Welcome to Burner Burns

Image: Rescendent CC BY_SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Image: Rescendent CC BY_SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

It’s getting harder and harder for everyone to make it out to the annual Black Rock City burn. Most camps got a reduced allocation in this year’s Directed Group Sale, which means there will be unprecedented competition for tickets in the Main Sale. Even the triple-priced VIP tickets sold out in less than 24 hours – although there are quite believable rumors on Reddit that they are still being sold, which will further reduce the number of Main Sale tickets.

70,000 Burners might attend this year, but there are now about 700,000 former Burners in the world – so 90%+ of Burners miss out every year.

“The future is in the Regionals!”, say some – but the jury’s still out on that. The one Regional that I’ve visited so far, was nothing like Burning Man, and not even remotely as good as other festivals in the region.

With that in mind, I finally thought of a straight-forward way to implement something that Nomad Traveler and others have been suggesting for a while. If you look at the tab of pages running along the screen, under the header photo, you will notice a new one: Burner Burns. This is a place where collectively, with the magical powers of crowd-sourcing, we may be able to put together a list of alternatives to Burning Man.

Please go to the page and add your favorite events in the comments, I will cut and paste them into the page. We’ll see if enough people contribute for this to become something useful.


33 comments on “Welcome to Burner Burns

  1. Pingback: Tickets 2016: What Really Happened | Burners.Me: Me, Burners and The Man

  2. “‘The future is in the Regionals!,’ say some – but the jury’s still out on that. The one Regional that I’ve visited so far, was nothing like Burning Man, and not even remotely as good as other festivals in the region.”

    And that may be becuse it was a Borg-sanctioned “Regional.” Though my experience with Transformus has been good, tentative contacts with Flipside have not. Night Market, Figment and Bring to Light are not Borg “Regionals” and that may be their strength. Though I don’t yet have any experience with them, Burnt Soup, held at the same time as the NV burn, is likely not Borg-sanctioned.

    Given that you region is the SF area, were your “other festivals in the region” (that were good) disjoint from Borg influence?

    • LIB is excellent. People speak highly of Symbiosis. There is nothing out here with art cars.

      Freeform in New Jersey was more like what I was expecting of a regional. My friend in Australia speaks very highly of Burning Seed.

  3. This is a great idea.
    For myself, I plan to have my own adventures, and not tell anyone about the where/when/why (save a partner or friend who comes along). Also, I did bman alone one of the times I went, sometimes solo is best, whatever the adventure.

    • You can read the page without volunteering new events. 😉 Of course telling us about things you have done can’t hurt if you have decided to move on to new adventures. And telling us of things you are considering might draw out opinions from others from those who have gone.

  4. On the main topic of alternative burns, I’ve been going to a number of the regional burns in the US for years. However they simply don’t have the capacity to meet the demand. Some of the better ones have been selling out quickly for years (Transformus, Flipside, etc). And places like northern CA which has a huge percentage of those burners doesn’t actually have a regional event, instead there are tons of private events put on by various other parties.

    • However, there is a difference between selling out, and not getting an invitation. For example, Transformus always sells out, but you and I and the person reading this have the same chance of getting a ticket. Get in line and cross your fingers. There is no DS, and no profile – and violation of personal privacy – that has to possibly generate a ticket code (invitation) that will let you wait in line. Transformus theme camps and volunteers are considered only AFTER you get your ticket – theme camps and volunteernig do NOT get you a ticket.

    • Once it grows beyond a certain size, it really needs professional management. Documentation, plans, training, safety. This is the problem with “let seeds grow into Burning Man” approach, it is almost self-limiting. How do you grow a volunteer event to 10,000 people based on the Ten Principles? Nobody knows, not even BMOrg – they didn’t do that.

      • There’s also the problem of where to hold something like that. An event space that will allow you to hold a mulit-day event for 10k burners isn’t easy to come by. Many of the regional burns are at sites that can’t expand past their current size. For them to grow they have to decide to change physical locations.

        • Yes, growth of a burn-type event is an issue. But it has a natural solution: start another event.

          The last NV burn I went to had about 35,000 there. I can’t say that I experienced even 10% of what was there. My last Transformus was about 3,000 for three days. Can’t say that I saw it all because I spent a lot of time working our theme camp, but it certainly had a critical mass. While 300 may be too small for a week, 3,000 does not seem to be a problem.

          At 3,000 you can still have all-volunteer management and operations. While attending a 10,000+ event may be nice, my brief FB group contact with Flipside showed evidence of a select group of overlords that did not set well with me. They seem to be patterning after the Borg. Something I have never found interacting with Transformus. Also, being all-volunteer management with turnover, Transformus is regularly looking by open call for new people to join in management and the BoD.

          I don’t know what the critical mass is, but it is not necessarily more than 3,000, and that seems to be supported by all-volunteer effort, from parking cars to gathering discards at the end for re-use by other (the type of thing that becomes MOOP at the NV burn).

