enable their abuse, and c) stop that behavior, or d) abandon the relationship.

          In most all cases there is nothing you can do to change the abuser. This situation is very much like the “narcissistic boss” (http://samvak.tripod.com/faq81.html my first link above), since you cannot hope to change them or necessarily leave. You just have to do the best you can:

          · Never disagree with the narcissist or contradict him;
          · Never offer him any intimacy;
          · Look awed by whatever attribute matters to him (for instance: by his professional achievements or by his good looks, or by his success with women and so on);
          · Never remind him of life out there and if you do, connect it somehow to his sense of grandiosity. You can aggrandize even your office supplies, the most mundane thing conceivable by saying: “These are the BEST art materials ANY workplace is going to have”, “We get them EXCLUSIVELY”, etc.;
          · Do not make any comment, which might directly or indirectly impinge on the narcissist’s self-image, omnipotence, superior judgement, omniscience, skills, capabilities, professional record, or even omnipresence. Bad sentences start with: “I think you overlooked … made a mistake here … you don’t know … do you know … you were not here yesterday so … you cannot … you should … (interpreted as rude imposition, narcissists react very badly to perceived restrictions placed on their freedom) … I (never mention the fact that you are a separate, independent entity, narcissists regard others as extensions of their selves)…” You get the gist of it.

          That’s why it is good that burners can simply excuse themselves from the NPD BOrg and live their lives elsewhere.

  6. 80,000 people wanted to by 40,000 tickets. Even if God himself designed and operated the process and it went perfectly there would still be tens of thousands of people who failed to get tickets and there would still be exactly as much bitching about the ticket sales as there is now. On the other hand if god was directly involved it would also be the only thing that would make your claims of satanic designs more ridiculous.

  7. In regards to the people who left the queue and somehow found themselves jumped to the head of the line when they tried again:

    Here’s what I think happened…

    When the queue paused, there were error messages on other pages saying that that the BM ticket system was experiencing problems.

    I think TicketFly spun up another cluster of machines to handle the load.

    I think that second cluster had its own queue.

    People who waited in the first queue got fucked, while people who re-loaded the URL in a different browser, that didn’t have their current load-balancer/queue cookie, got dropped into the new and almost empty queue.

  8. Whatever the BOrg does for ticketing, you can be sure that it will be based on commodification and defaultification. Look at the BMP BoD. Are those representative of burners, or of commodification and defaultification?

    What is fun now is to watch the BOrg go against every one of the Tin Principles as they “fix” the ticketing and vehicle pass system, literally going against Article 1 of their charter and bylaws. Seriously! Pretty much scoring zero.

    Their process is entirely top-down with no enfranchisement of the burners. And who on the BoD can identify with someone trying to get a ticket? Have any of them ever waited in the ticketing cue?

    Is this the “Burning Man” way that they intend to spread to the world? As far as I can see, that box is all expensive and pretty but is entirely empty.

  9. I had that same screen as in the first picture: “Promo code accepted,” server crashed, hold on. I waited about 15-minutes, entered the link in the email, minus the promo code, into a new window and was immediately taken to the tickets!

    • Wonder if that is gross incompetency of Ticketfly, or an intentiaonal back door? Either way it will be interesting as to who blames whom, and if they get the contract next year. My money is on No.

      • I just did what was logical: It wasn’t a hotlink so I pasted it in and was told not to refresh the screen because you would lose your place in the queue and since my promo-code was accepted, no need to use that again. I think I may have been one of the first people to get to the ticket page (I pre-signed in to Ticketfly) but then it crashed because I swear, for a second I saw the ticket page but then the website crashed and my computer-screen had the same messages as the first picture in this post.

      • Unless you want to pay higher fees there are not that many other options for ticket sellers that can handle so many people.

  10. I have many issues with this article which seems to largely be a collection of crazy ramblings, hearsay and rumors. But my biggest issue is in your one attempt to provide something substantive, the analysis of the value of time wasted.

