Ticketing: The Lottery is Dead; Ticket Prices Are Set

The Burning Man organization has announced yet another ticketing scheme for 2013, which in my view is a good thing because last year’s lottery system was somewhere between highly problematical and disastrous.  How much worse could things get?  The downside of the new approach is cost – many of us who had previously scored lower priced tickets will have to spend more.  For me personally, the new system will cost $90 more per ticket this year than last.

That’s because BM headquarters in San Francisco has decided that there will be one price for all tickets under almost all circumstances.  The only exception is 4,000 low-income tickets at $190.  (Registration for low-income tickets is on right now.  See the ticketing link below for more information). The fixed price for all other tickets is $380.  This one-price-fits-all system has the virtue of equality. Early purchasers used to receive a discount based on the timing of their purchase.  When combined with last year’s lottery, the result of tiered pricing was a plethora of sales to people who, in the end, didn’t go to the Burn.

One effect of the lottery was to squeeze out many of the mainstay Burners who play important roles in making the event what it is.  Although most of them were able to get tickets later on as hoarded tickets were re-sold via the official Burning Man program (called STEP), on Craigslist or eBay, or just via word-of-mouth, many tickets actually went to waste.  In fact, there was a glut of Burning Man tickets on the market by the time the festival occurred – many of which couldn’t even be given away.

To help ensure that core attendees can make it in 2013, according to the Jack Rabbit Speaks (the official Burning Man e-zine), a tier of 10,000 tickets will be sold via direct distribution to some of the major camps that are foundational to Burning Man.  Unfortunately, I’ve also received a conflicting report from the Greeters that this direct distribution will NOT take place – so I’m not totally certain what will happen there. I also don’t know which groups would be included in the direct distribution should it occur.  For most of us, tickets will become available for purchase beginning February 13, with required pre-registration set to begin Wednesday, February 6 at noon and end Sunday, February 10 at noon.

By holding to a single price but selling tickets without using a lottery system, Burning Man hopes it has created a fairer and more equitable system, albeit a more expensive one for some of us.  How it all works out is something we’ll soon find out.

Here’s the URL for ticket information and for pre-registration once it begins:  http://tickets.burningman.com.  Other handy ticket info is as follows:

Ticketing FAQ (http://tickets2.burningman.com/faq.php) and new online ticketing forum (http://ticketsupport.burningman.com/).

Here’s hoping we all get the tickets we want and can afford, and that everyone makes it to the Playa this August 26 thru September 2.