          I would offer that the size and paid management of the NV burn are proven to not be necessary for a good event.

      • “Once it grows beyond a certain size, it really needs professional management.”

        My two stone soup organizations operate well, just entirely different from the model the Borg has used. Though our events are different, we do have 10’s of thousands particiapte twice a year in one group.

        “Documentation, plans, training, safety.”

        True, these are all handled by paid full-time staff, but they report to and are paid by the members, not a fixed group of self-selecting pooh-bahs who make all the substantive decisions. For both groups it is the volunteer members and their dues that make our events happen. And they have both been around since before the Wicker Man.

        But your main point is right: the Borg don’t know how to do that sort of thing.

        • For chrissakes, what are the stone soup organization you belong to. Already. Knowing that would help us picture how something like that works.

          • That would be telling. Are you not a member of any groups where you pay annual dues, the substance of the groups IS the members, and the management is selected by the members?

          • No I’m not, so I’m curious. I can’t for the life of me fathom why you wouldn’t want to mention the names of the groups considering they are apparently quite large and not a secret. Is one of them the KKK or something? Ha.

          • The Borg and their shills have already tried to lure me personally to their offices in SF, and have driven me off of FB. Not quite ready to earn the “Double Stupid” label.

            Perhaps those who cannot well see the Borg mismanagement share your lack of experience with member-sourced groups.

          • Oh jeez, delusions of grandeur mixed with a persecution complex. Dude, I don’t believe a damn word you say, including your involvement with a real or otherwise stone soup organization. I’m out.

  5. I’ve been think about how much money someone would have to pay me to go to Burning Man again and bring out my art car and really participate like I did in the past. All things considered, I wouldn’t raise an eyebrow below $100k. I think $200k would do it, but I wouldn’t have the same enthusiasm serving entitled hipsters modern burners. I couldn’t even fake it. So save you money. Don’t even ask.

    • Amen, Simone. I am there with you. It will be interesting to see how the Borg adapts to the exodus of the old burner camps, and the resulting CCamp tourist and patron complaints. They have already apparently upped the DGS tix to be guaranteed instead of just early access, effectively reducing the number of DGS tkt offers this year.

      I predict that the next step will be discounted, then finally free tickets to camps they choose – which is pretty much missing the whole point. Then, as they hit up patrons “to make things better,” they will become more generous with grants, again by their choice.

      The Borg have missed the whole synergy of a bunch of equals giving to each other. As long as they choose who comes, there will be little synergy, and things will get worse. Unless they free up most tix to Legacy Ticketing (letting all veteran burners make the ticketing choice), it is gone. They will just become another Bohemian Grove.

      At least they know what they have to offer you. About the same for my camp. 😉

  6. “Most camps got a reduced allocation in this year’s Directed Group Sale”

    DGS allocation increased from 20K last year to 25K this year. What proof do you have that most camps got a reduced allocation?

    “Even the triple-priced VIP tickets sold out in less than 24 hours.”

    According to reddit, VIP tickets were still available for sale 5 full days after: https://www.reddit.com/r/BurningMan/comments/472pgd/presale_ticketscurious_how_come_you_didnt_buy_them/

    What proof do you have that suggests otherwise?

    • From TCO FB

      To help put the issue of DGS allotments and this years cuts in perspective I’ve done my best to pull together population, number of theme camps, number of DGS tickets, and percentage of DGS tickets by year since DGS tickets started in 2013. I had to dig through afterburn reports and my old emails from placement. This isn’t official and I don’t work for the BORG, but I thought this might help.
      Year: 2013.
      Total population: 69,613.
      Theme camps: 1140.
      DGS tickets: 10,000.
      Percentage of DGS to total tickets: 14%
      Year: 2014.
      Total population: 65,922.
      Theme camps: 1197.
      DGS tickets: 15,000.
      Percentage of DGS to total tickets: 22%
      Year: 2015.
      Total population: 67564.
      Theme camps: 1150.
      DGS tickets: 20,000.
      Percentage of DGS to total tickets: 29%
      Year: 2016.
      Total population: 70,000 (est.)
      Theme camps: 1150 (est., assuming same as 2015. They base DGS needs on last years camps)
      DGS tickets: 25,000.
      Percentage of DGS to total tickets: 35%
      They increased the DGS allotment this year by 5000.
      But recall that in 2015, placement allowed camps to ask for what they wanted and then sold out – based on all the postings, hundreds, if not thousands of people missed out on promised tickets. Seems like the cut was needed to cover those people.



      Sample size: 18
      17 got less
      1 got same

      = 94.4% got less

      • A thing thats important to consider when comparing the allotment between last year and this year is that last year did not guarantee the ability to buy a ticket, just the ability to try. Our village gets a pretty heavy allotment, however last year over 1/3 of the folks that were signed up didn’t actually manage to buy tickets. Our allotment of DGS entries this year is about 3/4 what it was last year, so overall it seems about the same real allotment on average.

