Jack Rabbit Speaks
Volume 11, Issue 5
January 5, 2007
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A MESSAGE FROM LARRY HARVEY ABOUT TICKETS
The time has finally come. Tickets for this year's Burning Man will be
made available on January 17, 10AM PST. On your mark, get ready and ...
well, last year things didn't really go that well. Here is an important
message from our long-time vendor, In Ticketing.
To ensure that everyone gets a fair chance to purchase tickets, we have
added a new step to the ticket buying experience. When you arrive to
purchase tickets, you will be securely placed into a queue or line. When
your place in the queue is reached, you will be directed into the ticket
purchase process and you'll get a chance to buy your tickets.
A perfect analogy of this experience is the traffic flow into the
Burning Man event. You arrive in your vehicle. There are others in
front of you and behind you, so you patiently wait in line as the
participants ahead of you get welcomed, have their tickets taken and
enter the event.
If you get to the queue right when tickets go on sale, there still may
be thousands of "cars" ahead of you. This may not ensure that you will
get the lowest priced ticket, but you will receive the same chance as
every other participant.
The only link you'll need://tickets.burningman.com
(Please read all the information here, it is important.)
Sounds simple, doesn't it? But it wasn't simple last year. Here is what
happened. Many thousands of people apparently "got in line", even before
ticket sales commenced. Pent alone in private chutes, half-hypnotized by
their computer screens, many appeared to think that they were standing
at the head of their own private queue. Think of it: maybe 20,000
people in the V.I.P. line! It's very understandable that people
urgently wanted their tickets, and it's equally understandable that they
were quite upset when this maelstrom crashed our system. It was like
the Mother of all Traffic Jams on the Santa Monica Freeway, and weird,
anomalous results only tormented people further. In Ticketing and our
own hardworking staff members personally responded to hundreds of
And yet, it was the character of some of these complaints that
particularly caught my attention. Many people were upset beyond all
measure. I'm talking about visceral rage. This year, if it's any
comfort, you should be able to see your place in line and better
understand what's happening. But, even if you can't, consider this:
What was all that bitter rage about? Saving money? Maybe, but the
entire ticket price is only small fraction of what the vast majority of
folks spend in order to attend the event. If this is really not your
case, and that $20 leap in price really represents hardship for you, we
have a low income and scholarship program, and both are prominently
featured in our ticket information.
I remember reading emails, angry and denunciatory emails, by people who
said they had spent eight, nine and ten hours at their computers, and
this caused me to wonder: how much money was their time worth? Two
dollars an hour? Three dollars an hour? Of course, we'll take
responsibility for doing a better job with this ticket launch. We've had
a year to think this through, and we have made some changes, and so has
In. But the truth is that many folks, although not everyone, got caught
up in a kind of mania. How absurd some of this behavior now seems in
retrospect. I remember watching some prospective buyers rant on the web
for hours, only to post a final message, "Oh! I got my ticket. Never
mind! I'm so happy!" They'd gone from rage to joy in fifteen seconds.
I really don't want to be too hard on anyone. When you are isolated and
feel frustrated it is very easy to lose your temper. But isn't it
ironic that all of the sturm and drang about getting there first, about
competing with thousands of other consumers, should arise among a group
of people who are dedicated to a non-consumerist event that is devoted
to cooperation and collaboration.
This year, as your part in making things work, we recommend you take a
step back and consider what level ticket you can afford, and how much
your time is worth. Hopefully, this year's system will save time for you
and make the process less frustrating and confusing in the first place.
If our first allotment of $195 tickets sells out, a second gate will
silently slide open, offering another 10,000 tickets for $225 apiece.
Finally, when the last gate is automatically triggered, yet another
10,000 tickets will be available at $250. This amounts to 30,000
tickets, nearly three quarters of our population in 2006! Aside from
that, many of the first day's buyers do make the choice to buy at the
level they can afford rather than snapping up all the cheapest tickets,
so there should surely be enough to satisfy demand all around. During
the wait for your place in line, if your neck gets tense, if you begin
to pound the keyboard, please rest assured - you're not alone nor need
you be alone. There is a place that waits for you in Black Rock City.
- Larry Harvey
We at BMHQ are especially excited about this year's theme, and the
creativity we know will you're already cooking up for the Green Man:
(By the way, the art grant deadline was misstated in JRSV11:#4 - the
correct date is February 15. See
We look forward to seeing you this year.
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