“The Org Shows Its True Colors Once Again”: Staff Ticket Scandal

A post from Cranky_Monkey at Reddit:

The Org shows its true colors once again.

Fucking greed. Pure, unadulterated greed.

The Org has once again oversold the event, after coming within 60 attendees of the pop. cap last year. But as they say, actions have consequences:

This time the Org pulled earned tickets from departments. As in, people they bargained free labor last year in exchange for a ticket this year are being told AS THEY DRIVE IN to turn around and go home. These are people that were submitted on staff lists months ago. I’ve personally seen the confirmation emails from two list submittals to the Org.

Evidently, last Thursday the Org notified departments of their “oversight” and that they would not be honoring many staff tickets. DPW, Gate, ESD among others were all affected. Hundreds of workers for the event left holding the bag, many while enroute.

Keep it classy, Burning Man. First you hoodwinked so many to work for free, now you’re actually costing them money lost to preps, fuel, etc for an event they’re not even allowed into. To work. For you. For free.

What a fucking joke.

Feel free to give Event Director a piece of your mind: charlie.dolman@burningman.org

EDIT: No, I cannot share emails and texts. Most are coming from participants, and the emails they would share come from their department leads. Sharing them would immediately out them to their department.

You shouldn’t ONLY listen to me, but if you know anyone from any of the departments listed, feel free to reach out and ask “Hey, heard something is up with tix for staff & volunteers in Org departments” and see what they say.


This was then confirmed by tistrue1:

Completely true. The ORG oversold the event and now they are not honoring staff tickets and credentials earned last year. If your WAP/ticket was put into TicketFly in a timely manner and you have an e-mail from them; then you are good. If your department manager or the person they instructed to put the info into TicketFly didn’t for whatever reason (dropped the ball!) then you’re screwed. Even if you told them you would be attending and they confirmed.

I personally know at least 20 Gate personnel this affected. They are/were on their way to the event and were told to go home.

Here’s the e-mail from the personnel manager of Gate sent yesterday (8/21) at 3:30pm.
This is a tough message.
It is very hard to say this but very important to get the word out. Last Thursday every department at Burning Man was told that there were no more tickets of any kind available. This includes staff credentials, reduced price tickets, and gift tickets. Over the past few days we have been trying to see what kinds of resources we could muster to address the shortfalls we know we have. In most years we are able to continue issuing credentials and tickets up to the day before the event opens, and we can catch the persons that fell between the cracks.
Please check to see if you have an email confirmation from Ticketfly that has the words STAFF CREDENTIAL in it. If you can’t find one it is quite possible you do not have a ticket to Burning Man this year, and for that we are very sorry to disappoint you and break the promises we have made. This is the hardest message I have ever had to put on announce, and I fully expect to hear about it and will field all questions about this.


some other comments:

16 comments on ““The Org Shows Its True Colors Once Again”: Staff Ticket Scandal

  1. Don’t volunteer your time for people who make money off your labor. The Org operates like any corporation: they tell lies and half-truths to get people to drink the kool aid – i.e. “we’re changing the world” yada yada. But then they are super incompetent in ways that negatively effect people who do the actual labor. Sound familiar? It’s every corporation for which I’ve ever worked.

  2. Burning Man could chose not to honor tickets of people who paid $$ for tickets.

    But instead they’re choosing to #@$#@ over people who put in labor.

    It says a lot about their Org, and who and what they respect.

    • I just went and read the back of the ticket. They reserved the right to revoke tickets “for any reason”. They could just turn away the last few stragglers who show up late.

      But instead they’re choosing to #$!#$! over “staff”.

    • Kudos to Nicole Karlis and Keith Spencer. They have been working on the story for almost a year. ‘Among the sordid revelations: a high suicide rate among seasonal workers, a permanently blinded volunteer thrown under the bus, and numerous accounts of a toxic work environment’ @nicolekarlis and @keithspencer

      I would be most curious might any of the ‘reporters’ on the playa, whom signed the rubbish BMOrg Media Mecca contract preventing any reporting of which the BMORG does not approve, might also report upon these matters. Or upon the massive BMOrg cash outs, querying them about the payments for their Burning Man ™ trademarks, and other IP of Burning Man, while the workers are treated most poorly.

  3. Department heads who waited until last minute to actually ORDER the tickets are the ones to blame here. So far, from what I’ve heard and read, no one with a CONFIRMED ticket has had it revoked. Deadlines exist for a reason. Miss the deadline to order tickets for your group and you risk not getting the tickets. BMORG can’t sit on an undetermined number of extra tickets until a week before the event just in case procrastinators need some. Hell, you’ve run a business, you know how shit operates. People need to have their ducks in line.

    I absolutely have sympathy for those hoping to get tickets for their volunteer time, I just don’t place blame on the entire BMORG, nor do I think it’s “greed” that is the cause of this issue.

    • I’ve run businesses, sure. A deal’s a deal. If they were promised a ticket in exchange for free labor, prepared for Burning Man and went through the whole rigmarole of finally getting up to the ticket counter…only to be told “sorry, your name’s not on the list”…that would suck. You’ve been a Burner, put yourself in their shoes!

      Note: there is none of my commentary in this post, at all. Not even the title. Well, “Staff Ticket Scandal” is mine – how else to succinctly summarize the concerns?