    You state that the census gave the median income as 51k, which is true. But then go on to use that number as an average, which it isn’t. Median and mean are not the same thing.

    You should probably find your 5th grade math teacher and apologize to them immediately.

    • Did the census give the Mean, or just the Median? If the mean was not provided, then the analysis stands, representing the most common representative value lost not the average value lost. However, absent other data to the contrary, a typical Gaussian distribution can be presumed and the mean and median are the same as much as makes no difference.

      But I am sure Burners.xxx will get this all squared away before he submits his article to the Journal of Illreproducible Results. That’s where I look for all the published objective numerical analysis of the BOrg finances.

  11. Here’s a few suggestions:
    1. Only let people who show they will contribute something be able to buy tickets.

    2. One ticket per person.

    3. You have to enter on the first day – no weekend warriors.

    • Don’t know if you noticed but that flys against the explicit plans and expectations of a few billionaires who are on the BMP BoD. …Did I say “a few?”

      • Sometimes I wonder if the BMP BoD makeup is not like having executives of a private prison corporation sitting on a parole board.

    • I would love to see the event close the gates earlier in the week. I don’t see how it benefits from 10,000 darkwads showing up on Friday night looking for a Skrillex concert.

      Sure, Saturday is the biggest party. But showing up for that is like showing up on the last day of Summer Camp without going through camp – lame.

  12. The fix is simple. You can only buy one ticket, for yourself. Your name gets printed on the ticket, right next to the barcode, and they check your ID on your way in. Try scalping that! If you gotta sell your ticket, you can only sell it to STEP.

    • What fun would that be? WAY too simple. And how would the CCamps get their Sherpas in? How could the BOrg insiders play their games with the tickets? No, would never fly.

      Besides, the BOrg simply LOVES all this attention – pure narcissistic supplies. Over a hundred thousand people burning time to come to their event! And they still can grant entry to an elect few who suck up to them all the more. They are in heaven!

    • That would take care of scalpers, but not the actual demand. It would still sell out in minutes, and people would still be butthurt they didn’t get tickets. If there is a ticketing queue algorithm that can provide an actual first come, first serve queue for a scenario where many thousands of people hit the servers at the same time down to the millisecond, then that’s what should be used. I’m not sure that exists. I think all the frustration comes from the user experience that Ticketfly is providing, with the almost meaningless green bar and minute counter. I’ve gone through ticket master at other events that sold out quickly, and there was no counter, no progress bar, you just didn’t advance to the new screen until suddenly, you did. Not sure that that’s any less anxiety inducing, and it didn’t seem less random than Ticketfly’s method.

      • The biggest problem with Burning Man’s system (at least, the current iteration built by Ticketfly) is how easy it was to sidestep the system and push in to the front of the line. It seems many tickets were sold this way today.

      • Sure, the demand is still there but I think a lot more people would be okay with it if the process were fair. Too many people are sidestepping the system and setting up bots to snatch up as many tickets as possible. Who are they? Largely scalpers. Some small-timers just doing a pair or two, some pros with rooms full of people working on it. I don’t know the percentage of tickets going to scalpers, but it’s not insignificant. If we eliminate the people who are only buying tickets to resell them, everyone’s chances go up.

        I have to agree that a straight FIFO ticket queue is surely possible, and I think such a thing would be acceptable to all if we knew there weren’t so many non-burners trying to squeak in line ahead of us and make a quick buck. The profit motive and the motive to circumvent the system go hand in hand.

        • I agree with that, it’s time to tie tickets to IDs. All this other sturm und drang about conspiracies and queue order is silly. Now, the vehicle pass issue is another thing entirely. The BMORG will be scrambling to fix that.

    • I liked the PDF ticket cue this last time. As the tickets sold, they estimated your chances of getting a ticket based on the number of people in front of you, expressed as the number of tickets they might buy, up to four.

