Burning Man is still six months away but many longtime “Burners” haven’t been able to get their hands on tickets because of the festival’s new ticket lottery system put in place this year.

Last year, for the first time, Burning Man tickets sold out. In an attempt to assure that tickets got in the hands of longtime festivalgoers rather than scalpers, the event’s organizers replaced their first-come-first served online ticket sale policy this year with a lottery system. But more than 80,000 people signed up for the lottery in January, a far greater number than the amount of available tickets.

Via online message boards and social media, many longtime festival attendees have been highly critical of the ticket system process this year, saying too many tickets have been going to scalpers or first-timers.

Burning Man relies on many of these Burners because they are core contributors to the festival, providing art teams, theme camp creators, mutant vehicle builders, performers and volunteers. Many groups spend months planning for the event and thousands of dollars creating different projects to be displayed at Black Rock City. But with many Burners left in the dark this year, organizers have devised a plan in hopes of continuing to allow Burning Man to function as normally as possible.

The remaining 10,000 tickets that were slated to be sold through the Secondary Open Sale in March will now be sold only to vital groups and collaborations that make the event possible: volunteers, theme camps, mutant vehicle art installations and performance groups. These groups already have a relationship with the festival and organizers have already reached out to them to offer them enough tickets for essential “crew members.” Organizers said that while this will not satisfy every group or newbies looking to join in the fun, it was the best possible solution to the problem.

Burning Man officials said they are looking into what went wrong with this year’s lottery process and are looking for any and all suggestions as to what they can change to make the process more smooth in coming years.



Photo Credit: campsnowkoan, via Wikimedia Commons