    • To address the other part of your question, “what proof do I have that suggests otherwise”, unfortunately I don’t have an authoritative source like Reddit to go on. I am just going by what Burning Man’s public spokesperson told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

      “As controversial as Burning Man’s new $1,200 da Vinci tickets were, they did not have a difficult time of selling during Wednesday’s sale.

      The first 500 da Vinci tickets, a new tier of tickets that are three times the cost of the main tickets, were sold out as of Thursday morning, according to Burning Man spokeswoman Megan Miller. An additional 4,900 $990 pre-sale tickets, which were $800 last year, also were sold out by Thursday morning.”

      Her statement may have been a lie, but other than your allegation I have no information about that.

      • Some good speculation from Jovankat on that Reddit thread. They may well be selling as many as they can get away with at the higher price – why not bank the money if they can? How would anyone but the beancounters ever know if the Main Sale ended up being 25,000 tickets instead of 30,000?


        The 4,000 $800 tickets sold out within hours last year so it does seem strange that there are some of the 5,000 $990 tickets left after 5 days.
        Possible reasons include;
        $990 is too high for the pre-sale tickets to seem like a reasonable spend
        The market for pre-sale tickets just didn’t justify the extra 1,000 tickets
        Enough people who would have bought $990 tickets chose the $1,200 ones instead to significantly decrease the demand for regular pre-sale tickets
        Enough bet hedgers from last year were able to get $390 tickets in the aftermarket that they’re confident they won’t need a pre-sale back up this year
        Last year’s dust storms have lowered demand for tickets
        The Org may have had private conversations with some plug n play camps from last year that made them decide not to purchase presale tickets. These conversations could have been about any number of things.
        There wasn’t actually only 5,000 $990 tickets available and the org are just trying to sell as many as they can at the higher price because profit$
        There have never been more than a few pre-sale tickets sold and the org just inflates the numbers to give the impression the event is being taken over my trust fund kids and tech bros to keep the general burner populus nervous and engaged. This change to sale lenght is another ploy to keep us talking and speculating about things.
        A subtle shift in global consciousness has lowered demand for burning man tickets this year because we all just know that next year will be better.
        There is no Burning Man, everything that happens in this sub and to the people who read it and post here is an elaborate hoax and this is all part of it

        • Tix were still available at $990, with vehicle passes, after Thursday if you hadn’t yet used your special code. I didn’t complete the transaction, but it let me put them in the basket (Jovankat did the same), so it is possible the tix were actually sold out. Last year, when tix were sold out, it said sold out and wouldn’t let you put them in the basket (or cart, I forget the term). But note on ePlaya there were reports of vehicle pass fixes on Friday: https://eplaya.burningman.org/viewtopic.php?f=464&t=76730&start=30, which more than suggests at least vehicle passes were available (and tix, too).

    • So, Jason, if Burnersxxx is wrong, where do people get tickets? There are over 150,000+ people interested out here. Unless you can provide a satisfactory answer, seems alternative burns is the answer.

      Of course for me, I have spent enought time at the NV burn. There is less and less ‘Burning Man’ there as the CCamps, virgins and abusers take over. And I don’t care to be entertainment for the tourists, lock my bike, and worry about the safety of the ladies. No, I am interested in new places to explore, new experiences with burners, and places to do my theme camp.

      As alternatives, I can look for events that may be all-volunteer, low- or no-entry fee, nearer me, better time of the year, and lots of other stuff you cannot find with the NV burn.

      And Jason, I sincerly hope you are at the NV burn.

          • I never said you were helpful. Bloviating about how BM used to be better doesn’t help anyone. But thanks for telling us how much of a hipster you are, having burned so many times before everyone else did, and how you’re too cool for all that. It’s a great story, please tell us more.

          • >I never said you were helpful.

            You said “thanks for your reply.” Sorry, my mistake.

            >Bloviating about how BM used to be better doesn’t help anyone.

            No, it helps LOTS of people. Veteran burners who have not been recently need to know how things have deteriorated since the sellout, primarily due to the Borg control over who gets tickets. Virgins need to know that stories of going before the sellout are from a different era of community, respect, safety, and creativity. There was no curation of who was deemed among The Chosen, with CCamps and wristbands limiting your experience.

            >But thanks for telling us how much of a hipster you are, having burned so many times before everyone else did, and how you’re too cool for all that.

            I doubt I have burned more than most of the veterans who comment here. But yes, I am too cool to be curated by an organization that never learned that the proof of a person is how they choose to use power.

            >It’s a great story, please tell us more.

            Glad you asked! Since the topic is Burner Burns, here are some places I have burned since the NV burn sellout:

            Figment: https://vid.me/ROW7

            Night Market: https://vid.me/b3tJ

            Bring to Light (which was fantastic!): https://vid.me/wgdd

            Those are some of the neat experiences you can find if you have the imagination to look beyond the NV burn. Oh, and in each case for these, getting tickets are not a problem (nor are tickets or wristbands required). 🙂

Leave a Reply