      Once it said, “If everyone in front of you buys less than 1 ticket, you will get a chance,” you knew you were wasting your time. 😉

  13. See the MONUMENTAL task the BOrg now has? How can it get worse? They have less than a year to come up with a more miserable ticketing system, but they have managed to do that each year since the sellout. You have to admit, from driving up to the gate and buying a ticket (2007?), they have managed to increase their overhead by tens of millions of dollars to sell 2 or 3 times the number of tickets.

    You gotta give them credit. Pretty amazing. Looking forward to next year!!

  14. Actually there is a method to the madness. Like the page said, there are 60 Burns around the world.
    Maybe the 60,000 people can start working together to make ALL burns good.
    Burning Man is the People not a time and place.
    I dream of a day when their are 20 major Burning Men a year.
    If just 10,000 more people went to one of the other Burns the ball would get rolling.
    The event would make more money and grow just like the one in Nevada has.
    End r3esult you get to go Home any time you want not just once a year.

  15. There is no way this was a FIFO sale, I was in at 12:00:01 and got the sold out routine after having my wait time pushed back from 20 minutes to more than an hour (along with a long time in “The Line is Paused” hell). The system was definitely compromised, and the racket is crooked. The blog post makes sense to me, this is beyond inept and seems clearly malign.

    • Not quite – it seems many people who logged in after the “pausing” at 12:06 got straight in, while most of those who were queueing before then were kept in the queue but didn’t get anywhere.

  16. 80 minutes my pancreas… you got in at 56 seconds, and it was already sold out. The actual completion of the sale is but a formality; every ticket was spoken for in less than one minute.

    I checked my system time, spot on, I could count down to the second. Clicked the link at 12:00:02 and I got tickets… but vehicle passes were already sold out. Maybe my internet is a tad slower than some, and the request hit at three or four seconds in. In those three or four seconds, fully twelve thousand people got in line before me.

    If we are to believe that the “line” was truly FIFO, that means twelve thousand passes went in four seconds flat. The twenty thousand mark must have happened somewhere in the first ten seconds. It took 80 minutes to process all the orders, but the actual ordering window was measured in seconds. Like, a single-digit number of seconds. That’s insane.

  17. Usually I’m right there with you on how you see Burning Man culture.
    But, are you suggesting Satan had something to do with todays ticket sale and Burning Man as a whole?

    • Satanism is different from “Satan”, ie an evil supernatural being directing events. Satanism is the belief in “the death of god”/”self is god” as promoted on Voices of Burning Man. The event has strong occult origins and elements. The suffering for tens of thousands in today’s ticket sale could have been ended in a few minutes, if Ticketfly sold these tickets the way they are sold at most other events. Instead, it was drawn out to an hour and a half.


      “God is indeed dead, and it is we who are his assassins, yet our true crime is less deicide than hypocrisy. Having murdered the Creator in the most spectacular of all Oedipal revolts, we have hidden the body, repressed all memory of the traumatic event, tidied up the scene of the crime and, like Norman Bates in Psycho, behave as though we are innocent of the act. We have also dissembled our deicide with various shamefaced forms of pseudo-religion, as though in expiation of our unconscious guilt”

  18. gotta say, it’s this blog that creates all the negative energy. get a life and get on board. Have any productive solutions?

      • Is the ticket buying experience different for other events that sell out in minutes that Ticketfly handles? I’m wondering if a truly first come, first serve queue is possible when many thousands of people hit the servers at the same time down to the millisecond.

        • I don’t have any stats from Ticketfly, but I’ve just updated the story with links to stories about insider scalping by Bieber management and how bots are being used on Ticketmaster sales

    • Yes, clearly “this blog that creates all the negative energy.” Think of those tens of thousands who did not get tickets, but don’t read this blog, and have been spared any negative energy.

    • I agree, but where do you post your solutions and would they read them. Last year I had a problem with tickets and got help on the Burning Man org site. This year I don’t see anywhere to contact Burning Man, directly. Here are some ideas.