      • Like I said, I have sympathy for those who put in volunteer hours in exchange for a ticket. I’d be pissed if MY DEPARTMENT LEADER waited until the last minute to submit ticket orders for his/her department. But the fact is that BMORG can’t sit on a bunch of tickets until the gate opens in the chance that volunteers will show up needing tickets. Deadlines for submission were clearly stated months ago. There isn’t nor has there ever been a guarantee of a ticket at the last minute, not since the event started selling out.

        • That’s actually exactly how live events work…a venue generally holds extra tickets at their box office for exactly these types of oversights. not having a couple hundred extra tickets for staff at the last minute means the numbers were too tight to begin with. Without factoring in a margin of error there will always be someone left out.
          but the short point is GREED. shameless Greed

      • The BMOrg violated one of the most important items within their permit, they oversold the tickets, as is the usual, and the BLM requires the BMOrg to close entry to the playa in due of more than 70,000 paid participants are on the playa on Friday. It must be most difficult, for the BMOrg, not to sell every $1,200 ticket they are of the belief of they might get away with.

        Reno Gazette Journal: Burning Man asked to shut down entry after overselling event.

        The Burning Man permit states 70,000 paid participants are permitted on the playa, at any time. ‘The population cap does not include volunteers, government personnel, emergency service providers, vendors, and contractors. BRC is required to keep the maximum population of the event from exceeding this population cap.’ This requirement is most important, and it is most political, it is Stipulations 1, 2, and 3 of the 2018 Burning Man Permit

        In due of the BMOrg violating their promised tickets to the volunteers, my belief is the BLM required of the BMOrg to lower the number of volunteer tickets for 2018. Within 2017, there were near to 10,000 on the playa, other than paid participants. The limit in regards of the number of volunteers is not within the permit, my belief is it is within the Burning Man Operational Plan, with the BLM. My belief is the BMOrg answered this by limiting the number of tickets departments were permitted to request, for their volunteers, in addendum of lowering the number of tickets for artist contractors, commodification camp vendors, and others of this manner. My belief is the BMOrg attempted to gain more volunteer tickets within August, when they became of the realization of it was a problem, and the BLM answered by pay us more cash, of which, the BMOrg did not desire to do so.

        Thus, there were hundreds of Burners, and others, whom desired tickets, and near to all available tickets were transferred, and utilized, to enter Burning Man, of which, the BMOrg did not expect when they oversold the $1,200 tickets.

        • Might any reporter desire to gain the number of tickets sold, query the BLM upon these matters. The 2018 Burning Man permit states

          37. BRC shall provide BLM with an itemized gross revenue report for all ticket sales and event entry sales. The report will include the number of tickets sold in each category and the price per ticket for the following categories as listed in the BRC “2018 Ticket Structure”:

          • PRE-SALE
          • DIRECTED GROUP SALE
          • MAIN SALE
          • LIMITED $1,200 TICKETS
          • LOW INCOME TICKET PROGRAM
          • KID’S TICKETS
          • OMG SALE

          Might the BLM not desire to state the 2018 numbers to a reporter, the 2017 Burning Man permit stated the same stipulation, and the 2017 numbers are available from the BLM.

          • 2.5% don’t show up (per BRC)
            BRC over sold tickets:
            sold overage estimated revenue

            2017 74,259 4,259 $1,810,075
            2018 74,075 4,075 $1,731,875

            2.50% 1,750 $743,750
            population
            pct peak bodies
            6.08% 69,596 79,432 (2017)
            5.82% 70,358 (2018)

          • Much obliged for the numbers of 4,259 tickets oversold within 2017, and 4,075 tickets oversold within 2018. It explains the rationale of why BRC was over the 70,000 paid population limit by 385 Burners, in addendum of hundreds more Burners halted prior of the gate Thursday night, and of many Burners visited Fly Ranch near to the end of the week. 4,259, or 4,075, extra tickets is a big number of tickets.

            The numbers of the estimated revenue of $1,810,075 within 2017, and $1,731,875 within 2018 are not correct. Multiplying the 4,259, or the 4,075, by $425 to gain the estimated revenue is not correct, my belief, in due of social media reports, is of most of the oversold tickets, sold after the Directed Groups Sale, and of the Main Sale, were $1,200 commodification camp tickets, thus a more proper estimate is near to $4,000,000 of extra revenue to BRC, LLC, in due of the oversold tickets, of each of the years of 2017, and of 2018.

            Perchance, it might explain the rationale of why the BMOrg did not honour many free volunteer staff tickets. Might the BLM, and Pershing County, in despite of the permitted number of volunteer staff tickets not being stated within the BLM permit for Burning Man. Might an agreement of the total population of BRC of fewer than 80,000, and the BMOrg was of the knowledge of the $1,200 tickets were oversold, might the BMOrg desired to lower the number of free volunteer staff tickets?

          • 2017 BRC staff, Contractors and Volunteers 10,042.
            BLM limits 10,000 BRC staff, Contractors and Volunteers, Paid participants 70,000. I suspect a FOIA is in progress for 2017.
            Pershing County has no control of the event limits only BLM.
            Was BMOrg disappointed the BIA opioid interdiction didn’t thin the herd more?

  4. If you work for slave wages, expect to be treated like a slave. Every since The Simpsons BM episode, BMorg left the pond and entered the ocean of free labor resources.

    Those who are being turned away can easily be replaced. There’s no online forum they can go to voice their complaints, anymore. It’s actually their fault for trusting in BMorg to treat them fairly, they didn’t do their research.

Leave a Reply to JV Cancel reply