Why is Burning Man Getting So Expensive?

Whatever the cost of Burning Man tickets, there are always plenty of people who worry about the expense (with good reason…we’re all worried about our budgets).  This year, with changes in the way tickets are being offered and some price increases, there’s even more ferment out there about BM prices getting out of hand.  I’d like to put a little perspective on this matter.

Judie and Alan’s 40th anniversary wedding, a priceless Burning Man experience

You could easily spend $200 to attend a two-hour concert by some rock band or to see a top tier Broadway show.  If you spend between $240 and $400 for a Burning Man ticket, look at what you’re getting:

  • Up to seven Days of fun
  • Music, art, adventure 24 hours a day
  • A community that you’ll never forget
  • Lifelong friendships
  • A magical place to stay
  • An experience that makes you feel younger

The money is a pittance compared to the experience – in fact, compared to any experience at any price.  So don’t let yourself get hung-up on the cost of the tickets or the complicated (and confusing) lottery system.  Just go.  The money is the last thing you’ll think about when you count up your memories of Burning Man 2012.

For more about the new lottery system for buying tickets, go to http://tickets.burningman.com/.  Remember, tickets for the first tier lottery are on sale from January 9 – January 22.  Those tickets will cost anywhere from $240 to $390 each, depending on how you are selected in the lottery.  Two tickets may be purchased per person, and your credit card is charged once you are selected.  Selections will be announced by February 1.

Why the lottery?  The fact is, last year’s initial ticket sale was a cyber-disaster with a multitude of technical problems on the web-based system.  The result was much “gaming” of the system in order for people to purchase the lowest priced tickets.  Others without the technical knowledge or wherewithal to game the system simply lost out.  The new system eliminates unfair advantages by those who can manipulate the web better than others.  The chances of not getting a ticket through the lottery are tiny, but the ability to control the price at which you purchase your ticket is greatly reduced.  It’s a trade-off the Burning Man has elected to employ in order to avoid the confusion and frustration of last year’s ticket purchase misadventure.

So good luck as the ticket sale lottery opens up for Burning Man 2012.

3 thoughts on “Why is Burning Man Getting So Expensive?

  1. Thanks for the great website Alan. I’m a 50+ person who has been convinced by my 21 year old child to consider attending BM. So I put my hat in the ring and entered the lottery today!

    Since this 2012 BM would be my first, I’m trying to read up and educate myself. One thing i am interested in is renting an RV. Sounds like a reasonable thing to do for an older person like myself. Any suggestions on a reasonable place to rent something near the event? Not interested in a castle on wheels, but something more substantial than a tent…just a shelter to get out of the sun and wind from time to time and enjoy some creature comforts.

    Looking forward to reading more on your website. Keep up the good work!

    vplester at gmail dot com

    • Thanks for your note. Others may have more info than I do on renting an RV because we bought one (in fact, we actually bought three over the years) especially to take to Burning Man. The first was a 1975 C-class that screamed Burning Man but had few creature comforts. We sold it two years later for our initial purchase price, so that went well. We’re now up to a 1995 C-class (also known as a cab over, even though the cab is actually “under”). I know there are dealers who rent to Burners but charge extra for the clean-up. My top suggestion would be to try Craigslist for either purchasing or renting a rig for the Burn. Perhaps others will chime in with their suggestions.

  2. Hey Vplester. Last year i lost my virginity when I was 61. Am going back this year ( if I get tickets ) If a grossly over weight person like me can do it, just about any one can. I camped in my teardrop trailer. I realize those are not for everyone but you really do get out and meet more people. They are a people magnet. RVs do not attract people. Set up something outside of the RV so you don’t spend to much time inside of the vault on wheels. Get a decent bicycle and start riding if you are rusty.

    Have fun, leave no trace ( physical trace, leave plenty of positive vibes )

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