      1. Vehicle most riders should get the tags first. If I have a bus full of burners should get a tag.

      2. Vehicles with camping gear for a large group should have a tag. I know that many people who fly in and take the Bus and have no way to get their gear in.

      3. Having your name on the ticket and an ID would help prevent scalping. But there would have to be some way to transfer the ticket to someone else.

      4. Make the queue shorter, slow down the servers and require refreshing on the client side.

      5. Verify the email address and mac hardware address before putting the order on the queue. Bots hate real time questions.

      Maybe these won’t work, but lets all brain storm together.


  19. I think someone should do the math to figure out how many hours/days of YOUR life you have wasted by blogging/whining about Burning Man…

  20. I live in the UK and had to wake up at 3am to get ready to push the green button at 4. The clock on my computer is directly connected a satellite with an atomic clock. I ran a program that clicked on the green button at 4:00.00.01 AM. I have one of the fastest internet connections in the world. I can stream IMAX movies. I had to wait 6 hours in line to be finally told that tickets were sold out.

    During this wait, my girlfriend broke up with me and my child from my first marriage with whom I only get custody 1 day a year, fell out of his bunkbed and cracked her head open. I was unable to come to her aid due to waiting in line, and she died. I was later arrested but am out on bail now. The kid was a brat anyway, so nothing of value was lost.

    Anyway, I blame all of this on the Crimson Rose bitch. She’s gotten really fat lately.

      • Cool. Yeah, I’ve known about Temple of Set for awhile, but never thought about the location of the Presidio scandal and the timeframe it was going down in relation to the start of the Burn, until I saw your post on it. Another thread I find interesting is that the first man was built in the garage of Whittaker Chambers daughter! That name might not mean much to an Aussie, but is definitely worth a google search. Her name was Ellen Into, but I suspect she changed it as she doesn’t exist on the internet. Only reference to that is in the book “This is Burning Man”. Author is a corporate/libertarian Koolaid drinker type, but he lets a lot of things out he probably shouldn’t in between his sips.

        Another point of intrigue to me is “who the fuck is Larry?” He has pretty much no CV outside of Burning Man, yet somehow managed to survive in SF all these years? I find that really curious. Also heard he is a deadbeat dad…

  21. I love your work, but you go a little out of your way to paint the BMORG in the worst possible light.

    Take your calculation on time wasted – that’s completely spurious as it assumes that everybody who was in line after tickets sold out just sat there. I’m sure some people did, but everybody I know who was looking was also on FB, eplaya, or reddit, all of which made it clear very quickly once the sell-out happened.

    • That accounts for the difference between 1:21pm (tweet goes out) and 1:35pm (queue software says sold out). It does not account for the 81 minutes that everyone wasted waiting to be told “no”. It shouldn’t be on us Burners to figure out that tickets have sold out by scanning multiple social media channels; they should let people who are in the queue know immediately, not 15 minutes later.

      • Right, cause screw radical self-reliance! Let’s wait to be taken care of?

        I mean, I don’t disagree that people in the queue should bet let know immediately but I gather you’ve been involved in software dev (I have my entire adult life). Occam’s Razor tells me this was a simple oversight of the sort that is to be expected with systems being exposed to real world stresses for the first or second time, not some satanic conspiracy.

  22. With the crazy early sellout last year, I think a lot more of us have started registering for tickets. For example, my SO and I both registered and sat in the ticket queue this year; after I managed to score tickets and a vehicle pass around 12:30, he was able to drop out of the queue. We were tempted to have him stay and see if we could get tickets so we’d have spares if friends didn’t get theirs, but decided not to tie up $800 in that.

    • We need one more! Pls contact me if u can help. 4 out of our 5 got tickets. We all travelling from london and sydney so we have already booked RVs etc

  23. and for some people that I know will get tickets somehow guaranteed. They did not post they got tickets this year on facebook but like always will go nd get in without an issue.

    names withheld but they are tech people and know someone who knows someone else.

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